Why materialists are wrong and the Jedi right....

  • 4 Replies
  • 867 Views

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

sciborg2

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Contrarian Wanker
  • Posts: 1159
  • "Trickster Makes This World"
    • View Profile
« on: March 27, 2020, 07:10:37 pm »
Why materialists are wrong and the Jedi right, and how panpsychism might revolutionize science.

Quote
In spite of all this, one of the great scientists of the twentieth century - Arthur Eddington - argued that a position remarkably similar to Jedi theology was not only perfectly consistent with modern science, but actually something we might have to reason to believe. Eddington is best known for being the first to offer observational confirmation of Einstein’s general theory of relativity. In May 1919 he conducted a series of observations of a solar eclipse from the island of Principe off the West Coast of Africa. As the moon covered the sun, Eddington photographed stars visible around its covered edge. On the basis of this he was able to demonstrate that, precisely as Einstein’s theory had predicted, the light from these stars had been bent by the spacetime curvature caused by the mass of the sun.

A decade later, Eddington wrote a book in which, as well as explaining relativity and other developments in recent physics, he defended panpsychism: the view that all matter is infused with consciousness. Like the Jedi knights, Eddington was convinced that there was a spiritual force underlying the workings of the physical universe. In words we can imagine Luke – or Obi Wan before him – using in his Jedi training classes, Eddington put it as follows:

"…our minds are not apart from the world; and the feelings that we have of gladness and melancholy and our yet deeper feelings are not of ourselves alone, but are glimpses of a reality transcending the narrow limits of our particular consciousness…the harmony and beauty of the face of Nature is at root one with the gladness that transfigures the face of man…"

Quote
If physics does not tell us what the nature of physical properties is, then what else gives us this information? Eddington believed that physics is a tool for prediction. Even if we don’t know what “mass” and “force” really are, we are able to recognise them in the world. They show up as readings on our instruments, or otherwise impact on our senses. And by using the equations of physics, such as Newton’s law of gravity, we can predict what’s going to happen with great precision. It is this predictive capacity that has enabled us to manipulate the natural world in extraordinary ways, leading to the technological revolution that has transformed our planet. But it is simply not the job of physics to tell us what the stuff of the universe essentially is. As Stephen Hawking put it, physics doesn’t tell us what “breathes fire into the equations”.

Given that physics tell us nothing of the nature of physical reality, is there anything we do know about it? Are there any clues as to what is going on “under the bonnet” of the engine of the universe? Eddington argued that the only thing we really know about the nature of matter is that some of it has consciousness; we know this because we are directly aware of the consciousness of our own brains:

"We are acquainted with an external world because its fibres run into our own consciousness; it is only our own fibres that we actually know; from these ends we more or less successfully reconstruct the rest, as a palaeontologist reconstructs an extinct monster from its footprint."

Quote
We have no direct access to the nature of matter outside of brains. But the most reasonable speculation, according to Eddington, is that the nature of matter outside of brains is continuous with the nature of matter inside of brains. Given that we have no direct insight into the intrinsic nature of field and particles, it is rather “silly”, argued Eddington, to declare that they have a nature entirely removed from mentality and then to wonder where mentality comes from. On this basis, Eddington concluded that the most simple and parsimonious view consistent with our direct and observational knowledge is some form of panpsychism, according to which the underlying nature the stuff of the physical world is, as Eddington put it, mind stuff.

These ideas of Russell and Eddington from the 1920s have recently been rediscovered in academic philosophy and are causing a great deal of excitement. For decades philosophers and scientists have struggled to understand how physical matter produces consciousness: the subjective inner world of feelings, sensations and experiences. Many are now persuaded that, in broad brushstrokes, Russell and Eddington had the answer. In Eddington’s version, physical science describes matter “from the outside”, providing mathematical models that allow us to predict its behaviour, but in its underlying nature matter is constituted of consciousness. It is consciousness that breathes fire into the equations. The attraction of this view is its capacity to reconcile the reality of consciousness with our scientific understanding of the universe.

TaoHorror

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Posts: 1147
  • Blueberry Psûkhe Sorcerer
    • View Profile
« Reply #1 on: March 31, 2020, 01:07:30 am »
I struggled with physics my whole life because of this. I would learn the math for friction, but I struggled to accept it as I didn't understand why there was fricken to begin with.
May your death be soon, slow and painful

mostly.harmless

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 121
    • View Profile
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2020, 01:10:15 pm »
I find this fascinating and hard to comprehend in equal measure.
Consciousness infused throughout, or embedded within?, the universe beggars my belief and how my understanding of it works (limited admittedly).

Are they onto something or is this a case of 'we can't explain this any other way, so we're putting a big red X here to represent panpsychism' because there is no viable alternative?

Sent from my LYA-L09 using Tapatalk


sciborg2

  • *
  • Old Name
  • *****
  • Contrarian Wanker
  • Posts: 1159
  • "Trickster Makes This World"
    • View Profile
« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2020, 09:30:26 am »
I find this fascinating and hard to comprehend in equal measure.
Consciousness infused throughout, or embedded within?, the universe beggars my belief and how my understanding of it works (limited admittedly).

Are they onto something or is this a case of 'we can't explain this any other way, so we're putting a big red X here to represent panpsychism' because there is no viable alternative?

I'd recommend checking out the other IAI essays, some of which I've posted here - really gives you the sense that nobody's got a handle on the "Why" of anything, or arguably even the "How".

It's like we're in a Matrix, utterly unable to talk about the computer architecture because it lies outside our sensory abilities.

"You've become lost in a game disguised as Everything - try to Remember"
  -Grant Morrison, Invisibles

mostly.harmless

  • *
  • Momurai
  • **
  • Posts: 121
    • View Profile
« Reply #4 on: April 04, 2020, 11:18:46 am »
I find this fascinating and hard to comprehend in equal measure.
Consciousness infused throughout, or embedded within?, the universe beggars my belief and how my understanding of it works (limited admittedly).

Are they onto something or is this a case of 'we can't explain this any other way, so we're putting a big red X here to represent panpsychism' because there is no viable alternative?

I'd recommend checking out the other IAI essays, some of which I've posted here - really gives you the sense that nobody's got a handle on the "Why" of anything, or arguably even the "How".

It's like we're in a Matrix, utterly unable to talk about the computer architecture because it lies outside our sensory abilities.

"You've become lost in a game disguised as Everything - try to Remember"
  -Grant Morrison, Invisibles
I'll do that. I might even have enough free time on my hands to actually make good on that resolution :)
Thanks for sharing

Sent from my LYA-L09 using Tapatalk