In Part II Bob gives us an impressive and interesting overview of the mechanics of computation. The problem is that it skipped over the questions at hand, which are whether the mind really is fundamentally a computer, and why reason should accurately describe reality. Those questions remain and I will go on to address them. But let’s start with his closing statement in Part I:
Better, reason is matter in motion in certain patterns. If you want to get a preview, see Notes on Feser’s “From Aristotle…” If you have questions with this, I can try to address them in the next post.
This contradicts the claim that everything is waves upon the pond. I believe one of the fundamental errors that has prevented progress in the understanding of consciousness is the assumed distinction between brain and mind. I will argue from quantum mind theory that the idea of brain as matter is reductive in a way that blocks our understanding of mind. All is waves, although not necessarily on a pond. The pond is as illusory as the matter of the brain. Consciousness is waves, measured in alpha, beta, gamma, etc. What we perceive as matter is our concrete subjective representation of what exists as the complex interplay of waves in quantum fields. The events are non-commutable and indeterminate. All essential interplay is. And all waves are interconnected, including consciousness. We effect quantum events when we observe them. That is, we and the constituents of the events become entangled. There is a physical connection between consciousness and reality that denies the metaphysical distinction of subject/object. In the most elemental way, the waves of our consciousness are connected directly to the waves of the universe. We can measure these waves emanating from us. This is not an “arrangement of atoms” in our subjective consciousness, but a holistic connection that precedes any illusion of subject/object. We create that illusion subsequently through rational/mathematical calculation. That is, computation is one capability of our consciousness, but not necessarily the only or most elemental function.
The one element that unites all the various quantum mind theories is that the primary function of our consciousness is to reduce superposition to an eigenstate. There are various theories of how this takes place, but that it takes place is central to the theories. Again, this starts with a physical connection between the waves of our consciousness and the rest of the universe, and an instantaneous reduction of the multitude of superpositional existences to one of the possible events. Perhaps this perceived reduction to eigenstate is the germ of all of our reductive rationality. And I will suggest, perhaps there is a primordial non-reductive experience that preserves the superpositions and leads to direct esthetic knowledge.
In the next section I will introduce the perception and cognitive models of the neuroscientist Donald Hoffman and philosopher Anil Seth. In doing so I will demonstrate the contemporary understanding of how we draw concrete representations of waves received through our neural receptors. I will then move from their metaphor of computers and icons to the most elemental level through the quantum mind theory jointly developed by the Nobel Prize winning physicist Roger Penrose and the Neuroscientist Stuart Hameroff, where they posit a noncomputational foundation of mind. Only after that can I address the difference between rational/objective correctness and esthetic truth.
2 thoughts on “Part II: Response to Bob Felts on Mathematics and Reality”
Thanks, Jeff. I’m sorry to hear you haven’t been feeling well and I hope that all is now back to normal.
Don’t worry about any delays; I certainly haven’t made as much progress as I would like on the five things on my plate pertaining to our discussion.
How would you like to proceed? I have some responses in rough form to your first post, and I certainly hav e some things I want to say about this one. Would you like a response in the next few days, or should I wait until you’re done?
Reply whenever you’re ready