Re: Are First Person prime?

From: 1Z <>
Date: Sat, 12 Aug 2006 23:18:17 -0000

David Nyman wrote:

> 1Z wrote:
> > 1) the don't seem to have, and they *are* what they seem
> > 2) they are incommunicable in mathematical, and hence
> > sructrural terms.
> 1) Well, this obviously depends on the subject of the seeming. To me,
> 'red', 'middle C', or 'bitter' all *do* seem to possess a sort of
> directly sensed 'vibrational' quality that is essential, for example,
> to why I would feel they were 'like' or 'unlike' other colours, sounds,
> or tastes, or where they would *subjectively* lie in 'spectra'
> analogous (but not identical) to those of 'physical' properties.

They have some mathematical/structural properties, but they a
re underdefined by those properties -- theya
re far from the wholes tory.

> 2) They are by definition incommunicable in mathematical or any other
> language, but this does not in my *experience* equate to their being
> 'structureless' in *feel*.

I disagree. I can discern no structure *within* the taste
of lemon or the colour red. There are relations between
tastes, colours and so on, but they underdiefine the tastes
and colurs themselves.

> If I attempt to imagine what the 'bare
> substrate' would *feel* like, I am frankly at a loss because it *seems*
> to be devoid of content - what would there be to be 'felt'? But beyond
> the substrate we have the equally fundamental IMO notion of
> differentiation (a neutral term I'm using because it isn't committed to
> a purely 'physical' view) and it seems to me that the intersection of
> substrate and differentiation could well *be* the direct experience of
> content.

The substrate could be differnentiated into properties
that have no further reducible structure -- ie qualities.

> I also call such content 'structure' because it is
> differentiated but if you'd rather reserve this for the relational
> idea, so be it.

> > Correlation is not identity.
> Precisely. But the correlation of qualia with structurally
> differentiated 'physical' phenomena leads to the intuition that qualia
> themselves may be an *experiential synthesis* based on structural
> differentiation of the same bare ('property-less' in your own terms)
> substrate.

What is an experiential synthesis ?

> The substrate, as you say elsewhere, provides enduring
> existence within which the properties manifest and change. I'm
> suggesting that the *existence* of the differentiated substrate
> *synthesises* the qualia (i.e. they entail multiple differentiations)
> and the mutual *relations* of the differentiated substrate *are* the
> 'properties'.
> BTW, when I meditate on a substrate whose differentiation resolves into
> 'me' 'you' and other persons, I tend to 'take it personally'. The
> 'impersonal' gaps between persons are IMO no different in kind than the
> gaps between my own experiences at different times, places, branches of
> MW, etc.

I have no idea why you would think that.

> The substrate is in these terms a single 'potential
> experiencer'.

It's a potential everything. Why an experiencer in particular ?

> The actual experiences it possesses are then a function
> of an infinite network of differentiation. I've said something
> elsewhere about the implications of this for the perception of time
> both as discrete, rather than totalised, experiences, and as a
> 'dynamic' quale, mediated by discrete 'capsules' of locally-delimited
> information.
> > Mutual relations are not internal relations. Purple
> > lies between red and blue, but being told that
> > doens't tell you what purple looks like unless you
> > already know what red and blue look like. Realtional
> > information about colours does not convey the colours
> > themselves.
> Nothing can 'tell you what purple looks like'. Purple is a medium that
> carries information, not information itself. However, the *feel* of
> purple may seem related to the *feel* of blue. Isn't this ultimately a
> matter for each 'seemer' to meditate on?
> > If that were the case, there would be no HP, and threfore no
> > need for any first-personness worth arguing about.
> I don't think that the HP is a useful idea.

That's hardly relevant! Problems are problems. They
don't slink away if you accuse them of uselessness.

> I think there is existence
> and this is something I 'take personally' because it *seems* to
> manifest as me, and other mes, all of whom I find it intuitive to
> conceive as subsets of a much Vaster me, with 'conscious regions' (e.g.
> 'me yesterday', 'me on the branch where I didn't have that last beer',
> 'Peter five minutes ago') and 'unconscious regions' (e.g. 'me after
> that last beer', interstellar space, a rock).

Ontology is all about what you take as fundamental,
and why. Your grounds for taking the me/not-me
distinction as fundamental seem subjective and inutitive rather
than logical.

> The EP is the observable
> behaviour (information content) of all this, insofar as we have access
> to and can make sense of it.

There must be a reason why the Ep is easy.

> > That is still pure Chalmers -- natural supervenience is not identity,
> > after all.
> Well, if 'experience' is the fact of *being* differentiable existence,
> and 'the physical' is the observable relations thereof, then both
> ultimately 'supervene' on there being something rather than nothing.

No. There being something rather than nothing is only
1 buit of information: not enough for a universe to
supervene on.

A set of complex, changing properrties can only supervene on another
set of complex, changing properties.

> Further correlation is IMO an empirical issue from which might stem a
> more robust theoretical model embracing both. If this is the substance
> of Chalmers' claim then I suppose I would go along with it.
> > > How - by relational modulation of the 0-personal substrate.
> >
> > If you modulate a bunch of relations , you get another bunch
> > of relations. That is no departure from reductive physicalism.
> Yes, but that's not what I meant. You experience as the fact of *being*
> the 'modulated' (differentiated) substrate, not *observing* it (i.e. as
> information). You do of course observe it, but that then is 2nd-order,
> the relational level of information, not the substrate level of
> existence.

I am beginning to think your substrate is one level above my substrate.

> This is why I insist that differentiation is as 'primitive'
> as the substrate, in the sense that there is nothing in the notion of
> 'substrate' as a semantic container for 'bare enduring existence' that
> would lead you to suppose that it was differentiable.

But you cna't hav edifferentiation without something to
be differentiated. So the substrate is more basic.

> There's no
> reducible 'process of differentiation' at this semantic level, but
> rather having introduced the notion of difference, you can then
> synthesise this into whatever sort of differentiation/ structure/
> relation/ content you need for your theoretical ends.
> > If you are going to continue being unable to specify what is
> > personal about your primordial 1st peson, then that would
> > be better, yes.
> I don't really want to go back into the word dispute, but as I've
> implied above, this may just be an aspect of explanatory style. Of
> course I never meant to claim that the substrate is a 'person' as
> conventionally conceived,

That's just the problem I have. How can you have personality without
persons ?

> but as I say, I can't help 'taking
> personally' the existent thing from which I and all persons are
> emanating. I think, imaginatvely, that if one pictures a 'block
> universe', Platonia, MW, or any non-process conception of reality, this
> is more intuitive,

I don't see why it should be. It does not conform to our

> because everything is 'just there' - superposed, as
> it were. So, sure there's a 'layer' at which the individual 1st-person
> 'emerges', but it's taking everything else 'working together' to
> manifest it. So in this sense, for me, it's all 'personal'. But maybe
> not for you.
> > It all depends on what you mean by physical. For me,
> > what physicalism means beyond materialism is that
> > all properties are quantitiative and relational. A consequence
> > is that there is no layering of any significant kind.
> You're on to something here, I think. Of course you're right that the
> physical description renders the other 'chemical', 'biological' etc.
> schemas redundant. However, this is clearly not the case
> experientially, and this seems a very fundamental distinction. 'Form'
> for example exists experientially where it is a redundant concept
> physically (though not Platonically). So there is something that is
> producing a 'layering' that is shaping what we experience and in what
> way. I've already suggested that experience is the fact of *being* the
> structured substrate, and when we start to conceive the structure in
> terms of behaviour (i.e. treat it dynamically) what emerges may well
> display the characteristics of a perceiver+perceptual model system.

That isn't at all clear to me - mainly because you
are nto makign the all-improtant distinction between
structures-structures and qualia-structures.

> These characteristics would include the 'forms' of its perceptions and
> the modalities of their qualia, including the 'dynamic' quale of
> temporal experience. This would yield a relational treatment of
> experience which would could be correlated to whatever degree with a
> physical description. The results of this would be an empirical test of
> conjectured 'supervenience' relations.

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Received on Sat Aug 12 2006 - 19:20:20 PDT

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