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Old 03-25-2013, 03:41 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
how can a conscious reality NOT be a God?
Perhaps start by showing that our reality is itself conscious or that the universe is itself conscious before we start engaging in rhetorical questioning like the above.
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Old 03-25-2013, 06:04 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
Once you get deep into the logical arguments, you realize that the questions are far more profound than you ever imagined, and fully defensible answers are (for now) seemingly impossible to find.
I'm still not sure how adopting dualism adds anything to the mix. You're still left with a bunch of unanswered questions. Again, sounds like we're just hitting limits in our current level of knowledge.
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Old 03-25-2013, 08:49 AM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
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Originally Posted by KCfromNC View Post
I'm still not sure how adopting dualism adds anything to the mix. You're still left with a bunch of unanswered questions. Again, sounds like we're just hitting limits in our current level of knowledge.
Most philosophers of mind would agree with you here, which is one of the reasons that so many of them try their best to avoid dualism. Property dualism (or "dual aspect" theory) is a weaker form of dualism that can avoid the problem of interaction (how does something non-physical interact with the physical world?), but property dualism still has its problems. For one thing, it seems to be an "explanation" that doesn't really explain anything once you really get into the details. We are left, as you say, with even deeper questions.


One funny thing is that most scientists who think of themselves as materialists really turn out to be property dualists, from a philosophical perspective. A good example would be all the folks who are seeking the "neural correlates of consciousness." The idea is to identify specific types of neural activity that cause specific types of experience. Success in this endeavor would presumably give us sci-fi types of mind-manipulating technology (think of movies like The Matrix, Total Recall, etc.) Scientists are (rightfully) focused on tangible results - either it works or it doesn't - so most of them don't worry too much about the underlying metaphysical assumptions or implications. But from a philosophical perspective, to seek a "correlation" of this sort is to already accept a sort of property dualism. You have two aspects at work:

(1) a set of physical events (e.g., a collection of molecules doing thus and so)
(2) the subjective experience of "seeing a leather-clad chick with an assault weapon."

To see the problem here, let's suppose that some neuroscientists implant some electrodes in your brain and accidently trigger a type of experience that no creature on earth has ever experienced before. Let's assume that the scientists can describe the activity of every atom in your brain that is correlated with this weird experience. Will they know what it is like for you to have that experience? Notice there is an important difference between objective theoretical knowledge about a physical state, and the first-person phenomenal experience of being that physical state. This implies a form of property dualism, even though folks who want to think of themselves as pure materialists struggle mightily to avoid acknowledging the implicit dualism. The objective description is what it is, and the subjective phenomenal experience is what it is, and we can say that the physical activity correlates with the phenomenal experience, either because the physical events cause the phenomenal, or because the physical events just are the phenomenal experiences known in a different way (like "Venus" and "the morning star" are the one and same thing known in two different ways), but this approach does not really succeed in avoiding the property dualism. We might try to dig deeper and explain why the objective physical event X is subjectively experienced as "this feeling," or we might accept the correlation as a brute fact. Either way, I think it is (in my view) unsatisfactory to simply declare that there is no mystery here. It might be a mystery that cannot be solved, but this doesn't mean we should run around declaring that there is no mystery.

I would agree with Galen Strawson when he claims that the only hard-core materialists who truly understand and straightforwardly address this mystery are the eliminative materialists (e.g., Paul Churchland), but I would also agree with Strawson when he says that being an eliminativist (i.e., denying the reality of qualia) is anti-empirical and just plain crazy because qualia are, by definition, that which we directly experience; qualia are the only things that we cannot logically be skeptical about because the feeling of being skeptical (e.g., the feeling of uncertainty, the understanding of what it means to be skeptical, etc.) are all qualitative. (BTW, this is a logically deeper/more fundamental variation of the Cartesian claim that “I think; I am”. Even if, contra Descartes, the “I” does not exist, the qualitative experience of doubting, at the very least, must exist in the form of the-feeling-of-understanding of the meaning of the utterance. Whether there can be experience without an “I” is debatable, but there certainly cannot be an experience without qualia because the qualia are that which constitutes the experience as an experience in the first place.)

And, finally, getting back to the topic at hand: I would say that the mystery of subjective/objective does not force us to become theists. Putting God (in the sense of an Intelligent Designer) into the picture does not solve anything. All it does is add a whole new host of mysteries.
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Old 03-25-2013, 11:27 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
I don't know if I believe in property dualism (I was just pointing to Dave Chalmers as an example in my previous post), but I'd say it works better than the current forms of materialism. As for consciousness, the term is used in so many ways that I don't generally say that consciousness is central and basic to the natural world. I do say that qualia, or the qualitative aspects of reality, are fundamental in roughly the same sense that they are intrinsic to the nature of a living brain, even if the brain is in dreamless sleep. As I see it, consciousness is a higher-level phenomenon. As for how the fundamental qualitative aspects of reality can fail to be God, I think that here again we have a difference in terminology. I think the term "God" is only of interest if God is some sort of intelligence who has (theism) or had (deism) some sort of plan in mind when originally designing the universe. I don't buy this concept. If you want to expand the notion of God to include something roughly like "Fundamental Reality is sorta like a brain in dreamless sleep" - which is to say, there is some deep metaphysical potential for conscious experience and intelligence intrinsic to the nature of reality, then I guess you are welcome to call this God, if you want. On my view, however, Reality "wakes up" little by little through the biological evolution of life. By this way of thinking, if you want to call consciousness "God" then God was not always intelligent, might not be necessarily good, and did not plan to create a world. "Reality-as-God" found herself gradually waking up via gradually increasing awareness (as increasingly complex nervous systems evolved). Also, by this way of thinking, God would have no logical choice other than to be an Existentialist and a Solipsist. From the standpoint of Reality as a whole, existence is absurd, there are no "others," and there is no "higher power" to turn to for answers about ultimate meaning or purpose. Meaning and purpose would have to evolve along with God's increasingly complex forms of awareness. The thing is: All of this can be said without using the word "God" and I'd say that the real meaning of the process is clearer if we avoid the word. (Things get more messy with the non-temporal nature of the quantum vacuum, and the concept of "eternal inflation," but that's another story for another day.)
As always your participation here is appreciated, Gaylen. You routinely raise cogent points, though I would characterize them differently. The central issue I have with all those who deny the God concept can be found in a distinction between the mandates of life and those imposed by Will. It is not necessary that God Will the creation of our reality according to some purposeful plan. It is only necessary that God EXIST and live to establish everything we experience in reality as mandates ("laws," constants, physical and chemical change processes, etc.). As an easy to relate to analogue . . . our own existence establishes mandates on the cells and biota that comprise us that are separate from what we impose on them by our Will, purposes and plans. This distinction seems not to apply to God in the minds of those who would deny the existence of God AS IF it was logical. I understand why the monists would ignore any such distinction because it inherently requires dualism . . . acknowledging the difference between a merely existing life and a willful one.

Last edited by MysticPhD; 03-25-2013 at 11:38 AM..
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:45 AM
 
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Originally Posted by MysticPhD View Post
It is only necessary that God EXIST and live to establish everything we experience in reality as mandates
I am not sure if on a thread in the atheist section about the logical basis for atheism that a statement that gods existence is "necessary" is going to seem useful to anyone. You are essentially just trying to define yourself into being correct in the things you have simply made up.
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Old 03-26-2013, 06:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
To see the problem here, let's suppose that some neuroscientists implant some electrodes in your brain and accidently trigger a type of experience that no creature on earth has ever experienced before. Let's assume that the scientists can describe the activity of every atom in your brain that is correlated with this weird experience. Will they know what it is like for you to have that experience?
Why does this question matter in regards to materialism being unable to explain brain function? I'd expect it would be hard to explain something with no common frame of reference regardless of whether or not brain function were strictly material or if it were powered by rainbow unicorn farts (or anything in between).

Quote:
But from a philosophical perspective, to seek a "correlation" of this sort is to already accept a sort of property dualism.
No more than seeing a correlation in a study of blood pressure medicine means you accept that particular disease is unexplainable by materialism.

Quote:
Notice there is an important difference between objective theoretical knowledge about a physical state, and the first-person phenomenal experience of being that physical state. This implies a form of property dualism, even though folks who want to think of themselves as pure materialists struggle mightily to avoid acknowledging the implicit dualism.
This whole thing seems circular - if we assume that there's a fundamental difference between physical state and the thoughts those states are responsible for, then we of course we need something to explain the difference. But why make that assumption in the first place? Sure, it's easier to use different language or different levels of abstraction to describe them, but that doesn't imply that there's some gap. There's a whole lot of evidence that those subjective states operate in lock-step with the physical processes and no evidence of anything else going on. While there certainly are a lot of unknowns, what is there that requires us to make all sorts of assumptions about feelings being some sort of special case?

Quote:
It might be a mystery that cannot be solved, but this doesn't mean we should run around declaring that there is no mystery.
I'm not arguing that there's no unknowns, I'm just saying that it's a stretch to jump from "wow, something we don't know" to "materialism fails".

Quote:
And, finally, getting back to the topic at hand: I would say that the mystery of subjective/objective does not force us to become theists. Putting God (in the sense of an Intelligent Designer) into the picture does not solve anything. All it does is add a whole new host of mysteries. [/font][/color]
I have the same view about assuming one particular type of biological process is fundamentally different from all others.
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Old 03-26-2013, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Kent, Ohio
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Originally Posted by KCfromNC View Post
This whole thing seems circular - if we assume that there's a fundamental difference between physical state and the thoughts those states are responsible for, then we of course we need something to explain the difference. But why make that assumption in the first place? Sure, it's easier to use different language or different levels of abstraction to describe them, but that doesn't imply that there's some gap. There's a whole lot of evidence that those subjective states operate in lock-step with the physical processes and no evidence of anything else going on. While there certainly are a lot of unknowns, what is there that requires us to make all sorts of assumptions about feelings being some sort of special case?
Once again I need to bitchhh and moan because this discussion really should be going on over in the philosophy forum ( http://www.city-data.com/forum/philosophy/1804514-chaos-qualia-consciousness-its-time-solve.html ), but I want to respond in situ, so to speak, so here goes:


As I said, I don't think we need to be Cartesian dualists (i.e., we don't need to say that reality is composed of two different kinds of "stuff"), but I think we do need to at least acknowledge a deeply mysterious epistemological gap between subjective/objective (or, given a particular process, "X": "the unique feeling of being process X" vs. "the multiply instantiated feelings of observing process X"). If your brain is exposed and hooked up to a bunch of equipment, then you and dozens of other people in the room can agree on what your brain looks like, and you can all agree on the data that is being recorded by the equipment. But there is another set of empirical data that it seems only one person in the room can access. That data is the qualitative feeling of being "me, here, now" - feeling "this sensation in my left elbow, and this sensation of color, and this vague sense of dread," etc. There is absolutely nothing in any strictly materialist theory that can even remotely predict that this additional set of data exists. And, frankly, insofar as the strictly materialist premises are concerned, there is absolutely no logical reason why anyone in the room, other than you, should even believe you when you say that this other set of data exists. We can all observe the public data and agree that some activity in your brain is related to activity in your elbow, and in this sense we can all agree that your brain is, perhaps, receiving input from your elbow, but according to materialism, none of us - not even you - should have any knowledge about any qualitative "sensation" in your elbow. Accordign to materialism, once we all agree on the list of publicly observable data recording activity in your body, then that should be it. There should be no other data to consider.

Now, of course, as human beings, we do in fact all know, intuitively, that there are other data to consider. When you say "I have this sensation in my elbow," we can all imagine what it is like for you to have access to this additional data. If you are more specific, such as: "It feels like I hit my funny bone" then suddenly, via empathy, we can all imagine more specifically what it feels like to be you at this moment. If there is no such thing as a perspective that cannot be fully reduced to a publicly observable set of data, then there is no such thing as the feelings of being "me, here, now, feeling this sensation," etc. But this "me, here, now" perspective is precisely what is most directly known to any of us. This perspective is the ONLY perspective that we can know with absolute certainty. With the help of imagination and empathy, I can reasonably infer that other people in the room are experiencing their own subjective variations of what I subjectively experience as being the publicly-observable data (a pinkish lumpy object hooked up to wires, etc.), and I think it would be foolish for me to be a radical skeptic about other minds, but I think it would be even more foolish to pretend that this extra non-public set of data exists.

Just to be clear: I am NOT saying that I am not a physical process. I AM a physical process, and as such I am a publicly observable process. But a physical process (or, at least, some types of physical processes), can be more than what can be known via publicly-observable data. This is where strict materialism fails to capture some important aspects of what it means to be “physical.” As a fundamental theory, materialism utterly fails to predict the existence of non-public data. A theory that fails to predict important data is a disproven theory. We might continue to apply the theory just because it works well to some extent and we don’t have an alternative theory that makes better predictions at the moment, but we still need to acknowledge the failure. By acknowledging the failures of the current theory, we are motivated to find a better theory. This is important for progress. Acknowledging the failure of materialism does not mean that we have to abandon naturalism/science, nor does it mean that we have to become theists. What it does mean (I think) is that we need to find some way to incorporate qualia (or “proto-qualia” or “intrinsic subjectivity” or some such thing) into our fundamental physics. How to do this is a huge mystery at the moment, but I think that, rationally, we need to acknowledge this mystery, rather than wave our hands and pretend that there is no mystery.

BTW, I’ve read a lot by Dan Dennett, Paul and Patricia Churchland, Wittgenstein, Ryle, and various other folks who have been trying to argue that the qualia don’t exist, or that the hard problem is based on a category mistake, or we’ve been “bewitched by language,” etc. and I respect what they are trying to do, but I just can’t buy their arguments. I still keep on the lookout for some way to “dissolve” the hard problem (and thus avoid actually having to solve it), but as of right now I don’t feel optimistic about that, so my main focus is on solving the problem by finding some way to incorporate some notion of qualia/subjectivity into a naturalistic theory in a way that allows us to actually predict the emergence of consciousness from the kinds of physical processes we have available on the surface of the earth. I’ve provided a few more thoughts about this in the philosophy forum.
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Old 03-26-2013, 11:59 AM
 
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If 'qualia' (using this language of objects and thingness) were inherently subjective it seems there would be no way to incorporate it into a theory - there would have to be multiple theories for each individual qualitative state. The area of the brain where we experience the processes is different than the area where the processes originate and flow to this area - it would be sorta like an interpreter modual depending on eachs brains processing capabilities - and if each brains processing capabilities are slightly different then that potentially means that there is no objectivity to even the physical processes themsleves - at least at the level of the medium (the brain) in which these inputs are being processed.

Just musing!
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Old 03-26-2013, 12:32 PM
 
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Once again I need to bitchhh and moan because this discussion really should be going on over in the philosophy forum ( http://www.city-data.com/forum/philosophy/1804514-chaos-qualia-consciousness-its-time-solve.html ), but I want to respond in situ, so to speak, so here goes:`
I feel your pain, Gaylen . . . but the people who need the education about these issues the most are right here in the Religion Forum and its subforums (Atheism). They are clueless about these issues and you are such a superior presenter of them (compared to my efforts at least) that I will not facilitate drawing you away from here. I am not certain if it is a knee jerk intellectual blockage and bias against me and anything I say . . . or if I am actually that bad at articulating the issues. I accept that you do not yet see the need for theism to answer the issues raised . . . but I do. The point is getting the closed minds around here to actually understand that there are real issues here and to grasp what those real issues are.
Quote:
As I said, I don't think we need to be Cartesian dualists (i.e., we don't need to say that reality is composed of two different kinds of "stuff"), but I think we do need to at least acknowledge a deeply mysterious epistemological gap between subjective/objective (or, given a particular process, "X": "the unique feeling of being process X" vs. "the multiply instantiated feelings of observing process X"). If your brain is exposed and hooked up to a bunch of equipment, then you and dozens of other people in the room can agree on what your brain looks like, and you can all agree on the data that is being recorded by the equipment. But there is another set of empirical data that it seems only one person in the room can access. That data is the qualitative feeling of being "me, here, now" - feeling "this sensation in my left elbow, and this sensation of color, and this vague sense of dread," etc. There is absolutely nothing in any strictly materialist theory that can even remotely predict that this additional set of data exists. And, frankly, insofar as the strictly materialist premises are concerned, there is absolutely no logical reason why anyone in the room, other than you, should even believe you when you say that this other set of data exists. We can all observe the public data and agree that some activity in your brain is related to activity in your elbow, and in this sense we can all agree that your brain is, perhaps, receiving input from your elbow, but according to materialism, none of us - not even you - should have any knowledge about any qualitative "sensation" in your elbow. Accordign to materialism, once we all agree on the list of publicly observable data recording activity in your body, then that should be it. There should be no other data to consider.

Now, of course, as human beings, we do in fact all know, intuitively, that there are other data to consider. When you say "I have this sensation in my elbow," we can all imagine what it is like for you to have access to this additional data. If you are more specific, such as: "It feels like I hit my funny bone" then suddenly, via empathy, we can all imagine more specifically what it feels like to be you at this moment. If there is no such thing as a perspective that cannot be fully reduced to a publicly observable set of data, then there is no such thing as the feelings of being "me, here, now, feeling this sensation," etc. But this "me, here, now" perspective is precisely what is most directly known to any of us. This perspective is the ONLY perspective that we can know with absolute certainty. With the help of imagination and empathy, I can reasonably infer that other people in the room are experiencing their own subjective variations of what I subjectively experience as being the publicly-observable data (a pinkish lumpy object hooked up to wires, etc.), and I think it would be foolish for me to be a radical skeptic about other minds, but I think it would be even more foolish to pretend that this extra non-public set of data exists.

Just to be clear: I am NOT saying that I am not a physical process. I AM a physical process, and as such I am a publicly observable process. But a physical process (or, at least, some types of physical processes), can be more than what can be known via publicly-observable data. This is where strict materialism fails to capture some important aspects of what it means to be “physical.” As a fundamental theory, materialism utterly fails to predict the existence of non-public data. A theory that fails to predict important data is a disproven theory. We might continue to apply the theory just because it works well to some extent and we don’t have an alternative theory that makes better predictions at the moment, but we still need to acknowledge the failure. By acknowledging the failures of the current theory, we are motivated to find a better theory. This is important for progress. Acknowledging the failure of materialism does not mean that we have to abandon naturalism/science, nor does it mean that we have to become theists. What it does mean (I think) is that we need to find some way to incorporate qualia (or “proto-qualia” or “intrinsic subjectivity” or some such thing) into our fundamental physics. How to do this is a huge mystery at the moment, but I think that, rationally, we need to acknowledge this mystery, rather than wave our hands and pretend that there is no mystery.

BTW, I’ve read a lot by Dan Dennett, Paul and Patricia Churchland, Wittgenstein, Ryle, and various other folks who have been trying to argue that the qualia don’t exist, or that the hard problem is based on a category mistake, or we’ve been “bewitched by language,” etc. and I respect what they are trying to do, but I just can’t buy their arguments. I still keep on the lookout for some way to “dissolve” the hard problem (and thus avoid actually having to solve it), but as of right now I don’t feel optimistic about that, so my main focus is on solving the problem by finding some way to incorporate some notion of qualia/subjectivity into a naturalistic theory in a way that allows us to actually predict the emergence of consciousness from the kinds of physical processes we have available on the surface of the earth. I’ve provided a few more thoughts about this in the philosophy forum.
As long as you buy into that "emergence" euphemism . . . we are unlikely to agree on the conclusions. However, you are a good presenter of the issues.
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Old 03-26-2013, 07:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Gaylenwoof View Post
Once again I need to bitchhh and moan because this discussion really should be going on over in the philosophy forum ( Chaos, Qualia, and Consciousness: It's time to solve the Hard Problem ), but I want to respond in situ, so to speak, so here goes:

As I said, I don't think we need to be Cartesian dualists (i.e., we don't need to say that reality is composed of two different kinds of "stuff"), but I think we do need to at least acknowledge a deeply mysterious epistemological gap between subjective/objective (or, given a particular process, "X": "the unique feeling of being process X" vs. "the multiply instantiated feelings of observing process X"). If your brain is exposed and hooked up to a bunch of equipment, then you and dozens of other people in the room can agree on what your brain looks like, and you can all agree on the data that is being recorded by the equipment. But there is another set of empirical data that it seems only one person in the room can access. That data is the qualitative feeling of being "me, here, now" - feeling "this sensation in my left elbow, and this sensation of color, and this vague sense of dread," etc. There is absolutely nothing in any strictly materialist theory that can even remotely predict that this additional set of data exists. And, frankly, insofar as the strictly materialist premises are concerned, there is absolutely no logical reason why anyone in the room, other than you, should even believe you when you say that this other set of data exists. We can all observe the public data and agree that some activity in your brain is related to activity in your elbow, and in this sense we can all agree that your brain is, perhaps, receiving input from your elbow, but according to materialism, none of us - not even you - should have any knowledge about any qualitative "sensation" in your elbow. Accordign to materialism, once we all agree on the list of publicly observable data recording activity in your body, then that should be it. There should be no other data to consider.

Now, of course, as human beings, we do in fact all know, intuitively, that there are other data to consider. When you say "I have this sensation in my elbow," we can all imagine what it is like for you to have access to this additional data. If you are more specific, such as: "It feels like I hit my funny bone" then suddenly, via empathy, we can all imagine more specifically what it feels like to be you at this moment. If there is no such thing as a perspective that cannot be fully reduced to a publicly observable set of data, then there is no such thing as the feelings of being "me, here, now, feeling this sensation," etc. But this "me, here, now" perspective is precisely what is most directly known to any of us. This perspective is the ONLY perspective that we can know with absolute certainty. With the help of imagination and empathy, I can reasonably infer that other people in the room are experiencing their own subjective variations of what I subjectively experience as being the publicly-observable data (a pinkish lumpy object hooked up to wires, etc.), and I think it would be foolish for me to be a radical skeptic about other minds, but I think it would be even more foolish to pretend that this extra non-public set of data exists.

Just to be clear: I am NOT saying that I am not a physical process. I AM a physical process, and as such I am a publicly observable process. But a physical process (or, at least, some types of physical processes), can be more than what can be known via publicly-observable data. This is where strict materialism fails to capture some important aspects of what it means to be “physical.” As a fundamental theory, materialism utterly fails to predict the existence of non-public data. A theory that fails to predict important data is a disproven theory. We might continue to apply the theory just because it works well to some extent and we don’t have an alternative theory that makes better predictions at the moment, but we still need to acknowledge the failure. By acknowledging the failures of the current theory, we are motivated to find a better theory. This is important for progress. Acknowledging the failure of materialism does not mean that we have to abandon naturalism/science, nor does it mean that we have to become theists. What it does mean (I think) is that we need to find some way to incorporate qualia (or “proto-qualia” or “intrinsic subjectivity” or some such thing) into our fundamental physics. How to do this is a huge mystery at the moment, but I think that, rationally, we need to acknowledge this mystery, rather than wave our hands and pretend that there is no mystery.

BTW, I’ve read a lot by Dan Dennett, Paul and Patricia Churchland, Wittgenstein, Ryle, and various other folks who have been trying to argue that the qualia don’t exist, or that the hard problem is based on a category mistake, or we’ve been “bewitched by language,” etc. and I respect what they are trying to do, but I just can’t buy their arguments. I still keep on the lookout for some way to “dissolve” the hard problem (and thus avoid actually having to solve it), but as of right now I don’t feel optimistic about that, so my main focus is on solving the problem by finding some way to incorporate some notion of qualia/subjectivity into a naturalistic theory in a way that allows us to actually predict the emergence of consciousness from the kinds of physical processes we have available on the surface of the earth. I’ve provided a few more thoughts about this in the philosophy forum.
This is a very good exposition of a difficult subject. You will understand that it seems to us non –philosophers a good deal of worry about nothing ,but I can see how it does raise questions – hard questions – about the inability of naturalistic materialism to account for our feelings or Qualia. And I can respect the obligation of philosophers to have to go with the reasoning to a dualism view in the absence of any explanation of how the physical body can produce ‘consciousness’. I don’t myself feel any particular concern about the implications for materialism as a preferred theory, but that doesn’t mean that I am right. I also recognize the impossibility of an individual being able to prove what his feelings are, but that doesn’t mean that they are not real. Nor is it difficult to develop ideas expressed in language that strike us as what we feel ourselves. About music, art, colour or pain. Thus, while we cannot know for sure what are the consciousness- experiences of others, it seems to me that there is no sound reason to suppose that they are anything other than what we experience ourselves. Of course, there are differences in our response and perhaps that might indicate that they are a product of the individual mind rather than a shared participation in something ’outside’. But I may be misunderstanding the argument.

The main contention seems to be whether there is, as you say,any reason to think that failure of materialism to predict or explain Qualia implies that we should suppose that it cannot ever do so. As I remarked to Mystic; the hard question is a question; not an answer.

As an analogy, the problems for physics cause by quantum appear to me to be similar. A unified theory cannot at the moment incorporate both classical physics and quantum physics. Reason tells us that ithas to do so and there is no reason to take seriously a suggestion that ‘something outside’ (Alias ‘God’) is doing two irreconcilable physical things which, without tthat ‘something’ could not both exist together. Indications are that the quantum physics and the hard question of a unified theory may eventually be answered and so I wonder whether it is really unjustified to suppose that the Hard question could be answered with a monist explanation in the future – or not, because, since we haven’t the answer – only the question, we cannot opt for belief one way or the other and ‘don’t know’ is a perfectly good logical position.

Now, there is a question of we atheists being accused of rejecting the implications of a dualist theory of consciousness because it is flavor of the month evidence for God. In my case at least, I don’t mind how it turns out as wherever the evidence leads is where we have to follow. It is well observed (rather to theists’ annoyance) that as soon as something is scientifically proven it become the stuff of science and is rather ‘lost’ to theism. Of course, some evidence may turn up that sets that aside, but at the moment, science has produced a lot of materialist evidence and philosophy, it seems to me, produces interesting hypotheses and questions which science will have to answer but philosophy cannot as it doesn’t use those tools.
I believe we have touched on this matter before and it is the reason why, though the discussion of the philosophy of the hard question may be appropriate to the philosophy forum, the implications of the discussion is of relevance to the atheism forum.

While Biblegod is a concept that we can be sure doesn’t exist, a sort of ‘cosmic mind’ or universal consciousness which some are anxious to label ‘God’ is one about which we don’t know one way or the other. Despite the efforts of some to persuade us that philosophy alone can ‘prove’ that it must exist.

I’m not asking you to engage on that discussion, which seems pretty fruitless at the moment, but I would like your comments on the points that I put as they do express the difficulty I have with the apparent or supposed implications of the Hard Question for the naturalistic –materialism standpoint.
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