Colin Geoffrey Hales wrote:

> This paradoxical situation I have analysed out and, I hope, straightened
> out. The answer lies not in adopting/rejecting solipsism per se (although
> solipsism is logically untenable for subtle reasons) , but in merely
> recognising what scientific evidence is actually there and what it is
> evidence of. At least then scientists will have a consistent position and
> will no longer need to think one way and behave another. At the moment
> they are 'having it both ways' and have no awareness of it. ...if you talk
> to mainstream neuroscientists, to whom this matters the most (in terms of
> understanding the available evidence) they have no clue what you are on
> about...but they go right on doing it without question...staring down the
> microscope with their phenomenal consciouess at the "external world" they
> assume they are directly characterising without phenomenal consciousness,
> correlating the appearances of test and control..day in, day out...

It's precisely this issue that was my motivation for first posting to
this list on what has unfortunately been termed '1st-person primacy'.
In fact, all and any terms for what I've been attempting to point to
seem to be unfortunate because *all* our language is steeped in an
implicit assumption of an ontic dichotomy that does not in fact exist.
To repeat my original assertion (and I believe that this is valid
regardless of one's commitment to comp or materialism or whatever
else): whatever exists does so within a single ontic domain within
which distinctions of 'point of view' are merely contingent on which
side of an otherwise arbitrarily drawn line of distinction happens to
be making the report. What follows from this is that 'what appears to
exist' and 'what appearances refer to' are equally real (i.e. real in
the same sense) and equally aspects of this single domain.

'What appears to exist' is that part of the domain that is playing the
role (at a given point) of a picture or model (or mirror, in your
terms) of another part to which it is informationally connected, and
with which it co-varies. 'What appearances refer to' - or as we usually
say 'what exists' - is then merely our term for the co-varying part. In
the special case where 'you' are one part, and 'I' am the other, it is
easier to see that the terms '1st'-' and '3rd-person' - or 'subjective'
and 'objective' - can be used alternatively in an analysis of the
situation, and that clearly no change in ontic status could logically
follow from this.

I think we will never be able to engage with the issues you describe
until we realise that what we are faced with is a view from the inside
of a situation that has no outside. Our characterisation of 'what
exists' as 'outside' of 'what appears to exist' is the
sleight-of-intuition that introduces the fatal ontic duality. But there
is no such duality. We simply *are* this situation, and its
multifarious forms of differentiation comprise the structures from
which 'we', our 'experiences' and their 'referents' seamlessly emerge.
Our challenge as scientists is never to forget that our observations
and theories all point back at ourselves (there is no other direction).
If they don't account for 'what appears to exist' this is as great a
failing as inconsistency with 'what appearance refers to', since these
attributions are merely distinctions of emphasis in the analysis of any
given situation.

You could call this the solipsism of the whole, because there is
nothing else. I know this is as clear as mud, because the language just
doesn't exist, and I lack the inspiration to introduce it, and my
hackneyed old terms just get hijacked into familiar and misleading
connotations. Oh well....

David

> "1Z" wrote:
> > Bruno Marchal wrote:
> >
> >> It would be a problem if the actual infinities or infinitesimals were
> thrid person describable *and* playing some role in the process of
> individuating consciousness. In that case comp is false.
> >> About solipsism I am not sure why you introduce the subject. It seems
> to me nobody defend it in the list.
> >
> > Explainning matter as a pattern of experiences , rather than in
> > a "stuffy" way, is methodological solipsism.
> >
>
> I am doing a detailed look at the relationship between solipsism and
> science. I am writing it up...will post it on the list (if that's
> OK...it's not too big!) when it's Ok to read.. I am surprised at what I
> found. The feedback on solipsism is interesting...
>
> Russel is right in the sense that 'as-if' instrumentalism seems to
> characterise scientific behaviour...where scientists act 'as-if' the
> external world existed. At the same time, the facts of neuroscience tell
> us that scientific evidence arrives as contents of phenomenal
> consciousness, so science is, in fact, all about correlated appearances...
> and it is an 'as-if' solipsism. That is, science is also acting 'as-if'
> solipsism ( as per "1Z" 'methodological solipsism) defines the route to
> knowledge but is actually in denial of solipsism!
>
> The weird state that seems to be in place is that science is tacitly
> radically solipsistic in respect of what evidence is available (phenomenal
> consciousness is all there is), whilst scientist's actual behaviour denies
> this solipsism and tacitly adopts the 'as-if' stance in respect of the
> existence of an external world. The net affect is that the external world
> is assumed to exist, consciousness is eschewed as evidence of anything in
> its own right and objectivity allows correlates of appearances within
> consciousness to literally define the workings of the (assumed existent)
> external world. Science is a methodological-solispsist-in-denial
> instrumentalism? whew!
>
> This paradoxical situation I have analysed out and, I hope, straightened
> out. The answer lies not in adopting/rejecting solipsism per se (although
> solipsism is logically untenable for subtle reasons) , but in merely
> recognising what scientific evidence is actually there and what it is
> evidence of. At least then scientists will have a consistent position and
> will no longer need to think one way and behave another. At the moment
> they are 'having it both ways' and have no awareness of it. ...if you talk
> to mainstream neuroscientists, to whom this matters the most (in terms of
> understanding the available evidence) they have no clue what you are on
> about...but they go right on doing it without question...staring down the
> microscope with their phenomenal consciouess at the "external world" they
> assume they are directly characterising without phenomenal consciousness,
> correlating the appearances of test and control..day in, day out...
>
> The thing is, none of it actually matters...until one day you decide
> scientifically study phenomenal cosnciousness... which I think I have said
> previously.... so many ways to get to the same place!
>
> I'll probably dump the text of 'Solipsism and Science' to the list
> tomorrow. Who'd have thought that in looking at AI i'd end up forced to
> analyse solipsism in science?
> 
> cheers
> colin hales


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