Consciousness and the Cosmos

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Canute, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. Canute Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,923
    Fair enough. It is very hard to explain my point of view (in my hypothesis impossible!) on top of which I am not always clear, on top of which I don't think we're on the same wavelength, we use words in different ways (as everyone inevitably does).

    A little earlier I was thinking about our disgreement about dualism and realised that I had assumed that you ought to know what I meant by it, this being a philosophy thread and you propmoting a strong opinion. However I decided I was wrong to do this. As there are different meanings I decided I would try to explain better. I went to do a search on dualism to steal an explanation.

    By massive good fortune I stumbled across a writer's site who says many of the things I have been trying to say here but who says them much more clearly. This is the first writer I have found who sees it from a similar angle to myself. Everything I have found on his site I feel to be true, although I have a few quibbles about how he presents some points.

    Ironically he does not discuss dualism in the sense that I meant it (what I call epistemelogical dualism) but he explains it without mentioning it, if you see what I mean. He discusses Cartesian dualism very clearly.

    Please note that this is not my 'religion'. I'd never before even heard of the branch of Buddhist teaching he adopts. However all these branches differ little in their basic metaphysics. BTW the Buddhist terms are technical and not mystical, they're just a in a different language and rather ancient.

    Whatever you disagree or agree with on this writer's site is what you and I disagree about, since I agree with the writer entirely (although I'm not at all well up on all the Buddhist terminology).

    My arguments are quite different to his, in that I focus on epistemology as a way to show the illogic of our normal way of looking at things. This writer does not broach that topic.

    I think it's well worth some time. Maybe you won't agree with him, but you'll get a much better idea where my kind of argument is coming from than I can give you.

    http://home.btclick.com/scimah/

    I'll be interested in your opinion.

    Canute
     
  2. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  3. ProCop Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,258
    RE: Beercules

    Not by me. I have said it was a problem.

    (Seems to be more and more Plato and Aristotle on the rocks, but (mea culpa)):

    eg.:'numberness' must be 'contained'/specifiable in all numbers (by observing/checking on this quality you can tel if something is a number or not)

    should we have/specified the quality of 'substanceness' we would be able to specify/understand if TIME, CONSCIUOSNESS, EMPTY SPACE and similair concepts can be considered 'substances' (they exist (obviously) but are not measureable). (If the measurability is not fundamental for a 'substance' (see the example of numberness = comparability with other numbers is more important then the (specific) value/'size' of a number) then we would have an another picture of the universe..)
     
  4. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  5. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    Messages:
    9,845
  6. Google AdSense Guest Advertisement



    to hide all adverts.
  7. Canute Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,923
    Hi Wes

    Haven't read them all but had a quick look. In my opinion you're bang on track. (I've always thought you were, even although we argued about communication style). Buddhism awaits you , you'll be horrified to learn.

    When you say that consciousness has an extra degree of freedom I'm right with you. Calling it a dimension (as I also sometimes do) is confusing to some but a useful way of thinking about it. It is a degree of freedom beyond 3D extension, in fact beyond what we normally call existence.

    I call it 'nothing' but that is also confusing. I mean an 'in/out' dimension with only one co-ordinate, a vast array of points that is equivalently one co-ordinate. (Think BE condensates for a metaphor, or perhaps surface of a sphere, which has many of the right topological properties to represent this other dimension/degree of freedom).

    In fact there's nothing much you can say about this view of things that is not confusing. That's why Buddhists can never explain it in terms acceptable to a scientifically 'rational' person, by Buddhist definition a person lost in the intellectual plot.

    Try the url I posted above. I think you'll find it agrees with you and fills in many of the gaps.

    Happy to explore your ideas anytime. To me you seem to talking sense. (Shock horror!)

    Canute
     
  8. Beercules Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    342
    Ok, but you'll have to clarify what specific things you're talking about. In partcular, anything that relevant to why consciousness contrasts to physicalism in regards to the question of why anything exists. There is a lot of content on the site.

    But what dualism do you have in mind that makes physicalism dual, but not consciousness.

    If you lay out your arguments in some kind of a structure, we can at least know what we're arguing about. It would at least clarifiy what exactly is being argued if you put an point or two into a logical argument. IOW, start with a few premises and see what conclusion it leads to.
     
  9. Canute Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,923
    The relevance of the site to this question is that he argues carefully against materialism, dualism and epiphenominalism, the three principle conclusions entailed by physicalism.

    There isn't as much content as it looks because he cross references all his arguments to show how the relate to each other. I don't know which bit to recommend, they're all interdependent. He talks about little else than how consciousness-ism contrasts with physicalism. Perhaps try Cosmology.

    All perceptions, conceptions and rational epistemologies are dual in the sense that they are all dependent on notions of truth/falsity, this/not this, inside/outside, existence/non-existence me/not me etc. This is not some terrible human weakness, it's just a fact of existence.

    This is why existence is called 'epistemilogically dual' by philosophers.

    However it is very hard (impossible as far as we know) to find an explanation for existence that is dual (in this sense) and which can ever have an ending. There always seem to be questions left begging by any dual explanation (epiphenominalism, materialism, dualism, Christianity etc).

    Therefore it seems likely that the the world is ontologically monist. That is, the world arises from something that has no dual properties. 'Nothing' doesn't work because it is itself a dual concept (nothing/something). However subjective consciousness (in the form a non-dual experience) can exists and yet be non-dual. This is because in this non-dual subjective state it has no dual properties (neither internal subject/object or any external properties) . Therefore consciousness has the right properties to be capable of being fundamental to existence, and the right properties as an axiomatic 'first thing' on which to create a consistent explanation of it.

    I notice that the hypothesis of 'micro-phenomenalism' is starting to get some press in the consciousness journals. This is the idea that fundamental particles may be conscious. This is being forced on researchers by a complete inability so far to come up with a exlanation of consciousness within a physicalist paradigm that isn't illogical. I haven't read much on it yet but presumably quantum indeterminism is being blamed on freewill! About time in my opinion. It's an idea worth exploring.

    One premise would be that it is impossible to explain existence by physicalism unless one assumes that matter is eternal. This is a non-explanation but might be the case. However it doesn't help explain the micro-structure of matter right now in the present, which seems to reduce to nothing at all, and that isn't very logical. It is these problems that are leading people to consider micro-phenomenalism.
     
  10. Beercules Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    342
    I know he does, but how does it relate to the specific topic of why there is something rather than nothing, here?

    I have no idea what you are trying say here. But what else is new? If this is the crux of the argument, it is too muddled to make any sense.

    Are you suggesting that if we have a "concept" that is non dual, it somehow makes it more likely to relate anything fundemental in reality?

    What scientific journals? Cite please.

    I would suggest learning the theory to see what it actually reduces to, before making judgments about it. Quantum theory is just a theory of energy, not structure, not space, not time, not anything else. And you aren't likely to find many physicists would consider phenomenalism of any kind to be credible. Why is it that the people who actually study these things do not come to the same wild conclusions of new agers and spiritualists?
     
  11. Canute Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,923
    I'm sorry you don't see it. I don't know what else I can say. If materialism, dualism and epihenomenalism are logically incoherent and false, as is increasingly believed by philosophers, then there aren't a lot of other choices. Idealism is becoming popular because it can answer the basic questions.

    Here is the question as asked by Edward Barkin in the most recent edition of the Journal of Consciousness Studies. "Even if phenomena aren't absolute and concrete, why should a phenomenal universe exist instead of absolute nothing?" (He goes on to propose 'relative phenomenalism' as the answer, equivalent to the Buddhist view.

    Perhaps. I can't do much better here, and my site reference didn't seem to help. Try reading Chalmers, McGinn, Penrose, Quine, Velmans, Barkin, Kant, Sartre or similar. They all come at the same thing in different ways. What I am proposing is old news and increasingly scientifically acceptable, if not to say unavoidable.

    Barkin finishes his piece with this.

    "Modern Western thinkers have a hard time with creation ex mihilo because their tendency is to polarise 'existence'/being and 'non-existence'/nothingness into two fundamentally opposed ideas that cannot be rationally bridged. The logical problem, from the Buddhist perspective, is that absolute nothingness could never give rise to anything because its absolute inherent nature would prevent it from changing into something else. Buddhist philosophers would therefore say that this kind of nothingness cannot exist except as an illogical fantasy. Emptiness, on the other hand, can and does exist - and, in fact, is the key quality of reality that allows conventional phenomena to appear in the first place."

    I couldn't put it better than that.
    No. I'm saying that what is fundamental in reality is non-dual, and that that's why this topic has always seemed so confusing to materialists.

    All over the place in books by contemporary philosopers. The Journal of Conscious Studies is what I read mostly but increasingly such ideas are common. I heard them expressed many times by researchers in a C4 TV documentary of consciousness I watched just an hour ago. The scientific view is slowly being revised now that it has begun to study consciousness. (Bear in mind that the article which follows the one I quote above is titled "Qualia and the Ventral Prefrontal Cortical Function - the neurophenomenological hypothesis". It's not some idealist pamphlet.)

    You haven't been following the current debate. If you had been you would know that what you say here is not true. Don't lump all these ideas together with New Ageism and spiritualism. It's like lumping quantum physics and alchemy together.
     
  12. Beercules Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    342
    Idealism is becoming popular with who? You can't just claim it's popular without knowing actual names here. From what I've read, idealism is less popular now than it's ever been. Regardless of whether that is true, it is as silly now as it's ever been.

    Which is another non answer. Good work.

    No, you're making vague assertions with neither clarification or support. You don't see Penrose, Kant, or Satre supporting the silliness of idealism, so I don't know why you bring them up. If you're going to say "read this" you'll have to be a little more specific.

    I don't think the author is actually pretending that this actually answers the question.

    You know Canute, I think this topic has you confused most of all, otherwise you would be able to put your thoughts into a coherent argument. If you can't be bothered to put actual thought into your philosophy, I don't know what you expect from forums like this.

    You're going to have cite actual cases where scientists are supporting idealism, especially considering that you claim it's an idea getting press "all over the place". Specifics, please.

    No it isn't Canute, because you're doing the exact same thing New Agers do. You are misrepresenting the theory to support your argument. Funny how it's never actual physicists who come up with nonsensical conclusions. When you do that, it doesn't matter what your viewpoint is, New Age, idealism, theism, or any other silliness. It is intellectual dishonesty.
     
    Last edited: Sep 8, 2003
  13. Canute Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,923
    Beercules - You don't think honestly. Let's leave it.
     
  14. Beercules Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    342
    All right. You can try again when you decide to put some thought into the matter.
     
  15. Canute Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,923
    C'mon guy - right or wrong it's pretty obvious who has thought more on this topic. Wrong I may be, but ill-informed no.
     
  16. Beercules Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    342
    Yes, it's quite obvious.

    Please Register or Log in to view the hidden image!

     
  17. sir Mojo Loren axial anomaly Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    118
    The Fundamental Question




    The Fundamental Question

    ”At the very basement of our ongoing attempt to try to understand, we might as well dig into this astonishing and fundamental question in the theory of knowledge and philosophy, which is known as the "Fundamental Question".”

    This question is addressed as:

    "Why is there something (anything at all) instead of nothing"

    It might be formulated as well as:

    "Why is there a universe, a world, instead of nothing at all?”


    A simple Spinozistic answer to this question would be this:

    The question is a mis-application of mode-based concepts to the mode-less. Therefore the question is meaningless and absurd because it is misplaced.


    Now to very simply unpack this answer.

    Nothingness is a concept based in human experience with finite patterns of the infinite and continuous Substance. These patterns are called "modes". When I think of an object in my hand I call it "some-thing". I can also think of the absence of this object, which is called "no-thing or nothingness". When I examine this "nothingness" in my hand I will find that it is made of molecules of air coming and going into and out of this region where once there was an object. This is not the absence of anything whatsoever, i.e. it is not an absolute nothingness, thus it is still ultimately a "somethingness". I can take this object into outer space and do the same thing. On closer examination I will find that there are electromagnetic waves and many kinds of fields permeating this "nothingness" thereby rendering it again a "somethingness". Nowhere in nature have we seen anything remotely resembling an absolute nothingness and this concept simply applies to the absence of a specific "somethingness", a mode.

    The question "why is there something rather than nothing" is exclusively applicable to specific modes or patterns of substance and whether those specific patterns--or any perceptible patterns at all--are present or not. The question is not applicable to Substance itself because Substance is beyond the patterns or modes made from this substance. It is necessarily continuous and cannot be limited by anything lacking causality. In fact, Spinoza argues, Substance could only be limited by a Substance with similar properties (causal compatibility) and this is the same thing as the Substance itself so Substance is absolutely unlimitable and therefore infinite and continuous. There is no reason to assume that absolute nothingness is a physically meaningful concept. In fact it seems to be a direct contradiction in terms! The "fundamental question" is simply a misapplication of mode-specific properties to the mode-less (infinite and eternal) substance itself, i.e. The Universe.
     
  18. Canute Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,923
    Sir Mojo

    A clever man Spinoza and usually right imho. Thanks for the clear explanation. Do you agree with him?
     
  19. sir Mojo Loren axial anomaly Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    118
    Yes, Spinoza's arguments and logic are impeccable, IMHO. A perfect logical, metaphysical and causal foundation for the new physics.
     
  20. Canute Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,923
    What do you call 'the new physics'?
     
  21. sir Mojo Loren axial anomaly Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    118
    The New Physics

    A physics which models the fundamental continuum of causality from which all forms (objects, forces, fields, waves, etc.) arise. This is the unified field. Such a physics already exists in Sorce Theory. The mechanisms which unite all the forces are easily understood. All that is left to do is model the fluid in super-computers to arrive at the exact unified field equations.
     
  22. Canute Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    1,923
  23. sir Mojo Loren axial anomaly Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    118

Share This Page