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

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

Post by Eugene I »

Hoffman wrote:Science is a method. It can test and discard ontologies. If our perceptions evolved by natural selection, then, according to the FBT Theorem, we should discard the ontology of physicalism. We should recognize that spacetime and objects are the perceptual interface used by Homo sapiens. They are our first-person experiences. The scientific study of physical objects in spacetime, even when conducted by large teams of scientists using advanced technologies, is necessarily a study of first-person experiences.

Hoffman, Donald. The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes . W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
FBT is a good argument for a "legitimacy" of discarding physicalism (in its naive-realistic formulation) and adopting ontologies other than physicalism. Basically it means that our sensual perception of the world has no relevance to the ontology, so physicalism can not be supported by our sensual perception of the world. That's as far as the FBT argument can go, but that is of course not enough to "refute" physicalism. Also, the modern physics is moving away from describing the world as "physical objects in spacetime", as well as giving up on locality and causality assumptions, so the Hoffman's criticism does not apply to the modern "non-naive" versions of physicalism. This means that the FBT theorem is not a good argument when defending or criticizing any ontologies other than naive realism.
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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 »

Eugene I wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:31 pm
Hoffman wrote:Science is a method. It can test and discard ontologies. If our perceptions evolved by natural selection, then, according to the FBT Theorem, we should discard the ontology of physicalism. We should recognize that spacetime and objects are the perceptual interface used by Homo sapiens. They are our first-person experiences. The scientific study of physical objects in spacetime, even when conducted by large teams of scientists using advanced technologies, is necessarily a study of first-person experiences.

Hoffman, Donald. The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes . W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
FBT is a good argument for a "legitimacy" of discarding physicalism (in its naive-realistic formulation) and adopting ontologies other than physicalism. Basically it means that our sensual perception of the world has no relevance to the ontology, so physicalism can not be supported by our sensual perception of the world. That's as far as the FBT argument can go, but that is of course not enough to "refute" physicalism. Also, the modern physics is moving away from describing the world as "physical objects in spacetime", as well as giving up on locality and causality assumptions, so the Hoffman's criticism does not apply to the modern "non-naive" versions of physicalism. This means that the FBT theorem is not a good argument when defending or criticizing any ontologies other than naive realism.

You are conflating "modern physics", and I suppose modern science in general, with "physicalism". When science moves away from those assumptions, and I agree it is doing that very quickly now, then whatever ontology the non-idealist scientists hold to (if they hold to any ontology) cannot be called "physicalism" anymore. If they assume-conclude whatever is underlying Reality is non-physical in any traditional sense, then they are no longer "physicalists". Physicalist ontologies can be proven wrong by science precisely because they are rooted in abstract conceptual systems which will inevitably contradict one another as more light is shed on the phenomenal relations.
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by AshvinP »

Jim Cross wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:26 pm Actually the "truth" is evident in Hoffman's desktop analogy.

The icons for files on my desktop really do represent underlying files stored on disk. Depending upon the nature of the file, the icon may tell me about the structure of the file (PDF, Word Doc, etc). It may have a title which will tell me something about what is in the file.

There are layers of truth. The arrangement of magnetic elements on disk isn't anymore a more truthful view than the icon itself. In fact, I know nothing about the type of file or its content from looking at the file at its lowest levels.

What you quote is a simple case of stepping outside of the analogy to question the inferences of the analogy. If one is going to evaluate an analogy, they must remain within the logic of the analogy. The pixels on a computer screen which make the "file icons" do not visually reflect the nature of the underlying hardware which allows for the file content and are not causally tied to that content whatsoever. It's really that simple.
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Jim Cross »

AshvinP wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:00 pm
Jim Cross wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:26 pm Actually the "truth" is evident in Hoffman's desktop analogy.

The icons for files on my desktop really do represent underlying files stored on disk. Depending upon the nature of the file, the icon may tell me about the structure of the file (PDF, Word Doc, etc). It may have a title which will tell me something about what is in the file.

There are layers of truth. The arrangement of magnetic elements on disk isn't anymore a more truthful view than the icon itself. In fact, I know nothing about the type of file or its content from looking at the file at its lowest levels.

What you quote is a simple case of stepping outside of the analogy to question the inferences of the analogy. If one is going to evaluate an analogy, they must remain within the logic of the analogy. The pixels on a computer screen which make the "file icons" do not visually reflect the nature of the underlying hardware which allows for the file content and are not causally tied to that content whatsoever. It's really that simple.
No representation reflects the underlying the reality. because there is no underlying reality.
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Jim Cross »

Eugene I wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:31 pm
Hoffman wrote:Science is a method. It can test and discard ontologies. If our perceptions evolved by natural selection, then, according to the FBT Theorem, we should discard the ontology of physicalism. We should recognize that spacetime and objects are the perceptual interface used by Homo sapiens. They are our first-person experiences. The scientific study of physical objects in spacetime, even when conducted by large teams of scientists using advanced technologies, is necessarily a study of first-person experiences.

Hoffman, Donald. The Case Against Reality: Why Evolution Hid the Truth from Our Eyes . W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
FBT is a good argument for a "legitimacy" of discarding physicalism (in its naive-realistic formulation) and adopting ontologies other than physicalism. Basically it means that our sensual perception of the world has no relevance to the ontology, so physicalism can not be supported by our sensual perception of the world. That's as far as the FBT argument can go, but that is of course not enough to "refute" physicalism. Also, the modern physics is moving away from describing the world as "physical objects in spacetime", as well as giving up on locality and causality assumptions, so the Hoffman's criticism does not apply to the modern "non-naive" versions of physicalism. This means that the FBT theorem is not a good argument when defending or criticizing any ontologies other than naive realism.
The problem is that FBT itself derives from an abstract model. It isn't based on empirical data or from looking at evolution. It is based on a model, no more.

As a model, the model has all the problems of models but more because it not a good model.
An important objection to signaling approaches to representation is that, if signaling behavior is driven by the maximization of usefulness (as is arguably the case for cognitive systems evolved under regimes of natural selection), then signals will typically carry much more information about agent-dependent usefulness than about objective features of the world. This sort of considerations are sometimes taken to provide support for an anti-realist stance on representation itself. Here I examine the game-theoretic version of this skeptical line of argument developed by Donald Hoffman and his colleagues. I show that their argument only works under an extremely impoverished picture of the informational connections that hold between agent and world. In particular, it only works for cue-driven agents, in Kim Sterelny’s sense. In cases in which the agents’s understanding of what is useful results from combining pieces of information that reach them in different ways, and that complement one another (i.e., that are synergistic), maximizing usefulness involves construing first a picture of agent-independent, objective matters of fact.
http://philsci-archive.pitt.edu/15846/

Unfortunately it is just this "combining pieces of information that reach them in different ways" is likely directly tied to why we are conscious and how we learn to operate in the world. Since this part is omitted from the model, Hoffman ends up with conclusions that might work for jewel beetles (and maybe not even for them in all cases) but fails for complex organisms.
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Eugene I
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Eugene I »

Jim Cross wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:59 pm The problem is that FBT itself derives from an abstract model. It isn't based on empirical data or from looking at evolution. It is based on a model, no more.

As a model, the model has all the problems of models but more because it not a good model.
Hoffman worked on FBT and ITP long before starting developing his model of the network of conscious agents, so they have nothing to do with each other. So, the FBT does not derive from the model of the conscious agents network. Also, as we discussed before, FBT does not apply to learning, but only to sensory perceptions. After all, it's exactly learning that allowed Hoffman to formulate the ITP itself.
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Jim Cross
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Jim Cross »

Eugene I wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 6:09 pm
Jim Cross wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:59 pm The problem is that FBT itself derives from an abstract model. It isn't based on empirical data or from looking at evolution. It is based on a model, no more.

As a model, the model has all the problems of models but more because it not a good model.
Hoffman worked on FBT and ITP long before starting developing his model of the network of conscious agents, so they have nothing to do with each other. So, the FBT does not derive from the model of the conscious agents network. Also, as we discussed before, FBT does not apply to learning, but only to sensory perceptions. After all, it's exactly learning that allowed Hoffman to formulate the ITP itself.
I never said FBT derives from conscious agents. Actually the conscious agents concept derives from FBT and ITP. They are not unrelated. The network comes directly from the model with the PDA loop. Remember he is just replacing world (W) in the PDA loop with a network of conscious agents. So, if FBT is wrong or certainly insufficient, the conscious agent network falls apart too.

And, as I've said before, sensory perceptions are not isolated reaction loops as in Hoffman's model.. Learning shapes sensory perception. That is another deficiency in the theory and flaw in the model.
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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 »

Jim Cross wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:46 pm
AshvinP wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 5:00 pm
Jim Cross wrote: Wed Sep 29, 2021 4:26 pm Actually the "truth" is evident in Hoffman's desktop analogy.

The icons for files on my desktop really do represent underlying files stored on disk. Depending upon the nature of the file, the icon may tell me about the structure of the file (PDF, Word Doc, etc). It may have a title which will tell me something about what is in the file.

There are layers of truth. The arrangement of magnetic elements on disk isn't anymore a more truthful view than the icon itself. In fact, I know nothing about the type of file or its content from looking at the file at its lowest levels.

What you quote is a simple case of stepping outside of the analogy to question the inferences of the analogy. If one is going to evaluate an analogy, they must remain within the logic of the analogy. The pixels on a computer screen which make the "file icons" do not visually reflect the nature of the underlying hardware which allows for the file content and are not causally tied to that content whatsoever. It's really that simple.
No representation reflects the underlying the reality. because there is no underlying reality.

So there are only representations of... no reality? I wrote an essay about this nihilism just recently. The only thing more illogical than physicalism is physicalism which holds its abstractions represent "emptiness devoid of essence". All of these positions are born of incompleteness, i.e. the egoic refusal to accept that one does not already know every secret of the Cosmos. I know you are fond of Rovelli, who I directly mention and quote in the essay.


viewtopic.php?f=5&t=571
Ashvin wrote:The reason why Rovelli and Harris reach these flawed conclusions is not because they are reasoning poorly, but rather because they arbitrarily decided to stop reasoning once they reached their desired conclusions which negate the "I". In the modern age, all error in knowledge is truly born of incompleteness. Owen Barfield illustrated nicely in the second edition of his book, Poetic Diction (1953), how modern philosophers were mechanically echoing the conclusions of modern science as they both gazed into the abyss where even "emptiness is empty": "Twentieth-century science has abolished the 'thing' altogether; and twentieth-century philosophy (that part of it, at least, which takes no account of imagination) has obediently followed suit. There are no objects, says the voice of Science, there are only bundles of waves or possibly something else; adding that, although it is convenient to think of them, it would be naïve to suppose that the waves or the something else actually exist. There is no 'referent', echoes the philosophy of linguistic analysis deferentially, no substance or underlying reality which is 'meant' by words." We should observe this overall pattern which reveals how far we have descended from the Cogito of Descartes in the 16th century towards what Barfield called, "the Self-less liquidation of the human spirit".
...
All too often, the intellectual elite of our age will observe these difficulties of knowing and conclude, "if I do not yet know anything about my own 'I' and what it knows, then it is best to assume that no true 'I' and no true knowledge exists." It is much easier that way, is it not? Our intellect will shift to a manic gear and rationalize endlessly to avoid the apparently tedious work of true knowing which lies ahead of it. But, take notice that, by asking these questions, we have already arrived to some true knowledge about our deepest inner experiences. We have perceived why the intellect will try to stop us dead in our tracks of knowing. At least half of all true knowledge, then, is the re-cognition of the realities within ourselves which are trying to prevent any further knowledge. That reality is also the more comprehesnive meaning of Socrates' Wisdom - what prevents further knowledge is the egoic conviction that we have already reached complete knowledge.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
Herger The Joyous
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by Herger The Joyous »

I like how you mentioned Aurobindo. I recently finished a series of videos by John David Ebert covering his work The Life Divine, as well as a paper about his theory of reincarnation by Stephen Phillips. Those of you interested might like this series by Ebert. [/bbvideo] I hope that isn't considered shilling.
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Re: Are there any SIMPLE books refuting what Bernardo calls "The materialism of qualities"?

Post by jrcarter »

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>
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