Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

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SamC
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by SamC » Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:54 pm

Trees aren't green in the dark? So clothes change colour in the wardrobe when you close the door? This is an odd view.

Impenitent
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by Impenitent » Thu Aug 24, 2017 12:01 am

SamC wrote:
Wed Aug 23, 2017 5:54 pm
Trees aren't green in the dark? So clothes change colour in the wardrobe when you close the door? This is an odd view.
not odd at all... if you can't see them, you can't make the claim...

or do you assume the empirical world persists when unobserved?

-Imp

SamC
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by SamC » Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:32 am

Like most people, I do. It's the easiest way of explaining why chairs appear the same when you look back at them again. And just because you can't check that doesn't mean they aren't there. Since you can't check (when you're not looking) there's really no reason to imagine that things evaporate without human eyes aimed at them. So I think the explanatory power of assuming objects persist unperceived trumps the doubts one might have when not in perceptual contact with them.

Anyhow, this is just another example of the phenomenon I was drawing attention to: you are sure colours are mind-dependent. Others are just as sure they are physical properties, even mind-external physical properties. The right answer might be that they are something in between all of these things: neutral properties.

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PauloL
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by PauloL » Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:18 am

Well, SamC has a great point in argumenting that something that people are not consensual about is enough undefined to be a good candidate for metaphysical neutrality.

The question is that this position might not be consensual in itself. I wouldn't bet on something that can be explained physically, even if not all people accept it. Otherwise neutrality could be defined empirically in polls.

Colour is a nice example indeed, as it allows intense discussion, like it can be seen here. Whatever colours an object may assume are all real. Why not? In moonlight objects have no colours. So, objects "lose" colour in moonlight. Colours are different depending on illuminating conditions and source of light (this can be monochromatic, for instance). So, which colour is real? All of them, unless you define a standard of illumination. Daltonic people see different colours, so which ones are real? The ones seen by thrichromatic people because this is the standard accepted universally. The standard might be Daltonic people if Trichromy was an exception. You can consider a few more interesting examples: thermochromatic crystals and crystals that change colour with humidity. What's their real colour? All colours they may emit, unless you make a standard again, and now you must add temperature and humidity. Not even thrichromatic people all see the same colours, as it was disclosed with the controversial dress colour that circulated recently (either colour seen is equally real unless you define which group is the standard).

The question about the intrinsic reality of colours: colours are wavelengths and thus they exist physically provided the object is illuminated. The composition of the object is responsible for determining which wavelengths are reflected. Whether colours remain in the object after illumination ceases or becomes limited to moonlight, this depends on a mental exercise. Once colours depend on the composition of the object, we can guess an object's colour in the dark or under moonlight and thus assume they're there. But guessing will be much more difficult in case of thermochromatic crystals and those that change colour with humidity, unless you arrange for a source of light. So the permanence of colour is hard to be accepted unconditionally.

The question about how we perceive colours: hopefully we see a colourful world, something I'm not sure about bees, even if they can perceive colours (but what do they see?). We see a colourful world because neuronal structures transform wavelengths into colours, otherwise they might be shadows of gray or just intensities of brightness (which is also conceptually possible). How those neuronal structures convert wavelengths (or more exactly, electrical signals generated by retinal cones) into something that colourfully lines objects as we see them? I don't know.

I'd like to ask you two questions:

1. You rely on the capacity of colours to be produced in hallucinations and dreams to defend their mental nature. So, what's your explanation for monochromatic people after a stroke to lose capacity to see colours, be it directly through vision, or indirectly in hallucinations, dreams, and even memories?

2. Do you put colours at the same mental level as qualia (or even at a higher level), the latter being hard to accept as object properties by sound judgement?


[Erratum: where I write rods in former posts I mean cones]

Impenitent
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by Impenitent » Fri Aug 25, 2017 12:11 am

SamC wrote:
Thu Aug 24, 2017 10:32 am
Like most people, I do. It's the easiest way of explaining why chairs appear the same when you look back at them again. And just because you can't check that doesn't mean they aren't there. Since you can't check (when you're not looking) there's really no reason to imagine that things evaporate without human eyes aimed at them. So I think the explanatory power of assuming objects persist unperceived trumps the doubts one might have when not in perceptual contact with them.

Anyhow, this is just another example of the phenomenon I was drawing attention to: you are sure colours are mind-dependent. Others are just as sure they are physical properties, even mind-external physical properties. The right answer might be that they are something in between all of these things: neutral properties.
no, I am not sure of anything. all I am saying is that without the direct observation, the claim about the unobserved "thing" is tenuous...

-Imp

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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by SamC » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:11 am

PauloL:

You say both that colours are wavelengths, but also that they remain in objects. Those can't both be true unless you think there are two kinds of colours, because objects are not made of wavelengths. The question is: What is the nature of the colours you experience, what are they? If what you experience are wavelengths, then you don't also experience the colours contained in objects, since the wavelengths aren't part of the objects.

To your questions:
'1. You rely on the capacity of colours to be produced in hallucinations and dreams to defend their mental nature. So, what's your explanation for monochromatic people after a stroke to lose capacity to see colours, be it directly through vision, or indirectly in hallucinations, dreams, and even memories?

2. Do you put colours at the same mental level as qualia (or even at a higher level), the latter being hard to accept as object properties by sound judgement?'

These questions suggest that I think colours are mental. I don't. I think they are neutral, neither mental nor physical (or are good candidates for being neutral, anyway). That colours are sometimes mental is not inconsistent with saying that goings on in the brain affect how we see colours, because neutral monism believes in brains, and the relevance of their structure and operations to consciousness. The aim of NM is to be a broadly 'materialist' theory, it's just that it thinks there's more to the material than physicalism allows - i.e. it has intrinsic properties like colours. So I can explain people losing the capacity for colour experience in whichever way scientists explain it. Even a dualist could say that, though colour consciousness is something non-physical, it depends on the physical brain and body to occur to us in the normal way, because mind and body are closely connected.

On the second question, I say that colours can be qualia, because qualia are the qualities we experience. So sometimes colour are qualia in that sense (in Russell's terminology sometimes they are sensa, or properties of sensa). Other times they exist without any mind being conscious of them, then they are not qualia in the above sense (this corresponds to Russell's sensibilia). Actually the issue of whether we locate colours inside or outside the head, and the issue of whether they are mental or physical, are two different issues. Berkeley locates them outside the head but they are mental in his system because they only exist when some being is conscious of them. By contrast some versions of physicalism locate them inside the head but identify them with brain properties. The question that matters, I think, is whether they can exist outside of consciousness. If they can then they needn't be classed as essentially mental properties. Mentality is more like a context that they sometimes get into.

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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by SamC » Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:20 am

Imp:

It's not tenuous unless you think only claims about things we directly observe are non-tenuous. But we make lots of reasonable claims about things we don't directly observe. Even Berkeley, who is an idealist, holds that objects and their properties exist without our observing them. On a more commonsense framework, the reason for positing persisting objects is the stability of appearances: when you return to the same place, you get more or less the same appearances from 'things' as you did last time. The easiest explanation is a stable cause of those appearances. The alternative is that there is some law that re-creates the same kinds of appearances (e.g. as of some piece of furniture) from scratch every time you return to a location, or that this is a fluke. Neither of those are very elegant explanations. I know in my own case (and you know in yours) that I persist in more or less the same way when no one is observing me, and that that stability is the cause of the stable set of appearances I give to other people. We just make the same sort of move for objects other than ourselves. Unless you're a solipsist, or something like that, this is a reasonable move. For what it's worth, blindsight provides some evidence for the existence of colours without anyone's directly observing, or being conscious, of them.

Impenitent
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by Impenitent » Sat Aug 26, 2017 1:26 pm

SamC wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:20 am
Imp:

It's not tenuous unless you think only claims about things we directly observe are non-tenuous. But we make lots of reasonable claims about things we don't directly observe. Even Berkeley, who is an idealist, holds that objects and their properties exist without our observing them. On a more commonsense framework, the reason for positing persisting objects is the stability of appearances: when you return to the same place, you get more or less the same appearances from 'things' as you did last time. The easiest explanation is a stable cause of those appearances. The alternative is that there is some law that re-creates the same kinds of appearances (e.g. as of some piece of furniture) from scratch every time you return to a location, or that this is a fluke. Neither of those are very elegant explanations. I know in my own case (and you know in yours) that I persist in more or less the same way when no one is observing me, and that that stability is the cause of the stable set of appearances I give to other people. We just make the same sort of move for objects other than ourselves. Unless you're a solipsist, or something like that, this is a reasonable move. For what it's worth, blindsight provides some evidence for the existence of colours without anyone's directly observing, or being conscious, of them.
for the persistence of the unobserved, the bishop ultimately blamed god.

the claim x is x is not "more or less"...

everything "changes" moment to moment...

you are not the same "you" as you were before you read this.

-Imp

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PauloL
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by PauloL » Sat Aug 26, 2017 2:51 pm

SamC:
SamC wrote:
Sat Aug 26, 2017 10:11 am
You say both that colours are wavelengths, but also that they remain in objects. Those can't both be true unless you think there are two kinds of colours, because objects are not made of wavelengths. The question is: What is the nature of the colours you experience, what are they? If what you experience are wavelengths, then you don't also experience the colours contained in objects, since the wavelengths aren't part of the objects.
I said nowhere that colours remain in objects neither that objects are made of wavelengths. I said that colours exist under condition that the object be illuminated, and also that which wavelengths are reflected depends on object composition. For the persistence of colour, I said that colours disappear under darkness and defending their persistence is a mental exercise. Nothing here justifies the inference that colours are part of objects or that they remain under moonlight or darkness except as a mental exercise and this is inconsequential.
I think [colours] are neutral, neither mental nor physical (or are good candidates for being neutral, anyway).
You support this position by contrasting commonsense conception against philosophically informed conception. Aren't there any philosophers who share commonsense conception?
So I can explain people losing the capacity for colour experience in whichever way scientists explain it.
Scientist explain colours as created by brain areas that receive electrical impulses from cones excited by wavelengths. This is substantiated by the fact that losing those brain areas from stroke results in monochromatic vision, including hallucinations, dreams and memories. Doesn't this refute that "[s]o whatever is red and white about a dream apple is only within your mind"?
Even a dualist could say that, though colour consciousness is something non-physical [...]
"Colour consciousness", that is, forcing colour into consciousness, looks something ambiguous. Anyway, both monists and dualists alike are in accord about consciousness dependent phenomena, their discord being consciousness substance. Can you name a dualist philosopher who takes into account neuroscientific data and says that colours can be non-physical?
Other times they exist without any mind being conscious of them, then they are not qualia in the above sense (this corresponds to Russell's sensibilia).
I don't find it cogent qualifying something that can exist irrespective of consciousness as qualia.
The question that matters, I think, is whether [colours] can exist outside of consciousness.
So far, nothing refutes existence of colours outside consciousness. Objects reflect wavelengths when illuminated. This happens irrespective of someone watching them under the sole condition that the object be illuminated. This is irrefutable.

But the core question is consciousness role in colour perception and this antecedents discussion of colours beyond consciousness:

Consciousness role in colour perception I

Under moonlight, there's not enough illumination to excite cones, so we see all black & white because rods don't have capacity to discriminate colours. If we concede that consciousness itself plays a part in colour perception, can you say what changes in consciousness under moonlight so that colours aren't seen?

Consciousness role in colour perception II

If we concede that consciousness itself plays a part in colour perception, how on earth could we explain that bees don't have a consciousness and yet experience colours?

jayjacobus
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by jayjacobus » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:13 pm

So far, nothing refutes existence of colours outside consciousness. Objects reflect wavelengths when illuminated. This happens irrespective of someone watching them under the sole condition that the object be illuminated. This is irrefutable.
What is in reality can't also be in the mind. Instead the mind has representations of reality. The representations are created by the brain and do not duplicate reality because the brain can't know what reality looks like. Instead it creates a useful model of reality; useful but not a copy. Colors are created by the brain. No one can prove that colors exist in reality because they don't. Light waves are energy that carry information. They become appearances during the brain's processing of energy. The brain could create numbers rather than colors but the brain doesn't use numbers at all. What the brain does with senses is unique and spectacular.

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PauloL
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by PauloL » Wed Aug 30, 2017 9:19 pm

jayjacobus wrote:
Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:13 pm
As I quote next, what you say is in accord with me, except perhaps adding numbers as another possibility, which is interesting indeed but doesn't add much to the discussion. You have the understanding needed here and that's great.

We see shadows of gray instead of colours under moonlight vision. To use your words, brain's processing of energy becomes appearances of gray shadows instead of colours. It could be numbers, we can add the possibility, but the questions remain the same though.
PauloL wrote:
Thu Aug 24, 2017 11:18 am
[...]

[H]opefully we see a colourful world, something I'm not sure about bees, even if they can perceive colours (but what do they see?). [W]avelengths are perceived as shades of gray instead of colours under moonlight conditions. We see a colourful world because neuronal structures transform wavelengths into colours, otherwise they might be shadows of gray or just intensities of brightness (which is also conceptually possible).

[...]

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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by jayjacobus » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:49 pm

There are two general ways that an animal reacts to stimuli. The first is biometrically. The animal’s brain processes signals in a cascade of biometrical action which go directly to the animal’s extremities. In this case consciousness plays no part. In the other way the cascade creates representations. The representations are interpreted by consciousness and consciousness sends signals to the extremities. Without knowing what consciousness is or whether the animal produces representations it is difficult to distinguish the biometrical animal from the conscious animal. Based on size ,and architecture of an animal’s brain and also the animal’s behavior some animals seem to have consciousness. Other animals, flies for example, may not. Do flies see colors or do they react biometrically to varying light waves? It’s not known.

What is known is that nonliving objects don’t act biometrically nor consciously. So, consciousness in nonliving objects have no effect on the actions of the objects. The Panpsychist belief is whimsical, unscientific and naïve (in my opinion).

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PauloL
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by PauloL » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:33 pm

jayjacobus wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:49 pm
T[...] The animal’s brain processes signals in a cascade of biometrical action which go directly to the animal’s extremities. In this case consciousness plays no part. In the other way the cascade creates representations. The representations are interpreted by consciousness and consciousness sends signals to the extremities.
That position was already noted by Descartes, who gave the example of a persons who falls. He defended that their instant reaction wasn't dependent on consciousness. As Descartes said on Fourth Replies:
“When people take a fall, and stick out their hands so as to protect their head, it is not reason that instructs them to do this; it is simply that the sight of the impending fall reaches the brain and sends the animal spirits into the nerves in the manner necessary to produce this movement even without any mental volition, just as it would be produced in a machine.”
Damasio, who condemns Descartes (perhaps ignoring that position by Descartes), postulates the same for emotions after the theory of William James. Emotions are body reactions independent of consciousness and may originate feelings, which depend on consciousness.
jayjacobus wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:49 pm
Without knowing what consciousness is or whether the animal produces representations it is difficult to distinguish the biometrical animal from the conscious animal. Based on size ,and architecture of an animal’s brain and also the animal’s behavior some animals seem to have consciousness. Other animals, flies for example, may not.
Animals like cats and dogs do have some form of consciousness, as widely accepted. But not flies, yet it is accepted that they have a mind.
jayjacobus wrote:
Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:49 pm
Do flies see colors or do they react biometrically to varying light waves? It’s not known.
I think it won't help discussing whether flies experience colours, but probably they do. Bees do experience colours.

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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by SteveKlinko » Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:32 pm

PauloL wrote:
Sun Aug 13, 2017 8:36 pm
.




I think colour perception to be very poor for discussing mind and decide for neutral monism or whatever else.

Colours are a physical phenomenon beyond any doubt. Objects reflect light with different wavelengths and we have the capacity to discriminate some of them in the form of colour. This happens because we have sensors for that, retinal rods, and their stimulation is perceived as colors. If we had monochromatic vision, the very same wavelengths would be perceived as shades of gray, but this wouldn't change the wavelengths proper. And no one could talk about colours, because they wouldn't exist in our mind and we couldn't conceive such a thing, just like a person born blind or monochromatic can't. Of course, these persons use the words only because they hear them, but I can also tell about a world with 9 dimensions, but I can't conceive it.

Computers can "see" colours, too. Daltonic people see different colours. Blind people see none. So, what does this change? Why should a physical phenomenon perplex us? If you could touch a hairy cell in your cochlea you'd hear a sound in your brain, even though there's no sound at all.

Negating colours by assuming they are the product of our mind only, would be equivalent to negate reflection of light with characteristic wavelengths by objects, which is absolute nonsense.

The discussion about colours and mind stops here, but I'd like to add a few more comments:

Anything that is a physical phenomenon cannot explain mind, be it physical or not.

In my opinion, until proved otherwise, only those things that cannot be explained physically may pertain to the realm of mind, like Descartes' cogito or, perhaps preceding cogito, our sense of uniqueness. If a person could be rebuild atom by atom, reproducing even every memory stored in the brain, would this be a duplication of the person that would permit such person survive death? But if a brain could be transplanted to a different body, wouldn't the person be aware that woke up in a different body and that keeps existing? This sense of uniqueness must therefore reside in the brain, or more precisely some part of it (which part?), and can't be reproduced (or we don't know how to), which doesn't help decide whether monism or dualism of any kind are true or wrong.





.
The color that we experience is not a Physical Phenomenon. The Light you see is Conscious Light. The Light out in the Physical Universe is Physical Light. You see Conscious Light as a surrogate for the Physical Light. You see Conscious Light in your dreams where there is no Physical Light involved. You have never seen Physical Light. You only see Conscious Light. So the Light you have always seen is a Conscious Phenomenon not a Physical Phenomenon. The experience of the color Red is completely appropriate for the study of Consciousness.

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PauloL
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Re: Neutral Monism: A Saner Solution to the Mind/Body Problem

Post by PauloL » Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:42 pm

SteveKlinko wrote:
Sat Sep 02, 2017 8:32 pm
You're right, but I think you should keep reading the thread, as it's more advanced now.

Conscious light results from brain activity triggered by Physical light. Conscious light in dreams results from spontaneous activation of those same brain areas involved in vision. Nothing perplexing here.

1) If you think Conscious light is independent of Physical light, how do you explain people born blind can't create Conscious light? [I'm only considering blindness by eye or optic nerve defect, not by brain networking defect]

2) How can you explain that people who become blind after birth lose Conscious light (in dreams and memories) some years later?

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