(in)signficance of "Qualia"

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Reply Sun 23 May, 2010 11:52 pm
Qualia - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This is a strange issue, and one that seems important to me just now. I first of all just want anyone jumping into this thread to look at the link, if they haven't yet been exposed to the concept.

I want to call "qualia" mysterious, but "mysterious" isn't the right word. In fact, no word seems like the right word.

What do other make of this term, this issue?
Quote:

Antti Revonsuo is a Finnish neuroscientist who wishes to transform the whole approach to qualia - and by implication, consciousness itself - by treating the problems from a 'biological realist' perspective.[40] He is prepared to accept the notion of the phenomenal-as-real, together with aspects of it that the direct realists are still rejecting, namely, that the organism with sensory access to its world (and that includes its own body) is equipped by evolution with a 'virtual space' in which sensory presentations in the brain enact a 'world-simulation'. The phenomenal space is distinct from physical space, an idea that many find difficult to comprehend. Like John Smythies (see the next entry), he is not at all daunted by the strangeness of the high speculation that is necessitated at such an early stage of scientific inquiry.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 05:53 am
@Reconstructo,
Well fools rush in.....

I promised myself a long time ago never to involve myself in an argument that involved the term 'qualia'. This is because I am suspicious of the whole debate. Just to recap, the context of the meaning of the word is in the debate about whether consciousness can be fully described in materialist terms. Daniel Dennett purported to write a book which 'explains consciousness'. It was in this context that talk about whether the elusive, first-person characteristic of consciousness can be grasped by the description of consciousness in material terms. This gave rise to the so-called 'hard problem' and all the other related debates. Now it is a whole school of philosophy. And one I fail to see the point of.

I suppose you're thinking, well why did I reply to this thread, and I guess the answer is to show why I think this whole argument about qualia is utterly insignificant. I think it is a small sideshow whose protagonists will be mainly lost to history in a single generation. Glowing testimony to the irrelevance of what is considered to be philosophy in this day and age. Hrmmph.
 
qualia
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 06:12 am
@jeeprs,
We may observe the essential 'problem' of qualia as something like this:

1) A given someone may argue that human experience is experienced as meaningful and derives its meaning from many sources. Human experience cannot be described as can states of the physical universe because human experience has meaning, whereas physical states unto themselves do not. We experience the world as having meaning and these meanings are derived from complicated biological and societal practices. How these experiences can be split into facts which are logically independent of one another (as say science may want it) is not clear. Human experience is the experience of an animal with certain biological attributes moulded within a complex set of institutions, systems and codes called culture writ large. Our experiences have the meanings they have because these conditions and meanings are not logically independent.

2) From here we may give a brief story so far of the mind: Cartesian dualism has the virtue of accommodating the view that human consciousness with its subjective point of view does not sit happily with a scientific worldview which strives for objectivity. It does this by claiming that the mind is radically different from the body existing outside the material universe. The problem with this view is one of mental causation, that is, how the hell a supernatural, occult, non-spatial, super-mind entity causally interacts with the physical spatial body? Cartesian dualism makes the existence of consciousness puzzling for how did it come into being? If no material cause (the operation of the brain) could bring it into existence, then are we to presume a god did this, because like minds, a god is also immaterial? To combat the dubious conclusions of dualism, materialism (stemming to Aristotle) came in and stated that all in nature is material. However, the problem with this is that certain features of consciousness and its contents resist being construed as or reduced to features of the material, that is, qualia, aboutness, and intentionality.

Today, the most popular theory of mind for most philosophers is Functionalism and we may observe the following argument:

Premise 1: Functionalism is the view that mental states can be defined in terms of their causal role in the control of the organism.

Premise 2: Conscious mental states seem to have 3 properties

  • its functional properties that form a part of our explanations of behaviour
  • a material basis in the physio-chemistry of the brain
  • Qualia, mental states that have phenomenological qualities, specific looks and feels of which the person experiencing them is aware.


Premise 3: The first and third properties are not equivalent.

Premise 4: The second and third properties are not equivalent because descriptions of qualia cannot be analysed in terms of descriptions of physio-chemical conditions.

Conclusion: Therefore functionalism is an incomplete theory of the mind, because it leaves out qualia. Why? Well, descriptions of brain activity record events that are publicly observable, and descriptions of qualia record events which are private and subjective. Thus, the two types of events have different properties. They are different types of statements which are both equally true. In this way, the statements describing one event are not logically equivalent to statements describing the other.

From here we arrive to a very real requirement for a theory of the mind. This theory must relate 3 disparate elements.


  • Functional Organization (the way mental states function in bringing about behaviour).
  • Physical Constitutional (the way mental events are related to physical ones).
  • Subjective Appearance (phenomena such as qualia and aboutness). The problem we have is B is still unknown.

Now here we enter into another mind-body argument. There is a conceptual link between being conscious and having a subjective point of view built into one's mental experiences. To be conscious means to experience the world from the point of view of an individual. The facts of experiences are accessible only from one point of view, and these experiences are private and not objective. The assertion that to be conscious means to experience the world from a point of view has startling consequences for science:

Premise 1: Modern science uses method which seeks to discount the point of view of any particular type of mind, notably the human mind. Science seeks a species independent objectivity.

Conclusion 1: Therefore, if there is anything in the world which is by nature essentially subjective it cannot be investigated by using the methods of physical science.

Premise 2: Conscious experience and human conscious experience by its nature involves a point of view or is by nature subjective.

Conclusion 2: Therefore human conscious experience which is subjective cannot - at the moment - be accounted for by science.

Conclusion 3: Therefore, current science cannot give a complete account of one class of things, namely subjective experience and so science is incomplete.

It appears, then, that the mind-body problem can not be just another science. Because mind-body problem needs a theory that can include subjectivity. That is, the mental and physical being construed as aspects of a reality more fundamental than them both. The implications of such an idea are revolutionary.

For a matter of coherency, Heidegger did try to answer this aged old problem in sections 9 to 13 of Being & Time. A given 'solution' was suggested which has been influential in current movements and development of A.I notably at M.I.T and Harvard.

I hope I have set out the 'problem' in an informative way.
 
kennethamy
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 06:50 am
@Reconstructo,
Qualia are supposed to be the internal experiences named by sensation terms like "red". But sensation terms (like "red") are not names of internal experiences. They are names of colors (like red) that objects have. Therefore, there are no qualia. QED
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 08:50 am
@jeeprs,
Here are a couple more, of the small number of points that jeeprs and myself do agree on . . .

jeeprs;168063 wrote:
Well fools rush in.....(while I wouldn't really word it that way at all . . . )

This is because I am suspicious of the whole debate. . . I think this whole argument about qualia is utterly (although I wouldn't modify the adjective in that degree) insignificant.


. . . wow, interesting. (ps, just in case, still to busy to pick up on 'we all know where' for now . . . soon, though, I do hope. [gotta take care of things here in Japan, first])
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 03:40 pm
@qualia,
qualia;168071 wrote:
Science seeks a species independent objectivity....

I hope I have set out the 'problem' in an informative way.


First class!

The idea of 'species independent objectivity' or 'complete objectivity' is a myth. And no ultimate object has ever been found, nor will be.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:34 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168063 wrote:

I suppose you're thinking, well why did I reply to this thread, and I guess the answer is to show why I think this whole argument about qualia is utterly insignificant. I think it is a small sideshow whose protagonists will be mainly lost to history in a single generation. Glowing testimony to the irrelevance of what is considered to be philosophy in this day and age. Hrmmph.


Ah, J, I know you hate the word, and I wish I had another. If someone can offer me a term that is equally well known... Perhaps phenomena.

Forget Dennett. Try to see where I'm coming from. The existence of color, sounds, etc., not as the causal abstractions associated with such but as they are experienced by us.

The word "qualia" has no particular fascination for me. It is indeed just one more abstraction, and not even connected in the least to what it points to. Suggest another word, and I'll use it on our discussion, which I would like to have, just as a show of friendliness!

The painter and the musician give us something that the written word never can. I'm looking at that part of experience which is of a different nature than abstraction. Sensation and emotion seem like the easiest pointers. Our joy and our sorrow may be entangled with words and concepts, but is not only these words and concepts. This is obvious, but somehow hardly talked of. Perhaps because it eludes language. Language has to point away from itself. Smile
 
richard mcnair
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:40 pm
@kennethamy,
kennethamy;168081 wrote:
Qualia are supposed to be the internal experiences named by sensation terms like "red". But sensation terms (like "red") are not names of internal experiences. They are names of colors (like red) that objects have. Therefore, there are no qualia. QED

Well I don't like 'qualia', although I applaud such people for taking on the blind materialists, however I simply must take you up on what you've just said.

How exactly is 'red' the property of an object? Surely even the most closed minded materialist would admit, that all that happens in the external world is light hits an object, and the surface of the object gives the light waves a certain frequency, which travels to the eye, but no where apart from the mind of the observer does there exist 'red'.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Mon 24 May, 2010 07:41 pm
@qualia,
qualia;168071 wrote:
We may observe the essential 'problem' of qualia as something like this:

1) A given someone may argue that human experience is experienced as meaningful and derives its meaning from many sources. Human experience cannot be described as can states of the physical universe because human experience has meaning, whereas physical states unto themselves do not.


Thanks, qualia. But let me say that it's not just about meaning. It's about sound and color, taste and smell. It's about what cannot be directly produced in another by means of language. It's the feeling of a hot bath. Yes, it's also the meaning in erotic desire, or the emotion of fear. I walked by a trash can today and it smelled like a dead animal. I almost vomited. That smell is. It just is. Or it was. But it wasn't just thought or even meaning. Its olfactory element was irreducible. It was what it was.
So for me, anyhow, this isn't a debate thread. We are all free to play it how we like, of course. But I wanted and want to point away from our abstractions. And from there discuss what all this means to us, as humans.

I think that humans often hold one another in contempt in the name of abstractions. So the ethical sub-text of this thread is that "qualia" or raw sense and emotion experience is an ocean in which our individual abstractions are drops of water. I think we become arrogant and cruel because we have love affairs with abstractions..and these same abstractions increase our fear of death, because the world needs our 500 page opus, right? Has anyone watched Planet Earth? Nature is already so grand, and its creatures so sublime, that human art and culture is a footnote. And I am a lover of human art and culture.

If you want, we can ignore the ethical subtext and dwell specifically on "qualia." Anyone know a better word, or are we stuck with "qualia"? No offense, qualia, and after all, it might be less distracting for you if we use "raw feels" or something. Smile
 
Khethil
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 08:26 am
@Reconstructo,
This thread and this one are treading the same ground.
 
KaseiJin
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 08:49 am
@Reconstructo,
Reconstructo;168361 wrote:
Anyone know a better word, . . .


Better, I can not say (outright) but presently reason it to essentially be; and that is a word I'd introduced much earlier, in a heretofore not-so-clearly suggested usage, and that is, namely, 'conscious.' (but I'm not gonna push it here)
 
manored
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 09:01 am
@qualia,
qualia;168071 wrote:

2) From here we may give a brief story so far of the mind: Cartesian dualism has the virtue of accommodating the view that human consciousness with its subjective point of view does not sit happily with a scientific worldview which strives for objectivity. It does this by claiming that the mind is radically different from the body existing outside the material universe. The problem with this view is one of mental causation, that is, how the hell a supernatural, occult, non-spatial, super-mind entity causally interacts with the physical spatial body? Cartesian dualism makes the existence of consciousness puzzling for how did it come into being? If no material cause (the operation of the brain) could bring it into existence, then are we to presume a god did this, because like minds, a god is also immaterial? To combat the dubious conclusions of dualism, materialism (stemming to Aristotle) came in and stated that all in nature is material. However, the problem with this is that certain features of consciousness and its contents resist being construed as or reduced to features of the material, that is, qualia, aboutness, and intentionality.
I suppose either way is equally dubious, as in the same way that there is no explanation as to the origin of that "super mind", there is no explanation as why there is something rather than nothing. Aka: Materialism does not provide and answer as to the origin of the mind, or, at least, not a complete one. Whats the difference of saying that the mind comes from nothing and saying that the mind comes from the brain that comes from the body that comes from matter that comes from stars that comes from the Big Bang that comes from nothing? Either way you dont know the starting point.

Reconstructo;168361 wrote:

I think that humans often hold one another in contempt in the name of abstractions. So the ethical sub-text of this thread is that "qualia" or raw sense and emotion experience is an ocean in which our individual abstractions are drops of water. I think we become arrogant and cruel because we have love affairs with abstractions..and these same abstractions increase our fear of death, because the world needs our 500 page opus, right? Has anyone watched Planet Earth? Nature is already so grand, and its creatures so sublime, that human art and culture is a footnote. And I am a lover of human art and culture.
You mean that some (or maybe most) of us fail to understand that feelings are unique, and thus assume our feelings are normative and those who have different feelings must be punished and interfered until they have the same feelings?

As in, you think a girl is beautiful, your friend disagrees and you two hold a mostly meaningless discussion over it?



I think "Qualia" is an experience that cannot be experienced by anyone else but you, sort off. Everyone sees the world with different eyes, although in some areas our views are similar enough to lead us to believe we are seeing the same thing, we are never seeing the same thing. Two persons may look at a ball and agree it is round, but if we slowly reduce the ball's "roundness" (lets say, deforming it) there will be a point where one person will think its round, and the other will not. and if that happens to be exactly the same point, it will be a coincidence only made possible by physicall limitations. there is a limit to how well we can see a shape, after all.
 
Flying Dutchman
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 09:51 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168063 wrote:
Well fools rush in.....

I promised myself a long time ago never to involve myself in an argument that involved the term 'qualia'. This is because I am suspicious of the whole debate. Just to recap, the context of the meaning of the word is in the debate about whether consciousness can be fully described in materialist terms. Daniel Dennett purported to write a book which 'explains consciousness'. It was in this context that talk about whether the elusive, first-person characteristic of consciousness can be grasped by the description of consciousness in material terms. This gave rise to the so-called 'hard problem' and all the other related debates. Now it is a whole school of philosophy. And one I fail to see the point of.

I suppose you're thinking, well why did I reply to this thread, and I guess the answer is to show why I think this whole argument about qualia is utterly insignificant. I think it is a small sideshow whose protagonists will be mainly lost to history in a single generation. Glowing testimony to the irrelevance of what is considered to be philosophy in this day and age. Hrmmph.



So easily you toss aside the mind-body problem (by the way you've only stated that, not really explained why you feel that way).

Can you explain how purely neuronal processes give rise to experience? I mean, it is PURE dogmatism to just assume that neuroscience will solve the problem given ample time. I'm not denying that could very well be the case, but at this point that is merely an assumption, and a big one, seeing as the most intelligent people on the planet can't find a coherent bridge between neurons firing and the sensation of pain, for instance.

We can't be nitpicking about how possible solutions (like a type of dualism) stray too far from our current paradigm when we know full well it may be radically different in 100 years. I am a "panprotopsychist" because:

1) Philosophical 'zombies' are conceivable. That is, the goals of biological organisms could be acheived without consciousness. There doesn't seem to be any reason for it in terms of biological evolution. Why does it actually feel like something to injure oneself when a behavioral reaction is all that's necessary for the organism.

2) Properties of species shouldn't evolve if they are not a result of comparatively efficient adaptation to the environment.

3) And yet there is consciousness somehow.

4) Thus it must be a property of the physical world, an intrinsic property of matter by which it can interact, the substrate which keeps us on the same level/plane of interaction.


I believe the fundamentals of consciousness exist as the intrinsics of matter. There is something "that it is like" to be a tree, a rock, or a particle, and life evolved as such with that property.



edit: just to be clear, I'm working with the assumption that we ARE "conscious," which is what you have to do. What the word means is a different story. The question is what kind of thing consciousness is, not whether or not it exists.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 04:18 pm
@Flying Dutchman,
Flying_Dutchman;168592 wrote:
So easily you toss aside the mind-body problem (by the way you've only stated that, not really explained why you feel that way).


Excellent post, Dutch (hope I am not being overly familiar.)

You're quite right, it IS a statement of my feeling about it. In my judgement, the mind-body 'problem' only occupies so much attention because of the inherent philosophical materialism of the day. So I am not claiming to have solved it, as it actually doesn't exist, and you can't solve a problem if it isn't there.

Flying_Dutchman;168592 wrote:
Can you explain how purely neuronal processes give rise to experience? I mean, it is PURE dogmatism to just assume that neuroscience will solve the problem given ample time.


Well, I would NEVER assume that this can be done, because the brain is never situated anywhere other than in a body, and the body is never situated anywhere other than in an environment. So I don't think neural reductionism is meaningful. This view is the basis of 'embodied cognition', 'neuroanthropology', and other emerging disciplines. So you can't explain anything in PURELY neuronal terms (except for how the brain works of course). You can explain something about how the brain works, and we can certainly do that better now that at any time in the past. But this does not amount to an explanation of the nature of experience, in my opinion. It is a specialised science with a limited range of applicability.


Flying_Dutchman;168592 wrote:
1) Philosophical 'zombies' are conceivable. That is, the goals of biological organisms could be achieved without consciousness.
Tell me, how is a zombie capable of judgement?

If you held a conversation with one, and asked it a simple question, on what basis would it respond? If it doesn't feel anything, has no personal view, how could it respond? I mean, you would know straight away that you're not talking to a person.

I am sure you're aware of the Turing test. I have never been able to understand how zombies are conceivable if we can't build a computer that can pass the Turing test.

Because if said zombie is able to respond in such a way as to convince you that it is a person, then by definition, this being could not be a zombie. it would have to make judgments and interpret meaning. This is exactly what computers can't do, so if computers can't do it, how is your fictive zombie going to do any better? (Anyway, shouldn't be too long before Craig Venter creates one, and then we can find out for sure.:bigsmile:)


Flying_Dutchman;168592 wrote:
2) Properties of species shouldn't evolve if they are not a result of comparatively efficient adaptation to the environment.


This is what I call 'Darwinian rationalism'. I don't think that the principles of evolution, as provided by Darwin in OoS, combined with what we know about genetic inheritance, are sufficient grounds to understand human attributes. This doesn't mean I accept ID or creationism, but I think there are still very large gaps in our understanding. (Mind you, it is highly controversial to say anything which questions the Dogma.)

Flying_Dutchman;168592 wrote:
And yet there is consciousness somehow.


4) Thus it must be a property of the physical world, an intrinsic property of matter by which it can interact, the substrate which keeps us on the same level/plane of interaction.


I believe the fundamentals of consciousness exist as the intrinsics of matter. There is something "that it is like" to be a tree, a rock, or a particle, and life evolved as such with that property.



A more pythagorean view: consciousness is not a property of matter at all, but a macroscopic tendency inherent in the fundamental characteristics of the cosmos such that life will tend to arise wherever the conditions are appropriate. These fundamental characteristics are experienced by us as the regularities of nature which give rise to our rational and mathematical ability.

---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 08:24 AM ----------

p.s. "Macroscopic" is probably the wrong word. But I think it conveys the drift of the idea.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 10:43 pm
@manored,
manored;168580 wrote:


You mean that some (or maybe most) of us fail to understand that feelings are unique, and thus assume our feelings are normative and those who have different feelings must be punished and interfered until they have the same feelings?

As in, you think a girl is beautiful, your friend disagrees and you two hold a mostly meaningless discussion over it?

Well, that's not what I was saying, but that is another interesting issue. What I am saying is that we humans tend to identify strongly with our thoughts, to the degree that other humans, who think differently, aren't as interesting to us as perhaps they should be.

If we forget how much of life is sensation and emotion, it's easy to think we are islands, because we have fantasies of ourselves, or projections of ourselves, and this is related to the concept of persona.
We say "Well, I'm a [abstraction] and so-and-so is a [abstraction] and thus we can't get along. They are the bad guys. We are the good guys. They are stupid. We are smart. And all of this is absorption in our abstractions to the degree that we no longer even want to see the common humanity. We start to think we have nothing to learn from others, because all we need is our abstractions. So the man who has lived for 50 years but never been a reader is devalued by the 20 something intellectual because he doesn't drop certain names, hasn't heard of certain abstractions. As if life were nothing but abstractions. See what I mean? And abstractions justify our cruelty. An emphasis on qualia and emotion is also an emphasis on our common humanity, and a suggestion that gratitude is the proper response for existing at all, if one is healthy enough or safe enough....Smile

---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 12:08 AM ----------

Khethil;168569 wrote:
This thread and this one are treading the same ground.

There were objections to "ineffable."

---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 12:14 AM ----------

jeeprs;168773 wrote:

You're quite right, it IS a statement of my feeling about it. In my judgement, the mind-body 'problem' only occupies so much attention because of the inherent philosophical materialism of the day. So I am not claiming to have solved it, as it actually doesn't exist, and you can't solve a problem if it isn't there.


Good point. What strikes me as strange is that hardly anyone acknowledges that matter itself is an abstraction. And it's obviously an abstraction. But so is "consciousness". What distracts us from recognizing both as abstractions is probably just that we live somehow in our own private worlds that somehow overlap. But there's concept/sensation/emotion when it comes to reality and only reality when it comes to concept/sensation/emotion. A more logical dualism would be between the speakable universal and the unspeakable private.

Objectivity is made of language. And within language the fantasy/conceptual-reality of "true" objectivity lives.

Birth, death, and self-hood are intimately related to this, I think. Personal private memory, which may be another way of saying the same thing.

In any case, in a significant way I agree that the mind-body problem doesn't exist, although I can see why people say it does.
 
jeeprs
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 11:16 pm
@Reconstructo,
I still can't get over the idea of the ineffability of squirrel wresting......:haha:
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 11:17 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168897 wrote:
I still can't get over the idea of the ineffability of squirrel wresting......:haha:


Ah, yes, but to speak of it is already to hang it up to dry. You had to "be" "there.":detective:

---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 12:24 AM ----------

jeeprs;168773 wrote:

Well, I would NEVER assume that this can be done, because the brain is never situated anywhere other than in a body, and the body is never situated anywhere other than in an environment.


This is great, and quite important. This is what all that "vulgar science" talk of yesteryear was about. Science deals with the abstract real rather than the concrete real. The concrete real in terms of a brain would be to look at that brain in all of its innumerable connections. One has to look in space at all its connections, to the body first of course, but then to the bodies connection to everything around it. But also to the growth of this individual brain thru time, the history of this particular brain. And then one must look at the history of the species, and not just its narrowly biological history, but the social reasons that determined the being of this brain, the journey of its DNA, as affected by everything, and this includes the evolution of human culture. And this is just start. To describe one thing exhaustively in all of its relationships is arguably to describe everything. Within sane limits, because the universe is a big place.
 
prothero
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 11:28 pm
@Reconstructo,
It seems like qualia is a term we apply to our subjective inner experience of sense perception. The question is what "qualia" what interiority, what inner experience do other actual entities (living and non living) have? For science only ever by its nature and its methods can reveal external objective properties, not internal subjective experience.
Materialism completely denies the "reality" of "inner experience" not only of humans but of all other actualities as well. It is ironic because qualia and science both require an observer who is having inner experience. Science is half the picture of a world and materialism would like you to believe the other half does not really "exist" even while its existence is confirmed just by reflecting on and experiencing the question. It is absurd really? IMHO:detective:
Qualia comfirms that experience is more than the material, more than the physical. That is the significance. Of course, I think therefore I am does the same, nature reflecting on itself.
 
Reconstructo
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 11:31 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168773 wrote:

A more pythagorean view: consciousness is not a property of matter at all, but a macroscopic tendency inherent in the fundamental characteristics of the cosmos such that life will tend to arise wherever the conditions are appropriate. These fundamental characteristics are experienced by us as the regularities of nature which give rise to our rational and mathematical ability.

I can't help but see both "consciousness" and "matter" as concepts, as abstractions, and both of them as nodes in the same network that I am reluctant to call conceptual precisely because this would be biased toward "consciousness."

I do think there is something like a nonsensual faculty of reason that gives us our mathematical intuitions/truths, even if the sensual activates or trains it.

But your view is a bolder, as it attempts to explain more.

---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 12:36 AM ----------

prothero;168900 wrote:
For science only ever by its nature and its methods can reveal external objective properties, not internal subjective experience.

This is a crux. The scientist must as all other humans do use his eyes to read the computer printout, or gaze thru the telescope. So the scientist too is immersed all the time in qualia. But I see science as a potent imposition of abstraction as a sort of second layer of reality. I would say that even primitive man was already a primitive scientist. He knew that rocks had a certain color and visual texture, and surely learned to associate this with hardness, etc. And causation if not intuitive is certainly learned quickly, even if confused with volition. Certain the primitive man learned at some point he couldn't fly, no matter what he paid his gods.

For me the hubris is in forgetting that abstractions are secondary to qualia. To treat abstractions as the fundamental reality is strange. I know we both appreciate science, but I (we) also appreciate philosophy and sanity. I think you'll agree on this. Smile
 
prothero
 
Reply Tue 25 May, 2010 11:41 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;168773 wrote:
A more pythagorean view: consciousness is not a property of matter at all, but a macroscopic tendency inherent in the fundamental characteristics of the cosmos such that life will tend to arise wherever the conditions are appropriate. These fundamental characteristics are experienced by us as the regularities of nature which give rise to our rational and mathematical ability..
Just a little shy of suggesting a comsic mind, spirit or consciousness. An inherent rational striving or purpose for certain general (complexity, life, mind, experience, novelty, creativity) but not specific ends (human beings). A notion that I generally agree with
but
The simpler starting point is to push the boundries of primitive properties of mind (perception and experience) or of inner experience (interiority) back in the chain of life and chain of existence. Where does mind and experience start and end in the universe? Certainly humans are not the only experiential and perceptive entities that have "qualia"? What is it like to be a bat? or a tiger? or anything for that matter?
 
 

 
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