Hard Problem Here to Stay?

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Sciborg_S_Patel

#1
The mental block - Consciousness is the greatest mystery in science. Don’t believe the hype: the Hard Problem is here to stay

A triple barrage of neuroscientific, computational and evolutionary artillery promises to reduce the hard problem to a pile of rubble. Today’s consciousness jockeys talk of p‑zombies and Global Workspace Theory, mirror neurones, ego tunnels, and attention schemata. They bow before that deus ex machina of brain science, the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. Their work is frequently very impressive and it explains a lot. All the same, it is reasonable to doubt whether it can ever hope to land a blow on the hard problem.
 
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Sciborg_S_Patel

#3
We certainly see that!!
I think one of my favorite examples of "woo" from the Singularity adherents is consciousness happens when the computer goes really, really fast.

So not only is the computer unconscious when you play Doom or use MS Word, but if you run the right program at the right speed it magically becomes self aware...

I accept the possibility but that seems more "woo" to me than the results Krippner got when looking for dream telepathy.
 
#5
We've touched on this before, but seeing as so many posts have been lost....

Take a Chimpanzee and give it a simple trigonometry problem. Language and communication issues aside I suspect that the Chimp will never grasp the fundamentals of trigonometry to solve that problem.

Given that genetically we differ from Chimps by about 1%, it would seem likely that some problems are conceptually beyond our species. Indeed it would be extremely vain to think otherwise, IMO.

Not very helpful perhaps, but seemed apposite.
 
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#7
I emailed David Chalmers recently and asked him what he made of near death experience. I told him we have all these cases of veridical OBE's and that it must mean that consciousness is not produced by the brain and we can therefore stop looking inside the skull for the ultimate explanation at least.

He replied saying that he didn't know much about near death experience. I emailed him again and said I would happily provide some links of cases that demonstrate this but he didn't respond any further. I like the guy but I just felt incredibly frustrated for several reasons

1. He's probably just accepted the materialist line that NDE's have been accounted for and doesn't need to look at them because THAT ...cant occur.

2. Veridical accounts are plentiful and very persuasive and would have a massive impact on him if he would just open up to the possibility

3. The problem of consciousness could be dropped as an insolvable inscrutable transcendental property of some parts of the universe and ..saving billions of hours fruitless analysis of the brain and it's neuronal networks etc.
 
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#9
Interesting Tim. I have a lot of respect for Chalmers but it utterly amazes me when people who make a career of studying consciousness have not bothered to seriously examine NDEs.
Absolutely, Szechuan it amazes me too. Almost like a palaeontologist not being interested in digging in an area where there was the possibility of finding the missing link ...maybe... ish

I feel like I know something he doesn't and I think he ought to know it because he's so much brighter than me . Just take a look, Dave for crying out loud :)
 
#10
We've touched on this before, but seeing as so many posts have been lost....

Take a Chimpanzee and give it a simple trigonometry problem. Language and communication issues aside I suspect that the Chimp will never grasp the fundamentals of trigonometry to solve that problem.

Given that genetically we differ from Chimps by about 1%, it would seem likely that some problems are conceptually beyond our species. Indeed it would be extremely vain to think otherwise, IMO.

Not very helpful perhaps, but seemed apposite.
OK - so what is the way forward? How, for example, do we decide which problems are intrinsically beyond our species, and which problems really need a different approach? Of course, it could be that that very decision is beyond our species' capacity to solve!

My point is that postulating that the hard problem could be solved if only we were brighter, is a bit premature when people do have other ideas - but orthodox scientists on the whole don't want to explore them - it could equally well be those scientists who are hitting the limits of their intellect!

In reality, of course, the problem is a deeply ingrained set of materialistic assumptions, that simply need to be explicitly recognised as assumptions, so that academics can consider alternatives without being ostracised!

David
 
#11
We've touched on this before, but seeing as so many posts have been lost....
Take a Chimpanzee and give it a simple trigonometry problem. Language and communication issues aside I suspect that the Chimp will never grasp the fundamentals of trigonometry to solve that problem.
Given that genetically we differ from Chimps by about 1%, it would seem likely that some problems are conceptually beyond our species. Indeed it would be extremely vain to think otherwise, IMO.
Not very helpful perhaps, but seemed apposite.
Or it could just mean we're much more than our genes - i.e. there is a lot more to behavior, intelligence and consciousness, in general, than what our genes have to say.

By the way, don't bananas have more genes than humans? Maybe the bananas will figure all this out before we do ;-)
 
#13
We're totally indoctrinated to see the 'external world' as separate from us, and that the 'external world' is the only truth. Once you've been taught to see your existence in a certain way, it's very difficult to change it. You need an internal willingness to change, together with the help of another to free you. Letting you see the world in your own way - and not how you were taught to see it.
 
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