August 02, 2006

New physics to accommodate experience

Anand Rangarajan Says: July 31st, 2006 at 11:08 am I’m not accusing Andy Smith of saying that “consciousness can’t be accommodated into the physical”. I’m merely pointing out that the word physical can be redefined to include experience. This is very different from Chalmers’ property dualism. In fact Stoljar repudiates Chalmers’ statement that “consciousness is not logically supervenient on the physical” by claiming ignorance of the physical in his book “Ignorance and Imagination.” Consciousness need not be a fundamental propery since it can now supervene - depend on - a nonexperiential physical property.
As for involutionary givens, what Wilber says in the beginning of footnote 26 to Excerpt A is “Put differently, are there any givens that seem to have existed prior to the Big Bang?” Since Stoljar claims ignorance of the true physical, he can claim that the Big Bang, particles, fields , spacetime and - yes, and - experience are generated by the true underlying physical nature of the Kosmos. We just don’t know what it is. For example, particles, fields and spacetime could be a quantum computing simulation and this is exactly the approach taken by Seth Lloyd in his book “Programming the Universe.
Stoljar’s fundamental point is that by simulatenously appealing to an underlying physicalism and by appealing to present ignorance of that physical, we can move forward on the hard problem. So, there’s no need for an a priori idealism, materialism, panpsychism, dual aspect or property dualism. Now, generating a positive proposal on a redefined physical that can accommodate experience may be hard, but not as hard as the original hard problem. And, it does not have to be the “true” physical - whatever that means - but merely a physical that can accommodate experience.
Anand Rangarajan Says: July 31st, 2006 at 4:35 pm Speaking for myself here, since we don’t know what the contours of a new physics will be - i.e. a new physics that accommodates experience - we have to be speculative. One such speculation is that there is a top down irreducibly perspectival aspect to the Kosmos. That is, perhaps experience is supervenient - depends on - perspectives shaped by and shaping a quantum computing base. If this is the way a future physics will proceed, I do not see why it cannot incorporate postmodern insights (regarding enactment of a world, creation of different perspectives etc.) along the way. After all, it is hard to have experience without perspective.
Anand Rangarajan Says: August 1st, 2006 at 3:56 am For something as mysterious as consciousness, it makes sense to adopt IMP (integral methodological pluralism). However, to be a devil’s advocate for a moment, why 8 perspectives, why not 64 or just 2 for that matter? What makes these perspectives fundamentally different? Do some perspectives supervene on other perspectives? Given the importance of perspective to the problem of experience, we need a model of perspective - which would lead to a metaperspective.
Anand Rangarajan Says: August 1st, 2006 at 7:34 am I’m sorry but I find Wilber’s notions of quadrants and AQAL to be deeply problematic. While AQAL is tremendously helpful in a taxonomy sort of way (in categorizing methodologies), I’m stumped by Wilber’s notions of interior/exterior and individual/collective. Interior/exterior of what exactly? Doesn’t interior/exterior imply a boundary? What is the nature of that boundary? And individual/collective similarly implies notions of classification of subjects/objects into types. What’s the origin of that? Don’t get me wrong. I know WIlber is held in very high esteem here and I’ve certainly benefited a great deal (in terms of spiritual growth) from his books. I need a more fundamental theory of the origin of interior/exterior, individual/collective and of perspectives. And after discussing Wilber with Keith Sutherland (Journal of Consciousness Studies editor - ) and Dave Chalmers, I think (not sure) that they have a similar opinion.

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