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  1. #41
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    1) Are the phenomena that need explanation the same in the hard problem as in the soft problem?

    No.

    There are some cross-overs.

    2a) If the answer to 1) is no, what phenomena need explanations in the hard problem that don't in the soft problem, and vice versa?

    The ultimate answer to the hard problem would explain things like:

    Why we aren't philosophical zombies.
    The origins of consciousness.
    Whether the experience you and I both label red, is in fact the same experience, not just the same label.
    Is a system of humans, which functions identically to a human brain, conscious?
    What is the function of qualia?

    Solutions to the soft problem merely measure correlation. So if the patient reports the sensation of red, that whatever set of physical circumstances that correlates to that report, cause the sensation of red. The sensation of red is never measured.

    3) Can you conceive of anything that is neither physical nor mental?

    Possibly.

    4) Can you conceive of anything that is both physical and mental?

    Yes.

    Take something mental, and something physical, add them to a system. That system is now both mental and physical.

    For both 3 and 4, I obviously cannot conceive of anything not-mental, as conception is a mental process. I allow for the possibility outside of my mind though, which is why I gave those answers.

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    We need to prove that there is no mental activity outside of the neural network only as much as we need to prove that no species evolve outside of a system of evolution. The bottom line is that today we know of only one way regarding how mental activity arises and that is through brain-activity, all other claims are mere speculation.
    That does not parallel. That no species evolved outside of a system of evolution is a tautology. That consciousness is produced by brain-activity is not.

    A successful parallel is life outside of Earth. We need to prove there is not mental activity outside of neural networks as much as that there is not life outside of Earth. Whether we will be able to, is a different question.

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Idealism is untenable because it asserts that the mind constitutes fundamental reality despite the fact that such a proposition is contradicted by empirical experience. Essentially people have shared experiences about many physical entities, yet the same is rarely the case with regard to most mental experiences. Two people are more likely to have experienced feeling, touching or seeing a certain piece of stone than to have experienced a certain nightmare.
    How does it contradict empirical experience when empirical experience is mental activity?

    Again, how can two people share an experience of a physical entity, when the experience was a mental entity? One cannot experience a physical entity, instead one has to divert to representational theories of perception, which have similar flaws.

    To disprove Idealism, one needs to provide a situation that cannot be accounted for with purely mental phenomena.

    We agree on Solipsism.

    Quote Originally Posted by SolitaryWalker View Post
    Idealism does not equate the easy problem with the hard. Idealism posits that the mind is the ultimate reality which suggests that its unlikely that mental activity is caused by the physical. Therefore understanding the relationship between the neurons and mental states is unlikely to solve the hard problem or to explain why some entities are conscious.
    First of all, Idealism doesn't necessarily state that mind is fundamental. It usually comes in the form of stating claims about the nature of that which is outside of the mental, are done without any evidence. Its usually an attempt to reduce scepticism in this manner.

    Secondly, Idealism does not eliminate the soft problem. However, if existence is equated to consciousness, then why consciousness exists is answered by a tautology. Eliminating the hard problem.

    Granted, Idealism as in the first paragraph, does not provide the second paragraph's solution.

    Solipsism is a similar case.

  2. #42

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    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    2a) If the answer to 1) is no, what phenomena need explanations in the hard problem that don't in the soft problem, and vice versa?

    The ultimate answer to the hard problem would explain things like:

    Why we aren't philosophical zombies.
    The origins of consciousness.
    Whether the experience you and I both label red, is in fact the same experience, not just the same label.
    Is a system of humans, which functions identically to a human brain, conscious?
    What is the function of qualia?

    Solutions to the soft problem merely measure correlation. So if the patient reports the sensation of red, that whatever set of physical circumstances that correlates to that report, cause the sensation of red. The sensation of red is never measured.
    OK. So if the sensation of red WERE measured then it would be part of the solution to the hard problem?

    I think you misinterpreted what the Japanese researchers did. They did not ask the person what word they read for confirmation. They knew what the words were because those were the words given to read. They did measure the words read.

    As a further example, we have technology that measures the intention of the wearer of the equipment. Do they want to spin a cube clockwise or counter-clockwise? Do they want to move the robot arm to pick up a ball? Do they want to move their chair left or right?

    The evidence from the mind reading experiments is that when we experience certain things they are NOT the exact same experience to all of us but rather similar--an answer to a question in the hard problem section.

    The use of the term measure is correct here. It is used in the same way we measure anything, it is what the equipment we use tells us.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    OK. So if the sensation of red WERE measured then it would be part of the solution to the hard problem?
    Yes.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    I think you misinterpreted what the Japanese researchers did. They did not ask the person what word they read for confirmation. They knew what the words were because those were the words given to read. They did measure the words read.
    I wasn't referencing that. It's still effectively reporting though. Phenomenal consciousness simply wasn't measured. For example, an immediate problem comes to mind when I think back to the fact I'm barely phenomenally conscious when reading, let alone conscious of any meaning behind single words. It usually appears to all float into my consciousness at the end of a paragraph.

    Intention is iffy. I'm not sure intent is ever phenomenally conscious, unless one is in introspection at the time it arises. The word "want" is so iffy as well. It refers to such a huge spectrum of different conscious experiences, and often things which aren't conscious at all. I don't have any conscious desire to type these words right now, for example, but presumably have an unconscious desire to.

    It seems to me, if one measures signals in the spinal cord, one would measure a "want" to move an arm, a fraction of a second before the arm moves. It doesn't really provide answers to whether it's a "want" going through the nerves, whether the signal is conscious, whether it happened before or after consciousness experienced it. That seems to parallel with measuring brain signals as it is done now.

    Don't get me wrong, those experiments seem useful, and are probably a stepping stone towards answering the hard problem, in as far as cause and effect can. For example, brain scans of cats suggest they see all other animal faces as strangely cat-like in their features. Like a caricature of the face, with any feline traits exaggerated. That may well relate to their conscious experience and give insight into how cats see the world. However, one can simply wonder whether cats have any conscious experience, and that experiment provides no answers.

    Anyway, I feel I understand your reasoning on the matter now, so I can take it into account in future and such. Hopefully you understand my reasoning on the matter as well.

  4. #44
    AKA Nunki Polaris's Avatar
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    Why we aren't philosophical zombies.
    For something to exist is for that thing to serve as an external perspective on your implicit internal perspective*; to illustrate this, we might imagine (and this is only an abstraction) that we have the world as an undifferentiated whole without any nooks, bumps, or crannies; then an object rises up against the background and becomes a nexus for our attention, like a small whirlpool around which everything spins; and at the same instant, this object is anchored on a mental level, in the form of a memory or a subtle sense of its endurance over a span of time (otherwise the object would never endure at all, which means it would never arise, since to arise is to make an impression that lasts at least for an instant).

    That's why you can't be a philosophical zombie. As for other people, they're an exceptional case of the world serving as proof of your existence. Unlike a rock that lies on the ground without leaving any real impression, another person is someone you at once identify with; they're like a mirror by which you see yourself, right down to the way they act as a dominating perspective for the world to orient itself around. As long as you regard them in that light rather than transform them into lifeless objects, there can be no denying that they're conscious like you, since their like-you-ness is precisely what makes them what they are.**

    On the other hand, it's true that other people don't have minds; they're just ideas in your head, little personality profiles flitting this way and that without ever pulling themselves free. But you're just an idea in your head, too; any sense of self you have, any "cogito ergo sum" is lost in a greater flow of mental activity that renders it weak and questionable. "Do I really exist?" is a question nearly as impossible to answer for yourself as it is for other people; you are cut off from your essence in much the same way as you're cut off from that of others.

    *By "implicit" I mean your perspective depends on an external one to validate it; this is why the mind necessitates matter, and why matter, by being matter, indicates the mind.

    **Compare with your mirror reflection, which is you in the same way, if not to the same degree, as the fingers on your hand; in a loose sense, these things behave like external perspectives, but for the most part they're lost in a vague anonymity that approaches nonexistence the stronger it becomes. Your body is what you are in a sense far purer than anything more external to yourself; and this purity is what robs your body of substance, since it is only that which informs the body of its existence that has reality; the body itself is your implicit non-reality which doesn't need to know what it is because it is what it is, having been informed of this by what it isn't.

    The origins of consciousness.
    The origin of consciousness lies in the temporal present; in other words, the objective world that necessitates consciousness. This is only to the extent that the mind can be said to have an origin at all, though, for much like the present, the mind has an element of spontaneity at its core by which its every action outstrips anything that came before. This makes consciousness chaotic, for everything that happens is unforeseen, but at the same time orderly, since everything that happens is a natural outgrowth. Insofar as consciousness is orderly, we can trace it to an origin of some sort (any will do, although some make better sense to us than others); we will never succeed in pinning consciousness down once and for all, though, because to do so we would have to destroy the chaotic aspect of consciousness that rejects foundations.

    Whether the experience you and I both label red, is in fact the same experience, not just the same label.
    Much the way you ask this question, you could also ask whether the red you're experiencing is really "red." It goes back to the fact that other people are to us what we (and they) are to the essence of reality. It has to be noted, though, that in the normal course of things we don't ask such questions; in the normal course of things, we use the word "red" with a surety as complete as though we were scratching our noses. In retrospect, that surety may seem suspect (the body as a lacked existence), but at the moment the action is being performed, you have no doubts whatsoever (the body as a creative act).

    Is a system of humans, which functions identically to a human brain, conscious?
    The question is not whether something is conscious but how conscious it is. The answer is however much you identify with it while at the same time you remain distinct. (The formula for consciousness is a contradiction you identify with, or the unity of Aristotle's two laws.)

    What is the function of qualia?
    There isn't anything especially interesting about qualia. Other than the fact that they highlight the limitations of language (a copy is never its original), they're abstractions akin to numbers and other generalizations. In discovering qualia, we notice an identity of things across separate instances (which is like saying we sense our essence, since our essence is the gestalt of identities), and by noticing it, at the same time separate that element of identity out from its surrounding context. (This process can be performed in reverse, with us projecting our essence onto things without first observing it across instances; this is what some call the "a priori," which is the origin of rule-making, as with logic, morality, and games).
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  5. #45
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Why we aren't philosophical zombies.
    The origins of consciousness..
    The claim that we aren't zombies rests on the dualistic supposition that we are fundamentally different from mere robots that are programmed to function in a certain way by their physical constitution. We may be more complex than robots and capable of performing many functions that they are not capable of carrying out, however, without assuming that dualism is true, we can't say that we are fundamentally different from zombies, robots or any other entities that act without consciousness. What differentiates us from them is the complexity of our abilities rather than qualia, mind, intellect or any other entity presupposed by a non-physicalist conception of consciousness.

    In other words, both humans, zombies and robots behave in a way that they do because their physical constitution leads them to do so, in the case of robots, the way they are programmed leads them to behave in a way that they do, in the case of humans, the physical structure of the brain creates mental experiences that causes them to engage in all mental activities that exemplify the distinctly human mind at work.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Whether the experience you and I both label red, is in fact the same experience, not just the same label...
    The fact that we both perceive the color red is a fact about how the machine that we both share was designed. The two of us perceive redness for the same reason two desktop computers process Windows XP.



    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    What is the function of qualia?...
    Qualia does not exist, its a myth engendered by dualism. In order to say that qualia exists, you'd have to give me a reason to believe in dualism, otherwise we may grant all mental entities the same ontological status as we grant to software related tasks performed by computers.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Solutions to the soft problem merely measure correlation. ?...
    If physicalism is true they measure not only correlations but also explain what parts of the brain cause people to have mental or conceptual experiences. In order to argue otherwise you'd have to give me a reason to reject materialism.


    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    So if the patient reports the sensation of red, that whatever set of physical circumstances that correlates to that report, cause the sensation of red. The sensation of red is never measured.?...
    Relevance?

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Can you conceive of anything that is neither physical nor mental?.?..Possibly..
    What would that entity be?




    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Take something mental, and something physical, add them to a system. That system is now both mental and physical.?..
    No, not really. At the moment, the architect thinks of a design for a building, the design is purely mental. When he puts his thoughts on paper, they become physical. When builders implement his design to create the building he had in mind, the design stays purely physical. Mental images arise only when a person reflects upon the ideas documented either on paper or on the edifice. Nothing here is both physical or mental.





    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    That does not parallel. )[That no species evolved outside of a system of evolution is a tautology. That consciousness is produced by brain-activity is not..?.?...
    It parallels just fine. In principle its possible that some creatures were produced by a God's creative fiat, magically appeared in the universe or somehow arose by non-evolutionary means. Although its a possible in principle, we have no evidence to support this thesis, exactly like its possible that some conscious activity arose without the stimulation of the brain yet we do not have any evidence in corroboration of that view either.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    A successful parallel is life outside of Earth. ..?.?...
    How is that a better parallel than one regarding creatures that arose in a non-evolutionary fashion. The underlying principle focuses on the point that we know of a one way for things to exist, in the case of life by evolution, in the case of neuroscience by brain activity. It is the example regarding life outside of earth that does not parallel because life outside of earth could arise by the same means that life has been known to arise on Earth.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    We need to prove there is not mental activity outside of neural networks..?.?...
    Why? Have we found any reason to suspect that there may be mental activity outside of the brain? Should we also prove that there are no magical creatures to refute all of the assertions about the world posited in fairy tales?








    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    How does it contradict empirical experience when empirical experience is mental activity?..?.?...
    Read more carefully. Idealism is contravened by empirical experience because the empirical evidence about the world is not consistent with idealism. The same non-mental entities are discovered by many people with a far greater frequency than the mental experiences.Tangible chairs are more commonly observed by multiple persons than the imaginary which suggests that the tangible chairs are more likely to be part of the ultimate reality than the imaginary chairs. That is the antithesis to idealism the fundamental premise of which is that the ultimate reality is mental rather than physical.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Again, how can two people share an experience of a physical entity, when the experience was a mental entity??..?.?...
    The physical entity conditions our mental experiences. Two people have had a mental experience of the same chair because they both have encountered the physical entity of the chair.


    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    One cannot experience a physical entity, instead one has to divert to representational theories of perception, which have similar flaws.??..?.?...
    The trouble with the idealist hypothesis is that the physical entities determine what a person's mental experience will be, not the other way around which shows that the matter rather than the mind constitutes reality. That is the definition of materialism itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    To disprove Idealism, one needs to provide a situation that cannot be accounted for with purely mental phenomena..??..?.?...
    No, you're requesting a refutation for the thesis that mental entities exist. To refute idealism one merely needs to show that mental entities are less constitutive of reality than the physical, which I have already done.





    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    First of all, Idealism doesn't necessarily state that mind is fundamental.
    That's what Berkeley and Plato stated, the two eminent metaphysicians whose ideas are emblematic of idealism. Berkeley in the dialogues of Hylas and Phiolonious aspired to convince the reader that matter is illusory and Plato regarded Ideas rather than the physical world as the ultimate reality. The latter believed that only the wisest were capable of grasping the true essence of things, precisely that was the theme of the famous Allegory of the Cave. Its pretty clear that the traditional conception of Idealism posits that the mental entities are more fundamental to reality than the physical.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    It usually comes in the form of stating claims about the nature of that which is outside of the mental, are done without any evidence. Its usually an attempt to reduce scepticism in this manner..
    I have no clue what any of that means, but I don't think it amounts to a definition of Idealism.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Secondly, Idealism does not eliminate the soft problem...
    I don't think it does, but it portrays the Easy problem as trivial in light of the supposition that the mental rather than the physical entities comprise the ultimate reality. With that notion in consideration, one has very little incentive to understand the connection between neurons and mental activity. Generally researchers are concerned with linking the two because they believe that matter plays an important role in explaining mental experiences, yet if you're an Idealist, matter is simply less important than the mind.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    However, if existence is equated to consciousness, then why consciousness exists is answered by a tautology....
    No, the universe could exist if no conscious thing existed. In that case noone would know that the universe existed yet that's quite different from the thesis that nothing exists in the event that no conscious entity exists. The assertion that existence is equated to consciousness has an Idealistic presupposition. If the mind was the fundamental aspect of reality and the source of all things that exist, then yes, consciousness or mental experience would be equated to existence. However, we do not need to boggle our minds with such grotesque and ponderous notions as they have been thoroughly discredited in the 18th century.
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    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Anyway, I feel I understand your reasoning on the matter now, so I can take it into account in future and such. Hopefully you understand my reasoning on the matter as well.
    I am not sure I understand your reasoning.

    When I try to pin down what you mean by phenomenal consciousness and put forth something that fits, you simply dismiss it as not being a measure of phenomenal consciousness (even though it seemed to fit your definition of it).

    How different are the experience of words from the experience of red?

    What you want to call the impulses that travel down nerves or in the brain itself is a matter of semantics (the study of meanings). You can establish if it happens before or after the experience of something. But beyond that, it is simply up to the person assigning meanings to decide what is conscious or not.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
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  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by Victor View Post
    There is no evidence of consciousness without the brain.
    Wong again, Victor. Whether you believe the evidence is another thing, but then again "Victor believes x" is probably "evidence" that "x is not true."

    Google Pim Van Lommel for example...

  8. #48
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    Nunki: "Response to Zombie question"

    I get what you are saying, but there's a few things I am inclined to disagree with.

    First, would you agree that your definition of external, and matter, could coincide with many people's definitions of internal, and mental? As how you used the terms suggests you refer explicitly to the subject and the object of a perspective, rather than mental and physical properties (as perhaps you equate the two).

    Secondly, your mention of the self brings up complex issues. As it is an ambiguous term. For example, some people merely identify the self as what is experienced. I agree that other, more broad definitions of the self, suffer from the same sceptical problems as the nature of objects and other people.

    Thirdly, I don't see why something has to have a lasting effect to exist. Surely, for example, memories only exist in the present as recollections. They only give an instantaneous representation of time.

    "origins of consciousness response"

    I mostly agree. It conveniently fits with modern physics as well.

    "red response"

    Fair enough. Not sure how the way we act for trivial events represents truth in any substancial way. It merely represents the truth of functionality and convenience.

    "system of humans response"

    I disagree. I don't see how, how much I identify with something would affect how conscious it really is. Perhaps that is not how you meant it though.

    "qualia response"

    You suggest that qualia are abstractions, yet I struggle to think of anything which is not a pattern of qualia. Even the pattern abstracted is only shown to me through more qualia.

    SolitaryWalker: You have just denied, or strongly doubted the existence of qualia. This clears up much confusion.

    This means you have denied the existence of phenomenal consciousness (as qualia are its foundation). This is a gap I doubt we can bridge.

    This means you are a Materialist in the strongest sense, as you have denied the mental aspect of the world. It's a position I find absurd, and I think it explains why you misunderstand the tenets of Idealism and Dualism.

    Plato was not an Idealist in any sense. Berkeley was the main proponent of sceptical Idealism, which you have just doubted as a form of Idealism. Idealism does not deny the existence of objects, merely that they are physical. So that consistent chair you mention would be a consistent mental object.

    Quote Originally Posted by ygolo View Post
    But beyond that, it is simply up to the person assigning meanings to decide what is conscious or not.
    How?

    Your acting like the meaning of phenomenal consciousness is made up by the person speaking. It has a definition like any other word does, yet you are treating it like a special case. Why?

    I am seeing no semantic issue here. Also, you've not suggested a way of measuring phenomenal consciousness, but a way of measuring brain chemistry. To correlate that with phenomenal consciousness, one needs to determine the most accurate measure of phenomenal consciousness itself. Presupposing that a word being read has caused a phenomenally conscious state is a very large assumption. Especially when one considers what specific phenomenally conscious state it may have caused.

  9. #49
    AKA Nunki Polaris's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erm
    First, would you agree that your definition of external, and matter, could coincide with many people's definitions of internal, and mental? As how you used the terms suggests you refer explicitly to the subject and the object of a perspective, rather than mental and physical properties (as perhaps you equate the two).
    For something to be external is for you to have a viewpoint on it, and you have a viewpoint even on your own thoughts; and for something to be internal is for it to hold itself present to another thing (as a thought about, a waiting for, or an intention to do something to). If we want to be straightforward about it, we an say that the mental is the grammatical subject and the material is the grammatical object--while keeping in mind that you, the reader of the sentence, as well as the reality around you, are also a kind of sentence . . . that is embedded in another one, and that in another one, and that in another one.* Some of those other sentences are written in English, and about those we can safely speak; others are written in painting, music, thoughts, and, above all, simple truth; about these we can speak also, but we'll inevitably distort them and miss other things altogether.

    *Since all language is, the moment it arises, enfolded in a meta-language, all "subjects" and all "objects" (as we frame them in English) are only able to keep themselves superficially differentiated; on a more transcendent level, we find that they blur together, much like two branches growing from the same trunk. A meta-language with this type of impact is always present, although never explicit (being contrary to explication) and never pure (being itself a language, and one pockmarked with differentiations).

    Quote Originally Posted by erm
    Secondly, your mention of the self brings up complex issues. As it is an ambiguous term. For example, some people merely identify the self as what is experienced. I agree that other, more broad definitions of the self, suffer from the same sceptical problems as the nature of objects and other people.
    The self is that which is governed most purely by Aristotle's law of identity; you identify with it a great deal and feel little distance from it.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm
    Thirdly, I don't see why something has to have a lasting effect to exist. Surely, for example, memories only exist in the present as recollections. They only give an instantaneous representation of time.
    When you encounter an object, that object endures for a length of time; it lags. Now imagine what would happen if an object didn't stay for awhile; imagine what would happen if it rushed by so quickly that . . . what? Nothing, for if an object were to have no duration, then it wouldn't exist. What does this duration amount to? One is tempted to say it amounts to a memory of the object as it was at the instant you first encountered it, and certainly memories can be involved, but in a purer sense, what you have is the impression of stability in spite of dissolution; the object before you is perpetually morphing and blurring, and if you try to see it "in-itself" (that is, without any mental bias), to the extent you succeed, the object becomes a meaningless fading splotch. Look at the object as you normally do, on the other hand, and it's as though you have its Platonic ideal; a sense that it's there before you across a series of transformations. Quite simply, the object is present, and this presence, in spite of being the most objective type of existence, can only be established through a mental action that renders the object lasting, and in a sense, eternal (for even if the object should be destroyed, it still exists as a memory and a possibility).

    Quote Originally Posted by erm
    I disagree. I don't see how, how much I identify with something would affect how conscious it really is. Perhaps that is not how you meant it though.
    No, that is exactly how I meant it, and for proof I can only refer you to your own experiences.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm
    You suggest that qualia are abstractions, yet I struggle to think of anything which is not a pattern of qualia. Even the pattern abstracted is only shown to me through more qualia.
    Look at the world with a natural rather than philosophical attitude, and "qualia" vanish. That isn't something you can do deliberately; you have to forget about the "qualia" as you forget about breathing, and then realize, a moment later, that while it was there all along, you were so immersed in it that it vanished altogether and ceased to be strange.

    Philosophy is forgetting how to live; its cure is to forget itself.
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  10. #50
    Tenured roisterer SolitaryWalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    SolitaryWalker: You have just denied, or strongly doubted the existence of qualia..
    I denied the irreducibility of mental experiences to neural items or merely posited that 'phenomenal consciousness' is caused by brain activity. Much of the discussion of qualia refers to mental states that are irreducible to physical phenomena. That is what I assume for the term to mean when it is mentioned within the context of discourse of dualistic metaphysical presuppositions. In a more general sense, qualia refers to mental experiences altogether, however, I use it in a more restricted fashion.

    "Other philosophers (e.g, Dennett 1987, 1991) use the term ‘qualia’ in a more restricted way so that qualia are intrinsic properties of experiences that are also ineffable, nonphysical, and ‘given’ to their subjects incorrigibly (without the possibility of error). Philosophers who deny that there are qualia sometimes have in mind qualia as the term is used in this more restricted sense (or a similar one). " (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Qualia)

    I only mean to deny that there are mental experiences that are altogether unrelated to or uncaused by physical occurences. I deny qualia only in the restricted rather than the general sense by saying that mental experiences exist, yet they are all reducible to neural items.





    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    This means you are a Materialist in the strongest sense, as you have denied the mental aspect of the world. ..
    No, I didn't, not even eliminative materialists like Dennett or Churchland went so far as to assert something as absurd that people don't have mental experiences. Dennett's Intentional stance refers precisely to those mental experiences, however, he deems them to be illusory representations of reality and Churchland regards mental images as equally misleading. Materialists of our persuasion deny the probity of qualia by suggesting that it is not a reliable source of knowledge, less fundamental to the nature of consciousness than neural activity or not as ontologically autonomous as physical parts of a person's identity. Holding to a position of this nature is one thing yet asserting that there are no mental experiences is another.



    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    It's a position I find absurd, and I think it explains why you misunderstand the tenets of Idealism and Dualism...
    I understand the tenets of dualism and idealism just fine, it is you who misunderstood my position and by extension that of materialism in general. You've equated materialism with a denial of all mental experience in your first reply to me, that is a very sinister error.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Plato was not an Idealist in any sense. ...
    How do you go about corroborating that claim? Arguments? Citations of authoritative commenatry on Plato? If Plato was not an Idealist, how do you interpret the salient implication of the theory of Forms which suggests that the conceptual entities are less corruptible than the material? Even more significantly, how do you interpret the famous Allegory of the Cave?

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Berkeley was the main proponent of sceptical Idealism, ....
    Berkeley expressed his skepticism regarding the existence of matter in the Dialogues of Hylas and Philonius. Idealism was a metaphysical belief that he embraced in order to undermine doctrines that take the existence of matter for granted.

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    which you have just doubted as a form of Idealism....
    Where did I doubt that Berkeley was an idealist? Can you quote a single passage of my post that even implies that?

    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    Idealism does not deny the existence of objects, merely that they are physical.....
    You need to work on your reading comprehension. Nowhere did I say that idealism denies the existence of matter, it merely regards matter as less fundamental to reality than the mind. Idealists often doubt the existence of matter, however, this is means to the end of suggesting that matter is less fundamental to reality than the mind and not an effort to show that physical entities do not exist at all.



    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    So that consistent chair you mention would be a consistent mental object......
    If one was to assume that the chair was a consistent mental object incepted within the mind alone and was not inspired by a reference to matter, one would be led to question why other objects that were incepted in the mind were less consistent than the chair. For example, I can imagine a wizard and this image will change in mind in the next few days as my perceptions eventually distort the images conceived in the past. Furthermore, I'd also notice that other people do not have the same experiences observing the wizard that I do. Yet the case with the chair is different, every time I look at it, it remains the same and other people report perceiving the same image every time they look at the chair. This should compel one to believe that the chair is a physical entity that the mind respodns to rather than an entity that is created by the mind.
    "Do not argue with an idiot. They drag you down to their level and beat you with experience." -- Mark Twain

    “No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money.”---Samuel Johnson

    My blog: www.randommeanderings123.blogspot.com/

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