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 »

seeds wrote: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:29 pm It does indeed matter whether an observer is alive or not, and you yourself hinted at the reason why by acknowledging that a human will eventually have to observe the machine.
That's totally not what I said. I meant that we enter the deep mistery about observation there, and that most humans probably will turn out to qualify as observers. It's not confirmed though. And it absolutely doesn't mean that there can't be non-alive observers. There also might be levels to this.
seeds wrote: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:29 pm Otherwise (according to theory), the unobserved “machine” (the measuring device) would simply merge with that which it is measuring and spread-out into a wavefunction that incorporates them both in a superpositioned amalgam of information.
This is only a problem in some interpretations.
seeds wrote: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:29 pm The point is that because all matter throughout the universe (including our bodies and brains) is allegedly composed of a nebulous (waving) substance that in and of itself doesn’t seem to possess a mechanism to prevent it from spreading-out into a state of superpositioned probabilities (as is implied in the “universal wavefunction”),...
This is also interpretation, no proof for that. Nowadays the physics community is moving away from these old views and more towards the decoherence-multiverse views. No proof for that either, but it doesn't require additional assumptions like dualism.
seeds wrote: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:29 pm ...it is therefore suggested that its interplay with consciousness (or if you prefer, “observers”) is what transforms the superpositioned probabilities (“noumena”) into positionally-fixed actualities (“phenomena”).

In other words, consciousness (observation) is what actualizes and reveals the “particle” aspect of the particle/wave duality of physical matter.
This is strictly speaking the Neumann-Wigner interpretation, which practically no one in the physics community supports anymore. I think even Wigner abandoned it later. It is generally seen now as some early nonsense that did major damage to how QM is viewed outside the physics community.
seeds wrote: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:29 pm However, all that means is that the quantum is composed of an infinitely malleable substance that conforms to the dictates (the will and desires) of consciousness.
Still, your interpretation.. Plus there are NO dictates in QM, there are merely correlations. Observer-independent reality doesn't mean that something imposes something on something else. It means that they always CORRELATE.
seeds wrote: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:29 pm That’s why Heisenberg referred to it as being a sort of “raw potentia” that is not very real itself, but is capable of becoming something real depending upon how we choose to observe it.
There is no magical "non-real" stuff in the multiversal interpretations, which is one of the reasons more and more physicists are abandoning things like the Copenhagen.
seeds wrote: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:29 pm And that is verified in precisely the way you suggested above, in that the “potentia” seems to adjust its constituents in order to display whatever it is we “wish to see” depending upon the shape and purpose of the measuring devices that we (as consciousness) create.
Nothing about your interpretation is verified. That's why it's an interpretation.
seeds wrote: Tue Dec 26, 2017 10:29 pm That’s part of the reason why the meme “consciousness creates reality” emerged from the implications of quantum theory.
Yes, the big misunderstanding. Maybe "consciousness creates reality" but there is literally zero evidence for this view either.

As I said, as long as nondualism is perfectly consistent with QM, I see no reason to make additional assumptions like you do.
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

thought addict wrote: Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:51 pm Atla, at the risk of restarting the argument you've just had with Londoner, please can you list some advantages of your stance over a dualist stance?

You seem to have an intense aversion to the term "dualist" and I don't really understand why. What do you find unappealing about dualism? So far all I think you have said against it is "We just split reality into two categories and go crazy" and you also associate it with circular reasoning, but I don't see where this loop in reasoning occurs? Please can you clarify this?

With regard to explaining how conscious experience occurs, I don't really see what your stance has to offer over dualism. It doesn't seem to offer any new explanation or solution to the problem, for me. What have I missed?

I will say that I more or less agree with your initial statement of the five stances and agree that 1 and 2 are unattractive, to me.
It's simple, as far as I know nondualism is 100% consistent with everything known to humanity. No one ever has been able to point out a counterexample.

And nondualism is the natural stance. Dualism is an extra assumption about the nature of reality, compared to that.

It's kinda lika Occam's razor. Why make an extra assumption, when it's not supported by anything, it explains and adds nothing, it merely fundamentally confuses people?
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Belinda wrote: Sun Dec 31, 2017 11:32 am Then your ontological stance is that of a monist not a dualist.
You also seem to be an idealist(immaterialist) variety of monist. Are you?

If you are an idealist sort of monist, how do you escape from solipsism?
No, I don't think that monism is quite the same as nondualism. Umm how do I put it. The way I see it, they are similar in that they are saying that there aren't two substances. So monism has one substance. But there is no "substance" in nondualism. Because that's a dualist idea, you can only have the concept of a substance, compared to something else. So you are still in the cognitive trap.

I don't understand your question about solipsism.
Belinda
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Belinda »

Atla, I have never heard of other than monism and dualism. I have no idea of what "nondualism" might be or how many ontological substances are involved in nondualism.

I am wondering if you know that mind is an ontological substance.
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Greta
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Greta »

Atla wrote: Tue Jan 02, 2018 11:46 am
thought addict wrote: Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:51 pm Atla, at the risk of restarting the argument you've just had with Londoner, please can you list some advantages of your stance over a dualist stance?

You seem to have an intense aversion to the term "dualist" and I don't really understand why. What do you find unappealing about dualism? So far all I think you have said against it is "We just split reality into two categories and go crazy" and you also associate it with circular reasoning, but I don't see where this loop in reasoning occurs? Please can you clarify this?

With regard to explaining how conscious experience occurs, I don't really see what your stance has to offer over dualism. It doesn't seem to offer any new explanation or solution to the problem, for me. What have I missed?

I will say that I more or less agree with your initial statement of the five stances and agree that 1 and 2 are unattractive, to me.
It's simple, as far as I know nondualism is 100% consistent with everything known to humanity. No one ever has been able to point out a counterexample.
Perhaps that's because the counter example is so all pervasive and obvious that it's taken for granted? As far as we know reality is dual, its domains ruled by different laws - one by GR and the other by QM. If the great physical theories of our time can be brought together as a single TOE then, and only then, can we speak seriously about monism.
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

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Belinda wrote: Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:47 am Atla, I have never heard of other than monism and dualism. I have no idea of what "nondualism" might be or how many ontological substances are involved in nondualism.

I am wondering if you know that mind is an ontological substance.
There are no ontological substances in nondualism. What makes you think that reality has one or more substances, other than that it usually seems that way?
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Greta
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Greta »

Where is the evidence for substance monism?
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Greta wrote: Wed Jan 03, 2018 9:43 am Perhaps that's because the counter example is so all pervasive and obvious that it's taken for granted? As far as we know reality is dual, its domains ruled by different laws - one by GR and the other by QM. If the great physical theories of our time can be brought together as a single TOE then, and only then, can we speak seriously about monism.
GR and QM are descriptions of the same world, not two different worlds. Yes they are probably both incomplete and right now incompatible. QM might be (at least partially) a more underlying theory, and even more underlying theories may come in the future.

I don't know what you mean by domains. Originally QM was said to apply to the small scales, to a "microworld", which was never true of course, it was merely a convention to be able to sidestep the philosophical speculations. Now that with every experiment they demonstrate quantum behaviour on greater scales and they can't ignore anymore that there is no microworld and macroworld and there is no boundary, more and more physicists are abandoning this idea.

And even so, microworld and macroworld has both always been "scales" of the physical world, it wasn't about mind.
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

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Greta wrote: Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:51 am Where is the evidence for substance monism?
Nondualism, not substance monism. But yes I guess the way from a dualist to a nondualist leads through substance monism.

But that's like asking what is the evidence for atheism. Dualists are making an extra claim, so they have to show some evidence for it, unless we are allowed to believe anything we want, but in that case this discussion is pointless.
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

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I should probably make it clear though that as a nondualist, the only interpretations of QM that make sense to me are the MWI-type, "multiversal" ones. (Which doesn't mean actual universes sitting on top of each other or being created or splitting etc., those are just misunderstood metaphors.)

And I will have to agree that in the non-multiversal views, dualism is pretty much inescapable.
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Greta
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Greta »

Atla wrote: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:33 amI should probably make it clear though that as a nondualist, the only interpretations of QM that make sense to me are the MWI-type, "multiversal" ones. (Which doesn't mean actual universes sitting on top of each other or being created or splitting etc., those are just misunderstood metaphors.)

And I will have to agree that in the non-multiversal views, dualism is pretty much inescapable.
For me it doesn't have to make sense. If the results of experiments so far suggest that reality is dual, then I accept that until conflicting information comes along. I don't think of dualism as two different unconnected or tenuously connected domains but a single reality that seems to have at least two different, intrinsically interconnected, domains that operate in some fundamentally different ways. Hardware and software is a common metaphor.

I'm not a fan of the MWI. I suspect that the observer effect is simply a matter that quantum wavicles are very small, even dwarfed by photons, and thus are so sensitive that they are affected by exceptionally subtle dynamics, including thoughts.
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Greta wrote: Wed Jan 03, 2018 11:47 am For me it doesn't have to make sense. If the results of experiments so far suggest that reality is dual, then I accept that until conflicting information comes along. I don't think of dualism as two different unconnected or tenuously connected domains but a single reality that seems to have at least two different, intrinsically interconnected, domains that operate in some fundamentally different ways. Hardware and software is a common metaphor.

I'm not a fan of the MWI. I suspect that the observer effect is simply a matter that quantum wavicles are very small, even dwarfed by photons, and thus are so sensitive that they are affected by exceptionally subtle dynamics, including thoughts.
Well, the way I see it, it really comes down to this. QM is telling us that reality is either dual or multiversal, it must be one of those two.

The way I see it:

MWI is actually the simplest interpretation of QM, it only uses one equation instead of two (although I'm not sure if that's really correct), and it doesn't need an assumption of dualism.
It doesn't seem to solve the measurement problem yet either, but it provides the framework for solving it. (I have been thinking about how to solve it in this interpretation for years now, and recent findings in quantum biology give some interesting clues.)

But it can be seen as the most excessive interpretation as well, which is why many don't like it, you have to assume a probably infinitely greater world after all, where literally everything exists, and we see a sum of that.
But one can arrive at multiverse ideas in completely different ways too, like string theory or anthropic principle/apparent fine tuning, or just the sheer implausibility that the only universe in existence would be exactly this one and this big.

But there is no evidence that this interpretation is correct either, no one can know yet how to interpret QM. All I can say that personally, I see it as the most likely and simplest view. I also see no hint at dualism anywhere else (but I can see how the Greeks and later the substance dualists invented it.)

So if someone disagrees with the MWI then yes, I suppose that person must then become a dualist and that's all right, because no one knows how to interpret QM.
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by thought addict »

But under Many Worlds, how do you represent which world a self is currently in without invoking dualism? A conscious observer will trace a path through the worlds. They see wave function collapse as if they are in one particular world. Don't you need dualism to pick that one specific world out of the Many Worlds?
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

thought addict wrote: Wed Jan 03, 2018 1:37 pm But under Many Worlds, how do you represent which world a self is currently in without invoking dualism? A conscious observer will trace a path through the worlds. They see wave function collapse as if they are in one particular world. Don't you need dualism to pick that one specific world out of the Many Worlds?
The way I understand it, there are no worlds in the Many Worlds interpretation. So the name is extremely misleading, maybe it's better to just call it Everettian interpretation.
There is only one world, but it is "multiversal" in nature in contrast to our original concept of the universe. Think of it like.. umm.. our universe would extend "sideways" multiversally infinitely, and you see the sum of that one infinitely large thing. No actual separation in it anywhere.

As far as I know, to get the concept of "multiversality" across, they originally popularized the MWI by saying that there are literally seperate universes that are created and split and the don't "interact" afterwards, and all that batshit crazy stuff. As far as I know all these were just intended as metaphors (well I hope so at least) but then this picture took on a life of its own.

So you yourself are literally "stretched across" a multiversal world.
Atla
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Re: Leibniz's mill and the "Hard problem of consciousness"

Post by Atla »

Speculation, I may be totally wrong on this one:

If you guys are into QM, I really suggest looking into quantum photosynthesis. From what I can tell, some kind of QM observer-effect seems to be going on there. Also, some molecule in a plant doesn't really have a human mind/consciousness.

(Maybe it's even a two-leveled thing there, QM observers observed by a QM observer in a QM observer, but I'm really confused about it at this point.)
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