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

Post by Londoner » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:43 pm

Atla wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:52 pm
It is somewhat fuzzy so I made it clear that I'm talking about its essence, thinking without divisions, percieving the world without divisions. That doesn't mean that my stance doesn't exist. Nor was I talking about anything religious, you are just making these things up now.

We can't solve the Hard problem of consciousness using the same dualistic means that created it. You don't have to accept this, of course.
Yes, if you choose to perceive the world without divisions, then you will perceive the world without divisions. I would say that is religious in that it is a matter of choice, one isn't obliged by logic or science or anything else to perceive the world in that way. It is also like religion in that it is metaphysical; you (presumably) get the same perceptions as everyone else, you just choose to understand them in a particular way, so it makes no practical difference.

For example, I assume you can distinguish between the different keys on your keyboard, and between the keyboard and the monitor, and between the monitor and Mount Everest. If that is true, then if on some other level you 'see the world without divisions' it makes no difference.

So to say how you perceive things is a fact about you, not the world. If I say I perceive things in a different way, there is no disagreement, because we are both talking about ourselves, not the world. But as a consequence I cannot possibly understand what you mean in a non-fuzzy way, since you are describing an internal state, your 'stance', to which I have no access.

The Hard Problem of Consciousness does indeed involve distinguishing between different sorts of perceptions, between mind and matter. I'd be surprised if you can't do that, even though you may not wish to distinguish between them in some deeper sense. But that doesn't matter, because the point is that the problem assumes we do distinguish between them. So when you talk about your own stance you are not addressing the problem.

It is rather as if we were discussing the way from London to Paris. Somebody is welcome to observe that they consider spaciality to be an illusion, but it isn't strictly relevant to the topic.

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

Post by Atla » Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:56 pm

Londoner wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:43 pm
Atla wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 2:52 pm
It is somewhat fuzzy so I made it clear that I'm talking about its essence, thinking without divisions, percieving the world without divisions. That doesn't mean that my stance doesn't exist. Nor was I talking about anything religious, you are just making these things up now.

We can't solve the Hard problem of consciousness using the same dualistic means that created it. You don't have to accept this, of course.
Yes, if you choose to perceive the world without divisions, then you will perceive the world without divisions. I would say that is religious in that it is a matter of choice, one isn't obliged by logic or science or anything else to perceive the world in that way. It is also like religion in that it is metaphysical; you (presumably) get the same perceptions as everyone else, you just choose to understand them in a particular way, so it makes no practical difference.

For example, I assume you can distinguish between the different keys on your keyboard, and between the keyboard and the monitor, and between the monitor and Mount Everest. If that is true, then if on some other level you 'see the world without divisions' it makes no difference.

So to say how you perceive things is a fact about you, not the world. If I say I perceive things in a different way, there is no disagreement, because we are both talking about ourselves, not the world. But as a consequence I cannot possibly understand what you mean in a non-fuzzy way, since you are describing an internal state, your 'stance', to which I have no access.

The Hard Problem of Consciousness does indeed involve distinguishing between different sorts of perceptions, between mind and matter. I'd be surprised if you can't do that, even though you may not wish to distinguish between them in some deeper sense. But that doesn't matter, because the point is that the problem assumes we do distinguish between them. So when you talk about your own stance you are not addressing the problem.

It is rather as if we were discussing the way from London to Paris. Somebody is welcome to observe that they consider spaciality to be an illusion, but it isn't strictly relevant to the topic.
Well in that case the choice to percieve the world with disctinctions is far more religious, as nothing known to science indicates that these exist. You are making an assumption. I'm not. Following your logic, atheism is a religious choice.

That there are differences between a monitor and a mountain is not a relevant argument. These kinds of differences also exist inside the physical and mental substances.

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

Post by seeds » Mon Jan 15, 2018 6:59 pm

Atla wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:58 pm
Belinda wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:52 pm
Am I talking to a wall?
Don't be so bloody rude
Well don't call me coy after I just spent 10 pages of explaining the differences between the two ways of thinking. And you come and say I never even named my stance.
Atla, from what I can tell, your “stance” seems to be founded upon something that you alluded to in a statement you made 10 pages ago...
Atla wrote: The idea of an external reality independent of "us" was experimentally refuted in physics ~100 years ago, and in every such experiment since then.
Please explain to us what it is you believe that physics did “100 years ago” that refuted the existence of an external reality independent of us.

In other words, what experiment are you referring to, and in what way does it support your claim?
_______

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

Post by Londoner » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:00 pm

Atla wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 3:56 pm

Well in that case the choice to percieve the world with disctinctions is far more religious, as nothing known to science indicates that these exist.
I do not know what you understand by 'exist'. But science certainly does use distinctions; if it didn't we couldn't assert anything. For example, we couldn't say 'the earth orbits the sun' unless we distinguished the earth from the sun, and an orbit from other movements.
You are making an assumption. I'm not. Following your logic, atheism is a religious choice.
It might be. It would depend on why one was an atheist. If it was just a 'stance', something you had simply decided to be, a stance that wasn't arrived at as the consequence of any empirical observation, or one that made any practical difference, then it would be 'metaphysical' if not religious.

Consider, if you 'perceive the world without distinctions', but I 'perceive the world with distinctions', how can we tell which view is correct? If we can't think of a method, then it means that both statements are meaningless. We can generate any number of similar ideas; the world is a dream, we are all brains in a VAT, God micro manages the world, there is an alternate dimension, and so on. If there is no possible observation that would prove or disprove any of these ideas it makes no difference whether they are true or false.
That there are differences between a monitor and a mountain is not a relevant argument. These kinds of differences also exist inside the physical and mental substances.
I do not understand those sentences. When you say these kinds of differences exist 'inside the physical and mental substances', what does that mean? What is a 'mental substance'? Literally 'inside'? Inside our concepts of them? In some other sense?

Once again, suppose I disagree. Suppose I declare that; there are no differences inside mental substances. How would we find out which of us is correct? Because if we knew that, then we would know what the claim means.

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

Post by Greta » Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:34 pm

Atla wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:49 pm
Greta wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:35 pm
Atla wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 7:58 am

I can jump back and forth between the two thinking modes. Actually I mostly tend to be a dualist in my everyday life too, no one has an idea that I think differently because I don't show it.

But there is no middle ground, the two ways of thinking are fundamentally incompatible. And there is only one body of (scientific) knowledge, with two ways to think about it.
Later ...
Atla wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 11:06 am
Nondual thinking: we realize that conceptual divisions are imaginary. "Things" are not-two, not-one.

Dualistic thinking: we don't realize that conceptual divisions are imaginary. "Things" really are things, in themselves.
I was referring to alternative bodies of knowledge, not modes of thinking.

Still, it's not ideal to embrace both of the above modes of thinking since the latter is unaware of basic philosophical tenets. Since Kant, what you refer to as "nondual thinking" is well established in scientific and philosophical circles, and Einstein made clear that all is relative so there already is strong awareness that the divisions and classification used for various phenomena are as based on our evolved senses as the actual things being observed.

Often this is not stated for the sake of economy, but is widely understood by scientists and philosophers.
If it's as understood as you claim then why can't you solve the Hard problem of consciousness?
Nobody has solved the hard problem, although plenty (like Dennett) believe they have.

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

Post by -1- » Fri Jan 19, 2018 1:08 am

Greta wrote:
Mon Jan 15, 2018 8:34 pm
Nobody has solved the hard problem, although plenty (like Dennett) believe they have.
Dennett dinnit dunnit.

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

Post by Atla » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:53 am

Materialists and idealists have no chance of solving the Hard problem. But even among them Dennett is a Special Case. Ha takes stance number 1 in my original comment, entirely denying qualia. That is probably the single most ridiculous and self-defeating philosophical stance in the history of human thought. And it's pretty destructive too.

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

Post by Londoner » Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:48 am

Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:53 am
Materialists and idealists have no chance of solving the Hard problem. But even among them Dennett is a Special Case. Ha takes stance number 1 in my original comment, entirely denying qualia. That is probably the single most ridiculous and self-defeating philosophical stance in the history of human thought. And it's pretty destructive too.
We can both create and solve philosophical problems with language. 'Qualia' is an example. Language cannot deal with private experience so we invent a portmanteau word that covers 'all that sort of thing'. But now, having distinguished 'qualia', we have the problem of how 'qualia' can relate to everything that isn't 'qualia'.

Philosophers, like Dennett, would tackle this by asking what we really understand by 'qualia'. Does the problem really arise - not because we have problems relating 'qualia' to non-qualia, but because the word itself contains self-contradictory meanings?

So it isn't that he is 'entirely denying qualia' in the sense of denying that we have individual subjective reactions to the world. It is more that he doesn't think that to give these the collective label 'qualia' achieves anything, except to confuse the issue further.

This isn't a 'stance'. Philosophers do not select a 'stance' on an issue and defend it against all the other teams. Rather the process consists of attempts to clarify what the issue is, or whether there is an issue at all.

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

Post by Atla » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:21 am

Londoner wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:48 am
Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:53 am
Materialists and idealists have no chance of solving the Hard problem. But even among them Dennett is a Special Case. Ha takes stance number 1 in my original comment, entirely denying qualia. That is probably the single most ridiculous and self-defeating philosophical stance in the history of human thought. And it's pretty destructive too.
We can both create and solve philosophical problems with language. 'Qualia' is an example. Language cannot deal with private experience so we invent a portmanteau word that covers 'all that sort of thing'. But now, having distinguished 'qualia', we have the problem of how 'qualia' can relate to everything that isn't 'qualia'.

Philosophers, like Dennett, would tackle this by asking what we really understand by 'qualia'. Does the problem really arise - not because we have problems relating 'qualia' to non-qualia, but because the word itself contains self-contradictory meanings?

So it isn't that he is 'entirely denying qualia' in the sense of denying that we have individual subjective reactions to the world. It is more that he doesn't think that to give these the collective label 'qualia' achieves anything, except to confuse the issue further.

This isn't a 'stance'. Philosophers do not select a 'stance' on an issue and defend it against all the other teams. Rather the process consists of attempts to clarify what the issue is, or whether there is an issue at all.
I think Dennett redifines "qualia" to refer to the things that can be studied by science, and then shows that these problems can all be solved one by one (obviously). And because of that, he claims that the Hard problem is solved.

So by redefining "qualia" this way, he has esentially thrown out subjective experience, and his whole argument is one big strawman. I don't see why denying qualia can't be seen as a stance.

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

Post by -1- » Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:55 am

Whom should I believe?
Londoner wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 10:48 am
So it isn't that he (Dennett) is 'entirely denying qualia' in the sense of denying that we have individual subjective reactions to the world. It is more that he doesn't think that to give these the collective label 'qualia' achieves anything, except to confuse the issue further.
Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:21 am
I think Dennett redifines "qualia" to refer to the things that can be studied by science, and then shows that these problems can all be solved one by one (obviously). And because of that, he claims that the Hard problem is solved.

So by redefining "qualia" this way, he has esentially thrown out subjective experience, and his whole argument is one big strawman. I don't see why denying qualia can't be seen as a stance.
This discussion is now how Dennett defines qualia. There are two opinions here, which are exclusive of each other.

The first (by Londoner) states that Dennett does not deny the subjectivity of subjective experiences, he only objects to confusing he issue further, by giving the collection of subjective experiences a name called "Qualia". Is this really how Dennett treats qualia and subjective experience?

The second (in order of appearance) by Atla states that Dennett denies the subjectivity of experience. Is this true? Atla also states that qualia by Dennett is defined as things that are scientifically explicable. Is this really what Dennett said?

To me of interest would be: Does Dennett accept the existence of subjective experience? If yes, is he only complaining about the issue of qualia being a confuser? if no, Dennett does not accept the existence of the subjectivity of experience, then how does he explain MY hunger which I feel that you can't, and love that you feel but which love of yours I can't feel?

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

Post by Atla » Fri Jan 19, 2018 12:50 pm

Well I guess Dennett would say something like, you aren't actually hungry, or feeling pain, it just seems that way.

Seems to whom or to what, you may ask, for this "seeming" would also be an experience.

I guess Dennett would reply that it only seems to seem that you are hungry or feel pain. :) And so on.

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

Post by Londoner » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:01 pm

Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:21 am
I think Dennett redifines "qualia" to refer to the things that can be studied by science, and then shows that these problems can all be solved one by one (obviously). And because of that, he claims that the Hard problem is solved.

So by redefining "qualia" this way, he has esentially thrown out subjective experience, and his whole argument is one big strawman. I don't see why denying qualia can't be seen as a stance.
It isn't that The Problem is solved, it is that it does not arise. Or perhaps, that if we accept the notion of 'qualia' then we create the problem, and at the same time the problem becomes unsolvable in that it is outside all the ways we explain things. It is rather as if I asked you to do a sum in which one of the quantities was 'infinity' i.e. something outside the concept of number, or to conduct a scientific experiment in which one of the substances was 'spirit'.

I do not think Dennett 'throws out' subjective experience in the sense that he denies we have it. Rather he questions whether it is something in particular, i.e. this thing 'qualia' (yet which is also not a 'thing in the material sense). So, Dennett might agree that there is a subjective aspect to seeing a colour, or to thinking about philosophy, but not agree that we can lump them together as if they were somehow parts of the same mysterious substance.

(If we do lump them together as 'qualia', then we have to explain where the qualia subsist, to which the answer is 'mind' and we are back to the problem as originally posed; What is the connection between mind and the physical brain?)

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

Post by Atla » Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:49 pm

Londoner wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:01 pm
Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 11:21 am
I think Dennett redifines "qualia" to refer to the things that can be studied by science, and then shows that these problems can all be solved one by one (obviously). And because of that, he claims that the Hard problem is solved.

So by redefining "qualia" this way, he has esentially thrown out subjective experience, and his whole argument is one big strawman. I don't see why denying qualia can't be seen as a stance.
It isn't that The Problem is solved, it is that it does not arise. Or perhaps, that if we accept the notion of 'qualia' then we create the problem, and at the same time the problem becomes unsolvable in that it is outside all the ways we explain things. It is rather as if I asked you to do a sum in which one of the quantities was 'infinity' i.e. something outside the concept of number, or to conduct a scientific experiment in which one of the substances was 'spirit'.

I do not think Dennett 'throws out' subjective experience in the sense that he denies we have it. Rather he questions whether it is something in particular, i.e. this thing 'qualia' (yet which is also not a 'thing in the material sense). So, Dennett might agree that there is a subjective aspect to seeing a colour, or to thinking about philosophy, but not agree that we can lump them together as if they were somehow parts of the same mysterious substance.

(If we do lump them together as 'qualia', then we have to explain where the qualia subsist, to which the answer is 'mind' and we are back to the problem as originally posed; What is the connection between mind and the physical brain?)
How can there be 1. a color, and 2. a scientific description of that color, without a Hard problem arising?

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

Post by Londoner » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:15 pm

Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:49 pm
How can there be 1. a color, and 2. a scientific description of that color, without a Hard problem arising?
There can be no scientific description of colour, not if colour is understood as qualia.

How could we decide a dispute about colour? Suppose I said that what I had once seen as red now appears orange. I am describing a private state; something nobody else has access to, so there is nothing to measure and compare, as we would do in science. Indeed, I cannot even know myself if it is really true that my perception of the qualia had changed, since I do not have access to how I previously perceived red, so that I can compare it to my perception now.

The Hard Problem (as usually expressed) wants to connect 'sensations', the process by which I am receptive to colours, and this experience of colour. But if I cannot tie down what the experience is, such that I can say when it changes or doesn't, then how can I connect it to the sensing? The sensing process itself (an 'Easy Problem') is reasonably clear, but the thing I am trying to connect it to is elusive.

I do not think Dennett would deny that we are conscious; that we have an internal life, but in that life everything runs together. For example, I do not understand 'red' just as a discrete thing, but rather it is mixed up in a totality of consciousness. It is always risky to use an analogy, but it is as if I asked you to explain the meaning of 'red', but in your explanation you are not allowed to refer to any other colour, or colour generally. You would reasonably reply that 'red' cannot be understood in isolation. I think Dennett would say the same about 'red' as a 'qualia'.

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

Post by Atla » Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:47 pm

Londoner wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 7:15 pm
Atla wrote:
Fri Jan 19, 2018 5:49 pm
How can there be 1. a color, and 2. a scientific description of that color, without a Hard problem arising?
There can be no scientific description of colour, not if colour is understood as qualia.

How could we decide a dispute about colour? Suppose I said that what I had once seen as red now appears orange. I am describing a private state; something nobody else has access to, so there is nothing to measure and compare, as we would do in science. Indeed, I cannot even know myself if it is really true that my perception of the qualia had changed, since I do not have access to how I previously perceived red, so that I can compare it to my perception now.

The Hard Problem (as usually expressed) wants to connect 'sensations', the process by which I am receptive to colours, and this experience of colour. But if I cannot tie down what the experience is, such that I can say when it changes or doesn't, then how can I connect it to the sensing? The sensing process itself (an 'Easy Problem') is reasonably clear, but the thing I am trying to connect it to is elusive.

I do not think Dennett would deny that we are conscious; that we have an internal life, but in that life everything runs together. For example, I do not understand 'red' just as a discrete thing, but rather it is mixed up in a totality of consciousness. It is always risky to use an analogy, but it is as if I asked you to explain the meaning of 'red', but in your explanation you are not allowed to refer to any other colour, or colour generally. You would reasonably reply that 'red' cannot be understood in isolation. I think Dennett would say the same about 'red' as a 'qualia'.
Science describes colors using wavelengths etc. just fine.

I don't think that Dennett, or science, or the Hard problem for that matter, has anything to do with your belief in that extra Platonic world of ideas and sensations, or something like that. Actually Dennett strongly argues against some kind of "Cartesian theater".

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