Sunday, July 20, 2014

Consciousness Contradiction Hunting Part 2

I ate. I now challenge Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to a duel. I hope they win, and I bet on them to reinforce and incentivize that hope. (Part 1.)

"Mental states are characterised by two main properties, subjectivity, otherwise known as privileged access, and intentionality. Physical objects and their properties are sometimes observable and sometimes not, but any physical object is equally accessible, in principle, to anyone. From the right location, we could all see the tree in the quad, and, though none of us can observe an electron directly, everyone is equally capable of detecting it in the same ways using instruments. But the possessor of mental states has a privileged access to them that no-one else can share. That is why there is a sceptical ‘problem of other minds’, but no corresponding ‘problem of my own mind’."
I contend that the queerness of my conclusions is not the result of my premises or methods. These are the mainest of mainstream. Rather, the queerness is that my views should not already be common.

"Whether one believes that the mind is a substance or just a bundle of properties, the same challenge arises, which is to explain the nature of the unity of the immaterial mind."
Whether one believes an electron is made of a substance, energy, or is just a bundle of properties - mass, electric charge, spin, and so on - the same challenge arises, which is to explain the nature of the unity of the material electron.

To be fair this is a real problem. However, it's also an empirical fact which can be stated axiomatically by the philosopher.

Incidentally, the solution is probably inherent in the subjective nature of consciousness. Assuming two thoughts are disparate, they are inaccessible to each other. For one subject to access two thoughts probably requires they actually be the same thought. Indeed the subject is likely composed entirely of that thought due to the [homonculus fallacy] issue. I haven't fully analyzed the homonculus yet.

"First, in so far as this ‘ectoplasm’ has any characterisation as a ‘stuff’—that is, a structure of its own over and above the explicitly mental properties that it sustains—it leaves it as much a mystery why this kind of stuff should support consciousness as it is why ordinary matter should."
First, in so far as this 'energy' has any characterization as a 'stuff' -- that is, a structure of its own over and above the explicitly physical properties that it sustains -- it leaves it as much mystery why this kind of stuff should support physical existence as it is why consciousness should.

Is the pattern clear?

"Second, and connectedly, it is not clear in what sense such stuff is immaterial, except in the sense that it cannot be integrated into the normal scientific account of the physical world. Why is it not just an aberrant kind of physical stuff?"
Not connectedly.

The reason is subjectivity has the wrong kind of epistemic properties to be physical, and the epistemic impinges on the ontologic. Namely, for subjectivity, map is territory. To suppose the territory is different is to suppose the map is different, because it is where the two unite.

"The ‘consciousness' account: The view that consciousness is the substance. Account (a) allowed the immaterial substance to have a nature over and above the kinds of state we would regard as mental. The consciousness account does not. This is Descartes' view."
Smart bastard. The encyclopedia continues in this highly reasonable vein for a while.

I suspect consciousness fragments into conciousness quanta while you're asleep and reunites while dreaming or upon awakening. But this is an empirical question. Find out how consciousness is hooked to physics and it will be straightforward to answer this.


I find Wikipedia dense in claims but light on substantial claims, while Stanford likes to ramble.

On a whim, I checked La Wik's physicalism page. I correctly predicted they would have no 'criticism' section, such as the dualism page so conveniently has. It's as if anti-mainstream propaganda cannot be allowed to stand, while pro-mainstream propaganda is not considered icky enough to be propaganda.

Materialism at least has a stub of a criticism section.

I guess at least Stanford can claim a fair and balanced review of the subject. I certain don't feel misrepresented there. This means they firmly outperformed my expectations, which means they win. Good on them.

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