Topic: Theories of Consciousness

Camp: Agreement / Approachable Via Science / Representational Qualia / Mind-Brain Identity / Material Property Dualism

Camp Statement
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Material Property Dualism



We predict David Chalmers is pushing in a mistaken direction in his effort to get a handle on this "hard problem", and that the "Principle of organizational invariance" will turn out to be a distracting waste of time. Trying to imagine how the same quale can arise from or in any way be tied to anything from water pipes, to silicon, to neurons is truly a 'hard' if not impossible problem. Instead, we think it is much more likely that there are simply some properties of particular matter in the right state, that have the subjective qualia we experience. Without the right stuff you cannot have the same quale or subjective experience.
Most theoreticians often use the term "physical process" to refer to what physical science tells us about the stuff our brain is made of, and its causes and effects. They contrast this with the subjective nature of our ideas. More often than not, terms like the following are used to relate the two: "arise from", "neural correlate", "results in", "causes", "supervenes on" and so on. We believe all such to be a mistaken terminology confusing us and leading us away from reality. It is much better to simply say that something in nature has particular phenomenal properties, just as it also has particular causal properties.
Physical sciences have classified natural elements into the periodic table. We have extensive reliable descriptions of the causal properties of this matter and how it behaves across space, time, temperature, and also at different levels such as sub atomic, molecular, chemical and biological. We don't ask why or how these elements behave as they do at these different levels, we just know that they reliably do behave that way. We make models or descriptions of such causal properties that can be reliably interpreted as behaving like them. In addition to these causal properties, this theory predicts that we will also find and map out ineffable phenomenal properties that subjects reliably experience when the matter is properly configured into the right neural correlate state. (see Note 1) We predict that in addition to the subject being able to reliably feel the same set of qualia of this matter, we will be able to causally observe the same stuff as the causes and effects of these neural correlates are unified into a physical awareness working space. Subjectively, we will be aware of the green leaves and the red strawberries that is our knowledge that allows us to choose to pick the strawberry. Causally, we will also be able to see the same neural correlate process as it unifies it all together as we watch the mechanics of how our knowledge of the stuff that has the red and green properties enables us to be subjectively aware of such, and how such allows us to choose to pick the strawberry from the leaves. We believe looking and testing for this in this way will be much more fruitful than thinking about or looking or testing for Functional Property Dualism or the idea that "red" can "arise" from anything as diverse as a properly configured set of water pipes. Asking an abstracted silicon machine that is functioning in a way that it is attempting to pass a Turing Test something like: 'what is red like for you' is just a bad idea.
Once we discover these neural correlate processes where these phenomenal properties can be unified together into a single world of conscious awareness, both subjectively and objectively, we will also find ways to share or eff these phenomenal properties between multiple brains. V.S. Ramachandran and William Hirstein were the first to propose the idea of effing the ineffable (though they didn't call it such) by connecting brains with a 'cable of neurons' in their seminal Three Laws of Qualia paper in 1997.
The main reason people feel they are compelled to accept the very hard functional property dualism centers around Hans Moravec's "Transmigration" thought experiment or Neuron Replacement Therapy. We believe this argument is a fallacy as described in this camp on that topic. Thinking that the discrete firing of the neurons, in a computer switching kind of way, does not resolve the 'binding problem'. There must be more to this phenomenal binding process than this simple discrete neural firing that causes the neural replacement thinking fallacy.
We believe "Material Property Dualism" to have significant implications for Nick Bostrom's Simulation Argument. The idea that we, along with all of our conscious awareness, can somehow arise from a "sufficiently fine grained functional isomorph" regardless of how many levels this functional isomorph is above the basement level is problematic. We see no difference from this than thinking something can come from nothing. If you know something, whether phenomenally or otherwise, there must be something fundamental that is that knowledge. This is very true for today's (potentially multilevel) abstracted simulations. There is something fundamentally real at the basement level that is representing everything at all levels that is being interpreted in a proper way to be functioning like something non virtual.
We believe that to even think our phenomenal minds could be in a simulation is to indicate one's lack of understanding of the fundamental nature of phenomenal properties, the way our brain uses such fundamental stuff to represent our knowledge, and their categorical difference from mere cause and effect behavior. We believe such an "arises from anything" idea removes these phenomenal properties so far from physical reality that it would make them completely irrelevant and arbitrary. If science effingly proves material property dualism to be true, we will know what must be the basement level is fundamentally like, and it will not be possible that this is in a simulation.
At this camp level, although the Consciousness Arises From Anything is the more popular camp, this camp currently has more expert scientific consensus as is shown when you use the 'mind expert' canonization algorithm on the side bar.
Note 1: We suspect any such mapping from something like red will not be to any single atomic element, but likely at a more complex level. Perhaps it will be some type of interference pattern between a set of elements as some kind of standing wave as is argued for by Steven Lehar here. It could also be involved at the quantum level.


Support Tree for "Material Property Dualism" Camp

Total Support for This Camp (including sub-camps):
2.75

Current Topic Record

Topic Name : Theories of Consciousness
Namespace : /General/

Current Camp Record

Camp Name : Material Property Dualism
Keywords : nature, phenomenal, matter, property, dual, causal
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