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Thread: Panpsychism

  1. #11
    Babylon Candle Venom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Synapse View Post
    Equating existence to immediate experience violates our sense of objective physical reality.
    no, it doesnt. go get hammered tonight and have your friends film you doing something ridiculous and have them not tell you about it for weeks. then when you do finally watch the videos, you will go "its as if it never happened!? i cant like ever really experience those videos from my POV", but the fact is that you did, at the exact moments they were happening, the only problem is that you can't remember experiencing them and therefore its as if they never happened (to your consciousness).

    Therefore, in order to feel like you have a string of conscious in the general, you need memory. My main point: The only reason we are able to come to any sense of an objective reality is because "Equating existence to immediate experience" is something we can remember for more than a second. IE: if we didnt have memory, than all our existence would be, would be the immediate experience.

    Adult consciousness involves a limited set of brain structures. Much of the brain operates below consciousness. We are not conscious of most of our body most of the time. Experiences enter consciousness when something notable happens like stubbing a toe. Why not assume all the activity not entering our stream of consciousness is nonetheless conscious, but with a limited connection to stream of consciousness? What is left out is as important as what is present. The consciousness we experience is an executive control with a limited capacity to deal with information. So complex filters exist to insure only relevant experience gets through. There is nothing special about the neurons that make up this executive control. Why not assume all the structures in the brain correspond to a consciousness that is their structure.
    you aren't saying anything. youve described the brain as a structure that filters out crap that it doesnt need to make executive decisions. I agree. Now where does one suddenly make the jump to the entire universe "being conscious"?

    I guess if we are going to play word games and define consciousness in a way that: "particles that remember their geometric shape/function", then fine, the universe is conscious.

    (damn i sound angry in this post...forgive me )

  2. #12
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Babylon Candle View Post
    no, it doesnt. go get hammered tonight and have your friends film you doing something ridiculous and have them not tell you about it for weeks. then when you do finally watch the videos, you will go "its as if it never happened!? i cant like ever really experience those videos from my POV", but the fact is that you did, at the exact moments they were happening, the only problem is that you can't remember experiencing them and therefore its as if they never happened (to your consciousness).

    Therefore, in order to feel like you have a string of conscious in the general, you need memory. My main point: The only reason we are able to come to any sense of an objective reality is because "Equating existence to immediate experience" is something we can remember for more than a second. IE: if we didnt have memory, than all our existence would be, would be the immediate experience.

    you aren't saying anything. youve described the brain as a structure that filters out crap that it doesnt need to make executive decisions. I agree. Now where does one suddenly make the jump to the entire universe "being conscious"?

    I guess if we are going to play word games and define consciousness in a way that: "particles that remember their geometric shape/function", then fine, the universe is conscious.

    (damn i sound angry in this post...forgive me )

    Thanks sorta, I think I just think I got caught up in the ideas a bit since learning of it myself only recently, when I started, the idea just clicked like the sort of idea that makes sense even though its at odds with current thinking. I wanted to present the idea and I did.

    What I'm trying to get at is that qualia, phenomenal reality, that seems to be completely describable in physical terms is, that qualia are inside and outside brains, that all our experiences, perceptions, sensations, dreams, thoughts and feelings are forms appearing in consciousness hence energy is consciousness, matter is consciousness in that sense physicalism entails panpsychism or should.

    For why then would Alfred North Whitehead a mathematician find the idea appealing, its possible when he saw the collapse of Newtonian physics due to Einstein's work, made him think that perhaps there is something missing in the current equation. But of course he refers to it as panexperientialism. Perhaps that is why David Chalmers is reluctant to present his views as panpsychism too because then it becomes too broad and can be confused and lumped with animism, hylozoism, pantheism and panentheism even though it should be considered more often, you could almost call it radical materialism, its from a similar source of inquiry. Its just at odd with scientific presuppositions really.

    In a spiritual context isn't that what enlightenment means, to realize that you are the universe, that all phenomena are preceded by mind, made by mind and ruled by mind.

    In any case I like this site on Panpsychism. I also find this pdf Towards a Science of Consciousness nice.

    Methodological panpsychism assumes the following: the truth of relevant physicalism; a minimalist form of panpsychism, according to which some qualia occur outside brains; the (possibly forthcoming) truth of naturalistic accounts of perception and of the distinction between persona and subpersonal states. The minimalist form of panpsychism becomes innocent once we accept physicalism. The argument solves the hard problem of consciousness by dissolving it. There is no problem of “finding” the “physical correlate” of qualia and then to understand “how” that physical correlate “could be” qualitative. The mode of being of physical reality is assumed to be qualitative from the onset. But it is an innocent way of being qualitative.

    Actually, upon reflection, we discover that we do not have a single argument that could make us think that physical reality is not qualitative! We do have thought experiments that presuppose a qualitativeless conception of physics and hence cannot prove it. Intuitions to the contrary (the “Cartesian intuition”, the idea that we would never understand what it is like to be a bat, etc) are not sufficient to establish the non-qualitativeness of physical reality. These intuitions actually have a simple explanation in the fact that we pre-philosophically spend a good deal of energy in attributing psychological states of various kind to people and animals in order to explain their behaviour, and do not do the same with, say stones.

    Conscious states do not play any role in explanation of behaviour of stones. It is tempting to conclude that this difference is explained by the fact that stones are just inert matter; we are matter full of qualia – as we can experience all the time. But the conclusion is unwarranted, and have seen that it is easily overruled by other ways to account for the difference between stone and us.

    And why do we have hard times in understand the other thesis, that qualitative reality is physical? Again, the dual “Cartesian intuition” is at the origin of the bias: the idea that physical reality is the domain of res extensa, of the physical bodies. An object bias pervades our representation of the world and an intentional bias pervades our representation of the mind.

    The universe inside the stone is somewhat different from ours, but not much. In both there is a “blooming, buzzing” reality, in William Jame’s phrase. But inside the stone there is a “blooming, buzzing confusion”, whereas inside us there is an ordered show that our bodies can use to navigate their environment. We (our biological ancestors, that is) have domesticated qualia, that is to say, we have domesticated the physical world.
    I profess I'm no philosopher or scientist but I will explore ideas that resonate with me and Panpsychism is an interesting proposition after all as it tries to bridge the gap between the physical and the non physical and I thought it was one of the more novel ideas out there to try to explain consciousness.

  3. #13
    RETIRED CzeCze's Avatar
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    Synapse, you hang out in metaphysical bookstores, don't you?

    On consciousness: You would love reading skeptics' reviews of that center for psychic etc.etc.etc. (forgot the place's name, it's in the states) The one that did an experiment where they wound up a bunch of computerized? mechanized? toys and cited that the toys tended to 'follow' and group aruond the human subject, even though there was nothing in their design or programming that would direct them to do so.
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  4. #14
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Is there any reason whatever to believe in panpsychism? Do we realize at all that by content of this proposition we are asserting that chairs and tables have minds?

    The fact that living species have minds is explained by neural activity that inheres within their minds. This is the only known way to us with regard to how minds could exist. There is no such neural activity immanent within all things. Therefore there is no reason to assume that all things may have minds.

    What justification could there be in favor of panpsychism? That the relationship between mind and matter is existent and mysterious? That some strange force called 'energy' underlies both and must be found in both mind and matter? Physicists know that atoms are comprised of force trapped within a unit. That is the only empirically tenable justification for existence of force. Such a force is purely material and is responsible for the neurons in our brain which lead us to have minds. The force is responsible only for matter and not for the mind. Only a certain kind of matter renders minds possible, namely neuronal synchrony.


    Quote Originally Posted by Synapse View Post
    This is a theory and a theory is usually from hypothesis or belief, wanted to express the view as it is interesting. After all Carl Jung investigated psychological and mythological archetypes, and began to argue for a panpsychical and mystical view of the human condition.

    The 'Theory of Mind' has morphed into a 'Theory of Everything'. Carl Jung, a vocal protagonist of universal interconnectedness through his concepts of the collective unconscious and archetypes, predicted this synthesis. In Aion (1951), he prophetically states that "sooner or later nuclear physics and the psychology of the unconscious will draw closer together as both of them, independently of one another and from opposite directions, push forward into transcendental territory, the one with the concept of the atom, the other with that of the archetype"

    So I was curious to see where the idea went

    David Chalmers proposed a theory based on information that every structure contains information and any structure can be fully described using information. He observes that information is ubiquitous and that experience must also be ubiquitous.

    If this [experience is ubiquitous] is correct then experience is associated with even very simple systems. This idea is often regarded as outrageous, or even crazy. But I think it deserves a close examination. It is not so obvious to me that the idea is misguided, and in some ways it has a certain appeal.

    Adult consciousness involves a limited set of brain structures. Much of the brain operates below consciousness. We are not conscious of most of our body most of the time. Experiences enter consciousness when something notable happens like stubbing a toe. Why not assume all the activity not entering our stream of consciousness is nonetheless conscious, but with a limited connection to stream of consciousness? What is left out is as important as what is present. The consciousness we experience is an executive control with a limited capacity to deal with information. So complex filters exist to insure only relevant experience gets through. There is nothing special about the neurons that make up this executive control. Why not assume all the structures in the brain correspond to a consciousness that is their structure.

    Equating existence to immediate experience violates our sense of objective physical reality. That reality is a pragmatic creation of consciousness. This is not denying our scientific understanding of physical structure. It is describing the context in which that structure has existence and meaning.

    You just never know with these things.

    Jung had nothing to say on Panpsychism or any topic of philosophy of mind that is even tangentially relevant to the phenomenon at hand. He merely pointed out that our mind works in a certain way (creates archetypes of a sort), though this has nothing to do with all things having minds (panpsychism) or with the relationship between mind and matter.


    Quote Originally Posted by Synapse View Post
    David Chalmers proposed a theory based on information that every structure contains information and any structure can be fully described using information. He observes that information is ubiquitous and that experience must also be ubiquitous..
    Any structure can be described using information, yet not every structure contains information. We can collect information about a cactus, yet a cactus cannot tell us anything about itself or about anything as it does not contain information.

    Quote Originally Posted by Synapse View Post
    For why then would Alfred North Whitehead a mathematician find the idea appealing, its possible when he saw the collapse of Newtonian physics due to Einstein's work, made him think that perhaps there is something missing in the current equation...
    What you're saying is that a mathematician found panpsychism appealing and therefore there must be something to it.

    It may be the case that Newton's physics were destroyed by Einstein's yet panpsychism bears no bearing upon the problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Synapse View Post
    In a spiritual context isn't that what enlightenment means, to realize that you are the universe, that all phenomena are preceded by mind, made by mind and ruled by mind.
    That may be the spiritual teaching of some sages, yet there is no reason to believe them true. Just because panpsychism pays homage to such views, we are not offered any reasons to endorse it.

    P.S

    I bet all is preceded by mind. I bet my computer never existed before I first thought about it.

    I bet I am the universe and that there is no distinction between my personal identity and that of my cat and the ground I walk on.

    I bet the universe is ruled by my mind and when I cease to believe that you exist, you shall perish.
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  5. #15
    Senior Member Synapse's Avatar
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    SolitaryWalker you rational homosapian you.

    I brought the idea up since I enjoyed the style of thought and felt such an idea should get attention to be speculated about. Then I realized nobody wants to speculate about it much since the tangibility of such an idea is intangible.

    Neuronal synchrony is a good point and then this thread may proceed to slide.

  6. #16
    Senior Member Helios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post

    ...

    Jung had nothing to say on Panpsychism or any topic of philosophy of mind that is even tangentially relevant to the phenomenon at hand. He merely pointed out that our mind works in a certain way (creates archetypes of a sort), though this has nothing to do with all things having minds (panpsychism) or with the relationship between mind and matter.

    ...
    To be picky:

    "A more or less superficial layer of the unconscious is undoubtedly personal. I call it the personal unconscious. But this personal conscious rests upon a deeper layer, which does not derive from personal experience and is not a personal acquisition but is inborn. This deeper layer I call the collective unconscious...it is...identical in all men and thus constitutes a common psychic substrate of a suprapersonal nature which is present in every one of us...The contents of the collective unconscious...are known as archetypes...For our purposes this term is apposite and helpful, because it tells us that so far as the collective unconscious contents are concerned we are dealing with archaic or-I would say-primordial types, that is, with universal images that have existed since the remotest times."

    - C.G. Jung (1981), The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 2nd ed., Princeton University Press: United States of America, pp. 3-5.

    There does not here appear to be room for talking of the "creation" of archetypes by one's mind.
    Last edited by Helios; 03-12-2009 at 11:39 AM.

  7. #17
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Helios View Post
    To be picky:

    "A more or less superficial layer of the unconscious is undoubtedly personal. I call it the personal unconscious. But this personal conscious rests upon a deeper layer, which does not derive from personal experience and is not a personal acquisition but is inborn. This deeper layer I call the collective unconscious...it is...identical in all men and thus constitutes a common psychic substrate of a suprapersonal nature which is present in every one of us...The contents of the collective unconscious...are known as archetypes...For our purposes this term is apposite and helpful, because it tells us that so far as the collective unconscious contents are concerned we are dealing with archaic or-I would say-primordial types, that is, with universal images that have existed since the remotest times."

    - C.G. Jung (1981), The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, 2nd ed., Princeton University Press: United States of America, pp. 3-4.

    There does not here appear to be room for talking of the "creation" of archetypes by one's mind.

    True, creating usually means that an entity A comes up with something that is distinct from its own identity. The passage you have cited shows that Jung thinks that archetypes are an intrinsic part of the identity of mind. This view seems to be false because an archetype is a complicated cognitive notion. Our minds are not able to process such complex ideas at birth, so in principle archetypes cannot be innate. To claim that they are innate would mean to reinvoke the idea that there is innate knowledge, which has not been widely endorsed (for justifiable reasons) since Plato.
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  8. #18
    Senior Member Helios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    True, creating usually means that an entity A comes up with something that is distinct from its own identity. The passage you have cited shows that Jung thinks that archetypes are an intrinsic part of the identity of mind. This view seems to be false because an archetype is a complicated cognitive notion. Our minds are not able to process such complex ideas at birth, so in principle archetypes cannot be innate. To claim that they are innate would mean to reinvoke the idea that there is innate knowledge, which has not been widely endorsed (for justifiable reasons) since Plato.
    The quotation in question was not an assessment of Jung's thesis, but only an explication of it, viz.:

    "He (Jung) merely pointed out that our mind works in a certain way (creates archetypes of a sort)..."
    I am not contesting that what Jung is asserting is true, but merely showing your explication to be errant.

    However, despite this, I find at least one of your objections to Jung's thesis inadequate: that archetypes are not experienced at birth is not to say that they are not inborn, but that they have yet to be experienced. This is roughly analogous to the human capacity for language which, whilst present at birth, does not permit the acquisition of language until much later.

  9. #19
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    I am not sure if I understand your message.

    Do you agree with Jung that archetypes are inborn, or are in our perspective since birth?

    That is the claim I have impugned. I suggest that because our minds are only capable of simple cognitive processes at birth, and conjuring an archetype is a complex process, our minds do not have archetypes in perspective. However, when our minds become capable of more complex cognitive operations, they conjure archetypes, much like they learn a language.
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  10. #20
    Senior Member Helios's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    I am not sure if I understand your message.

    Do you agree with Jung that archetypes are inborn, or are in our perspective since birth?
    I am not contesting that what Jung is asserting is true, but merely showing your explication to be errant.
    I presently regard Jung's claims regarding a collective unconscious and its archetypical contents as fanciful conjecture; my purpose was not to offer an apology for Jung's position, but only to correct your explanation of Jung's position, viz.

    He (Jung) merely pointed out that our mind works in a certain way (creates archetypes of a sort)...
    Your response to my correction indicated a misapprehension of my purpose. The issue was not whether what Jung claims is true, but what it is Jung claims. Regardless, I do find the following challenge inadequate, specifically because it is an instance of the Straw man fallacy:

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    That is the claim I have impugned. I suggest that because our minds are only capable of simple cognitive processes at birth, and conjuring an archetype is a complex process, our minds do not have archetypes in perspective. However, when our minds become capable of more complex cognitive operations, they conjure archetypes, much like they learn a language.
    "Archetypes" are defined by Jung as, "only those psychic contents which have not yet been submitted to conscious elaboration and are therefore an immediate datum of psychic experience". This elaboration, much of (but not all of) which cognitive development is needed to facilitate, is an elaboration of the already present archetypes; even if most of this elaboration cannot be performed at birth, that does not require that those archetypes not already be present in the collective unconscious. It seems, however, that a certain form of "conscious elaboration" is available even to newborns: Jung believes that archetypes can be immediately manifested in dreams and visions. Presumably, as even infants dream, they too elaborate archetypes in this manner, though this is altogether different from the other modes of elaboration requiring cognitive development, such as mythologizing processes.

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