out of this world n.
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Out of this world

Out of this world

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Out of this world

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  1. Out of this world BenjHellie Tucson 2012

  2. dualism? • The objective world: • Is it purely physical? • Or is the consciousness within it something beyond the physical? • I say this question is ill-posed: • A physical story exhausts the objective world; • But a story about consciousness is not an objective story

  3. Chalmers Cliff Note Cliff Note • We implicitly regard consciousness as an objective phenomenon revealed to us in a way nothing physical could be • Revealed: there it is: pow! I ‘know which’ property I focused on — but I don’t know it’s physical — so it ain’t • So our implicit view is dualism • So — lest we contradict ourselves — in systematic theory, our explicit view should be dualism

  4. I say:yes and no • Systematic theory should at some stage register our implicit commitments (perhaps eventually to affirm, perhaps to revise) • But we do not implicitly think of consciousness as an objective phenomenon, ‘revealed’ or otherwise

  5. Two questions • Why not? • Objective?

  6. why not? • Given the hour, let’s do some picture thinking • We can be more finicky in Q&A; • For now, a parable …

  7. QUALIA!

  8. Moral • Treating my conscious life as an object to itself in the manner of a patch of color requires an alienated stance that is not true to the stance I genuinely adopt — as in the ‘Before’ phase • Instead we should say something like: my conscious life is ‘embedded in the world’; in regard to itself, it is ‘reflected within itself’ or ‘self-permeates with self-knowledge’ — as in the ‘After’ phase • This red is an object of my conscious life; that it is an object of my conscious life is reflected within my conscious life • This sort of reflection is a stance of non-objectivity

  9. expressivism • A bit more sharply: my implicit theory of the world contains these sentences: • Tucson is warm, electrons repel protons, … • It is within my conscious life that: Tucson is warm, electrons repel protons, … • In making the statements in (A), I treat the objective world as containing Tucson (as warm) and electrons and protons (as repelling one another); • In making the statement in (B), I do not treat the objective world in any way at all, but ratherexpress its being within my conscious life that the objective world is a certain way

  10. metaphysics? • If we wanted to read something metaphysics-looking off of this story, we could say that ‘the world for me’ is composed of two parts: • The objective world, which is also a part of ‘the world for you’ • My conscious life (which is no more a part of ‘the world for you’ than is your conscious life part of ‘the world for me’) • So in that sense I am out of this world

  11. other minds • That creature over there: • Clearly it has a conscious life • Which clearly manifests to me radically differently to my own • Simulation: • Given full physical information and perfect sympathetic capacity, I can simulate in a way that cannot be improved upon • Doing so is rationally mandatory • This simulation is what my treating the other as having consciousness consists in

  12. And the zombie hypothesis? • It wins the battle • There is no rational mandate to conceive of someone as having consciousness given full physical knowledge of them • But loses the war • Because that is irrelevant to whether we must regard them as having consciousness: • Consciousness is not objective, so we do not think about consciousness by conceiving of it

  13. dualism? • The physicalist and the dualist are each part right: • The objective world is entirely physical • But a physical story remains radically incomplete • But each are part wrong: • Their dispute presupposes that consciousness is objective • And consciousness is not objective

  14. That’s it!

  15. Mindset semantics • Semantics represents the meanings one attaches to the ‘sentences’ through which one draws up a picture of the world • It does so by representing the mindsets which suffice for implicit acceptance of that sentence • Mindset includes at least … • One’s conscious sense for how the world is (where this typically includes but is not exhausted by at least some of ‘perception’) • One’s selection of some aspect of one’s sense-perceptual condition as ‘the momentary center of one’s world’

  16. More formally • One’s total mindset at a time is represented by an abstract entity c (for ‘context’): • One’s conscious sense for what the world is like by a set of possible worlds ic (for ‘information’) • One’s conscious selection of an entity as the temporary center of the world by a token state ac(for ‘attention’) • Where ac exists at all w in ic • So to understand the meaning S has to one is to know which c = (ic, ac) ‘support’ S — we write c ||– S. • Then validity is characterized as ‘support-preservation’: S |– T just if for any c ||– S, c ||– T.

  17. The Purport to objectivity • Our semantics represents the purport to objectivity of my sentence S by assigning S a possible-worlds truth-condition as its content: • When we speak with maximal disengagement and generality, we presuppose the ‘actual world’ as a neutral arbiter of truth for everyone and at all times; • A sentence is more or less determinate just when it places a stronger or weaker demand on the actual world — just when a smaller or greater range of possible worlds are compatible with how it depicts things as being • A false sentence is one depicting things as being a way that is merely possible • Conversely, our semantics represents the absence of such a purport by assigning content to S so as to depict that its truth-condition is unimportant as part of its meaning

  18. More formally • [[S]]c abbreviates ‘the content of S relative to c’ • [[Bertrand Russell lived exactly 35,986 days]]c = {w : at w, Bertrand Russell lived exactly 35,986 days} • Accordingly, c ||– ‘Bertrand Russell lived exactly 35,986 days’ just when ic≤ [[Bertrand Russell lived exactly 35,986 days]]c — just when the person in c has as part of their conscious sense for how the world is • But ‘it is within my conscious life that: Bertrand Russell lived exactly 35,986 days]]c≠ {w : at w, it is within my conscious life that: Bertrand Russell lived exactly 35,986 days} • What then?

  19. Test semantics • [[C(Bertrand Russell lived exactly 35,986 days)]]c = … • W just if ic ≤ [[Bertrand Russell lived exactly 35,986 days]]c; • W \ W, otherwise • That is to say, C(S) ‘tests’ c for whether c accepts S: if so, thumbs up; if not, thumbs down: • Thumbs up and the content is the trivially true proposition; thumbs down and it is the trivially false proposition • This depicts the ‘reflection within itself’ of consciousness: although whether C(S) is ‘contingent’, whether it is true is something I cannot be uncertain about • There is no distance between me and myself; by contrast the possibility of uncertainty is the hallmark of objectivity

  20. reflection within itself • S –||– C(S) • In one’s conscious view, Bertrand Russell lived exactly 35,689 days just if in one’s conscious view, in one’s conscious view, Bertrand Russell lived exactly 35,689 days • C(S) –||– CC(S) • It is our sense that consciousness reflects within itself • ~S |– ~C(S) • I can’t regard myself as being right now mistaken about this • ~C(S) |/– ~S • I do not regard myself as omniscient: uncertainty is the middle way between certainty yes and certainty no

  21. The object of attention • Since ac is genuine and exists at all worlds in ic, ‘this exists’ is ‘analytic’ in the sense of true whenever endorsed and manifestly so, yet contingent and nonindexical • If ac has its qualitative kind essentially, then ‘this is thus’ is analytic (and contingent and nonindexical); • When I make no relevant mistakes, ‘this red tomato exists’ is something about which I can be certain • Suppose I adopt a soberly neutral stance about whether I am dreaming: then ‘this red patch exists’ is something about which I can be certain if I make no mistakes; since I can’t regard myself as mistaken, I am certain about it — as per Price • If ‘I’ refers to the creature who perceives this, ‘I exist’ is something about which I am always certain — as per Descartes

  22. Affinity with Higher-order views • The fundamental case for these views has attractive aspects: • Not all qualities of perception or sensation are phenomenologically manifest: only those targeted by attention • They then exist not just in reality but as part of what the world is consciously like for me; and claims like ‘it is within consciousness that this tingle in my toe exists’ are a significant part of the story of my conscious life • Maybe a higher-order view could be true in the following attenuated sense: • Perhaps some tracking-like relation is such that knowing that some bit of some brain bears it to some qualitative state would demand treating the conscious life of the creature encasing that brain as presenting that state • If so, then two objective and therefore ‘non-conscious’ things would ‘add up’ to consciousness • Certainly some number of objective and therefore non-conscious things add up to consciousness. One? Two? Many? Since consciousness is not within the objective world but is ‘grounded’ in it, everyone has to say something like this

  23. Divergence from Higher-order views • It is an odd and confusing way of speaking to say that a certain objective qualitative state has the extrinsic property of ‘being conscious’ under certain circumstances; • Friends of higher-order positions all to my knowledge treat consciousness as an objective aggregate of quality and pointer — a mistake, because consciousness isn’t objective • Clearly there is more to conscious life than presentation of sensation: thinking and other actions, affect, imagination, interpretation of what is perceived, other things I know …

  24. ‘phenomenal’ v ‘access’ • Allegedly: the former concerns qualities and is ‘hard’; the latter concerns function and is ‘easy’ • Maybe it is a hard question how qualities emerge from the physical, but qualities are neither necessary (agentive flow; live knowledge beyond perception) nor sufficient (unattended sensation; Eden) for consciousness — so that question is not about consciousness • Maybe something objective and functional pertaining to transmission of vehicles pertaining to quality underlies the bringing of qualities within conscious life, but because the rational constraints connecting opinion about consciousness to opinion about the objective are simulational rather than conceptual, the problem of how it does so must remain ‘hard’

  25. squeezing arguments from pictures • Supposing that consciousness is objective, a range of unattractive consequences follow …

  26. 1: soul-pellets • Keeping my conscious life separate from yours requires distinct ‘subjects of experience’; • Dualism is true; • So ‘subjects of experience’ are nonphysical ‘soul-pellets’ • But as Hume pointed out, we find no soul-pellets

  27. 2: It was phenomenal! • These soul-pellets differ in what it is like for them • That has to be a difference in their properties • ‘Phenomenal properties’ like … • ‘Phenomenal red’, ‘phenomenally representing that something red is before me’, ‘being phenomenally acquainted with red’ • But ‘what was that like’ is not answered with an adjective but with a narrative • I don’t say how the soul-pellet driving around in this body is phenomenally but how the world is for me in consciousness

  28. 3: Why this pellet? • Looking down into the objective world, a vertiginous question: • Why am I this one rather than that one? • After all, that pellet is presented under a different mode than I (in here) am • That’s a bad question; so consciousness is not objective • Response: I (in here) am not presented at all because self-ascriptive content is de se • Rebuttal: the theory of the de se is incompatible with the theory of acquaintance (to follow)

  29. 4:acquaintance • Why are only these properties (my current phenomenal properties) revealed — rather than my future phenomenal properties, or your phenomenal properties, or properties of my desk? • Answer: a relation of acquaintance metaphysically binds me to their instances and delimits the scope of targets of revelatory concepts • This is a metaphysically necessary connection fitting uncomfortably with modal rationalism • This is incompatible with transparency: the only intrinsic qualities revealed to me are colors, sounds, qualities of my body like pain

  30. 5:Other minds • My justification for believing you are not a zombie is an ampliative inference from physical evidence, going by ignoring that prospect as too weird to consider pending further discoveries • But since whether you are a zombie is evidence-transcendent, the further discoveries never come in; • So I am absolutely certain you are not a zombie on the basis of physical evidence; • So the physical evidence entails a priori that you are not a zombie

  31. 6:Dualism • It follows from the claim that consciousness is objective as a doctrine we all implicitly accept • But (surveys show!) dualism is obviously false • So pending some explanation of how we all live with this unnoticed contradiction, we do not implicitly accept it, so consciousness is not objective