Why Physicalism is Wrong

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Justintruth
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by Justintruth » Fri May 25, 2018 1:46 pm

Philosophy Now wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 1:17 pm
Grant Bartley argues that to say the mind is physical is an abuse of language.

https://philosophynow.org/issues/126/Wh ... m_is_Wrong
“What is physicalism?” Is a question that requires the question “What is physics?” to be answered to save physicalism from being just the bald statement. “Physicalism is the assertion that whatever physics says is is all that is”. In other words if you don’t know any physics and you are a physicalist you don’t know anything about what is.

Most physicalists do not understand physics. So let us then answer this question first “What does physics say is?”. Then we can better assess whether physicalism is an abuse of language.

So here is what physics says:

Physics starts with certain mathematical definitions some undefined mathematical notions. Two key notions are the ideas of an “element” of “set”. Basically a set is a collection of elements. These are undefined terms in mathematics.

Philosophically the best description of an element that I have found is in Sartre. Basically his notions of how nothing is introduced into the “plenum of being” and how the “the for itself”, think of it as us or someone if you are unfamiliar with his work, performs “a nihilating withdrawal” are very powerful an lay a foundation for the notion that members of a set are not just experiencings but rather are thought of as having existence independent of consciousness.

Thus the notions of points, lines, planes, solids, that we talk about and think are thought of as being independent of observers. Nor does this reduce to our imaginative powers. Mathematics, in the form of topology and the notion of a manifold - which is a set having certain properties - has been able to define precisely objects which are understandabl but not imaginable.

This same process works in our visual experiencing to introduce objectivity to the world itself and we perform the nihilation yielding a “space” which originally was conceived of as nothing, within which there are things which are, well, something. Those primitive physical notions underly our normal day to day life and allow me to find my socks in my sock drawer.

Physics, by using the mathematics underlying it, has surpassed somewhat these notions. However it retains much of it. While quantum indeterminacy may not allow us to say particle or wave, and may violate locality, and while the relativity of time may deny the existence of some absolute present, or now, at which time all that is actually is and what is past is no longer and what is future is not yet, still it retains the notions of a set and the time space continuum of relativity is indeed a set of elements and so are the Hilbert spaces of quantum mechanics, and the standard model just describes what types of particles can be posited in a physical space at some time relative to a coordinate system again defined mathematically in terms of a set and physically in terms of certain devices and objects that underly physical measurement. All of the physics is validated through sense experience by experiments which are repeatable and allow the physical laws to be established as a subset of what could be.

So what physics ultimately says is that there Is this state which can be defined in set theoretical terms as a vector in a Hilbert space and then says that this state evolves into another state according to certain functions and then that this state can be processed or operated upon to give the probability of the versions measurement outcomes of the physical experiments performed. It also says that those experiments, or measurements, affect the future evolution of the state. All of this is in a time space manifold defined in relativity.

To know that state one must posit all of the real particles that exist in the standard model as possibilities but here physicists say more than that the are possible - they say that these particles are the ones that actually exist - the sun, earth, humans, brains, are all aspects of the physical state of the universe which is the timespace manifold in which these standard model type objects exist.

Now there are operators and devices that these physicists use to predict the sense experience of their experiments but virtually all physicists would agree that the state and operators allow calculations of what would with extreme high probability where there are no such experiments being conducted.

Now these physical operators operating on any possible physical state do not predict, nor do the require that physically caused conscious will exist. But that does not mean that such notions as observation are not inherent in the science. Galeleo’s telescope has two ends and everyone knows why they need to turn their heads to point at the supercollider screens in order to be able to discover the Higgs particle.

What is missing is precisely a set of operators, and a definition of their range in phenomenal terms, that process the state vector and output probabilities that some experiencing of some type will occur. The physics currently explains what will be experienced if a human does some experiment only by assuming that for example only by looking at your screen or in that telescope will there be an experience but does that without the required operators to give the probability of an experience of some type occurring. He doesn’t know that from physics. He knows only that light for example will enter his brain but he is unable to say what experiencing will occur or even that experiencing will occur with what probability by calculating an operator on the standard state vector.

Current physics does not, in the operation of physical law, predict that any experiencing at all will exist. Only that if it exists in its current form and if things like entering the observatory and looking at the instruments are done then such and such will probably be observed. Zombies are physically possible and physically indistinguishable from non zombies in current physical law. There is no mention of which state vectors will be a universe with observation and which will not.

The higher level sciences, say biology for example, if they posit that during such or such a place in evolution consciousness arose, become because of that assertion no longer purely physical theories. Such theories would cease to be physical because they would be ascribing to the physical state a property which is undefined in the standard models of current physics which lacks the required operators.

So physicalism is wrong if we mean by “physical” the current laws. But physicalism as a principle does not require that these current laws are the final ones. If, as Husserl outlines, the nature of types of experiencings can be labeled, sight, color, hearing, etc as well as the experiencing of meaning and logic, then those possible experiencings form a set, a set that can be posited as those possible experiences that are actually occurring within some subset of space at some time relative to some coordinate system. And while these experiencings cannot be independent of the experiencing that they are, one can be independent of another, and it is possible to either know or not know whether there is some experiencing on the back side off the moon.

Given plausible hypotheses like “no zombies” and “no ghosts” operators could be introduced to physics that allowed a prediction based on processing the physical state vector that an arbitrary physical device had or does not have some consciousness of a particular kind defined phenomenally by the devices that have evolved to experience and their possibly engineered offspring.

Such a theory would be physical because it ingests the currently physical state vector and asserts that whether and what kind of consciousness occurs within some probability is dependent on that state vector only. Whether the experiencings themselves could be posited as influencing the standard model states (will) is a detail determinable in principle.

In fact experiments have already been done but are not widely reported. I know first hand that a physicist at Holy Croos college was trying to see if an act of will could change ... think it was a decay rate. He fully expected a null result because the material decaying was not in a brain but the principle remains.

So both will and all experiencing can be introduced into the physics as David Chalmers suggested.

That does not mean that you can reduce any experiencing to the current physics but it also does not mean that physicalism is wrong for the possibilities of experiencing form a set and posits can be adopted that specify as a function of the standard model state vector what experiencings are in fact occurring with some probability and which will occur.

What is to be decided is only whether something other than the current standard model will be necessar to be posited and whether the quantum state itself is affected by experiencing of the type that is willful action.

Note that this is now a scientific question and to say it has been answered is just not credible...show me a journal. The only thing we have are the neurology journals and their observations are not reducible to the predictions of current physics.

When they get farther advanced they will still not be able to reduce their explanations to the current theory but almost certainly will be able to replace it with a theory augmented by experiencing operators and states.

Physicalism as I have outlined it is not only not dead, it is the most likely candidate for the future of science.

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Eodnhoj7
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by Eodnhoj7 » Fri May 25, 2018 3:02 pm

Walker wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 3:08 am
Eodnhoj7 wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 12:40 am
Principles exist and are perceived, by you. You exist and are perceived, by you. Principles don’t change. You don’t change. This is because you are neither the thoughts, nor the body.
Principles change if principles are material.
Principles don't change. Like you, they are an unchanging physicality. A principle does not change into another principle, although it may get overshadowed by another principle, or become invisible to perception.
One particle is composed of another, which is composed of another, with the relations of one set of particles forming another particle. Particulation is change through a process of relation, with the relation of fields acting as "parts" which relate to other fields. Physicality is change.

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bahman
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by bahman » Fri May 25, 2018 6:49 pm

jayjacobus wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 2:41 pm
The brain is conditional (subordinate to reality). Consciousness is capricious (impulsive, unpredictable). The brain doesn't explain capricious.

The brain is material and produces non-material senses. The soul is unspecified (?) and produces thoughts. It doesn't matter whether the soul is material or non-material. It does what it does no matter how it does it. But it isn't conditional to reality but it is aroused by reality.

Thoughts may have a physical substructure in the brain (I don't know) but thoughts are created by the soul.
Mind creates thoughts which is a form of Qualia in meduim of matter.

jayjacobus
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by jayjacobus » Sat May 26, 2018 1:51 pm

bahman wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 6:49 pm
jayjacobus wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 2:41 pm
The brain is conditional (subordinate to reality). Consciousness is capricious (impulsive, unpredictable). The brain doesn't explain capricious.

The brain is material and produces non-material senses. The soul is unspecified (?) and produces thoughts. It doesn't matter whether the soul is material or non-material. It does what it does no matter how it does it. But it isn't conditional to reality but it is aroused by reality.

Thoughts may have a physical substructure in the brain (I don't know) but thoughts are created by the soul.
Mind creates thoughts which is a form of Qualia in meduim of matter.
Mind is a faculty. Qualia is an experience of senses. What is the physical medium in which the mind and qualia have an effect?

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bahman
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by bahman » Sat May 26, 2018 8:07 pm

jayjacobus wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:51 pm
Mind is a faculty.
The definition of mind to me is, the essence of any being with the ability to experience and create.
jayjacobus wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:51 pm
Qualia is an experience of senses.
Qualia is the whole field of our experience which contains what we experience through senses, thoughts and feelings.
jayjacobus wrote:
Sat May 26, 2018 1:51 pm
What is the physical medium in which the mind and qualia have an effect?
Physical medium, or matter, creates qualia when it is in motion. We experience quali and can affect matter.

Walker
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by Walker » Sun May 27, 2018 12:06 pm

Eodnhoj7 wrote:
Fri May 25, 2018 3:02 pm
Physicality is change.
Materialism is a form of physicality that changes.

You are another form of physicality, different from materialism, a form that does not change, which may be invisible to the form of materialism for different reasons: namely, capacity of incarnation (which is your identified biological species) and blockages of the incarnated capacity.

Just as you cannot touch materialism while dreaming, materialism cannot touch you.

Principles are another form that doesn't change.

jayjacobus
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by jayjacobus » Sun May 27, 2018 2:02 pm

Fire isn't water. You can't have fire underwater.

Some arguments don't make sense.

But Grant's argument does make sense.

kovacs
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by kovacs » Sun May 27, 2018 2:20 pm

jayjacobus wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 2:02 pm
Fire isn't water. You can't have fire underwater.
Magnesium

Impenitent
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by Impenitent » Sun May 27, 2018 6:15 pm

jayjacobus wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 2:02 pm
Fire isn't water. You can't have fire underwater.

Some arguments don't make sense.

But Grant's argument does make sense.
Image

yes you can

-Imp

OuterLimits
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by OuterLimits » Sun May 27, 2018 6:23 pm

So many would like to be materialists, and also believe in other minds. Why? The senses directly reveal behaviors of others, not consciousness. If physical laws are not deemed sufficient to generate the behaviors, then one is not a materialist. If the physical laws *are* deemed sufficient to generate the behaviors, then there is no room - and no need - for "minds" to exist out there in the causal chain which generates behaviors. It's amazing to me how often this simple truth is completely glossed over by people who would like to have it both ways.

OuterLimits
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by OuterLimits » Sun May 27, 2018 6:44 pm

Noax wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 11:51 pm
Bartley wrote: Physicalists say all events can be explained completely by causal chains of previous physical events. This was, roughly, the scientific worldview before the discovery of quantum physics. Now we know, however, that some events at a subatomic level are affected by whether there is an observing mind.
Typical of these sorts of articles.
Quantum physics says nothing of the sort. And the author of course is using a dualistic definition of 'mind':
I was going to read the whole thing - but when he made the incorrect statement about quantum physics requiring "observing minds", I was done. Unfortunate.

Re "dualistic definition of mind" - In normal use, humans have a completely subjective definition of mind. It can't be found in an objective physical world. For a rigorous avid materialist, there are no minds in existence out there. Only his own, which is an everlasting conundrum and not part of the material world.

"No physicalist claims to lack what they would call a mind." - Sure. Other persons on the other hand?

seeds
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by seeds » Mon May 28, 2018 12:17 am

Noax wrote:
Thu May 24, 2018 11:51 pm
Bartley wrote: Physicalists say all events can be explained completely by causal chains of previous physical events. This was, roughly, the scientific worldview before the discovery of quantum physics. Now we know, however, that some events at a subatomic level are affected by whether there is an observing mind.
Typical of these sorts of articles.
Quantum physics says nothing of the sort. And the author of course is using a dualistic definition of 'mind':
OuterLimits wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 6:44 pm
I was going to read the whole thing - but when he made the incorrect statement about quantum physics requiring "observing minds", I was done. Unfortunate.
Please describe the literal condition and purpose of that which quantum physics applies to if “observing minds” (or the essence of life in general) did not exist.
_______

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Noax
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by Noax » Mon May 28, 2018 3:33 am

OuterLimits wrote:
Sun May 27, 2018 6:44 pm
Re "dualistic definition of mind" - In normal use, humans have a completely subjective definition of mind. It can't be found in an objective physical world. For a rigorous avid materialist, there are no minds in existence out there. Only his own, which is an everlasting conundrum and not part of the material world.

"No physicalist claims to lack what they would call a mind." - Sure. Other persons on the other hand?
I probably posted that bit in haste. There are those who would claim to lack what is called a mind, perhaps not how they would define it. I've been one of them, claiming to be a zombie in a world where probably a majority of humans are not. Clearly what I experience isn't this inexplicable (and indescribable almost) thing that makes the Chalmer view so obvious to those that are not zombies.

Then again, I don't fit the classic definition of a physicalist, even if I would take a monist stance on philosophy of mind. I still defend the physicalists.

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attofishpi
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by attofishpi » Mon May 28, 2018 1:41 pm

Excellent article, appears I am a naturalistic dualist!

If we were to replicate my entire being, atom for atom, there would be me, and then there would be a zombie. (that's not two zombies by the way)

In fact, I think zombie is being generous, more just a lump of dead flesh.

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Noax
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Re: Why Physicalism is Wrong

Post by Noax » Mon May 28, 2018 4:22 pm

attofishpi wrote:
Mon May 28, 2018 1:41 pm
Excellent article, appears I am a naturalistic dualist!
What, you read the title and perhaps enough to pick up on the condescending tone, and since the conclusion matches your faith, it must be excellent. I've seen good articles for this position, and this is not one of them. I've seen bad articles for positions that more match my biases, and I declare them lousy if they're as poorly reasoned as is this one.

The article was fallacious from the beginning, presenting a cherry picked non-scientific position as science, and fueling the rest with begging language and argument from emotion. The last one is your best friend. It must be true because it paints the picture I most want. That's excellent reason for the faith, but it makes a completely impotent argument for some other position being wrong.

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