Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Londoner wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:32 pm
Atla wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:17 pm
They don't interact with each other because there is no physical and mental. That is the "solution" to the question.
If you ask what people mean by those two words they will explain the differences between them. For example, the things we call physical (like the physical brain) are quantifiable. The things we call physical appear to be independent of our will. And so on. So we can rephrase the question and ask 'Why are some things quantifiable and others aren't?', and 'Why can I sometimes form my own ideas, yet other ideas are forced upon me?'

So there is a difference to be explained, whatever words you want to use to describe it.
"Will" is something that's going on in the head and therefore quantifiable by neuroscience for example. Of course we are technologically still very far from getting very accurate quantifications.
Londoner
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Londoner »

Atla wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:20 pm Same question. Why didn't Descartes doubt that his consciousness world and this other world that enters via his senses are two worlds, instead of being one and the same?
I do not understand that sentence.

Descartes can and does doubt the world that enters via his senses, which is why it is unlike the world that arises purely from within his own consciousness. There is the famous example of the wax. His understanding of 'wax' is independent from any particular sensations of the wax. Similarly we can have the idea of a 'triangle' that is independent of any sensation; a sensation of a triangle would be of a particular triangle (with specific dimensions etc.) whereas our concept of a triangle is of no particular object of experience.

(Descartes uses somewhat different terminology)
Londoner
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Londoner »

Atla wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:39 pm "Will" is something that's going on in the head and therefore quantifiable by neuroscience for example. Of course we are technologically still very far from getting very accurate quantifications.
What is the unit of quantification for 'will'?
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Londoner wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:45 pm
Atla wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:39 pm "Will" is something that's going on in the head and therefore quantifiable by neuroscience for example. Of course we are technologically still very far from getting very accurate quantifications.
What is the unit of quantification for 'will'?
There is no smallest unit the way I understand it. Right now the smallest concepts they use are things like quarks and strings and quantum foam, and some sort of fields etc.
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Londoner wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:43 pm
Atla wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:20 pm Same question. Why didn't Descartes doubt that his consciousness world and this other world that enters via his senses are two worlds, instead of being one and the same?
I do not understand that sentence.

Descartes can and does doubt the world that enters via his senses, which is why it is unlike the world that arises purely from within his own consciousness. There is the famous example of the wax. His understanding of 'wax' is independent from any particular sensations of the wax. Similarly we can have the idea of a 'triangle' that is independent of any sensation; a sensation of a triangle would be of a particular triangle (with specific dimensions etc.) whereas our concept of a triangle is of no particular object of experience.

(Descartes uses somewhat different terminology)
What makes Descartes think that there is another world out there that enters his senses?

And again. Of course a concept of 'wax', which is an experience in the frontal parts of the brain/mind, is different from an image of 'wax', which is an experience in the back of the brain/mind, in the visual cortex.
How else could it be.

Same thing for triangle. As I said again and again, different parts of the brain/mind equate to different experiences.

I mean come on, look at a brain, does it look like a perfectly homogenous sphere, made of the one exact same thing everywhere? No, it doesn't. I really don't get what your point is.
Belinda
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Belinda »

Atla wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:17 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:27 pm Atla, your brain is physical substance: your thought is mental substance.

The debate is about how mental and physical interact with each other.

I.e. are they separate substances, or different aspects of the same substance?


Is there nothing but mental substance so that all that seems physical stuff is our imagination?

Is there nothing but physical substance so that all that seems to be thought -thinking is epi - phenomenon?
They don't interact with each other because there is no physical and mental. That is the "solution" to the question.

What does exist then?
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Belinda wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:20 pm What does exist then?
"Both" exist, they are just one and the same thing.
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Atla wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:08 pm
Belinda wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 2:20 pm What does exist then?
"Both" exist, they are just one and the same thing.
But realizing and admitting this would be slightly embarrassing for professional philosophers. It would mean that they have been running in circles, chasing their own tails for hundreds of years, and even today they do this stuff for a living.
Londoner
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Londoner »

Me: What is the unit of quantification for 'will'?

There is no smallest unit the way I understand it. Right now the smallest concepts they use are things like quarks and strings and quantum foam, and some sort of fields etc.
Those not units of quantification. Units of quantification are things like metres and grams, which we can use to compare one thing to another. If 'will' was quantifiable, we would be able to objectively measure it, and say that Belinda's idea of a triangle contained 'more will' than Londoner's dream of a dragon, and so on.

It isn't that we don't have a measuring device sensitive enough to compare ideas of triangles and dragons, what we lack is an object to apply that measuring device to.
What makes Descartes think that there is another world out there that enters his senses?
He is not positing a source for his sensations, what he is noting is that some sorts of experiences are different from others. There are many possibilities why that might be the case, but we are simply noting that it is the case.
And again. Of course a concept of 'wax', which is an experience in the frontal parts of the brain/mind, is different from an image of 'wax', which is an experience in the back of the brain/mind, in the visual cortex.
How else could it be.
How do you mean; 'in'? If we looked in these two areas would we find a tiny piece of brain that was identical to 'the concept of wax'? How would we know we had found it? What would it look like? How would it be dissimilar to the bit of brain identical to 'dragon'?

Likewise, the multitude of sensations that might make up every specific 'experience' we might have of wax, past or future, like a particular colour, a particular smell, a particular touch, from moment to moment. Do we suppose that each is already sitting there, as physical states of the brain?

Even if we suppose they are, that does not help us. Descartes is not always aware of the wax, conceptually or otherwise. He is aware of one aspect of the wax, then another. So even if we suppose that there was a part of the brain containing the concept 'wax', and each possible sensation of the wax, we still have this indeterminate entity 'Descartes' who may or may not be paying attention to that concept/sensation, by activating that bit of brain; so once again we have two things; Descartes and his brain.
I mean come on, look at a brain, does it look like a perfectly homogenous sphere, made of the one exact same thing everywhere? No, it doesn't. I really don't get what your point is.
But it is all homogeneous in that it is entirely made of quantifiable stuff, the stuff science deals with. None of it made of conceptual triangles, or emotional states. So the quantifiable stuff that makes up the brain seems to give rise to un-quantifiable things, like thoughts. That is the problem.
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Londoner wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:25 pm Those not units of quantification. Units of quantification are things like metres and grams, which we can use to compare one thing to another. If 'will' was quantifiable, we would be able to objectively measure it, and say that Belinda's idea of a triangle contained 'more will' than Londoner's dream of a dragon, and so on.

It isn't that we don't have a measuring device sensitive enough to compare ideas of triangles and dragons, what we lack is an object to apply that measuring device to.
And you can use units like metres and grams to the things I listed.
He is not positing a source for his sensations, what he is noting is that some sorts of experiences are different from others. There are many possibilities why that might be the case, but we are simply noting that it is the case.
Things are different, and? Why are things different in the physical substance then, same thing. In that case we should split the physicical substance into two again, and then again and again ad infinitum.
Yes reality isn't homogeneous but I see this argument as entirely invalid here.
How do you mean; 'in'? If we looked in these two areas would we find a tiny piece of brain that was identical to 'the concept of wax'?
Yes. From the perspective of that piece of brain it is the concept of wax.
How would we know we had found it?
Roughly simulating the inner experience of a lump of brain, by mapping that lump of brain say down to the last particle, is way beyond our current technology, we can only make the most primitive simulations so far. But we can already simulate very roughly what some people are dreaming about using MRI scanners, in a way we already found it.

We make a simulation and then ask that person how accurate the simulation is compared to their inner experience. But I guess this method has limits, it works quite well with the visuals or sounds, other sensations well - I don't know how much that's doable.
How would it be dissimilar to the bit of brain identical to 'dragon'?
The above would just be a computer simulation. Other than simulation, well, with very advanced technology one day, we could however perfectly replicate a bit of brain (minus quantum randomness stuff etc.), that would have the same experience as the original.
Likewise, the multitude of sensations that might make up every specific 'experience' we might have of wax, past or future, like a particular colour, a particular smell, a particular touch, from moment to moment. Do we suppose that each is already sitting there, as physical states of the brain?
Yeah, you'd probably have to simulate or rebuild at least the entire brain/mind for this one, not just a part of it.
Even if we suppose they are, that does not help us. Descartes is not always aware of the wax, conceptually or otherwise. He is aware of one aspect of the wax, then another. So even if we suppose that there was a part of the brain containing the concept 'wax', and each possible sensation of the wax, we still have this indeterminate entity 'Descartes' who may or may not be paying attention to that concept/sensation, by activating that bit of brain; so once again we have two things; Descartes and his brain.
There is no indeterminite entity. Descartes is also a part of the head.
But it is all homogeneous in that it is entirely made of quantifiable stuff, the stuff science deals with. None of it made of conceptual triangles, or emotional states. So the quantifiable stuff that makes up the brain seems to give rise to un-quantifiable things, like thoughts. That is the problem.
Conceptual triangles or emotional states are also structures in the head and quantifiable. But again, science can't yet map the inside of a living human down to the last particle, very far from that.
Londoner
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Londoner »

Atla wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 4:07 pm
And you can use units like metres and grams to the things I listed.
That's right, because they are objects in science. But the question I asked was what is the equivalent of those units of measurement when we want to measure a quantity of 'will'?
Things are different, and? Why are things different in the physical substance then, same thing. In that case we should split the physicical substance into two again, and then again and again ad infinitum.
Yes reality isn't homogeneous but I see this argument as entirely invalid here.
It isn't an argument, it is an observation of the nature of consciousness, which is what we are discussing. Yes, we can also understand the physical world in many different ways. That is another problem.
Me: How do you mean; 'in'? If we looked in these two areas would we find a tiny piece of brain that was identical to 'the concept of wax'?
Yes. From the perspective of that piece of brain it is the concept of wax.
'The perspective'? You are just reintroducing dualism again; there is a piece of brain/wax itself, and now there is also 'brain' in another sense which has a 'perspective' on a piece of itself.
Me: How would we know we had found it?
Roughly simulating the inner experience of a lump of brain, by mapping that lump of brain say down to the last particle, is way beyond our current technology, we can only make the most primitive simulations so far. But we can already simulate very roughly what some people are dreaming about using MRI scanners, in a way we already found it.
And is that 'last particle' or brain an actual piece of wax? If not, we still have two non-identical things, the tiny bit of brain and Descartes' thought: 'wax', which is not actually made of wax either....so where is the wax!!!!
We make a simulation and then ask that person how accurate the simulation is compared to their inner experience. But I guess this method has limits, it works quite well with the visuals or sounds, other sensations well - I don't know how much that's doable.
I do not understand your use of the word 'simulation'. What is being simulated? Their experience is simply their experience; if we ask how closely it 'simulates' something that is not their experience, we have again reintroduced dualism. Now there is both experience and the cause of that experience.
Me: Likewise, the multitude of sensations that might make up every specific 'experience' we might have of wax, past or future, like a particular colour, a particular smell, a particular touch, from moment to moment. Do we suppose that each is already sitting there, as physical states of the brain?
Yeah, you'd probably have to simulate or rebuild at least the entire brain/mind for this one, not just a part of it.
You would have to build very big brains. If each sensation I have depends on their already existing a tiny bit of brain that corresponds to that experience, then when I am born I must already be equipped with a brain which contains every possible experience I might have. For example, unless I happen to already have a brain with bits already dedicated to 'seeing' the images that will appear in next week's TV programs I will not be conscious of them.

Now that is possible, but it does not seem to fit with either experience or scientific observations of the way brains work.
Me: But it (the brain) is all homogeneous in that it is entirely made of quantifiable stuff, the stuff science deals with. None of it made of conceptual triangles, or emotional states. So the quantifiable stuff that makes up the brain seems to give rise to un-quantifiable things, like thoughts. That is the problem.

Conceptual triangles or emotional states are also structures in the head and quantifiable. But again, science can't yet map the inside of a living human down to the last particle, very far from that.
Then once again, I would ask what is the unit used to quantify them? Which is the biggest; a conceptual triangle or my current level of happiness?

What I find confusing is your recourse to science, when your philosophy undermines the basis of science. For example, science assumes the observer and the observed. It is knowledge about something. But if everything in our heads is identical to tiny bits of brain then the notion of finding out about an external world is meaningless, since you deny any such world exists to be found and/or there is nobody to do the finding out. Indeed, 'brain' becomes a metaphysical idea, since there is nothing which is not-brain.

To put it another way, what you might consider scientific knowledge would not be knowledge about anything, since you argue our ideas are identical to an existing physical state of the brain. So to say 'this cup is hot' or 'humans are mammals' would no more be an assertion about the cup or humans than a rock is making an assertion by being a rock.
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Londoner wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 5:17 pm That's right, because they are objects in science. But the question I asked was what is the equivalent of those units of measurement when we want to measure a quantity of 'will'?
Your question is a categorical mistake and makes no sense.
If "will" is a part of the head, you can measure it with the tools of science. I don't know what kind of machine you want to install into your head to be also be able to do it from the inside, and measure your random personal opinion, which by definition can't be measured objectively because it's your random personal opinion. There are weak and strong willed people, there.
'The perspective'? You are just reintroducing dualism again; there is a piece of brain/wax itself, and now there is also 'brain' in another sense which has a 'perspective' on a piece of itself.
Perspective = from the inside. You bring dualism into it.
And is that 'last particle' or brain an actual piece of wax? If not, we still have two non-identical things, the tiny bit of brain and Descartes' thought: 'wax', which is not actually made of wax either....so where is the wax!!!!
You say: There is a tree. You see it and you also have a concept of it. But neither of those two is the tree itself, therefore dualism. This the most nonsensical argument in this thread.
I do not understand your use of the word 'simulation'. What is being simulated? Their experience is simply their experience; if we ask how closely it 'simulates' something that is not their experience, we have again reintroduced dualism. Now there is both experience and the cause of that experience.
Computer simulation, but I'm pretty sure you don't know how those work. And again the tree argument.
You would have to build very big brains. If each sensation I have depends on their already existing a tiny bit of brain that corresponds to that experience, then when I am born I must already be equipped with a brain which contains every possible experience I might have. For example, unless I happen to already have a brain with bits already dedicated to 'seeing' the images that will appear in next week's TV programs I will not be conscious of them.
Wait what? You want to simulate every possibility ever? Yeah you'll need an inifitely large brain or simulation for that. I haven't encountered humans with infinitely large heads yet though.
Then once again, I would ask what is the unit used to quantify them? Which is the biggest; a conceptual triangle or my current level of happiness?
This question still makes no sense. I don't know what kind of machine you want to install into your head to be able to objectively measure your random personal opinion. But you can still do it with the tools of science. Say the bigger one is the one that weighs more.

You probably don't really understand what human experiences are either.
What I find confusing is your recourse to science, when your philosophy undermines the basis of science. For example, science assumes the observer and the observed.
No, observer-independent reality was refuted 100 years ago. We've been through that too. You are undermining science.
But if everything in our heads is identical to tiny bits of brain
What?
then the notion of finding out about an external world is meaningless, since you deny any such world exists to be found and/or there is nobody to do the finding out.
Why would things be meaningless and why do you misinterpret everything as nonexistent? I didn't write such things. Nondualism isn't the lack of everything, it's the lack of dualism.
Indeed, 'brain' becomes a metaphysical idea, since there is nothing which is not-brain.
What do you mean there is nothing which is not-brain. The monitor in front of me isn't a brain.
To put it another way, what you might consider scientific knowledge would not be knowledge about anything, since you argue our ideas are identical to an existing physical state of the brain.
I don't know what you are saying. Scientific knowledge is "about" the world, but also a part of that world. Why would that mean that nothing exists.
So to say 'this cup is hot' or 'humans are mammals' would no more be an assertion about the cup or humans than a rock is making an assertion by being a rock.
?
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Maybe you think that I'm using words like "perspective" and "inside" literally, but it's just a metaphor. It just means: the experience/physical that is over there, "spatially". I don't know how else to put it.
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Greta
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Greta »

Atla wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:12 pm
Greta wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:11 am Yet there is a fundamental difference between a pattern of firing neurons and the subsequent information processing and the sensation of being. One could say that, equivalently, there's a difference between a car's firing pistons and the subsequent movement, but the car does not appear to have any sense of being, only a physical presence and associated dynamics.
Umm let's break that down a little, which sensation of being do you mean here?

The indefinable, inconceptualizable "sense of being" that is forever present, which is like an umm let's say.. the eternal first person view that seems to be dead empty by itself but also contains everything?

Or the quite real sensation of "being there", "being aware", it's a sensation that's almost like a feeling but not quite?
I think I did break it down:

Neurons and pistons fire

Brains process information and cars move

We have a sense of being and cars do not. So it's that which cars do not have, that we do. "Being", as far as I can tell, seems to feel like multitudes of tiny vibrations quivering away when it comes down to the bottom line of what if feels like to be alive :)
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Greta wrote: Fri Jan 05, 2018 10:56 pm I think I did break it down:

Neurons and pistons fire

Brains process information and cars move

We have a sense of being and cars do not. So it's that which cars do not have, that we do. "Being", as far as I can tell, seems to feel like multitudes of tiny vibrations quivering away when it comes down to the bottom line of what if feels like to be alive :)
Ah ok so the second one, that's just the self-awareness, most humans seem to have it. Other species that seem to have it are whales, dolphins, great apes, elephants and maybe some more.
(Actually I have the impression that elephants and whales might even have a stronger natural self-awareness than humans.)

The organism start to get the strangest sensation, that it exists, that it's alive, that it's there.

It seems to happen somewhere on the order of 10 billion neurons and is probably not tied to any brain region, it seems to happen because of sheer quantity. Which is why in deep meditation you can get rid of anything except this one.

There are also humans without self-awareness though, talking to "them" freaks me out.. there's like no one there..

(I just asked for clarification because the hard problem of consciousness is about the other "sensation" of being.)
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