Challenges for theories of consciousness

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Challenges for theories of consciousness

Victor A. F. Lamme

Quote:Significant progress has been made in the study of consciousness. Promising theories have been developed and a wealth of experimental data has been generated, both guiding us towards a better understanding of this complex phenomenon. However, new challenges have surfaced. Is visual consciousness about the seeing or the knowing that you see? Controversy about whether the conscious experience is better explained by theories that focus on phenomenal (P-consciousness) or cognitive aspects (A-consciousness) remains, and the debate seems to reach a stalemate. Can we ever resolve this? A further challenge is that many theories of consciousness seem to endorse high degrees of panpsychism—the notion that all beings or even lifeless objects have conscious experience. Should we accept this, or does it imply that these theories require further ingredients that would put a lower bound on beings or devices that have conscious experience? If so, what could these ‘missing ingredients’ be? These challenges are discussed, and potential solutions are offered.
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(2021-09-07, 01:58 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Challenges for theories of consciousness

Victor A. F. Lamme

It's not clear to me that there has really been any significant progress. It seems that the Hard Problem still reigns and these researchers are kidding themselves in favor of getting research grants.

And he says,

"A further challenge is that many theories of consciousness seem to endorse high degrees of panpsychism—the notion that all beings or even lifeless objects have conscious experience. Should we accept this, or does it imply that these theories require further ingredients that would put a lower bound on beings or devices that have conscious experience?"

This looks to me to be simply "kicking the can down the road" in the investigation of the problem of consciousness, since panpsychism still doesn't even attempt to define precisely what is the underlying nature of this "consciousness" that is supposed to be a property of all matter. It may approach solving some lesser problems, but not the primary one.   
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(2021-09-07, 03:27 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: It's not clear to me that there has really been any significant progress. It seems that the Hard Problem still reigns and these researchers are kidding themselves in favor of getting research grants.

Yeah it's an old article, I just thought the perspective was interesting.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2021-09-07, 07:31 PM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Yeah it's an old article, I just thought the perspective was interesting.

Do you think there has been significant progress, and if so what is it?
(2021-09-07, 10:39 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: Do you think there has been significant progress, and if so what is it?

Depends on what you mean?

Is there a reductionist explanation? - No, that can never happen.

Are there interesting advances in neuroscience and biology? Sure.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(2021-09-07, 01:58 AM)Sciborg_S_Patel Wrote: Challenges for theories of consciousness

Victor A. F. Lamme

This was a pretty satisfying read, thank you for posting. Seeing stuff like this makes me think of how if there was no scientific studies on stuff like NDEs or mediums I wouldn't take them seriously. We really do know so much (but also so little) about the brain that it'd be hard to believe any possibility of stuff existing outside it. 

I can't say I fully understood what was being said here, the neuro talk isn't something I'm 100% familiar with. I found the talking about unconscious reactions and the consciousness of plants and animals pretty interesting, I never knew it was taken so seriously in the literature. Even with all the paper you can still feel that kinda explanatory gap of how objective stuff creates subjective experience looming over it though.

I also found it interesting how panpsychism is a problem to be solved in their perspective. I wonder if that's a kind of look at the reactions against it on the other side of the fence, compared to people who embrace panpsychism as a result of their theories instead.
(2021-09-08, 07:26 AM)Smaw Wrote: This was a pretty satisfying read, thank you for posting. Seeing stuff like this makes me think of how if there was no scientific studies on stuff like NDEs or mediums I wouldn't take them seriously. We really do know so much (but also so little) about the brain that it'd be hard to believe any possibility of stuff existing outside it.

I don't get this perspective - the big problem of the senses bound to a single individual experiencing a Present Moment, one that has reason and whose thoughts hook into the world...all of that being an impossibility under physicalism makes me see the brain's inadequacy even without any NDEs or mediumship?

Of course without any paranormal evidence of Survival it would likely be harder to accept the idea of an immortal soul, but I don't see it as unfathomable given how there is such a gap between a brain as physical object and the conscious self.

In fact I think Survival would be an acceptable hypothesis in STEM departments if there was no "Science vs Religion" conflict in the West and people could just be open about how bizarre it is to have conscious entities at all.

Check out EJ Lowe’s There are No Easy Problems of Consciousness:

https://antimatters2.files.wordpress.com...-73-80.pdf

Quote:This paper challenges David Chalmers’ proposed division of the problems of conscious­ness into the ‘easy’ ones and the ‘hard’ one, the former allegedly being susceptible to explanation in terms of computational or neural mechanisms and the latter supposedly turning on the fact that experiential ‘qualia’ resist any sort of functional definition. Such a division, it is argued, rests upon a misrepresention of the nature of human cognition and experience and their intimate interrelationship, thereby neglecting a vitally impor­tant insight of Kant. From a Kantian perspective, our capacity for conceptual thought is so inextricably bound up with our capacity for phenomenal consciousness that it is an illusion to imagine that there are any ‘easy’ problems of consciousness, resolvable within the computational or neural paradigms.
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2021-09-08, 09:53 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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