Conceivability of zombies and idealism

Here both posters and comments will be restricted to topic-specific discourse. Comments should directly address the original post and poster. Comments and/or links that are deemed to be too digressive or off-topic, may be deleted by a moderator.

Moderator: Soul_of_Shu

daraghaznavi
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:26 am

Conceivability of zombies and idealism

Post by daraghaznavi »

According to Bernardo's thesis, our brains are extrinsic appearances of our phenomenalities. But how is this extrinsic appearance related to phenomenality itself?

After all we can both imagine minds without bodies (as Descartes did) and bodies without minds (zombies). There seem to be no necessary relation between the consciousness and what it looks like from outside.

Is the relationship contingent upon some new law bridging the conceptual gap?
User avatar
Soul_of_Shu
Posts: 1881
Joined: Mon Jan 11, 2021 6:48 pm
Contact:

Re: Conceivability of zombies and idealism

Post by Soul_of_Shu »

Hi dara (hope you don't mind the short version of your name). According to BK, our brains are extrinsic appearances, i.e. phenomenal representations, of mental activity. The question in your topic is very closely related to another topic going on in the 'general' section ... Phenomenological idealism: definitions of common terms. In that thread, for reference sake, Scott Roberts linked to an article which may also be helpful in clarifying the phenomenology vis-a-vis epistemology question ... How We Make Sense of the World. As such, your inquiry may get some traction in that thread. But of course, others may have something more to add here.
Here out of instinct or grace we seek
soulmates in these galleries of hieroglyph and glass,
where mutual longings and sufferings of love
are laid bare in transfigured exhibition of our hearts,
we who crave deep secrets and mysteries,
as elusive as the avatars of our dreams.
Ben Iscatus
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2021 6:15 pm

Re: Conceivability of zombies and idealism

Post by Ben Iscatus »

After all we can both imagine minds without bodies (as Descartes did) and bodies without minds (zombies). There seem to be no necessary relation between the consciousness and what it looks like from outside.
The fact that you "imagine" both of your scenarios suggests (according to Metaphysical Idealism) that only Mind is fundamental. To account for appearances requires a further step: that a transpersonal mind exists as well as yours (Mind at Large - MAL) which "imagines" the world. So what we perceive (including our bodies) results from the interaction of MAL and our personal dissociated minds (these minds of ours, dissociated from MAL, have also been "imagined" by MAL). Our perceptions of the world, including our bodies, are only dim representations of MAL's imagined world - that is, we don't perceive the world in the full glory that MAL does; only insofar as what we perceive is useful for our survival in a planetary ecosystem.
daraghaznavi
Posts: 3
Joined: Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:26 am

Re: Conceivability of zombies and idealism

Post by daraghaznavi »

Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 1:51 pm Hi dara (hope you don't mind the short version of your name). According to BK, our brains are extrinsic appearances, i.e. phenomenal representations, of mental activity. The question in your topic is very closely related to another topic going on in the 'general' section ... Phenomenological idealism: definitions of common terms. In that thread, for reference sake, Scott Roberts linked to an article which may also be helpful in clarifying the phenomenology vis-a-vis epistemology question ... How We Make Sense of the World. As such, your inquiry may get some traction in that thread. But of course, others may have something more to add here.
Thanks for your kind reply. I am currently reading Bernardo's "an ontological solution to the mind-body problem. There, his answer to the boundary problem looks much like Tonnoni's IIT. Which parts of the universe are best candidates for external appearance of alters? Those that can be said to separate themselves from their environment. But that does not address my question. Although a metabolizing body can be a good candidate, there is no conceptual necessity between an alter and the organism. Idealists must propose a mechanism or law for this kind of representation.
User avatar
AshvinP
Posts: 3316
Joined: Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:00 am
Location: USA
Contact:

Re: Conceivability of zombies and idealism

Post by AshvinP »

daraghaznavi wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:41 pm
Soul_of_Shu wrote: Sun Nov 21, 2021 1:51 pm Hi dara (hope you don't mind the short version of your name). According to BK, our brains are extrinsic appearances, i.e. phenomenal representations, of mental activity. The question in your topic is very closely related to another topic going on in the 'general' section ... Phenomenological idealism: definitions of common terms. In that thread, for reference sake, Scott Roberts linked to an article which may also be helpful in clarifying the phenomenology vis-a-vis epistemology question ... How We Make Sense of the World. As such, your inquiry may get some traction in that thread. But of course, others may have something more to add here.
Thanks for your kind reply. I am currently reading Bernardo's "an ontological solution to the mind-body problem. There, his answer to the boundary problem looks much like Tonnoni's IIT. Which parts of the universe are best candidates for external appearance of alters? Those that can be said to separate themselves from their environment. But that does not address my question. Although a metabolizing body can be a good candidate, there is no conceptual necessity between an alter and the organism. Idealists must propose a mechanism or law for this kind of representation.

The simple thing we need to remember is that external appearances, by themselves, don't tell us anything about anything. This is self-evident - to a hypothetical being who simply perceives the world content without thinking, it would be a "blooming, buzzing confusion", in the words of William James. So first we need to remember that all of our comments on this topic presuppose that our Reason is adding an element of intelligibility to the external appearances that would not be there without it. The problem is that most people, including professional philosophers, fail to notice this simple fact of experience. They naturally reason through the appearances for a little while, and then arbitrarily stop reasoning when they find the "conclusion" which supports their overall worldview. They assume consciously or subconsciously that the outer appearances cannot become any more intelligible than what they have discovered, which is very convenient for their worldview. That is what BK does with the "extrinsic appearance of alters", etc. If we want genuine answers to these questions, we need to start over and remember the role of Thinking in this whole knowing inquiry, and then continue reasoning through the outer appearances to penetrate deeper and deeper layers of their inner meaning.
"To think what is true, to sense what is beautiful and to want what is good, hereby the spirit finds purpose of a life in reason.”
Post Reply