I think there for I am or I am there for I think

Me and My buddies have been debating this fact for the last few weeks. Can you base the fact that you exist on the fact you think or does it require the justification of others to prove existance. If so then is the only reason existance is posible the fact that everyone else acnowleges the fact that you exist and can you think without existing. :bugeye:
 

Njorl

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I think I am , therefore I am, I think.
 
Demensionseperator said:
Me and My buddies have been debating this fact for the last few weeks. Can you base the fact that you exist on the fact you think
No. Inanimate objects do not think, yet they exist.

or does it require the justification of others to prove existance.
Though I am unable to answer this, your question has aroused a sum of questions I would like to have answered regarding the question.

To prove existence? to whom? Why would you try to prove existence when there is nothing that doesn't exist (is that assumption correct?)? For something to exist, it needs to take up space, correct? (and there is no space with out something to fill it?)

thank you :confused:
 

Les Sleeth

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Demensionseperator said:
Me and My buddies have been debating this fact for the last few weeks. Can you base the fact that you exist on the fact you think or does it require the justification of others to prove existance. If so then is the only reason existance is posible the fact that everyone else acnowleges the fact that you exist and can you think without existing. :bugeye:
I'd say neither. If thinking determines existence, then if someone could stop thinking, he'd cease to exist. Yet there are many documented claims of people who've learned to stop thinking (even if only for a few moments), but who still exist.

And then, what possible difference could it make whether others agree that you exist (or not)? If a wall exists, for instance, but you have a group of wall haters who refuse to acknowledge that it does, will that allow them or prevent you from walking through it? Agreement from others is not the wisest way to determine truth.
 
You think because you exist. But you know that you exist because you think. For there to be thinking, there must be (be=exist) a thinker.

Thinking is not the sole measure of existance. If there is thinking, then the thinker exists. If there is not thinking, then, without further information, you can't say anything regarding the matter.
 

hypnagogue

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The most general answer is "I am conscious, therefore I am." Thinking (in the purely computational sense) wouldn't mean anything if there wasn't some consciousness to experience the thoughts. By the same token, one needn't think to have the same sort of first person verification of one's existence (just ask a Buddhist).

The verification of others is irrelevant. If a room full of people denied that you existed, would you believe them? If you do not exist, how could you be conscious?

And to clear something up:

Imparcticle said:
No. Inanimate objects do not think, yet they exist.
This might be a valid response to the claim "X exists if and only if X thinks." But that is not the claim; the claim is "X exists if X thinks." This latter proposition only claims that thinking is a sufficient, not a necessary, criterion for asserting existence. It therefore admits the possibility of the existence of things that do not think.
 
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hypnagogue said:
The most general answer is "I am conscious, therefore I am." Thinking (in the purely computational sense) wouldn't mean anything if there wasn't some consciousness to experience the thoughts. By the same token, one needn't think to have the same sort of first person verification of one's existence (just ask a Buddhist).
That is to be understood that consciousness is priori to existence? I am conscious, therefore exist and can think thoughts.
 

hypnagogue

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Rader said:
That is to be understood that consciousness is priori to existence?
No, it is an epistemic entailment, not an ontological one. The only way I can be conscious is if I exist in the first place; therefore, from my knowledge that I am conscious, I can infer that I exist.

IOW: I do not exist because I am conscious; rather, I know that I exist because I am conscious.
 
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hypnagogue said:
No, it is an epistemic entailment, not an ontological one. The only way I can be conscious is if I exist in the first place; therefore, from my knowledge that I am conscious, I can infer that I exist.
That was my point, what the ontological explanation is, of the kinds of things that actually exist. Reductive explanations of things, seem to reduce to non-exitence. How can your statement be proven, if we can not reductively explain anything?

Epistemic entailment, as you say, seems to be, an extended dispute between rationalism (reason) and empiricism (reliance on experience) over the respective importance of a priori and a posteriori origins.

IOW: I do not exist because I am conscious; rather, I know that I exist because I am conscious.
Well an explicit assertion, the brain did it and its implicit presupposition consciousness done it: :rolleyes:
 
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russ_watters

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Imparcticle said:
No. Inanimate objects do not think, yet they exist.
But do they exist if you don't think? :surprise:
 

Njorl

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:tongue2: What about Rodin's The Thinker?

Njorl
 
russ_watters said:
But do they exist if you don't think? :surprise:
Whether or not I think does not change the fact that the seperate entity (the inanimate object) exists.

I was wondering, does the statement "I think therefore I am" imply that the body and the "spirit" are seperate entities? Does the "I" refer to a "spirit" or "soul" that exhibits the speaker?
 
hypnagogue said:
The most general answer is "I am conscious, therefore I am." Thinking (in the purely computational sense) wouldn't mean anything if there wasn't some consciousness to experience the thoughts.
I think (heh) that the "think" in this case is supposed to refer to consciousness.

IOW: I do not exist because I am conscious; rather, I know that I exist because I am conscious.
You might want to re-word that first part. It could be taken to mean:
I am conscious ->[causes] I do not exist
While what you meant was:
!(I am conscious ->[causes] I exist)
 
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Demensionseperator said:
Me and My buddies have been debating this fact for the last few weeks. Can you base the fact that you exist on the fact you think or does it require the justification of others to prove existance. If so then is the only reason existance is posible the fact that everyone else acnowleges the fact that you exist and can you think without existing. :bugeye:
A materialist approach is that thinking (consciousness) requires existence (matter,time,space) but not vice versa.
 

Les Sleeth

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heusdens said:
A materialist approach is that thinking (consciousness) requires existence (matter,time,space) but not vice versa.
I don't see how you can equate consciousness and thinking. That would mean if someone stops thinking, say for 30 seconds, they become UNconscious for 30 seconds. I have developed enough skill to stop thinking for that long, and I can report I do not become unconscious. If anything, it seems to make me experience a higher level of consciousness. One need not stop for 30 seconds to disprove your theory; even in ordinary thinking there are small gaps between thoughts, which would mean a person should be constantly alternating between consciousness and unconsciousness . . . yet that doesn't seem to be the case. How do you explain that?
 
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Les Sleeth

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Dissident Dan said:
You might want to re-word that first part. It could be taken to mean:
I am conscious ->[causes] I do not exist
While what you meant was:
!(I am conscious ->[causes] I exist)
Not so . . . he said nothing at all about consciousness causing existence. I believe his point was, ". . . I know that I exist because I am conscious." If I were to rewrite his statement I would underline "know."

I think he is saying that consciousness is knowing oneself exists. It is not primarily about thinking or existing; rather, consciousness is grounded in knowing.
 
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hypnagogue

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LW Sleeth said:
Not so . . . he said nothing at all about consciousness causing existence. I believe his point was, ". . . I know that I exist because I am conscious." If I were to rewrite his statement I would underline "know."
You're both right; Dan was correct to point out that my wording here was poor. LW, I think you misinterpreted what Dan wrote. In some logic formalisms the token "!" means the same thing as "~", namely the logical operation "not." So writing !(I am conscious ->[causes] I exist) means "It is not the case that the fact that I am conscious causes me to exist," which is indeed how I should have phrased it.

I think he is saying that consciousness is knowing oneself exists. It is not primarily about thinking or existing; rather, consciousness is grounded in knowing.
Actually I would say that knowing is grounded in consciousness. Insofar as knowing means being aware of, it requires awareness to be in place before it can happen.

One might object that 'knowing' and 'being conscious' can even be equated, in which case neither would be grounded in the other. However, to exploit the above terminology, I would characterize knowing as 'awareness of,' and consciousness simply as 'awareness.' If it is possible for there to be awareness without awareness of-- that is, if it is possible for there to be consciousness without any contents of consciousness-- then knowing and being conscious can be distinguished. Meditative traditions suggest that it is indeed possible to be conscious and simultaneously have no contents of consciousness, so consciousness should be taken to have a more fundamental existence than knowledge.
 

Les Sleeth

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hypnagogue said:
You're both right; Dan was correct to point out that my wording here was poor. LW, I think you misinterpreted what Dan wrote. In some logic formalisms the token "!" means the same thing as "~", namely the logical operation "not." So writing !(I am conscious ->[causes] I exist) means "It is not the case that the fact that I am conscious causes me to exist," which is indeed how I should have phrased it.
Thanks for the clarification.


hypnagogue said:
One might object that 'knowing' and 'being conscious' can even be equated, in which case neither would be grounded in the other. However, to exploit the above terminology, I would characterize knowing as 'awareness of,' and consciousness simply as 'awareness.' If it is possible for there to be awareness without awareness of-- that is, if it is possible for there to be consciousness without any contents of consciousness-- then knowing and being conscious can be distinguished. Meditative traditions suggest that it is indeed possible to be conscious and simultaneously have no contents of consciousness, so consciousness should be taken to have a more fundamental existence than knowledge.
I want to disagree with you a bit here mostly to test my own reasoning on this subject.

I realize we might not define awareness the same way, so let me first explain how I see that. Consider the security system in a casino where cameras and microphones are linked to a video monitor, a recording system, and a computer. The system detects all movement on the gaming floor and picks up every sound, so we can say it is visually and auditorily aware. Like the senses, they transmit that information to a monitor (paralleling areas of the brain affected by sense data) and so the monitor is aware too. There is a memory that stores information, and even a computer which can evaluate the recorded data and so adds thinking to the system's capabilities. With all that awareness, memory and thinking power, is the system conscious?

You defined knowing above as "awareness of," and I assume you mean awareness of "something." But the security system achieves that, so it seems to me that by your definition the system is aware, knows and is conscious.

I say the system is not conscious because while the system is aware, it isn't aware it is aware. Thinking doesn't give it self awareness, and memory doesn't either. Something is still missing and that is, it isn't aware of itself being aware.

A newborn infant (in fact, even a well-developed fetus) is aware it is aware. At birth it immediately gives us signs it knows it exists. I say it "knows" because there is never any question to the infant if it is comfortable or not, it knows beyond all doubt it wants to feel good. This self knowledge appears intrinsic, not acquired through learning. Meditation was a good example to cite because as you say, one can eliminate "contents." But the contents one eliminates is only what has been taken on; something still remains there, and actually that orignial, non-acquired aspect is exactly what one is after. In fact, the intensification of that intrinsic self-knowledge is the most powerful aspect to the experience. After I spend an hour in union, my first moments walking around are the best because of how aware I am of my own presence.

Of course, if consciousness weren't sensitive, then it couldn't be aware of anything, even itself. Also, if what we experience weren't retained, then no individualness or learning would develop. Therefore, I believe consciousness is created by an innate/inborn triune: the ability to feel, the retention of what is felt, and self knowledge of what is felt and retained.
 
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hypnagogue

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I wasn't using 'aware' in my post the same way you defined it. Here's another shot at what I was getting at: being conscious = having some sort of subjective experience (having the quality that it is like something to be you); knowing = having some sort of subjective experience of or about something (having contents of consciousness).

Stated this way, knowledge can't be more fundamental than consciousness. At best, we can equate knowledge with consciousness by saying that all subjective experience must necessarily be a subjective experience of something (eg a subjective experience of blueness, of straightness, of vagueness, etc.)

However, it may be possible via meditation to achieve a state such that one has subjective experience (it is like something to be in this state), and yet has no subjective experience of anything-- no experience of blueness, nor of joyousness, nor of itchiness, nor of self, etc. Such a state could be characterized as pure "Is-ness" without any attendant "About-ness." If such a thing is truly coherent and possible, then consciousness can be said to precede knowledge.

LW Sleeth said:
I say the system is not conscious because while the system is aware, it isn't aware it is aware. Thinking doesn't give it self awareness, and memory doesn't either. Something is still missing and that is, it isn't aware of itself being aware.
We have to tread very carefully here. 'Aware,' as you have been using it, is a purely functional concept. It follows that awareness of awareness, however that might be achieved, would also be a purely functional concept. If we then equate subjective experience with awareness of awareness, we are essentially espousing a functionalist theory of mind, which I don't think is the move you want to make given your prefered notions of metaphysics.

By saying that consciousness is just awareness of awareness, you are essentially saying that phenomenal consciousness is just access consciousness, which is a physicalist position. But the physicalist position appears to be wholely inadequate for explaining consciousness. http://jamaica.u.arizona.edu/~chalmers/papers/nature.html [Broken] of this inadequacy is

(1) Physical accounts explain at most structure and function.
(2) Explaining structure and function does not suffice to explain consciousness; so

(3) No physical account can explain consciousness.

A much more detailed account expanding on this basic argument can be found at chapter 2 of Gregg Rosenberg's online book A Place for Consciousness: http://www.ai.uga.edu/~ghrosenb/chptr2.htm [Broken]
 
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Demensionseperator said:
Me and My buddies have been debating this fact for the last few weeks. Can you base the fact that you exist on the fact you think or does it require the justification of others to prove existance. If so then is the only reason existance is posible the fact that everyone else acnowleges the fact that you exist and can you think without existing. :bugeye:
We should first think about what we mean with existing. It is a word for something we experience. We experience existance of things. The main thing we experience is our own existance. So your own thinking proofs your existance for yourself... not your existing to others! We can only proof things to exist if we experience them. If you ask someone who never met person A if person A exists then he or she would answer "how should I know?", but if you say person A is standing right next to you, he or she would answer "ofcourse person A exists, what a stupid question". That doesn't mean person A suddenly became reality... it did to the person you asked the question to, but person A already thought of himself he existed. The fact that you exist is actually the thing you can be most sure of.
 
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Maybe the guy said "I think therefore I am" because he considers personal experience to be the ultimate measure of a thing's existence. It assumes the 'I' for practicality. If you don't assume the 'I' then there's no practical point in asking any questions esp. on existence. A few random thoughts
 
"If so then is the only reason existance is posible the fact that everyone else acnowleges the fact that you exist and can you think without existing."

IMHO 'I think therefore I am' means you ignore what others say and pat more attention to your personal experience
 

Les Sleeth

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hypnagogue said:
//jamaica.u.arizona.edu/~chalmers/papers/nature.html . . . . A much more detailed account expanding on this basic argument can be found at chapter 2 of Gregg Rosenberg's online book . . .
I hope you don’t mind that I mixed up your comments a bit to help my own response make more sense.

I originally challenged you to see if I could introduce another way to look at consciousness, which is a method I’ve often used at PF to test how my views hold up to scrutiny. I took a few days to consider my answer to you partly because I have problems fitting something I’ve learned about consciousness into your approach to consciousness studies (as best I comprehend it). I finally decided to simply express my concerns straightforwardly here, and then start a new thread to discuss my own views.

One problem I have is relating to Chalmers’ reasoning alone as authoritative, and therefore accepting his theories about the nature of consciousness as necessarily deserving any more weight than what someone else thinks (you do seem to believe he is authority). The reason I don’t accept what you’ve quoted from him as authoritative is because so far that “science” is mostly rationalism.

Your references to both Chalmers and Rosenberg, in the end, are to rationalistic arguments, not science. The “conceivability” argument is entirely rationalistic, and I predict it will end up the way all rationalistic debates seem to – nowhere. The thread where selfAdjoint suggested a strong counterargument to conceivability had been advanced at (http://www.brown.edu/Departments/Philosophy/homepages/weatherson/dave.htm) I thought made valid points. But it too was rationalistic, which is exactly the kind of response we should expect to rationalist propositions. If the philosophical aspect of the “science” of consciousness continues this way, some number of years in the future we will find paper after paper rationalistically blasting holes in the other side’s reasoning, with little reference to experience, and nothing definitively decided. I believe that is why a lot of people prefer physicalism -- because at least you can test many of the propositions.

So my question is, how is a non-physicalistic consciousness “science” going to be established if it can’t find a way to get empirical? Chalmers himself admits, “In general I think we have much less introspective access to the self than to its properties.”

If the experiential aspect of his science is to be first person reports combined with third person observation, but if he believes we have little introspective access to the self, then it seems to me he is stuck. That’s why although some of his ideas are interesting to me, particularly panpsychism, I cannot yet accept him as an authority on consciousness, especially since I seem to have a lot more faith (and experience) than he does in the potential of introspective experience.

Because I believe rationalistic arguments prove nothing except the logical integrity of their own structure, what I would prefer if we debate the nature of consciousness, is that Chalmers or anyone else lacking sufficient experience to confirm their assumptions, not be treated as authorities, but rather cited as merely another person speculating about what consciousness is (by the way, I like Chalmers’ thinking, I am just objecting to treating him as an “authority”).


hypnagogue said:
If we then equate subjective experience with awareness of awareness, we are essentially espousing a functionalist theory of mind, which I don't think is the move you want to make given your prefered notions of metaphysics. . . . the physicalist position appears to be wholly inadequate for explaining consciousness.
I am not using aware as you say; neither am I implying functionalism or physicalism (even though I don’t have a problem acknowledging the mind’s functional and physical aspects). I will explain my semantics in another thread (mainly I was using aware as a synonym for “detect” or consciousness’s raw sensitivity).

However, just so you know, I wouldn’t mind if physicalism were correct. I would rather know what is true than maintain my pet theories. The problem for me with physicalism is that it doesn’t make sense to me because of certain of my experiences with consciousness, and because physical processes alone seem to be missing something that would allow them to evolve into either life or consciousness. If physicalism can be demonstrated to be true, then I will accept it.


hypnagogue said:
. . . it may be possible via meditation to achieve a state such that one has subjective experience (it is like something to be in this state), and yet has no subjective experience of anything . . .
Another problem I have is that people’s concepts/assumptions about “meditation” often prevents the introduction of genuine introspective evidence into consciousness models. Currently people involved in consciousness studies are citing the results of “meditation studies,” but what is the standard for expertise when it comes to meditation?

The term “meditation” is applied to quite a variety of practices, so that term alone doesn’t tell us what someone is doing when they practice. For example, some think stilling the mind is meditation, some say “concentration” is meditation (such as what it takes to stare attentively at a candle), some learn to calm their heart rate, others learn not to feel pain or to hold their breath for extended periods, a Christian friend of mine claims studying scripture is meditation, some repeat mantras, others chant, some gaze at walls, etc.

If all that is to be called meditation, then let’s give another name to a very specific practice which there is nothing else like. This practice has one purpose, and one purpose only. There is no ambiguity about the goal, the attainment of which is 100% the measure of one’s success in the practice. That practice is union.

If I sound a bit anal about describing it, that’s because of how difficult it can be to get people to distinguish the potential of consciousness for union from all the other inner stuff people do with the mind. Let me use an analogy to help explain the difficulty of singling out union from other sorts of “meditation.”

Say a group of scientists land on a planet whose population is still in the tribal stage, and where superstition, sorcery, and magic are accepted as real. They spend a year there studying the population before leaving, never to return. While they are there, some of the local inhabitants become apprentices of the scientists with aspirations of learning science. With only a year to learn, only the most adept actually “get it.” A hundred years later, something called “science” has been absorbed into the superstitious and magical mentality of the population, but it’s nothing any of the original scientists or their adept students would recognize as science. That’s because it has been “adjusted” to fit into the culture, which has also rendered it all but ineffective. However, a few descendents of the original adepts still maintain, almost secretly, the genuine scientific standard and teach it to those few who will swear to master it. In between the watered-down understanding of the general population and the serious practitioners is another class of “semi-scientists” who understand snippets of the method. Some semi-scientists practice hypothesizing only, some set up experiments only, some observe things only, and some practice deduction only. Each branch claims they are doing science, and that the branches are simply different paths to the same end (science); they also all claim they benefit greatly from what they do (which might be true). Of course, the practitioners who have sworn to learn all of science view semi-scientists with disdain because they know semi-scientists are stopping short of the full realization of science.

Similarly, there are those who understand that the most powerful introspective experience ever attained is union, that union is the goal, and that in working toward union there are various lesser skills which also need to be learned, such as concentration, calmness, sense withdrawal, devotion, etc. Because union is truly their objective they never make the mistake of stopping to master just one of the approach skills, and then call that “meditation.” Unfortunately, the meditation that the public hears about, and what scientists tend to study (mostly physiological effects), is primarily those who’ve learned to concentrate or calm themselves, or who practice bits and pieces of some past meditation discipline.


hypnagogue said:
. . . knowledge can't be more fundamental than consciousness. At best, we can equate knowledge with consciousness by saying that all subjective experience must necessarily be a subjective experience of something (e.g. a subjective experience of blueness, of straightness, of vagueness, etc.)
If I rely on what I’ve learned from the experience I described above, I can’t agree you are correct about knowing. While experiencing union, it isn’t as you suggest that “that one has subjective experience . . . and yet has no subjective experience of anything.” Quite the contrary, somehow present is a “generalized” knowledge, which is why I’ve come to believe that knowing is built into the fabric of consciousness; in fact, I suspect the main differences between the awarenesses of all life forms (with nervous systems) is the degree of generalized "knowing" their awareness starts out with. Rather than hijack this thread, I’ve decided to present an alternative model of consciousness to help explain myself. I should post it in a few days, and will probably call it something like “A Panpsychism Model of Consciousness.”
 
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hypnagogue

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I don't mean to parade Chalmers around as an absolute authority, but I do think his arguments hold a lot of weight. The reason I referenced Rosenberg as well is because he makes an attempt to discredit physicalism without resorting to zombie / conceivability arguments. I'm somewhat puzzled that you dismiss both as overly rationalistic but then you proceed to express your own suspicions about physicalism on similar grounds (incompleteness and so on). In any case, arguments about physicalism vs. dualism vs. monism vs. etc. are metaphysical arguments, and it's not clear that empirical matters will allow us to distinguish between them even in principle, so we would seem to need to resort to logical arguments to have any sort of conversation on these matters.

I'll wait to comment on the other things when you post the new thread, although I'll say in passing that the 'generalized knowledge' sounds to me like it could just be another way of saying 'contentless subjective experience' or 'pure consciousness' or whatever, so I'd appreciate a more detailed description of what you're getting at (if possible).
 

Les Sleeth

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hypnagogue said:
I'm somewhat puzzled that you dismiss both as overly rationalistic but then you proceed to express your own suspicions about physicalism on similar grounds (incompleteness and so on).
Here’s what I mean by overly rationalistic. An argument is presented based on assumptions; if it is overly rationalistic, no one bothers to properly support the assumptions with experiential evidence; the argument therefore proceeds as a discussion about the internal logic of the conclusions that might be drawn from the stated assumptions.

In the conceivability argument, for example, Chalmers begins with an assumption that if something is conceivable, it is possible. As a point of logic, within the realm of language, it is a strong statement. But I know (whether I can logically prove it or not) that because something is conceivable does not actually mean it is possible. In logic it works, but applied to reality it does not; logically I cannot demonstrate the falsity of that statement, but experientially I can.

Without equipment it is impossible for me to breathe underwater. You might say, well, how do you know you can’t find gillyweed like Harry Potter did which would let you grow gills and then breathe? It’s true, I don’t know if gillyweed exists, but no empiricist is going to search for gillyweed not just because no one has heard of it, but mostly because the way gillyweed is supposed to work contradicts what we know about how nature functions. Thus, once we insist that experience be an essential factor in philosophizing and theorizing, we at least have something known from which we reason, project, inductively model, etc. Without that, we have absolutely no way to critique a proposition other than to attack the logic of its inferences and conclusions. I know this idea isn’t exactly in the tradition of philosophy, but I believe the old standards for philosophizing need to change because of both how much information we have at our disposal, and also how much better we’ve become at gathering information.

Regarding my suspicions about physicalism, they are not rationalistic, but entirely empirical. First, I observe in life how the quality of organization that has led to a cell (and then to the rest of life forms) has never been demonstrated to spontaneously occur with chemistry (or even able to be forced into “progressive” organization in the lab). Because chemogenesis is necessary for a physicalistic theory, until someone can demonstrate chemistry can self-organize that way, I say a physicalistic theory of life fails empirically. Likewise, as you will see in the consciousness model I am preparing, I’ve had, and studied others’ reports of, certain experiences that contradict a physicalistic model of consciousness; plus, physicalists have yet to demonstrate consciousness can be generated by something physical, such as a computer.


hypnagogue said:
In any case, arguments about physicalism vs. dualism vs. monism vs. etc. are metaphysical arguments, and it's not clear that empirical matters will allow us to distinguish between them even in principle, so we would seem to need to resort to logical arguments to have any sort of conversation on these matters.
First I should make it clear that critiquing the logic of any argument, theory, statement, etc. is always called for; and of course we must rely on reason to discuss and develop theories. But I would have to disagree that the only recourse for metaphysical debate/discussion is rationalism, although it’s true that that is how most people end up talking about metaphysics. As far as I’m concerned, if a metaphysical statement has no experience that supports/implies it, or if we have no way to search for the experience which would support/imply it, then it is a big waste of time to discuss it (other than giving one’s logic muscle a work out).

If experience-based is to be the standard for theorizing, and since some metaphysical propositions cannot be objectively demonstrated (unlike, for instance, physicalism which does have the advantage of being objectifiable), we have to resort to inference from whatever experience we might dig up. Even though an inductive model offers no proof, at least we have some evidence with which to formulate assumptions. Also, an inductive model built on evidence should be required to fit the facts of reality, and so that “fit” combined with proper logical structure of the theory, could prove useful to understanding how some aspect of reality works or is.

A case in point is the metaphysical theory of panpsychism I am attempting. If I just speculate, what value is that? Yet where will I find evidence from which to build a theory? I say, if I have no evidence, forget the theory because without that experiential support, we will never decide anything except if you do or do not like my theory. Of course, even with evidence and some degree of “fit” with reality, it’s possible the best that we get from the inductive model is a “reasonable” theory (i.e., nothing definitive). That’s okay with me in the case of such difficult metaphysical questions because I will feel I’ve done the best I can to link experience to the rational process.


hypnagogue said:
I'll wait to comment on the other things when you post the new thread, although I'll say in passing that the 'generalized knowledge' sounds to me like it could just be another way of saying 'contentless subjective experience' or 'pure consciousness' or whatever, so I'd appreciate a more detailed description of what you're getting at (if possible).
You are correct to characterize “generalized knowledge,” as I mean it, as “contentless subjective experience'” if by content you mean an “object” of thought or perception; I couldn’t disagree with calling it “pure consciousness” either.

But neither of those terms tell us what consciousness is. Yes it can be contentless, but what is there ready to experience content as pure consciousness? Here is a clue about what I mean. I once saw a film of a woman giving birth using the underwater technique, in room illuminated only by candles (so as not to hurt the newborn’s eyes). The mother had had several children, so the birth went off very easily. When the child slid out of the womb into that warm bath water and the camera focused on his face, I was surprised to see that baby smiling the biggest smile you can imagine! Now, where did that child learn to smile? (I’ll develop this argument more in my panpsychism model.)
 

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