1Z wrote: Not only is it not necessary to > treat such a 1st person as ontologically primative, it is > hardly even coherent , since such a 1st person is clearly complex.
I think I see where the confusion lies. My definitions rely on there being a unique ontologogical 'substance' because of my frustration that there is a pervasive use (not necessarily yours) of 1st-person and 3rd-person to denote, respectively, the 'inside' and 'outside' views of persons. This then leads to the idea that these derive from different ontological substances (e.g. Chalmers in effect, dualism in general). So my single substance is in that sense 'primitive'. Bruno would I think say that this substance is Number. I just say it's whatever it is and it's the same for everything. Of course, it's the intersection of this substance with structure that produces persons (and all other phenomena), which are, as you rightly say, complex. The problem > is, that while a)-c) is not all that can be said > about first personhood, it is pretty much all that *is* said > in your various definitions [*]. I quite agree, with the above proviso. I was merely trying to point out different uses of the term that I thought important, but you may well have found this superflous. The obvious is sometimes elusive. > OK: now we seem to be getting to the nub of the problem. Consciousness > and qualia. IOW, 1st-personhood divides into two problems: an > Easy Problem of a)-c); and a Hard problem of d) qualia and e) > incommunicable > experiences. I would say that qualia are the fact of *being* structured substance *behaving* in a certain kind of 'perceiver+perceptual model' way. As such they are themselves incommunicable, although existing in non-random mutual relations (e.g. that of red to blue, or middle C to bottom A). The information they encode relationally is what is communicable both to the 'self' and to others - epistemology from ontology. Empirically my assumption is that they must also map in some systematic way to material structure, which is not to say that qualitative and material structural levels map one-to-one. However I don't believe that qualia are 'substrate independent' (you may recall that this is where we began in the dear, dim days of the FOR group). > Now: if qualia are the only aspect of 1st-personhood whose emergence > form structured matter is "fishy", why not make qualia ontologically > fundamental, and keep the Easy aspects of 1p-hood as high-level > emergent features ? (It's not just that we don't *need* to > treat the a)-c) as primitive, it is also that we can't! A structure > that contains representations of other structures is inherently > complex!) I think I agree, as I say above. I know I lost you with my previous remarks about a primitive substance with primitive differentiation, but the fundamental nature of 'qualia' was what I was trying to convey. The substance on its own won't do, because it has no content, and semantically to have differentiation one needs to start with a substance. Hence qualia are to be found at the intersection, and different types of structure yield different types of qualia. > ( I am taking it that qualia are basically non-structural [**] ) 'Fraid not. But now I can agree with you that 1p-hood in its Easy aspect is indeed a high level emergent feature of this structured ontology. Then the fact of *being* the structured substance is the 'qualia', and the relational aspects (information) constitute our knowledge of the structural entities so formed (i.e. 'the world'). I take the 'active principle' of information to be the relational aspects expressed as behaviour. IOW, one structure treats another as information when its behaviour is systematically changed by incorporating it. > Is that idea even coherent ? How can a universal Person contain > representations > of what is outside itself ? It can't of course. Only of what is inside itself. My intuition about the 'Big Person' was simply to express the idea that the 'substance' is universally available to be structured into persons. Persons are just zones so structured. We needn't mention the BP ever again. Thank you for your excellent treatment of the physicalism/ mentalism issues, with which I pretty much entirely agree. I'd just like to comment on a couple of things: > But it is almost tautologous that the real world cannot be made of > those ingredients alone (particularly that is can't be a mere > abstraction). Thus we have candidates for real properties of the world > not captured by physics: concreta, intrinsic properties and qualities. > > The last is of the most interest, of course. The resemblance between > "qualia" and "quality" might not be coincidental. Qualities might be > intrinsic to matter yet incapable of being "seen" through the > "spectacles" of physics. Our own qualia might be a direct insight into > these qualities, not something else in disguise. We need not suppose > that all qualities are like human qualia; qualia might be only a tiny > subset of the possible range of qualities. I agree, as I hope my earlier comments show. The possibilities of structure are infinite, and consequently we could expect 'qualia' to be at least extremely varied. > An objection that could be raised at this point is that if qualia are > intrinsic to the matter of the brain, and we have a direct insight into > them, they should give a fine-grained physical picture of the brain. > Another is that we are not not conscious of all our mental contents -- > most of what is going on in our heads it unconscious. So there is a > "grain" problem -- relating to the amount of detail in the contents of > consciousness -- and, relatedly a "level" problem. My take is that what we experience depends on high-level emergent aspects of the behaviour of 'perceivers+perceptual models', not the individual components. Something that impresses me in this regard is the central role of memory in consciousness. Consider the unfortunate people who have suffered a catastrophic deficit in short-term memory - say, being unable to recall what has happened more than ten minutes ago. Often when shown video evidence of their having done something that they can't recall, they explain this by claiming "I must have been unconscious". It's an understandable explanation for witnessing yourself doing something you can't remember. Now supposing you imagine yourself in this appalling situation, and your memory reduces to 5 minutes, 1 minute, 10 seconds, 1 second - how far would this have to go before, even though you still retained your 'sensorium', you would be effectively 'unconscious'? I think this has a lot to do with grain and level - the 'resolving power' of the perceptual *behaviour* of the brain. My sense now is that we may not need to disagree so much. But I also think we all need a better (common) terminology. Perhaps the roadmap? David > David Nyman wrote: > > 1Z wrote: > > > > > (PS could you write *less* next time ? I find tha the more you write, > > > the less > > > I understand!) > > > > I sympathise! > > > > However, I'm not sure how much further we're destined to get with this > > particular dialogue. Each time we have another go I think I see where > > we're going past each other, and I attempt to re-cast what I'm saying > > to address this - hence the prolixity, which frustrates me probably as > > much as it does you! > > > > On this occasion, I'll say simply this: whilst of course not > > unconscious of other treatments of these issues, particularly those > > addressing the physical or computational issues, there's always seemed > > to me to be something philosophically fishy about how the 'first > > person' is supposed to just 'turn up' in a situation which is > > fundamentally something else - a world fundamentally composed of > > impersonal 'things'. > > How fishy that is depends on what is meant by "first person". > > If a person is just: > a) a structure which is b) part of > wider structure, and which c) has an internal representation > of the wider structure; > there is no great problem. The situation is entirely structure > and relational, and can therefore easily be dealt with by physicalism > -- > by matter forming various differnt kinds of structure. The problem > is, that while a)-c) is not all that can be said > about first personhood, it is pretty much all that *is* said > in your various definitions [*]. Not only is it not necessary to > treat such a 1st person as ontologically primative, it is > hardly even coherent , since such a 1st person is clearly complex. > > > > I'm convinced this puzzles and confuses others > > too, leading to IMO pseudo-problems like 'intelligent zombies', and > > pseudo-solutions like dualism. > > OK: now we seem to be getting to the nub of the problem. Consciousness > and qualia. IOW, 1st-personhood divides into two problems: an > Easy Problem of a)-c); and a Hard problem of d) qualia and e) > incommunicable > experiences. > > Now: if qualia are the only aspect of 1st-personhood whose emergence > form structured matter is "fishy", why not make qualia ontologically > fundamental, and keep the Easy aspects of 1p-hood as high-level > emergent features ? (It's not just that we don't *need* to > treat the a)-c) as primitive, it is also that we can't! A structure > that contains representations of other structures is inherently > complex!) > > ( I am taking it that qualia are basically non-structural [**] ) > > > So it occurred to me: supposing one > > were to think of the world not as a collection of 'things' (or as I > > think physics teaches us a 'field' differentiated into apparently > > individual 'things') but as a 'big person' (or a big personal field, > > differentiated into apparently individual persons). > > Is that idea even coherent ? How can a universal Person contain > representations > of what is outside itself ? > > > > I'm sorry if this sounds like Teletubbies, but I'm not going to deploy > > my jargon this time! We're here because the 'big person' is here and > > we're a part of him (her/ us?). Now this 'big person' would have to be > > conscious in parts, and unconscious in other parts, but it then ocurred > > to me that this is *exactly* analogous to our own situation: we are > > indeed conscious in parts and at times, and unconscious in other parts > > and at other times. The distinction seems to arise from local strucure > > and function. > > > And therefore doesn't require any personhood apart from > those structures and funtions. > > > Everything else really follows from this, and personally I've found > > that thinking in this way dissolves the sort of conceptual confusions > > that I've mentioned - same structure, same function, same first > > personhood (no zombies, no dualism). > > But always *some* first-personhood, or how else > could it be universal ? > > > The rest of course, is the > > infamous 'easy problem', on which I have no particular purchase. > > > > Now that I've put it in this I hope disarmingly naive way, you may wish > > to request clarification on any point, or you may feel that you simply > > disagree, or aren't interested. As ever, I'd be pleased to hear from > > you. > > > > David > > > > [*] > > 1) FP1g - primitive 'global' first person entity or context > 2) FP1i - individual person delimited by primitive differentiation > (which is agnostic to comp, physics, or anything else at this logical > level) > 3) FP2 - narrative references to first persons, as in 'David is a first > person', an attribution, as opposed to 'David-as-first-person', a > unique entity. > 4) TP - third person, or structure-read-as-information, as opposed to > structure-demarcating-an-entity > > > 1) First person 1 (FP1) - the point-of-view that is directly claimed by > an individual (FP1i) such as David or Peter, or what is generally meant > when the word 'I' is directly uttered by such a person. > > 2) First person 2 (FP2) - representations of an FP1 point-of-view as > modelled within members of the FP1 community. The usage of 'David' or > 'Peter' in point 1) exemplifies one type of such representation, whose > presumed referent is an FP1i person. > > [**] > > Consciousness is a problem for all forms of materialism and physicalism > to some extent, but it is possible to discern where > the problem is particularly acute. There is no great problem with the > idea that matter considered as a bare substrate can have mental > properities. Any inability to have mental proeprties would itslef be a > property and therefore be inconsistent with the bareness of a > bare substrate. The "subjectity" of consciouss states, often treated as > "inherent" boils down to a problem of communicating one's > qualia -- how one feesl, how things seem. Thus it is not truly inherent > but depends on the means of communication being used. > Feelings and seemings can be more readily communicated in artistic, > poetice language, and least readily in scientifi technical > language. Since the harder, more technical a science is, the more > mathematical it is, the communication problem is at its most > acute in a purely mathematical langauge. Thus the problem with > physicalism is not its posit of matter (as a bare substrate) > but its other posit, that all properties are phycial. Since physics is > mathematical, that amounts to the claim that all properties > are mathematical (or at least mathematically describable). In making > the transition from a physicalist world-view to a mathematical > one, the concept of a material substrate is abandoned (although it was > never a problem for consciousness) and the posit of mathematical > properties becomes, which is a problem for consciousness becomes > extreme. > > What Is Physicalism Anyway ? Quantities, Qualities and Russell's > Alternative.` > Our unwillingness to identify the physical and the mental is at heart a > descriptive problem. (There is a class of objections, based on > causality, and another on intentionality which I will get onto in due > course). Detailed physical descriptions just don't capture the "feel" > of conscious states. This is brought out in Frank Jackson's parable > about Mary, the neuroscientist who, imprisoned in a monochrome > environment, knows all there is to know about colour perception in > principle, but is still surprised by the actual experience of colour on > her release. > Yet there is a wealth of evidence that the mental is strongly > correlated with the physical. One way out of this impasse is that > physical descriptions do not "capture" the mental, but the mental is > nonetheless "there". This is a kind of two Language view. It is a > departure from the strongest varieties of Physicalism without > entertaining any supernaturalism about the mind. (Of course, if in some > underlying way the mental is the physical, albeit under a different > description, there is no causal problem.The mental story , in terms of > intentions and actions, and the physical story in terms of neural > firings and muscular twitches are two different descriptions of the > same event, so neither the physical nor the mental is squeezed out of > the causal picture). > > But why don't physical descriptions capture the mental? Consider the > way physical theories are verified. An experiment is set up; a > theoretical calculation is made of the expected outcome; the experiment > is performed and a comparison is made between expectation the actual > outcome. The outcome matches the expectation , or it doesn't. But the > outcome and the expectation relate to instrument-readings. There is no > further requirement to capture the essence of the thing being > investigated. The height of a column of mercury in a thermometer is not > very much like heat (subjectively or objectively!), but that doesn't > matter; it only matter whether it is the expected value of not. The > instrument reading only has to track -- vary in line with -- the > underlying phenomenon. The other ingredient is the theoretical > apparatus, the graphs and formulae used to generate the expectation. > These are abstract mathematical structures. If the theory is correct, > the abstract structures it uses will stand in a certain relationship to > the real phenomenon, one of "modeling" or "mapping" it , so the > interrelationships of the elements of the abstract theory will mimic > the structure and behaviour of the real phenomenon. nothing further is > required, and this relationship of modeling between theory and reality > is itself an abstract structure. > > So these are the ingredients of physical: modeling, mapping, > isomorphism, abstraction, relation, quantities. > > But it is almost tautologous that the real world cannot be made of > those ingredients alone (particularly that is can't be a mere > abstraction). Thus we have candidates for real properties of the world > not captured by physics: concreta, intrinsic properties and qualities. > > The last is of the most interest, of course. The resemblance between > "qualia" and "quality" might not be coincidental. Qualities might be > intrinsic to matter yet incapable of being "seen" through the > "spectacles" of physics. Our own qualia might be a direct insight into > these qualities, not something else in disguise. We need not suppose > that all qualities are like human qualia; qualia might be only a tiny > subset of the possible range of qualities. > > Not all qualities need to be had consciously by a being with a mind > (human qualia are necessary constituents of full human consciousness, > but might not be sufficient constituents). If they are, and they are > intrinsic to matter, that suggests panexperientialism. If not, there is > an extra factor to conscious experience beyond the nature of experience > itself. > > An objection that could be raised at this point is that if qualia are > intrinsic to the matter of the brain, and we have a direct insight into > them, they should give a fine-grained physical picture of the brain. > Another is that we are not not conscious of all our mental contents -- > most of what is going on in our heads it unconscious. So there is a > "grain" problem -- relating to the amount of detail in the contents of > consciousness -- and, relatedly a "level" problem. --~--~---------~--~----~------------~-------~--~----~ You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to email@example.com To unsubscribe from this group, send email to [EMAIL PROTECTED] For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list -~----------~----~----~----~------~----~------~--~---