Consciousness and The Interface Theory of Perception

S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#41
he could, among other things, calculate the mappings in the mode
What are you specifically referring to here?

If the framework is isomorphic to QM, then it will make the same predictions that QM does. He may be just going along for the piggyback ride.
Actually there are possible differences between the models.

Is it a result, or is it a (not-true) perception of the underlying agent schema?
Wouldn't it be both? The underlying schema produces something that, to our perception, looks like a quark.

I think this is the first big challenge Hoffman faces - he has to show the mathematics of the larger true reality, and then show us how this hyper-reality produces us and the observable world.

The second is taking the model and making predictions that can be falsified.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#42
I appreciate your explanation, but I want to understand why I should accept Hoffman's actual assertion that a spoon is like a headache?
Well under his Idealism model your headache is a subjective experience of pain, and your spoon "icon" is as well.

Outside of his model they are very different things.
 
#43
Well under his Idealism model your headache is a subjective experience of pain, and your spoon "icon" is as well. Outside of his model they are very different things.
I have difficulty accepting that, in the article I've read online Hoffman seems to make his assertion about the real world, not his model? I'm still no nearer understanding why I should accept Hoffman's assertion that a spoon is like a headache?
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
#44
What are you specifically referring to here?
Can he figure out how to calculate the mappings P, D, and A?

Actually there are possible differences between the models.
Possibly so. It is important that he identify them and try to come up with falsifiable hypotheses.

Wouldn't it be both? The underlying schema produces something that, to our perception, looks like a quark.
Does it produce a separate thing, or simply generate perceptions? If it generates a thing and we can study that thing, then our perceptions of that thing are "true."

What exactly is W in his framework?

I think this is the first big challenge Hoffman faces - he has to show the mathematics of the larger true reality, and then show us how this hyper-reality produces us and the observable world.
The second is taking the model and making predictions that can be falsified.
Agreed.

~~ Paul
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#46
From Edge 2005, not sure if this clarifies anything:

I believe that consciousness and its contents are all that exists. Spacetime, matter and fields never were the fundamental denizens of the universe but have always been, from their beginning, among the humbler contents of consciousness, dependent on it for their very being.
The world of our daily experience—the world of tables, chairs, stars and people, with their attendant shapes, smells, feels and sounds—is a species-specific user interface to a realm far more complex, a realm whose essential character is conscious. It is unlikely that the contents of our interface in any way resemble that realm. Indeed the usefulness of an interface requires, in general, that they do not. For the point of an interface, such as the windows interface on a computer, is simplification and ease of use. We click icons because this is quicker and less prone to error than editing megabytes of software or toggling voltages in circuits. Evolutionary pressures dictate that our species-specific interface, this world of our daily experience, should itself be a radical simplification, selected not for the exhaustive depiction of truth but for the mutable pragmatics of survival.


If this is right, if consciousness is fundamental, then we should not be surprised that, despite centuries of effort by the most brilliant of minds, there is as yet no physicalist theory of consciousness, no theory that explains how mindless matter or energy or fields could be, or cause, conscious experience. There are, of course, many proposals for where to find such a theory—perhaps in information, complexity, neurobiology, neural darwinism, discriminative mechanisms, quantum effects, or functional organization. But no proposal remotely approaches the minimal standards for a scientific theory: quantitative precision and novel prediction. If matter is but one of the humbler products of consciousness, then we should expect that consciousness itself cannot be theoretically derived from matter. The mind-body problem will be to physicalist ontology what black-body radiation was to classical mechanics: first a goad to its heroic defense, later the provenance of its final supersession.


The heroic defense will, I suspect, not soon be abandoned. For the defenders doubt that a replacement grounded in consciousness could attain the mathematical precision or impressive scope of physicalist science. It remains to be seen, of course, to what extent and how effectively mathematics can model consciousness. But there are fascinating hints: According to some of its interpretations, the mathematics of quantum theory is itself, already, a major advance in this project. And perhaps much of the mathematical progress in the perceptual and cognitive sciences can also be so interpreted. We shall see.


The mind-body problem may not fall within the scope of physicalist science, since this problem has, as yet, no bona fide physicalist theory. Its defenders can surely argue that this penury shows only that we have not been clever enough or that, until the right mutation chances by, we cannot be clever enough, to devise a physicalist theory. They may be right. But if we assume that consciousness is fundamental then the mind-body problem transforms from an attempt to bootstrap consciousness from matter into an attempt to bootstrap matter from consciousness. The latter bootstrap is, in principle, elementary: Matter, spacetime and physical objects are among the contents of consciousness.


The rules by which, for instance, human vision constructs colors, shapes, depths, motions, textures and objects, rules now emerging from psychophysical and computational studies in the cognitive sciences, can be read as a description, partial but mathematically precise, of this bootstrap. What we lose in this process are physical objects that exist independent of any observer. There is no sun or moon unless a conscious mind perceives them, for both are constructs of consciousness, icons in a species-specific user interface. To some this seems a patent absurdity, a reductio of the position, readily contradicted by experience and our best science. But our best science, our theory of the quantum, gives no such assurance. And experience once led us to believe the earth flat and the stars near. Perhaps, in due time, mind-independent objects will go the way of flat earth.

This view obviates no method or result of science, but integrates and reinterprets them in its framework. Consider, for instance, the quest for neural correlates of consciousness (NCC). This holy grail of physicalism can, and should, proceed unabated if consciousness is fundamental, for it constitutes a central investigation of our user interface. To the physicalist, an NCC is, potentially, a causal source of consciousness. If, however, consciousness is fundamental, then an NCC is a feature of our interface correlated with, but never causally responsible for, alterations of consciousness. Damage the brain, destroy the NCC, and consciousness is, no doubt, impaired. Yet neither the brain nor the NCC causes consciousness. Instead consciousness constructs the brain and the NCC. This is no mystery. Drag a file's icon to the trash and the file is, no doubt, destroyed. Yet neither the icon nor the trash, each a mere pattern of pixels on a screen, causes its destruction. The icon is a simplification, a graphical correlate of the file's contents (GCC), intended to hide, not to instantiate, the complex web of causal relations.
 
#47
From Edge 2005, not sure if this clarifies anything:
I believe that consciousness and its contents are all that exists. Spacetime, matter and fields never were the fundamental denizens of the universe but have always been, from their beginning, among the humbler contents of consciousness, dependent on it for their very being.
The world of our daily experience—the world of tables, chairs, stars and people, with their attendant shapes, smells, feels and sounds—is a species-specific user interface to a realm far more complex, a realm whose essential character is conscious. It is unlikely that the contents of our interface in any way resemble that realm. Indeed the usefulness of an interface requires, in general, that they do not. For the point of an interface, such as the windows interface on a computer, is simplification and ease of use. We click icons because this is quicker and less prone to error than editing megabytes of software or toggling voltages in circuits. Evolutionary pressures dictate that our species-specific interface, this world of our daily experience, should itself be a radical simplification, selected not for the exhaustive depiction of truth but for the mutable pragmatics of survival.

If this is right, if consciousness is fundamental, then we should not be surprised that, despite centuries of effort by the most brilliant of minds, there is as yet no physicalist theory of consciousness, no theory that explains how mindless matter or energy or fields could be, or cause, conscious experience. There are, of course, many proposals for where to find such a theory—perhaps in information, complexity, neurobiology, neural darwinism, discriminative mechanisms, quantum effects, or functional organization. But no proposal remotely approaches the minimal standards for a scientific theory: quantitative precision and novel prediction. If matter is but one of the humbler products of consciousness, then we should expect that consciousness itself cannot be theoretically derived from matter. The mind-body problem will be to physicalist ontology what black-body radiation was to classical mechanics: first a goad to its heroic defense, later the provenance of its final supersession.

The heroic defense will, I suspect, not soon be abandoned. For the defenders doubt that a replacement grounded in consciousness could attain the mathematical precision or impressive scope of physicalist science. It remains to be seen, of course, to what extent and how effectively mathematics can model consciousness. But there are fascinating hints: According to some of its interpretations, the mathematics of quantum theory is itself, already, a major advance in this project. And perhaps much of the mathematical progress in the perceptual and cognitive sciences can also be so interpreted. We shall see.

The mind-body problem may not fall within the scope of physicalist science, since this problem has, as yet, no bona fide physicalist theory. Its defenders can surely argue that this penury shows only that we have not been clever enough or that, until the right mutation chances by, we cannot be clever enough, to devise a physicalist theory. They may be right. But if we assume that consciousness is fundamental then the mind-body problem transforms from an attempt to bootstrap consciousness from matter into an attempt to bootstrap matter from consciousness. The latter bootstrap is, in principle, elementary: Matter, spacetime and physical objects are among the contents of consciousness.

The rules by which, for instance, human vision constructs colors, shapes, depths, motions, textures and objects, rules now emerging from psychophysical and computational studies in the cognitive sciences, can be read as a description, partial but mathematically precise, of this bootstrap. What we lose in this process are physical objects that exist independent of any observer. There is no sun or moon unless a conscious mind perceives them, for both are constructs of consciousness, icons in a species-specific user interface. To some this seems a patent absurdity, a reductio of the position, readily contradicted by experience and our best science. But our best science, our theory of the quantum, gives no such assurance. And experience once led us to believe the earth flat and the stars near. Perhaps, in due time, mind-independent objects will go the way of flat earth.

This view obviates no method or result of science, but integrates and reinterprets them in its framework. Consider, for instance, the quest for neural correlates of consciousness (NCC). This holy grail of physicalism can, and should, proceed unabated if consciousness is fundamental, for it constitutes a central investigation of our user interface. To the physicalist, an NCC is, potentially, a causal source of consciousness. If, however, consciousness is fundamental, then an NCC is a feature of our interface correlated with, but never causally responsible for, alterations of consciousness. Damage the brain, destroy the NCC, and consciousness is, no doubt, impaired. Yet neither the brain nor the NCC causes consciousness. Instead consciousness constructs the brain and the NCC. This is no mystery. Drag a file's icon to the trash and the file is, no doubt, destroyed. Yet neither the icon nor the trash, each a mere pattern of pixels on a screen, causes its destruction. The icon is a simplification, a graphical correlate of the file's contents (GCC), intended to hide, not to instantiate, the complex web of causal relations.
Not really, I'm already somewhat sympathetic to these views, but in my view there are good reasons why a headache is not like a spoon, but he doesn't address those issues.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#50
Truer Perceptions Are Fitter Perceptions Should be Retired

"Those of our predecessors who perceived the world more accurately enjoyed a competitive advantage over their less-fortunate peers. They were thus more likely to raise children and to become our ancestors. We are the offspring of those who perceived more truly, and we can be confident that our perceptions are, in the normal case, reasonably accurate. There are of course endogenous limits. We can, for instance, see light only in a narrow window of wavelengths between roughly 400 and 700 nanometers, and hear sound only in a narrow window of frequencies between 20 and 20,000 Hertz. Moreover we are prone, on occasion, to have perceptual illusions. But with these provisos noted, it is fair to conclude on evolutionary grounds that our perceptions are, in general, reliable guides to reality.

This is the consensus of researchers studying perception via brain imaging, computational modeling and psychophysical experiments. It is mentioned in passing in many professional publications, and stated as fact in standard textbooks.

But it gets evolution wrong. Fitness and truth are distinct concepts in evolutionary theory. To specify a fitness function one must specify not just the state of the world but also, inter alia, a particular organism, a particular state of that organism, and a particular action. Dark chocolates can kill cats, but are a fitting gift from a suitor on Valentine's Day.

Monte Carlo simulations using evolutionary game theory, with a wide range of fitness functions and a wide range of randomly created environments, find that truer perceptions are routinely driven to extinction by perceptions that are tuned to the relevant fitness functions. The extension of these simulations to evolutionary graphs is in progress, and the same result is expected. Simulations with genetic algorithms find that truth never gets on the stage to have a chance to go extinct.

Perceptions tuned to fitness are typically far less complex than those tuned to truth. They require less time and resources to compute, and are thus advantageous in environments where swift action is critical. But even apart from considerations of time and complexity, true perceptions go extinct simply because natural selection selects for fitness not truth.

We must take our perceptions seriously. They have been shaped by natural selection to guide adaptive behaviors and to keep us alive long enough to reproduce. We should avoid cliffs and snakes. But we must not take our perceptions literally. They are not the truth; they are simply a species-specific guide to behavior.

Observation is the empirical foundation of science. The predicates of this foundation, including space, time, physical objects and causality, are a species-specific adaptation, not an insight. Thus this view of perception has implications for fields beyond perceptual science, including physics, neuroscience and the philosophy of science. The old assumption that fitter perceptions are truer perceptions is deeply woven into our conception of science. The funeral of this assumption will not be snubbed with a back-page obituary, but heralded with regime change."
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#51
Peeking Behind the Icons

I found this to be far clearer than Hoffman's pronouncements on headaches and spoons, but others' mileage may vary.

After you put on your helmet, you find yourself on a sandy beach with nine other players dressed not in the ugly high-tech bodysuits you saw just a moment ago, but in flattering bathing suits. You’re surrounded by palms trees and blue skies, with light puffy clouds. You hear the soft screeching of gulls, and the gentle pounding of surf. You see an off-white volleyball lying before you on the sand, and a volleyball net already set up...

Then you serve and the fun begins. You and the others are soon completely absorbed as you dig, set, feint, and spike with abandon. This goes on for a few wonderful minutes.

Then, suddenly, you are plagued with philosophical worries about the game you’re now playing. Between points, and in lulls in the action, question after question comes to mind. The first is this:

Are we all seeing and playing with the same volleyball?
But what is your relational brain? Does it resemble your phenomenal brain? There’s no reason to suppose it does. In fact, as we saw with the volleyball, there’s no reason to suppose that the nature of the phenomenal brain in any way constrains the nature of the relational brain. Your phenomenal brain is simply a graphical interface that allows you to interact with your relational brain, whatever that relational brain might be. And all that’s required of a graphical interface is that it be systematically related to what it represents. The relation can be as arbitrary as you wish, as long as it’s systematic. The trash can icon on your computer screen is a graphical interface to software which can erase files on your computer disk. The trash can icon is systematically related to that erasing software, but the relation is arbitrary: the trash can icon doesn’t resemble the erasing software in any way. It could be any color or shape you wish and still successfully do the job of letting you interact with the erasing software. It could be a pig icon or a toilette icon instead of a trash can icon. All that matters is the systematic connection.
 
#53
Truer Perceptions Are Fitter Perceptions Should be Retired

.......
Monte Carlo simulations using evolutionary game theory, with a wide range of fitness functions and a wide range of randomly created environments, find that truer perceptions are routinely driven to extinction by perceptions that are tuned to the relevant fitness functions. The extension of these simulations to evolutionary graphs is in progress, and the same result is expected. Simulations with genetic algorithms find that truth never gets on the stage to have a chance to go extinct.
Perceptions tuned to fitness are typically far less complex than those tuned to truth. They require less time and resources to compute, and are thus advantageous in environments where swift action is critical. But even apart from considerations of time and complexity, true perceptions go extinct simply because natural selection selects for fitness not truth.....

I would like to see some examples of empirical observational data to substantiate these claims. And, "fitness functions" inherently include the notion of some sort of objective external environment against which fitness is measured. In the case of nature (as opposed to evolutionary simulations) that objective external environment is the working reality of nature itself.
.........Observation is the empirical foundation of science. The predicates of this foundation, including space, time, physical objects and causality, are a species-specific adaptation, not an insight. Thus this view of perception has implications for fields beyond perceptual science, including physics, neuroscience and the philosophy of science. The old assumption that fitter perceptions are truer perceptions is deeply woven into our conception of science. The funeral of this assumption will not be snubbed with a back-page obituary, but heralded with regime change.

This view seems to be a species of postmodernist thought.

Postmodernism
A general and wide-ranging term which is applied to literature, art, philosophy, architecture, fiction, and cultural and literary criticism, among others. Postmodernism is largely a reaction to the assumed certainty of scientific, or objective, efforts to explain reality. In essence, it stems from a recognition that reality is not simply mirrored in human understanding of it, but rather, is constructed as the mind tries to understand its own particular and personal reality. For this reason, postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person. In the postmodern understanding, interpretation is everything; reality only comes into being through our interpretations of what the world means to us individually. Postmodernism relies on concrete experience over abstract principles, knowing always that the outcome of one's own experience will necessarily be fallible and relative, rather than certain and universal.

Postmodernism is "post" because it denies the existence of any ultimate principles, and it lacks the optimism of there being a scientific, philosophical, or religious truth which will explain everything for everybody - a characterisitic of the so-called "modern" mind. The paradox of the postmodern position is that, in placing all principles under the scrutiny of its skepticism, it must realize that even its own principles are not beyond questioning. As the philospher Richard Tarnas states, postmodernism "cannot on its own principles ultimately justify itself any more than can the various metaphysical overviews against which the postmodern mind has defined itself.
"
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#54
I rushed through it not very carefully, as it's much earlier, and didn't seem to be as focused as the spoon/headache... but it has all the same issues as that had.
Really? My issue with the spoon/headache stuff was there wasn't a clear mention of some underlying reality. The idealism Hoffman is talking about seems more in line with that of Zeilinger, who posits something lying beyond our subjective experience.

I would like to see some examples of empirical observational data to substantiate these claims. And, "fitness functions" inherently include the notion of some sort of objective external environment against which fitness is measured. In the case of nature (as opposed to evolutionary simulations) that objective external environment is the working reality of nature itself.

This view seems to be a species of postmodernist thought.
I actually thought the interface stuff was decidedly less controversial than the Conscious Realism stuff. We know sensory perception is deceptive and leaves stuff out. It seems to me Hoffman only goes farther about just how deceived we actually are, in that our survival as a species is not proof that our perception is a good depiction of what's really real.
 
#56
I think this subject is particularly relevant to us. I know that Alex interviewed this guy, and for some reason the podcast never appeared. Maybe there were technical problems, I don't know.

His original explanation of his mathematical theory of MUI's was extremely hard to follow, it would be nice if he has produced anything a little easier to understand!

Even though this subject has come up before, I am going to make this thread sticky for a bit to promote more discussion.

Here is a rather more informative discussion with some references:

http://journal.frontiersin.org/article/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00577/full

David
 
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#57
I appreciate your explanation, but I want to understand why I should accept Hoffman's actual assertion that a spoon is like a headache?
Clearly Hoffman chose this example to illustrate just how radical his theory is.

Paul objected in a slightly more revealing way:
"No one but me can experience my spoon, and no one but you can experience your spoon. But this is no problem. It is enough for me to assume that your spoon experience is relevantly similar to mine."

He is hiding a lot of important stuff in the magic word "relevantly." In particular, if there is nothing that represents the "real spoon," then why are our two spoons similar at all?
Why is this more revealing - because the standard idea behind neural nets was/is that an idea or an object is represented by a net of weighted connections between (pretend) neurons. This representation is created on the fly by statistical processes, so using this mainstream approach my 'spoon' would not be equivalent to your 'spoon. By some quirk of good fortune and physiology, I hardly ever have literal headaches (as opposed to truculent forum members, who can be metaphorical headaches!), so I haven't suffered enough of them to comment!

More generally, I think Hoffman is taking the first steps towards an Idealist model of reality. It clearly has enormous potential for ψ-related topics, and I wonder if he secretly has this in mind.

For example, if brains do not exist (along with the rest of the physical universe!) then what happens at death is no longer obvious. Also, my actual computer desktop contains some icons that relate to my own code, and is thus unlike a non-programmer's desktop. I wonder if some people's conceptual desktop likewise have unusual icons on them - ones that relate to what the rest of us call paranormal powers. A world where all the stuff we see is really just icons, is obviously potentially more amenable to magic! Certainly, a programmer could create desktop icons that would appear wonderfully magical to people who take their computer desktops literally (as I am sure some do).

I would desperately like someone to de-clutter Hoffman's theory of all the obscure math. Nevertheless, his is one of very few ideas in consciousness that seem worth the effort to try to plough through the maths!

David
 
#58
Clearly Hoffman chose this example to illustrate just how radical his theory is.

Paul objected in a slightly more revealing way:

Why is this more revealing - because the standard idea behind neural nets was/is that an idea or an object is represented by a net of weighted connections between (pretend) neurons. This representation is created on the fly by statistical processes, so using this mainstream approach my 'spoon' would not be equivalent to your 'spoon. By some quirk of good fortune and physiology, I hardly ever have literal headaches (as opposed to truculent forum members, who can be metaphorical headaches!), so I haven't suffered enough of them to comment!

More generally, I think Hoffman is taking the first steps towards an Idealist model of reality. It clearly has enormous potential for ψ-related topics, and I wonder if he secretly has this in mind.

For example, if brains do not exist (along with the rest of the physical universe!) then what happens at death is no longer obvious. Also, my actual computer desktop contains some icons that relate to my own code, and is thus unlike a non-programmer's desktop. I wonder if some people's conceptual desktop likewise have unusual icons on them - ones that relate to what the rest of us call paranormal powers. A world where all the stuff we see is really just icons, is obviously potentially more amenable to magic! Certainly, a programmer could create desktop icons that would appear wonderfully magical to people who take their computer desktops literally (as I am sure some do).

I would desperately like someone to de-clutter Hoffman's theory of all the obscure math. Nevertheless, his is one of very few ideas in consciousness that seem worth the effort to try to plough through the maths!

David
As I wrote to Sci a long time ago...

Hoffman claims a spoon is like a headache. Yet, I think there are big differences between the spoon and the headache which Hoffman has not addressed.

Hoffman's example story is provided in this article. However, lets change the story a little, by totally separating both persons in time, preventing them from ever having any direct contact with each other, say a grandfather who died before his grandson was born.

According to my practical experience of the world, the grandfather in the earlier time is able to pass the spoon to the grandson in the later time. The grandson is still able to experience the spoon, and understand it's meaning, without ever having had any direct contact or communication with his grandfather, beyond the receipt of the spoon.

Yet if we now take the headache, it's clear that where both grandfather and grandson exist totally separately in time, preventing either of them from ever having any direct contact with the other, the grandfather has a major problem in passing the headache to the grandson. It seems there is some difference between these two things.

I suggest that in Hofmann's real world example, the spoon and the headache only seem similar, because both parties are communicating directly with one another in the present. Hoffman uses his example to support his claim that their is no public space, obviously that claim is not actually supported by his real world example.
 
#59
As I wrote to Sci a long time ago...

Hoffman claims a spoon is like a headache. Yet, I think there are big differences between the spoon and the headache which Hoffman has not addressed.

Hoffman's example story is provided in this article. However, lets change the story a little, by totally separating both persons in time, preventing them from ever having any direct contact with each other, say a grandfather who died before his grandson was born.

According to my practical experience of the world, the grandfather in the earlier time is able to pass the spoon to the grandson in the later time. The grandson is still able to experience the spoon, and understand it's meaning, without ever having had any direct contact or communication with his grandfather, beyond the receipt of the spoon.

Yet if we now take the headache, it's clear that where both grandfather and grandson exist totally separately in time, preventing either of them from ever having any direct contact with the other, the grandfather has a major problem in passing the headache to the grandson. It seems there is some difference between these two things.

I suggest that in Hofmann's real world example, the spoon and the headache only seem similar, because both parties are communicating directly with one another in the present. Hoffman uses his example to support his claim that their is no public space, obviously that claim is not actually supported by his real world example.
You have got me slightly on one foot, however I think his answer to this (he quite obviously has one) would go by analogy with two linked computers. A could pass a file to B, and B would discover an icon representing the file, and if the file was copied and erased, A would lose his icon. The two icons need not look the same.

B could not pass the file to A before he actually possessed it.

I suspect his computer analogy is the best one to use to discuss this.

At some point I imagine he must introduce conscious entities that are non-human and which work to maintain the seeming fabric of reality. This is how Idealism is generally imagined to work. Maybe the most remarkable thing about his work, is that he seems to be introducing Idealism into mainstream science!

David
 
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S

Sciborg_S_Patel

#60
You have got me slightly on one foot, however I think his answer to this (he quite obviously has one) would go by analogy with two linked computers. A could pass a file to B, and B would discover an icon representing the file, and if the file was copied and erased, A would lose his icon. The two icons need not look the same.

B could not pass the file to A before he actually possessed it.

I suspect his computer analogy is the best one to use to discuss this.

At some point I imagine he must introduce conscious entities that are non-human and which work to maintain the seeming fabric of reality. This is how Idealism is generally imagined to work.

David
My understanding - which could be way off - is that there are two main ways Idealism can go.

One is that there's an underlying Mind or Minds that are not our minds. Hoffman suggests this in his writing, that the conscious entities whose interactions make up reality are not necessarily human minds.

There's another possibility, that I believe is called "subjective Idealism" where the interaction of multiple minds is all that makes up reality, that there isn't an underlying Mind(s?) at Large. When he talks about spoons and headaches he seems to be going in this direction?

I think where Hoffman gets confusing is it isn't always clear what he means. After all if the interaction of minds makes up reality doesn't that mean both a spoon and headache could be shared rather than being private?

Yet in Peeking Behind the Icons, he posits an underlying true reality - the computer that runs the VR system - which suggest he thinks there is an underlying reality that may not even be fundamentally Idealist.

I suspect this is partly due to an evolving understanding but I do think the stuff he wrote about headaches and spoons really confused things. IMO anyway. Even in a Peer to Peer sense, like Arvan would suggest, there's still something shared about the spoon.
 
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