Topic: Theories of Consciousness

Camp: Agreement / Approachable Via Science / Representational Qualia / Mind-Brain Identity / Representational Material / Macro Materialism

Camp Statement


Non Quantum or Macro Material Property Dualism


While quantum theories look to quantum weirdness to find solutions to issues of consciousness, Non Quantum or Macro Material Property dualism predicts not only that all issues of consciousness can be resolved with classical or macro level physics, it also predicts it will be far more productive to theorize about and search for such at the classical or macro physical level.
The specific method for which the phenomenal properties of consciousness predicted in Material Property Dualism are bond together so we can be aware of them all at the same time is obviously yet to be discovered. There are multiple possible theories being proposed. Stuart Hameroff's popular competing sub camp Penrose-Hameroff Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch OR) theory predicts this is achieved via some type of orchastrated quantum process which is one yet to be falsified possobility held by many.
But when diving down into this 'weird' sub atomic quantum layer with traditional abstracted observation techniques, we are still unable to detect (or eff, if you will) any phenomenal qualities which are subject to the quale interpretation problem. It is these phenomenal qualities, and what they are like, that are the hardest problem. Once you have that, a mechanism to bind them together into one 'painted' phenomenal experience seems relatively easy. Steven Lehars gestalt wave theory is one promising candidate. (see: http://sharp.bu.edu/~slehar/HRezBook/HRezBook.html) Because of this, we assume subatomic quantum mechanics isn't necessary for consciousness. We believe it is most likely that phenomenal qualities, and abilities to bind them together into unified experiences, exists at the classical macro physical level. We believe it will be far more productive to look for them at the macro physical level, using the various strong and weak 'effing' of the ineffable techniques.

Idealized Effing Theory World

'Effing of the ineffable' is a general idea that could work within the predictions being made by most of the leading theories. One problem is, some of these theories, such as quantum theories, or functional property dualism, are quite difficult to fully understand on their own, without adding the added difficulty of understanding effing of the ineffable principles. To better understand how effing of the ineffable can work it helps to first imagine a simplified or idealized theory in which such effing is possible. The goal being to fully impart a good understanding of simple effing of the ineffable techniques in a way that will enable theoreticians and neural scientists to apply the same effing principles in their experimental search for ineffable qualities, and consciousness in all leading theories and ultimately in the real world.
Towards this end, we describe the following trivialized "Idealized Effing Theory World" as a subset of the already relatively simple compared to competing theories, Macro Material Property Dualism theory.
In this idealized world, we first start with some classical element that could have an ineffable phenomenal quality, like redness. In reality, this could be anything from quantum effects to some form of electromagnetic phenomenon, but to simplify things, in this world we'll endow something more solid like a random neurotransmitter such as glutamate.
We intuitively think of something out there, like a strawberry as having a 'red' quality. Material Property Dualism simply predicts that this intuitive notion of elements in nature having such phenomenal properties is correct, it's just that it is not the strawberry out there that has the redness quality, it is something in our brain, or what our knowledge of the strawberry is made of, that has the redness phenomenal quality. In the idealized theory world, this would be glutamate. For grenness, we'll say it's another random neurotransmitter like say glycine.
Just like when we think of the light reflecting off of the strawberry, because of its redness quality, this theory predicts we should instead think of redness as a property of glutamate, and the downstream causal effects of glutamate we already understand, are occurring because of these qualities which suffer from the quale interpretation problem.

Phenomenally Painting Conscious Experience

In this idealized world, our brain uses the qualities of various neurotransmitters to phenomenally paint conscious knowledge of things like a strawberry patch. Neurons representing the point in 3D space where there is the surface of a red strawberries fire with glutamate, giving us our redness experience of them, and neurons representing the leaves fire with glycine, giving us our green knowledge of them. This results in an idealized set of voxel neurons representing the 3D space of the strawberry patch, filled with 3D models of red items that we want, and green items we want to avoid.
If there is a strawberry in our left field of vision and a leaf in the right, the phenomenal knowledge of each will be in opposite hemispheres of the brain. Some way, surely via the corpus callosum, these are all bound together so we can be aware of the redness of the strawberries, and the greenness of the leaves, both at the same time. This binding process enables us to experience the redness, greenness, and everything else we experience with them, in such a unified way that we know, absolutely, what redness is like, and how this is different than grenness. This binding process, whatever it is, is where and how strong 'effing' of the ineffable takes place.
Panpsychism is the view that minds are a universal part of everything in nature. Panexperientialism is slightly less drastic, and is just the idea that: "subjective experience is more ubiquitous than we think". Macro Material Property Dualism is even more basic than this. It is simply the idea that there are phenomenal qualities of at least something in nature. It is agnostic as to whether things outside our brain might have them, but it is certainly open to the possibility. All that is necessary, is that something in our brain has, or is responsible for the phenomenal qualities we experience.
In this simplified theoretical world which the gods might create, they could grant a very large single neuron the ability to do this phenomenal binding. This necessarily very large single neuron has receptors from every neuron 'painting' our phenomenal knowledge of the strawberry patch. Of course, in nature, much more than a single neuron would be required. Not only must it bind together all of our phenomenal knowledge of the redness and greenness, it must also decorate this knowledge with our semantic understanding of the objects, such as the cognitive the warmth of redness, the strawberrieness of the strawberries, the memory of sweet strawberry juice we reliably experience when we bite the reddest ones, the girl we might seduce with by sharing a deep red one with her, and so on.
This idealized single super neuron must also be integrated into our knowledge of ourselves as having the intentionality of picking the red ones, and avoiding the green ones. Our free will is painted as wanting to pick the red ones. This is the level where these phenomenal properties must have cause in the objective causal world. The phenomenal redness is the quality that causes our intentionality to pick them, and it is the greenness qualities that causes us to avoid green things, all according to our painted knowledge of our free will enabling us to chose to pick the strawberries from the leaves.
David chalmers argues that Functional Property Dualism is more likely because of the Transmigration issue. We assume this issue can be resolved with whatever the system is that behaves as this binding super neuron. We predict that you will be able to replace the entire binding neuron, and all the phenomenal 'paint' that is bound together, in a way that you can interpret the entire system as 'behaving' as if it really knows what redness is like. But it is predicted, that you will not be able to replace the individual pixels, or parts of the system representing by the single neuron doing the binding, without there being the 'dancing' or 'fading' quale David Chalmers predicts is a possibility at some level or for the pixel being replaced.
In other words, once we can 'eff' the ineffable, and know what the simulated brain is really 'thinking', we'll know that it is lying, via properly interpreting its abstracted knowledge, as if it were really like redness. And boy, will it be in for a big surprise when/if we can 'eff' to it what my redness is really like.

Support Tree for "Macro Materialism" Camp

Current Topic Record:

Topic Name : Theories of Consciousness
Name Space : /general/

Current Camp Record:

Camp Name : Macro Materialism
Keywords : Macro, Property, Dualism
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