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Science disenchanting the world. posted 14 November 2004 in Philosophy DiscussionScience disenchanting the world. by TakLoufer, Candidate

I apologize for the lateness of this reply, but class work and other concerns consume much of my time.

Quote: "Aesmael":1mcmd58o
First a couple of questions for Takloufer

1) Can you explain what you mean when you say qualia? Will check dictionaries anyway, but still would like to see your words. Who knows, perhaps they will be more edifying than those of the professionals[/quote:1mcmd58o]

Qualia are the "experience of seeing red", the "smell of a rose", the "sensation of pain," etc. It is the "something it is like" about experience.

I would also argue that intention is a form of qualia. When you think of your grandmother, there is a "something it is like" about this (and I am not referring to the visual image in your mind) that cannot be reduced to brain states.

2) Are you Ratofluke?

Yes, I am. How did you find out?

3) I would appreciate if you could explain or direct me to an explanation ('proof') of the inability of scientific thought to solve the problems you are concerned with

It's like I said in my thought experiment in a previous post. A group of scientist examining a brain can observe its processes to the minutest detail, down to the transfer of individual neurotransmitters, and they still wouldn't have the slightest clue as to what the brain is experiencing. If the brain is dreaming of a castle, the scientists will never be able to discern this through observations of the brain.

While there are certainly correlations between brain states and mental states, one does not logically entail the other, much the same way 10 + 13 doesn't logically entail the color "blue," but it does logically entail the number 23.

As far as materialism is concerned, the mental state's correlations to the brain is "just so."

The reason observations (which are the foundation of science) cannot explain experience is because experience is not something that can be observed, but rather experience is the observing.

This is why I say materialism (as defined by [1]) will always fail when trying to accommodate experience. If the metaphysic behind the observations are devoid of intrinsic experience, then it doesn't matter what combination or structures the material forms: experience does not logically entail. You can't generate a POV from the interactions of vacuous (insentient, or non-experiencing) substance, and if a POV does exist within such interactions, the POV must come from outside the system.

I hope this clears things up. If not, please re-read my previous posts.

Ah, it seems I can only think of something to say in response to your posts when I am not actually looking at them.

I wonder if quantum physics has something to do with this . . . <!-- s;) --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- s;) -->

If I understand correctly you are saying the unit of reality is the experience?
It seems to me that there is then still no need to postulate things such as electrons as being experiencers, since the model of an electron is no longer required to explain what is observed

Well, now we're getting into subjective idealism. Because if we allow that the objects in our experience are merely "ideas" in some sort of "metamind", and they really don't do anything in and of themselves, then reality is just a very coherent dream that, for whatever reason, seems to have correlative causal powers with mental phenomena. The fact that a lobotomy hinders the mind would be nothing but a consistent rule and any causal power the brain has over the mind would be completely contingent on the program of a metamind; the brain itself would be only another idea.

In other words: the link between the brain and mind would be arbitrary, a factor determined by psychophysical laws (which are in turn merely ideas in a meta-mind).

This may very well be the case, but, as Scott rightly pointed out in a previous thread, this suffers from an "unexplained explainer." The "metamind" that is required to keep everything organized is the logical equivalent of God, and is left unexplained. True, all metaphysics have a presupposed foundation assumed, but subjective idealism is downright unparsimonious in that it pushes the essential questions into a metamind, and leaves us wondering why reality should be so consistent when it certainly doesn't have to be.

Whitehead and Griffin's panexperientalism overcomes this by cutting the unexplained explainer "down to size". There doesn't have to be a pre-existing mind to "dream up" the world, but rather just primal awareness ("prehension" in Whiteheadian terms) that, through a "compounding" process (which is a natural law), can be magnified into, eventually, a conscious mind.

Don't get me wrong, I think subjective idealism is coherent; but if it comes down between (Subjective) Idealism and Panpsychism, I'd say Panpsychism wins through better explanatory value and the use of Occam's Razor - subjective idealism requires a pre-existing (and unexplained) "metamind" to keep things organized, where as panpsychism has no such requirement. Also, panpsychism naturalizes experience, and allows for our observations to serve a purpose other than window dressing, which is what they would be in idealism (they would be the "dreams" of a pre-existing mind.)

Ah, one thing I do feel fairly confident about commenting. I do not believe Scott was referring to Bush (at least not directly) in that remark, but rather to the environmental impact of homo sapiens sapiens. It is thought that there is an unusually high rate of extinction in recent years (definately including before the guy became president, though he has certainly never to my knowledge been praised for doing anything about it, and perhaps condemned for not). It is often described as the largest extinction event since said K/T event.

I also suspect that you are underestimating the capacity of nuclear weapons for causing global devastation (not necessarily to the surface of Earth itself, but rather through secondary effects). But I could be wrong.

I concede that this may be the case.


[1] Materialism, defined as "the two-fold doctrine that the ultimate units of the world are entities or events that are devoid of both experience and spontaneity, and that nothing exists but such units, interactions among them, and aggregates of them." (Griffin) view post


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