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An alternate look at Naturalism
(02-08-2018, 12:18 AM)Kamarling Wrote: So we come full circle. If it is all physical, you have to invoke physical causes for all the things we discuss here. Psi or the paranormal or anomalies or whatever term you prefer. Either you have to come up with a physical mechanism or deny they exist. That's the whole problem with materialism: you are limited by physical laws and the whole bottom-up approach. You also have to explain or deny subjective thoughts and feelings - which we now call qualia. It was a problem for Chalmers. It became a problem for Koch and others who are now finding philosophical refuge in panpsychism.
Why?
Why?
The option that will never lead anywhere is looking to philosophers to find the answers.
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(02-08-2018, 12:18 AM)Kamarling Wrote: Here's Galen Strawson discussing these issues. He's not an idealist - he calls himself a "real physicalist" but I'm not at all clear what he means by that.

Yes, mostly, he made a great deal of sense, but as to that for which he was advocating, I couldn't make sense of it either. The best I could make of it - which isn't all that much - is that he was saying that a "real" physicalist maintains that consciousness is physical but is not reducible. Hmm...
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  • Kamarling
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Kamarling Wrote:So we come full circle. If it is all physical, you have to invoke physical causes for all the things we discuss here. Psi or the paranormal or anomalies or whatever term you prefer. Either you have to come up with a physical mechanism or deny they exist.
Correct, although surely you're not setting a time limit on these discoveries.

Quote:That's the whole problem with materialism: you are limited by physical laws and the whole bottom-up approach.
And idealism is limited by ideal laws, whatever they might be. That is, unless you're happy with a giant poof! and no further explanation.

Quote:You also have to explain or deny subjective thoughts and feelings - which we now call qualia. It was a problem for Chalmers. It became a problem for Koch and others who are now finding philosophical refuge in panpsychism.
Yes, we have to explain those things. But so do idealists unless, again, it's just all-of-a-piece without needing any explanation. In which case, how can human consciousness differ from that of a rock?

Quote:Here's Galen Strawson discussing these issues. He's not an idealist - he calls himself a "real physicalist" but I'm not at all clear what he means by that. Nevertheless, he acknowledges the problems for physicalism that we talk about here.
I'm not sure why reducing consciousness to physical processes is denying consciousness, any more than reducing computation to current flow is denying computation.

I'm happy to consider the possibility that qualia are real fundamentals, just like electrons or gravity. But I'm dissatisifed if people insist that they are not reducible in any way, not even to some sort of fundamental "qualia bits." Of course, if in 1000 years we still haven't managed to reduce them, then my insistence will have been futile.

~~ Paul
If the existence of a thing is indistinguishable from its nonexistence, we say that thing does not exist. ---Yahzi
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  • stephenw
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(02-08-2018, 01:33 AM)Paul C. Anagnostopoulos Wrote: I'm not sure why reducing consciousness to physical processes is denying consciousness, any more than reducing computation to current flow is denying computation.

I'm happy to consider the possibility that qualia are real fundamentals, just like electrons or gravity. But I'm dissatisifed if people insist that they are not reducible in any way, not even to some sort of fundamental "qualia bits." Of course, if in 1000 years we still haven't managed to reduce them, then my insistence will have been futile.

~~ Paul
However, without specified knowledge of an encryption code, knowing the complete information of the current flow does not reveal the encoded message at all.  If we are dealing with photonics, the light flow can be encoded at multiple levels and need many decoding mechanisms.

Personal story - my eventual break with materialism happened in an uncomfortable moment, where early in my career I got corrected that bandwidth and channel capacity were not measures of electrical flow.  The equivocation of electron flow (brains) and communication/integration of mutual information (minds) is just apples and oranges as to how each is appropriately measured.

If physics can only tell you about the signal -  information science is required to parse the communication coding and the logical behavior that comes from agents understanding current circumstances.

Rocks don't understand and react to each other. (or they have been playing possum for a long time.)
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  • Valmar
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stephenw Wrote:However, without specified knowledge of an encryption code, knowing the complete information of the current flow does not reveal the encoded message at all.  If we are dealing with photonics, the light flow can be encoded at multiple levels and need many decoding mechanisms.
Well, this has to do with how you define reductionism. If I reduce computation to current flow, am I claiming that the entirety of the computation can be defined in terms of current flow, or only the physics of the computation?

Similarly, what am I saying when I can reduce sentences to words to phonemes? Am I claiming that the content of the sentence can be understood only by hearing the phonemes? Clearly not, since a person who does not know the language has no chance to understand the sentence even if the phonemes are played back in order. So am I misusing the term reduction here?

Check out the first sentence on this page:

https://books.google.com/books?id=bJFCAw...&q&f=false

~~ Paul
If the existence of a thing is indistinguishable from its nonexistence, we say that thing does not exist. ---Yahzi
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