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 » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:14 pm

Londoner wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 7:52 pm
Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 6:13 pm
Belinda wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 5:43 pm
Atla wrote:




And how would you like it if someone with no acquaintance with the lexicon or frames of reference tried to reasonably discuss a scientific topic with you ?
Also, you don't seem to understand that your philosophical lexicon of dualistic thinking IS the main problem here.
Everyone's lexicon is wrong except yours. Perhaps we should move on to discussing Wittgenstein and 'private languages'.
You miss the point again. I don't really have a lexicon, I'm a nondualist. At best I have metaphors. And yes, all dualistic thinking has an inherent problem.

And considering that you guys are the ones using the word "consciousness" for like at least 5 different things and don't notice it..

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

Post by thought addict » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:27 pm

Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:14 pm
And considering that you guys are the ones using the word "consciousness" for like at least 5 different things and don't notice it..
This whole thread is about the "Hard problem of consciousness", therefore we're concerned with only those aspects of consciousness that entail the Hard Problem, or in the more recent responses to your post, those aspects that we feel necessitate (or support) a dualist view. I personally think those two sets of aspects are the same. Anyway, I don't see any reason why there can't be at least 5 different aspects of consciousness that fit this description. I'm not sure it's fair to say the other posters "don't notice it" either - I think they've been pretty clear about which aspects of consciousness are being discussed.

For me, the first person point of view is one of the most challenging aspects of consciousness that entail the Hard Problem.

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

Post by Atla » Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:32 pm

thought addict wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:27 pm
Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 8:14 pm
And considering that you guys are the ones using the word "consciousness" for like at least 5 different things and don't notice it..
This whole thread is about the "Hard problem of consciousness", therefore we're concerned with only those aspects of consciousness that entail the Hard Problem, or in the more recent responses to your post, those aspects that we feel necessitate (or support) a dualist view. I personally think those two sets of aspects are the same. Anyway, I don't see any reason why there can't be at least 5 different aspects of consciousness that fit this description. I'm not sure it's fair to say the other posters "don't notice it" either - I think they've been pretty clear about which aspects of consciousness are being discussed.

For me, the first person point of view is one of the most challenging aspects of consciousness that entail the Hard Problem.
You understand that it's the first-person-point of view aspect, that's what I've been addressing too. But most of the others have been talking about self-awareness, or the indiviual "I", or two kinds of experiences, or an innate feeling to all life.

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

Post by Belinda » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:14 am

Atla wrote:
Everyone's lexicon is wrong except yours. Perhaps we should move on to discussing Wittgenstein and 'private languages'.
Standard terminology for theories of existence.
Wittgenstein on private language is about language and society not a theory of existence.

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

Post by Londoner » Sat Jan 13, 2018 10:56 am

Belinda wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:14 am
Standard terminology for theories of existence.
Wittgenstein on private language is about language and society not a theory of existence.
Oh No! Now I find myself on Atla's side!

We could only have a standard terminology if we already had agreement.

I cannot be clear what the meaning of words like 'consciousness' or 'exist' or 'mind' or any of the rest are - because their meaning is the subject of the discussion. (Indeed, our position might be that they have no coherent meaning.)

This thread is slightly different in that it is supposed to be a discussion of the 'Hard Problem', so we ought to initially ground ourselves on how such words were used by Chalmers. So, I can argue Atla misinterpreted the 'Hard Problem', but that isn't to say that Atla, or anyone else, has to be bound by Chalmer's language in a more general discussion.

As for Wittgenstein, since all those discussions about theories of existence (and everything else) are going to be conducted - between people - and via language - language itself is going to always be part of the discussion.

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

Post by Atla » Sat Jan 13, 2018 11:13 am

I thought I was following Chalmer's categorization of "hard problem" vs "easy problems". Maybe I wasn't.

The individual "I", and self-awareness, and sleep vs awake, and conscious vs unconscious, and conscious vs subconscious, and alive vs not-alive etc. are easy problems. Those can eventually all be explained away using neuroscience and psychology etc.

The only problem left is the hard problem, the problem of the first-person-view aspect. Why is there always first person view, why is there always experience happening. Why does experience go with the physical. I assumed that this was the topic of the discussion.

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

Post by Belinda » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:13 pm

Londoner wrote:
Oh No! Now I find myself on Atla's side!
Am I wrong that ever since Descartes at least, 'substance' is the standard frame and lexicon for academic ontology?
I have never heard of any philosopher who talks about ontology, theories of existence, without implying substance. Plato, who may be introduced as an exception to what I'm saying, can be interpreted according to ontological substances. Even Taoism can be interpreted according to ontological substances. Atla keeps on about "non dualism" which seems to refer to substance monism, however his intransigent refusal to adopt at least the main categories of ontology according to 'substance' holds him back.

Wittgenstein's social theory of language excludes jargons. Atla has already agreed with me about the uses of specialised meanings arbitrarily assigned to words by exclusive professions and academic specialisms. Philosophy is an academic specialism. Unless we can agree to use standard philosophical jargon we may fail to learn philosophy from each other

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

Post by Atla » Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:56 pm

Again: monism is based on dualistic thinking. I am not a monist.

"Substance" is a thought that we project onto the world. We normally percieve our thoughts like they would come in units. But in truth, they do not come in units at all, they just appear to.

So when we project a thought onto the world, we automatically also project a division onto the world that just isn't there. And then we take it literally.

Even when we talk about substance monism, we project a division onto the world that just isn't there.

All of current mainstream Western philosophy is based on these imaginary divisions.

The Hard problem of consciousness is a problem based on imaginary divisions. It does not exist.

Mental-physical is an imaginary division. It does not exist.

Which is why none of you could come up with a single example from any field of science that would certifiably demonstrate that dualism is real.

I rest my case now.

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

Post by Londoner » Sat Jan 13, 2018 1:49 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:13 pm

Am I wrong that ever since Descartes at least, 'substance' is the standard frame and lexicon for academic ontology?
I have never heard of any philosopher who talks about ontology, theories of existence, without implying substance.
But the different theories of existence would have different notions of what 'substance' means, and 'existence' for that matter!
Atla keeps on about "non dualism" which seems to refer to substance monism, however his intransigent refusal to adopt at least the main categories of ontology according to 'substance' holds him back.
Well, yes, that is more what I meant by my original comment about 'private language'. If we are going to have a conversation then we have got to first find some common ground about what we mean by the words we are using, even if we are later going to go on to question the concepts incorporated in those words. In my conversation with Alta I was mainly saying 'when people talk about dualism, in threads like this one, this is what they are describing'. And getting the reply 'there is no dualism', so we are always talking past each other.
Wittgenstein's social theory of language excludes jargons. Atla has already agreed with me about the uses of specialised meanings arbitrarily assigned to words by exclusive professions and academic specialisms. Philosophy is an academic specialism. Unless we can agree to use standard philosophical jargon we may fail to learn philosophy from each other
I do not recognise Wittgenstein in that. The point is that words, including technical terms (except perhaps logical connectives) do not refer in some fixed way. In as far as Atla and I are on the same page, doing the same thing, then we can communicate. But I would say that the problem is that Atla is not 'doing philosophy' in the sense that philosophers do it, so we find ourselves using the same words but not communicating.

I don't think this is special to Atla. There are several people who post on these boards with which you know there is simply no point in engaging, because there will be no communication, not because they are stupid but because they are not doing philosophy.

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

Post by seeds » Sat Jan 13, 2018 7:42 pm

seeds wrote: Your inner-experience is composed of an ability to control an infinitely malleable substance that is capable of being formed into absolutely anything you can imagine or desire. Now if you don't think that meets the definition of being a “special power,” then I don’t know what does.
Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:33 am
1. It's not an infinite ability. Try to correctly imagine a 679 dimensional cube for example. Or try to imagine an infinitely big image. You can't.
Try to correctly imagine Graham's number. You can't, if you were able to, your head would collapse into a black hole.
etc.
I would go on and say we can't even imagine nondualism correctly, it's impossible.
I never said anything about having an “infinite ability.”

In the quote you cited, I clearly stated that your inner-experience is composed of an ability to control (as in willfully grasp and manipulate) an “infinitely malleable substance” that is capable of being formed into anything imaginable.

Again, that’s an “infinitely malleable substance” being referenced, not an “infinite ability.”

Therefore, your response is a strawman.
seeds wrote: I suggest that our thoughts and dreams are indeed showing us exactly how things “really are,” in that, again, they are composed of a substance that is capable of becoming anything imaginable – just like the substance that forms the universe.

We are talking about a nebulous and informationally-based substance whose transformation from “noumena” into “phenomena” seems to be dependent upon the participation of consciousness (both inwardly and outwardly).
Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 10:33 am
Well your suggestion is wrong. You also don't seem to understand what information is. Guess what, you will never find information independent of matter, because they are nondual. Matter and information are two conceptualizations of the same thing.
If you would spend a little less time proclaiming how wrong the rest of us are, and a little more time trying to understand the ideas being presented to you, then you would realize that the illustration of the laser hologram I uploaded earlier...

Image

...actually supports your very own argument for the nondualistic nature of matter.

In the broken pieces of the photographic plate of the hologram, the information that underpins and delineates the phenomenal features of the three-dimensional objects, appears to exist in a state of interpenetrating “oneness” (as in nondual)...

...which of course is a simplistic metaphor for the suggested “entanglement” and “superpositioning” of reality (matter) at the subatomic level.

In which case, “matter and information” are indeed two conceptualizations (aspects) of the same thing.

However, the problem with your uncompromising (bull-headed) approach to nondualism lies in the non-verifiable assumption that there is no appreciable difference between the composition of quarks, electrons, and photons (things that are represented in the broken pieces of the hologram) and that of life, mind, and consciousness (things that are represented by the explicating lasers).

And it is that non-resolved issue concerning the ultimate nature of matter and that of the ultimate nature of mind and consciousness that lies at the very heart of the so-called “hard problem.”
_______

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

Post by Greta » Sun Jan 14, 2018 5:10 am

Atla wrote:
Sat Jan 13, 2018 12:56 pm
Which is why none of you could come up with a single example from any field of science that would certifiably demonstrate that dualism is real.

I rest my case now.
Thing is, if all of these divisions that we make are false in science, then that's the same with religions, philosophies and basically anything that requires language because the whole point of language is to identify the divisions we observe.

While GR and QM remain unbridged, then that suggests a reality of dual domains - the quantum and the relative, mind and body. However, there always remains the possibility of unification so there can perhaps be no "certifiable demonstration".

Otherwise, though, as per my first para, the divisions in reality that we observe are actually real (which, again, is why we need language). I am not postmodern when it comes to the "what is real?" question - there really is order in the chaos that we perceive, just that we miss a great deal (eg. can't see most gases or magnetism), and the boundaries between things tend to be fuzzier than language can usually economically convey.

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

Post by Belinda » Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:19 am

Londoner wrote:
But the different theories of existence would have different notions of what 'substance' means, and 'existence' for that matter!
But that was not the case for the two great Continental rationalists Descartes and Spinoza. They shared the same idea of what ontic substance means. However they disagreed about the relative status of mind, and extended matter.

Spinoza revised Descartes's preferred ontological explanation which was substance dualism. Spinoza had studied the work of Descartes.

Spinoza took Descartes's idea of two ontic substances, mind and extended matter, and claimed that mind, and extended matter, are aspects of the same substance.

That overarching substance is nature. Some who revere nature don't include the human but regard nature as what is other than human. This is not the case with Spinoza who includes humanity with other modes of nature.

True, it may be that mind, and extended matter, or even nature itself, cannot be proved to exist and may be functions of synthetic a priori (like causality is). However mind and body are common human categories and are even embedded in everyday language. Philosophers use these everyday notions of mind and body and analyse them and tighten the definitions. Atla has got as far as his claim that mind and body are "non dual" and is stuck there unless and until he discovers words for variations on his insight. Variations on Atla's "nondualism" have been allocated names by philosophers and it's fatuous to deny this. Atla may of course invent his own private words for 'idealism' or 'dual aspect monism' . Perhaps he has!

Philosophy of mind does in fact have a lot to add to the hard problem of consciousness.

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

Post by Atla » Sun Jan 14, 2018 11:12 am

Belinda wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:19 am
Londoner wrote:
But the different theories of existence would have different notions of what 'substance' means, and 'existence' for that matter!
But that was not the case for the two great Continental rationalists Descartes and Spinoza. They shared the same idea of what ontic substance means. However they disagreed about the relative status of mind, and extended matter.

Spinoza revised Descartes's preferred ontological explanation which was substance dualism. Spinoza had studied the work of Descartes.

Spinoza took Descartes's idea of two ontic substances, mind and extended matter, and claimed that mind, and extended matter, are aspects of the same substance.

That overarching substance is nature. Some who revere nature don't include the human but regard nature as what is other than human. This is not the case with Spinoza who includes humanity with other modes of nature.

True, it may be that mind, and extended matter, or even nature itself, cannot be proved to exist and may be functions of synthetic a priori (like causality is). However mind and body are common human categories and are even embedded in everyday language. Philosophers use these everyday notions of mind and body and analyse them and tighten the definitions. Atla has got as far as his claim that mind and body are "non dual" and is stuck there unless and until he discovers words for variations on his insight. Variations on Atla's "nondualism" have been allocated names by philosophers and it's fatuous to deny this. Atla may of course invent his own private words for 'idealism' or 'dual aspect monism' . Perhaps he has!

Philosophy of mind does in fact have a lot to add to the hard problem of consciousness.
Your understanding of philosophy is quite incomplete. There indeed exists a completely different way of looking at the world, which is distinct from idealism/monism/dual aspect monism etc. even though this is probably in your lexicon. You are trapped in a box, stop criticizing me for it.

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

Post by Belinda » Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:54 pm

Atla wrote:
Your understanding of philosophy is quite incomplete. There indeed exists a completely different way of looking at the world, which is distinct from idealism/monism/dual aspect monism etc. even though this is probably in your lexicon. You are trapped in a box, stop criticizing me for it.
I did wonder if perhaps I am trapped in a box. If you or anyone else knows of another conceptual frame for theories of existence ,mediated by a specific vocabulary, please tell.

I did not say you are trapped in a box I said you have not examined a box . A box is not a set of disconnected ideas but is an integrated heuristic system.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/substanc/

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

Post by Atla » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:18 pm

Belinda wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 7:54 pm
Atla wrote:
Your understanding of philosophy is quite incomplete. There indeed exists a completely different way of looking at the world, which is distinct from idealism/monism/dual aspect monism etc. even though this is probably in your lexicon. You are trapped in a box, stop criticizing me for it.
I did wonder if perhaps I am trapped in a box. If you or anyone else knows of another conceptual frame for theories of existence ,mediated by a specific vocabulary, please tell.

I did not say you are trapped in a box I said you have not examined a box . A box is not a set of disconnected ideas but is an integrated heuristic system.

http://www.iep.utm.edu/substanc/
That's what I've been doing all this time: telling you that there is another "conceptual frame" if you will, nondual thinking. Not just for theories of existence but also for pretty much everything else. Thinking without divisions. It is fundamentally incompatible with theories of substance.

As far as I know it doesn't have a well-established specific vocabulary yet, especially not in English, I tried to use words that they usually seem to use when explaining nondualism.

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