[time 417] The double-aspect ontology of David Chalmers

Stephen P. King (stephenk1@home.com)
Wed, 30 Jun 1999 21:58:05 -0400

Hi All,

    I found an interesting quotable in david Chalmers' book The
Conscious Mind:

    "So the suggestion is that the information spaces required by
physics are themselves grounded in phenomenal or protophenomenal
properties. Each instantiation of such an information space is in fact a
phenomenal (or protophenomenal) realization. Every time a feature such
as mass and charge is realized, there is an intrinsic property behind
it: a phenomenal or protophenomenal property, or a microphenomenal
property for short. We will have a set of basic microphenomenal spaces,
one for each fundamental physical property, and it is these spaces that
will ground the information spaces that physics requires. The ultimate
differences are these microphenomenal differences.
    Of course, this view again requires a variety of "outrageous"
panpsychism, but I have already argued that such a panpsychism is not as
unreasonable as commonly supposed. Given that I have already suggested
that there may be phenomenal properties whenever there is information,
we might as well press these properties into service in a useful role.
    The ontology that this leads us to might truly by called a
double-aspect ontology. Physics requires information states but cares
only about their relations, not their intrinsic nature; phenomenology
requires information states, but cares only about the intrinsic nature.
This view postulates a single basic set of information states unifying
the two. We might say that internal aspects of these states are
phenomenal, and the external aspects are physical. Or as a slogan:
Experience is information from the inside; physics is information from
the outside."

Onward to the Unknown,


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