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Thread: Pantheism and panpsychism

  1. Top | #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Google Religious Naturalism. The idea that God is a force, not a person seems to be gaining in numbers...
    No. Religion and theism are not synonyms. Religious naturalism is just your straight up philosophical naturalism, but treated with a religious attitude of veneration and a devoted practice of serving nature. Their concern is more to do with meaning and values and the actions they inspire than to do with metaphysics. Same goes for at least some pantheists, namely the naturalistic or “scientific” pantheists. They accept the current scientific viewpoint entirely and many are likely to view panpsychism skeptically. Their “god” — if they even acknowledge that word as meaningful at all — doesn’t need to be conscious or at all different from “dumb matter”.

    Not saying some pantheists or religious naturalists won’t be interested in the notion of panpsychism. I'm interested... Just would like to straighten out the christocentric atheists’ confusion about religion as necessarily having something to do with a god, whether as a “force” or or being or consciousness or whatever.

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    Contributor Cheerful Charlie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by abaddon View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Cheerful Charlie View Post
    Google Religious Naturalism. The idea that God is a force, not a person seems to be gaining in numbers...
    No. Religion and theism are not synonyms. Religious naturalism is just your straight up philosophical naturalism, but treated with a religious attitude of veneration and a devoted practice of serving nature. Their concern is more to do with meaning and values and the actions they inspire than to do with metaphysics. Same goes for at least some pantheists, namely the naturalistic or “scientific” pantheists. They accept the current scientific viewpoint entirely and many are likely to view panpsychism skeptically. Their “god” — if they even acknowledge that word as meaningful at all — doesn’t need to be conscious or at all different from “dumb matter”.

    Not saying some pantheists or religious naturalists won’t be interested in the notion of panpsychism. I'm interested... Just would like to straighten out the christocentric atheists’ confusion about religion as necessarily having something to do with a god, whether as a “force” or or being or consciousness or whatever.
    As far as the Universe or such being concious, you have the theory that somehow, the Universe as a whole is conscious but material. Alfred White Northhead's process theology takes this view, though as far as I can see, not being able to exactly prove that or explain it. Ancient Greek hylism, the idea that all matter in some sort of way is conscious, doesn't pass muster either.

    Then you have Stoic concepts of God as material particles, similar to Atomists claim all is void and atoms, including Gods, if they exist. The problem is that none of this is founded on any sort of evidence or detailed theory that can be said to be anything more than speculation.

    Now we scientifically assign conciousness as a brain state of a complex brain, or to a lesser extent, computers arranged to achieve some sort of ability to reason. There simply doesn't seem to be a way to get from conciousness or reason in either a panentheistic manner or hylistic manner. Bottom up, or top down as it were.

    The idea of a supernatural conciousness in some manner, like Aristotle's world soul, or emanated Aeons of neo-Platonism doesn't seem to do the trick either. From what little I have so far read from the religious naturalists, they seem to have abandoned such ideas.

    Of course, lacking any real deep surveys of those who claim that God is a physical force, we might find some surprises if anybody really does ask questions as to what people mean by that.
    Cheerful Charlie

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    Quote Originally Posted by veclock View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Treedbear View Post

    My own evolving theory of consciousness is that it has to do with how the human brain, and brains in general, create models of their environment. For humans, at least, one of these models is of the self. Actually it's difficult for me to see how an organism could survive within it's environment without some way to recognize it's own existence. So this is the minimum requirement for me to consider any system as being conscious. Its the ability to be aware of at least two models and to compare and contrast them and catagorize them as independent in some way. Understand how brains create models and we will be able to explain consciousness.
    Thing is, it's hard to prove that awareness and consciousness is the same thing. We can build self driving cars with cameras, laser sensors ect. So the car is aware of the environment, it creates a model of it. In order to survive. The car is aware through its sensors, no question. But is it conscious? Is there an inner experience, an inner feeling? Does the car get to feel what it feels like to be the car? (Or rather the computer controlling the car).

    Either it's conscious, or all this information processing and sensing (awareness) goes on in the dark. No experience.

    It's important to differentiate between awareness and consciousness.
    I suspect you would get farther if you offer definitions of "consciousness" and "awareness" before you go any further. Perhaps a consensus of definitions can be obtained. That would help, don't you agree?

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdelsolray View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by veclock View Post

    Thing is, it's hard to prove that awareness and consciousness is the same thing. We can build self driving cars with cameras, laser sensors ect. So the car is aware of the environment, it creates a model of it. In order to survive. The car is aware through its sensors, no question. But is it conscious? Is there an inner experience, an inner feeling? Does the car get to feel what it feels like to be the car? (Or rather the computer controlling the car).

    Either it's conscious, or all this information processing and sensing (awareness) goes on in the dark. No experience.

    It's important to differentiate between awareness and consciousness.
    I suspect you would get farther if you offer definitions of "consciousness" and "awareness" before you go any further. Perhaps a consensus of definitions can be obtained. That would help, don't you agree?
    If we both agree to call a tail a leg and both conclude the dog has 5 legs, we'd both be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sdelsolray View Post
    I suspect you would get farther if you offer definitions of "consciousness" and "awareness" before you go any further. Perhaps a consensus of definitions can be obtained. That would help, don't you agree?
    By consciousness I mean an inner experience. By awareness I mean information about the environment, gathered from senses/sensors regardless of an inner experience.

  6. Top | #16
    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    Inner experience is usually just talking to yourself what is attended from what one is aware. Oh shit, another term, attention. Anyway of what one is aware is conditioned by one's experience and what is attended to is most immediate awareness suited to one's safety argument (another term) which is the basis for one talking to oneself. One's safety argument is one's intended persona (another trerm) or what one wants to be what one projects (anothere concept) to the competitors and objects of attraction in one's world. Now it gets complex ..... /rationalforconnsciousness

    As for awareness being information about the environment one is put in a place where one needs to understand how one relates to the environment which confounds with consciousness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by veclock View Post
    I'd like to start a discussion about two terms and their relation to each other: Pantheism and panpsychism.

    Pantheism is the view that the world is god. The universe, multiverse, everything = god. From now on, when I write "universe", I mean the sum of all universes/multiverses. Everything.

    This can often be meant metaphorically. In theism, God is the highest entity. In materialistic atheism, the universe is the highest. Then a pantheist might say, well if the universe is the ultimate reality in which everything is contained and created, then the universe is god. In other words, still atheism but with a metaphorical use of the word god, where the thoughts of god is the laws of physics. Other pantheists might say that there is a god that have thoughts and a will, like a monotheistic god, but the universe is its body.

    Then there is panpsychism and the problem of consciousness. We currently have no explanation for consciousness. Although there seems to be a materialistic neurological process for every conscious process, it's hard to explain why these processes couldn't go on "in the dark", as in a philosophical zombie without a consciousness, doing everything we do but without experiencing it. With developments in AI and robotics, we will soon face the question whether our robots are conscious or not.

    Panpsychism is the view that all systems are conscious. Brains, computers, calculators, bee hives, ant nests, forests, lightnings, melting snowflakes, some might even say atoms.
    Consciousness is simply built into physics. There's another term called panprotopsychism, where atoms aren't really conscious, but you gain more consciousness the more complex the system grows. This seems more reasonable in my mind. There's also some tricky problems with panpsychism. The problem of subsystems. Our brains do much in the dark (the subconscious parts), then after it has processed it further, the conscious part of our brain gets access to it. So is it possible that the other parts of information processing in our brains/bodies are conscious, but separate? Is it possible that the nerve systems in our guts and heart are conscious? These systems are more complex than smaller animals brains, and we would probably argue that all animals are conscious.

    In any reasonable form of panpsychism, you wouldn't say that a chair is having thoughts. Our brains can do that, because they are complex and built for thoughts, problem solving, information processing ect. But a chair (or rather, matter in general) could have some form of inner experience.

    Then there's also quantum mechanics where observation affects the outcome of an experiment. This might perhaps be the measuring tools interfering with the particles. Or consciousness itself?
    Also, there's the splitting of universes, where you choose both to go to the right and to the left, the universe splits in two and you do both. That's another example of where you might say that consciousness plays a role.

    So panpsychism is a philosophical view that kind of answers the problem of consciousness. But if that's true, then I think that it has implications for whether pantheism is true or not.

    If all systems are conscious, then the universe is conscious, because it is one system. It's not built as a brain, so it shouldn't be able to having thoughts, solve problems, punish people or communicating with humanity. But it should be able to experience itself.

    Personally I'm agnostic about this, but I'm exploring these thoughts right now to see how well they hold up.
    Please give me your thoughts on panpsychism and how it relates to pantheism!
    I'm agnostic too but I do hold that the only thing I know is my being conscious, a kind of Cogito of my consciousness as opposed to Descartes' Cogito of his awareness. And then everything else is mere belief.

    That being said, I don't have any proper explanation for consciousness. But then again I don't think I need to have any. I would rather have an explanation for the material world, which belong to the kind of things I merely believe might exist.

    Pantheism and panpsychism. Again, I'm agnostic, essentially because I don't know that there are such things as human beings, chairs, cats and atoms which might have some degree of consciousness. Still, from a purely conceptual point of view, I think the more reasonable possibility for panpsychism would be that consciousness is a sort a blanket property stretching to cover just about anything that (would) exist. It doesn't do anything except lending experience to event. If we take awareness to be something else, which I think is a good idea, then we can agree to analyse things in the universe according to their various degrees of awareness. Human beings on top as far as we know, and maybe quarks or strings at the bottom, and everything else in between, machines and insects etc. Then consciousness would lend experience to whatever awareness there is, and experience would be tainted by the degree of awareness of the thing considered. Humans are the lucky ones, being as they are conscious of the awareness their big brain can have. Conversely, the awareness of a chair doesn't make for consciousness of much. Or, more accurately, consciousness of the awareness produced in brains would give us the full and rich experience we have while consciousness of the awareness produced in a chair probably would give only a very faint experience. Of course this scheme doesn't work if you start from the materialistic viewpoint. But you have to judge a theory on its own merits. So you need to forget about public science and think in terms of your personal subjective experience. It remains speculative of course but everything we believe about the world is speculative. Only our being conscious isn't.
    EB

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    Mazzie Daius fromderinside's Avatar
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    All I have is what I can demonstrate. Those demonstrations for me always support us being machines winding down like every thing else. One's understanding of our twitches and squirts is really a bit like our understanding of the very small (quantum world). So put consciousness in a football or soccer ball and give it a kick, hopefully to a place where you can't find it. As Berkeley might have said you have no more claim to know consciousness than you have to know you're real.

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    obligatory Teilhard de Chardin reference:

    In the theory of Vernadsky, the noosphere is the third in a succession of phases of development of the Earth, after the geosphere (inanimate matter) and the biosphere (biological life). Just as the emergence of life fundamentally transformed the geosphere, the emergence of human cognition fundamentally transforms the biosphere. In contrast to the conceptions of the Gaia theorists, or the promoters of cyberspace, Vernadsky's noosphere emerges at the point where humankind, through the mastery of nuclear processes, begins to create resources through the transmutation of elements. It is also currently being researched as part of the Princeton Global Consciousness Project.[8]

    Teilhard perceived a directionality in evolution along an axis of increasing Complexity/Consciousness. For Teilhard, the noosphere is the sphere of thought encircling the earth that has emerged through evolution as a consequence of this growth in complexity / consciousness. The noosphere is therefore as much part of nature as the barysphere, lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. As a result, Teilhard sees the "social phenomenon [as] the culmination of and not the attenuation of the biological phenomenon."[9] These social phenomena are part of the noosphere and include, for example, legal, educational, religious, research, industrial and technological systems. In this sense, the noosphere emerges through and is constituted by the interaction of human minds. The noosphere thus grows in step with the organization of the human mass in relation to itself as it populates the earth. Teilhard argued the noosphere evolves towards ever greater personalisation, individuation and unification of its elements. He saw the Christian notion of love as being the principal driver of noogenesis. Evolution would culminate in the Omega Point—an apex of thought/consciousness—which he identified with the eschatological return of Christ.

    One of the original aspects of the noosphere concept deals with evolution. Henri Bergson, with his L'évolution créatrice (1907), was one of the first to propose evolution is "creative" and cannot necessarily be explained solely by Darwinian natural selection.[citation needed] L'évolution créatrice is upheld, according to Bergson, by a constant vital force which animates life and fundamentally connects mind and body, an idea opposing the dualism of René Descartes. In 1923, C. Lloyd Morgan took this work further, elaborating on an "emergent evolution" which could explain increasing complexity (including the evolution of mind). Morgan found many of the most interesting changes in living things have been largely discontinuous with past evolution. Therefore, these living things did not necessarily evolve through a gradual process of natural selection. Rather, he posited, the process of evolution experiences jumps in complexity (such as the emergence of a self-reflective universe, or noosphere). Finally, the complexification of human cultures, particularly language, facilitated a quickening of evolution in which cultural evolution occurs more rapidly than biological evolution. Recent understanding of human ecosystems and of human impact on the biosphere have led to a link between the notion of sustainability with the "co-evolution"[10] and harmonization of cultural and biological evolution.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tantric View Post
    obligatory Teilhard de Chardin reference:
    How this logorrhea is supposed to shed any light on the issue (or on anything for that matter)?
    EB

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