Abstract Details

The Hard Problem  Forrest Landry (Ronin Institute, Rancho Santa Fe, CA )   P1

Considers what is meant by the 'hard problem of consciousness', and what sorts of questions, techniques, and concepts would be necessary to address it. Current discussion and formulation of the "hard problem question" is often poorly described, using ambiguous and incompletely and inappropriately considered terminology. Discussion of and identification of 'what is actually 'hard' about the hard problem?' is therefore needed as a preliminary. Presently, large classes of proposed answers and responses to 'the problem' are simply considering the wrong thing -- are actually a response to an improperly phrased question, largely due to deep confusions in the terminology and expressions of the people and the process of asking it. Hence, most attempts to address and respond to "the hard problem" are simply recognized and felt as unsatisfying and incomplete to most philosophers of mind. This essay first seeks to form and establish a more comprehensive understanding and characterization of what is actually being asked, in more formal language, and from this basis, establish what intrinsic characteristics a complete and sufficient answer would actually need to have. Characterization of the relationship between the notion of the subjective and objective, of the limits and nature of physics and mathematics, of measurements, signals, and language, and their relationship to computation and conscious, as embodied and and as virtualized, are all considered as systems of concepts that are needing to be appropriately handled to have any chance of addressing anything in the space of hard problem type considerations. Questions in terms of 1st person and 3rd person perspectives -- in terms of deep concepts of symmetry, continuity, as understood in terms of epistemic theories, and the concept of comparison itself -- are all needed and used herein to provide a proper context in which to consider the ontology of consciousness. From this, it can be immediately seen that attempted resolution in the form of any establishment of truth value in statements formed on the basis of neural correlates -- even if we were to arbitrarily assume complete, absolute, and total establishment of such correlation -- are simply of no intrinsic use in responding to true hard problem questions, correctly formulated. Hence, it can be seen that even these scientific treatments and problem characterizations, and the resulting conversations, are actually not at all well founded and are far too often based on mistaken intentions. This work presents a brief synopsis and review of the necessary epistemic foundations, develops these into comprehensive foundation concepts with clear absolute definitions, from from there, creates some elements of the toolset to address the relation of the subjective and objective. Identification with the concept of time is proposed, and the connections between such concepts and the notions of 'choice', 'change', and 'causality' are defined as a basis for the real, as conceived within the context of the scientific method. Using established relations known to exclude hidden variable theories, and identification of the temporal arrow with 1st person experienced randomness, are used as a basis for identifying the hard problem in a more satisfactory manner.