Mind: flavors of monism/dualism | Page 2 | INFJ Forum

Mind: flavors of monism/dualism

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by charlatan, Jun 19, 2019.

Share This Page

Watchers:
This thread is being watched by 3 users.
More threads by charlatan
  1. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2017
    Threads:
    36
    Messages:
    6,689
    Featured Threads:
    25
    Likes Received:
    63,268
    Trophy Points:
    4,022
    Location:
    Geneva
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    548 spsx
    Hi charlie, I'm back from my trip to Paris.

    I agree, this was fun and I definitely see at this point how our viewpoints have much in common. We don't have any in-depth substantial disagreements, I don't think. And I would agree with the following, essentially:

    Now, since we also both agree that there strongly seems to be something like qualitative experience, maybe a next topic of discussion, more positive/constructive in its approach, could be: how do we conceive of qualia and how do we conceive of "consciousness"? And how do we conceive of the relationship between the former and the latter.
     
    Asa and charlatan like this.
  2. OP
    charlatan

    charlatan Permanent Fixture

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    918
    Featured Threads:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Trophy Points:
    682
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    Ne-ILE-H
    Enneagram:
    6 spsx
    @Ren, yeah my point was almost totally destructive so far :) the point being to lay a very serious challenge to the orthodox varieties of physicalism, so that we can move to the plethora of other views. The idea is to consider the absurd proposition that, when we are gaining knowledge of the physical world, we really could simply be discovering one other mathematical structure, and that our special attention to planes crashing, people dying, and so on, is an illusion... that there is just mathematics and mathematics alone.

    The basic idea being that to conceive of the physical as concrete, we seem to refer to qualia implicitly -- even if we can't attribute qualia to all (e.g. the subatomic), that there is some subset of the physical world we can experience seems essential to our conceiving of it as concrete.

    Just to note how epistemic and not ontological this argument is, I'm even open to the idea that the world may be perfectly concrete sans qualia /some analogue that it is replaced with-- merely that we wouldn't know about that concreteness.



    Now yes, the next step is to build a theory explaining the qualitative! I'm even open to the very idea being a flawed one, ironically what orthodox physicalists sometimes say. But, their solution is to just mathematize it away vs I think there's something about the idea of the qualitative that lets us tap into the concrete things in our world.
    I'm open to non-orthodox physicalist, neutral monist, and dualist solutions.

    As you probably have the more constructive thoughts of the two of us, why not you kick us off -- what are your theories? I'm gonna dump Ne intuitions :D the idea is to have fun, and remember I'm committing to having a much less solidly developed idea here than in the destructive phase

    One place my intuitions tend to point to is I wonder if a deeper understanding of time will be key to a deeper understanding of experience. There has often been this accusation following the Einstein relativity revolution of a mathematizing (often referred to as the 'spatialization') of time, completely stripping the idea that it is 'flowing' and viewing it as a sort of static coordinate among the 4 dimensions akin to the way you locate a house on a cross-street. This might be an instance where yes, there was a truth to there being a flaw in our 'common sense' description of time as flowing, yet perhaps the mathematized version is also simplifying what is going on. (Sidenote -- I know little continental stuff, but I get the sense the continental guys criticize this spatialization of time a lot, and some like Heidegger seem to view the time-flow as very important to experience.)

    One interesting thing there is that mathematically, the equations of physics are reversible at the fundamental level. The 'arrow' of time seems quite integral to our experiences. One thing I've toyed with is that maybe experience is sort of intrinsically spread out over time -- that the real illusion is the sense we have of there being discrete moments of it.
    There's also a way in which this plays with the idea of self-consciousness, in the sense that perhaps it simply doesn't make sense for a 'sense of self' to exist at a single moment/it must be spread out over time in a non-discrete way.
    It's worth noting this reversibility thing plays a role, because there is this idea (Popper talks about this once) that, without memory or something like it, it's hard to imagine self-awareness -- after all, if there's nothing about you to reflect back on, how to be self-aware? Yet this leads to a kind of unsolvable problem.... it seems like the first moment would always have to happen with no past sense of self to look back on....but this seems to dissolve a little if you don't view the moments as strictly ordered/see the arrow as more emergent, and if you don't commit to there ever being one discrete moment when consciousness begins....think of an open interval (a,b) rather than a closed one [a,b] ... so any moment in (a,b) has a past one, whereas t = a in [a,b] doesn't have a past one.

    (It's to be understood at this point, on the constructive front, I just have intuitions on directions to consider, not any complete hypothesis...partly because I think it's very early to feel complete.)
     
    #22 charlatan, Jul 4, 2019
    Last edited: Jul 4, 2019
    Asa and Ren like this.
  3. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2017
    Threads:
    36
    Messages:
    6,689
    Featured Threads:
    25
    Likes Received:
    63,268
    Trophy Points:
    4,022
    Location:
    Geneva
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    548 spsx
    Yay, we're entering into the constructive phase! :D I'll answer more fully tomorrow.
     
    Sandie33 and charlatan like this.
  4. OP
    charlatan

    charlatan Permanent Fixture

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    918
    Featured Threads:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Trophy Points:
    682
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    Ne-ILE-H
    Enneagram:
    6 spsx
    It might be the 6 in me, but I really enjoy the destructive part too haha
     
    Ren and Sandie33 like this.
  5. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2017
    Threads:
    36
    Messages:
    6,689
    Featured Threads:
    25
    Likes Received:
    63,268
    Trophy Points:
    4,022
    Location:
    Geneva
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    548 spsx
    I don't think that at this early stage, either of us is going to come forward with a full-fledged theory. I'll probably be doing quite a bit of 'dumping' too.

    Just as a preliminary, as you familiar with such things as phenomenology, perspectivism, nominalism, fictionalism, the state-of-affairs ontology of Wittgenstein, etc.? It mixes elements of continental and analytic traditions but I will probably end up having to make use of these different concepts as I try to lay out my constructive perspective on the question of qualia, consciousness, ontological commitments, and so on.
     
    charlatan, Sandie33 and Asa like this.
  6. JediNinjaGundam

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Threads:
    0
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    438
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    Infj
    I'm not as deep into those concept as some of you but if it's alright, I'd like to offer some of my thoughts on it.
    It seems to me that a distinction between things such as mind and body, god and the universe, doesn't really make sense when you get to the core of things. It seems to me that we use concepts to define things but outside those concepts there are just things. If you think of a car and imagine removing a piece of it at a time, you begin to see that the concept of car starts to break down. Does it need a steering wheel to be a car, tires, the outer shell? Windows?. How much can I remove until it's not a car anymore? And, if I sit inside the car, what is really the difference between me and the car? If you say that I can be removed from the car and that is the difference, every part of the car can be removed. If you say that the fact I have a mind is the difference, a car can have artificial intelligence.
    If the steering wheel could remove itself, wouldn't it still be apart of the car? If you see what I'm getting at, then you see the next question is, what's the difference between the car and the ground and so on. Once you see that, you can see that is your concepts that are getting in the way of the answer. Concepts create confusion because they try to mirror things that can't be mirrored
     
    charlatan and Ren like this.
  7. JediNinjaGundam

    Joined:
    May 14, 2019
    Threads:
    0
    Messages:
    8
    Likes Received:
    25
    Trophy Points:
    438
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    Infj
    The computer posted my reply before I finished and the site won't let me edit or delete it.
    I just wanted to add that concepts can't mirror things because they aren't the same as the things themselves. Things exist outside that which thinks about them.
    Also, feel free to correct me if you disagree. This is just my understanding of monism and dualism based on what I read.
     
    charlatan and Ren like this.
  8. OP
    charlatan

    charlatan Permanent Fixture

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    918
    Featured Threads:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Trophy Points:
    682
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    Ne-ILE-H
    Enneagram:
    6 spsx
    @Ren I've generally come across those terms; I might not have a super-deep idea of all of it, but I think we can just go into it as and when it comes up!

    For me, the main thing is developing a science of consciousness. I think the evidence about there being a clear link between physical events (neural events) and mental ones strongly suggests there should be a science of it.

    So the main thing for that is: what physical systems have consciousness associated to them? Even if one doesn't think consciousness is something like a physical property (e.g. mathematical properties aren't physical, they're merely higher level properties OF the physical -- but they're not intrinsically physical the way, say, electric charge is).
     
    Ren likes this.
  9. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2017
    Threads:
    36
    Messages:
    6,689
    Featured Threads:
    25
    Likes Received:
    63,268
    Trophy Points:
    4,022
    Location:
    Geneva
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    548 spsx
    Hi @JediNinjaGundam — what you are saying here is actually quite close to my personal ontological convictions. I think you are right that concepts are to an extent artificial and limiting and that it is not true that they 'perfectly reflect' reality. I would extend this to objects and so-called 'categories' in general. (PS: I am a monist and this is also what grounds my approach to fictionalism.) That being said, nothing prevents us in conversation from allowing such categories to come to our help, for the sake of clarification, explanation, justification, illustration, modelling, etc. The gist of the idea is that you can speak within a certain philosophical discourse without thereby being ontologically committed by the terms that you use as part of this discourse.

    Based on what you write, you come across as an anti-realist or at least a very cautious/timid realist. This would also be close enough to where my metaphysical convictions lie.
     
    charlatan likes this.
  10. OP
    charlatan

    charlatan Permanent Fixture

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2015
    Threads:
    1
    Messages:
    918
    Featured Threads:
    1
    Likes Received:
    1,702
    Trophy Points:
    682
    Gender:
    Male
    MBTI:
    Ne-ILE-H
    Enneagram:
    6 spsx
    I'm not too decided at the moment on realism/antirealism, but I tend to go by the fact that even anti-realists tend to agree that some ontological frameworks may be reasonably said to be more useful for some purpose, and I think this is the attitude they must adopt when it comes to, for instance, taking science seriously.

    That's to be born in mind for discussions about the metaphysics of mind -- that is, one may doubt whether there is a determinate answer as to whether 'quarks' and 'electrons' exist, but that doesn't tend to affect how we do scientific theorizing much. I'd guess the same is true of a 'science of consciousness'...
     
    Ren likes this.
  11. Ren

    Ren Pin's android and co-founder of Stoic Café

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2017
    Threads:
    36
    Messages:
    6,689
    Featured Threads:
    25
    Likes Received:
    63,268
    Trophy Points:
    4,022
    Location:
    Geneva
    MBTI:
    INFJ
    Enneagram:
    548 spsx
    Our approaches to consciousness start from very distinct philosophical regions, but hopefully we will be able to meet along the way. I'll still try to express my viewpoint in a way that facilitates dialogue.

    At the moment I'm very attracted to the idea of neutral monism with emergent/higher-order manifestations as e.g. physical and experiential. However, I tend to conceive of this neutral 'substrate' as completely immanent and primitively factualist. Do you remember when last year you mentioned the possibility of associating the neutral with « information » ? This is something close to my idea. But rather than information per se, I tend to take the neutral stuff as made up of primitive facts. A primitive fact would be what composes a state of affairs that either obtains or does not obtain in the world. If the state of affairs obtains in the world, I call it an event. (This also echoes Russell's early attempt at determining his neutral monism in terms of an ontology of events.)

    Now, it may be possible to conceive of the physical and the experiential, for example, as higher-order manifestations of the primitively factual. If something takes place, i.e. an event, it has a fundamental factual structure, which may be roughly captured in a proposition. But it never takes place just as itself – when the content of a state of affairs is actualized, it is both actualized as physical and as experiential. Where the perspectivism comes into play is that maybe, every entity that exists has its own way of relating to the physical and the experiential – its own 'perspective' on the physical and the experiential. And on this line of interpretation, the way in which the entity called human being relates to the physical and the experiential, is through what we call “consciousness”. However, consciousness here would only name human being's own manner of experiencing the world, which is only just "one" such manner.

    So the question becomes perhaps not so much: “how is consciousness possible?”, but rather: “what exactly is consciousness?” — that is, how can we describe the particular way in which human being experiences events as objects, qualia, and so on. But the event itself (as the actualization of the state of affairs) would be more primitive than the physical object or the qualia. The latter would be higher-order manifestations of the immanent event. An interesting challenge that I've been facing with this viewpoint in mind is providing an account of consciousness in terms of its emerging from “human neutral facts” in the specific way that it does – keeping in mind that both the physical and the experiential would still emerge, but differently (i.e. not in the consciousness way) in the case of “non-human neutral facts”. Any thoughts?

    This is pretty rough and not a completely accurate rendition of my view, but it will suffice as a sketch for now.
     
    charlatan likes this.
Loading...

Share This Page