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The Hard Problem of Consciousness

  1. #1
    SHARK Houston
    The Hard Problem of consciousness is figuring how to derive the information of "what it is like" to be something from facts about "what it is".

    As an example, there is an apparent difference between being your objective brain state and being in your subjective mental state. The hard problem is figuring out how you come to have internal subjective states.

    It is this ability to experience at all that defines the ability for anything to matter, because subjectivity is mattering itself.

    So how can matter give rise to subjectivity? This is the hard problem.
  2. #2
    Lanny motherfucker
    Originally posted by SHARK So how can matter give rise to subjectivity? This is the hard problem.

    How can mass give rise to gravitation? We can describe gravity with reference to mass, we may even posit and find evidence for more basic fields or particles which explain the mass/gravitation relation, but at some point explanation needs to end. There's some base set of facts about what is which can't be further explained. So too with consciousness, we are in the very early days of giving neurological, chemical, and physical descriptions of consciousness and there's a lot of explanation left to give but at some level there must be some basic structure or structures of matter which give rise to consciousness simply because they do.

    But of course "some explanation exists" is not an explanation, and I think what explanation we can give of consciousness is fascinating, I just bring it up because Chalmers almost doesn't care about the explanation. I can't help but feel like the point of putting forward The Hard Problemâ„¢ and piss zombies is to force a discussion of consciousness as a first class ontological object as opposed to some kind of thing you just sorta hand wave away as a folk concept as is the trend among physicalists.
  3. #3
    mmQ Cum Lickin' Fagit
    Is this similar to like, there can't be love without hate or good without bad? If we all agreed on everything nothing would matter?
  4. #4
    Lanny motherfucker
    Originally posted by mmQ Is this similar to like, there can't be love without hate or good without bad? If we all agreed on everything nothing would matter?

    I don't think so. We could easily imagine a world wholly devoid of consciousness. Just like rocks and dirt everywhere without anything that can think or feel. So unlike the idea that "we couldn't have good without bad", it seems pretty intuitive we can have a universe devoid of consciousness which is distinct from the totally conscious universe.
  5. #5
    gadzooks Dark Matter [keratinize my mild-tasting blossoming]
    Roger Penrose is a world renowned physicist who has a (entirely speculative, of course) theory that quantum activity inside of microtubules (inside of neurons) are somehow giving rise to the emergent phenomenon of conscious experience.

    He's anything but a crackpot; a very prominent and respected scientist. But of course it is, at this point in time, mere speculation.

    The hard problem is called that for a reason. A lot of prominent philosophers have outright emphatically stated that the hard problem is, by it's very nature, irresolvable.

    Until we devise scientific equipment that can measure the immeasurable, all we're gonna get are speculative theories.
    The following users say it would be alright if the author of this post didn't die in a fire!
  6. #6
    gadzooks Dark Matter [keratinize my mild-tasting blossoming]
    Maybe Descartes was right all along and we're a bunch of ethereal non-physical entities controlling physical meat machines.
  7. #7
    mmQ Cum Lickin' Fagit
    Originally posted by Lanny I don't think so. We could easily imagine a world wholly devoid of consciousness. Just like rocks and dirt everywhere without anything that can think or feel. So unlike the idea that "we couldn't have good without bad", it seems pretty intuitive we can have a universe devoid of consciousness which is distinct from the totally conscious universe.

    So then what is the 'hard problem?' What's the problem ? Explain it to me in two sentences. :)
  8. #8
    mmQ Cum Lickin' Fagit
    Two sentences of which neither can be longer than 10 words.
  9. #9
    gadzooks Dark Matter [keratinize my mild-tasting blossoming]
    Originally posted by mmQ So then what is the 'hard problem?' What's the problem ? Explain it to me in two sentences. :)

    As much as I can't stand SHARK, I have to admit he phrased it pretty well in the OP.

    Basically, it comes down to how physical activity gives rise to mental activity.

    There is no discernible interface between the physical and mental realms.
  10. #10
    gadzooks Dark Matter [keratinize my mild-tasting blossoming]
    When your neurons send impulses to your muscles to extend your arm, what caused those initial neural impulses?
  11. #11
    Lanny motherfucker
    Originally posted by mmQ So then what is the 'hard problem?' What's the problem ? Explain it to me in two sentences. :)

    Originally posted by mmQ Two sentences of which neither can be longer than 10 words.

    "why do we have subjective experiences instead of not? Suck a kangaroo dick faggots"
  12. #12
    mmQ Cum Lickin' Fagit
    Thanks. I dont understand how not knowing that is a problem.
  13. #13
    gadzooks Dark Matter [keratinize my mild-tasting blossoming]
    Originally posted by mmQ Thanks. I dont understand how not knowing that is a problem.

    Don't gaps in your knowledge bug you?

    They certainly bug me.

    I actually have a scholarly obsession with the problems of consciousness.

    I don't even give a fuck about subatomic particles or any of that.

    I wanna know how the fuck neurons start firing in my brain instructing my body to do shit.

    Of course, if you ignore free will completely, then you can kinda circumvent that kind of thing.

    But it still doesn't explain how subjective perception is a thing.
  14. #14
    gadzooks Dark Matter [keratinize my mild-tasting blossoming]
    Ant colonies exhibit emergent behavior that is somewhat analogous to human consciousness.

    They communicate in such complex ways that they act as a single unit. That's pretty much what the cells all throughout our bodies are doing.
  15. #15
    gadzooks Dark Matter [keratinize my mild-tasting blossoming]
    One could even argue that ant colonies might be conscious in the same way that we are.

    Heck, the Gaia hypothesis states that the entire planet Earth is conscious, and we are all ants in a single colony.
  16. #16
    mmQ Cum Lickin' Fagit
    I get it . I want to know why my heart just keeps beating. What's making it do it? Why? WHY? some hearts stop at sudden times. People from ever age have died from heart stops, but most hearts just beat and beat. And they just get tired eventually I guess. It seems lucky to just have a heart that keeps beating. Like an opposite lottery where your goal is to not hit the magic number and every time your heart beats it puts a number in.
  17. #17
    gadzooks Dark Matter [keratinize my mild-tasting blossoming]
    Originally posted by mmQ I get it . I want to know why my heart just keeps beating. What's making it do it? Why? WHY? some hearts stop at sudden times. People from ever age have died from heart stops, but most hearts just beat and beat. And they just get tired eventually I guess. It seems lucky to just have a heart that keeps beating. Like an opposite lottery where your goal is to not hit the magic number and every time your heart beats it puts a number in.

    That's the brain.

    In your brainstem there's a cortical/neural network that basically acts as a clock/timer and keeps things in sync. If you damage that part of the brain, you life will cease in every way.
  18. #18
    gadzooks Dark Matter [keratinize my mild-tasting blossoming]
    That's why pacemakers are such an incredible medical discovery.

    They are literally mechanical upgrades that allow us to sustain a steady cardiac rhythm.

    Pacemaker patients are, in a sense, cyborgs.
  19. #19
    SHARK Houston
    Originally posted by Lanny How can mass give rise to gravitation? We can describe gravity with reference to mass, we may even posit and find evidence for more basic fields or particles which explain the mass/gravitation relation, but at some point explanation needs to end. There's some base set of facts about what is which can't be further explained. So too with consciousness, we are in the very early days of giving neurological, chemical, and physical descriptions of consciousness and there's a lot of explanation left to give but at some level there must be some basic structure or structures of matter which give rise to consciousness simply because they do.

    But of course "some explanation exists" is not an explanation, and I think what explanation we can give of consciousness is fascinating, I just bring it up because Chalmers almost doesn't care about the explanation. I can't help but feel like the point of putting forward The Hard Problemâ„¢ and piss zombies is to force a discussion of consciousness as a first class ontological object as opposed to some kind of thing you just sorta hand wave away as a folk concept as is the trend among physicalists.

    I think there will ultimately be some kind of reductive explanation to consciousness, as there will be to gravitation: there is a phenomenon in the world, we can explain it in terms of physical mechanics and explain every ontological fact about it in more fundamental terms.

    I think there are very good theories of information structures that would fulfill all the objective and phenomenological hallmarks of conscious experience. Nothing complete has been proposed yet IMO but I think IIT and GWS are going to ultimately come together in some kind of happy materialist marriage.
  20. #20
    mmQ Cum Lickin' Fagit
    Why then do we not yet have 130, 140 year olds on pacemakers? I understand the odds of disease in general vastly increase after peoples 60s or 70s in general, but your thinn think there would be a few people floating around on pacemakers that have avoided all the other shit and continue on past their 120s.

    Are their brain pacemakers? I guess that's life support? Question mark? Why doesnt every organ have a "pacemaker" as in a device that makes it work when it doesnt want to?

    I'm gonna invent one. The liver one. You're welcome.
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