The irreducibility of consciousness

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DandelionSoul
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Re: The irreducibility of consciousness

Post by DandelionSoul »

I don't think it's possible to prove that mental properties are necessarily fundamental, since the physicalist interlocutor can always bite the bullet on mysterianism (or, I suppose, neutral monism, but I don't consider that meaningfully different). There's no way, so far as I'm aware, to prove that there isn't some third thing that grounds both the physical and the mental without being either.
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AshvinP
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Re: The irreducibility of consciousness

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hailstan wrote: Sat Jun 19, 2021 11:38 pm DandelionSoul, that is certainly related to what I'm talking about.

I agree that this line of thinking shows clearly why physical properties shouldn't be seen as essential properties, but it doesn't go as far as demonstrating that mental properties are essential. Although I do think this becomes the most parsimonious position to take once physical properties are off the table.
Ultimately, these questions come down to what satisfies our unceasing need for knowledge. The person who wants to find a "third" substance/process which gives rise to matter and mind is not satisfied with what can be derived from observation of matter or mind. The reason for that, though, is because what can be derived from Thinking observation of immanent mental process has been artificially limited by Cartesian-Kantian dualism, the latter separating what is Real from what can be known via senses and Reason. That is a completely arbitrary dualism. But the person who naively accepts it then asks for that other "deeper" layer of stuff which gives rise to mind, but since that stuff is not mind, it can never be known by mind in principle. So obviously they remain unsatisfied.

If that person was to only realize there are no fundamental limits to our knowledge, then they would begin finding satisfaction as they explore the various pathways to such knowledge of higher realms and all of these other silly, non-parsimonious, unverifiable explanations for experience would drop away.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
hailstan
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Re: The irreducibility of consciousness

Post by hailstan »

Slightly off topic but I have been thinking recently, can we really conclude that idealism is any better than some kind of neutral monism? I understand the argument that since we know minds exist, using consciousness as a reduction base has a low epistemic cost. But it requires us to give properties to the world and mind properties that they don't seem to have, the former being the outer appearance of inner life and the latter being spatially and temporally unbound. Giving a thing a property it may not actually have seems about equally costly as positing a category of thing that isn't purely mental. So arguing for neutral monism and arguing for idealism seem to be about even?
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AshvinP
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Re: The irreducibility of consciousness

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hailstan wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:58 pm Slightly off topic but I have been thinking recently, can we really conclude that idealism is any better than some kind of neutral monism? I understand the argument that since we know minds exist, using consciousness as a reduction base has a low epistemic cost. But it requires us to give properties to the world and mind properties that they don't seem to have, the former being the outer appearance of inner life and the latter being spatially and temporally unbound. Giving a thing a property it may not actually have seems about equally costly as positing a category of thing that isn't purely mental. So arguing for neutral monism and arguing for idealism seem to be about even?
The outer appearances have the exact same [qualitative] property as our inner life - meaning. It's really that simple. I mentioned on another thread, cognitive science tells us we perceive meaning-function in "external objects" before we perceive their physical properties. But we don't really need cognitive science to recognize that, only to reflect on our own thought process when confronting those "objects". I also wrote about this in a recent essay by way of Ralph Waldo Emerson and his essay on Nature.
Emerson wrote:1. Words are signs of natural facts.

2. Particular natural facts are symbols of particular spiritual facts.

3. Nature is the symbol of spirit.

1. Words are signs of natural facts. The use of natural history is to give us aid in supernatural history. The use of the outer creation is to give us language for the beings and changes of the inward creation. Every word which is used to express a moral or intellectual fact, if traced to its root, is found to be borrowed from some material appearance. Right originally means straight; wrong means twisted. Spirit primarily means wind; transgression, the crossing of a line; supercilious, the raising of the eye-brow. We say the heart to express emotion, the head to denote thought; and thought and emotion are, in their turn, words borrowed from sensible things, and now appropriated to spiritual nature. Most of the process by which this transformation is made, is hidden from us in the remote time when language was framed; but the same tendency may be daily observed in children. Children and [archaic men] use only nouns or names of things, which they continually convert into verbs, and apply to analogous mental acts.

2. But this origin of all words that convey a spiritual import—so conspicuous a fact in the history of language—is our least debt to nature. It is not words only that are emblematic; it is things which are emblematic. Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact. Every appearance in nature corresponds to some state of the mind, and that state of the mind can only be described by presenting that natural appearance as its picture. An enraged man is a lion, a cunning man is a fox, a firm man is a rock, a learned man is a torch. A lamb is innocence; a snake is subtle spite; flowers express to us the delicate affections. Light and darkness are our familiar expression for knowledge and ignorance; and heat for love. Visible distance behind and before us, is respectively our image of memory and hope.
...
Throw a stone into the stream, and the circles that propagate themselves are the beautiful type of all influence... And the blue sky in which the private earth is buried, the sky with its eternal calm, and full of everlasting orbs, is the type of Reason. That which, intellectually considered, we call Reason, considered in relation to nature, we call Spirit. Spirit is the Creator. Spirit hath life in itself. And man in all ages and countries, embodies it in his language, as the FATHER. It is easily seen that there is nothing lucky or capricious in these analogies, but that they are constant, and pervade nature.

3. What is true of proverbs, is true of all fables, parables, and allegories. This relation between the mind and matter is not fancied by some poet, but stands in the will of God, and so is free to be known by all men. It appears to men, or it does not appear. When in fortunate hours we ponder this miracle, the wise man doubts, if, at all other times, he is not blind and deaf; “Can these things be, And overcome us like a summer’s cloud, Without our special wonder?” for the universe becomes transparent, and the light of higher laws than its own, shines through it. It is the standing problem which has exercised the wonder and the study of every fine genius since the world began; from the era of the Egyptians and the Brahmins, to that of Pythagoras, of Plato, of Bacon, of Leibnitz, of Swedenborg. There sits the Sphinx at the road-side, and from age to age, as each prophet comes by, he tries his fortune at reading her riddle.

There seems to be a necessity in spirit to manifest itself in material forms; and day and night, river and storm, beast and bird, acid and alkali, preexist in necessary Ideas in the mind of God, and are what they are by virtue of preceding affections, in the world of spirit. A Fact is the end or last issue of spirit. The visible creation is the terminus or the circumference of the invisible world. A new interest surprises us, whilst, under the view now suggested, we contemplate the fearful extent and multitude of objects; since “every object rightly seen, unlocks a new faculty of the soul.” That which was unconscious truth, becomes, when interpreted and defined in an object, a part of the domain of knowledge—a new weapon in the magazine of power.

- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Nature (1836)
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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DandelionSoul
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Re: The irreducibility of consciousness

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hailstan wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 7:58 pm Slightly off topic but I have been thinking recently, can we really conclude that idealism is any better than some kind of neutral monism? I understand the argument that since we know minds exist, using consciousness as a reduction base has a low epistemic cost. But it requires us to give properties to the world and mind properties that they don't seem to have, the former being the outer appearance of inner life and the latter being spatially and temporally unbound. Giving a thing a property it may not actually have seems about equally costly as positing a category of thing that isn't purely mental. So arguing for neutral monism and arguing for idealism seem to be about even?
I would suggest that we know a few other things besides. We know that mind can appear to mind as matter, as in the case of dreams and some hallucinatory states. We know that at least some matter is an outer appearance of inner life. And we know that both matter and mind can only be conceived of in terms of mind. Idealism accommodates all of those facts very comfortably. Neutral monism just doesn't -- it posits as the reduction base we-know-not-what, and the we-know-not-what grounds both materiality and mentality we-know-not-how. If we're going to go that route, we might as well have let metaphysics bottom out at Kant.
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Re: The irreducibility of consciousness

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AshvinP wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 11:04 pm meaning. It's really that simple.
If it's really that simple, meaning of eating becomes simple cannibalism.

And we have very complicated and complex relation with cannibalism. Materialistic subjectivism makes all food spiritless matter, which offers a kind of solution to the dilemma of spiritual cannibalism, but also makes blind to genuine suffering.

Some aspectual layering or categorizing dynamics is necessary for metabolism and diets that enable incarnated experiencing which is at least not only spiritual cannibalism of meaning, of sentient ability to feel pain. Some aspectual difference is necessary for spirit - at least the pain feeling aspect of spirit - to leave an appearence to be devoured as food.
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Re: The irreducibility of consciousness

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SanteriSatama wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 8:02 am
AshvinP wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 11:04 pm meaning. It's really that simple.
If it's really that simple, meaning of eating becomes simple cannibalism.

And we have very complicated and complex relation with cannibalism. Materialistic subjectivism makes all food spiritless matter, which offers a kind of solution to the dilemma of spiritual cannibalism, but also makes blind to genuine suffering.

Some aspectual layering or categorizing dynamics is necessary for metabolism and diets that enable incarnated experiencing which is at least not only spiritual cannibalism of meaning, of sentient ability to feel pain. Some aspectual difference is necessary for spirit - at least the pain feeling aspect of spirit - to leave an appearence to be devoured as food.
You may find value in this essay by Val Plumwood, in which she reflects on surviving an attempt by a crocodile to eat her and the nature of eating and being eaten within a living, feeling world.
SanteriSatama
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Re: The irreducibility of consciousness

Post by SanteriSatama »

DandelionSoul wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 9:59 am
SanteriSatama wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 8:02 am
AshvinP wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 11:04 pm meaning. It's really that simple.
If it's really that simple, meaning of eating becomes simple cannibalism.

And we have very complicated and complex relation with cannibalism. Materialistic subjectivism makes all food spiritless matter, which offers a kind of solution to the dilemma of spiritual cannibalism, but also makes blind to genuine suffering.

Some aspectual layering or categorizing dynamics is necessary for metabolism and diets that enable incarnated experiencing which is at least not only spiritual cannibalism of meaning, of sentient ability to feel pain. Some aspectual difference is necessary for spirit - at least the pain feeling aspect of spirit - to leave an appearence to be devoured as food.
You may find value in this essay by Val Plumwood, in which she reflects on surviving an attempt by a crocodile to eat her and the nature of eating and being eaten within a living, feeling world.
Thanks, a good read.

I don't think man is the apex hunter. The apex hunter is the family bond of man and dog. What a complex family.
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Re: The irreducibility of consciousness

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SanteriSatama wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 8:02 am
AshvinP wrote: Wed Jun 23, 2021 11:04 pm meaning. It's really that simple.
If it's really that simple, meaning of eating becomes simple cannibalism.

And we have very complicated and complex relation with cannibalism. Materialistic subjectivism makes all food spiritless matter, which offers a kind of solution to the dilemma of spiritual cannibalism, but also makes blind to genuine suffering.

Some aspectual layering or categorizing dynamics is necessary for metabolism and diets that enable incarnated experiencing which is at least not only spiritual cannibalism of meaning, of sentient ability to feel pain. Some aspectual difference is necessary for spirit - at least the pain feeling aspect of spirit - to leave an appearence to be devoured as food.
The meaning of eating is found in phrases such as "food for thought" or "digesting thought" or "hard to swallow" i.e. incoherent or very challenging thought. Of course, Emerson is not suggesting these concepts exhaust the entire meaning of natural activity, just that they point us in the right direction of the spiritual reality underlying them. That was hailstan's question - if idealism is true, then what is the implication for the outer appearance of Nature and its properties in relation to our inner soul life. That is the most fundamental implication which remains at low resolution - the entire Cosmos, not only our inner lives, is meaning through and through.
“It is your presumption that freedom is something which you already possess that ensures that you will remain in chains."
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Re: The irreducibility of consciousness

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AshvinP wrote: Thu Jun 24, 2021 1:40 pm hailstan's
Who dat?
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