Taking emergence really seriously

Couldn't resist, mate:

THEY'RE MADE OUT OF MEAT
, by TERRY BISSON

"No brain?"

"Oh, there's a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat! That's what I've been trying to tell you."

"So ... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? You're refusing to deal with what I'm telling you. The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."
 
Couldn't resist, mate:
THEY'RE MADE OUT OF MEAT, by TERRY BISSON

"No brain?"

"Oh, there's a brain all right. It's just that the brain is made out of meat! That's what I've been trying to tell you."

"So ... what does the thinking?"

"You're not understanding, are you? You're refusing to deal with what I'm telling you. The brain does the thinking. The meat."

"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."

Hence why I'm starting to think that panpsychism is a viable philosophy for consciousness. Plus it allows for fundamental consciousness that does not clash much with any of the contemporary sciences. Physics isn't violated, chemistry, biology, evolution, etc.
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
"Thinking meat! You're asking me to believe in thinking meat!"

"Yes, thinking meat! Conscious meat! Loving meat. Dreaming meat. The meat is the whole deal! Are you beginning to get the picture or do I have to start all over?"

"Omigod. You're serious then. They're made out of meat."


"Yes, meat. As opposed to consciousness just being made out of nothing. Do you find this idea easier to accept?"

"Of course. It can't be made out of anything except itself."


~~ Paul
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

He's quoting a Sci-Fi story. Actually MaverickPhilosopher links to it in the post.

Though I'm not seeing the problem with consciousness made out of itself? Seems like a viable possibility to me.

Hence why I'm starting to think that panpsychism is a viable philosophy for consciousness. Plus it allows for fundamental consciousness that does not clash much with any of the contemporary sciences. Physics isn't violated, chemistry, biology, evolution, etc.
Intuitively I feel like it's a stop on the way to accepting Neutral Monism, but at least it avoids the ex-nihilo miracle emergence requires.

And I do like the idea of getting to panpsychism by watching lobsters play.
:)
 
He's quoting a Sci-Fi story. Actually MaverickPhilosopher links to it in the post.

Though I'm not seeing the problem with consciousness made out of itself? Seems like a viable possibility to me.



Intuitively I feel like it's a stop on the way to accepting Neutral Monism, but at least it avoids the ex-nihilo miracle emergence requires.
And I do like the idea of getting to panpsychism by watching lobsters play. :)
I have a feeling that's where it will go. If people like Koch and Tunoni who are already positing a certain form of panpsychism, accept psi one day. Then consciousness being truly fundamental may well gain a lot more ground in the mainstream.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

I have a feeling that's where it will go. If people like Koch and Tunoni who are already positing a certain form of panpsychism, accept psi one day. Then consciousness being truly fundamental may well gain a lot more ground in the mainstream.
IIT is interesting, and has apparently been utilized in helping the treatment of coma patients. It also coincides with the assertion that computers can't be conscious entities which is a plus IMO.

And to be fair, I've come to suspect Idealism is also a stop gap on the way to Neutral Monism as well. Braude and Chalmers are neutral monists, IIRC, which means it's got some admirable thinkers in its camp. And that's always a good argument for adopting a position. ;-P
 
IIT is interesting, and has apparently been utilized in helping the treatment of coma patients. It also coincides with the assertion that computers can't be conscious entities which is a plus IMO.

And to be fair, I've come to suspect Idealism is also a stop gap on the way to Neutral Monism as well. Braude and Chalmers are neutral monists, IIRC, which means it's got some admirable thinkers in its camp. And that's always a good argument for adopting a position. ;-P
There's a great talk by a physicist, who essentially destroys the notion of the idea that the brain is a computer, at least in the classical sense.

 
IIT is interesting, and has apparently been utilized in helping the treatment of coma patients. It also coincides with the assertion that computers can't be conscious entities which is a plus IMO.

And to be fair, I've come to suspect Idealism is also a stop gap on the way to Neutral Monism as well. Braude and Chalmers are neutral monists, IIRC, which means it's got some admirable thinkers in its camp. And that's always a good argument for adopting a position. ;-P
By the way, I've found the Alan Watts talk on consciousness. He makes a lot of sense to me.
 
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?
Ghosts are elusive, as elusive as magnetic monopoles, but the Higgs boson isn't and was eventually found because we knew what to look for; that's why that big machine was built.
 
Wherever the popularity of pansychism goes, I just want to emphasize that information is not consciousness, information is experienced by consciousness. Stub your toe, and the pain receptors send a very strong message to the brain, where consciousness resides, and says, "Hey! Watch what you're doing! SUFFER!!!!"
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

Wherever the popularity of pansychism goes, I just want to emphasize that information is not consciousness, information is experienced by consciousness. Stub your toe, and the pain receptors send a very strong message to the brain, where consciousness resides, and says, "Hey! Watch what you're doing! SUFFER!!!!"
Excellent point. This confusion of information as defined by Shannon and information as used in the everyday communication of actually conscious entities actually gets covered a bit in Chapter 4 of Irreducible Mind.

Surprised by the philosophy covered in this book, in addition to the cases. If nothing else I recommend the overviews/reviews of Braude and Mohrhoff.

MaverickPhilosopher also deals with this question of representation vs. comprehension in a few posts.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

"Yes, meat. As opposed to consciousness just being made out of nothing. Do you find this idea easier to accept?"

"Of course. It can't be made out of anything except itself."


~~ Paul
But if it's made of itself then it's not made of nothing right? As Hoffman states in his paper Conscious Realism:

Conscious realism, in direct contradiction to physicalism, takes our conscious experiences as ontologically fundamental. If experiences are ontologically fundamental, then the question simply does not arise of what screen they are painted on or what stuff they are made of. Compare: If space-time and leptons are taken to be ontologically fundamental, as some physicalists do, then the question simply does not arise of what screen space-time is painted on or what stuff leptons are made of. To ask the question is to miss the point that these entities are taken to be ontologically fundamental. Something fundamental does not need to be displayed on, or made of, anything else; if it did, it would not be fundamental. Every scientific theory must take something as fundamental; no theory explains everything. Conscious realism takes conscious experiences as fundamental. This might be counterintuitive to a physicalist, but it is not ipso facto a logical error.
This doesn't seem that different from the stuff Massimo talks about regarding reality arising from mathematical relationships.

The "made out of nothing" conception of consciousness seems more in line with the emergence position criticized by Harris for demanding an ex nihilo type event? Even if we charitably attach "proto-conscious" potential to matter to shore up the materialist position, is that much different from attaching consciousness to non-spatial mathematical entities?
 

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos

Nap, interrupted.
Member
It's a fundamental substance or energy or process or whatever. It is not composed of smaller things.

The point is this: Why does the idea that consciousness is fundamental make people feel any better than the idea that consciousness is a set of processes in the brain? Is it just because people cannot imagine how it could be brain processes?

~~ Paul
 
I see no reason to accept panpsychism. There is no empirical evidence that primitive components of matter have consciousness, and panpsychism as an alternative to the miraculous emergence of consciousness into a pure material world according materialism, consciousness may be associated with certain structures as a primitive fact, scientists have always to accept something as primitive.
 
S

Sciborg_S_Patel

I see no reason to accept panpsychism. There is no empirical evidence that primitive components of matter have consciousness, and panpsychism as an alternative to the miraculous emergence of consciousness into a pure material world according materialism, consciousness may be associated with certain structures as a primitive fact, scientists have always to accept something as primitive.
Shhhhh! We just got former materialists to embrace this paradigm, let's not scare them away. You know they tend to be skittish around the ghost in the machine. ;-)

"Tell all the truth but tell it slant,
Success in circuit lies,
Too bright for our infirm delight
The truth's superb surprise;

As lightning to the children eased
With explanation kind,
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind."
-Emily Dickinson
 
Is it just because people cannot imagine how it could be brain processes?

~~ Paul
You make it sound like we proponents are the only ones arguing this. The fact that consciousness seems to be a problem that we can't just explain away, despite some people wanting to. The fact that Chalmers and others in the article sciborg cited are thinking that maybe consciousness isn't completely reducible to brains is perhaps indicative of something.
 
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