31 Oct 2011
Ideal Monism is a world view which posits that the principal world substance is information.
All theory is information. The state of the physical universe at any instant is information. Genetics is information. All life is informed. Psychological states are information. Moral code is information. Information alone provides a common ground between the world of what is and the world of what ought to be. Thus it is not that information is physical but that the physical is meaningless without information. A multiverse is almost entirely an informational entity.
The above positive statement is deduced from the theory of science beginning from no presupposition. Whereas it is often argued that philosophy, "Answers no real questions", such a statement can only be categoric if we can point to one real question which philosophy does answer. We believe that question to be "What is science?" We believe it can give the answer to the nature of knowledge itself.
Briefly, to ask "What is science?" is to already call something "science" and to wish to understand it better. We cannot begin with any definition or presupposition. We cannot assume an a priori unless it is first established. Thus we must begin by unknowing all we know. We must remove all our knowledge by an act of thought, for there is no other way. This leaves us with outlining the limits or constraints into which science or any knowledge must fall. These are
1. that there is something to know, the content of experience 2. that there is an activity to do the knowing 3. that the 'gap' between these is closed
There is already a philosophic consensus that constraint 1 is experience in general. Experience provides the prompt to induce 2 to act. The gap can only be closed if there is a qualitative identity between some part of the content and the activity itself. There is only one human activity which fulfills this condition. We experience our own thought content and produce it ourselves. Therefore unless ideas and concepts, i.e. information, actually exist out there in experience then all knowledge and science is impossible. So it was written "In the beginning was the Word ... " for the Logos is the actually existent world information system.
The quality of thinking, ideas, concepts and all information is that it is absent - a better characterisation than 'abstract'. Thinking has no qualitative phenomenality of its own. Thinking and its products exist only in a negative sense, i.e. they do not stand out in experience but constitute the medium of all experience.
Experience when analysed reduces to qualia. Qualia are therefore elemental and this comprises their ineffability. To get 'behind' qualia and say how they are formed consequently means to remove them from the experiential field. Only in this way can their elemental character be overcome. So it is a matter of elevating and enhancing consciousness by its own effort to be able to do this.
At present science creates relations between phenomena. Then it moves to regions of thought which only take a point of departure from phenomenal experience. The last step would be to move to entirely sense-percept-free or qualia-free thinking. Such thinking would move entirely in the world of cosmic information.
The Objection to the Representational Qualia Theory (RQT).
RQT assumes that physical science is generally true and then undermines that certainty to the point of being absurd.
According to RQT a quale is the end result of a process. Here we agree, with the qualification that it is a dual process - a chain of observed percepts which ends but then there is a non-observed subjective process. For example, light reflects from a white cue ball on a green beize table, is modified through the eye, transformed into nervous impulses etc. The second process places the colours of the ball and table out there in experience.
RQT proposes that the shape, size and weight of the cue ball are objective. This means that quantitative measures have a very close resemblance (usually thought of as identical) in the ball and the mind alike. But how do you know the ball is round? Because of the difference between the white and the green. Adding a measuring device makes no difference because again it is the subject who places the grey of the steel rule and its black markings into the experiential field. A little thought shows that all quantitative measures fall to the ground for the same reason. Therefore RQT reduces all physical science to absurdity by disqualifying all measure.
The conclusion has to be that the metaphysical presumption of the primacy of the quantitative over the qualitative in reality is an epistemological error. Qualia precede quanta.
For RQT a percept is a representation of a reality. This identity might be expressed
For Ideal Monism the percept is reality minus truth.
p = R - T
where T = truth
The percept can contain neither truth nor error. Qualia are zero points or origins on the axis of truth and error. For example, upon analysis every optical illusion is a _conceptual error. This view of the percept validates the experimental method which verifies or falsifies theory by its reference to new percepts. The percept is never wrong because it is simply fact. When there is a discrepancy between fact and theory it is always the theory which must be altered. You cannot but cannot change the fact. Percepts gain truth or error through their relation to other percepts, i.e. through the concepts we add to them.
For Ideal Monism a representation (Vorstellung - something which 'shines forth' in the mind) is a synonym for memory image and the latter is a concept individualised through the experience of a percept. It is a paler, more lifeless internal percept.
r = p(c)
where c is a concept which may be true or false.
The nature of a representation continues to be a prime source of confusion in philosophy.