The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

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

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RustyBert
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by RustyBert » Fri Nov 24, 2017 6:27 pm

RustyBert wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:51 pm
How about this: If mine is the only mind, then I must have brought myself into existence. If I have that ability, I should be able to control all aspects of my existence. But clearly I can't (because if I could I wouldn't be here typing on this stupid keyboard, I'd be in Hawaii). Therefore I'm not the only mind, and in fact it's entirely possible there was a time when there were no minds at all, and that some other process lead to our minds' creation.
That's a great argument Rusty. We can consider this thread closed.

Wyman
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Wyman » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:28 pm

Speakpigeon wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:34 pm
Wyman wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:17 pm
Yes, but only in so far as nothing is physical - that is, the argument goes not only for consciousness, but everything else too. But that just means we cannot prove that the physical world (and physical consciousness) exists - it does not mean that they must not exist. Am I right?
There's still one big difference, which is that I am absolutely certain of my own subjective experience (or consciousness) while I can only believe that there's a physical world. I know my subjective experience (by acquaintance), but I don't know that there really is a physical world, at least not as we usually think of it.
EB
Yes, you're certain of it. However, you are not certain whether it is physical or something else. I think you are making the Cartesian argument (and Kripkean) that since consciousness is the only thing that has a particular attribute (certainty by acquaintance) it must therefore be a different kind of thing than everything else. Whether or not that is a valid is a interesting topic for discussion.

monktastic
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by monktastic » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:33 pm

RustyBert wrote:
Wed Nov 22, 2017 7:51 pm
How about this: If mine is the only mind, then I must have brought myself into existence. If I have that ability, I should be able to control all aspects of my existence.
In a dream, there are no other conscious characters, and yet (except during particularly lucid dreams) I cannot control anything.
But clearly I can't (because if I could I wouldn't be here typing on this stupid keyboard, I'd be in Hawaii). Therefore I'm not the only mind, and in fact it's entirely possible there was a time when there were no minds at all, and that some other process lead to our minds' creation.

monktastic
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by monktastic » Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:35 pm

Impenitent wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 11:16 pm
the irony of making arguments (to other people) about the absolute impossibility of their existence is delicious...

-Imp
About the absolute impossibility of proving the existence of minds other than one's own. But I agree, it is delicious :P.

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Speakpigeon
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Speakpigeon » Fri Nov 24, 2017 10:41 pm

Wyman wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 9:28 pm
Speakpigeon wrote:
Thu Nov 23, 2017 6:34 pm
Wyman wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:17 pm
Yes, but only in so far as nothing is physical - that is, the argument goes not only for consciousness, but everything else too. But that just means we cannot prove that the physical world (and physical consciousness) exists - it does not mean that they must not exist. Am I right?
There's still one big difference, which is that I am absolutely certain of my own subjective experience (or consciousness) while I can only believe that there's a physical world. I know my subjective experience (by acquaintance), but I don't know that there really is a physical world, at least not as we usually think of it.
EB
Yes, you're certain of it. However, you are not certain whether it is physical or something else. I think you are making the Cartesian argument (and Kripkean) that since consciousness is the only thing that has a particular attribute (certainty by acquaintance) it must therefore be a different kind of thing than everything else. Whether or not that is a valid is a interesting topic for discussion.
I'm not making the argument that consciousness must be a different kind of thing than everything else. Only that my own consciousness is the only thing I know exist. And I can only believe that there's a physical world and I have to accept I don't know the nature of the physical world nor the substance of which it is made if it exists.

Quite appart from that, I effectively don't know what would be the relation between my consciousness and the physical world if it exists at all. That in itself is not enough to assume or infer that my consciousness must be somehow of a different nature than the physical world.
EB

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:39 pm

Does this not knowing, elation wise, Speakpidgeon, mean I get no dragon from you?

How can you imagine in some circumstance and not imagine in others when requested? How can the world be both passive and active, if all there is, is you?

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Speakpigeon
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Speakpigeon » Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:44 am

EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:39 pm
How can the world be both passive and active, if all there is, is you?
You're inconsistent in your reasoning.

You argue from the existence of the physical world while also assuming the premise that no physical world exists.

If I am indeed all there is, then causality is meaningless and I can't infer anything from my own existence.
EB

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bahman
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by bahman » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:00 pm

monktastic wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:09 pm
Apologies in advance for the lack of rigor and sophistication I'm about to display. Also for verbosity. I just want to be as clear as possible.

tl;dr: If you recognize the impossibility of disproving solipsism, then it should be clear that consciousness is not meaningfully physical.

It can be argued that it's impossible to conclusively rule out solipsism. (I say "can be argued" because, although it seems clear enough to me, I'm sure many of you are smart enough to rule it out anyway.) In any case, I'd like to outline the intuitive argument.

The one thing you can be certain of is that "something seems to be happening." I wish I could be more precise, but I don't think I can. Nonetheless, if you look and listen, you will discover an unequivocal certainty that something seems to be happening. Very quickly thereafter (perhaps so quickly that you overlook the aforementioned flawless certainty) your intellect might deconstruct the concepts "seem," "something," "certainty," etc. and introduce doubt. But stay with (or return to) that initial "flash of recognition" if you're able.

Okay, so you are sure that something seems to be happening. You cannot be sure -- even in principle -- that such a thing is happening anywhere else. Maybe there's consciousness elsewhere, but this consciousness is the only tool you'd have to verify it. Even if you saw the world through someone else's eyes, it would be happening "over here," so to speak. Similarly, nobody (and nothing) else can verify your consciousness.

Now, if you recognize that (a) there is this undoubtable sheer fact of consciousness (shorthand for "something seems to be happening"), and (b) it cannot be verified in anyone else, then it cannot be the case that consciousness is physical. How could there be a physical property that cannot be verified, even in principle, by anybody else (or by any instrument)? No, the one thing you can be certain of cannot meaningfully be physical.

If you accept that you cannot disprove solipsism, then can you reasonably believe that consciousness is a physical property?
An act is impossible without experience and decision. The last two are personal things. Therefore solipsism is false.

EchoesOfTheHorizon
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by EchoesOfTheHorizon » Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:44 pm

Speakpigeon wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:44 am
EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:
Fri Nov 24, 2017 11:39 pm
How can the world be both passive and active, if all there is, is you?
You're inconsistent in your reasoning.

You argue from the existence of the physical world while also assuming the premise that no physical world exists.

If I am indeed all there is, then causality is meaningless and I can't infer anything from my own existence.
EB
I do not, you presume most incorrectly. Try again.

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Speakpigeon
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Speakpigeon » Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:01 pm

EchoesOfTheHorizon wrote:
Sat Nov 25, 2017 11:44 pm
I do not, you presume most incorrectly. Try again.
Excellent repartie! Most impressive!

And useful too as it definitely makes apparent to all that you either have no argument or possibly you don't even know you'd need to provide one.

Bye-bye.
EB

Londoner
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Londoner » Mon Nov 27, 2017 11:43 am

monktastic wrote:
Tue Nov 21, 2017 8:09 pm
The one thing you can be certain of is that "something seems to be happening." I wish I could be more precise, but I don't think I can. Nonetheless, if you look and listen, you will discover an unequivocal certainty that something seems to be happening. Very quickly thereafter (perhaps so quickly that you overlook the aforementioned flawless certainty) your intellect might deconstruct the concepts "seem," "something," "certainty," etc. and introduce doubt. But stay with (or return to) that initial "flash of recognition" if you're able.
If I look and listen, it is never the case that a 'something' seems to be happening. It is always the case that a particular thing is happening; it is not 'a happening' it is always 'this happening'.

To be aware of that particular thing I must already have had some sort of intellectual framework in place that recognises it, in other words I can only have the 'flash' if I already have a flash-recogniser installed!

The uncertainty arises if I reflect that alternative flash-recognisers are available. That there is more than one way of identifying the particularity of that happening. But I have to pick one; I cannot both be aware of 'this happening' while avoiding thinking about what 'this happening' is.

Solipsism says that we cannot be certain about anything outside our own minds, but that is only about certainty. It doesn't mean we are not required to posit that other things exist in order to recognise 'happenings' and everything else.

Madbucket Schism
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Madbucket Schism » Wed Nov 29, 2017 12:06 pm

The way I see it, the question is not if it's mental or physical, because neither of them are the answer. But it can't be given a name because that confuses the equation with too many variables. Physical, Mental, or spiritual are a kinds of possibilities, but they are only three possibilities out of infinite. There are countless in-betweens that can not be explained, only imagined or felt.

As for our consciousness, this is the answer that I have come up with - Let's say that other people do have a consciousness, the problem is that we would never know if my consciousness works the same way as anyone else's. Our consciousness could feel completely different for all we know, while theirs could be like feeling nothing at all but still work the same way as my consciousness. So with infinite different ways of what someones consciousness could feel/be like, it doesn't really matter how to imagine it or to even wonder if there is another conscious mind out there or not. Because they all show their consciousness by showing their feelings and their pain just like I do.

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Conde Lucanor
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Conde Lucanor » Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:04 am

As Searle pointed out: solipsism refutes itself. If you're a solipsist, you don't believe this forum and its people actually exist. Expecting that a second solipsist shows up implies wanting solipsism to be proven false.

Madbucket Schism
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Madbucket Schism » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:14 pm

Conde Lucanor wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:04 am
As Searle pointed out: solipsism refutes itself. If you're a solipsist, you don't believe this forum and its people actually exist. Expecting that a second solipsist shows up implies wanting solipsism to be proven false.
I'm curious about what happens when we change our perspective. Just like how one word can have a million different meanings pointed toward the same thing depending on who you speak to, and like how a story can have a twist at any moment. I usually end up confusing myself from overthinking everything, but as long as anything is possible there will always be infinite scenarios around the corner that I won't think of. So I can't say how solipsism goes, I'm more just curious about getting ideas around.

Londoner
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Re: The irrefutability of solipsism and the recognition that consciousness is not physical

Post by Londoner » Thu Nov 30, 2017 1:40 pm

Conde Lucanor wrote:
Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:04 am
As Searle pointed out: solipsism refutes itself. If you're a solipsist, you don't believe this forum and its people actually exist. Expecting that a second solipsist shows up implies wanting solipsism to be proven false.
If a second solipsist turns up then they turn up in my consciousness, so - in that sense - they exist. What the solipsist questions is what it means to claim some hypothetical solipsist that has no presence in consciousness 'exists'.

If things that are present in our consciousness exist - and also things which do not have presence in our consciousness exist - then what does 'exist' mean? How could it be possible to claim that anything did not exist?

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