Topic: Theories of Consciousness

Camp: Agreement / Approachable Via Science / Representational Qualia / Property Dualism / Panexperientialism / Multisense Realism

Camp Statement
Go live Time :

It is proposed that human consciousness constitutes a specific range of sensitivities in a context of many possible sensitivities associated with all physical phenomena. At this point, having access only to our individual human consciousness, we can only generalize to a limited extent. Even in generalizing human experience, our variation in culture, age, gender, individual physiological capacities, etc prevents us from arriving at a comprehensive definition of what it is and what it is not. We know from human history that cultural bias, in the form recurring of racism, genocide, intolerance, and persecution, blinds us even to identifying with our own species, let alone the subjective experiences of other organisms. We know that whatever subjectivity is, it is prejudiced in favor of itself and against what it doesn't 'like' or what seems to be unlike itself. But what is 'itself'? What is 'like?' How do the two relate...what is 'like itself' (or "like", itself)?
These questions are at the heart of what sense is. Multisense realism is a kind of panexperientialism in that it views the capacity to detect and be detected is the fundamental and defining principle of 'realism'. The relation between the two is what the entire cosmos, from atom to galaxy, is 'made of'. The only difference is in the way these relations are bundled together. As a subject, the relation of world to self is a perceptual experience through time. The relation of the self to the world is as a material body in a place. It is critical to understand the importance of the symmetry, that in fact, all material bodies are in places on the 'outside' and have experience (not like a human experience, but a detection-participation of some kind) on the 'inside'.
Again, our history of being able to appreciate the consciousness of other people and species is so consistently abysmal that we should know that we cannot be trusted to judge the capacities of subjective agents. We treat cartoons and stuffed animals like they are our intimate friends and people who live down the street like they are irrelevant shadows. We are not a good source for vetting the possibilities of agency. This makes sense though. We are not universal detectors of agency, we are human organisms who exist in a particular niche of intersecting phenomena of a particular range of scales and velocities. Our direct experience has a range of only about 0.1Hz to 0.3 nHz, a tiny fraction of a moment in terms of geological time or an ocean of near eternities on a subatomic chronological scale.
What does time really mean though? What is a scale? Both are ordering principles, the former which models experiences or events sequentially, and the latter which models the relations of relations as a nonsequential parallelism. Our perception of time is affected by the quality of our consciousness. 'Time flies when you're having fun', but also when you are asleep, unconscious, etc. The fundamental unit of subjective time is not the tick of a clock, but the duration and significance of experience. Suspense is a good example of how semantic content shapes our temporal orientation. A narrative can build a sense of significance which generates an anticipation of resolution. Through storytelling we can figuratively condense or expand any length of time into a hours/minutes scaled text, be it a biography, a history, or an entire cosmology. This process of analogy and iconography is what perception is all about. Making sense of ourselves and our universe by capturing what is significant for us and using a likeness of it to build more significance through it.
Sensation, sensemaking, and sense 'in the sense of' categorization allows us as people to participate as an entity 'in the world' as well as to remain separate as an invisible voyeur in our private reality tunnel. Although our perceptions often function to represent to us an objective reality, they are presentations in their own right; sensorimotive experiences which are as much the referents of neurological conditions as neurological conditions are referents of associated subjective experiences. These analogies and descriptions are not arbitrary, but neither are they fixed. Blindsight and synesthesia show us that fixed qualia are not necessary for representation, and that representation can occur without any qualia at all. Computation does not require qualia, as there is no reason to presume it would have any positive or negative effect and no plausible mechanism for its emergence in the first place.
What multisense realism proposes is that rather than a separate force of physics, consciousness arises from awareness of awareness, which arises from perception of perception, feeling of feeling, sense of sense, and detection of detection. Each level constitutes a scale, or inertial frame of perceptual-relativity. Cutting across those frames orthogonally is a range of subjective experience and objective relativity.

The nature of the range is such that the closer a particular object, person, or place is to the subject (both literally close in terms of distance and physical scale, and figuratively close in semantic terms of being 'like' or 'liked by' the subject') the more the realism of the object is couched in personal associations. A building that we live in 'seems like' home, whereas an unfamiliar building seems like it 'simply is' a building.
Ultimately all of our senses of realism are our own, so that even the 'simply is' levels of chemical and physical realities are only our experiences of the most common experiences in the universe. Our view of matter arises from the density of our bodies, their solidity and consequential relations to the other solid, liquid, and gaseous presences surrounding it and permeating it. Our models of matter fail completely from the view of a neutrino or photon. Likewise a photomultiplier's model of photons fails completely to address our human optical presentation of light.
To understand perception, we have to recognize that the symmetry of subject and object is an extrapolation of symmetry itself. A principle of reflection in which something is just like itself and exactly not like itself. Metaphor. Semiotics. Multiple senses of realism, one literal and unambiguously exclusive, and another figurative and inclusive of everything except the literal and exclusive. In one sense the self defines itself in terms of what the world is not: private, signifying, orienting, multivalent, autobiographical, teleological, etc. In another sense the self defines the world in terms of what the self is not: public, a-signifying, generic, discrete, mechanistic, etc. These senses have historically blended so that spiritual traditions apply signifying qualities to the universe and materialist or computationalist views challenge subjective animism with projecting object sensibilities internally. Both of these approaches have yielded enormous misunderstanding as well as valuable knowledge and wisdom, but there is a tendency in each approach to overstate its benefits and deny its faults, thereby progressing into an egotistical pathology of denial and projection.

Multisense realism seeks to reconcile these misunderstandings by adding to our existing objective knowledge and subjective wisdom in a way which addresses the fact that they are both real in some sense, unreal in some sense, both real and and unreal in some sense, and neither real nor unreal in some sense. Realism arises from and through the sense and symmetry between these ideas. Too much subjective reference can degenerate into magical thinking and delusional mania. Too much objective reference tends to degenerate into reactionary pseudoskepticism and self negation. Both extremes disqualify their opposing ontology into a metaphysical never never land of irrelevant epiphenomenon of either teleological superlatives (God, Spirit) or mechanical universals (evolution, randomness). The cosmology of multisense realism locates causality itself as part of the cosmos - a consequence of sequence and sense which are actually more primitive than either objects or subjects.

Critique of Representational Qualia Theory.
We should not assume that perception is passive linear mechanism.
Perception is instead a collaborative particpation.
Human perception is indeed nested within or predicated upon many other layers of detection on the somatic, cellular, molecular, and atomic levels, and that nesting does entail latency and causality, but the experiences themselves are not the cause or effect of a mechanism. Such a mechanism is nonsensical by the infinite regress of homunculi.
The assumption of information as something that exists independently and is causally efficacious is unfounded.
Information is not an independent entity, it is a condition of being informed (internally changed) by experienced events.

We do not interpret our senses rather, our senses themselves as our only way of interpreting. Not just our sense organs but our neurological sensemaking which extends and elaborates internally as thought and feeling as well as external peripheral sensation.
Sense is not abstract, it is concrete. Making sense of something is a sensorimotive event with a neurological correlate, not an abstraction floating around in a disembodied state as 'data'.
1. Blue is not a representation of 'abstract information'. Information is abstract representation, not qualia. Qualia are concrete presentations in and of themselves. Whether qualia matters or not doesn't matter. As is mentioned in the Ideal Monism critique, the truthfulness of the content of blue is irrelevant to what makes it possible for blue to look blue at all.
2. Color does not need to be interpreted to be experienced. Blueness itself may have many meanings and associations, some personal, some cultural, some visually universal. It is a visual feeling that need not correlate to any particular referent.
3. Not all representation is anomalous. Some qualia have iconic properties rather than just indexical or symbolic. Blue could very well be a concrete presentation of molecular experiences or an enhancement or augmentation thereof.
Qualia cannot be reduced to function. Is the relevance of a beautiful sunset merely to inform the perceiver that it is no longer daytime? Or that the Earth is rotating? If so, it was not very successful in imparting the fact of the Earth's rotation for most of human history. The truth is that qualia have no functional validity whatsoever. There is no plausible adaptation value to a fictional abstraction layer in consciousness when any 'information' would be transmitted much more effectively as itself directly. A computer can run programs just as well with or without a monitor plugged into it. All programs running on it must be compiled into the same binary instruction code - no poetic adornments are required or recommended to improve function.
Blindsight and visual agnosia directly contradicts RQT as it demonstrates both representation without qualia and qualia without representation.
There is nothing red about 650nm electromagnetic radiation. Red is a sensorimotive experience of ocular and neural microbiota scaled up to a larger and slower inertial frame. The red that we see is biological, mammalian, and hominid as well as physical. There is a correlation with physical changes of that frequency (~461,200 Hz) and molecules within the retinal cells of course, but our experience does not represent those changes, it presents changes which relate to our experience as whole persons in an anthropologically scaled view of the world.
Perception is not a solipsistic simulation. The fact that our phenomenally red strawberry does not match the measurements of all possible observers and instruments does not mean that the realism of the strawberry is not as authoritative as any or all other measurements. Multisense realism proposes that our naive perception is a valid, albeit cumbersome frame of reference in the universe. We are seeing a red strawberry. A camera is detecting something that is not a strawberry, or a fruit, or a living organism, but it's own molecules response to illuminated objects in its environment on it's scale.
The ineffable nature of qualia stems from the inherent privacy of subjectivity. Only if we can share selves will we be able to know that we are sharing qualia, however there is not reason to assume that qualia would be any more variable than any other cultural or genetic traits. There are human ranges of qualia, culutral ranges, family ranges, gender ranges, individual ranges, etc
There is nothing in the activity of the nervous system to suggest the possibility of any specific qualia.
Delivery of qualia should not be confused with the qualia themselves. That we are excited or not by something, say gambling, does not mean that gambling is nothing more than the fact of our being excited by it.
Qualia are not transparent, they are like specular reflections. Neither solipsistic 'representation' nor direct revelation of a literal universal identity, what we perceive is the cumulative entanglement of the significance of all experiences. Just as this sentence evokes the understanding of English written language without having to be consciously translated from pixels on your screen, our perception is shaped by our own condensed experience as well as the condensed experiences of our tissues, molecules, planet, etc. Sense recapitulates. It bridges gaps, connects the dots, jumps to conclusions, etc. It is not a passive bombardment by external stimuli, it is an collaborative yet private participation. We are antennas of antennas. Not just gears and processors, but tuners and directors.
Our world is the interference pattern of multiple perceptual inertial frames. Our world is indivisible and real on an antrhopological level - as real as a quark or galaxy, but our world is not accessible from every other frame of reference. You need to be a person to experience a person's world. A metal detector or brain image scan doesn't live in our world, it lives in it's own world which overlaps with ours in certain ways which can inform and extend our view, but it should not be confused as a replacement.
Qualia are not physical in the sense of object properties like density, mass, specific gravity, and relative position. If by physical we mean that they are concretely real and an aspect of the same reality which is shared by electromagnetic phenomenology then yes, qualia is a sensorimotive dynamic inherent in all matter and not in empty space.
Qualia is literally energy, but from the experiential perspective rather than the computational perspective. All energy is the experience of some volume of material in the universe. When we view experience outside of our own intertial frame, it is in 'black and white' - devoid of subjective significance. We experience it as mere patterns of material change. The opposite of our own proprietary feelings about the powerfully significant (gigabit color in comparison) patterns of semantic change in our own life.
Subjectivity is private, and the more subjectively rich it is, the more private and ineffable. This doesn't mean that the world in which we participate is not the real world or that what we share with each other is not authentic. To the contrary, it is as real as any possible world, and between members of the same perceptual inertial frame, it could be said that the shared world is 'more than real', from a physics standpoint.
Definitions and Commentary on Trivial and Artificial Intelligence
Trivial Awareness = Invariance (comparison (variance, invariance)) aka Pattern Matching
  Machine, computer program, inorganic molecules. Detection of difference.

Trivial Intelligence = Any quantifiable consequence of recursive enumeration.
Intelligence = Significant qualitative augmentation of subjective cognitive experience.
Cognitive experience = Motive participation in a sense channel characterized by qualities of logical symbolic abstraction.
Sense channel = Departmentalization of sense by invariance of qualia.
Motive = Causally efficacious output through any sense channel. To 'do' or to 'try' or to feel like it is possible to do or try to affect change in the content of any or all of one's own sense channels or those shared by others (including inanimate objects). We may want to break a window purely to satisfy a motive arising from the pleasurable tactile-acoustic-percussive-violent-gestural sense qualities associated with it. A motive is a open sensory circuit in a particular sense channel which attracts possible fulfillment strategies within that sense channel or across other sense channels. The completion of the circuit is dependent upon a quality of realism, so that the desire is for fulfillment in a concrete motive enactment, not merely as a logical condition. You have to care whether it is fulfilled or not.
Recursive enumeration is a cognitive experience, but intelligence is not merely a consequence of recursive enumeration, it is a qualitative enhancement of motive. Contrary to sense, motive is not departmentalized into different channels, it is the same output dynamic across all sense channels that we as human beings have access to. A machine enacted through inanimate, inorganic materials which are presumed incapable of qualities like wanting and wishing (generally associated with human or other animal awareness), are confined to Trivial Intelligence capacities rooted in simple level outputs. Electronic computers cannot develop true Intelligence because they lack the quality of motive output.
Human Consciousness = Awareness and Integration of multiple human sense channels as a personal self, ranging from trivial awareness as a physical body in a material world, to esoteric intelligence as an identity in a cosmological narrative, with many inertial frames of perception in between (as living organism, animal, mammal, human, member of a society or other affiliation, etc).
Machine or Trivial Consciousness = A self-referential program, machine (Turing Machine), operating system, or computational modeling or monitoring of computation. Confined to a single sensorimotive channel (recursive enumeration pattern matching) in which sense and motive are undifferentiated. The material hardware of a computer may be trying to complete it's natural circuits which have been hijacked by human agendas, but the program or Operating System cannot even 'try' to do. It is like Yoda - it can only do or not do. Deep Blue is programmed to satisfy the logic of winning chess, but it has no sense of personal self to invest in any teleological object. It simply executes the most quantitatively efficient strategy without hesitation or effort. To win at chess costs it nothing. It doesn't care or get tired, or know the significance of the game. It's not playing chess, it's just executing runtime.

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Topic Name : Theories of Consciousness
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Camp Name : Multisense Realism
Parent Camp : Panexperientialism
Keywords : Involuted monism, sense, symmetry, significance, cosmos
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