Taking emergence really seriously

I've a soft spot for Panpsychism... yeah why not?
Are you serious?

If you are, I think it depends what exactly is supposed to be conscious. In particular, electrons, and other sub-atomic particles are supposed to be identical in the sense that absolutely nothing changes (technically except the sign of the wave function) if you swap two of them over. That seems to create an obstacle to panpsychism because to be identical, every electron would have to be thinking the same thing! The same would go for the other particles. However, I guess if you put the psychism into the quantum fields that are supposed to generate electrons, you might get round that.....

Idealism as the ultimate solution, with dualism as a sort of stepping stone (in the sense that Special Relativity can be seen as a stepping stone to General Relativity) seems to be a neater explanation to me.

David
 
Are you serious?

If you are, I think it depends what exactly is supposed to be conscious. In particular, electrons, and other sub-atomic particles are supposed to be identical in the sense that absolutely nothing changes (technically except the sign of the wave function) if you swap two of them over. That seems to create an obstacle to panpsychism because to be identical, every electron would have to be thinking the same thing! The same would go for the other particles. However, I guess if you put the psychism into the quantum fields that are supposed to generate electrons, you might get round that.....

Idealism as the ultimate solution, with dualism as a sort of stepping stone (in the sense that Special Relativity can be seen as a stepping stone to General Relativity) seems to be a neater explanation to me.

David
I guess no explanation is completely satisfying. Idealism stripped down looks (to me) like a thought experiment to introduce "god" (for want of a better word) into a world that isn't physical after all, but just appears to be. Again, yeah, why not? Although I'm really not sure that using dualism as a stepping stone helps or hinders.
 
if pansychism is true, then why don't people have experiences of being watched by their couch or furniture? Why don't people have dreams about their refrigerator or carpet? Why do people have sleep paralysis experiences of living entities like ghosts, aliens and demons, but not silverware or the power tools in the garage?

In other words, this idea that consciousness is just some manifestation of information theory, and everything has a little bit of consciousness, like rocks, dirt, cell phones, scissors, notebooks, index cards, envelopes, headphones, cups, and vitamins, then we should be having near death experiences with physical things, not disembodied spirits.
 
if pansychism is true, then why don't people have experiences of being watched by their couch or furniture? Why don't people have dreams about their refrigerator or carpet? Why do people have sleep paralysis experiences of living entities like ghosts, aliens and demons, but not silverware or the power tools in the garage?

In other words, this idea that consciousness is just some manifestation of information theory, and everything has a little bit of consciousness, like rocks, dirt, cell phones, scissors, notebooks, index cards, envelopes, headphones, cups, and vitamins, then we should be having near death experiences with physical things, not disembodied spirits.
Well inanimate objects appear to turn up all the time in NDE reports, and ghostly sightings (ghosts wear clothes, and even hair isn't "alive")
 
if pansychism is true, then why don't people have experiences of being watched by their couch or furniture? Why don't people have dreams about their refrigerator or carpet? Why do people have sleep paralysis experiences of living entities like ghosts, aliens and demons, but not silverware or the power tools in the garage?

In other words, this idea that consciousness is just some manifestation of information theory, and everything has a little bit of consciousness, like rocks, dirt, cell phones, scissors, notebooks, index cards, envelopes, headphones, cups, and vitamins, then we should be having near death experiences with physical things, not disembodied spirits.

There are lots of NDE accounts, and other altered states of consciousness that people claim to communicate with entities, whether they be human, non-physical, "gods, ghouls, ghosts" etc. sometimes the person having the experience doesn't even know what they are communicating with. Are you saying none of these could be a conscious physical object that one is communicating with? Perhaps in the strange space one finds themselves having this experience it is a spoon they are talking to. A spoon that has crucial information about reality and universal truth.. :P


But these are the kinds of questions people need to be asking about panpsychism, if they're interested in progressing the subject matter. I'd suggest looking in to some philosophers that talk about panpsychism's limitation.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

Panpsychism has lots of variations and all of them have some problems to be addressed. That only puts it in the same place as all the other options.

;-)

I have to admit Idealism is cleaner from a reflective standpoint, but Panpsychism feels like a good position for agnostics as it offers acknowledgement of both the Phenomenal and Physical worlds.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

With so many gaps in our understanding how can one -ism be "cleaner" than the others. What do you mean by that?
Having all things be manifested in Mind is less complicated than to say consciousness (or proto-consciousness) prevades all matter. It's hard to figure out why all matter isn't conscious, or how conscious (or proto-conscious) atoms combine to form a conscious entity.

It's actually called the Combination Problem.

But I would say Panpsychism feels closer to the experience we have of there being real mental and real matter.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

If particles can evolve into life forms, why can't there be mysterious quantum fields that also evolve into more complex structures?
Kaku actually starts to get into this in Future of Mind, positing we can transfer our consciousness into some kind of sentient fog. I have to admit I wasn't convinced.

That said, the problems for panpsychism are similar to the problems faced by emergence - why should only a particular arrangement of structure & dynamics result in consciousness? However panpsychism at least avoids the ex nihilo type miracle by putting qualia in there from the beginning.

Tononi posits that there is some state of information integration that allows for consciousness to manifest itself out of what I understood to be potential-for-consciousness. This isn't exactly the same thing as proto-consciousness IIRC, though it does seem to raise the question about whether one can have experience-potential without some mind actually having the experience.

There's also the question of why consciousness, which doesn't seem irreducible, would be decomposable to smaller parts. Braude calls this the "Small Is Beautiful" temptation, wherein scientists and philosophers automatically assume that any part of reality that is indivisible must be miniscule. However there's no definite reason to assume this is the case, which where the idea of Irreducible Mind comes in.

I was actually surprised to see the first part of the book is philosophical considerations in tandem with generally accepted science. Very much in the vein of Clifton's argument against Materialism utilizing subjective experience alone.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

And yet here we are, a collection atoms and molecules arranged is specific ways following the laws of physics, biology and chemistry philosophizing why a collection of uniquely arrange atoms and molecules following the laws of physics, biology and chemistry can't think. Oh, the irony. This argument has as much sound logic in it as arguing why atoms and molecules arranged in specific ways can't be alive. This is what I "like" about logical argument. One can make a logical argument and never have to worry about being called to task to prove the logical argument experimentally.

"Alive" is a set of criteria applied by outside observers. A subsystem on this planet is classified as alive if it fits the criteria.

This is very different than a consciousness that not only bestows a subsystem with an inner life, but is also the mind that comprehends and demarcates the universe into "alive" and "nonliving". Thus the comparison between vitalism and consciousness, and materialism's ability to explain one or the other*, seems to make a category error AFAICTell. If you don't believe me you can check with Maverick Philosopher (he wrote Thinking Meat) and ask him to delineate the difference.

Chalmers also explains the difference in Moving Forward on the Problem of Consciousness.

...Perhaps the most common strategy for a type-A materialist is to deflate the "hard problem" by using analogies to other domains, where talk of such a problem would be misguided. Thus Dennett imagines a vitalist arguing about the hard problem of "life", or a neuroscientist arguing about the hard problem of "perception". Similarly, Paul Churchland (1996) imagines a nineteenth century philosopher worrying about the hard problem of "light", and Patricia Churchland brings up an analogy involving "heat". In all these cases, we are to suppose, someone might once have thought that more needed explaining than structure and function; but in each case, science has proved them wrong. So perhaps the argument about consciousness is no better.

This sort of argument cannot bear much weight, however. Pointing out that analogous arguments do not work in other domains is no news: the whole point of anti-reductionist arguments about consciousness is that there is a disanalogy between the problem of consciousness and problems in other domains. As for the claim that analogous arguments in such domains might once have been plausible, this strikes me as something of a convenient myth: in the other domains, it is more or less obvious that structure and function are what need explaining, at least once any experiential aspects are left aside, and one would be hard pressed to find a substantial body of people who ever argued otherwise.
"Philosophy always buries its undertakers"
-Etienne Gilson


*Which is not to say materialism has explained everything there is to know about life. As Braude notes vitalism of some sort may still have a role to play at the explanatory instead of substance level - perhaps via the observer-participancy championed by Josesphson.
 
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Well now that it's working its way into the mainstream, you have permission. ;)
I think there is more evidence to support the existence of ghosts than there is panpsychism. For that matter, there is more evidence and observation to support ghosts, grey aliens and a Holy Spirit God-being than there is to support time travel, multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics, and even string theory. As you may recall, time travel causes paradoxes and is therefore impossible. Multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics violates (flagrantly) conservations of energy and would be unstable. Superstrings do not cause paradoxes and are not unstable. However they have never been observed. God, ghosts and grey aliens do not cause paradoxes nor do they cause universe instability; yet they have been observed. God ghosts and grey aliens, logically, are more likely to be true.
 
I think there is more evidence to support the existence of ghosts than there is panpsychism. For that matter, there is more evidence and observation to support ghosts, grey aliens and a Holy Spirit God-being than there is to support time travel, multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics, and even string theory. As you may recall, time travel causes paradoxes and is therefore impossible. Multiverse interpretation of quantum mechanics violates (flagrantly) conservations of energy and would be unstable. Superstrings do not cause paradoxes and are not unstable. However they have never been observed. God, ghosts and grey aliens do not cause paradoxes nor do they cause universe instability; yet they have been observed. God ghosts and grey aliens, logically, are more likely to be true.
I don't really believe there is such a thing as true or false, but I'll agree with you because you make sense according to the rules of our game.

Ghosts are sneaky sonsabitches. Like aliens, these phenomena are illusive enough to allow some dreamers to remain asleep, but not so much as to not awaken the others.

Why not throw down some signposts as a reminder of what you are?

God? I thought we were God?
 
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I don't really believe there is such a thing as true or false, but I'll agree with you because you make sense according to the rules of our game.

Ghosts are sneaky sonsabitches. Like aliens, these phenomena are allusive enough to allow some dreamers to remain asleep, but not so much as to not awaken the others.

Why not throw down some signposts as a reminder of what you are?

God? I thought we were God?
The LHC is the biggest machine in the world and was necessary to build to detect the Higgs boson. if the Higgs boson can be illusive, why can't ghosts be?
 
"Alive" is a set of criteria applied by outside observers. A subsystem on this planet is classified as alive if it fits the criteria.

This is very different than a consciousness that not only bestows a subsystem with an inner life, but is also the mind that comprehends and demarcates the universe into "alive" and "nonliving". Thus the comparison between vitalism and consciousness, and materialism's ability to explain one or the other*, seems to make a category error AFAICTell. If you don't believe me you can check with Maverick Philosopher (he wrote Thinking Meat) and ask him to delineate the difference.

Chalmers also explains the difference in Moving Forward on the Problem of Consciousness.


"Philosophy always buries its undertakers"
-Etienne Gilson


*Which is not to say materialism has explained everything there is to know about life. As Braude notes vitalism of some sort may still have a role to play at the explanatory instead of substance level - perhaps via the observer-participancy championed by Josesphson.
Let's pretend there is such a thing as time and take a journey backwards. Would you agree that if we kept going that at some point we'd hit a foundation- the singularity, the nonduality, that from which all arises? If so, what do you think that would be?

Why is this so difficult? I mean, I think human logic, fundamentally, is worthless. But let's keep pretending. Isn't there really only one reasonable foundation? That is, while still keeping your own existence in the equation.
 
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