Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

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Greta
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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Greta » March 27th, 2020, 12:14 am

Consul wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 10:32 pm
@Greta
Note that to say that there can be no partial phenomenal consciousness is not to say that there can be no partial introspective/reflective consciousness of one's phenomenal consciousness. A subject can certainly be more or less introspectively/reflectively conscious (aware) of its experiences.
The evolutionarily first sentient animals were totally, completely introspectively/reflectively unconscious (unaware) of their sensations, lacking any degree of knowledge and understanding of them. That is, their phenomenally conscious, first-order conscious states were higher-order nonconscious states, because they had no intellectual awareness of their experiential states.
The realm of understanding and knowing is that of consciousness, not proto-consciousness. Starfish are not analysing anything (then again, neither are snails). However, they obviously feel their existence in some way.

Besides, the idea of qualia being entirely about the brain makes no sense. The beating of the heart, the queasiness of the gut (or their interaction) - you won't have those sensations with only a brain. These systems seem to have an active role in the generation of qualia, where the sensations of life are filtered by the brain, which amplifies some aspects and ignores others.

Without the brain, it would be raw sensation. No thoughts. No strategies. No care. Just sensations and drives.

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Terrapin Station » March 27th, 2020, 5:29 am

Consul wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 4:32 pm
Greta wrote:
March 25th, 2020, 10:22 pm
However, its closer to consciousness than anything else, just as a proto-star is closer to a star or a proto-human is closer to a human. In terms of properties, these proto-phenomena lie between the "main" phenomena and other phenomena. When it comes to consciousness, what else senses and responds, other than reflexes (biological or mechanical) and consciousness?
The hard problem is to comprehend and explain the neurological transformation of objective sensory signals into subjective sensory qualia.
There's no transformation. Subjective sensory qualia are simply the properties of particular sorts of matter, in particular dynamic relationships, from the spatio-temporal reference point of being the (dynamically related) matter in question.

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Consul » March 27th, 2020, 8:43 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 5:29 am
Consul wrote:
March 26th, 2020, 4:32 pm
The hard problem is to comprehend and explain the neurological transformation of objective sensory signals into subjective sensory qualia.
There's no transformation. Subjective sensory qualia are simply the properties of particular sorts of matter, in particular dynamic relationships, from the spatio-temporal reference point of being the (dynamically related) matter in question.
If qualia are neurophysical properties of (parts of) the brain, there must have been an evolutionary transformation of structural neurophysical properties which don't constitute any qualia into ones which do.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Terrapin Station » March 27th, 2020, 8:49 am

Consul wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 8:43 am
Terrapin Station wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 5:29 am
There's no transformation. Subjective sensory qualia are simply the properties of particular sorts of matter, in particular dynamic relationships, from the spatio-temporal reference point of being the (dynamically related) matter in question.
If qualia are neurophysical properties of (parts of) the brain, there must have been an evolutionary transformation of structural neurophysical properties which don't constitute any qualia into ones which do.
Well, or just an evolutionary development. I think that term is better than "transformation." It's a development that seems to occur once brains are sufficiently complex (structurally, functionally). Simple nervous systems do not seem to be sufficient, and neither do rudimentary brains. We don't know exactly how complex a brain needs to be for it to have mental properties, aside from knowing that more complex brains (humans, chimps, dolphins, etc.) have mental properties and the most rudimentary (chitons, worms, etc.) do not seem to have mental properties. The dividing line is somewhere in between, most likely with it being a pretty fuzzy boundary.

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Consul » March 27th, 2020, 9:06 am

Greta wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 12:14 am
The realm of understanding and knowing is that of consciousness, not proto-consciousness. Starfish are not analysing anything (then again, neither are snails). However, they obviously feel their existence in some way.
No, that's anything but obvious. Starfish may feel something in the sense of having a sense of touch, and thus being capable of tactile perception; but given their brainlessness it's highly unlikely that their tactile perceptions involve subjective tactile sensations (touch qualia).
Greta wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 12:14 am
Besides, the idea of qualia being entirely about the brain makes no sense. The beating of the heart, the queasiness of the gut (or their interaction) - you won't have those sensations with only a brain. These systems seem to have an active role in the generation of qualia, where the sensations of life are filtered by the brain, which amplifies some aspects and ignores others.
That sensory qualia are generated by and in the brain doesn't mean that they perceptually (re)present nothing but events in or states of the brain. Headaches do, but all the other kinds of bodily sensations don't. Bodily sensations such as a queasy feeling in the stomach require both a brain a body. However, there can be hallucinatory bodily sensations such as the phantom pain experienced by amputees.
Greta wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 12:14 am
Without the brain, it would be raw sensation. No thoughts. No strategies. No care. Just sensations and drives.
The brain isn't only the organ of thought, of the intellect and reason, but also of all "raw sensations".
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Greta » March 27th, 2020, 7:16 pm

Consul, to many people - no doubt because the brain is a human's distinguishing feature - the brain is the Swiss Army knife of the body. A super special system that transcends all others, with unique qualities with no equivalent in other systems. Basically a magical system, if you will.

Every other organ and system has a major job, plus a number of peripheral ones. The digestive system mainly processes energy, the respiratory system mainly exchanges gases, the endocrine system mainly delivers hormones, the immune system mainly removes potential pathogens, yet the nervous system is seen to not only provide survival-based guidance to an organism but also creates the sensation of being alive. Of being present in reality.

Logically, though, the most important system is not the brain but those of the metabolism, basically the lungs and gut (whose functions were, in terms of evolution, originally a single system). All other body systems are subject to the metabolism, with their functions being simply to preserve metabolic processes. Nothing else. At all. That's what they are for - stayin' alive.

The nervous system gives us detailed information about the sensations of being alive, but in terms of evolution, it is a secondary system. Its job is not to make an organism feel alive but to process information in a way that maximises survival and reproduction. The job of the CNS is to sense and respond in the service of keeping the metabolism running.

There have been experiments with people who are unable to feel fear because that part of the brain does not function. In tests, even though some of them showed zero fear response to all stimuli, there was one test that universally brought them to a panic state. This is despite not having the brain "hardware" to feel fear. Do you know what brought fear to those without a brain machinery to feel fear?

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Atla » March 28th, 2020, 2:35 am

People always looking for that magical threshold that theorethically shouldn't exist.

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Spyrith » March 28th, 2020, 4:02 am

Greta wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 7:16 pm
There have been experiments with people who are unable to feel fear because that part of the brain does not function. In tests, even though some of them showed zero fear response to all stimuli, there was one test that universally brought them to a panic state. This is despite not having the brain "hardware" to feel fear. Do you know what brought fear to those without a brain machinery to feel fear?
Interesting, can you link to the study of this? I'd like to read more about this experiment / study.

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Consul » March 28th, 2020, 10:12 am

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 27th, 2020, 8:49 am
Well, or just an evolutionary development. I think that term is better than "transformation." It's a development that seems to occur once brains are sufficiently complex (structurally, functionally). Simple nervous systems do not seem to be sufficient, and neither do rudimentary brains. We don't know exactly how complex a brain needs to be for it to have mental properties, aside from knowing that more complex brains (humans, chimps, dolphins, etc.) have mental properties and the most rudimentary (chitons, worms, etc.) do not seem to have mental properties. The dividing line is somewhere in between, most likely with it being a pretty fuzzy boundary.
The evolutionary development of the cognitive mind is a continuous process running parallel to the evolutionary development of nervous systems and especially central ones; but there is a discontinuity with regard to the (phenomenally) conscious mind, which cannot have emerged gradually. For we have no consistently intelligible concept of a "fuzzy" mental state which is neither determinately (phenomenally) conscious nor determinately (phenomenally) nonconscious. A mental state is either experientially contentful, non-empty or experientially contentless, empty—there being no third possibility.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Consul » March 28th, 2020, 10:31 am

Atla wrote:
March 28th, 2020, 2:35 am
People always looking for that magical threshold that theorethically shouldn't exist.
For example, if the global-workspace theory of (human) consciousness is true, then there is a non-magical threshold below which (phenomenal) consciousness is absent and above which it is present:

QUOTE>
"[O]ne significant finding in the literature has been that global broadcasting in the human brain is likewise all-or-nothing. There is a step-function underlying the global workspace. Either activation levels in the neural populations in question remain below threshold, in which case no global broadcasting occurs (although there can be some additional local or specialized effects as activation levels increase); or those activation levels hit threshold, and full global broadcasting results. By equating phenomenal consciousness with globally broadcast nonconceptual content, then, one can explain the all-or-nothing character of phenomenal consciousness. So in this respect, too, there is a good mesh between the explaining theory and the target to be explained."
(p. 98)

"Global broadcasting in humans appears to be an all-or-nothing phenomenon. …[T]here is a step-function underlying global broadcasting. Either activation levels in the neural populations in question remain below threshold, in which case there is no global broadcasting (albeit some additional local or specialized effects); or those activation levels hit threshold, and full global broadcasting results. Hence global-workspace theory can fully explain the first-person intuition…that phenomenal consciousness is an all-or-nothing matter. Any given mental state (in humans, at any rate) is either categorically conscious or definitely unconscious."
(p. 141)

(Carruthers, Peter. Human and Animal Minds: The Consciousness Questions Laid to Rest. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.)
<QUOTE
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Terrapin Station » March 28th, 2020, 10:42 am

Consul wrote:
March 28th, 2020, 10:12 am
For we have no consistently intelligible concept of a "fuzzy" mental state which is neither determinately (phenomenally) conscious nor determinately (phenomenally) nonconscious.
Speak for yourself there. I don't see any problem with there being a fuzzy boundary between mentality and a lack of the same, especially because most people experience this when they're on the border between consciousness and unconsciousness re sleep, anesthesia, passing out, etc.

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Atla » March 28th, 2020, 11:24 am

Consul wrote:
March 28th, 2020, 10:31 am
Atla wrote:
March 28th, 2020, 2:35 am
People always looking for that magical threshold that theorethically shouldn't exist.
For example, if the global-workspace theory of (human) consciousness is true, then there is a non-magical threshold below which (phenomenal) consciousness is absent and above which it is present:

QUOTE>
"[O]ne significant finding in the literature has been that global broadcasting in the human brain is likewise all-or-nothing. There is a step-function underlying the global workspace. Either activation levels in the neural populations in question remain below threshold, in which case no global broadcasting occurs (although there can be some additional local or specialized effects as activation levels increase); or those activation levels hit threshold, and full global broadcasting results. By equating phenomenal consciousness with globally broadcast nonconceptual content, then, one can explain the all-or-nothing character of phenomenal consciousness. So in this respect, too, there is a good mesh between the explaining theory and the target to be explained."
(p. 98)

"Global broadcasting in humans appears to be an all-or-nothing phenomenon. …[T]here is a step-function underlying global broadcasting. Either activation levels in the neural populations in question remain below threshold, in which case there is no global broadcasting (albeit some additional local or specialized effects); or those activation levels hit threshold, and full global broadcasting results. Hence global-workspace theory can fully explain the first-person intuition…that phenomenal consciousness is an all-or-nothing matter. Any given mental state (in humans, at any rate) is either categorically conscious or definitely unconscious."
(p. 141)

(Carruthers, Peter. Human and Animal Minds: The Consciousness Questions Laid to Rest. New York: Oxford University Press, 2019.)
<QUOTE
Equating the global broadcasting with phenomenal consciousness is just another superstition.

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Consul » March 28th, 2020, 12:10 pm

Atla wrote:
March 28th, 2020, 11:24 am
Equating the global broadcasting with phenomenal consciousness is just another superstition.
GWT is not the only hypothesis on the market, and I don't know if it's true; but it's surely a scientifically serious and well-argued theory of consciousness.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Atla » March 28th, 2020, 12:16 pm

Consul wrote:
March 28th, 2020, 12:10 pm
Atla wrote:
March 28th, 2020, 11:24 am
Equating the global broadcasting with phenomenal consciousness is just another superstition.
GWT is not the only hypothesis on the market, and I don't know if it's true; but it's surely a scientifically serious and well-argued theory of consciousness.
It's not. It can't address the main issue, why would qualia suddenly appear out of matter when global broadcasting takes place.

It only looks good because phenomenal consciousness appears to have an all-or-nothing character due to the fact that we can only remember things that we can remember.

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Re: Consideration of "Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being"

Post by Consul » March 28th, 2020, 12:28 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
March 28th, 2020, 10:42 am
Speak for yourself there. I don't see any problem with there being a fuzzy boundary between mentality and a lack of the same, especially because most people experience this when they're on the border between consciousness and unconsciousness re sleep, anesthesia, passing out, etc.
You're confusing (nonbinary) degrees of intransitive consciousness (awakeness) or transitive self-consciousness (self-awareness) with (nonbinary) degrees of phenomenal consciousness. When you're half-awake/half-asleep and only dimly aware of your phenomenal consciousness, you're still definitely phenomenally conscious. Diffuse or fuzzy states of awakeness or self-awareness are definitely states of phenomenal consciousness, because you're still undergoing some experiences.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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