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On absurdity of physicalism, full text

 
 
qtvali
 
Reply Sun 13 Jun, 2010 07:38 am
So, I try to put it into English what I think about life and mistakenness of current canonical paradigm about a life. There are several points, where the current (widespread amongst scientists) paradigm is simply wrong. I have made some notices about it before, also, but I try to make a few things clear. I already gave a link to it, but someone told me that it should be written out.

Intro

First, the purpose of this text:
1. To be based on repeatable experiments in strictest sense I know - anyone, anytime can repeat the "experiment" with minimal costs (possibly a few minutes). Repeatability is often taken too softly - you are supposed to have some special ability or special technology or both to repeat; I am trying to be scientifical in a very strict sense in those matters.
2. To be as empirical as possible - Kant has shown that I can't be fully empirical in sense of relying only on five senses here, but I can be empirical in sense of relying on five senses and trivial self-reflection.
3. To be based on logic and disprove a hypotheses, which is wrong. Deductively.
4. To be simple and short, which is also a kind of "scientificness" - as we don't count obscure or long text easily as science even if the only reason is that noone has time to go through it.

Thesis

So, what is a "Newtonian" belief system about consciousness (by the way, Newton himself was the opposite of Newtonian in those matters, but some points he made clear have led to this illusion).

There is such "law": The world in mechanical device, where no other qualities except the causality of events exist. Physics have no other essence. Kant told that there is no way to know thing-in-itself and many believe this elitary lie.

So. Logically - there is no way to know thing-in-itself. There is no way to experience it. There is no way, specifically, to say anything about anything except the causal qualities of nature. This is physicalism. There is logic, but there is also a set of hidden beliefs or prejudices in that - lets be exact, those are not things science has found out. Those are first axioms taken from air to set up the first axiomatic system of science itself. They are also, logically - by deduction from themselves - not falsifiable. As they are taken not falsifiable and they are defined to be simple. This is a complex philosophical question if they are simple or not - simplicity has it's subjective aspect -, but we don't have to struggle with this question; what should be our prime interest is if they are correct or wrong, not if they are simple or complex.

So, as we see - there are several basic points, which allow us to logically deduct that any statement about any thing-in-itself is impossible, thus science can't state anything about things-in-themselves and thus, scientifically, there simply is no thing-in-itself. It can't be in any scientific theory and it's not falsifiable, thus it does not exist.

Ok, this is a theoretical ground to what we call empiricism, physicalism or whatever similar - the mechanic world view.

Now, to go further - as there is no thing-in-itself (although logically it must be exist - it must be exist and we must be unaware of it), there are no emotions, no matter and nothing exept the causality of things.

In this scheme, many scientists have had a strong pressure to explain somehow, how we feel. The "solution" they have found - that the mind, emotion and thought is actually a complex mathematical system. This means - by building a computer program complex enough, we can create real mind feeling as real feelings as we do. Thus, by simply writing those formulas to paper as a routine job - lets imagine a generations of scientists, who are doing routine calculations with paper and pencil without even knowing what they do, the calculations are about movement of particles in human body. This, by the "mathematical complexity theory of mind" as I might call it, will generate some feeling - say, pain - over time in this entity existing only on paper.

From this solution we could imply that there is necessary and sufficient conditions for mathematical calculation, which effectively generates a feeling. I mean - if I do some specific calculation on paper, this, in effect, will produce something, which has all the same qualities with some human feeling or subset of it. I think that this claim is absurd if we don't have any mathematical concepts to actually prove any feeling - I can't prove that some calculation is a feeling. In addition I think that this makes the world no simpler - this might be, in first sight, a very simple theory to explain all complexities away from mystery of life, but it actually produces a lot more and seems, in more profound analysis, simply an absurd. I know no physical means to differentiate a calculation from another - for example, our calculations could be carried out by people, who don't know even the meaning of those numbers (this adds a lot of conditions - for example we must be sure that any other interpretation of numbers and symbols, which gives the same results, is effectively taken as the same condition). One would say that it has something to do with reacting in real world - but what is the fundamental difference between intelligent reactions and reactions, which have been determined by someone, who knew all events in advance? Or - some mathematical process in virtual world, in this case, would be less alive than the same process in real world.

We also do not have just a fantasy about the experiences - like feelings -, since fantasy is experience itself.

Now, lets go to other side. Bertrant Russel in his introduction to philosophy states something, what has been a common knowledge and certain fact over the history of philosophy - only thing, which we can really know existing for sure is our experience. Schopenhauer in his "World as Will and Idea" has gone further and tries to make it clear, what the thing-in-itself actually is - impossible for Kant.

So, where was Kant wrong? What we can imply from him being wrong?

Kant was wrong in one thing - we actually know, what we feel, and we have all means to reflectively make really sure that we do. We do have an experience about the world. And, in addition - this fact about our knowledge of this fact effectively disproves not only this "innocent" belief that we have no feelings or that things-in-themselves are impossible to describe (as they have no causal effect), but it has a wide variety of implications.

1. First implication - we actually can speak about things-in-themselves

This has more implications. If we can know and speak about things-in-themselves, then their connection with reality - connection of our experiences - must not only exist, but it must be perfectly synchronized with causal connections on very fundamental level. I mean, there must be harmonious causality between we feeling something and we expressing that feeling - we can actually express that the feeling is there. Feeling has a means to be expressed in causal world - thus, the connection between feeling and causal world must be meaningful.

Physical events and their corresponding emotions haven't, thus, just a random connection - otherwise the Kantian belief would be true. Emotions have a real connection - lets call it harmony - with actual causal events. And that solution will break most of philosophy about human mind or the relation between consciousness and reality.

2. Second implication - Our will must have actually real effect on world

Our will has an effect over our hands, our thoughts and our feelings. This effect is such that when we deeply will something, then the felt meaning of this will is exactly what is going to happen. Will and experience are in harmony. And that makes the will be a fundamental force, giving, for example, right to Schopenhauer. By the way, those effects must exist on quantum level, also, so the task set by "quantum mysticians" is thus philosophically substantiated even if different theories of them can't possibly be all true.

3. How the fundamental connection of experience and reality must develop.

There are actually only two reasonable possibilities - that the connection is given or that the connection has strong evolutionary advantage.

First hypotheses states that wherever the physical conditions for having an experience of will are satisfied, also the physical conditions of having some force moving things to willed direction must be satisfied.

Second hypotheses states that bodies, which have the conditions stated in first hypotheses met, will have some evolutionary advantage - more energy, more flexibility, ability to get some information from some source of creativity or some other complex set of qualities necessary to achieve evolutionary advantage. This cosmic principle must work at least here on earth, but it seems to be a kind of principle, which will be in effect in the whole universe if it is in effect on earth.

I think that the reality is in between those two hypotheses - some mixture of them.

4. How it relates to science of physics

At first - physics must evolve into new level of alchemistry on the spiral of knowledge (but lets hope it's not a simple spiral). We need new age of alchemistry - alchemistry tries to connect what is called soul with what is called matter.

How this new alchemistry differs from physics?

In physics, the main task is to find simpler algorithms to explain more things. The exact language and symbolics of those algorithms is a free play. The fundamental target is to explain everything as one field and the ways we split things into different fields do not matter.

In this new alchemistry, the coal is wholly different. At first - one general field is not axiomatically preferred. In case it turns our that the cognitive experience is put together from things with very different qualities, the barriers of fields run from those quality differences. The symbolism and language is set up in such way that we could actually understand the real cognitive processes going on in each case - for example, we could prove from such physics that some bacterian is or is not aware in some specific way; we could understand from physics of alien if they are conscious or not. Even if that alien does not have a nervous system similar to us.

And I see a lot of problems here - and, isn't the problems signs of a large body of undone work? Large body of undone work should have a big positive meaning; maybe the technology is not the only area to invest into right now. Maybe we have a science, where we could make new discoveries as fast as new fundamental discoveries of physics were done a century ago. It could produce new geniuses, new jobs and new business niches. A lot of positive.
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