Is consciousness fundamental to reality?

#1
If consciousness is at the basis of reality, then it would explain why it is capable of affecting the external world. But if it is simply a chimera, then it is limited to the brain and lacks spatial extension. Broadly speaking, it would have a ubiquitous reach, since there is no such thing as an external world. Given this, the external world is the illusion and consciousness is the only reality. This may or may not necessarily relate to solipsism, but it seems that in order to explain the emergence of consciousness as a phenomenon, universal consciousness must be posited.
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#2
Manifestation of visual images, and the phenomenal versions of sound, odor, taste, and the tactile feeling of shapes are the starting point of anything. It is reason (in conjunction with memory and conditioning) that begins incrementally outputting ever more complicated understandings of those raw events (a story of what's going on). That's why the so-called "true existence" or a "world beyond appearances" was historically referred to as an intellectual or rational realm -- it requires intellect to infer things about it since experience doesn't provide it as directly as its own given, external world.

Thereby a conventional next-level or "transcendent realm" is never truly mind-independent (independent of the will and desires of an individual mind, but not generic rational order and relationships). Even so-called materialist metaphysics is abstracted from the original sensible affairs, it replaces the latter with technical description and mathematical furniture. It's just another noological style of be-ing.

An absolute, non-mental world would be non-cognitive (can't say anything about it at all without contaminating it with reason, entailing that a hotline between the two is there, creating a relation of dependence).[*]

But back to the starting point: You wouldn't even know the activity and fruits of intellect are transpiring without experience presenting them in the first place (otherwise, there's not even nothingness). But you also wouldn't know that "experience is occurring" or present without intellect providing that confirming conception as phenomenal word-thoughts (elevating one above 100% idiot status). So you have a kind of vicious loop or circularity (one either verifying or spawning the other). Kant summed it up (paraphrasing) as "intuition (experience, the given) is blind without concepts (understanding), and concepts are empty without content (intuition, manifestations)".

- - - footnote - --

[*] Henri Poincare (with a dash of positivism over-confidence in the final sentence and a half), 1914: "A reality completely independent of the mind which conceives it, sees or feels it, is an impossibility. A world as exterior as that, even if it existed, would for us be forever inaccessible. But what we call objective reality is, in the last analysis, what is common to many thinking beings, and could be common to us all; this common part, we shall see, can only be the harmony expressed by mathematical laws. It is this harmony then which is the sole objective reality, the only truth we can obtain. "
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#3
(Jun 1, 2019 06:18 PM)Ostronomos Wrote: . . . This may or may not necessarily relate to solipsism, but it seems that in order to explain the emergence of consciousness as a phenomenon, universal consciousness must be posited.


Speaking of solipsism... Minimal as it is, solipsism still isn't devoid of metaphysical speculation since it posits some kind of "owner" for and "generator" of the stream of experiences, that seems to be prior in rank to or outside the phenomenal progression itself. Plus, if that owner/generator harbors a nomological system so powerful that it can output a "world-dream" as coherent as that (this oneirocosmos of ours), then why limit it to a single POV? It could just as much be broken into multiple streams distributed over countless sub-selves each with their own inter-coordinated POVs of the dream-world.

The point is, the no-no Pandora's box of engaging in speculation has already been opened by positing an owner at all, rather than leaving it at just a threadbare stream of experiences without a transcendent cause, author or origin. So once that's done, it's pure egotism on the part of the solipsist to contend that he/she is the only "inside the world-dream" avatar of such a provenance. The latter would already, again, be demonstrating unlimited creative power and inter-consistency via the very magnitude of its oneirocosmic simulation hanging together so well. Having a zillion varying avatars ... instead of only one ... isolated from each other in terms of local, immediate consciousness -- would be cheesecake.
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#4
(Jun 1, 2019 06:18 PM)Ostronomos Wrote: If consciousness is at the basis of reality, then it would explain why it is capable of affecting the external world. But if it is simply a chimera, then it is limited to the brain and lacks spatial extension. Broadly speaking, it would have a ubiquitous reach, since there is no such thing as an external world. Given this, the external world is the illusion and consciousness is the only reality. This may or may not necessarily relate to solipsism, but it seems that in order to explain the emergence of consciousness as a phenomenon, universal consciousness must be posited.

Quote:If consciousness is at the basis of reality,

Quote:then it would

i am not suggesting i disagree with your thread question.
i think the question is so involved that one must define "reality" and "consciousness" before being able to suggest one is equal to the other.


example for you as a question
does reality exist while your consciousness has gone ?


that tends to lean into a spiritual vs physical philosophical debate.

example question
does spirituality exist without consciousness ?
does spirituality exist without reality ?
etc ...

discussion point... last words ...

Quote: universal consciousness must be posited.

animate religion beleives that all things are living.
other religions believe the scale of consciousness depends on the animal.


for example, if you could enter the consciousness of a wild animal, do you think it would give you psychiatric problems ?


for humans compared to higher beings, we are barbarians.
equally so for other animals further down the chain of intelligent species etc.


thus:
if there were a universal consciousness, would we be high enough or too high to perceive it ?


i lke your thread, however it is VERY involved and i am not in the right mind to enter into such a discussion.(im just glancing the surface)
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#5
(Jun 1, 2019 09:31 PM)C C Wrote:
(Jun 1, 2019 06:18 PM)Ostronomos Wrote: . . . This may or may not necessarily relate to solipsism, but it seems that in order to explain the emergence of consciousness as a phenomenon, universal consciousness must be posited.


Speaking of solipsism... Minimal as it is, solipsism still isn't devoid of metaphysical speculation since it posits some kind of "owner" for and "generator" of the stream of experiences, that seems to be prior in rank to or outside the phenomenal progression itself. Plus, if that owner/generator harbors a nomological system so powerful that it can output a "world-dream" as coherent as that (this oneirocosmos of ours), then why limit it to a single POV? It could just as much be broken into multiple streams distributed over countless sub-selves each with their own inter-coordinated POVs of the dream-world.  

The point is, the no-no Pandora's box of engaging in speculation has already been opened by positing an owner at all, rather than leaving it at just a threadbare stream of experiences without a transcendent cause, author or origin. So once that's done, it's pure egotism on the part of the solipsist to contend that he/she is the only "inside the world-dream" avatar of such a provenance. The latter would already, again, be demonstrating unlimited creative power and inter-consistency via the very magnitude of its oneirocosmic simulation hanging together so well. Having a zillion varying avatars ... instead of only one ... isolated from each other in terms of local, immediate consciousness -- would be cheesecake.

I understand and agree that it would be pure egotism. But what ties together our relative perspectives to give rise to collective consciousness? We seem to believe that we are each distinct and localized. But that could be strictly due to an illusion that, if we were to enter a higher dimension, would see that we are merely sub-selves of an overall consciousness.

Would this venture strictly into metaphysical speculation territory?
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#6
(Jun 2, 2019 08:56 PM)Ostronomos Wrote: I understand and agree that it would be pure egotism. But what ties together our relative perspectives to give rise to collective consciousness? We seem to believe that we are each distinct and localized. But that could be strictly due to an illusion that, if we were to enter a higher dimension, would see that we are merely sub-selves of an overall consciousness.

Would this venture strictly into metaphysical speculation territory?


It does if going beyond the explanatory accounts of appearances or such as outputted by science. For instance...

Any metaphysical claim about "what makes nature or the natural world possible" which additionally asserts itself to be a scientific proposal would be engaging in contradiction or ignoring the set identity of science.

IOW, science does not deal with what makes nature possible. Even if that should be "mind", or phenomenal and intellectual properties integrated with each other (here in a general context). Because the only "mind" that science can apply its efforts to is specific instances of such as brains, or the correspondence to such visible biological organs. Not "mind" as some general principle regulating the universe or "mind" as something metempirical (prior in rank to nature or what's observable/detectable, testable).

Science studies nature -- a system of observable events, objects, and things detected by instruments -- and explains those items with each other and laws, models (conceptual constructs) abstracted from them. The latter is a closed and circular network of semi-sufficient reasons accounting for the affairs that abide and happen in nature. It's a very wide and complicated epistemological loop, however, rather than a short one like "this lone _X_ is a reputable source because _X_ says so".

When "nature" is not perversely treated or designated as a metaphysical conception itself, then one is obviously euphemistically referring to what is exhibited by and is accessible via exteroception (the external-oriented half of our experiences). That's a rather embarrassing situation to begin with -- that the very target of what science studies is dependent upon "mind" to generate both the experiential (phenomenal) evidence of nature existing and the argumentative (intellectual) evidence of nature existing. (Evidence which in turn that could also be construed to double as its actual manner of be-ing, if we spurn metaphysical speculation altogether as positivism did.)

But it's also a fundamental part of the science game, practice, or research approach to ignore that "ground-zero for knowledge" circumstance and proceed as if such is not the case -- that the given external world is not dependent upon phenomenal and rational properties of mind. So that supersensible questions and their multiple rival answers can be ignored, time not wasted on them (ideas that can't be tested). I.e., "we've got our natural realm" that is exhibited and can be investigated -- we don't need a metempirical version of an external world which can only be speculatively probed by rational activity alone. (The latter entails a lack of collaboration with empirical experiments / data so as to "verify" or help support something as a warranted or effective conclusion.)
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#7
(Jun 1, 2019 06:18 PM)Ostronomos Wrote: Is consciousness fundamental to reality?

I'm not 100% sure what "fundamental to reality" means. But assuming that it means something like 'axiomatic' or 'given', something irreducible that's necessary for understanding everything else, or upon which the existence of everything else depends, my answer would be 'no'.

I see consciousness as an ontological emergent, something that can be reduced to more fundamental elements. (Albeit with an irreducible remainder perhaps, since I associate emergence with novelty, with something new appearing in reality.)

I'm more inclined to see consciousness as a data-processing activity that different sorts of systems can potentially perform (electronic, biological, alien) In which case, consciousness could potentially be reduced to the actions of those systems. But once a suitable data-processing operation is up and running, it will likely produce novel behaviors that would have been unpredictable beforehand without any knowledge of the system and how it's organized.

Quote:If consciousness is at the basis of reality, then it would explain why it is capable of affecting the external world.

Is it? I don't believe that it is capable of doing that directly. We don't change objective reality with thought alone, we do it when our minds are steering our bodies.

Quote:But if it is simply a chimera

I wouldn't go that far. It's just as real as the airplane in the sky, even if that airplane is reducible to its parts, how they are situated, and to various laws of physics.

Quote:then it is limited to the brain and lacks spatial extension.

I don't want to conceive of consciousness or mind as a peculiar kind of stuff. So it's probably a category-mistake to talk about how big it is or where it is located. (How much does a thought weigh?)

I would agree that consciouness is probably limited to whatever system is generating it, be that a human, an AI or a space-alien. But that needn't be spatial limitation. I can imagine a hypothetically-conscious AI or hive-mind alien that resembles a network, with processors/brains in different locations and access to sensors/eyes-ears in many different places. So where would its consciousness be located? We might want to say that its vision-consciousness is wherever its eyes/cameras are, its auditory consciousness is whereever its ears/microphones are and so on. Because that's what it's capable of being aware of. If it thinks in terms of "I" or "me", where would that be located, if anywhere?

Quote:Broadly speaking, it would have a ubiquitous reach, since there is no such thing as an external world.

I disagree vehemently with the last words there.
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#8
(Jun 3, 2019 05:44 PM)Yazata Wrote:
(Jun 1, 2019 06:18 PM)Ostronomos Wrote: Is consciousness fundamental to reality?

I'm not 100% sure what "fundamental to reality" means. But assuming that it means something like 'axiomatic' or 'given', something irreducible that's necessary for understanding everything else, or upon which the existence of everything else depends, my answer would be 'no'.

I see consciousness as an ontological emergent, something that can be reduced to more fundamental elements. (Albeit with an irreducible remainder perhaps, since I associate emergence with novelty, with something new appearing in reality.)

I'm more inclined to see consciousness as a data-processing activity that different sorts of systems can potentially perform (electronic, biological, alien) In which case, consciousness could potentially be reduced to the actions of those systems. But once a suitable data-processing operation is up and running, it will likely produce novel behaviors that would have been unpredictable beforehand without any knowledge of the system and how it's organized.

Quote:If consciousness is at the basis of reality, then it would explain why it is capable of affecting the external world.

Is it? I don't believe that it is capable of doing that directly. We don't change objective reality with thought alone, we do it when our minds are steering our bodies.

Quote:But if it is simply a chimera

I wouldn't go that far. It's just as real as the airplane in the sky, even if that airplane is reducible to its parts, how they are situated, and to various laws of physics.

Quote:then it is limited to the brain and lacks spatial extension.

I don't want to conceive of consciousness or mind as a peculiar kind of stuff. So it's probably a category-mistake to talk about how big it is or where it is located. (How much does a thought weigh?)

I would agree that consciouness is probably limited to whatever system is generating it, be that a human, an AI or a space-alien. But that needn't be spatial limitation. I can imagine a hypothetically-conscious AI or hive-mind alien that resembles a network, with processors/brains in different locations and access to sensors/eyes-ears in many different places. So where would its consciousness be located? We might want to say that its vision-consciousness is wherever its eyes/cameras are, its auditory consciousness is whereever its ears/microphones are and so on. Because that's what it's capable of being aware of. If it thinks in terms of "I" or "me", where would that be located, if anywhere?  

Quote:Broadly speaking, it would have a ubiquitous reach, since there is no such thing as an external world.

I disagree vehemently with the last words there.

From what I gather, consciousness is physical and so it can and does affect the physical under certain conditions. Such as when the human observer enters into a higher dimension. Since it is a fact that the physical universe doubles as a mind, I would conclude that our individual consciousnesses can be acknowledged by the external environment to some degree (don't assume that I am thinking of the Hollywood version of this phenomenon). 

There may be no one specific area where consciousness can be located, it seems to originate from our brain. But given that the brain is a resonating tuning fork for the spiritual and material levels of reality, consciousness can be responded to by the environment. 

By the way, I'd like to point out an error in your logic. Consciousness is indeed capable of affecting objective reality (again, I'm not referring to the Hollywood version). You can think of it as an acknowledgement by reality to help us reach a relationship between the internal and external realities, which is one reality without a split.
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#9
(Jun 1, 2019 06:18 PM)Ostronomos Wrote: If consciousness is at the basis of reality, then it would explain why it is capable of affecting the external world.


The way people use "consciousness" (especially, and ironically, the ones supposed to be experts) is kind of like using "solar system" to refer to the Earth. If we don't narrow down precisely what we mean with a hyponym, then yet another individual can be referring to the sun, another to asteroids, another to Saturn's rings -- and they're all conflated as the same thing because the label being used is too broad to provide specific distinctions.

The above allows what David Chalmers calls "bait and switch", where a rational dogmatist devoted more to an invented product, like say "scientific materialism", than to the immediate manifestations of his/her own senses and thoughts, begins by talking about _E_ but eventually switches to talking about less intimidating _B_. Thereby concluding at the end, after that sleight of hand identity swap or act of inconsistency, that _E_ is either not so obstinate to explanation after all or they even go to the extreme of declaring that there are no manifestations and feelings (we're instead some equivalent of philosophical zombies). Both _E_ and _B_ having been referenced by the same term "consciousness" throughout the whole process, albeit applicable descriptive features indicating two different sub-members of the more general category were actually being manipulated/switched.

In this case, however, you might actually need to be going in the opposite "hypernym" direction of needing a more general umbrella concept than consciousness. Since the latter is more construed as passively presenting objects, instead of "affecting the world" -- or at least the public world where multiple observers looking at the same scene lack another person's private hallucinations (departing from the norm) due to missed meds. Or maybe branch off to something like cosmopsychism rather than referring to "consciousness".

But OTOH, there's those methodological behaviorism inspired remnants who restrict "consciousness" to outward body motions and response interacting with the environment, including verbal reports -- in which case that is influencing the world. Whereas consciousness narrowed to experience (the private manifestations and feelings) makes no causal contribution whatsoever. Any explanation in the physical sciences for why the body is doing something recruits biological components and their mechanistic relationships, not subjective qualitative properties slash phenomenal events.

Quote:But if it is simply a chimera, then it is limited to the brain and lacks spatial extension. Broadly speaking, it would have a ubiquitous reach, since there is no such thing as an external world. Given this, the external world is the illusion and consciousness is the only reality. This may or may not necessarily relate to solipsism, but it seems that in order to explain the emergence of consciousness as a phenomenon, universal consciousness must be posited.

For possibly different reasons, an old-fashioned "direct realist" should probably agree with at least discarding the "external world" conception. That is, if there's no representation in the head or mind to begin with, then for them "external" should become an otiose adjective, a useless ornament to "world". But 21st-century and late 20th-century thinkers have turned what is meant by "representation" into such an obscured jumble that their distinction between "direct" and "indirect" is not so clear these days. "Representation" now might be purely referring to a semantic, conceptual, or language construct rather than a phenomenal simulation.
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#10
"Although I think that life may be the result of an accident, I do not think that of consciousness. Consciousness cannot be accounted for in physical terms. For consciousness is absolutely fundamental. It cannot be accounted for in terms of anything else."----Edwin Schrodinger
As quoted in The Observer (11 January 1931); also in Psychic Research (1931), Vol. 25, p. 91
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