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Consciousness researcher: Objectivity is “cultural discrimination”


From lit prof Tim Parks and AI philosopher Riccardo Manzotti at New York Review of Books:

Manzotti: One of the comedies of modern thinking is that we treat objects that exist relative to the tools of scientists as more real, more correct, somehow, than other objects. In the case you mention, there are four objects: the air, and three others in relation to it—your body, the thermometer, and my body. The thermometer meets the air and says seventy-two degrees. A digit. Your body meets the air and registers cold. My body meets the air and registers warm. All three “measurements” are valid and real. Seventy-two degrees, cold, and warm. You can’t choose to be warm because someone tells you a column of mercury is registering the number seventy-two. There is nothing absolute about the temperature.

Parks: Your point, then, is that we have fallen into the habit of calling objective and real something that exists in relation to a scientific instrument. And we call it subjective and possibly hallucinatory if it is in relation to an individual body that experiences it differently from others. You’re claiming that this is a form of cultural discrimination, not a scientifically useful distinction.

Manzotti: Exactly. And notice, in contrast, how democratic this notion of relative existence is: the average human body, the blind person, the deaf person, the dog, the scientist’s instrument are all equal conditions for bringing an object into existence. As in physics, there are no frames that are more true than other frames, only frames that make it easier for us to compare certain situations. The thermometer simply makes it easy to compare seventy-two degrees with one hundred and ten.

Parks: Has anyone else ever put forward this view of existence as relative? More.

Expect more of this. A war on objectivity is just too Cool to pass up. Think of the possibilities.

Note: This is the twelfth installment of a series of conversations between Parks and Manzotti.

See also: Objectivity is sexist.

Human self-awareness without cerebral cortex

Are newborn babies really not conscious?

What great physicists have said about immateriality and consciousness

Roger Penrose: Somehow, our consciousness is the reason the universe is here.

One can’t help wondering if this is suckerbait. Challenged, will Penrose retreat back to the safe little warren of nonsense theories about consciousness? A few are offered below, just to get you started, but we don’t especially recommend it. On the other hand, just for fun, start with, Claim: Science is afraid of animal consciousness. Why? Won’t crackpot theories work as well as they do for human consciousness? What’s different?

Aired on BBC: Consciousness no different than our ability to digest

Thomas Nagel: Daniel Dennett “maintaining a thesis at all costs” in Bacteria to Bach and Back

Physicist: Regrettably, materialism can’t explain mind

Split brain does NOT lead to split consciousness? What? After all the naturalist pop psych lectures we paid good money for at the U? Well, suckers r’ us.

Does the ability to “split” our brains help us understand consciousness? (Apparently not.)

What great physicists have said about immateriality and consciousness

Or else: Consciousness as a state of matter

Rocks have minds?

Researcher: Never mind the “hard problem of consciousness”: The real one is… “Our experiences of being and having a body are ‘controlled hallucinations’ of a very distinctive kind”

Searle on Consciousness “Emerging” from a Computer: “Miracles are always possible.”

Psychology Today: Latest new theory of consciousness A different one from the above.

Evolution bred a sense of reality out of us

Claim: Science is afraid of animal consciousness. Why? Won’t crackpot theories work as well as they do for human consciousness?

So then: Question: Would we give up naturalism to solve the hard problem of consciousness?

Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away

Science fictions series 4: Naturalism and the human mind

News @ 6: "Then they will retire and others will cope with the ruins." Sad but true. Truth Will Set You Free
Severski at 5 wouldn't call it cultural discrimination but then he is probably not trying to get SJWs fanning out from the dying arts disciplines they gutted onto the more promising payroll of science. What surprises some of us is the ease with which destructive concepts such as that objectivity is sexist are simply being allowed without protest, probably because science boffins are terrified. In their defense, they will argue that they were short-sighted, perhaps, but anyway, science needed a shakeup by these folk. Then they will retire and others will cope with the ruins. News
We assume that there is an objective reality - one that exists whether or not we perceive it - out there. We have learned that cannot directly perceive the whole of that reality because our senses can only gather a limited amount of information about it. We can only see, for example, light from the visible spectrum, which is a narrow band of wavelengths from the entire spectrum of electromagnetic radiation. But when we see a red car against a field of green grass we see those colors as properties of the objects we are looking at. Yet physics tells us that the only difference between the light being reflected by the car and that coming off the grass is the wavelength. In other words, the apparently objective properties of red and green coloration seem to be created in our brains, which would make them subjective rather than objective, a property of the internal mental model of reality in which we all live out our lives and which is only a partial representation of what is actually out there - assuming it;s not all a Matrix-like simulation. I wouldn't call it "cultural discrimination" but there seems to be some sort of selection or discrimination going on. Seversky
Objectivity is “cultural discrimination”
If this statement is objective, then it is cultural discrimination and is therefore not true. And if the statement is not objective, then, by definition, it is also not true. IOWs the statement is self-referentially incoherent. This reminds me of Slagle's take on Marxism and Freudianism:
And Marx himself wrote of his critics, “Your very ideas are but the outgrowth of the conditions of your bourgeois production and bourgeois property, just as your jurisprudence is but the will of your class made into a law for all, a will whose essential character and direction are determined by the economical conditions of existence of your class.”2 Thus, his critics’ beliefs are brought about by social conditioning and their economic position in society and, as such, can be dismissed.3 The obvious response to such claims is to apply it to the Freudian and the Marxist themselves, not to mention Freud and Marx: if all beliefs are the product of nonrational forces, and thus nonveracious in some way, then belief in Freudianism and Marxism is similarly produced and so just as nonveracious as any other. If all reasoning is hopelessly tainted, then the Freudian and the Marxist arrive at their doctrines by tainted processes too, and if this condition allows their critics to be discounted, as Marx seems to suggest, it allows Freudianism and Marxism to be discounted by the same token. [Jim Slagle, 'The Epistemological Skyhook']
Barry Arrington at 3: Even more astounding is that this stuff is as good as it gets for the subject. And wait till the SJWs start taking scalps on their road to the science payroll. News
The truly astounding thing is that any bright child could pick Manzotti's assertion to pieces. Yet Parks, a Harvard educated professor, sucks it right up uncritically. Barry Arrington
This can't end well. These a/mat philosophers have gone beyond the point of no return. Insanity. Truth Will Set You Free

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