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

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

Moderators: AMod, iMod

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

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

Post by Greta » Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:23 pm

Atla wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 12:10 pm
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.
I don't see the logic of the idea that one must either believe in a multiverse or in dualism, especially since the math of QM is the source of most multiverse hypotheses. I would be pretty confident that this universe is just one "bang" separated from other bangs by distances we haven't even conceived yet except that very large scales may yet hold the same kinds of non-intuitive surprises as QM did.

The ideas are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I see dualism everywhere - and I was an intuitive monist until researchers kept on failing to bridge the two great physical theories. Everything I observe can fit neatly into the Buddhist's yin/yang model.

I also note that the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that we have retreated to "simpler" territory like QM and the universe :lol: The very essence of being is such a slippery topic that many give up and claim that it's all just an illusion.

Atla
Posts: 2743
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:27 am

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

Post by Atla » Thu Jan 04, 2018 9:01 am

Greta wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:23 pm
I don't see the logic of the idea that one must either believe in a multiverse or in dualism, especially since the math of QM is the source of most multiverse hypotheses. I would be pretty confident that this universe is just one "bang" separated from other bangs by distances we haven't even conceived yet except that very large scales may yet hold the same kinds of non-intuitive surprises as QM did.

The ideas are not necessarily mutually exclusive. I see dualism everywhere - and I was an intuitive monist until researchers kept on failing to bridge the two great physical theories. Everything I observe can fit neatly into the Buddhist's yin/yang model.

I also note that the hard problem of consciousness is so hard that we have retreated to "simpler" territory like QM and the universe :lol: The very essence of being is such a slippery topic that many give up and claim that it's all just an illusion.
Yeah I should have written dualism or multiversal or both, they aren't mutually exclusive of course.

thought addict
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:47 am

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

Post by thought addict » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:03 am

Atla wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 2:06 pm
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.
...
So you yourself are literally "stretched across" a multiversal world.
The trouble is, as I understand it, people (their minds) don't experience QM as if they are "stretched across" all possible outcomes. At the point you observe a QM experiment, you see the wave function seem to collapse into just a single outcome.

When I was asking "how do you represent which world a self is currently in", the question works just as well if they are metaphorical "worlds". The important bit is that they involve a superposition of outcomes, whereas the mind observes only one outcome.

Have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-minds_interpretation.

Atla
Posts: 2743
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:27 am

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

Post by Atla » Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:28 am

thought addict wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 10:03 am
The trouble is, as I understand it, people (their minds) don't experience QM as if they are "stretched across" all possible outcomes. At the point you observe a QM experiment, you see the wave function seem to collapse into just a single outcome.

When I was asking "how do you represent which world a self is currently in", the question works just as well if they are metaphorical "worlds". The important bit is that they involve a superposition of outcomes, whereas the mind observes only one outcome.

Have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Many-minds_interpretation.
The way I understand it, "you", as probably a QM observer, will see it as a single outcome at a time. That's the measurement problem, which imo isn't really solved in the MWI either yet, despite what some people claim.
But the MWI provides the framework for understanding that it only appears like you were "in" a world, but actually you are still seeing the whole thing. So there is no actual "collapse", there is the appearance of "collapse". So it always "seems" like a single outcome for a Qm observer.

At least that's how I see it, but "multiversal" interpretations also come in different variations, like the Many-Mind for example, or several types of MWI etc.

Belinda
Posts: 3324
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

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

Post by Belinda » Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:31 pm

Atla wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:32 am
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?
what makes me think it is introduction to Descartes's method of doubt, and subsequent uses of the idea of ontological substance.

Atla
Posts: 2743
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:27 am

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

Post by Atla » Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:39 pm

Belinda wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 12:31 pm
Atla wrote:
Wed Jan 03, 2018 10:32 am
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?
what makes me think it is introduction to Descartes's method of doubt, and subsequent uses of the idea of ontological substance.
Well, we can doubt anything but in the end there is always stuff happening, the world is always happening, some kind of doubting is happening no matter what. So at least something about Descartes must always exist, no matter what.
But then Descartes forgot to doubt one last thing: does this happening really require two components? The guy broke his own logic.

thought addict
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Oct 12, 2017 9:47 am

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

Post by thought addict » Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:06 am

Atla wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:39 pm
But then Descartes forgot to doubt one last thing: does this happening really require two components? The guy broke his own logic.
Physical things move about, they break apart or combine and they interact with forces. None of those things have anything to do with having an experience. Ergo, we need a second kind of component.

Atla
Posts: 2743
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:27 am

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

Post by Atla » Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:08 am

thought addict wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:06 am
Atla wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:39 pm
But then Descartes forgot to doubt one last thing: does this happening really require two components? The guy broke his own logic.
Physical things move about, they break apart or combine and they interact with forces. None of those things have anything to do with having an experience. Ergo, we need a second kind of component.
Right, this is what he forgot to doubt.
For example what makes you think that this "physical" isn't an experience too? Your concepts of point-like things interacting and combining are: concepts, which are experiences say mostly in the front of the head. Any image about this is say an experience in the back of the head, the visual cortex.
Also, the ever-present doubting is just another human thing to do. Doubts appear to be in the heads of humans, so why couldn't they be represented as physical stuctures.

Descartes thought these two had nothing to do with each other because being under the influence of Platonic dualism he didn't have the slightest clue what the "I" is.

User avatar
Greta
Posts: 4389
Joined: Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:10 am

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

Post by Greta » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:11 am

Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 8:08 am
thought addict wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 3:06 am
Atla wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:39 pm
But then Descartes forgot to doubt one last thing: does this happening really require two components? The guy broke his own logic.
Physical things move about, they break apart or combine and they interact with forces. None of those things have anything to do with having an experience. Ergo, we need a second kind of component.
Right, this is what he forgot to doubt.
For example what makes you think that this "physical" isn't an experience too? Your concepts of point-like things interacting and combining are: concepts, which are experiences say mostly in the front of the head. Any image about this is say an experience in the back of the head, the visual cortex.
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.

Londoner
Posts: 783
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:47 am

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

Post by Londoner » Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:42 am

Atla wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:39 pm
Well, we can doubt anything but in the end there is always stuff happening, the world is always happening, some kind of doubting is happening no matter what. So at least something about Descartes must always exist, no matter what.
But then Descartes forgot to doubt one last thing: does this happening really require two components? The guy broke his own logic.
The doubting, or judging, or understanding part of Descartes does not require two components. The second component is the operation of his senses. The world that enters his consciousness via his senses has a different nature to objects of consciousness.

Belinda
Posts: 3324
Joined: Fri Aug 26, 2016 10:13 am

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

Post by Belinda » 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?

Atla
Posts: 2743
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:27 am

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

Post by Atla » 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?

Atla
Posts: 2743
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:27 am

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

Post by Atla » 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.

Atla
Posts: 2743
Joined: Fri Dec 15, 2017 8:27 am

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

Post by Atla » Fri Jan 05, 2018 1:20 pm

Londoner wrote:
Fri Jan 05, 2018 11:42 am
Atla wrote:
Thu Jan 04, 2018 11:39 pm
Well, we can doubt anything but in the end there is always stuff happening, the world is always happening, some kind of doubting is happening no matter what. So at least something about Descartes must always exist, no matter what.
But then Descartes forgot to doubt one last thing: does this happening really require two components? The guy broke his own logic.
The doubting, or judging, or understanding part of Descartes does not require two components. The second component is the operation of his senses. The world that enters his consciousness via his senses has a different nature to objects of consciousness.
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?

Londoner
Posts: 783
Joined: Sun Sep 11, 2016 8:47 am

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

Post by Londoner » 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.

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 27 guests