Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

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NickGaspar
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by NickGaspar »

Gertie wrote: March 20th, 2021, 6:32 pm
But I do have a suggestion to start afresh, because our convo is getting unwieldy and I'd like to try to keep it focussed - also to lose the bickery sneering commentary which is just irritating.
-Agreed
I'm still not quite sure what your position is regarding conscious experience. The gist of what I've picked up is you believe it's biological, and that describing the biological processes is as much of an explanation for conscious experience as science can or should offer.

-Well it not a matter of belief. Biological organisms with brains have the ability to experience consciously the world, their thoughts and feeling.
So its more of a matter of basic reasoning on observable facts than a faith based belief.

And that biology isn't reducible to physics, something new enters the universe with biological processes. If I've read you right?
-I don't really understand what that means. Science has different disciplines capable to produce descriptive frameworks for different scales of reality. For example Newton's laws about the classical world are irrelevant and useless when we try to describe really small and really large scales.
The same is true for quantum mechanics and Relativity and their inability to describe classical phenomena meaningfully and in detail. So in order to describe properties, and causal relations in biological systems we need to use biology's theoretical and mathematical frameworks.
Or that conscious experience is an emergent/reducible property of certain biological processes (namely embodied brains). Or that conscious experience is a different 'something' produced by biological brains which isn't reducible to them.

-Conscious experiences are contingent to brain function. I am not sure that the subjective ability of an observers (to reduce a property to a specific mechanism) is helpful. A functioning brain is necessary and sufficient to explain the emergence of our conscious experience. We even can identify specific parts of the brain and their role in emergent mind properties.
Trying to reduce the emergent property to a specific feature of a lower process is like trying to explain why water can display such weird properties in all three different states while none of them follow from its lower level mechanisms. This is Nature!
My position is that biological and chemical processes are emergent from/reducible to physics.
-As I said above, I don't even know what that means!
I find the following statement far more meaningful, because it removes the element of our subjective take or limits as observers.
"Biological and chemical processes emerge from complex structures that are the product of really basic physical properties(kinetic/energetic) governing the smaller scales of reality (QM and atomic scales). This is our basic scientific understanding (and current paradigm) on how classical structures and properties arise in our world.

And that the physicalist model of what the world is made of and the forces which account for physical processes is the theoretical explanatory model which the scientific method has come up with to give an in principle full account of the world. What it's made of and what it does.
-Science doesn't come up with "physicalists models". The physical position is the indefensible statement :""everything is physical".
Science doesn't accept that. Our Scientific models are the product of our observations and studies of the available and quantifiable realm. The current scientific model verifies the Necessary and Sufficient role of the brain in the emergence of mind properties by establishing Strong Correlations between causal mechanisms in our brain and our mental states.
As I said in my previous posts, it is important to distinquish Physicalism from Methodological Naturalism (the philosophical backbone of science).
The first one is a metaphysical worldview, while the second is an Epistemic Acknowledgement of our limits in observations and verification of our hypotheses.
So if that physicalist model has no place for consciousness, wouldn't in principle have a way of predicting its emergence, then our usual scientific methodology and the explanatory model which was developed from it, looks incomplete or flawed. Which no amount of noting ever more detailed correlations can address.

- Again I don't know what that means (if that physicalist model has no place for consciousness). Science can predict and describe the quality of the emergence of conscious states and their content(as my links verify).
(Which no amount of noting ever more detailed correlations can address.) Again I don't really know what that means. Science can explain far more things about consciousness than philosophers admit or are aware of. Again my links provide evidence of our scientific progress.
https://www.inverse.com/mind-body/neuro ... -explained
Furthermore, conscious experience doesn't have the sort of objectively observable and measurable qualities which the scientific toolkit relies on,
-Of course it has. We can quantify the quality and objectively decode the contents of conscious thoughts by reading brain patterns with fMRI scans.
https://www.cmu.edu/dietrich/news/news- ... ughts.html
Anel Seth presents the methodology capable to quantify the quality of our conscious states.
which might suggest it is radically different type of stuff/property, and/or one which science is not able to fit into explanatory models which rely on being objectively observable/measurable.
-Mind properties are contingent to brain function, so by observing the states of brain matter we can tell a lot about the emergent property, like by observing the structure of carbon molecules we can say many things about the emergent property of the material.
Which makes the problem of explaining it, potentially a paradigmatic one.
That sounds more like an argument from ignorance and specifically from personal incredulity (modern Philosophy's ignorance of our scientific foundings). Consciousness has been declared mysterious without allowing any inputs from science.
Does that look like a reasonable way to reset our discussion to you?
-Sure but in order for our discussion to be meaningful you will need to invest time on our scientific epistemology on the phenomenon because most of your claims ignore our current knowledge and the methods we use to study, quantify and apply our knowledge on real life applications.
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by Atla »

Gertie wrote: March 20th, 2021, 6:32 pm
NickGaspar wrote: March 20th, 2021, 5:06 pm
Gertie wrote: March 20th, 2021, 3:45 pm
-"Sure. When some philosophers of mind talk about the hard problem, it is talking about the in principle intractability of the problem. We don't have an scientific theory which can in principle explain conscious experience in terms of particles, forces or anything else. There isn't an established explanatory model like physicalism which gives us the framework for it to be deducible. "
-Well as I wrote in my reply that you ignored, you wont find a scientific theory explaining conscious experience in terms of particles or forces because consciousness is a biological phenomenon, not a quantum mechanical.
There are many competing hypotheses in a neuroscientific level conveniently presented in the neuroscience podcast link that I sent you
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGwOfSKmo_I
They are working hypotheses so until we decode the whole process and mechanism its a work in progress.
Nick I'm not ignoring your reply, Steve responded to me before you, so I answered him first.

But I do have a suggestion to start afresh, because our convo is getting unwieldy and I'd like to try to keep it focussed - also to lose the bickery sneering commentary which is just irritating.

I'm still not quite sure what your position is regarding conscious experience. The gist of what I've picked up is you believe it's biological, and that describing the biological processes is as much of an explanation for conscious experience as science can or should offer. And that biology isn't reducible to physics, something new enters the universe with biological processes. If I've read you right? Or that conscious experience is an emergent/reducible property of certain biological processes (namely embodied brains). Or that conscious experience is a different 'something' produced by biological brains which isn't reducible to them.

If you could outline your own position, that would be better than me trying to guess the basis for your objections to mine, and we can can focus on key differences.

My position is that biological and chemical processes are emergent from/reducible to physics. And that the physicalist model of what the world is made of and the forces which account for physical processes is the theoretical explanatory model which the scientific method has come up with to give an in principle full account of the world. What it's made of and what it does.

So if that physicalist model has no place for consciousness, wouldn't in principle have a way of predicting its emergence, then our usual scientific methodology and the explanatory model which was developed from it, looks incomplete or flawed. Which no amount of noting ever more detailed correlations can address.

Furthermore, conscious experience doesn't have the sort of objectively observable and measurable qualities which the scientific toolkit relies on, which might suggest it is radically different type of stuff/property, and/or one which science is not able to fit into explanatory models which rely on being objectively observable/measurable. Which makes the problem of explaining it, potentially a paradigmatic one.

Does that look like a reasonable way to reset our discussion to you?
Witten is considered by some to be the smartest physicist-mathematician alive (for example he unified the 5 superstring theories), and even he admits that physics can't explain why the 'what it's like' aspect to consiousness exists at all. This is what I think intellectual honesty is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUW7n_h7MvQ
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by NickGaspar »

Atla wrote: March 21st, 2021, 1:57 am
Gertie wrote: March 20th, 2021, 6:32 pm
NickGaspar wrote: March 20th, 2021, 5:06 pm
Gertie wrote: March 20th, 2021, 3:45 pm
-"Sure. When some philosophers of mind talk about the hard problem, it is talking about the in principle intractability of the problem. We don't have an scientific theory which can in principle explain conscious experience in terms of particles, forces or anything else. There isn't an established explanatory model like physicalism which gives us the framework for it to be deducible. "
-Well as I wrote in my reply that you ignored, you wont find a scientific theory explaining conscious experience in terms of particles or forces because consciousness is a biological phenomenon, not a quantum mechanical.
There are many competing hypotheses in a neuroscientific level conveniently presented in the neuroscience podcast link that I sent you
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGwOfSKmo_I
They are working hypotheses so until we decode the whole process and mechanism its a work in progress.
Nick I'm not ignoring your reply, Steve responded to me before you, so I answered him first.

But I do have a suggestion to start afresh, because our convo is getting unwieldy and I'd like to try to keep it focussed - also to lose the bickery sneering commentary which is just irritating.

I'm still not quite sure what your position is regarding conscious experience. The gist of what I've picked up is you believe it's biological, and that describing the biological processes is as much of an explanation for conscious experience as science can or should offer. And that biology isn't reducible to physics, something new enters the universe with biological processes. If I've read you right? Or that conscious experience is an emergent/reducible property of certain biological processes (namely embodied brains). Or that conscious experience is a different 'something' produced by biological brains which isn't reducible to them.

If you could outline your own position, that would be better than me trying to guess the basis for your objections to mine, and we can can focus on key differences.

My position is that biological and chemical processes are emergent from/reducible to physics. And that the physicalist model of what the world is made of and the forces which account for physical processes is the theoretical explanatory model which the scientific method has come up with to give an in principle full account of the world. What it's made of and what it does.

So if that physicalist model has no place for consciousness, wouldn't in principle have a way of predicting its emergence, then our usual scientific methodology and the explanatory model which was developed from it, looks incomplete or flawed. Which no amount of noting ever more detailed correlations can address.

Furthermore, conscious experience doesn't have the sort of objectively observable and measurable qualities which the scientific toolkit relies on, which might suggest it is radically different type of stuff/property, and/or one which science is not able to fit into explanatory models which rely on being objectively observable/measurable. Which makes the problem of explaining it, potentially a paradigmatic one.

Does that look like a reasonable way to reset our discussion to you?
Witten is considered by some to be the smartest physicist-mathematician alive (for example he unified the 5 superstring theories), and even he admits that physics can't explain why the 'what it's like' aspect to consiousness exists at all. This is what I think intellectual honesty is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUW7n_h7MvQ
Argument from false authority and ad populum fallacy.
What physicists have to say about a biological phenomenon is as relevant and important as what neuroscientists have to say about quantum physics or astrodynamics. Whether a physicist is considered by others to be the smartest that doesn't make his Philosophical conclusions on consciousness special or true.

"He admits that physics can't explain why the "what it's like" aspect to conscious exists at all."
- That is not a surprise. They are not neuroscientists. Second more important issue is that it's nothing more than a Fallacious argument from teleology. and an Argument from person incredulity .Asking "why" something exists in nature is like a 5yo kid asking why there are trees. There is No real value in answering why questions on biological phenomena. Natural systems are teleologically neutral without any intention or purpose in their processes.
A more correct and scientific approach on that specific quality of consciousness would be WHAT are the survival advantages and social benefits for a biology organism/animal. So in order to avoid the fallacy from personal incredulity, he should study evolutionary biology and learn about the survival advances of subjective meaning in conscious experiences.
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by Steve3007 »

viewtopic.php?p=380641#p380641
Gertie wrote:The ability to replicate something isn't the same thing as an explanation, or explanatory theory.
Fair enough. I gave examples of some ways that it might, in principle, be possible to create/replicate a conscious brain just so that you could consider whether, in your view, any of them could in any sense be seen as explaining the workings of the brain. If you don't think that activity does constitute explanation, that's fine. But it leaves us with the task of figuring out what does constitute explanation...
Lets keep it simple, say I wanted to build a table. I could simply copy the structure and materials of an existing table. Or, I could design a different style of table using my scientific knowledge of what the world is made of and how physical forces work.
You could, yes. But I propose that there would always be a level on which you are doing a version of the replicating process that I described.
That explanatory model would tell me the in principle requirements for a table. The necessary and sufficient conditions. I'd need at least 3 legs. The legs should be about the same height because the top would need to be level to stop things sliding off due to gravity. I should use a solid substance not a liquid or gas because those aren't sufficiently molecularly stable. I'd need to consider the size and weight bearing properties I needed and so on. All such considerations would be references to the scientific physicalist model of the world. And the table once built, could be understood in those terms too. Reducible to its physical parts and forces, and predictable that when they're arranged a certain way, I'll get a table.
It would tell you those in principle requirements you've listed, but always at a particular level of depth. For any given level of depth there would always be a possible deeper level. So, in principle, I would say that your table designing example is not as different from my neural network designing example as you might think. If, for example, you used wood to make the table, you're trusting the structural properties of wood and not looking into the deep, sub-atomic reasons why the wood has those properties. You're not making the wood itself from first principles. Likewise, if I write a neural network program to try to replicate the activities of the brain, I'm observing that brains are networks of neurons, replicating that, and trusting my neural network, once trained, will be able to do things that brains do. I can't see exactly how it's doing those things because the network is too complex. Likewise, you can't see exactly how the wood has its structural properties.

Gotta leave it there for now.
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by Gertie »

Nick
I'm still not quite sure what your position is regarding conscious experience. The gist of what I've picked up is you believe it's biological, and that describing the biological processes is as much of an explanation for conscious experience as science can or should offer.
-Well it not a matter of belief. Biological organisms with brains have the ability to experience consciously the world, their thoughts and feeling.
So its more of a matter of basic reasoning on observable facts than a faith based belief.
Yes we all agree with that. I'm asking what your explanation is? Is there an explanatory model in your opinion, which accounts in principle for biological entities with brains being able to have experiential consciousness? If so, what is it?

I gave you my position. In a nutshell, the scientific methodology has given rise to a model of what the universe is made of and how it works - and that is a physicalist model. Whereby everything that exists is reducible to the building blocks of quantum fields manifesting as either particles or forces, from which emerges everything else via interactions. (These can be categorised as physics, biology, chemistry or whatever, under certain criteria, but it is still a reductionist model boiling down to those building blocks)

My point here is that conscious experience, currently at least, has no place in that science based physicalist model. It wouldn't be predictable in principle by that model. The physicalist model has no explanation, currently at least, for conscious experience as emergent from interactions of particles and forces, which in principle can explain brain biology.

Which is why some people talk about it as a case of Strong Emergence - a hypothesis that conscious experience is in fact emegent from the physicalist model in some way, but we haven't found the emergent mechanism, or 'bridging law' yet. It's called Strong Emergence to distinguish it from the explainable type of physical emergence we see with eg H2O molecules having emergent properties like gas, liquid and solid, which is in principle explainable by the physicalist model.



That my position, and it's the basis for much discussion in philosophy of mind. Others have different hypotheses to Strong Emergence - perhaps there is a 'consciousness' quantum field, perhaps the current model doesn't get to the most fundamental level description of what the universe is made of, and consciousness is fundamental. Perhaps conscious experience is present in some form, in everything. Perhaps it's explainable by quantum mechanics. And so on.

You say you have a different position, which isn't physicalist, but I'm not sure what it is, or if it can potentially offer some explanation for conscious experience existing, and correlated to, certain physical brain processes. Ie an explanation for the mind-body problem. So can you explain your own position, and what it has to say about the mind-body problem?
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by Gertie »

Atla wrote: March 21st, 2021, 1:57 am
Gertie wrote: March 20th, 2021, 6:32 pm
NickGaspar wrote: March 20th, 2021, 5:06 pm
Gertie wrote: March 20th, 2021, 3:45 pm
-"Sure. When some philosophers of mind talk about the hard problem, it is talking about the in principle intractability of the problem. We don't have an scientific theory which can in principle explain conscious experience in terms of particles, forces or anything else. There isn't an established explanatory model like physicalism which gives us the framework for it to be deducible. "
-Well as I wrote in my reply that you ignored, you wont find a scientific theory explaining conscious experience in terms of particles or forces because consciousness is a biological phenomenon, not a quantum mechanical.
There are many competing hypotheses in a neuroscientific level conveniently presented in the neuroscience podcast link that I sent you
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGwOfSKmo_I
They are working hypotheses so until we decode the whole process and mechanism its a work in progress.
Nick I'm not ignoring your reply, Steve responded to me before you, so I answered him first.

But I do have a suggestion to start afresh, because our convo is getting unwieldy and I'd like to try to keep it focussed - also to lose the bickery sneering commentary which is just irritating.

I'm still not quite sure what your position is regarding conscious experience. The gist of what I've picked up is you believe it's biological, and that describing the biological processes is as much of an explanation for conscious experience as science can or should offer. And that biology isn't reducible to physics, something new enters the universe with biological processes. If I've read you right? Or that conscious experience is an emergent/reducible property of certain biological processes (namely embodied brains). Or that conscious experience is a different 'something' produced by biological brains which isn't reducible to them.

If you could outline your own position, that would be better than me trying to guess the basis for your objections to mine, and we can can focus on key differences.

My position is that biological and chemical processes are emergent from/reducible to physics. And that the physicalist model of what the world is made of and the forces which account for physical processes is the theoretical explanatory model which the scientific method has come up with to give an in principle full account of the world. What it's made of and what it does.

So if that physicalist model has no place for consciousness, wouldn't in principle have a way of predicting its emergence, then our usual scientific methodology and the explanatory model which was developed from it, looks incomplete or flawed. Which no amount of noting ever more detailed correlations can address.

Furthermore, conscious experience doesn't have the sort of objectively observable and measurable qualities which the scientific toolkit relies on, which might suggest it is radically different type of stuff/property, and/or one which science is not able to fit into explanatory models which rely on being objectively observable/measurable. Which makes the problem of explaining it, potentially a paradigmatic one.

Does that look like a reasonable way to reset our discussion to you?
Witten is considered by some to be the smartest physicist-mathematician alive (for example he unified the 5 superstring theories), and even he admits that physics can't explain why the 'what it's like' aspect to consiousness exists at all. This is what I think intellectual honesty is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUW7n_h7MvQ
Right. I don't see how anyone can claim to know, and I doubt many scientists do. We have scientists like Koch and Penrose with different hypotheses, trying to find ways to test them, but no-one's come up with a way yet.
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by Gertie »

Steve
Gertie wrote:
The ability to replicate something isn't the same thing as an explanation, or explanatory theory.
Fair enough. I gave examples of some ways that it might, in principle, be possible to create/replicate a conscious brain just so that you could consider whether, in your view, any of them could in any sense be seen as explaining the workings of the brain. If you don't think that activity does constitute explanation, that's fine. But it leaves us with the task of figuring out what does constitute explanation...
I'm saying an explanation is more than a description. You can replicate a description without understanding why you end up with a table. The nature of the thing might mean we find different types of explanation appropriate.

Lets keep it simple, say I wanted to build a table. I could simply copy the structure and materials of an existing table. Or, I could design a different style of table using my scientific knowledge of what the world is made of and how physical forces work.
You could, yes. But I propose that there would always be a level on which you are doing a version of the replicating process that I described.
So...?

There are necessary and sufficient conditions for a table, these will be present or replicated in all tables.
That explanatory model would tell me the in principle requirements for a table. The necessary and sufficient conditions. I'd need at least 3 legs. The legs should be about the same height because the top would need to be level to stop things sliding off due to gravity. I should use a solid substance not a liquid or gas because those aren't sufficiently molecularly stable. I'd need to consider the size and weight bearing properties I needed and so on. All such considerations would be references to the scientific physicalist model of the world. And the table once built, could be understood in those terms too. Reducible to its physical parts and forces, and predictable that when they're arranged a certain way, I'll get a table.
It would tell you those in principle requirements you've listed, but always at a particular level of depth. For any given level of depth there would always be a possible deeper level.
Well there's the rub, right? The standard model might or might not describe the fundamental level, from which we can infer all explanations. If we can't fit conscious experience into that model, then maybe there is something more fundamental?
So, in principle, I would say that your table designing example is not as different from my neural network designing example as you might think. If, for example, you used wood to make the table, you're trusting the structural properties of wood and not looking into the deep, sub-atomic reasons why the wood has those properties. You're not making the wood itself from first principles. Likewise, if I write a neural network program to try to replicate the activities of the brain, I'm observing that brains are networks of neurons, replicating that, and trusting my neural network, once trained, will be able to do things that brains do. I can't see exactly how it's doing those things because the network is too complex. Likewise, you can't see exactly how the wood has its structural properties.
But the physicalist model says I can in principle why would makes tables, right down to fields and forces and particles. And can in principle explain how physical brains work. But there is no place in that model for conscious experience.
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by Atla »

Gertie wrote: March 24th, 2021, 7:46 pm
Atla wrote: March 21st, 2021, 1:57 am Witten is considered by some to be the smartest physicist-mathematician alive (for example he unified the 5 superstring theories), and even he admits that physics can't explain why the 'what it's like' aspect to consiousness exists at all. This is what I think intellectual honesty is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUW7n_h7MvQ
Right. I don't see how anyone can claim to know, and I doubt many scientists do. We have scientists like Koch and Penrose with different hypotheses, trying to find ways to test them, but no-one's come up with a way yet.
And a century earlier, other scientists such as Bohr, Schrödinger, Einstein, Tesla, Planck, Heisenberg, stumbled upon the mind-body problem as well. Before that, people could get away with dismissing the 'what it's like' conscious happening as an irrelevant, passive happening, maybe as an illusion, or maybe as something that doesn't exist at all. But then QM was discovered, which forced people to treat this 'what it's like' conscious happening as an active actor, the same way inanimate matter is treated as an active actor. Most of these physicists then turned to the Vedas, which has always incorporated the 'what it's like' conscious happening, the Easterners had a few thousand years more to work on their phenomenology, it's less flawed than Western phenomenology.

Today only the eliminative materialist, and the hardcore behaviorists and functionalists can pretend away the 'what it's like' conscious happening. They think that they are amazing skeptics, and science is on their side, and so they can dictate what philosophy should and shouldn't be like. But the truth is that neither science nor philosophy is on their side anymore. :)
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by Steve3007 »

Gertie wrote:I'm saying an explanation is more than a description....
Understood. I haven't got time for a long reply right now, so I'll just say that, perhaps surprisingly, I disagree. I think that when we look carefully into what it means to describe something and what it means to explain something they boil down to essentially the same thing.
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by Gertie »

Steve3007 wrote: March 25th, 2021, 6:23 am
Gertie wrote:I'm saying an explanation is more than a description....
Understood. I haven't got time for a long reply right now, so I'll just say that, perhaps surprisingly, I disagree. I think that when we look carefully into what it means to describe something and what it means to explain something they boil down to essentially the same thing.
I'm interested in how you see that.

I'd say it's true of what we designate as fundamental. But if we take eg emergence here as a conceptual explanatory account, it tells more than a list of descriptions of the state of affairs as snapshots in time.
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by NickGaspar »

Gertie wrote: March 24th, 2021, 7:40 pm
Yes we all agree with that. I'm asking what your explanation is? Is there an explanatory model in your opinion, which accounts in principle for biological entities with brains being able to have experiential consciousness? If so, what is it?

-Yes there are descriptive scientific models on how the brain addresses experiences strong enough to a rise beyond a threshold and become conscious in relation to thousands weaker stimuli.
I gave you my position. In a nutshell, the scientific methodology has given rise to a model of what the universe is made of and how it works - and that is a physicalist model.
That is the descriptive scientific not the physicalist model. Science states that in the Observable universe we observe this paradimg where low level physical mechanism give rise to higher level features. Many of the emergent features (if not all) display novelty and they bare no resemble the lower level mechanism.

Whereby everything that exists is reducible to the building blocks of quantum fields manifesting as either particles or forces, from which emerges everything else via interactions. (These can be categorised as physics, biology, chemistry or whatever, under certain criteria, but it is still a reductionist model boiling down to those building blocks)
-I am not sure that the term"reducible" is helpful and I will explain why by the example of the water(next paragraph). Observing a process at a different scale can help us see different aspects of the structure/process but reducing is not always helpful or meaningful.
My point here is that conscious experience, currently at least, has no place in that science based physicalist model. It wouldn't be predictable in principle by that model.
-Feeding oxygen or hydrogen to a naked flame produces an explosive event. Feeding molecules of those two combined( H20) and you get the opposite effect....the flame dies. The same is true for countless properties of Matter.
So your objection is not meaningful or helpful. As I said its a "why" question (why conscious experience are possible by matter). The question is not "why " matter can realize such states how it does it and Science is the best tool we have for 'how" and "what" questions.
The physicalist model has no explanation, currently at least, for conscious experience as emergent from interactions of particles and forces, which in principle can explain brain biology.
-Yes I agree....this is because the physicalist model you are referring to , has nothing to do with the scientific model. The scientific model doesn't attempt to explain the brain mechanism responsible for our conscious experience by describing the interactions of particles and forces.
Its like trying to explain the function of a wheel by trying to understand the atomic structure of it!! Neuroscience explains our conscious states by describing the brain(biological) mechanisms responsible for the emergent phenomenon.

Which is why some people talk about it as a case of Strong Emergence - a hypothesis that conscious experience is in fact emegent from the physicalist model in some way, but we haven't found the emergent mechanism, or 'bridging law' yet. It's called Strong Emergence to distinguish it from the explainable type of physical emergence we see with eg H2O molecules having emergent properties like gas, liquid and solid, which is in principle explainable by the physicalist model.
-You are confusing Physics and Elementary particles with Emergent Phenomena like biological properties. IT's a fact that biological organs emerge from cell formation, which in turn they emerge from chemistry, chemistry emerges from the interaction elements, elements from atoms and atoms from the interactions of particles and forces.
So in order to understand any of the known biological properties (consciousnesss, digenstion, mitosis,metabolism, homeostasis, photosynthesis etc) you need to describe the biological functions of the organs(systems) responsible for them. Whether you find it "impossible" in principle, its irrelevant. Remember, what we find objective or impossible in principle is just our opinion, not an intrinsic feature of the phenomenon. Again the mass expansion of water comes with increased and decreased temperature, surface tension allows water to "climb" and it is made by two of the most volatile gases with...... fire distinguishing properties)....crazy! We can not predict it but this is what water does!

That my position, and it's the basis for much discussion in philosophy of mind.That is my point on why this type of philosophy of mind still exists.
-Yes I am aware of this argument from ignorance,a category error and a strawman. This is more like " I personally find it impossible in principle" than looking at the data and finding out wh. That is my point on why this type of philosophy of mind still exists.
It isn't a positive framework on a alternative hypothesis based on actual objective evidence, but it sounds more like: "Science doesn't know how particles become conscious and being conscious sounds to me as an impossible property to be displayed by matter".
Others have different hypotheses to Strong Emergence - perhaps there is a 'consciousness' quantum field, perhaps the current model doesn't get to the most fundamental level description of what the universe is made of, and consciousness is fundamental. Perhaps conscious experience is present in some form, in everything. Perhaps it's explainable by quantum mechanics. And so on.
-Yes....making up substances and fields with supernatural properties is not Philosophy. We did that mistake before. We made up Phlogiston and Panacea and MIasma and Orgone Energy in our attempt to explain an observable phenomenon. You get the irony? We actually made up imaginary substance with the same exact properties displayed by the phenomenon we were trying to explain in order to pretend to know its ontology!
That is intellectual laziness and academic dishonesty.
You say you have a different position, which isn't physicalist, but I'm not sure what it is, or if it can potentially offer some explanation for conscious experience existing, and correlated to, certain physical brain processes. Ie an explanation for the mind-body problem. So can you explain your own position, and what it has to say about the mind-body problem?
-Sure, as I wrote many times before I hold the principles of Science as my own position. Methodological Naturalism is the philosophical backbone of science. MN is the epistemic Acknowledgement that our observations and methods of verification have, unfortunately, empirical limitations. Those limitations leave out all supernatural explanations (conscious fields), not because they are wrong or non existent, but because we don't have a way to evaluate their truth value.
So the next best thing we can do is to Observe and describe the available realm and try to establish strong correlations between causal mechanisms and phenomena and try to find out how Necessary and Sufficient the role of those causes are in the emergence of the specific phenomenon.
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NickGaspar
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by NickGaspar »

Atla wrote: March 25th, 2021, 1:15 am
Gertie wrote: March 24th, 2021, 7:46 pm
Atla wrote: March 21st, 2021, 1:57 am Witten is considered by some to be the smartest physicist-mathematician alive (for example he unified the 5 superstring theories), and even he admits that physics can't explain why the 'what it's like' aspect to consiousness exists at all. This is what I think intellectual honesty is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUW7n_h7MvQ
Right. I don't see how anyone can claim to know, and I doubt many scientists do. We have scientists like Koch and Penrose with different hypotheses, trying to find ways to test them, but no-one's come up with a way yet.
And a century earlier, other scientists such as Bohr, Schrödinger, Einstein, Tesla, Planck, Heisenberg, stumbled upon the mind-body problem as well. Before that, people could get away with dismissing the 'what it's like' conscious happening as an irrelevant, passive happening, maybe as an illusion, or maybe as something that doesn't exist at all. But then QM was discovered, which forced people to treat this 'what it's like' conscious happening as an active actor, the same way inanimate matter is treated as an active actor. Most of these physicists then turned to the Vedas, which has always incorporated the 'what it's like' conscious happening, the Easterners had a few thousand years more to work on their phenomenology, it's less flawed than Western phenomenology.

Today only the eliminative materialist, and the hardcore behaviorists and functionalists can pretend away the 'what it's like' conscious happening. They think that they are amazing skeptics, and science is on their side, and so they can dictate what philosophy should and shouldn't be like. But the truth is that neither science nor philosophy is on their side anymore. :)
-"And a century earlier, other scientists such as Bohr, Schrödinger, Einstein, Tesla, Planck, Heisenberg, stumbled upon the mind-body problem as well. "
-Tesla was a...scientist? Really, strange I didn't get the memo. last time I checked he was an inventor and electrical - mechanical engineer?

-"QM was discovered, which forced people to treat this 'what it's like' conscious happening as an active actor, the same way inanimate matter is treated as an active actor".
-Where are you getting this claims from sir? QM has nothing to do with consciousness or other new age "ideas".
This is pure misinformation, specially on the measurement problem. I quote from the book "this ideas must die" by Philosopher John Brockman the cause behind all this new age woo on superposition and the "role of consciousness".

Heisenberg’s idea had quickly been dubbed Unschärferelation, which transliterates to “unsharpness relationship,” but as there is really no such term in English ('blurred', 'fuzzy', 'vague' or 'ambiguous' have all been tried), the translation ended up as "the Uncertainty Principle"—when he had not used either term at all (some point to Eddington). And what followed is really quite close to the analogy as well: rather than stating that either position or momentum are "as yet undetermined", it became common usage and popular wisdom to jump to the conclusion that there is complete "uncertainty" at the fundamental level of physics, and nature, even free will and the universe as such.
Most of these physicists then turned to the Vedas, which has always incorporated the 'what it's like' conscious happening
-That is not what happened. They tried to introduce easter woo and idealistic principles(mysticism) in there interpretations but the self correcting mechanism of science kept their shenanigans away from the literature. Just read the original publication on QM and you will find nothing in there about conscious actors and magic. An error in Translation....
BTW, most of those physicists acknowledged their non scientific behavior and retracted their early claims.
The following PBS video acknowledges that most idealists ignore their later statements.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT7SiRiqK-Q&t=

-" it's less flawed than Western phenomenology."
-Really? how one can quantify that. Can you count the Mathematical formulations and the Theoretical frameworks product by Easter philosophy and currently part of our epistemology? You won't find a single input

-"Today only the eliminative materialist, and the hardcore behaviorists and functionalists can pretend away the 'what it's like' conscious happening."
-...or a rational scientifically educated individual who knows that the phrase "what it's like" is epistemicaly useless and a self evident deepity.
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by Atla »

NickGaspar wrote: March 21st, 2021, 4:31 am
Atla wrote: March 21st, 2021, 1:57 am
Gertie wrote: March 20th, 2021, 6:32 pm
NickGaspar wrote: March 20th, 2021, 5:06 pm

-"Sure. When some philosophers of mind talk about the hard problem, it is talking about the in principle intractability of the problem. We don't have an scientific theory which can in principle explain conscious experience in terms of particles, forces or anything else. There isn't an established explanatory model like physicalism which gives us the framework for it to be deducible. "
-Well as I wrote in my reply that you ignored, you wont find a scientific theory explaining conscious experience in terms of particles or forces because consciousness is a biological phenomenon, not a quantum mechanical.
There are many competing hypotheses in a neuroscientific level conveniently presented in the neuroscience podcast link that I sent you
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGwOfSKmo_I
They are working hypotheses so until we decode the whole process and mechanism its a work in progress.
Nick I'm not ignoring your reply, Steve responded to me before you, so I answered him first.

But I do have a suggestion to start afresh, because our convo is getting unwieldy and I'd like to try to keep it focussed - also to lose the bickery sneering commentary which is just irritating.

I'm still not quite sure what your position is regarding conscious experience. The gist of what I've picked up is you believe it's biological, and that describing the biological processes is as much of an explanation for conscious experience as science can or should offer. And that biology isn't reducible to physics, something new enters the universe with biological processes. If I've read you right? Or that conscious experience is an emergent/reducible property of certain biological processes (namely embodied brains). Or that conscious experience is a different 'something' produced by biological brains which isn't reducible to them.

If you could outline your own position, that would be better than me trying to guess the basis for your objections to mine, and we can can focus on key differences.

My position is that biological and chemical processes are emergent from/reducible to physics. And that the physicalist model of what the world is made of and the forces which account for physical processes is the theoretical explanatory model which the scientific method has come up with to give an in principle full account of the world. What it's made of and what it does.

So if that physicalist model has no place for consciousness, wouldn't in principle have a way of predicting its emergence, then our usual scientific methodology and the explanatory model which was developed from it, looks incomplete or flawed. Which no amount of noting ever more detailed correlations can address.

Furthermore, conscious experience doesn't have the sort of objectively observable and measurable qualities which the scientific toolkit relies on, which might suggest it is radically different type of stuff/property, and/or one which science is not able to fit into explanatory models which rely on being objectively observable/measurable. Which makes the problem of explaining it, potentially a paradigmatic one.

Does that look like a reasonable way to reset our discussion to you?
Witten is considered by some to be the smartest physicist-mathematician alive (for example he unified the 5 superstring theories), and even he admits that physics can't explain why the 'what it's like' aspect to consiousness exists at all. This is what I think intellectual honesty is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUW7n_h7MvQ
Argument from false authority and ad populum fallacy.
What physicists have to say about a biological phenomenon is as relevant and important as what neuroscientists have to say about quantum physics or astrodynamics. Whether a physicist is considered by others to be the smartest that doesn't make his Philosophical conclusions on consciousness special or true.

"He admits that physics can't explain why the "what it's like" aspect to conscious exists at all."
- That is not a surprise. They are not neuroscientists. Second more important issue is that it's nothing more than a Fallacious argument from teleology. and an Argument from person incredulity .Asking "why" something exists in nature is like a 5yo kid asking why there are trees. There is No real value in answering why questions on biological phenomena. Natural systems are teleologically neutral without any intention or purpose in their processes.
A more correct and scientific approach on that specific quality of consciousness would be WHAT are the survival advantages and social benefits for a biology organism/animal. So in order to avoid the fallacy from personal incredulity, he should study evolutionary biology and learn about the survival advances of subjective meaning in conscious experiences.
NickGaspar wrote: March 25th, 2021, 7:06 pm
Atla wrote: March 25th, 2021, 1:15 am
Gertie wrote: March 24th, 2021, 7:46 pm
Atla wrote: March 21st, 2021, 1:57 am Witten is considered by some to be the smartest physicist-mathematician alive (for example he unified the 5 superstring theories), and even he admits that physics can't explain why the 'what it's like' aspect to consiousness exists at all. This is what I think intellectual honesty is. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUW7n_h7MvQ
Right. I don't see how anyone can claim to know, and I doubt many scientists do. We have scientists like Koch and Penrose with different hypotheses, trying to find ways to test them, but no-one's come up with a way yet.
And a century earlier, other scientists such as Bohr, Schrödinger, Einstein, Tesla, Planck, Heisenberg, stumbled upon the mind-body problem as well. Before that, people could get away with dismissing the 'what it's like' conscious happening as an irrelevant, passive happening, maybe as an illusion, or maybe as something that doesn't exist at all. But then QM was discovered, which forced people to treat this 'what it's like' conscious happening as an active actor, the same way inanimate matter is treated as an active actor. Most of these physicists then turned to the Vedas, which has always incorporated the 'what it's like' conscious happening, the Easterners had a few thousand years more to work on their phenomenology, it's less flawed than Western phenomenology.

Today only the eliminative materialist, and the hardcore behaviorists and functionalists can pretend away the 'what it's like' conscious happening. They think that they are amazing skeptics, and science is on their side, and so they can dictate what philosophy should and shouldn't be like. But the truth is that neither science nor philosophy is on their side anymore. :)
-"And a century earlier, other scientists such as Bohr, Schrödinger, Einstein, Tesla, Planck, Heisenberg, stumbled upon the mind-body problem as well. "
-Tesla was a...scientist? Really, strange I didn't get the memo. last time I checked he was an inventor and electrical - mechanical engineer?

-"QM was discovered, which forced people to treat this 'what it's like' conscious happening as an active actor, the same way inanimate matter is treated as an active actor".
-Where are you getting this claims from sir? QM has nothing to do with consciousness or other new age "ideas".
This is pure misinformation, specially on the measurement problem. I quote from the book "this ideas must die" by Philosopher John Brockman the cause behind all this new age woo on superposition and the "role of consciousness".

Heisenberg’s idea had quickly been dubbed Unschärferelation, which transliterates to “unsharpness relationship,” but as there is really no such term in English ('blurred', 'fuzzy', 'vague' or 'ambiguous' have all been tried), the translation ended up as "the Uncertainty Principle"—when he had not used either term at all (some point to Eddington). And what followed is really quite close to the analogy as well: rather than stating that either position or momentum are "as yet undetermined", it became common usage and popular wisdom to jump to the conclusion that there is complete "uncertainty" at the fundamental level of physics, and nature, even free will and the universe as such.
Most of these physicists then turned to the Vedas, which has always incorporated the 'what it's like' conscious happening
-That is not what happened. They tried to introduce easter woo and idealistic principles(mysticism) in there interpretations but the self correcting mechanism of science kept their shenanigans away from the literature. Just read the original publication on QM and you will find nothing in there about conscious actors and magic. An error in Translation....
BTW, most of those physicists acknowledged their non scientific behavior and retracted their early claims.
The following PBS video acknowledges that most idealists ignore their later statements.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CT7SiRiqK-Q&t=

-" it's less flawed than Western phenomenology."
-Really? how one can quantify that. Can you count the Mathematical formulations and the Theoretical frameworks product by Easter philosophy and currently part of our epistemology? You won't find a single input

-"Today only the eliminative materialist, and the hardcore behaviorists and functionalists can pretend away the 'what it's like' conscious happening."
-...or a rational scientifically educated individual who knows that the phrase "what it's like" is epistemicaly useless and a self evident deepity.
Strawman, all of it. You have no idea about these topics and you never will.
True philosophy points to the Moon
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NickGaspar
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by NickGaspar »

Atla wrote: March 26th, 2021, 12:24 am
Strawman, all of it. You have no idea about these topics and you never will.
- I am not sure you understand the meaning of the word strawman.....
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subatomic
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Re: Is strong emergentism a valid view ? And can special sciences have their own laws independent of physics ?

Post by subatomic »

None of this for example violates certain laws of physics , but doesn't this also depend on a highly reductionist view ? That higher order phenomenon can be reduced to lower order ones ? What about holism ?
Holism and reductionism aren't contradictory, in fact, that's exactly why we have both macro-physics and quantum physics. It's not chose one or the other, they both mutually exist, it's just a matter of point of view, but that doesn't mean the other point of view is incorrect or bad. And as for special sciences independent of physics, I don't think so. The current most fundamental layer of science we know are dictated by physics (although that may be refutable - quantum physics is an absolute mess), and since everything is made out of those fundamental rules, then nothing is independent of physics. Of course I may be wrong, maybe physics is built on top of something too.
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