Puzzling NDE questions

But I asked how do we assess the likelyhood that different entities possess a modicum of consciousness. Not integrated information.
You asked what a sensible approach would be to make a prediction of whether or not a number of entities are conscious are not. Integrated Information Theory is about predicting consciousness, and it has some empirical success at doing this.

Perhaps you were thinking of using our observations from cognitive neuroscience, or from the medical field, to predict whether or not something is conscious. But a set of observations with no real theoretical basis has little predictive power outside of the particular domain in which it was observed. To observe certain qualities (intelligence, creativity, etc.) or use certain methods (like asking for a response) are observations that we apply to assess whether or not humans are, in most situations, conscious. But to attempt to use these observations to predict consciousness in other situations or in other "entities" as you put it, has little predictive power or logical basis. Even in a human, these methods fail in vegetative states, for example, let alone trying to ask whether an octopus is conscious or a photodiode.

These sets of observations have no real theoretical basis, so their predictive power outside the particular domain of mostly normal human states is going to be poor. Let me give an analogy here that will hopefully help: let's say you do not know any classical mechanics, but you make a series of observations such as when you drop objects, they fall to the ground. You may have also noticed that generally objects of different weights seem to, for the most part, fall at the same speed, unless you involve odd shapes. You may have also made the observation that when you throw an object, it tends to arc and then hit the ground. You also were smart enough to see that if you let objects roll down an incline, they tend to accelerate.

Okay, so you have these sets of observations that seems pretty solid. If I were to ask you if a baseball and a bowling ball would fall at the same speed, you would, based on your observations of similarly shaped objects, predict that they would fall at the same speed. You could do this because this scenario is very similar to observations you have made yourself.

But what if I give you a catapult, a projectile, and a distant target, along with some measuring devices, and ask you whether or not this projectile will hit the target given the position of the catapult? What ability to predict do your observations give you in this situation? Very little! You don't have any theoretical basis to relate forces, angles, masses, distances, etc. to do any sort of calculations to make any real prediction as to whether or not the projectile will hit the target. You will be forced to look at it, think, but ultimately guess.

If you had a mathematical theory to use, such as classical mechanics, you could then make an accurate prediction, but that is only because of the mathematical structure of the theory that allows you to make novel predictions. Observations by themselves with no theoretical basis offer little ability to make novel predictions.

So this is why I said I would use IIT when you asked me how, today, I would attempt to predict whether or not an entity is conscious. It has some empirical support in making predictions, and it has the quantitative and mathematical structure that is needed to make novel and accurate predictions in new domains that extend beyond current observations. Observations of qualities of consciousness in higher-order living organisms with no theoretical basis gives me almost no predictive power as to whether or not an octopus or photodiode complex would have any conscious experience.


Bucky said:
Not just ours, we recognize many of our “high level” features in many other living creatures.
Following your line of thought maybe cells are also able of intent and creativity without us knowing…
No, that does not follow at all from my line of reasoning. Conscious intention and creativity are qualities of higher-order organisms, and require much more complex structures to enable such abilities, which cells would not have. Just because higher-order organisms other than humans also have those qualities doesn't mean that we can say they are needed to predict consciousness.

Bucky said:
It’s not clear to me how IIT can help us discover how these “higher level” features arise from passive, internal subjective experience, although we can’t even be sure IIT is sufficient to explain that aspect.
They arise through the brain structures that are involved in these qualities, and ultimately, how that information is processed and integrated into the conscious experience. Take away your prefrontal cortex and see how it affects your intelligence...

Bucky said:
Agreed. The tricky part is when we’re no longer dealing with any organism, but inanimate matter instead.
If the latter also possess a modicum of consciousness, who is to say if every bit of matter is indeed conscious? Since IIT does not solve the problem of the necessary and sufficient conditions for consciousness, I don’t think it can be used to rule panpsychism out.

I think that experimental evidence supporting photodiodes as conscious would make panpsychist proponents very happy.
If there were to be experimental evidence supporting that a photodiode is conscious, that would in fact be very detrimental to panpsychism. The reason is, if this prediction were supported experimentally, it would demonstrate that a photodiode complex requiring other electrical circuits would be necessary for the photodiode to be conscious, while the photodiode by itself would have no consciousness. This would utterly contradict panpsychism.

Bucky said:
Experimental design is indeed a problem. If the GCP is onto something we have to deal with non local effects that can affect RNGs from any distance and in ways that aren’t predictable.

Unless we’re looking for some macro-PK effect that really stands out, it is not clear how we’re going to discriminate the effects of global consciousness (which oscillate based on worldly events) and alleged “local” effects caused by the test’s subject.
1. If this objection were so problematic, then why do we have data that supports micro-PK? You insinuate that this would prevent the ability to test for and demonstrate micro-PK since the GCP-type effects would obscure any outcomes. This is clearly false since we have evidence for micro-PK.

2. The GCP data does not support the idea that the RNGs can be affected by "any distance" since the data does show distant-dependent effects.

3. Your objection contains its obvious answer, which is to run experiments and then to consult the GCP data to make sure there were no significant anomalies in the data at the time of your trials. If you compared the data and realized that your trials occurred at the same time as some tragedy, which also corresponded to significant deviations of the RNG data (which not all do), then those trials could be eliminated before statistical analysis is done.

Bucky said:
Also, funny side note, in micro-PK experiments the subject is asked to mentally enforce one of two possible outcomes… in which way are we going to ask a photodiode to please intend more ones than zeros? :D
It's pretty obvious that a photodiode could not be used to run such a PK experiment, so I'm not sure your point. If this was in reference to my proposed experiment, then there is no resemblance at all. My experiment involves human subjects attempting a retro-PK effect with a recording device with zero phi, and separate trials with a high-phi recording device.

Bucky said:
Additionally, didn’t you claim that intention is not necessary for conscious awareness:
Yes. I see no reason why intention must be required to have an internal experience.

Bucky said:
These may not be fatal objections but the likelyhood to produce compelling evidence via this approach seems vanishingly small (if any at all), even with the most optmistic outlook…
Speaking of hasty conclusions....
 
How does informational realism allow for a lack of micro-realism in quantum theory?

If the informational content of the probability distribution is of potentials, then how can we call it real? unreal?

What does real mean? LOL
I am very comfortable with a reality that includes multiple generative levels. (I. Thompson) Empirical materials science is characterized by measuring physical things, events and process that are always in the "here and now". Methodological materialism is a perfectly fine practice of science on this particular generative level. For me, however there are other levels, such as an informational level of reality.

Take for instance - the past and future. I find them outside of the domain of empirical observation of manifest physical circumstances. I know of no equipment that is capable of actually directly detecting particles and forces that have already happened; or have yet to happen.

The past and future are part of reality and everything that they are; is informational from our empirical perspective. Yet the informational tools of science are able to model invaluable facts about the past and future through logic analysis of how systems evolve. Probability distributions of statistical mechanics speaks to the states of systems and how those states become manifest as a single physical outcome. This seem to imply that the other potential outcomes have a real-world status, even if they where only a potential. Many-Worlds is one attempt to address their status.

Informational realism is a simple acknowledgement that there is at least one other level of scientifically modeled reality. It stands in contrast to a metaphysical materialism, which embraces a realism that makes physical reality "mind-independent".

The information processing that livings things achieve does change real world probabilities. Therefore, I think it makes perfect sense to claim that on the generative level where information objects are built and chosen by living things that mental work is real and that it is open to scientific analysis.

I am not sure what you mean by "micro-realism in quantum theory".
 
I am very comfortable with a reality that includes multiple generative levels. (I. Thompson) Empirical materials science is characterized by measuring physical things, events and process that are always in the "here and now". Methodological materialism is a perfectly fine practice of science on this particular generative level. For me, however there are other levels, such as an informational level of reality.

Take for instance - the past and future. I find them outside of the domain of empirical observation of manifest physical circumstances. I know of no equipment that is capable of actually directly detecting particles and forces that have already happened; or have yet to happen.

The past and future are part of reality and everything that they are; is informational from our empirical perspective. Yet the informational tools of science are able to model invaluable facts about the past and future through logic analysis of how systems evolve. Probability distributions of statistical mechanics speaks to the states of systems and how those states become manifest as a single physical outcome. This seem to imply that the other potential outcomes have a real-world status, even if they where only a potential. Many-Worlds is one attempt to address their status.

Informational realism is a simple acknowledgement that there is at least one other level of scientifically modeled reality. It stands in contrast to a metaphysical materialism, which embraces a realism that makes physical reality "mind-independent".

The information processing that livings things achieve does change real world probabilities. Therefore, I think it makes perfect sense to claim that on the generative level where information objects are built and chosen by living things that mental work is real and that it is open to scientific analysis.

I am not sure what you mean by "micro-realism in quantum theory".
What do you mean by "real world status"?

By a lack of microrealism, I mean that there is no definite state prior to observation.
 
If I were to attempt to do this, I would probably look at IIT since it is the only quantitative theory of consciousness available and it does have some empirical support in predicting consciousness in humans.

However, it would not be conclusive because the theory, while having some support with prediction, certainly isn't well-corroborated to the point where I would feel confidence in the prediction of consciousness in simple devices or organisms. None of our current capability can lead to any confidence in such statements of whether simple devices or organisms are or are not conscious.
I think science has gone way too far down the road of equating complicated maths with objective truth! The end result in physics is string theory, which doesn't predict anything, and is believed by many because it is "too beautiful to be wrong". I think science needs to get back to using maths to solve real problems, or to set up a testable model.

When it comes to consciousness, we don't even have a qualitative model of how it relates to physical matter - logically there is no useful role for maths to play at this point. The danger is that people get bamboozled by complicated maths, and stop asking what it means on a qualitative level.

Here is a quote from an article on IIT:
The theory further proposes a way to characterize the quality of the experience, qualia itself, using a multidimensional space called qualia space (Q), wherein the ways mechanisms connect together form a shape within the space; the shape itself describes the qualia that is experienced.[5] (In the later IIT 3.0, qualia space—no longer referred to as Q -- takes into account the temporal aspects of a state.)
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Integrated_information_theory

If we demystify that statement and assert that qualia can be represented by a bunch of real (or maybe even complex) numbers, we can immediately see how useless such a theory is. I mean, does it mean that consciousness - including qualia - can be generated on a computer (which would be rather good at representing objects in a multi-dimensional space) then we can ask the obvious question - what translates a vector such as (0.7,0.34,0.77,0.2) into the qualia of eating a banana - or whtever!

If on the other hand the numbers are meant to be understood as subjective levels - substituting "pleasure=0.95" for the phrase "intensely pleasurable" then it is also obvious that the maths which processes these numbers, is pretty unlikely to reveal anything!

I rather think I am agreeing with you.
I don't see it as reasonable to say that a cell, for example, is likely not conscious, if the most fundamental aspect of consciousness is simply an internal experience. Just because it lacks aspects of our stream of consciousness, which appears to be qualities that evolve in more advanced organisms, wouldn't say to me that the cell is likely not conscious because it may very well have a subjective experience without us knowing.
Right - consciousness gives every impression of going all the way down biology.
I would say the defining property of consciousness would be that of internal subjective experience. All the other properties appear to be regarding aspects of our stream of consciousness. If you say that IIT by itself cannot explain consciousness entirely, with which I agree, then there is something more to consciousness than that described by IIT, which I think is the capacity for experience. That is a very simple (although profound) property, which is why I can't say that it is unlikely that lower organisms are not conscious.
While defining things can be immensely useful in science, I think there are areas, such as consciousness, where it can be misleading - for example, those who believe in AI will come up with a definition that relates to data processing.
Considering that we already have enough evidence for micro-PK, these objections apparently are not fatal. Experimental designs can continue to improve as they have to provide more robust evidence, but since the retroPK experiment would be a comparison between trials with zero phi recording devices and high phi recording devices, they should produce measurably different results based on the data we currently have.
I'd say any paranormal effect - of which there seem to be plenty - blows conventional theories of consciousness out of the window.

David
 
Last edited:
You asked what a sensible approach would be to make a prediction of whether or not a number of entities are conscious are not. Integrated Information Theory is about predicting consciousness, and it has some empirical success at doing this.
We keep going around in cirlces.
IIT predicts integrated information. To say that it predicts consciousness is pretty arbitrary and it's solely based on assuming that consciousness is integrated information.

But what if I give you a catapult, a projectile, and a distant target, along with some measuring devices, and ask you whether or not this projectile will hit the target given the position of the catapult? What ability to predict do your observations give you in this situation? Very little! You don't have any theoretical basis to relate forces, angles, masses, distances, etc. to do any sort of calculations to make any real prediction as to whether or not the projectile will hit the target. You will be forced to look at it, think, but ultimately guess.
Equating a theory of consciousness to one that calculates basic mechanical interactions is pretty silly. The scenario you have described already implies that we can go and empircally verify if we hit the target.

With consciousness however we don't have a meter to see if the predictions were correct.

As @David Bailey pointed out it's not even clear on which grounds we should consider maths the first choice tool for solving the problem of consciousness.

No, that does not follow at all from my line of reasoning. Conscious intention and creativity are qualities of higher-order organisms, and require much more complex structures to enable such abilities, which cells would not have.
I am sorry, on which grounds do you allow a cell to be self aware, but deny it any modicum of intentionality, creativity, intelligence or any "higher-order" conscious functions?
Blanket statements won't cut it... and it goes to show how complex the subject matter is and how silly it is to think that a mathematical theory of consciousness can solve these issues.

Mind you, I am not saying that it's not useful. I just don't buy most of the hyperbolic claims and conclusions you have posted here, about IIT.

1. If this objection were so problematic, then why do we have data that supports micro-PK? You insinuate that this would prevent the ability to test for and demonstrate micro-PK since the GCP-type effects would obscure any outcomes. This is clearly false since we have evidence for micro-PK.
We don't know how PK really works, don't we?
In fact the effects of distance on micro PK are far from understood, and there is good evidence that RNGs can be affected from hundreds of Kms away (source)

2. The GCP data does not support the idea that the RNGs can be affected by "any distance" since the data does show distant-dependent effects
Not really.
It turns out that this small effect of consciousness on the electronic REG isn't diminished by distance or shielding, so it apparently isn't brought about by something physical like temperature changes, or sound waves, or electromagnetic radiation. Instead it seems thatinformationis the important thing. The data that we collect is changed from an expectedrandomcondition to a a slightlystructuredcondition, detectable by statistical tests. Such structure implies that the numbers are not completely unpredictable, and that we can expect to see trends or patterns that should not appear in truly random data.

(Source)

3. Your objection contains its obvious answer, which is to run experiments and then to consult the GCP data to make sure there were no significant anomalies in the data at the time of your trials. If you compared the data and realized that your trials occurred at the same time as some tragedy, which also corresponded to significant deviations of the RNG data (which not all do), then those trials could be eliminated before statistical analysis is done.
Right.
But the core of the problem here is not much about the GCP but the fact that we don't understand how micro-PK works, at all. We have no idea what type of force it is, how it behaves, if and how it affects time (evidence suggests it does), if and how we can shield it, if and how distance plays a role ... etc... etc...

I have no idea how you can seriously consider to provide evidence that photodiodes have consciousness based on a phenomena that is fundamentally not understood.

Speaking of hasty conclusions....
This is just me observing things as they are.
Hopefully in a couple of hundred years there will be better understanding of how micro-PK (and PSI general) works and it will be integral part of our sciences...
 
We keep going around in cirlces.
IIT predicts integrated information. To say that it predicts consciousness is pretty arbitrary and it's solely based on assuming that consciousness is integrated information.
No, IIT has some empirical success with predicting consciousness, and further, it offers an explanation as to why we are conscious in some situations and not others, such as grand mal seizures, anesthesia, deep sleep, or even why certain structures of the brain do not really contribute to our being conscious.

That is hardly arbitrary. You asked what I would use if I wanted to try to predict. You seem to prefer your set of observations that have almost no explanatory or predictive power. Why would you choose a method that has no explanatory or predictive power?

Bucky said:
Equating a theory of consciousness to one that calculates basic mechanical interactions is pretty silly. The scenario you have described already implies that we can go and empircally verify if we hit the target.

With consciousness however we don't have a meter to see if the predictions were correct.

As @David Bailey pointed out it's not even clear on which grounds we should consider maths the first choice tool for solving the problem of consciousness.
I never equated the two. I explicitly said "Let me give an analogy here that will hopefully help." An analogy is not equating the two. We can verify whether or not many of the predictions of the theory are accurate, including what I mentioned with anesthesia, deep sleep, vegetative states, comas, grand mal seizures, etc.

I really don't understand why you continue to harp on this "no consciousness meter." You contradict yourself, because on the one hand, you wish to claim the observations such as certain qualities being used to predict consciousness (intelligence, creativity, etc), but essentially the same type of observations used to confirm portions of IIT, such explaining why we are conscious in certain states and not others, now this method has no use in determining whether or not a human is conscious?

And before you try to flip this back on me saying that I am the one contradicting myself, you should keep in mind that I am using these types of observations within the domain in which the observations apply, not to attempt to predict consciousness in entities for which these do not apply.

The question was about predictions. So again, your set of observations have no explanatory power, let alone predictive power, where IIT does. Why would I reject the latter when attempting to make a prediction? IIT may be wrong in the end, but your observations give no basis for prediction even in the first place. Why would you prefer a method with no explanatory or predictive power?

And regarding the mathematics, it is extremely successful in describing the world. Why is there so much resistance to using mathematics with respect to how our brain gives rise to conscious experience? Is our brain independent of the physical world? You seem to, on the one hand, want to use Bernardo's "appeal to magic" argument against materialists, but then when there is a potentially real explanation for how our conscious experience arises, you want to reject it and apparently appeal to magic yourself in regards to how conscious experience arises, as if it is independent of the physical world (as if there is any separation of consciousness and the physical!).


Bucky said:
I am sorry, on which grounds do you allow a cell to be self aware, but deny it any modicum of intentionality, creativity, intelligence or any "higher-order" conscious functions?
Blanket statements won't cut it... and it goes to show how complex the subject matter is and how silly it is to think that a mathematical theory of consciousness can solve these issues..
The fact that a cell does not have a pre-frontal cortex would be a start...but I also did not say that the cell would be self-aware, but rather that it would have an internal experience.

Why is a mathematical theory to explain any of this silly? You seem to wish to appeal to magic and offer observations that don't explain anything, let alone give any predictive power, and then you denigrate a theory that actually does offer an explanation for many different aspects of our conscious experience and how it arises. It's as if our conscious experience has nothing to do with our brain, despite all the evidence that clearly demonstrates otherwise. Do you really think that our intelligence, creativity, etc have nothing to do with our brain? Or do you think that our brain is somehow independent of the physical world and therefore cannot have a mathematical description?

Bucky said:
We don't know how PK really works, don't we?
In fact the effects of distance on micro PK are far from understood, and there is good evidence that RNGs can be affected from hundreds of Kms away
We don't need to understand how it works in order to demonstrate the effects empirically, which we do.


Bucky}Not really. [INDENT said:
It turns out that this small effect of consciousness on the electronic REG isn't diminished by distance or shielding, so it apparently isn't brought about by something physical like temperature changes, or sound waves, or electromagnetic radiation. Instead it seems thatinformationis the important thing. The data that we collect is changed from an expectedrandomcondition to a a slightlystructuredcondition, detectable by statistical tests. Such structure implies that the numbers are not completely unpredictable, and that we can expect to see trends or patterns that should not appear in truly random data.

(Source)[/INDENT]
This is wrong. Look at the data from the RNGs around the world from the Burning Man event. The RNGs closer by show a greater effect than the ones in South Africa, for example. It is not distant-independent.

Bucky said:
Right.
But the core of the problem here is not much about the GCP but the fact that we don't understand how micro-PK works, at all. We have no idea what type of force it is, how it behaves, if and how it affects time (evidence suggests it does), if and how we can shield it, if and how distance plays a role ... etc... etc...

I have no idea how you can seriously consider to provide evidence that photodiodes have consciousness based on a phenomena that is fundamentally not understood.
We don't have to understand how something works in order to demonstrate it empirically! Nor do we need to understand how it works in order to use it! That is an invalid criticism.

And as a side note, it is clearly not a force and we do have some evidence of how it behaves.

Bucky said:
This is just me observing things as they are.
Hopefully in a couple of hundred years there will be better understanding of how micro-PK (and PSI general) works and it will be integral part of our sciences...
Your observations are based on incorrect information and invalid criticisms.
 
Last edited:
When it comes to consciousness, we don't even have a qualitative model of how it relates to physical matter - logically there is no useful role for maths to play at this point. The danger is that people get bamboozled by complicated maths, and stop asking what it means on a qualitative level.
David
I am a big fan of Tononi and associates, as they measure the informational processes in living things. It is my belief that they will find direct perception of affordances as a key to the hard problem. And to the subject of the thread, I believe that NDE's are direct perception of ambient informational processes.

Informational processes are at their core driven by natural logic. Modeling these truly new ideas in in science and philosophy must be quantified. But with the strongest agreement with your statement - it must be driven by an inclusion of qualitative/meaningful reality. It is not a fancy math that will crack the case, it will be a simple but comprehensive process model!!
 
I think science has gone way too far down the road of equating complicated maths with objective truth! The end result in physics is string theory, which doesn't predict anything, and is believed by many because it is "too beautiful to be wrong". I think science needs to get back to using maths to solve real problems, or to set up a testable model.
I am not using string theory here. IIT has had some empirical success already and does make predictions. IIT is not based on mathematical aesthetics, but rather attempting to create a theory starting from the phemenology of our conscious experience and modeling from there.

David Bailey said:
When it comes to consciousness, we don't even have a qualitative model of how it relates to physical matter - logically there is no useful role for maths to play at this point. The danger is that people get bamboozled by complicated maths, and stop asking what it means on a qualitative level.
IIT starts from the qualitative and then works into a quantitative model.

I have offered a qualitative model relating consciousness with matter based on quantum information theory and standard quantum theory.

David Bailey said:
Here is a quote from an article on IIT:

If we demystify that statement and assert that qualia can be represented by a bunch of real (or maybe even complex) numbers, we can immediately see how useless such a theory is. I mean, does it mean that consciousness - including qualia - can be generated on a computer (which would be rather good at representing objects in a multi-dimensional space) then we can ask the obvious question - what translates a vector such as (0.7,0.34,0.77,0.2) into the qualia of eating a banana - or whtever!

If on the other hand the numbers are meant to be understood as subjective levels - substituting "pleasure=0.95" for the phrase "intensely pleasurable" then it is also obvious that the maths which processes these numbers, is pretty unlikely to reveal anything!

I rather think I am agreeing with you.
I see no reason that our conscious experience of the world cannot be represented mathematically. The description is that of Bateson information, which is subjective in nature, so the physical description is not the same as the internal experience of that information. Would you equate a mathematical description of a table with the table itself? Of course not, but that doesn't mean that you cannot use the model to explain a great deal about that table. A model of a qualia space would not generate consciousness because it is not a result of the required methods of processing and integrating information.

David Bailey said:
While defining things can be immensely useful in science, I think there are areas, such as consciousness, where it can be misleading - for example, those who believe in AI will come up with a definition that relates to data processing.
Just because AI theory is likely wrong doesn't mean that other theories are also wrong. IIT is different because it starts from the phemenology of our conscious experience, rather than data processing.

David Bailey said:
I'd say any paranormal effect - of which there seem to be plenty - blows conventional theories of consciousness out of the window.

David
Are you saying paranormal effects refute IIT? If so, how?
 
Last edited:
Informational processes are at their core driven by natural logic. Modeling these truly new ideas in in science and philosophy must be quantified. But with the strongest agreement with your statement - it must be driven by an inclusion of qualitative/meaningful reality. It is not a fancy math that will crack the case, it will be a simple but comprehensive process model!!
The very structure of IIT allows for there to be meaning, which I think is key.
 
What do you mean by "real world status"?

By a lack of microrealism, I mean that there is no definite state prior to observation.
My position is: at all times there is a state to all real-world configurations. Real-world configurations being those that are potential/past/present manifestations as the universe evolves.

An observation is an export of information from an SoA (state of affairs). In physics - you export mass or energy and the laws tell us to expect the original circumstances to be changed. Further, we also expect any force used for the export to have an equal and opposite reaction.

It is only the dense fog of metaphysical materialism that has rooted the expectation that when information about a thing, event or process is exported (so that it can become mutual information for an agent) that reality is not altered! Micro-realism and macro-realism are no different at an informational level, as far as I can tell. The difference is the lack of acceptance that informational structures are real and consequential.

Folks experiencing an NDE, a moment of moral clarity, a deep-meaning or immersion in a moment of life - all are importing information objects into their personal database and these experiences are causal to their character. Character in these terms being the informational object that processes decision-making in a person.

In a court case a person's character counts and is assumed to be predictive of future output of their actions. Informational realism makes prefect common sense of long-standing natural logic in the behavior of living things.
 
I am not using string theory here. IIT has had some empirical success already and does make predictions. IIT is not based on mathematical aesthetics, but rather attempting to create a theory starting from the phemenology of our conscious experience and modeling from there.
Obviously I realise it is not based on string theory! My point was that science seems to have come to worship maths over understanding, to the point where there are people who want to justify string theory despite its lack of experimental verification - and indeed despite the fact that ST comes in innumerable versions.
IIT starts from the qualitative and then works into a quantitative model.

I have offered a qualitative model relating consciousness with matter based on quantum information theory and standard quantum theory.
So how do you get round the Hard Problem?
I see no reason that our conscious experience of the world cannot be represented mathematically. The description is that of Bateson information, which is subjective in nature, so the physical description is not the same as the internal experience of that information. Would you equate a mathematical description of a table with the table itself? Of course not, but that doesn't mean that you cannot use the model to explain a great deal about that table. A model of a qualia space would not generate consciousness because it is not a result of the required methods of processing and integrating information.



Just because AI theory is likely wrong doesn't mean that other theories are also wrong. IIT is different because it starts from the phemenology of our conscious experience, rather than data processing.
I think the problem is that consciousness isn't information, or information processing, so you can't really attack the problem by modelling the information that might go along with consciousness. It is a non-sequitor, rather like observing that consciousness seems to require an associated energy flow (food and oxygen in, CO2 and other waste material out), and modelling that aspect of consciousness!

Clearly, to the extent that IIT models the information that may go along with consciousness, it is fair to point out that paranormal effects can't simply be explained as information processing - so they invalidate a theory based on information processing.

AI is effectively based on the idea that conscious behaviour can be mimicked by a computer program - an idea that blurs off into the idea that a computer can be conscious. An interesting way to look at this, is to imagine a (infeasibly powerful) computer that could perform a simulation of a brain based on an initial scan of that brain at some sufficient level of detail. Would it be conscious?

1) If it would not be conscious - just crunching the theory - then it is pretty hard to decide what you need to add to obtain genuine consciousness - is there something so special about neurotransmitter chemicals?

2) On the other hand if such a simulation would be conscious, you would have a situation where the mathematical description of consciousness was in fact conscious - the very thing you baulked at!

I don't think the simulation would actually be conscious, because I feel the best explanation of consciousness is that it lies outside of space-time, and communicates with the brain in some way. One possibility might be that it interferes with the brain at the level of quantum wave function collapse. Thus the simulation just would not do anything, it would be analogous to simulating the operation of a radio without including the radio waves in the simulation!

Roger Penrose makes a fairly good case that consciousness can't be mechanistic - i.e. that it can't be equivalent to a computer program - even one following through the logical consequences of a mathematical theory!

I do feel that smothering the subject with a layer of maths doesn't get anywhere - you have to have a really clear idea of what it is that you need to calculate before you start calculating!

David
 
Last edited:
I don't see how this jives with quantum theory, or am I misunderstanding?
In The Philosophy of Information (2011 book), Luciano Floridi presents an ontological theory of Being qua Being, which he calls "Informational Structural Realism", a theory which applies, he says, to every possible world. He identifies primordial information ("dedomena") as the foundation of any structure in any possible world. The present essay examines Floridi's defense of that theory, as well as his refutation of "Digital Ontology" (which some people might confuse with his own). Then, using Floridi's ontology as a starting point, the present essay adds quantum features to dedomena, yielding an ontological theory for our own universe, Quantum Informational Structural Realism, which provides a metaphysical interpretation of key quantum phenomena, and diminishes the "weirdness" or "spookiness" of quantum mechanics. Key Words: digital ontology, dedomena, structural realism, quantum information, primordial qubit
http://arxiv.org/abs/1303.6007

This is a new outlook on the problem and a number of new approaches are being made to solve it. Terrell Ward Bynum
 
Obviously I realise it is not based on string theory! My point was that science seems to have come to worship maths over understanding, to the point where there are people who want to justify string theory despite its lack of experimental verification - and indeed despite the fact that ST comes in innumerable versions.
Math can lead to better understanding as well. I don't really see the parallels between M-theory and IIT, though.

David Bailey said:
So how do you get round the Hard Problem?
By having consciousness as fundamental and all of it existing within consciousness.

David Bailey said:
I think the problem is that consciousness isn't information, or information processing, so you can't really attack the problem by modelling the information that might go along with consciousness. It is a non-sequitor, rather like observing that consciousness seems to require an associated energy flow (food and oxygen in, CO2 and other waste material out), and modelling that aspect of consciousness!
Fundamental consciousness isn't information, but our conscious experience arises through informational processing and relation.

David Bailey said:
Clearly, to the extent that IIT models the information that may go along with consciousness, it is fair to point out that paranormal effects can't simply be explained as information processing - so they invalidate a theory based on information processing.
I don't see this being the case. This ignores quantum information, which I think allows for paranormal effects.

David Bailey said:
AI is effectively based on the idea that conscious behaviour can be mimicked by a computer program - an idea that blurs off into the idea that a computer can be conscious. An interesting way to look at this, is to imagine a (infeasibly powerful) computer that could perform a simulation of a brain based on an initial scan of that brain at some sufficient level of detail. Would it be conscious?

1) If it would not be conscious - just crunching the theory - then it is pretty hard to decide what you need to add to obtain genuine consciousness - is there something so special about neurotransmitter chemicals?

2) On the other hand if such a simulation would be conscious, you would have a situation where the mathematical description of consciousness was in fact conscious - the very thing you baulked at!
Simulating consciousness and creating consciousness are two different things. I see nothing wrong with the idea of AI that our conscious behavior can be mimicked by a computer, but it makes no sense to then say that it is conscious. Regarding the first scenario, IIT would say that it simply does not process and integrate the information in the required way. The second scenario would not happen.

David Bailey said:
I don't think the simulation would actually be conscious, because I feel the best explanation of consciousness is that it lies outside of space-time, and communicates with the brain in some way. One possibility might be that it interferes with the brain at the level of quantum wave function collapse. Thus the simulation just would not do anything, it would be analogous to simulating the operation of a radio without including the radio waves in the simulation!

As per IIT the simulation would not be conscious. Consciousness itself is both immanent and transcendent, but fundamentally it exists outside of spacetime. But that doesn't mean there has to be a duality between consciousness and the brain. It all exists within consciousness and there is no duality. The information arises within consciousness and this leads to the physical world we know with conscious experience. The conscious experience requires the physical world to arise.

David Bailey said:
Roger Penrose makes a fairly good case that consciousness can't be mechanistic - i.e. that it can't be equivalent to a computer program - even one following through the logical consequences of a mathematical theory!
Consciousness itself isn't mechanistic, but there are mechanisms that give rise to conscious experience. The understanding arises due to the way subjective information is processed and the pure consciousness allows for the experience, understanding, and meaning.

David Bailey said:
I do feel that smothering the subject with a layer of maths doesn't get anywhere - you have to have a really clear idea of what it is that you need to calculate before you start calculating!

David
IIT has gone much further than any other theory, and it is because it is mathematical. Or would it be better to use metaphysical reasoning that alone gets us nowhere? Ultimately the universe is subjective and we will end in transcendence, but we aren't anywhere close to that yet, and mathematical models will continue to lead the way to better understanding.
 
Last edited:
No, IIT has some empirical success with predicting consciousness, and further, it offers an explanation as to why we are conscious in some situations and not others, such as grand mal seizures, anesthesia, deep sleep, or even why certain structures of the brain do not really contribute to our being conscious.
If we agree that integrated information is one of the necessary properties for consciousness, the best we can say is that IIT quantifies that property. It doesn’t follow that it predicts consciousness. It can only follow that it predicts one of its necessary properties. Which is good anyways. :)

That is hardly arbitrary. You asked what I would use if I wanted to try to predict. You seem to prefer your set of observations that have almost no explanatory or predictive power. Why would you choose a method that has no explanatory or predictive power?
I am not advocating a black or white approach and I would prefer to use each and every tool at our disposal, especially given the complexity of problem we’re trying to solve.

I never equated the two. I explicitly said "Let me give an analogy here that will hopefully help." An analogy is not equating the two. We can verify whether or not many of the predictions of the theory are accurate, including what I mentioned with anesthesia, deep sleep, vegetative states, comas, grand mal seizures, etc.
For the sake of completeness it would also be fair to mention that that those “predictions” are based on uber-simplified models of neural anatomy. In fairness this kind of evidence is still tentative and sits on top of other incomplete models.

The question was about predictions. So again, your set of observations have no explanatory power, let alone predictive power, where IIT does. Why would I reject the latter when attempting to make a prediction? IIT may be wrong in the end, but your observations give no basis for prediction even in the first place. Why would you prefer a method with no explanatory or predictive power?
The same black and white proposition again…
IIT can perfectly go along any other tool at our disposal to analyze different aspects of consciousness. It may even help to refine those we already have, but it’s definitely not a competition.

And regarding the mathematics, it is extremely successful in describing the world. Why is there so much resistance to using mathematics with respect to how our brain gives rise to conscious experience? Is our brain independent of the physical world? You seem to, on the one hand, want to use Bernardo's "appeal to magic" argument against materialists, but then when there is a potentially real explanation for how our conscious experience arises, you want to reject it and apparently appeal to magic yourself in regards to how conscious experience arises, as if it is independent of the physical world (as if there is any separation of consciousness and the physical!).
You should probably turn the defensiveness down a notch…

You are confusing constructive criticism and objections with “rejection” (your word choice). Never in any of my post I have said that theory should be rejected, and in fact I have repeatedly stated that I hope there will be stronger evidence and acceptance.

I brought up some of the critics of IIT because there are sound objections that need to be addressed, and even its proponents acknowledge them.

Why is a mathematical theory to explain any of this silly? You seem to wish to appeal to magic and offer observations that don't explain anything, let alone give any predictive power, and then you denigrate a theory that actually does offer an explanation for many different aspects of our conscious experience and how it arises. It's as if our conscious experience has nothing to do with our brain, despite all the evidence that clearly demonstrates otherwise. Do you really think that our intelligence, creativity, etc have nothing to do with our brain? Or do you think that our brain is somehow independent of the physical world and therefore cannot have a mathematical description?
I don’t find the mathermatical theory to be silly.
I find silly the kind of hyperbolic claims that you keep making about the thoery, such as that it explains how conscious experience arise.

Once again, we can agree it’s a (possibly) necessary aspect for conscious experience to arise. Futher evidence will help clarifying this.

We don't need to understand how it works in order to demonstrate the effects empirically, which we do.
Why do you think I am arguing against the effects? When I posted a study that demonstrates such effect?

This is wrong. Look at the data from the RNGs around the world from the Burning Man event. The RNGs closer by show a greater effect than the ones in South Africa, for example. It is not distant-independent.
That is exactly the point I am making. Evidence is conflicting.
There are is an unknown number of psychological and physical variables that may moderate PK but we don’t fully understand how they work. Distance may be one, motivation and intent another one, natural ability/experience of the subject(s), coherence of the “signal” from the subjects, number of subjects, competing intentions…

How much distance is necessary for the effect to vanish? How does the experience of the subject affects this value? How does the number of subjects affect the distance variable? What kind of psychological variables can influence the result? How about “psychic coherence”? Can animals produce an effect too? How do we determine the strength of animal micro-PK effect? Which variables affect microPK strength? Is there a way to concentrate micro-PK only on a specific target?

Dean Radin in his 2006 paper states:

The greater variety of experimental approaches to assess ESP
may explain why potential moderators of PK, such as the distance
between the participant and the target as well as various psychological
variables, have not been investigated as systematically as
alleged moderators of ESP. To date, no PK meta-analysis has
reported data on potential moderators
, and the three main reviews
of potential PK moderators (Gissurarson, 1992, 1997; Gissurarson
& Morris, 1991; Schmeidler, 1977) have arrived at inconclusive
results

Source: http://deanradin.com/evidence/Bosch2006RNGMetaFull.pdf

We don't have to understand how something works in order to demonstrate it empirically! Nor do we need to understand how it works in order to use it! That is an invalid criticism.
My criticism is not of the empirical demonstration.

Many prominent parapsychologists would agree that our understanding of PSI / PK etc… is far from complete and coherent. It’s not a big surprise, otherwise the research would be over and we’d have all the answer (and acceptance) we’re still looking for.

If conscious and unconscious psychic activity can cause tiny deviations in RNGs how do we know exactly what caused those deviations? Is the experimenter’s expectations? A group of people in the front apartment praying? The family on the other side of the street having a fight? Some other cluster of coherent consciousness nearby? A “global consciosness” event? A group of birds flying in formation on top of the lab’s roof?

How do we shield the experiment from all those variables? If we can’t shield it, then we may end up running hundreds of tests in hundreds of different experimental settings… :(
 
If we agree that integrated information is one of the necessary properties for consciousness, the best we can say is that IIT quantifies that property. It doesn’t follow that it predicts consciousness. It can only follow that it predicts one of its necessary properties. Which is good anyways. :)
I think perhaps you are saying that IIT doesn't or cannot predict the entirety of conscious experience. I think it is fair to say this, but I also think that IIT sounds like a good model to predict our conscious experience. Let me explain. Conscious experience as a whole would require not only integrated information of a certain type, but also the pure consciousness itself to allow the experience to occur. Without the fundamental consciousness, experience cannot arise from integrated information alone as we normally would view it. However, the fundamental consciousness itself does not have experience, is not self-aware, etc. The informational relations that arise within consciousness in potential give rise to the physical as well, and certain informational relations (which end up being physical relations, too) can lead to conscious experience like with us. Our brains, although physical, are not separate from consciousness itself, and exist as informational relations within consciousness that allow for conscious experience to arise.

And in this way, IIT would be able to predict conscious awareness, even of a very primitive sort like a photodiode would supposedly have. Through more evolved organisms such as ourselves, we have much higher qualities and more complex experience, and one of the important qualities include that of self-awareness. Through that self-awareness the fundamental consciousness can then experience itself directly through transcendent experience.

Even though IIT would predict conscious awareness, it would not completely explain conscious experience since it also requires the fundamental consciousness. This is related to the two metaphysical positions compatible with IIT, which are type B materialism and type F monism. I have argued elsewhere that really these two positions are not very dissimilar if approached from a contemporary understanding of fundamental physics. Type B materialism would then say that fundamental quantum fields have the capacity for experience while type F monism says that consciousness itself is fundamental which has the capacity for experience. My objection would be that consciousness is not a quantum field(s), but that which underlies the quantum fields. Although if one says in type B materialism that it is the underlying non-local quantum informational fields that have the capacity for experience, the two positions get even closer.

Bucky said:
For the sake of completeness it would also be fair to mention that that those “predictions” are based on uber-simplified models of neural anatomy. In fairness this kind of evidence is still tentative and sits on top of other incomplete models.
Yes, it is tentative, but in a way our theories always rest on incomplete models. If we required complete models in order to establish a theory as good, then we would have no good theories.

But with that said, I agree. I personally think it will end up way more complex than even IIT suggests, since there is definitely a quantum aspect to the brain, and I wouldn't at all be surprised if there are quantum computational aspects of the brain, such as Hameroff's microtubule theory of quantum computations. This is also why I think that while it may be possible in-principle to create a "robot" that is conscious, our brains are just way more complex than we imagine and we are just nowhere close to being able to do this. It may require extremely complex interactions of quantum computational nano-machines and the complexity over IIT would possibly be orders of magnitude.

Bucky said:
You should probably turn the defensiveness down a notch…
I probably have come across as defensive, because I have seen what I consider to be a negative attitude towards any description of our conscious experience that involves mechanisms or mathematics. I do not think mechanisms or mathematics can fully explain conscious experience as I said earlier in this post, but at the same time, I think that the physical world exists within consciousness, and the physical world, including our brain, is very successfully described in terms of mechanisms and mathematics. These mechanisms give rise to hierarchical levels of non-reducible emergent informational relations that give rise to causally affective thoughts, and use quantum properties in order to exert these effects. All of this is part of what gives rise to conscious experience. Newer ideas in philosophy of information, quantum theory, and quantum computational models give a much different picture of what mathematical models like these can mean, and is nowhere near the old idea of just chemical interactions within the brain operating in a classical manner (which is just plain wrong). Essentially, the physical and the spiritual need to be unified, and this is moving in that direction.

Bucky said:
You are confusing constructive criticism and objections with “rejection” (your word choice). Never in any of my post I have said that theory should be rejected, and in fact I have repeatedly stated that I hope there will be stronger evidence and acceptance.

I brought up some of the critics of IIT because there are sound objections that need to be addressed, and even its proponents acknowledge them.
I'm not too worried about the line between constructive criticism and whether you are attempting to reject the idea or not. When it comes down to it, usually the back and forth discussions aren't exactly constructive criticism in the nice polite sense of each of us mutually trying to gain unbiased understanding of the subject at hand. We usually have different ideas for different reasons and interpret things differently, and the discussions do have an element of "I think I'm right and I don't like your idea" and that is totally cool. In fact, this type of position can be good because when each person defends the view that they think is correct, the discussions can dig deeper in the attempt to defend one's position. I think this is actually very productive if it is civil, since the super polite "constructive criticism" could too quickly lead to "oh, I can see where you're coming from. Gee, we just don't know, do we!" :)

Bucky said:
I don’t find the mathermatical theory to be silly.
I find silly the kind of hyperbolic claims that you keep making about the thoery, such as that it explains how conscious experience arise.

Once again, we can agree it’s a (possibly) necessary aspect for conscious experience to arise. Futher evidence will help clarifying this.
Perhaps what I said earlier in the post will clarify my position of how I think IIT is related to explaining how our conscious experience arises. I like bold claims of theories. Good theories are not going to make timid predictions. I want something that makes counter-intuitive predictions. Good theories usually do this. That doesn't make it right, but I see bold claims as a virtue. But as you say, further evidence will be the judge of whether it is correct or not.

Bucky said:
Why do you think I am arguing against the effects? When I posted a study that demonstrates such effect?
You were arguing against the idea of using PK to test for consciousness in electronic devices because of the supposed criticisms that you brought up.

Bucky said:
That is exactly the point I am making. Evidence is conflicting.
There are is an unknown number of psychological and physical variables that may moderate PK but we don’t fully understand how they work. Distance may be one, motivation and intent another one, natural ability/experience of the subject(s), coherence of the “signal” from the subjects, number of subjects, competing intentions…
I don't see it as being conflicting. You specifically mentioned the GCP data as a reason against using PK in a consciousness experiment, since there are distant-independent effects that could result from an event on the other side of the planet. However, these types of events, that seem to rely on a field-like effect, are not distant-independent. What does seem to be distant independent is when an individual(s) focus their intent on something they wish to affect. But this is clearly different because in the GCP, there is an indirect effect of some sort of group coherence from focusing on a different event, and it does fall off with distance. But if you had that group focus on your RNG from a distance, rather than say the Burning Man event, then that is a different story, but that would not occur with my proposed experiment using retro-PK to test consciousness.


Bucky said:
My criticism is not of the empirical demonstration.

Many prominent parapsychologists would agree that our understanding of PSI / PK etc… is far from complete and coherent. It’s not a big surprise, otherwise the research would be over and we’d have all the answer (and acceptance) we’re still looking for.

If conscious and unconscious psychic activity can cause tiny deviations in RNGs how do we know exactly what caused those deviations? Is the experimenter’s expectations? A group of people in the front apartment praying? The family on the other side of the street having a fight? Some other cluster of coherent consciousness nearby? A “global consciosness” event? A group of birds flying in formation on top of the lab’s roof?

How do we shield the experiment from all those variables? If we can’t shield it, then we may end up running hundreds of tests in hundreds of different experimental settings… :(
You said, "I have no idea how you can seriously consider to provide evidence that photodiodes have consciousness based on a phenomena that is fundamentally not understood."

If I can empirically demonstrate that human subjects can exert a retroPK effect on unobserved data (which strongly supports a conscious-collapse model of QM), and then I can demonstrate that this effect is not possible when a recording device has a high-phi, then I think that would provide tentative evidence for a conscious collapse-model and also that the high-phi measuring device has an ability to collapse the wave function itself.

One could consult the GCP data prior to analyzing this experimental data to see if there is any reason to think that there was a global or local event that may have skewed the results. If one could run experiments with a high enough number of selected subjects with a high enough number of trials (generally a problem for psi research), and these effects could be repeated, then this can remove questions such as whether the results were from birds flying over the lab. It may also be preferred to use more standard physics experiments such as the double-slit device in order to allow for robust statistical analysis and also have an established base to compare the experimental data to. While there are challenges, there are known ways that we can improve the results in experiments. It's usually budget that is the issue.
 
Last edited:
Hi Neil,

It's taken me a while to realise it, but it seems that the argument against epiphenominalism which I quoted in post #276 in the "What Most People Fail to Understand about the Concept of Free Will" thread applies more generally, and that its force can only be escaped through either interactionist dualism or through some form of idealism in which the mind(s) which is/are primary have from the start all the complex qualities of introspective (especially with respect to our consciousnessness themselves) thought which we know ours to have i.e. independently of any "matter" which might be projected or contained by or associated with that/those mind(s).

Unfortunately, your thesis, even though idealist, does not fit this bill - instead it posits a fundamental mind which is so basic as to not even actually be conscious, with only the capacity for consciousness.

For the rest of this post I'll assume that somehow there is a way around that argument, and that your thesis is at least possible.

Responding then to parts of your last post out of order:

The reason to associate a consciousness that exists beyond spacetime (actually it is both transcendent and immanent) with experience is that:

1. It is a requirement of the von Neumann interpretation, because only a consciousness that exists outside of spacetime could have the required ability to actualize a potential. If it only existed within spacetime, it would then be described by the same wave equations which would result in the same problem of superpositions.
So, according to you, both are necessary, right? To actualise any potential, it must both exist as protoconsciousness beyond spacetime and have had its potential for consciousness realised in spacetime via an entity with sufficient phi, correct?

If so, then this brings back up what you wrote in an earlier post, which I promised to return to after you'd clarified what you meant by branching:

So there are a couple ways I have thought about this paradox, and I hope you can appreciate that of course these are ideas, not real explanations, so I have more than one possible idea for this.

The first examines what is meant by "collapse." The language is inadequate, because it gives the idea of a wavefunction existing in spacetime and moving, say through both slits in the double slit experiment, and that this wave collapses once observed, as if it had some sort of spacial extension in the first place. If we keep in mind the epistemological subjective nature of quantum theory, and that in the von Neumann interpretation the possible locations (wavefunction) do not exist within spacetime, we can then see this as essentially possible experiences that do not manifest in spacetime until observed (information is extracted from the system). In a sense, there is no "collapse" of anything. What we have are potential experiences for consciousness, and one of them is experienced.

So with this view in mind, we have potentialities that exist outside of spacetime, but with the potential evolution of a branch that includes an entity that constitutes a conscious observer, the system then allows for the experience to emerge. The "unreal" potentialities never really became "real" in a more fundamental sense, but rather the potentialities lead to experience. In our normal language, the "unreal" potentialities became "real" because of their manifestation in spacetime, but at a more fundamental level, the unreal never became the real. It's all still potentialities, but just one of them was able to be experienced, and from our perspective "became real."

This is also one of the reasons that I think all the talk of multiverses is a bit hasty because we do not understand the measurement problem (a known problem), and if it is the case that the von Neumann interpretation is true, then what does that mean for most of the supposed 10^500 universes of M-Theory? Essentially that they don't "exist" like our universe does!
And then in your last reply to me you wrote:

[T]here is fundamentally only one real observer, which is the single consciousness. All consciously aware entities such as ourselves only the fundamental consciousness at our base. Without this, the Wigner's Friend paradox is a problem, and it would also be a problem to explain our experience of an objective reality. The apparent objective reality is really inter-subjectively verifiable, and that is because there is only a single consciousness behind all subjective experiences that actualizes the potentialities.
OK, so, combining these two quotes, I can make some sense of it all. The protoconsciousness outside of spacetime is somehow involved in the selection of which possible experiences become manifest in spacetime through its (potentially-experienced-or-not-experienced) spacetime conscious embodiments. It's a little weird, but maybe it works.

We do have some cool examples of very simple programs with few rules that when run, can result in some interesting patterns that almost look like behavior. So I think that there was probably some sort of recursive processing that led to the laws that govern our world. I am not saying that there was a simple program that started it all, meaning the program was prior to the processing, but rather that there was some sort of potential differentiation that led to the ability to process these types of potentialities because of the recursion and could lead to something more organized.
So, you're suggesting some sort of "recursive processing" outside of spacetime? By a protoconsciousness which isn't even conscious, let alone intelligent? I'm not sure how much sense this makes.
 
Hi Neil,

It's taken me a while to realise it, but it seems that the argument against epiphenominalism which I quoted in post #276 in the "What Most People Fail to Understand about the Concept of Free Will" thread applies more generally, and that its force can only be escaped through either interactionist dualism or through some form of idealism in which the mind(s) which is/are primary have from the start all the complex qualities of introspective (especially with respect to our consciousnessness themselves) thought which we know ours to have i.e. independently of any "matter" which might be projected or contained by or associated with that/those mind(s).

Unfortunately, your thesis, even though idealist, does not fit this bill - instead it posits a fundamental mind which is so basic as to not even actually be conscious, with only the capacity for consciousness.
You are correct that my idea does not fit within an interactional dualism or an idealism that posits mind(s) as fundamental. In some sense, with my idea, there is an apparent emergent interactive dualism, but it is contained within a monism. The dynamics of the conscious experience of evolved beings is quite different from the dynamics of matter which makes them appear very different, but able to interact.

However, you can imagine that I disagree that those two options are the only ways to get out of epiphenomenalism. I can't say that I entirely disagree or agree with epiphenomenalism, though. I see that our conscious awareness is epiphenomenal in a way, since it arises through certain informational relations that seem to need physical structures to come about, but consciousness itself is not epiphenomenal, but fundamental, and the combination of the fundamental consciousness and the epiphenomenal conscious awareness results in our experience. So our consciousness really cannot be entirely explained by epiphenomenalism, but epiphenomenalism is involved.

I also have to say I really don't find ideas that say mind is fundamental to be very convincing. Maybe because to me, mind = thoughts, and to say that this is fundamental just doesn't make sense. I get that our brains are, in a way, fundamental for the world to exist (in my idea), but to say that it is the individual minds themselves which are responsible for this seems, to me, to unavoidably fall into the Wigner's Friend paradox. And to say that there is a single mind which is the same as what I call fundamental consciousness, to me it seems that it giving that fundamental consciousness attributes which it doesn't have. I suppose if you stretch the definition of "mind" so that the potentialities of matter are called thoughts, I guess, but I still think it gives it attributes which it wouldn't have.


Laird said:
So, according to you, both are necessary, right? To actualise any potential, it must both exist as protoconsciousness beyond spacetime and have had its potential for consciousness realised in spacetime via an entity with sufficient phi, correct?
Yes, that is correct.

Laird said:
If so, then this brings back up what you wrote in an earlier post, which I promised to return to after you'd clarified what you meant by branching:

And then in your last reply to me you wrote:

OK, so, combining these two quotes, I can make some sense of it all. The protoconsciousness outside of spacetime is somehow involved in the selection of which possible experiences become manifest in spacetime through its (potentially-experienced-or-not-experienced) spacetime conscious embodiments. It's a little weird, but maybe it works.
Well, maybe :) That's the idea, at least, but has some basis from reputable mathematicians such as von Neumann. Although I don't know if I would say that the fundamental consciousness is "involved in the selection" of potentials. Maybe it is, but at least at this point, I would say that it is not. Perhaps this could change, but it seems without an influence, the actual experienced outcomes appear to have the element of quantum randomness. Conscious entities such as us can have intentions and make choices and bias outcomes (for example, PK). There is a part of me that thinks that maybe fundamental consciousness has organizing properties, and humans with their intent can really direct it, but I am not sure about this part yet.

Laird said:
So, you're suggesting some sort of "recursive processing" outside of spacetime? By a protoconsciousness which isn't even conscious, let alone intelligent? I'm not sure how much sense this makes.
Well there are some issues here. Whether time is emergent right long space or if time is more fundamental than space is a question that needs to be answered since one could ask how these information relations come about if there is no time. Perhaps time is not needed for potentialities to occur, but time emerges with experience (collapse). While I wouldn't be inclined to call it intelligent, the idea that it has an organizing ability is something I haven't figured out yet. It appears that it may, but I wouldn't call this intelligence. It is creative, certainly, but I don't know if this is due to an organizing ability or not, I dunno. But depending on what you mean by intelligent, I don't see why that quality would be necessary for potential differentiations to arise.
 
Top