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The Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales posted 05 July 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionThe Case of the Blind Brain and Other Strange Tales by TakLoufer, Candidate

[quote:2xcbz5wt]Quote:
Well, they are timeless in that they do not "age," nor do they change with "time" (which is an EO itself). They are, basically, "outside" our time and space coordinences (which are manifestations of EO themselves). Mountains rise and fall; the experience of "red" is eternal.


Interesting. I can see what your saying, but have to wonder if this is necessarily true. For instance, from a certain point of view red did not exist back when there were only primative lifeforms on the earth. It was only until animals with eyes developed that red actuallly appeared (and perhaps not even then as quite a lot do no see colours the way we do).

Red is just a part of our developed ability to see light in different phases. You have to wonder though if we had developed differently wether we would see something else (quite possible as there a people who are colourblind who already do this).[/quote:2xcbz5wt]

True, red did not, at one point, "really" exist, in that it was not an "actual entity". But in that it is a potentiality, it is eternal. If all conscious entities were to suddenly perish, the experience of seeing red would exist only as a potential. Something that "can" exist, though for its existence to be actual, it must be manifested along with other EOs.

Look at math, for example. If no one knew any mathematics, the quadratic equation would still exist, even though no one knew what it was and it wasn't written down anywhere. It would exist as a potential in a Platonic Realm with colors, sounds, etc, "waiting" to be manifested in some form. In this way, these EO are "outside" reality.

Whether the experience of red is eternal or not though does not matter all that much in the end. As I said it is just a function of light and our ability to see it, and as such is interconnected. I think it would be a mistake to focus on things such as this whilst not looking for the very thing that gives us the ability to perceive red in the first place.

The same thing can also be said of time. It is just a function of the what you could call the movement of the universe. It is not really something that stands "outside". Again, it would be much to look at what it is that moves the universe and not the byproducts of it.


Well, I'm getting ahead of myself now. I'm still learning about Whitehead's philosophy myself, and, while I can "mostly" understand his view, or at least the general idea, I don't understand it well enough to explain it to someone else - not yet, anyway. But here are some links to some pages that, perhaps, explain it in a more clear fashion. Check these out and tell me what you think.

[url:2xcbz5wt]http://web.ionsys.com/~remedy/Whitehead's%20Process%20Philosophy.htm[/url:2xcbz5wt]

[url:2xcbz5wt]http://grad.cgu.edu/~combsc/glossary.html[/url:2xcbz5wt]

[url:2xcbz5wt]http://www3.sympatico.ca/rlubbock/ANW.html[/url:2xcbz5wt]

[url:2xcbz5wt]http://www.alfred.north.whitehead.com/AAPT/discussion_papers/birch_01.htm[/url:2xcbz5wt]

As to colors existing only in our minds (and not necessarily being the same in different minds - ex. colorblind people), I agree, but it is these very "occasions of experience" that is what reality is composed of. When it comes down to it, all actual entities, from atoms to aircraft carriers, posses, or, to use a Whiteheadian term, prehend certain eternal objects. In a primitive sense, the basic objects "experience" their "mass," "volume," etc. Colors and sounds can only be experience by Compound Individuals, which includes animals and people. All of the "occasions of experience" (neurons) are unified as one, either through Penrose & Hameroff's Orchestrated Objective reduction process or "something" (probably quantum in nature). Colors are eternal objects that can be experienced by these Compound Individuals. The cause of these colors is, I suppose, an emergence of experiences from the unified occasions. The colors are manifested; though I guess they can be said to be reducible, but not in the way materialist use the term (in which experience is excluded/explained away). I suppose one way of saying it is that the colors and sounds are "built" from more primitive experiences, which would mean that "red" is an EO, though it could be broken down into "smaller" EOs, mush the same way a piece of music can be broken down into pure tones. Hmm, I'm not sure about this. I'll have to read up on this.

[quote:2xcbz5wt]Quote:
It sounds like dualism to me. Presuming the "It" isn't the material world itself, then the "It" would have to be an outside agency that interacts with the physical to "create" the mental world.



No it's not dualism. I know it can seem that way though as on one hand you have this "force" and then it seems on another you also have this energy that it interacts with. It is something i used to struggle alot with, but it can be resolved.

You might want to check out 'Zen and the art of motocycle maintenace' by Robert M, Prisig (can find it online in a lot of places). He had some interesting ideas on this, and whilst I don't think he truely grasped it, from an intellectual point of view he certainly came up with one of the better theorys.[/quote:2xcbz5wt]

I'll check it out, though it sort of sounds like "Triasm," or a three sided ontology. You have the physical world, the mental world, and a "go between" force that works to generate the mental world from the physical.

In any case, Mr. Bakker is right when he says that we just don't know. However, I feel safe in saying that experience is, in some form, fundamental to reality. It certainly isn't some curious after-effect that pops up ex nihilo - and if it is, then reality is dualistic in that a outside agency is required to attach the experience. Consciousness and volition are not something that can be explained away - something is missing from the materialist metaphysic.

Though I feel we can be reasonably certain about the "frame" of reality, I doubt we are capable to understanding all of the details. Whitehead’s view of reality, which is very complex, may be the closest we can get.

-Tak

Postscript: This is why I am interested in parapsychology, because reason and logic are all well and good, but to actually have hard evidence of mental causation (and perhaps backwards causation) is something else. The ganzfeld just creeps the hell out of me and I get the impression skeptics like Ray Hyman are the same way - they don't want to accept the data, because it would undermine their world view. I spent weeks looking for a "sensible" explanation to the ganzfeld, and all came up lacking. Every one of the explanations given by skeptics has been shown to be inadequate. Fraud and error have been ruled out, poor randomization has been shown to be not an issue, sensory leakage has been ruled out, and Wiseman and Milton's 30 experiement study (which showed only chance effects) was shown to include studies that were nonstandard and were done primarly to show the characteristics and limitations of the psi effect rather than merely show it exists (for example: one of the test used music instead of images or movies - it had a effect only consistent with chance), these pulled down the average and Milton and Wiseman neglected to mention this. The ganzfeld, as far as I can see, is a real effect.

This opens the door to other phenomena, such as PK or "survival science" - I don't know if they are real, but the evidence is hard to explain away due to the "usual suspects" (fraud, incompetence). Griffin's Parapsychology, Philosophy, and Spirituality: A Postmodern Exploration and Stephen Braude's Immortal Remains and The Limits of Influence are good eye openers on the subject.

Here is some links on the Milton & Wiseman controversy.

[url:2xcbz5wt]http://www.skepticalinvestigations.org/whoswho/ganzfeld.htm[/url:2xcbz5wt]

[url:2xcbz5wt]http://comp9.psych.cornell.edu/dbem/Updating_Ganzfeld.pdf[/url:2xcbz5wt] view post


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