Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

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donsalmon
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by donsalmon »

Hi folks

original author of this thread here, (Don).

Jim Cross, I have a question for you. I worked for about 25 years as a clinical psychologist, conducted research, and had nearly two years training in neuropsychology.

Is it your understanding that in fact, the vast majority of neuroscientists believe that qualities like color and sound (experienced color and experienced sound, not wavelengths of light waves and pressure waves) do NOT exist apart from some form of perception (not necessarily human perception)?
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by donsalmon »

darn, not familiar enough with this to edit at the moment. Put in a double negative by mistake. let me say it more simply:

As far as I understand, the majority of neuroscientists believe the experiential qualities do NOT exist in those parts of the physical universe that are completely mind independent. Is that correct?
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

donsalmon wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 3:34 am darn, not familiar enough with this to edit at the moment. Put in a double negative by mistake. let me say it more simply:
Don ... I took the liberty of removing the double negative.
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Jim Cross »

donsalmon wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 3:33 am Hi folks

original author of this thread here, (Don).

Jim Cross, I have a question for you. I worked for about 25 years as a clinical psychologist, conducted research, and had nearly two years training in neuropsychology.

Is it your understanding that in fact, the vast majority of neuroscientists believe that qualities like color and sound (experienced color and experienced sound, not wavelengths of light waves and pressure waves) do NOT exist apart from some form of perception (not necessarily human perception)?
Simple answer yes. I think most neuroscientists would say qualities like color and sound as experienced are representations in the simulation of the world that runs in the organism and the brain.

However, I am also disagreeing somewhat with the premise of a sharp distinction between qualities and quantities in regard to sensory experience.. Certainly colors (qualities) represent frequencies (quantities). The same would be true with sound frequencies. Spacetime - is that quantitative or qualitative? Certainly we have quantitative sense of time and distance even when we are not using clocks or measuring sticks. The quantitative/qualitative distinction breaks down more when we understand how the qualitative aspects of our experience are used. We distinguish a ripe banana from an unripe one by color. We determine causality by the ordering of events which implies time. The relationships between sound frequencies makes music possible and breaks human speech sounds into phonemes which makes language possible. Is ordering in time qualitative or quantitative? Is picking the ripe banana acting on a quality or quantity? In many cases the experience of a quality is a proxy for a quantity or, at least, has a quantitative component.
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Jim Cross »

Jim Cross wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 12:42 pm
donsalmon wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 3:33 am Hi folks

original author of this thread here, (Don).

Jim Cross, I have a question for you. I worked for about 25 years as a clinical psychologist, conducted research, and had nearly two years training in neuropsychology.

Is it your understanding that in fact, the vast majority of neuroscientists believe that qualities like color and sound (experienced color and experienced sound, not wavelengths of light waves and pressure waves) do NOT exist apart from some form of perception (not necessarily human perception)?
Simple answer yes. I think most neuroscientists would say qualities like color and sound as experienced are representations in the simulation of the world that runs in the organism and the brain.

However, I am also disagreeing somewhat with the premise of a sharp distinction between qualities and quantities in regard to sensory experience.. Certainly colors (qualities) represent frequencies (quantities). The same would be true with sound frequencies. Spacetime - is that quantitative or qualitative? Certainly we have quantitative sense of time and distance even when we are not using clocks or measuring sticks. The quantitative/qualitative distinction breaks down more when we understand how the qualitative aspects of our experience are used. We distinguish a ripe banana from an unripe one by color. We determine causality by the ordering of events which implies time. The relationships between sound frequencies makes music possible and breaks human speech sounds into phonemes which makes language possible. Is ordering in time qualitative or quantitative? Is picking the ripe banana acting on a quality or quantity? In many cases the experience of a quality is a proxy for a quantity or, at least, has a quantitative component.
Let me add one other thing. Even though the experiences of qualia are representations of something else, they also exist in the world, that is in the brain and nervous system itself. They are a product of the act of perception which involves the brain interacting with the world or with itself.
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by AshvinP »

Jim Cross wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 12:42 pm
donsalmon wrote: Mon Oct 11, 2021 3:33 am Hi folks

original author of this thread here, (Don).

Jim Cross, I have a question for you. I worked for about 25 years as a clinical psychologist, conducted research, and had nearly two years training in neuropsychology.

Is it your understanding that in fact, the vast majority of neuroscientists believe that qualities like color and sound (experienced color and experienced sound, not wavelengths of light waves and pressure waves) do NOT exist apart from some form of perception (not necessarily human perception)?
Simple answer yes. I think most neuroscientists would say qualities like color and sound as experienced are representations in the simulation of the world that runs in the organism and the brain.

However, I am also disagreeing somewhat with the premise of a sharp distinction between qualities and quantities in regard to sensory experience.. Certainly colors (qualities) represent frequencies (quantities). The same would be true with sound frequencies. Spacetime - is that quantitative or qualitative? Certainly we have quantitative sense of time and distance even when we are not using clocks or measuring sticks. The quantitative/qualitative distinction breaks down more when we understand how the qualitative aspects of our experience are used. We distinguish a ripe banana from an unripe one by color. We determine causality by the ordering of events which implies time. The relationships between sound frequencies makes music possible and breaks human speech sounds into phonemes which makes language possible. Is ordering in time qualitative or quantitative? Is picking the ripe banana acting on a quality or quantity? In many cases the experience of a quality is a proxy for a quantity or, at least, has a quantitative component.

Needless to say, the exact opposite of everything Jim wrote above is true. For ex., color is the symbol we create for the qualitative meaning of "ripe" that we first perceive. This is not my speculation based on idealism or spiritual tradition, but what evolutionary science tells us regardless of metaphysical position. From the secular scientific perspective, colors evolved to distinguish the differences in qualitative meaning first sensed. Materialists have gotten to the point where they must deny the latest empirical science to maintain their purely quantitative worldview.
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lorenzop
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by lorenzop »

I am not a neuroscientist, and don't know any; but based on my readings, I would venture that most neuroscientists would hold that the world is colorless, tasteless and odorless. If then asked where do color, tastes and odors reside, or how are they generated - I believe they would not be able to answer that. They will give a promise that we'll know soon, very soon, just around the corner, almost there now . . .
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by AshvinP »

jrcarter wrote: Fri Oct 08, 2021 10:31 pm
Jim Cross wrote: Sat Sep 25, 2021 1:13 pm Bernardo seems embarrassingly uninformed about how neuroscience understands vision and other senses work.

In the article, he seems to believe that materialism somehow requires that the brain be a passive recorder of the external world like a camera.
I don't think that the brain can be compared with any kind of camera or recording device. What the sensory "devices" of the body are involved in is in "detecting" the environment of the body, within and without (in the physical sense). What we can say about the brain is that it is (in part) involved in the delivery of sensory signals (not in a computational sense) to the body. The left brain focuses on details of what we are aware of while the right brain is concerned with the "big picture" of what we are aware of. (Awareness in this sense is the local arena of "sensation" as it relates to the five senses.)

The left brain activity is like a Materialist point of view while the right brain activity is like the Idealist point of view. We can't have one without the other. They are intrinsically linked. To mention one is to invoke the other. Denying one is to ignore the whole of reality. It is a kind of duality that is a wholeness. Think ripples on water. Are they two distinct "entities?" One is a "being" and the other is a "doing." Consciousness is neither. Consciousness does not "contain" being and/or doing, nor are being and/or doing outside of Consciousness.

It is in the field of Consciousness (the zero point field, if you will) that all experiences are "recorded." It is the field of Consciousness that our body-mind (not just the brain since the mind isn't solely in the brain but in a biofield of the entire body) connects to for the two-way transfer of information. From body-mind to Consciousness, the transfer occurs without our direct awareness. From Consciousness to body, it comes as insights ("a-ha") or as intuition ("of course"), and sometimes as direct awareness (similar to channeling, telepathy and other paranormal experiences).

Which brings up another point about "where is memory?" It's not "just" in the brain. It's in every cell of the body and in the biofield and the field of Consciousness. So we have local memory and nonlocal memory. The reason that it is so difficult for Science to pin down the hard problem of Consciousness because it involves identifying what and where memory is and how to access it. Simple. It's "in the cloud." <grin>

The problem is that the "idealist view" is also the left brain approach to the world if it remains as an abstract, detached theory. The right brain does not theorize about how material stuff interacts with ideal stuff, or where the ideal stuff is "recorded", or anything of a similar nature which presupposes a fixed spatiotemporal perspective. Rather, it permeates Nature, past, present, and future, with Idea and accepts whatever knowledge comes of this ever-evolving participatory process. So, that is just to say I don't think we can analogize left-right hemispheres to metaphysical worldviews of materialism-idealism in that manner. I think the right hemisphere's ideational activity precedes all such distinctions.
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donsalmon
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by donsalmon »

Hi Lorenzop:

If all of my dissertation advisors are correct, your description of the view of neuroscience that the world is odorless, tasteless (silent, invisible, etc) is correct.

My main advisor, a developmental psychologist with years long interest in philosophy of mind, talked about this at some length with me, as my doctoral research involved the perception of pain.

Both the American Pain Association and the International Pain Association have declared that pain IS psychological, not physical. THere's even a term for purely physical sensations associated with the psychological response of "pain" - nociception.

The term nociception was around in the 1990s when i was conducting research, but unfortunately the official definition of pain as psychological did not arrive at the time I was finishing up my dissertation. Would have been a nice addition!

So yes, the world according to the physicalist, is not only odorless, silent, etc (as well as stupid and unconscious), but it is painless as well.

Doesn't sound so bad, eh?

There is also no cause or reason or explanation for the orderliness. Most physicalists I've talked to aren't in hte least bothered by this.

Nothing - then BOOM and a trillionth of a second later, extraordinary order, which remains EXACTLY the same for 13.7+ billion years, never changing.

Sentience arises? Well that's easy to explain. How just does it emerge? Ah, the answer: emergence! Gosh, why didn't I think of that.

So in this colorless, invisible, silent, odorless, tasteless world of perfect order, out of pure unconscious stupidity, the most complex order emerges, and sentience and consciousness and what appears to be intelligence emerge. Yet there is no individual or separate actor, so there is no basis for morality or individual responsibiltiy. Thus there is no stable foundation (despite what Sam Harris tried to establish) for any kind of punishment for, well, anything.

You don't need an alternative philosophy. You just need someone (Bernaro hasn't doneit and I haven't seen anyone else do it yet; I'm working on int!) to spell out in fine enough detail what physicalists actually believe. The eliminative materialists are doing it with regard to responsibility and free will, and there's the neuroscience of law which helps things along. Wittgenstein wrote a bit about the absurdity of the concept of "laws of nature" and here and there - in Bernardo too - you find brief deconstructions of the whole idea that physicalism is NOT consistent with there being a purely objective world of qualities.

if someone did this - I think it should be in mujltimedia format and not just with words - the whole thing would be so obviously absurd most would abandon it.

There are a fraction who are so attached to abstract concepts that they would hold on to it no matter what (like biologist Richard Lewontin who says we must belive in materialism, no matter how absurd or self contradictory, because any alternative is so much worse - finally ,an honest phyisicalist! - but other true believers will persist.

Well, it's been an interesting thread. I love the anthroposophical interlude, but I do think there are fundamental flaws in Steiner's approach. I had some interesting conversations with Arthur Zajonc, a nuclear physicist who is also past president of the American Anthroposophists (sp?. He admitted some of these limitations, which I suppose may be why he's turned so intensely toward Buddhist study.

And then there's Sri Aurobindo.
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AshvinP
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by AshvinP »

donsalmon wrote: Tue Oct 12, 2021 2:23 am Well, it's been an interesting thread. I love the anthroposophical interlude, but I do think there are fundamental flaws in Steiner's approach. I had some interesting conversations with Arthur Zajonc, a nuclear physicist who is also past president of the American Anthroposophists (sp?. He admitted some of these limitations, which I suppose may be why he's turned so intensely toward Buddhist study.

And then there's Sri Aurobindo.

Now this sounds like a very interesting avenue to explore... can you share those limitations he shared with you? Maybe we can start a new thread for it.

The last part, does that mean you disagree with Sri Aurobindo's view or agree or both? I have always felt his spiritual evolutionary approach is not really at odds with Steiner.
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