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Neuroscience tries to be physics, asks Is matter conscious?

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Norwegian philosopher Hedda Hassel Mørch conveniently sums up the problem at Nautilus:

Monism holds that all of reality is made of the same kind of stuff. It comes in several varieties. The most common monistic view is physicalism (also known as materialism), the view that everything is made of physical stuff, which only has one aspect, the one revealed by physics. This is the predominant view among philosophers and scientists today. According to physicalism, a complete, purely physical description of reality leaves nothing out. But according to the hard problem of consciousness, any purely physical description of a conscious system such as the brain at least appears to leave something out: It could never fully capture what it is like to be that system. That is to say, it captures the objective but not the subjective aspects of consciousness: the brain function, but not our inner mental life.

To critics, it’s just too implausible that fundamental particles are conscious. And indeed this idea takes some getting used to. But consider the alternatives. Dualism looks implausible on scientific grounds. Physicalism takes the objective, scientifically accessible aspect of reality to be the only reality, which arguably implies that the subjective aspect of consciousness is an illusion. Maybe so—but shouldn’t we be more confident that we are conscious, in the full subjective sense, than that particles are not? More.

We’ll go ya one better: Are glaciers persons? If everything is a person, no one is.

In the same way, if everything is conscious, nothing is. This is an inverse form of reductionism. If we have failed to make any sense with the concept that consciousness is an illusion, we an always claim that it is an illusion absolutely everything has. That still doesn’t make sense, but it fends off the thugs for now.

Wy is dualism impossible? It has the advantage of at least making sense.

See also: 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

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20 Replies to “Neuroscience tries to be physics, asks Is matter conscious?

  1. 1
  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    The concepts of quantum brain, quantum mind and quantum consciousness have been increasingly gaining currency in recent years, both in scientific papers and in the popular press.

    In fact, the concept of the quantum brain is a general framework.

    Included in it are basically four main sub-headings.

    These are often incorrectly used interchangeably.

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    The quantum measurement problem, or to use a more technical expression the collapse of the wave function, appeared soon after the birth of quantum mechanics, and a clear solution to this problem has yet to be proposed.

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    When Erwin Schrödinger described the paradox of the cat (the cat that was both alive and dead at the same time) through his thought experiment, in search of a solution to the quantum world, ended up confusing both the experimenter and the cat. And it cannot be said that the confusion has been cleared up yet.

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  5. 5
    Dionisio says:

    From the viewpoint of cognitive neurology, we now well understand the nature of nerve cell activity: the creation of action potentials, ion exchange, the use of energy, axonal transport, the vesicle cycle, and the production, cycle and breakdown of neurotransmitters.

    What we do not understand is how experience is formed in our material brains, and how consciousness is born from unconscious materials.

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    Quantum Brain/Mind/Consciousness Theories
    NeuroQuantology

    Measurement
    Problem and
    Consciousness

    Quantum Biology

    Quantum Neurobiology

    Quantum Psychopathology
    Quantum Neurophilosophy

    Methaphoric Theories

    Fig. 1. A classification of the dynamics of quantum mind/consciousness/brain, quantum neurophysics and the quantumbrain, or of the subheadings of research of the new branch of science of NeuroQuantology.

    There are three basic main topics and quantum psychopathology and quantum philosophy emerge as an essential result of quantum neurobiology.

    A further product of quantum neurobiology is quantum psychopathology.

    Metaphorical theories are a new viewpoint proposed to understand the functioning of the brain completely in the language of quantum mechanics (quantum monadology, s-matrix etc.), and its practice.

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

    pseudoscience?

  7. 7
    Dionisio says:

    What can be understood is that we urgently need a paradigm shift in the way we understand and explain this new information […]

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  8. 8
    Dionisio says:

    Quantum biology is defined as the application of the features of quantum physics1 to biological objects and structures.

    At the base of quantum physics there are superposition, non-locality, entanglement and tunnel effect.

    The most important characteristic of the brain is its holistic working and its state of coherence.

    […] photochemical reactions, electron transfer and ion interaction, getting a suntan, photosynthesis, the sense of sight and the breakdown of DNA under ultraviolet light are all unquestionably quantum physical reactions.

    Quantum physics can show itself in biological structures in the shape of superposition, entanglement, quantum information processing and matter–wave interaction, and there is much experimental proof on this topic […]

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  9. 9
    Dionisio says:

    The characteristics of quantum mechanics such as quantum bits, non-locality and entanglement, tunnelling, interaction between particles, Bose–Einstein condensate, waves being particles and fields can open new horizons for us in our understanding of the brain.

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  10. 10
    Dionisio says:

    Does quantumcollapse occur only in the presence of human beings?

    Does it happen before measurement information reaches the retina, or after?

    When light rays, or quantum mechanical photons of light, come to the retina (the eye), what happens?

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  11. 11
    Dionisio says:

    […] the information is on average flowing from the microscopic level to the macroscopic or mesoscopic level.

    […] the collapse of the wave function can occur without the presence of a conscious human being or in other words that photons do collapse within the retina and subsequent processing of information at the level of neural membranes proceeds […]

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    Our efforts to understand nature and its workings, that is our production of scientific knowledge, will never end.

    We may never truly understand the workings of nature, or get close to the real truth.

    Therefore, it is ridiculous to behave as if we knew all of the workings of nature and to say “this is not scientific; it is in conflict with the (known) laws of science”.

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlac?a, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  13. 13
    Dionisio says:

    […] “scientific” physics journals and their archives publish hundreds of experimentally unsupported and completely theoretical articles on subjects which look more like science fiction.

    Among these are the M-theory, D-brane, wormholes, string theory, tachyons, superluminal communication, and the theory of everything.

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlaci, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  14. 14
    Dionisio says:

    Whatever our personal beliefs, even if the proof conflicts with our most deeply held beliefs, we must show courage and pursue the truth.

    Quantum neurophysics: From non-living matter to quantum neurobiology and psychopathology
    Sultan Tarlaci, Massimo Pregnolato
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.016
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, Pages 161-173

  15. 15
    J-Mac says:

    Dionisio,

    Do you believe that humans were created to die?

    If yes, why?

    If no, why would we need an eternal soul?

  16. 16
    J-Mac says:

    Reg: Quantum neurophysics,

    Non-living matter on subatomic level is not solid! It is an arrangement of subatomic particles that is not really real, until there is a conscious observer…

    What separates “non-living matter” from living is a special or superior arrangement of subatomic particles-as far as quantum physics is concerned…

    Personally Ii’m almost certain that dark energy plays the major role in the difference between “non-living matter” to living…

  17. 17
    Dionisio says:

    J-Mac @15:

    Do you believe that humans were created to die?
    If yes, why?
    If no, why would we need an eternal soul?

    Interesting questions.

    I believe –because I read it in the Christian Scriptures, which I believe is God’s special revelation to His people– that we were created in IMAGO DEI, so that we can have eternal spiritual life worshiping and enjoying the glorious presence of our Creator. In the creation God gave us free will within the boundaries of His absolute sovereignty, so we could have the possibility to choose to love in response to His amazing agape love.

    Currently our souls operate within our physical bodies in ways nobody understands well. Perhaps quantum physics may explain part of that body-soul/mind interaction. I don’t understand that technical part. Anyway, that’s only part of the big picture.

    However, we chose to do things our own way, as in Frank Sinatra’s popular song “My way”, instead of obeying God and doing things according to His Way. At that point humans died spiritually. Their created souls should not enjoy the presence of God after their physical death.

    However, God offers us the way to reconcile with Him and have eternal spiritual life enjoying His presence, by His grace alone, through saving faith in Christ alone.
    All people experience physical death. At that point their souls should get eternally separated from God’s grace, as per their request. Pretty fair, isn’t it?

    But those who are in Christ already have eternal spiritual life, though some are still temporarily in this human body. Their souls have the Spirit of God indwelling within and guiding them. They will enjoy God’s grace and glory eternally.

    Please, don’t take my word for such an important issue. Read it yourself from the Bible, which says that we should test everything –including the Bible itself– and hold what is good.

  18. 18
    Dionisio says:

    Consciousness has been one of the most important and tantalizing issues ever since the origin of philosophy and medicine.

    The concept of consciousness and the so-called “hard problem” (i.e., the mind–brain relationship) are highly complex topics that have yet to be elucidated, involving the realms of both science and philosophy with profound epistemological implications.

    In the lively debate on the foundations of the science of consciousness there are several potential biases of an essentially philosophical nature, such as those related to the paradigm and axioms adopted, and the ostensible logical contradiction between monism and dualism.

    Their origin dates back largely to Descartes? thinking and the birth of the new sciences as a compromise with the Inquisition, but they have been handed down through the Enlightenment and Positivism.

    A proper investigation of consciousness and the world of subjectivity demands a careful reflection on the paradigm of scientific medicine to identify possible flaws and overcome the limits of the mechanistic-reductionist approach.

    On the Science of Consciousness: Epistemological Reflections and Clinical Implications
    Enrico Facco, MD, Daniela Lucangeli, PhD, Patrizio Tressoldi, PhD
    EXPLORE: The Journal of Science and Healing
    Volume 13, Issue 3, Pages 163-180
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.explore.2017.02.007

  19. 19
    Dionisio says:

    […] we expect that the observation of new types of ideas and windows will highly add to a more profound understanding of brain functions.

    How is the brain working?: Research on brain oscillations and connectivities in a new “Take-Off” state
    Erol Basar, Aysel Düzgün
    International Journal of Psychophysiology
    Volume 103, May 2016, Pages 3-11
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.02.007

  20. 20
    Dionisio says:

    it again seems necessary to include philosophy and theoretical physics approaches for understanding of brain –body– mind integration.

    Mindful brain and EEG-neurophysiology
    http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.03.006
    0167-8760/© Elsevier B.V.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ijpsycho.2015.03.006
    Erol Basar, Bahar Güntekin, Gorsev G Yener, Canan Basar-Eroglu

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