Where in the "chain of being" does "experience" end

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prothero
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 06:55 pm
@paulhanke,
[QUOTE=paulhanke;97190]... but does this lead to a Cartesian-like dualism? ... that is, to say that "Both the material and the mental could be said to emerge from underlying process" sounds very much like you are putting the material and the mental on equal footing as "substances" (the difference between this and Cartesian dualism being that in Cartesian dualism the material and the mental are elementary substances, as opposed to being substances that emerge from a monism) ... am I reading this right?...[/QUOTE]Cartesian dualism postulates two distinct and separate substances res extensa and res cogitans. The problem with Cartesian dualism was how these two completely different substances could interact and generally God was called upon to explain it. I think Cartesian dualism was a huge mistake and part of what has led us to such extreme forms of physicalism as eliminative materialism where mind (because it can not be accounted for by any physical law) is declared to be an illusion or a mere epiphenomena of matter.

Process views of reality generally declare that reality ultimately consists of events (moments or droplets of experience) and that each event is dipolar (possesses a mental and a material aspect depending on how it is viewed). There is one underlying reality (becoming) events with two aspects. Mind and matter are not separate as in Cartesian dualism but inseparable aspects of each event. Because there is a mental as well as a physical aspect to each event; process views of reality are in some sense inherently "panexperiential" or "panpsychic" It really is the anti thesis of classical Cartesian dualism.

Process views offer an interesting way of viewing some of the strange behaviors in the "quantum world" and many theoretical physicists view quantum observations as "events" not "particles". There are also quantum theories of gravity and space time where even space time is discrete and quantitfied not continuous. It is speculative but so is the physicalist alternative.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 07:56 pm
@prothero,
the whole notion of 'substance' is fatally flawed. There never was such a thing.
 
prothero
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 08:40 pm
@Kielicious,


We are all "conscious" beings thinking about and discussing our experience, so the presence of "experience" in the world would seem to be a given. The question was what other "beings, substances, organisms, societies, and structures "have" experience" and how one "would know". Several touchy problems about; What is experience? What does it mean to know? But still the heart of the issue is clear.

One cannot scientifically establish even your own experience so science does not seem to currently be a useful tool in the matter of qualia and experience. Reason and analogy are often used. Other human beings are generally assumed to have experience similar to each other. No scientific proof but hardly anyone seriously doubts the assertion. Higher animals with similar behaviors and similar central nervous system structures are also generally accepted to have some form of "unified experience". The logical question is "where does this experience end". What does experience really consist of in its most fundamental form? There is no scientific way currently available to answer the questions. The assumption that science will eventually answer the question is a metaphysical assumption. So I would argue the assertion that "bats have some kind of unified experience which science and the tools of science will never adequately reveal" is not irrational even if it is a speculation about the nature of experience and the limits of science.

[QUOTE=Kielicious;97270] I beg your pardon, but humble thyself. Explaining How and Why everything in existence is conscious is a non-issue for yourself is astounding. Why do you feel obligated that you dont feel the need to explain how and why everything is conscious? If I were to claim that everything is endowed with pixie dust and you asked me why that is and I just responded, "That is a non-issue for me" wouldnt you be a bit unsatisfied with that answer? I hope you can see where I am coming from. [/QUOTE] We have direct knowledge of unified experience. We have no direct experience of "pixie dust". We know phenomena and qualia exist; we just do not know how extensive and pervasive they are in nature. That is he question being asked. I am just putting forward a speculation to be entertained not making an assertion of fact (at least not of scientific fact).
Different physical properties "emerging" from new arrangements of elements with physical properties seems comprehensible enough but mind seems like a ontologically different phenomena than material (res extensa) properties and so it seems fair to be skeptical how mind could emerge from elements which have no primitive properties of mind at all.
Panpsychists see experience as widespread in nature rather than a tiny flicker in a remote corner of a universe which fundamentally is indifferent, inert and insensate. Quite a difference in worldview I would argue.


[QUOTE=Kielicious;97270] Again, so claiming that everything is conscious AND that doesnt require an explanantion is NOT avoiding the problem...? hmmmm [/QUOTE]
Panpschism is not a theory of mind or a scientific explanation of experience. It is a meta theory of reality and a alternative view of the nature and extent of experience in the world. It does not advance the scientific investigation of mind at all. Nor is it meant to. It asserts that scientific investigation has inherent limitations and can only give us a partial and incomplete understanding of mind and experience. It is not anti science only anti scientism.

[QUOTE=Kielicious;97270] Because only YOU said that. You're trying to turn this thread around from panpsychism to 'materialism'. I am NOT asserting anything - I am merely being a skeptic. [/QUOTE] And all good scientists are skeptics, one is just being asked to be skeptical about the limits of scientific knowledge and scientific explanations of mind and experience as well. There are certain practical and ecological advantages to viewing our fellow creatures as endowed with certain forms of mind and experience.

[QUOTE=Kielicious;97270] I understand we are speculating but there has to be something from your position that can sway the skeptic right? Some form of evidence, or reason, or fact that can make your stance somewhat credible... ? [/QUOTE] Well it does employ analogy, reason and speculation. People who have this point of view do not expect scientific evidence because they think science inherently is limited to the physicalist properties of reality. They just refuse to view their own subjective experience as being an illusion, or an epiphenomena and think subjective experience in various forms is widespread in nature not limited to humans and higher animals. It is the extrapolation of our own subjective experience by analogy and reason to a wider realm of nature.

Most panpsychists have a process view of reality and are monists of one sort or another. It is not necessarily a theistic or religious view. Panpsychism was probably the dominant view of nature for most of human history.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 09:45 pm
@prothero,
prothero;97319 wrote:
Process views of reality generally declare that reality ultimately consists of events (moments or droplets of experience) and that each event is dipolar (possesses a mental and a material aspect depending on how it is viewed). There is one underlying reality (becoming) events with two aspects. Mind and matter are not separate as in Cartesian dualism but inseparable aspects of each event. Because there is a mental as well as a physical aspect to each event; process views of reality are in some sense inherently "panexperiential" or "panpsychic" It really is the anti thesis of classical Cartesian dualism.

Process views offer an interesting way of viewing some of the strange behaviors in the "quantum world" and many theoretical physicists view quantum observations as "events" not "particles". There are also quantum theories of gravity and space time where even space time is discrete and quantitfied not continuous. It is speculative but so is the physicalist alternative.


... ah, then our views are not so different after all - we're just coming at it from two different directions: yours being a rejection of the primacy of substance as being philosophically coherent; and mine a rejection of scientific reduction as being a complete science ... I think we both take the fact that the further and further the physicists peer into the microscopic world the more they find the microscopic world to be a Russian doll of processes to signify the reality (if not priority) of processes ... that if you come at a quantum observation looking for a process, you will find a process (wave) but if you come at it looking for a substance you will find a substance (particle) to signify the fundamental multi-aspectuality of our experience of the world ... the key difference between us, again, being how we arrived here: process metaphysics and panpsychism on the one hand; and dynamic systems theory and emergence on the other (to give it a philosophical name, "nonreductive physicalism": Is “Nonreductive Physicalism” an Oxymoron? :: Nancey Murphy :: Global Spiral) ... I think if you're inclined to look around on my side of the fence, you'll discover some things that resonate with your worldview (much as I have found some things that resonate with my worldview by venturing into process metaphysics Smile) ... and we might even end up agreeing on where "experience" first appears in the chain of being! Wink ...
 
Kielicious
 
Reply Tue 13 Oct, 2009 10:18 pm
@paulhanke,
I agree that phenomenal questions are outside the scope of science (since they are by definition) but then the immediate question that arises is how do you justify your (if it is yours, maybe you're playing devil's advocate) assertion that everything has an innate experience factor that encompasses it other than by appealing to popularity? You say we know other human beings are conscious because we are conscious but we also identify conscious beings by their behaviour as well. So when you say that rocks 'experience', I wonder how you come to that conclusion when nothing about rocks screams 'experience'. It seems your sample size is a bit biased in reference to your population. I dont see the logical leap to say that since humans and most vertebrates are conscious, that rocks and elemetary particles are as well. The inference from premise to conclusion doesnt seem valid to me.

It seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong) that panpsychism is addressing a very useless proposition. It cannot be verified, cannot be falsified, cannot make predictions, it cannot do anything other than just make claims. Is this correct?
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 12:43 am
@prothero,
Here is a quote about the Thomas Nagel whose essay on experience is referred to above (taken from the Wikipedia article on him). It is relevant for distinguishing what is at issue in the thread:

Quote:
Nagel thinks that it is importantly true that science describes the world that exists independently of us. But this central case should not lead us to believe that understanding a subject matter is better simply if it is more objective. Importantly, the objective viewpoint is fundamentally unable to help us fully understand ourselves. Taking the proper methods of an objective scientific understanding and applying it to the mind leaves out something essential. It cannot describe what it is to be a thinker who conceives of the world from a particular perspective.

Some phenomena are not best grasped from a more objective perspective. The standpoint of the thinker does not present itself to him: he is that standpoint. One learns and uses mental concepts by being directly acquainted with one's own mind. But any attempt to think more objectively about mentality would abstract away from this fact. It would, of its nature, leave out what it is to be a thinker. And that, Nagel believes, would be a falsely objectifying view. Being a thinker is to have a subjective perspective on the world; if you abstract away from this perspective you leave out what you sought to explain.

Nagel thinks that philosophers over-impressed by the paradigm of the kind of objective understanding represented by modern science tend to produce theories of the mind that are falsely objectifying in precisely this kind of way. They are right to be impressed - modern science really is objective - but are wrong to be over-impressed. The kind of understanding that science represents does not transfer to everything that we would like to understand. Mapping out, for different areas of inquiry, whether they are better understood in a more or less objective way is the central aim of Nagel's philosophy.


I think that addresses part of the issue here, in that by asking about experience, it seems to me we are asking specifically about the first-person nature of being rather than about the analysis of being (or consciousness, or experience) from an objective viewpoint.

Going back to the 'What is it like to be a bat' essay which is referred to previously there is the following passage:

Quote:
Conscious experience is a widespread phenomenon. It occurs at many levels of animal life, though we cannot be sure of its presence in the simpler organisms, and it is very difficult to say in general what provides evidence of it. (Some extremists have been prepared to deny it even of mammals other than man.) No doubt it occurs in countless forms totally unimaginable to us, on other planets in other solar systems throughout the universe. But no matter how the form may vary, the fact that an organism has conscious experience at alllmeans, basically, that there is something it is like to be that organism. There may be further implications about the form of the experience; there may even (though I doubt it) be implications about the behavior of the organism. But fundamentally an organism has conscious mentalstates if and only if there is something that it is to be that organism-something it is like for the organism.

We may call this the subjective character of experience. It is not captured by any of the familiar, recently devised reductive analyses of the mental, for all of them are logically compatible with its absence. It is not analyzable in terms of any explanatory system of functional states, or intentional states, since these could be ascribed to robots or automata that behaved like people though they experienced nothing. It is not analyzable in terms of the causal role of experiences in relation to typical human behavior-for similar reasons. I do not deny that conscious mental states and events cause behavior, nor that they may be given functional characterizations. I deny only that this kind of thing exhausts their analysis. Any reductionist program has to be based on an analysis of what is to be reduced. If the analysis leaves something out, the problem will be falsely posed. It is useless to base the defense of materialism on any analysis of mental phenomena that fails to deal explicitly with their subjective character.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 09:21 am
@jeeprs,
... Dewey puts it like this: science discovers knowledge of what is regular, stable, predictable - instrumental ... that existence is both precarious and stable means that scientific knowledge does not exhaust everything that can be known about existence - it can only exhaust its instrumentalities ... so, like Nagel, Dewey separates knowledge into instrumental knowledge and experiential knowledge ... this separation seems like an impassable divide ... however, Dewey's analysis is grounded in the science of 1925 ... today, there appears to be a paradigm shift occurring in science ... pure reduction is being questioned in its status as a complete science - nonreductive (synthetic) approaches are gaining status as a complement to reduction ... this potentially adds a new category of knowledge: constitutive knowledge (e.g., how the instrumentalities of two parts flammable element plus one part flammable element in a specific organization interact nonlinearly to result in a flame-dousing whole) ... it seems obvious to me that a triad of instrumental knowledge, constitutive knowledge, and experiential knowledge will be more continuous than instrumental knowledge and experiential knowledge alone ... but will it turn out to be fully continuous? - being in mid-paradigm-shift, I don't think we're in any position to say ... but what does it mean to exhaust the constitutialities (is that even a word?!) of existence? - what is it that we would know? ...
 
prothero
 
Reply Wed 14 Oct, 2009 09:23 pm
@prothero,
[QUOTE=Kielicious;97342] I agree that phenomenal questions are outside the scope of science (since they are by definition) but then the immediate question that arises is how do you justify your (if it is yours, maybe you're playing devil's advocate) assertion that everything has an innate experience factor that encompasses it other than by appealing to popularity? [/QUOTE] It is not so popular now. It is minority viewpoint in the modern age of science. The initial reaction of most educated westerners is "preposterous, silly" but reflection shows that there is a significant speculation involved which is difficult to refute or confirm. I guess taken from a worldwide view "panpsychism" in various forms would still be popular among non western, less literate and less educated populations. I am not making the case on the basis of popularity but on the basis of reason, analogy and each individual's direct experience extrapolated to other entities. A challenge to the notion that the "consciousness" form of mind emerges from the complex arrangement of elements which themselves have no inherent form of experience or properties of mind whatsoever.

[QUOTE=Kielicious;97342] You say we know other human beings are conscious because we are conscious but we also identify conscious beings by their behaviour as well. So when you say that rocks 'experience', I wonder how you come to that conclusion when nothing about rocks screams 'experience'. [/QUOTE] Rocks are simple aggregates; concretions as such as "rocks" have no form of integrated or unified experience whatsoever. The assertion of the more extensive forms of "panpsychism" is that the elementary particles in the rocks do have some primitive form of individual experience of the world around them.

[QUOTE=Kielicious;97342] It seems your sample size is a bit biased in reference to your population. I don't see the logical leap to say that since humans and most vertebrates are conscious, that rocks and elementary particles are as well. The inference from premise to conclusion doesn't seem valid to me. [/QUOTE] You can draw the line for "experience" anywhere you wish. You can even claim your own experience is mere illusion a form of "eliminative materialism". I happen to prefer to entertain the "experience all the way down" form of the notion at least for discussion purposes. It so happens the notion also supports and curtails with a process view of reality, and the notion of non sensory intuitive knowledge about ultimate reality. Descartes when he split reality attributed res cognitans to humans only. He thought animals were basically robots or automatons. The more of nature one regards as "experiencing" the more sensitive one is to harmony and relationships instead of dominion and domination.

[QUOTE=Kielicious;97342] It seems to me (correct me if I'm wrong) that panpsychism is addressing a very useless proposition. It cannot be verified, [/QUOTE] Logical positivism would say it is "incomprehensible"

[QUOTE=Kielicious;97342] cannot be falsified, [/QUOTE] it is not a scientific proposition.

[QUOTE=Kielicious;97342] cannot make predictions, [/QUOTE] Actually it does make a prediction about the nature of consciousness and the limits of scientific investigations of "mind".

If one confines ones philosophy to logical positivism, analysis of language and analytic philosophy than the traditional questions of philosophy about the nature of man, the nature of the universe, mind, aesthetics and morals can be addressed in only the most superficial and fragmented fashion. Traditional philosophy is speculative philosophy. Speculative philosophy is not the abandonment of reason or of facts but it is not limited to science either.

[QUOTE=Kielicious;97342] it cannot do anything other than just make claims. Is this correct? [/QUOTE] No I would say it is a significant alteration of worldview. To look at the world as filled with other experiencing individuals, societies or organisms is very different than looking at the world as primarily some kind of physical machine obeying fixed deterministic laws. At a minimum I find it a more inspiring view. It also alters the way one looks at ecological systems and problems as one of relationships and response (a more holistic and integrated approach). It is a an acknowledgement of the somewhat partial and incomplete view of the reductionist program of physicalist science. There is more to reality and experience than what science can reveal to us.

In my view the purpose of a philosophical orientation is the integration of science, experience, values and aesthetics, There are multiple pieces in my view starting with process philosophy, including some form of panpsychism and ending with a form of panentheism.
I do not reject science or the findings of science. It is just that science in my view can give us only a partial and incomplete view of ultimate reality. We must rely on reason, intuition and experience to complete the picture.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 02:11 pm
@prothero,
prothero;97547 wrote:
A challenge to the notion that the "consciousness" form of mind emerges from the complex arrangement of elements which themselves have no inherent form of experience or properties of mind whatsoever.

Rocks are simple aggregates; concretions as such as "rocks" have no form of integrated or unified experience whatsoever. The assertion of the more extensive forms of "panpsychism" is that the elementary particles in the rocks do have some primitive form of individual experience of the world around them.


... taken together, these two statements seems to be saying the following: the elementary constituents of the universe have some primitive form of individual experience ... this primitive form of experience does not "sum up" into more advanced forms of experience through simple aggregation of these elementary constituents ... in order to achieve a more advanced form of experience, a complex arrangement of these elementary constituents is required ... however, a complex arrangement in and of itself is not sufficient to achieve a more advanced form of experience.

First question: if the elementary constituents of the universe are processes, doesn't that make them complex arrangements? ... and if a complex arrangement is not sufficient in and of itself to achieve experience, doesn't that negate the possibility of experience?

Second question: if simple aggregation of primitive experience is not sufficient to achieve a more advanced form of experience, what is it about complex arrangements that allows new forms of experience to appear out of them?
 
Kielicious
 
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 07:55 pm
@paulhanke,
I appreciate the response prothero and I have to agree with your last part about the spiritual implications behind such notions. However, it seems I am still a bit confused at what your stance is exactly. First you say that you "entertain the 'experience all the way down' form" of panpsychism but earlier you said, "Rocks are simple aggregates; concretions as such as 'rocks' have no form of integrated or unified experience whatsoever"... I suspect stipulative definitions for integrated & unified so clarification would be helpful.

Also, in your response to my statement of:
Me wrote:

It seems your sample size is a bit biased in reference to your population. I don't see the logical leap to say that since humans and most vertebrates are conscious, that rocks and elementary particles are as well. The inference from premise to conclusion doesn't seem valid to me.


...you responded...

[quote=prothero]You can draw the line for "experience" anywhere you wish. You can even claim your own experience is mere illusion a form of "eliminative materialism". I happen to prefer to entertain the "experience all the way down" form of the notion at least for discussion purposes. It so happens the notion also supports and curtails with a process view of reality, and the notion of non sensory intuitive knowledge about ultimate reality. Descartes when he split reality attributed res cognitans to humans only. He thought animals were basically robots or automatons. The more of nature one regards as "experiencing" the more sensitive one is to harmony and relationships instead of dominion and domination. [/quote]



With all do respect this seems a bit of a non-answer. I understand panspychism doesnt fall into the realm of science but your still making a universal claim about reality and Im trying to highlight the fact that your argument is invalid because it is logically possible for things not to be conscious and since the claim is also not falsifiable it makes it less likely to be considered true (especially universally true). This is just like the statement "all swans are white". This inductive methodology is not accurate of reality because of what I said earlier that "your sample size is a bit biased in reference to your population." You cannot say that since I am experiencing, and lots of other living things seem to be experiencing, that everything in existence is experiencing. Again, your inference from premise to conclusion is not valid (i.e. hasty generalization) -if that is a correct desciption of your argument.* Not to mention, P2 is a bit shaky.

I could also say that it seems like an argument from ignorance because of what you said earlier about not knowing how experience can "emerge" from non-experience. BTW my appeal to popularity statement was more of a play-on-words. It wasnt directed toward the most popular stance nowadays, which I believe is functionalism, but more of a joke that didnt really come out right. I appreciate the responses though and I hope you dont take any of this personally, Im just trying to give constuctive criticism is all. Thanks!

*Footnote*: Notice that I am using the inductive version and not the deductive form.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Thu 15 Oct, 2009 08:18 pm
@BrightNoon,
BrightNoon;97248 wrote:
Yes, I would agree that we 'co-construct' our realities, but that doesn't make the experience of them any less individual or private. We can speculate, as we are now, that our experiences are the result of our interactions with the world and each other (as external objects), but our experiences themselves are in no way 'interactive' or shared. We cannot truly escape our subjectivity, though we can speculate on 'objective' reality (but this speculation is still individual experience: i.e. thought experienced by me privately, not shared).


... so which is more amazing: that individual beings can experience, or that beings can actually communicate to share ways of experiencing? Smile ...
 
prothero
 
Reply Fri 16 Oct, 2009 11:50 pm
@paulhanke,
It is late and I am tired but I wanted to briefly reply.

[QUOTE=paulhanke;97718] ... taken together, these two statements seems to be saying the following: the elementary constituents of the universe have some primitive form of individual experience ... this primitive form of experience does not "sum up" into more advanced forms of experience through simple aggregation of these elementary constituents .. [/QUOTE]. I would say that was correct. Just as the simple mixing of chemicals does not give rise to new chemical or physical properties, the simple aggregation of small units of experience does not give rise to unified experience or new mental properties. It is the arrangement that gives rise to unified experience and new mental properties.

[QUOTE=paulhanke;97718] in order to achieve a more advanced form of experience, a complex arrangement of these elementary constituents is required ... however, a complex arrangement in and of itself is not sufficient to achieve a more advanced form of experience. [/QUOTE] Not all complex arrangements will give rise to unified experience but the "experience of a tree" for example is likely to be quite different from the experience of any higher form of animal. I would say similar arrangements would more likely give rise to comparable types of experience but simple aggregates are not likely to sum properties or allow for unified experience.

[QUOTE=paulhanke;97718] First question: if the elementary constituents of the universe are processes, doesn't that make them complex arrangements? ... and if a complex arrangement is not sufficient in and of itself to achieve experience, doesn't that negate the possibility of experience? [/QUOTE] In fact the notion that the primary constituents of reality are "events, moments or occasions or experience" does make fundamental reality much more complex than the notion that the primary elements of reality are without experience (inert and insensate). Different arrangements give rise to different types of experience. Just as new physical properties arise from certain arrangements or bonds between elements that themselves lack those physical properties one can think of new mental properties arising form much the same types of special arrangements between mental elements. It is the notion that mental properties can arise from elements which have no mental properties that is objected to. It is the difference in nature and ontology of "the mental or experiential"l and "the physical or material" properties that leads to the assertion that mental properties are inherent in nature along with physical properties.


[QUOTE=paulhanke;97718] Second question: if simple aggregation of primitive experience is not sufficient to achieve a more advanced form of experience, what is it about complex arrangements that allows new forms of experience to appear out of them? [/QUOTE] This is the so called "combination" problem of panpsychism which opponents claim is as challenging as the emergence problem of physicalism. How do millions of little minds combine to form one unified experience. There is no currently available answer. Of course there is no physicalist answer either. I think the notion that mental attributes could combine to form higher forms of mind is much more comprehensible than the notion that experience could arise from purely physical origins.

Galen Strawson "It is less certain that there is non-experiential stuff than that there is experiential stuff (direct personal experience) and in most ears "real physicalism" signals commitment to the existence of non- experiential stuff in a way that "realistic monism" does not.
"The experiential /non experiential divide assuming it exists at all, is the most fundamental divide in nature"
"Given the undeniable reality of experience, Why insist that physical stuff in itself, in its most basic nature, is essentially non experiential?"

An amusing section from William James about the notion the "experience" could arise form the purely physical
"The girl in "Midshipman easy" could not excuse the illegitimacy of her child by saying"it is a very small one", and Consciousness however small is an illegitimate birth in any philosophy that starts without it, and yet professes to explain all facts by continuous evolution. If evolution is to work smoothly, consciousness in some shape must have been present at the very origin of things".

 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 03:19 am
@prothero,
prothero;98031 wrote:
units of experience


There are no 'units of experience'. There are moments of experience; a unit is an object of measurement but a moment exists within perception. So there is a difference between a 'unit' and a 'moment'. A unit is something that can be observed, but a moment is something that can only be experienced.

What I am considering is that 'science presumes order.' The question of the origin of order is beyond science, but science can only proceed on the basis that it already exists.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 09:31 am
@prothero,
prothero;98031 wrote:
In fact the notion that the primary constituents of reality are "events, moments or occasions or experience" does make fundamental reality much more complex than the notion that the primary elements of reality are without experience (inert and insensate).


... but is this any less reductionist than material reductionism? ... that is, does saying that the "atoms" (in this case, events) of the universe have both material and mental properties (vs. saying that the "atoms" of the universe only have material properties) make the things that are constituted from such atoms (in both cases, processes) any less epiphenomenal? ...

prothero;98031 wrote:
It is the notion that mental properties can arise from elements which have no mental properties that is objected to.


... but if processes are primary in this universe (e.g., matter only appears due to a process that "precipitates" energy), and consciousness is a process (of processes), then couldn't mental properties be just one class of properties a process may (or may not) have, depending upon the complexity and constitution of the process? ... (much like "liquid" is a material property that the material manifestation of a process may or may not have?) ...

prothero;98031 wrote:
Of course there is no physicalist answer either


... there is no definitive physicalist answer, but there is a physicalist hypothesis - that the emergence due to nonlinear dynamics that can be observed to bring forth new processes/structures may also be what brings forth living processes/structures as well as mental processes/structures ...


prothero;98031 wrote:
"Given the undeniable reality of experience, Why insist that physical stuff in itself, in its most basic nature, is essentially non experiential?"


... given the undeniable reality of water, why insist that physical stuff in itself, in its most basic nature, is essentially non watery? ... that is, is panpsychism and/or panexperientialism incoherent unless it grows to become "paneverythingism"?

---------- Post added 10-17-2009 at 08:51 AM ----------

jeeprs;98044 wrote:
There are no 'units of experience'. There are moments of experience; a unit is an object of measurement but a moment exists within perception. So there is a difference between a 'unit' and a 'moment'. A unit is something that can be observed, but a moment is something that can only be experienced.


... or is there just The Moment of experience? ... in the time consciousness of phenomenology, "now" is an ever-present (ever-presence?) that continuously "decoheres" (to borrow from QM) the manifold of possible futures into a single past (which, in contingent beings at least, loops around and constrains the manifold of possible futures) ... "units of experience" may simply be how we carve up the memories of our past (and projections of our future) to make them more understandable (much like how we carve up the external world to make it more understandable) ... the time consciousness of phenomenology may in fact be "what it is like" to be a process ...

jeeprs;98044 wrote:
What I am considering is that 'science presumes order.' The question of the origin of order is beyond science, but science can only proceed on the basis that it already exists.


... yep - without the existence of order, there is no subject matter for a scientific method to make any sense of Smile ...
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 10:50 am
@jeeprs,
[QUOTE=jeeprs;98044] There are no 'units of experience'. There are moments of experience; a unit is an object of measurement but a moment exists within perception. So there is a difference between a 'unit' and a 'moment'. A unit is something that can be observed, but a moment is something that can only be experienced. [/QUOTE] I most often use the phrase (moments, droplets or occasions of experience) Whiteheads terminology. When one uses this terminology one is talking about the fundamental nature of reality not just phenomenological experience. I would argue that nature comes in quanta (some would say quanta are units other would say that are events). I think both mental and physical phenomena are events and are quantitized. So I hope the terminology does not interfere with the underlying concepts. In any event it is a process view that I wish to represent not a physicalist view.

[QUOTE=jeeprs;98044] What I am considering is that 'science presumes order.' The question of the origin of order is beyond science, but science can only proceed on the basis that it already exists. [/QUOTE] There is still no explanation for why are universe has the laws and physical constants it does. In most of the mathematical models of "theories of everything" the laws and the constants could have been different and there may be other universes where the laws are different but "order" seems necessary to have a universe at all. You can call upon God or call upon mystery. In some theological systems god does not create the world from nothing "ex nihilo" but imposes order on the "formless void, chaos". Process theologies prefer the later primarily as a response to the problem of evil.

---------- Post added 10-17-2009 at 10:50 AM ----------

[QUOTE=paulhanke;98092]... but is this any less reductionist than material reductionism? ... that is, does saying that the "atoms" (in this case, events) of the universe have both material and mental properties (vs. saying that the "atoms" of the universe only have material properties) make the things that are constituted from such atoms (in both cases, processes) any less epiphenomenal? ... [/QUOTE] Well reductionism is not a total failure in our understanding of reality. I think reductionism has it limits and yields only a partial and incomplete view. The term "epiphenomena" for me implies an illusionary or imaginary type of "qualia" with no "real" or "existant" ontological status in reality. I am not willing to use the term "epipehenomena" for the "undeniable reality of experience" which we have.

I do not think the new physical properties which result from the novel arrangements of physical entities are "epiphenomena" they are "real" and they "exist". Mental properties are subjective and are seen from within "the thing within itself". New mental properties can arise based on combinations We just cannot comprehend or observe them in the way we comprehend physical properties. Mind is reality from the inside Matter is reality studied from the outside. No reality truly exists or can be understood apart from its relationships to the rest of nature and its interior nature.

[QUOTE=paulhanke;98092]... but if processes are primary in this universe (e.g., matter only appears due to a process that "precipitates" energy), and consciousness is a process (of processes), then couldn't mental properties be just one class of properties a process may (or may not) have, depending upon the complexity and constitution of the process? ... (much like "liquid" is a material property that the material manifestation of a process may or may not have?) ... [/QUOTE] Liquidity is a physical property which results from the combination of elements with known physical properties. We understand the nature of liquidity quite well actually. How the combination of elements with purely physical properties could result in a new entity with the properties of mind we do not understand at all and in fact it seems quite incomprehensible to us, some say illogical some say it would be a miracle. To maintain that there may be a entirely physicalist explanation of mind I think ignores the nature of experience and mind compared to physical properties. Exactly what would a physicalist explanation of love entail almost by definition it would have to exclude the actual experience. It would be "misplaced concreteness" a "fallacy of composition".



[QUOTE=paulhanke;98092]... there is no definitive physicalist answer, but there is a physicalist hypothesis - that the emergence due to nonlinear dynamics that can be observed to bring forth new processes/structures may also be what brings forth living processes/structures as well as mental processes/structures [/QUOTE] That the universe is self organizing and that novel properties emerge from complex chaotic systems is not at issue. It is the nature of underlying reality itself that is at issue. Is ultimate reality composed of physicalist entities entirely devoid of interiority and experience (inert and insensate)?. Is the particulate physicalist materialist conception of the ultimate nature of reality true or is reality composed of events and processes which are perceived of as having physicalist and mental properties?.



. [QUOTE=paulhanke;98092].. given the undeniable reality of water, why insist that physical stuff in itself, in its most basic nature, is essentially non watery? ... that is, is panpsychism and/or panexperientialism incoherent unless it grows to become "paneverythingism"?[/QUOTE] Ultimately I think everything in reality is interconnected and related (unity or oneness) that think only exist in relationship not in isolation. I think the general conception is that the divide between mind and matter is vast in ontological categorical terms. For Descartes and the dualist the gap was so wide and so obvious they split nature in two. Process Philosophy and other neutral monist philosophies attempt to join the world of experience and the world of physicalism together; not by declaring mind "which is undeniably real" to be an epiphenomena or rare occurrence in a universe of inert insensate objects but by declaring mind to be present to the very core of reality and to be inseparably fused together with reality viewed from the outside (spacio temporal and physicalist properties).

It is just a view I suggest entertaining and contemplating. It is not for everyone. It is not however as "absurd, silly, foolish, or preposterous" as it may appear on first glance. Panpsycism also offers benefits in the ecological and spiritual realms of contemplation.
 
paulhanke
 
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 03:23 pm
@prothero,
prothero;98130 wrote:
Exactly what would a physicalist explanation of love entail almost by definition it would have to exclude the actual experience. It would be "misplaced concreteness" a "fallacy of composition".

That the universe is self organizing and that novel properties emerge from complex chaotic systems is not at issue. It is the nature of underlying reality itself that is at issue. Is ultimate reality composed of physicalist entities entirely devoid of interiority and experience (inert and insensate)?.


... for a non-reductive physicalist, the answer to that question would be "no" ... ultimate reality is not the universe as it was at the instant of the big bang (if it were, then ultimate reality would be nothing but the monism of an inconceivably dense, expanding, swirling energy plasma) ... ultimate reality is the universe as it is now, with all of the things in it that it has created step by step along the way ... each new creation is just as real as its last and opens up new possibilities for the next creation ... that as humans we, too, have the ability to create is simply the universe working on its next creation - after all, we are part of the universe Smile ... long-story-short, for a non-reductive physicalist ultimate reality is not eternal, static, material; it is contingent, creative, processual - it grows and builds upon itself and loops back upon itself with all that that dynamics entails ... so when it comes to the experiential aspects of consciousness such as love, I don't think non-reductive physicalism would try exclude it ... for a non-reductive physicalist, love and consciousness are creations of a contingent and creative reality that we (as the newest kids on the block) participate in and help to decide what comes next - what lies beyond love and consciousness ... maybe I've got things wrong, but for a panpsychist it seems to be the case that love and consciousness are part of an eternal and static reality, and the best we can do is to figure out refinements on ways to get at what it is that has always existed ...

prothero;98130 wrote:
It is not however as "absurd, silly, foolish, or preposterous" as it may appear on first glance. Panpsycism also offers benefits in the ecological and spiritual realms of contemplation.


... to a reductive physicalist, you and I are both absurd, silly, and foolish Wink ...
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 05:55 pm
@paulhanke,
[QUOTE=paulhanke;98175] ... long-story-short, for a non-reductive physicalist ultimate reality is not eternal, static, material; it is contingent, creative, processual - it grows and builds upon itself and loops back upon itself with all that that dynamics entails ... so when it comes to the experiential aspects of consciousness such as love, I don't think non-reductive physicalism would try exclude it ... for a non-reductive physicalist, love and consciousness are creations of a contingent and creative reality that we (as the newest kids on the block) participate in and help to decide what comes next - what lies beyond love and consciousness ... maybe I've got things wrong, but for a panpsychist it seems to be the case that love and consciousness are part of an eternal and static reality, and the best we can do is to figure out refinements on ways to get at what it is that has always existed ... [/QUOTE]
paulhanke;98175 wrote:

... to a reductive physicalist, you and I are both absurd, silly, and foolish ...

You and I are close, differing only in some terminology, some efforts to express the ineffable, inexpressible. I do think the universe has an aim, a goal, a purpose. That goal is not the simplistic (creation, fall, redemption) of Biblical theology or the final Armageddon of Revelations but the realization (actualization of) (the divine primordial nature, possibility for value, something akin to platonic forms) through the process of nature and natural law. So in a sense the divine is "the ground of all being" "the essence of existence" "the source of all possibilities of value" which is actualized through the process of nature. The divine like nature is dipolar (nature is mental and material) god is (possibility in his/her primordial nature and actualization in his/her consequent nature). The ultimate value in the world is creativity. Creation is a ongoing process not a single event. God and the world are codependent and coexistent. The many are increased by one and become one in a never ending process of creative advance. No god-no world-no possibility-no actualization. God is the chief example of metaphysical principle not its sole exception.

Your view is perhaps more of one in which novelty and creativity appear but without any particular underlying metaphysic or striving. I view the world as tending towards order, value, life, mind, experience, novelty and creativity including values and aesthetics. The arc of the universe is long and punctuated by disasters but overall it tends toward higher value.
Mine is a more traditional western theistic view but not so different that we do not have much common ground.
May good fortune be yours
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 08:18 pm
@prothero,
'the wisdom of the children of God is folly to the world'
 
prothero
 
Reply Sat 17 Oct, 2009 11:12 pm
@prothero,
If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it. A.Einstein
Before God we are all equally wise - equally foolish. A.Einstein
 
BrightNoon
 
Reply Mon 19 Oct, 2009 06:41 pm
@Kielicious,
Kielicious;97270 wrote:
I am trying to keep my cool but if you continue this route then I will no longer reply.


Promise? :shifty:

No seriously, there's nothing further to say.
 
 

 
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