Scientism

Sephira

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The current mode of trying to explain the mind/body problem using a model that is woefully inadequate is quite perplexing. Then you get trite answers like 'but science will eventually provide us with the truth' which seem to show a complete ignorance to the problem at hand. The problem is that scientific materialism cannot, in its current form, ever solve the hard problem of consciousness without a paradigm shift...

This about sums it up for me. Reductionist Materialism seems to not have the view or tools to be able to tackle consciousness. It's great to see a lot of scientists looking at the idea that consciousness is the pre-requisite for matter as this opens up a whole new set of questions and possibilities.

Slightly off topic but the "brain manifest consciousness" angle can be pretty damaging in a lot of ways - one big one being mental health conditions. The following video is a moving and thought proving look at this subject and well wroth a look (can be seen free for the next couple of days I think: https://crazywisefilm.com/
 

Torsion Jim

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This about sums it up for me. Reductionist Materialism seems to not have the view or tools to be able to tackle consciousness. It's great to see a lot of scientists looking at the idea that consciousness is the pre-requisite for matter as this opens up a whole new set of questions and possibilities.

Slightly off topic but the "brain manifest consciousness" angle can be pretty damaging in a lot of ways - one big one being mental health conditions. The following video is a moving and thought proving look at this subject and well wroth a look (can be seen free for the next couple of days I think: https://crazywisefilm.com/


im not sure how latent it is but im seriously down with panpsychism. It solves so many problems.


See my recent post of an article about how to interpret the psychedelic experience via the philosophy of Alfred Whitehead (a type of panpsychism)

https://psymusic.co.uk


although tbf Freud does suggest a system similar, yet unrelated to the psychedelic experience
 
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Sephira

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Yes! Panpsychism is definitely a box I could put myself in - it's like an updated form of Animism. This is something I am always coming back to in my work like (teacher). I hear so many students talk about Religion in a comedic and distasteful tone (which I can understand) and then conclude that Athiesm is the only alternative and that it is what science says is the case.... I have to intervene and such points and explain there are other paradigms in the area of conversation and it is not a two horse race. This does lead to some very enjoyable conversations (:
 

psyfi

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Interesting article here which raises a good question for me. That being if conscious was the fundamental underpinning feature of the universe 'and the sub atomic particles it's made from' why would many conscious particles form a larger consciousness? My bias is to believe we are all small vessels experiencing the universe to give it/us self knowledge but I don't see the mechanics of this in play.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/09/panpsychism-is-wrong/500774/
 

Torsion Jim

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Interesting article here which raises a good question for me. That being if conscious was the fundamental underpinning feature of the universe 'and the sub atomic particles it's made from' why would many conscious particles form a larger consciousness? My bias is to believe we are all small vessels experiencing the universe to give it/us self knowledge but I don't see the mechanics of this in play.

https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2016/09/panpsychism-is-wrong/500774/


the combination problem is a problem. But no way as insurmountable as the hard problem.

This article fails to explain which form of panpsychism it is negating. There are myriad forms. Almost no form of panpsychism claims that sub-atomic particles are conscious. So a sentence such as 'I assume that we and many other animals are conscious subjects, and panpsychists claim that subatomic particles are too' is straw man at best.

I get that Frankish doesnt agree with the thesis, thats his right to. Presenting his case in such a general and facile manner shouldnt be much to bear in mind. A better refutation of panpsychism can be found by Thomas Nagel. At least he tries to present an actual case.
 
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Torsion Jim

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I think the whole way of ruminating on the subject should be geared towards which system creates the least amount of paradoxes within its thinking. The prominent cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett is a staunch scientific materialist, and the only way he can entertain the paradox which his dogma throws up is by suggesting that consciousness is an illusion! Its gotten that bad.

The next best thing that scientific materialism can entertain is to suggest that consciousness is an emergent phenomenon of the interactions within the chemicals of a central nervous system. Or in other words, its a miracle that comes into being via supernatural (its supernatural due to the hard problem of conscious, which is an extension of the mind/body problem in a way) means. Yet the whole point of the enlightenment was to do away with this sort of explanation. Not to even touch on the idea that slime moulds (single celled organisms) and plants have been shown to display a form of sentience (remember that sentience is a lower form of consciousness - difference in degree, not kind). The fact that a single celled organism can exhibit sentience is a huge piece of evidence in panpsychisms favour. There are many more, but time is short.


So i would put forward the idea that it is more illogical to believe the current, prevalent scientific view on how consciousness occurs, due to its reliance on miracles or smoke and mirrors to try to dig itself out of a hole.

Panpsychism has none of these problems because the propensity towards sentience is inherent within matter to begin with. It superficially sounds crazy, especially if you come out with phrases such as 'atoms are conscious', but it doesnt have to be that way if you allow for the propensity towards a form of mind, as stated earlier. This is not to say that it is not without its own set of problems. FOr example it does little to suggest how sentience is inherent in the first place. But thats because its all a work in progress, as so should scientific thought be. The problem, as this thread is about, is dogmatically clinging to certain, established, ways of thinking despite the paradoxes that they throw up.<--- That there is scientism.
 

Sephira

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"Give us one miracle and we will explain the rest" ...

I always loved this guy for a good stab at Scientism.


.. I don't really see a problem with a small consciousness being part of a bigger consciousness. It's like a small electro-magnetic field being part of a bigger one no?
 

Torsion Jim

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im not really aware of Sheldrake, other than having heard of his name.
 

Frank E

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Squagnut

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I don't really see a problem with a small consciousness being part of a bigger consciousness. It's like a small electro-magnetic field being part of a bigger one no?

No. Without wishing to be all scientistic about it, there are four forces that we know of at play in the universe: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism and gravity. Consciousness is a function of brains, a bit like digestion is a function of the stomach. You may have had a load of experiences that tell you otherwise, but the plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
 

psyfi

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No. Without wishing to be all scientistic about it, there are four forces that we know of at play in the universe: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism and gravity. Consciousness is a function of brains, a bit like digestion is a function of the stomach. You may have had a load of experiences that tell you otherwise, but the plural of "anecdote" is not "data".
What consciousness is is still very much up for debate I believe.
 

Torsion Jim

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No. Without wishing to be all scientistic about it, there are four forces that we know of at play in the universe: the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, electromagnetism and gravity. Consciousness is a function of brains, a bit like digestion is a function of the stomach. You may have had a load of experiences that tell you otherwise, but the plural of "anecdote" is not "data".


I think what you mean to say is that people really hope that consciousness is a function of brains. They have a conclusion now they try hard to make the instances fit.


Would you allow for something such as the vertices of sentience? Slime moulds display sentience, so do plants.

If our brain streamed consciousness for purpose (like Huxley's reducing valve a la Henri Bergson) then what would the results (images) look like in a brain scan? I would suggest that they would look like the brain scans we see today. So what then for that 'anecdote/data' assertion?
 
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Squagnut

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My point is more that I'm sceptical about there being a "consciousness field" that is somehow comparable to an electromagnetic field. I could be wrong about that, but if anybody has some good evidence, I'd like to hear about it. I don't much want to get drawn into explaining what I think consciousness is, as I don't claim any expertise in that area, but I'm more confident about what consciousness is not.
 

Torsion Jim

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Do you at least think that consciousness exists? Or do you come down more on the Dennett side of denying its existence?
 

Squagnut

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Do you at least think that consciousness exists? Or do you come down more on the Dennett side of denying its existence?
I think consciousness is a function rather than a thing. I'm not aware of anything that suggests consciousness can function outside of a brain, a bit like the way that, e.g., momentum cannot exist in isolation (this analogy is not perfect, but I hope it helps explain what I think).
 

Torsion Jim

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I think consciousness is a function rather than a thing. I'm not aware of anything that suggests consciousness can function outside of a brain, a bit like the way that, e.g., momentum cannot exist in isolation (this analogy is not perfect, but I hope it helps explain what I think).


Do you mean by 'momentum (consciousness) cannot exist in isolation' that consciousness must be developed in relation to other consciousnesses? By that i mean consciousness (as you see it) cannot be exhibited by an organism that lives a solitary life , only by a social one? Or, perhaps, in some sort of predator/prey 'arms' race?

[Obviously this all still the begs the question of how the subjective extracts itself from the objective, which is the main issue with the 'scientific materialistic' assumption].

Personally, i can definitely see how consciousness can be developed (once the apparatus is there) to the extents of a human version of it - some sort of self-reflexive system where-by the prediction of another organisms choices, thoughts, habits and what-not, can put the initiated at a competitive advantage - but im still very interested in the (as suggested above) hierarchy of sentience. There is most definitively some sort of 'mammalian-centric' culture surrounding this area. Yet invertebrates do chip in with some seriously advanced versions of sentience, but not with the standard mammalian structures. For example, octopuses have a brain for each arm, and have been confidently described as the 'closest thing to an alien intelligence that we current humans will ever encounter' (Other Minds by Peter Godfrey-Smith. Not a panpsychist, i might add). They do all of this by living a solitary existence. Another way of allowing for the octopus is by suggesting that it has the apparatus capable of intensifying the experience of consciousness.

Im iffy with the idea that sentience is a force in the physical sense, but it can be described by comparing it to a force, whilst all ways allowing for the idea that it is ( and it very much is) something yet undiscovered.
 
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Squagnut

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Do you mean by 'momentum (consciousness) cannot exist in isolation' that consciousness must be developed in relation to other consciousnesses? By that i mean consciousness (as you see it) cannot be exhibited by an organism that lives a solitary life , only by a social one? Or, perhaps, in some sort of predator/prey 'arms' race?

No, I mean that consciousness exists as a property of a brain, not as an entity in itself, just as momentum exists as a property of a moving object, not as an entity in itself. Consciousness existing in relation to other consciousnesses is a moot point. No conscious organism lives an entirely solitary life, since conscious organisms (and their brains) don't pop into existence by themselves.
 

Torsion Jim

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[QUOTE="Squagnut, post: 1381016, member: 3748"Consciousness existing in relation to other consciousnesses is a moot point. No conscious organism lives an entirely solitary life, since conscious organisms (and their brains) don't pop into existence by themselves.[/QUOTE]


Would you not describe an octopus as living a solitary life!? Or are you being pedantic?

Obviously nothing lives an entirely solitary life, as they must reproduce at some point, but there are social organisms and there are solitary organisms. This is far beyond moot. An octopus is a good example of a highly intelligent solitary organism.

What sort of brain would qualify as being acceptable for consciousness for your function hypothesis to fit, or are we drawing arbitrary lines to fit existing dogmas?
 
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Squagnut

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Can I please rewind? All I was trying to say is that there is no evidence to suggest consciousness is a field effect in the way that electromagnetism is. The whole topic of consciousness and sentience is fascinating and worth looking into, but it isn't my thing.
 
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