I never understand why the 'other possible universes' idea is regarded as signifying anything intelligible at all. As an argument it is the death of philosophy. It means nothing whatever.
We know that certain chemicals alter perception in fairly reliable ways. How is this not at least a partial connection between the functional role of chemicals and the subjectivity of qualia?
Funnily enough, we have a word for things that can't be expressed, "ineffable".
I have a feeling that the only reason why that is dismissed is because most people have a misconception of scientific explanations. They seem to think that scientific explanations show why things that happen must happen. So, for qualia to be explained it must be explained why some bit of qualia feels that way instead of another way. But science never explains things like that. Science doesn't explain why and can never explain why things have to be the way they are. There is no explanation for why water has to boil at a certain temperature. We only explain things contingently, in the terms of something else. Water boils at a certain temperature because temperature is the internal kinetic motion of molecules and when there is enough motion certain phase changes can happen, etc, etc. Yet, when you get down to it, these are all things that just happen. Water could behave completely differently. Qualia could be completely different. But it's not and there cannot be an explanation for that.
There is no reason why a lump of meat should give rise to consciousness anymore than water should boil at a certain temperature. It's just a contingent fact of the universe we find ourselves in.
Though, we can point out that, in the universe without conscious experience, we couldn't even raise the question.
5.621 The world and life are one.
5.63 I am my world. (The microcosm.)
5.631 The thinking, presenting subject; there is no such thing.
If I wrote a book "The world as I found it", I should also have therein to report on my body and say which members obey my will and which do not, etc. This then would be a method of isolating the subject or rather of showing that in an important sense there is no subject: that is to say, of it alone in this book mention could not be made.
5.632 The subject does not belong to the world but it is a limit of the world
5.633 Where in the world is a metaphysical subject to be noted.
You say that this case is altogether like that of the eye and the field of sight. But you do not really see the eye.
And from nothing in the field of sight can it be concluded that it is seen from an eye.
5.6331 For the field of sight has not a form like this:
5.634 This is connected with the fact that no part of our experience is also a priori.
Everything we see could also be otherwise.
Everything we describe at all could also be otherwise.
There is no order of things a priori.
5.64 Here we see that solipsism strictly carried out coincides with pure realism. The I in solipsism shrinks to an extensionless point and there remains the reality co-ordinated with it.
5.641 There is therefore really a sense in which the philosophy we can talk of a non-psychological I.
The I occurs in philosophy through the fact that the "world is my world".
The philosophical I is not the man, not the human body or the human soul of which psychology treats, but the metaphysical subject, the limit-not a part of the world.
What does, "species independent objectivity" mean? What does "ultimate object" mean? How can anyone tell whether what you say is true or false unless he can tell what you mean? Third class!
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.
Furthermore, you might have been able to argue at some point in the past, that objects themselves were reducible to point-particles, known as atoms, which we the 'fundamental basis of reality'. However this is no longer tenable as no such ultimate particle has been found. At the quantum level, the so-called 'ultimate constituents of nature' are very ambiguous and not particularly material in nature.
And such a particle, invisible to our sense, is bound to be an abstraction. It's somewhat absurd to say in human language that a mere piece of this language is the ultimate reality.
How else would it be said?
Well, if I tell you that all is just "matter" or "energy" or "water," am I not implying that this very sentence is also made of "matter" or "energy" or "water"? And isn't this just as wild or more wild than the assertion of an invisible creator?
Does this not call for some investigation?
2. Yes, of course, it it were true that everything is matter, then the sentence, "everything is matter" would be matter. Now, that might be false, but what is "wild" about it? Materialists believe it is true. I don't see anything more outre' about it than I do more than any other metaphysical statement. Indeed, it seems to me more sensible than most I have seen on this forum.
Seriously, man. "Matter" is just one piece of our conceptual system. I put it in quotes to emphasize that it is an abstraction. Do you grant that much? So to say that all is matter is to say that all of our abstractions and all of our sensations and emotions are "made of" or "reduce to" just one of our abstractions -- even though this one abstraction only has meaning in the context of other abstractions, which were invented in the first place as a way to explain sensations. At least "god" was an impressive concept that acknowledge man's thinking. I think strict materialism is absurd, utterly absurd. But I understand the reductive temptation. The desire to unify is strong in us. For abstraction is unification. And it's natural to want a master-unity.
When a word is put into quote it means either that it is being used in a sense different from its ordinary sense, or, among philosophers, that it is the word that is being talked about, and not what the word refers to. This is what is called the use/mention distinction.
What is an abstraction? The word, "matter", or matter? You see the confusion between the mention of the word, "matter" and the use of the word, "matter"? I don't know what it is you are saying is an abstraction. If I say that "cat" contains three letters, then I am talking about the word, "cat". I am mentioning it . But if I say, that cat has whiskers, I am talking about a cat, an animal. I am using the word, "cat".
Use?mention distinction - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
I respect that, and it's a pretty good rule for the most part. But it's just a man-made minority ideal. In my mind, it's also an indicator of tone. When one wants to speak of a word with a greater than usual distance, one will sometimes even put the fingers up as if quotation signs.
But this is utterly secondary to the thread. If you want to get back to that, we can. I will for you try not to use the quotation marks so much.
It is not secondary if I don't know what you mean when you say that matter is an abstraction. Are you talking about the word, matter, or are you talking about matter? How can I comment when I don't know to what you are referring? Is the word "matter" an abstraction? Well to the extent that words are abstractions, it is, since it is a word. But, I am not at all clear how words are abstractions. If you mean that the word is not the thing it signifies, and that, is what it means to say that words are abstractions, then I cannot help but agree with you, since I certainly think that words and what they signify are different. But, if you mean the matter (not the word, but what the word, "matter" signifies) is an abstraction, then what you say seems to me to be clearly false. So, if you mean that the word "matter" is an abstraction because all words are abstractions, then sure, I agree. But that is pretty trivial. But if you mean that matter is an abstraction, then I don't agree. Matter is not a word.
Paco, despite knowing every single physical fact about Maria and his machine, still doesn't know what it is like to fall in love because he has never used his machine.
I assert that matter, what the word "matter" refers to, is an abstraction. The complicated thing is that this abstraction is a way of interpreting sensation. We point at the wall and say "that's matter" in most cases probably not aware that we are dealing with an abstraction. I suspect that scientists are aware of this, or hope so....
Fine. Then I, at least, know what you are saying. That's progress. But what does matter (the thing, not the word) abstract from? Before we are aware that matter is an abstraction, we ought to try to be clear what that means. And I really don't know what that means. For matter to be an abstraction, it has to abstract from something or other. From what does it abstract? The trouble is that I am not sure enough of what it means to say that something is an abstraction (or even sure that it means anything clear) to say whether or not matter is an abstraction. May be it is, as you say it is. But since I don't have any kind of firm hold on that idea, I cannot say.
"Oh, you can't get to heaven on roller skates, 'cause you fly right past those pearly gates"! Old black spiritual.
Abstractions are strange, and a central issue to philosophy. I have started more than one thread on the issue. Like I said, abstractions exist systematically. To understand matter, one has to understand all sorts of other concepts. And that's why it's absurd to call matter fundamental in a philosophical sense.
I really don't see why something cannot be fundamental, although it cannot be understood unless much else is understood.
But that really is no help in getting me to understand the notion of abstraction, and why you think that matter is an abstraction. I am as much in the dark about that as ever.
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.
Funnily enough, we have a word for things that can't be expressed, "ineffable".
I agree. And those are great questions. I was watching two squirrels chasing one another through the branches of trees, at high speed. What agility. My friend and I were contemplating what it would be like to move like that.
My question is what exists outside of "qualia," if anything? We know that when a human dies, we live on, still seeing reality. But reality is utterly for each of us individually associated with qualia, with "consciousness." And yet we talk so freely about the world independent of consciousness, and this is probably because we know other humans die, and we remain. But who has seen the world when not alive? The world survives them, but in what way will it survive us? What could the world be in the absence of qualia ("consciousness")?
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?
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.
Why not? There is an explanation for why water does not boil at a temperature of 112 C. isn't there?
I don't think there is an ideal word for what I'm pointing at, even though what I'm pointing at is simple, and always there for all of us. Why not "sensation"? Because it leaves out emotion. And because it's so general that it doesn't refer away from itself very effectively. I would like a word that covers all human experience excluding its conceptual aspect.