The Conscious Universe

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The Conscious Universe

Joe Zadeh


Quote:The radical idea that everything has elements of consciousness is reemerging and breathing new life into a cold and mechanical cosmos.



Quote:Recent research into slime mold — a single-celled eukaryotic organism that has no brain, no nervous system and looks like a yellow puddle — found that it makes decisions, perceives its surroundings and can choose the most nutritious food from numerous options. As an experiment, researchers arranged oat flakes in the geographical pattern of cities around Tokyo, and the slime mold constructed nutrient channeling tubes that closely mimicked the painstakingly planned metropolitan railway system. At Columbia University, the biologist Martin Picard has discovered that mitochondria, the organelles found in the cells of almost every complex organism, “communicate with each other and with the cell nucleus, exhibit group formation and interdependence, synchronize their behaviors and functionally specialize to accomplish specific functions within the organism.” Nobody is concluding that mitochondria are conscious, but if an animal the size of a dog acted like this, would we intuitively ascribe to it some basic level of consciousness?



Quote:Tononi’s scientific research aligned with what some philosophers of consciousness believe about panpsychism: “It says consciousness is graded and much more widely distributed,” Koch said. “Giulio tried to downplay that at first because he felt people would then reject it out of hand, but I kept on pushing.” In 2015, they published a paper together titled “Consciousness: Here, There and Everywhere?” in which they stated that while IIT was not developed with panpsychism in mind, it did seem to share its central intuitions.



Quote:...Particles no longer seem to be the fixed and knowable objects they once were, and different particle physicists will give you different answers to the question, “What is a particle?” Perhaps it is a quantum excitation of a field, vibrating strings or simply what we measure in detectors. “We say they are ‘fundamental,’” Xiao-Gang Wen, a theoretical physicist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Quanta Magazine. “But that’s just a [way to say] to students, ‘Don’t ask! I don’t know the answer. It’s fundamental; don’t ask anymore.’”
'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


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Is Consciousness Everywhere

Christof Koch


Quote:Charles Darwin, in an 1881 book on earthworms, wanted “to learn how far the worms acted consciously and how much mental power they displayed.” Studying their feeding behaviors, Darwin concluded that there was no absolute threshold between complex and simple animals that assigned higher mental powers to one but not to the other. No one has discovered a Rubicon that separates sentient from nonsentient creatures.



Quote:Does experience even require a nervous system? We don’t know...
'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


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Unfortunately, panpsychism doesn't go very far at all past a sort of materialistic mysterianism, where the essential core nature of consciousness remains a mystery, but it is indissolvably linked to materiality, to matter. Leaving any form of psi and esp, and afterlife of a human spirit as a mobile immaterial center of consciousness, (as with reductionist materialism) still impossible and a fantasy. It seems to me, not much progress, but I suppose as much as could be expected given our society.
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  • Sciborg_S_Patel
(2022-08-15, 04:43 PM)nbtruthman Wrote: Unfortunately, panpsychism doesn't go very far at all past a sort of materialistic mysterianism, where the essential core nature of consciousness remains a mystery, but it is indissolvably linked to materiality, to matter. Leaving any form of psi and esp, and afterlife of a human spirit as a mobile immaterial center of consciousness, (as with reductionist materialism) still impossible and a fantasy. It seems to me, not much progress, but I suppose as much as could be expected given our society.

I think the last paper by Koch and other IIT associates goes farther, explicitly claiming that mental causation trumps physical causation. It's not quite Psi but they do argue for genuine agent autonomy against the idea of physical closure which gets us a bit closer.

Things are moving faster than I'd have expected just a decade ago, but it will probably be awhile yet before academia is fully ready to accept Psi let along take post-mortem Survival seriously.
'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: 2022-08-15, 05:04 PM by Sciborg_S_Patel. Edited 1 time in total.)
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