There is no such thing as mind, thought is a function of matter.

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johnandrew
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Among others, Penrose explains consciousness as a function of quantum behaviour.


Basically I want to discuss how there are issues about the quantum energy / collapse points in the microtubules of the neuronal structure, but how these might be solvable issues.


I hope to find people interested to look into the pros and cons of this and and competing materialistic theories of consciousness.

Perhaps I should say this is not a post seeking metaphysical debate, which can be had elsewhere.

Does anyone have any views on Penrose' work or other work in this area ?

Cheers.
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Freier._.lance
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I'm quite curious, when you say "energy problem" are you referring to Smolin's criticism of Penrose's idea? I think you may be more suited looking for a more scientific forum for this kind of question, not many people on here will have enough background in all 3 areas to be able to fully discuss it. I hope I'm wrong though. My opinion on the matter, although I have only a vague understanding of the idea, is that it is the most promising concept about consciousness we have so far.
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Plantagenet Crown
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Someone posted an interesting video the other day saying that if consciousness is a product of quantum behaviour then the possibility of an afterlife is very real, as the quantum effects that caused it will still be around.
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johnandrew
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(Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
Someone posted an interesting video the other day saying that if consciousness is a product of quantum behaviour then the possibility of an afterlife is very real, as the quantum effects that caused it will still be around.

You make a point which had certainly never occurred to me before,
I'll have to think about it!

My immediate wonder is if there is what is the status of any implication ? Eg: Supposing a Wittgensteinian logician nominated the quantum effect as 'contained in the quantum "cause" …. surely we can no longer say that …. that whole way of implication is too inextricably bound by the old measurement system. ( as, analagously - is Time )
These effects are statistical likelihoods and this contingency could wreak havoc with any usual conception of an afterlife.
- inspired point though, worth looking into further.

Thank you for your reply.
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johnandrew
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(Original post by Freier._.lance)
I'm quite curious, when you say "energy problem" are you referring to Smolin's criticism of Penrose's idea? I think you may be more suited looking for a more scientific forum for this kind of question, not many people on here will have enough background in all 3 areas to be able to fully discuss it. I hope I'm wrong though. My opinion on the matter, although I have only a vague understanding of the idea, is that it is the most promising concept about consciousness we have so far.

Yes and yes!

- that is one of the objections I am thinking on & I think it's the most promising concept
about consciousness so far.

If you'll forgive, a quick snapshot of the players might be :

Dennet says of Penrose on the brain microtubule location/ideas :

' Physics certainly permits it. If you were looking for a place for a type of quantum amplifier — a little transducer of quantum effects of the brain — the microtubules would be a pretty good place. Let me just give him that - Let's give Roger the claim that Hameroff has identified the site of transduction, or amplification, of quantum effects.'

But disagrees this is a quantum physical possibility

As opposed to :
Lee Smolin ; Murray Gell-Mann : Marvin Minsky , who, as far as I can see, almost entirely disagree with Penrose's conception of quantum physics ...

I will return to these later and we'll discuss what does and what doesn't stand up

Thank you for your reply
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Plantagenet Crown
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(Original post by johnandrew)
You make a point which had certainly never occurred to me before,
I'll have to think about it!

My immediate wonder is if there is what is the status of any implication ? Eg: Supposing a Wittgensteinian logician nominated the quantum effect as 'contained in the quantum "cause" …. surely we can no longer say that …. that whole way of implication is too inextricably bound by the old measurement system. ( as, analagously - is Time )
These effects are statistical likelihoods and this contingency could wreak havoc with any usual conception of an afterlife.
- inspired point though, worth looking into further.

Thank you for your reply.
Indeed, in any case all time periods are real and exist now, it is only our human perception which causes us to make a distinction between past, present and future when in reality there is none.
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Freier._.lance
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(Original post by johnandrew)
Yes and yes!

- that is one of the objections I am thinking on & I think it's the most promising concept
about consciousness so far.

If you'll forgive, a quick snapshot of the players might be :

Dennet says of Penrose on the brain microtubule location/ideas :

' Physics certainly permits it. If you were looking for a place for a type of quantum amplifier — a little transducer of quantum effects of the brain — the microtubules would be a pretty good place. Let me just give him that - Let's give Roger the claim that Hameroff has identified the site of transduction, or amplification, of quantum effects.'

But disagrees this is a quantum physical possibility

As opposed to :
Lee Smolin ; Murray Gell-Mann : Marvin Minsky , who, as far as I can see, almost entirely disagree with Penrose's conception of quantum physics ...

I will return to these later and we'll discuss what does and what doesn't stand up

Thank you for your reply
To be honest we can dismiss Gell-Mann's criticism quite easily as he seems to not have much insight into the area at all.

Also why Smolin thinks that quantum behaviour occurs only at zero kelvins I have no idea, quantum behaviour most definitely occurs at higher temperatures.

(Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
Indeed, in any case all time periods are real and exist now, it is only our human perception which causes us to make a distinction between past, present and future when in reality there is none.
So you believe that time is a human construct?
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Plantagenet Crown
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(Original post by Freier._.lance)
To be honest we can dismiss Gell-Mann's criticism quite easily as he seems to not have much insight into the area at all.

Also why Smolin thinks that quantum behaviour occurs only at zero kelvins I have no idea, quantum behaviour most definitely occurs at higher temperatures.



So you believe that time is a human construct?
I wouldn't put it that way exactly because we all experience the passage of time whether we like it or not, but that's not to say that that passage is real i.e. that it exists in ultimate reality. Indeed, it seems that it doesn't as all events are already occurring.
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Freier._.lance
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(Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
I wouldn't put it that way exactly because we all experience the passage of time whether we like it or not, but that's not to say that that passage is real i.e. that it exists in ultimate reality. Indeed, it seems that it doesn't as all events are already occurring.
I don't think I quite follow. Are you saying that the way we perceive time may not have any bearing on how it actually is?
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Plantagenet Crown
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(Original post by Freier._.lance)
I don't think I quite follow. Are you saying that the way we perceive time may not have any bearing on how it actually is?
Yes, exactly that.
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Freier._.lance
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(Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
Yes, exactly that.
I think in some sense you are right about that since even in physics we still don't have a consistent definition of time.
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Plantagenet Crown
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(Original post by Freier._.lance)
I think in some sense you are right about that since even in physics we still don't have a consistent definition of time.
I don't pretend to be an expert in physics, but surely a consistent definition of time can never be reached as time is relative?
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JohnPaul_
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I'm not a physicists either but what we do know is that time is definition relative, the passing of time depends on your frame of reference.

Time itself though does definitely exist, it had to otherwise everything would happen at once (or nothing would).


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Freier._.lance
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(Original post by Plantagenet Crown)
I don't pretend to be an expert in physics, but surely a consistent definition of time can never be reached as time is relative?
I meant model-wise consistent. Such that we have the same definition of time being used in all fields of physics rather than "what works".
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johnandrew
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I'm afraid I'm not sure if I can agree with any of you because there is, to my mind
an ' inadequate - language ' problem


To simplify :


Time, like distance, exists - but only as part of the measurement system. It is superimposed on to events
by human consciousness to order events in a way that the human perceptual system can comprehend them.

The fact that something called 'time' ever really existed was never questioned because the universe was one in which one event seemed to follow another, the sun came up for the same duration every day etc.

In the philosophy of physics, it has long been speculated that in the quantum physical world events are simultaneous - they have no duration … so to speak and cause and effect are only notional since the 'before-ness' and 'after-ness' of an event is observer dependent (superimposition) - it is a human thing. Perhaps it is a human need / a need of consciousness.

It might help ot remember that this is how we used to think about classical /Newtonian distance, before A.Einstein collapsed it into spacetime. Eg: Light takes longer to travel what appeared to be a fixed distance - we now know this was as a result of gravitational deceleration. The Newtonian language is actually out of date. The language of physics is generally set in within some potentially very misleading old tropes /ways of using words. There are everyday usages for time and for distance that don't correspond to the meaning they have under 'space-time'..

I will return to this …. but meanwhile here's a thought on words and contexts …

If you get round to reading Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, he speaks there
of our 'bewitchment' by language. He remarks that if a lion could speak, we would not be able to understand it. What he means is - we don't have the form of life as a lion. (his point is, as ever, brilliantly made )

Similarly the phrase " Look up there, a German aircraft " might be thought to have a very different meaning when uttered by someone on the English South coast in 1941 than when said in 2014 ; the meaning is context-dependent.

Time , Distance and the classical Newtonian-physical words also change meaning across contexts - when I ask someone "how far is is it to the Kings Arms ?" I am not enjoining them to a debate on how far a photon needs to travel at 'c' from here to the Kings Arms if our galaxy ( including
pub ) had just been repositioned next to a black hole.

That's enough for now- pun fully intended.

Thank you for your replies.
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