Reply to Herbert Muller's "CONCEPT-DYNAMICS
AND THE MIND-BRAIN QUESTION" - 2
[Peter Mutnick, prev.]
I still think you are not addressing my point. I don't know how I can make it any clearer. You want SE to be the starting point, but there is still a question of, "Where does this SE exist?" "How does it exist?" "In what immediate context does it exist?" It just seems to me that a word like "experience" is NOT sufficient to describe what happens or what is. I more or less identify the word "experience" with the word "phenomenon", both of which are of course very important in phenomenology, which I claim to be espousing. I am even amenable to the idea of "experience" as the *alphapoint* and the *omegapoint*, but I *still* see the need to contextualize it and not make the seemingly absurd claim that it is all that really exists.
The response to that is in paragraphs  and  of my paper. I understand that you want a security outside your experience, and that you find it difficult to do without something like that. You are not the only one, and this point is not easy to take. But in view of the insoluble conceptual problems which arise from the notion of MIR, there is little doubt that this has to be the conclusion.
As I have explained in a separate post to Muller, this is not a matter of personal feelings on my part, but of the desire for unambiguous scientific clarity. I find Muller's position to be lacking in the contextualization necessary for scientific clarity. It as if he is just saying, "THIS", and that explains everything. It does not. It explains nothing, it has no scientific meaning. It is a shame, because I think Muller is on the verge of making a contribution that would have meaning, but as it is, without the clarification of the questions I have posed, I think his position is just nonsense in the scientific meaning of that word. In any case, I will respond to the passages he has pointed to.
For all (animals and humans)
Well, perhaps that excludes me, and that is the problem.
the undivided and unstructured experience is the only available entrance to any sensation or knowledge (including objective knowledge).
I will grant that this may be so *from the human POV*. But that does NOT mean that it is not contextualized from another higher POV. This is basically just the argument over decoherence. Decoherence is based on the limits of human observers, which limits would not necessarily apply to other types of observers. Hence at best it defines *human* reality, but not what would be the reality for a higher type of observer than a human, or for a human under the influence of such a higher observer. Presumably the higher evolution defines the objective reality. We certainly would not want to limit reality to what an amoeba experiences. Why should we limit it to what we, in our creaturehood, experience? We can certainly conceive of higher types of observers - people have done it since the beginning of time. Why should our theories not be built on reasonable assumptions about the existence of higher types of observers, especially when they have revealed themselves to us?
Now I submit, and I think I have already shown it in the quotes from the founders of quantum theory, that quantum theory is in fact founded on such a super-human viewpoint, if we define the human viewpoint as Muller's. This is then very, very, interesting, because it shows that decoherence is in fact a regression to pre-quantum notions, due to a miscomprehension on the part of its advocates of what the real quantum Ansatz is.
I submit that there is also a parallel here to the difference between the false vacuum or void and the true vacuum or void. The *false* vacuum has the symmetry that defines Muller's position, but in the true vacuum that symmetry is broken and the subject/object split has emerged.
This entrance can be neither circumvented, jumped over, nor even neglected, without producing an error which makes understanding difficult. We are all caught in our (self-and-nature) experience, it is not possible to start somewhere else. All structures, the pre-conceptual ones as well as scientific and all other (word-) concepts, are later than experience itself. Concepts too are caught inside experience, and only from there are they comprehensible.
I will even grant your first statement and your last statement and yet say that you are absolutely wrong. The reason is that you are conflating subjective experience (SE) with encompassing experience (EE). SE is the thesis, EE is the synthesis, as you admit (that its function is to synthesize what has emerged as elements potentially transcendental to SE). And yet, inexplicably you conflate these two and so insist that nothing (in the form of concepts or ideas - namely Platonic ideas, with a life of their own) has emerged.
Your conflation of SE and EE, leaving no room for the independent existence of Platonic ideas, PI, is not without an etiology. It is a fact that in the transcendental experience of Locke's tabla rasa, which constitutes the transcendence by the ontological subject (the natural or abstract "ego") of himself in the phenomenological reduction, the difference between SE and EE vanishes and they are seen as two facets of the same self-transcending experience. But that experience does NOT start from SE - it rather ends in SE. It starts in the brain-located abstract "ego" (the part of the brain necessarily classical due to decoherence), which transcends itself by going into its own Unconscious, which is again a brain-located entity (having to do with coherent neurotransmitter circuits). The Unconscious is the gateway from the classical domain of the observer to the simultaneous experience within the quantum implicate order of SE and EE. SE, as the real origin of 0-D (zero-derivation), is in fact realized through the experience of Cosmic Consciousness. Once Cosmic Consciousness is stepped down into the ontological Stream of Consciousness, it is already and automatically structured by experience and subsequent thought. That is why Muller admits that he cannot conceive of actually experiencing the tabla rasa. But I tell you that I have experienced it and that many others have experienced it and called it by different names, such as Kensho or the phenomenological reduction.
So, although in the phenomenological system of worlds SE and EE are the same, in the ontological world they most certainly are NOT. Within the ontological realm, we might well start from SE and define a dialectical empiricism, with PI as the antithesis and EE as the synthesis. By conflating phenomenological and ontological reality, Muller has created an indigestible mess that cannot be utilized scientifically and makes no sense in any other way, either. It is a shame and the waste of an otherwise insightful point of view.
I would just like to add, with regard to the last sentence of Muller above, that Bohr says on the contrary that "we are suspended over a bottomless pit, caught in our own words". The concepts are not caught in our ordinary experience, SE, but rather we in our extraordinary experience, EE, are caught in our words or concepts, and being caught in them is the only thing that gives us support. Falling back into the void of nonexistence, as Muller advocates, is NOT the answer, either scientifically or psychologically, although the womb of subjective experience is in a sense just the dream or deep sleep state, from which we emerge everyday into the waking state which clearly differentiates subject and object. So, we do indeed have a need to return to the womb of subjective experience every night in our sleep, but if we do not emerge from it we are said quite correctly to be insane. How droll it is to hear a psychiatrist advocating and promoting insanity. Such is the confused state of the world.
CAUGHT WITHIN EXPERIENCE
For the relation between thinking, subject, and the brain this means that all thinking structures, both for the outside world (eg, objects like brain and brain-functions) and for the internal experience (such as I, subject, self, soul) as well as the split (the difference) between them, are built within ongoing experience – and remain there. To talk about mind-independent reality can help in thinking, but one ought to acknowledge that it is fiction.
Plato did have the idea of the *receptacle*, but I am afraid this should be identified with the *subjective* part of SE, not the *experience* part of it. The receptacle is the akashic record or cosmic memory, where all experiences, even higher experiences, are indeed ultimately stored for re-ingression into experience, or *anamnesis*, at any time. But these memories do NOT remain in experience. Muller's "experience" reminds one of Stapp's ongoing world of accumulated facts. Stapp at least realizes the problem of explaining the mode of existence of this all-inclusive reality. He associates it with the preferred frame of reference in which the cosmic background radiation is isotropic.
William James, who coined the term "world of pure experience", included the word "pure", which is of the utmost significance here. It is true, as I have stipulated that in the pure phenomenologically reduced experience, SE and EE, and hence all types of experience, are inherently unified. But that is NOT true in the ontological system of worlds, which defines our real existence in the world and as witnesses of the world. There James defined his view as "radical empiricism", by which he meant that it included secondary experience of concepts and ideas. Muller's notion that there is no difference between these two types of experience is his essential mistake, as I see it. In the ontological system of worlds, there is a necessary logical discrimination between the thesis, subjective experience, and the synthesis, encompassing experience. In other systems of worlds there are also various types of relationship between the two, but only in the phenomenological system of worlds are they different aspects of the same experience. Even in that case, however, they are not without contextualization.
It is ultimately just a prejudice of a very high order to presuppose that everything is contained within subjective experience. It is a false resolution of the real relations between subject and object, which exist in spite of this false attempt at limiting them to one particular and ultimately unsatisfactory arrangement.
In the East, the view of Muller is recognized as the Buddhist version of Mayavadi impersonalism.
Functional scientific statements are of the type "if one does this, that result is to be expected with such a probability"; existential statements can also be formulated in this way, eg, : "if one assumes the Big Bang, it follows that … ", or "I am (positing myself as) so-and-so, and therefore … " Ontological statements can in this way be functionalized with a gain in possibilities of thought, while inversely functional ones can be made ontological only with a loss. One might for instance compare an ontological statement like : "the earth is flat" with the functional one : "In order to draw a plan of the land on which my house is built, I can act as if the earth were flat, since for this I do not have to consider the limitations of flat geometry".
Ve-ry in-ter-est-ing. Yes, I think this really is the motivation of your whole point of view: "Ontological statements can in this way be functionalized with a gain in possibilities of thought, while inversely functional ones can be made ontological only with a loss." I agree that the essence of the metaphysical view is that it puts limits on the unlimited proliferation of possibilities. Of course it is true in the Hegelian sense that MIR is just the other or limit of SE. You reject this limit. I say, that is like a whore who feels that her many low quality relationships are more valuable than one high quality relationship. Or it is like a spoiled child, perhaps also an abused child, who can accept no limits. I think you are wrong. I think you are dead wrong. There is really nothing more to say, since IMHO you are undialogic and unwilling to come out of your shell of absurdity. Again, I say it is a shame, because there is great potential in the approach upon which you have embarked, but not gotten very far.
Muller claims that he is opening up the possibilities for real dialectic and dialog by imposing his ridiculous premise, but really he is shutting them down and making a mockery of any dialog that occurs. For instance, one might rather than ongoing "experience" prefer the word "knowledge", in the sense of a growing body of knowledge, as did the founders of quantum theory at times in reference to the state vector, or one might prefer the word "thought" as does Stapp. Now Muller or even Stapp might like to conflate all these words, which are indeed distinct concepts, but that is after all illegitimate and a complete negation of the real dialectic. In the end Muller cannot avoid the fact that his "experience" is after all a concept despite the fact that he thinks he is intending something so much more than a concept. He is really just a dog howling at the moon. I am tired of taking him seriously. I will go my own way, and follow my thoughts along the path that I know is right, out of the valley of the shadow of death, which is Muller's "experience".
Peter Joseph Mutnick 1949 - 2000