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Question

So there are 4 positions I think of on how the conscious experience interacts with the physical world. I have some intentionally heuristic terms such as physical world and conscious experience as we do not have a "theory of everything" nor a theory of what should constitute of this experience. My question is: Does there exist another 5'th position on interaction between the conscious experience and the physical world?

Possible Positions

The mappings supposed to represent reductive relations.

  1. There is a one-to-one mapping between the physical and conscious experience: `enter image description here

Over here the domain is the physical world and range is the conscious experience.

  1. There is a many-to-one mapping between the physical and conscious experience: enter image description here

Over here the domain is the conscious experience and the range is the physical world. A subset of thought in this would include things like the experience of (post)-death is the same (null set) for 2 different physical systems (humans). Thus, there is some redundancy in the conscious experience.

  1. There is a many-to-one mapping between the conscious experience and the physical world.

Over here the range is the conscious experience and the domain is the physical world. A subset of thought in this would include things like the conscious experience only includes eigenvalues (given by the Born rule) then there would be some redundancy in the physical world (and defining physical world only by the states)

  1. There is many-to-many "mapping" (this is not truly a mapping) between the conscious experience and the physical world. A subset of thought in this would include an intermediate world between the physical world and conscious experience. For example some combination of quantum immortality and many worlds interpretation.
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  • Please be aware that questions are subject to editing and closure, and that reflects the site's policies on acceptable questions and NOT a personal attack. (philosophy.stackexchange.com/help/dont-ask). Questions, including those that are closed, can be edited to bring them within guidelines. Additional clarification at (philosophy.meta.stackexchange.com).
    – J D
    Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 14:28
  • @JD can I ask which part of the question is problematic? Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 14:30
  • Sure. Philosophy SE is not a philosophical forum for open-ended discussion (though on a question you can sneak some in there), but is a Q&A Site related to the topics listed in the help section which often surprises posters (myself included). Possible reasons questions can be closed are 'duplicate', 'off-topic', 'unclear ask', 'too broad', and 'opinion-based'. The scope of the site is to enable context-specific, factual questions to be answered by use of expertise and reference (See philosophy.stackexchange.com/help/on-topic)
    – J D
    Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 14:41
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    Your question isn't inherently uninteresting, but it's largely personal speculation in an idiosyncratic terminology. If you can't cite a passage from an academic, there's a good chance that the answer is primarily opinion-based.
    – J D
    Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 14:52
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    @MoreAnonymous Sure, but there's not a single passage in that citation that attempts to interpret anything by looking at mappings of domains and codomains, and your own question isn't even clear on what these purported sets symbolize.
    – J D
    Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 14:58

2 Answers 2

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The basic presumption of this question is that there are two set of individuated (unique and independent) objects — objects in conscious experience, and objects in the physical world — that may be related by one of these various schemas. That presumption is extremely difficult to justify. Conceptual objects have imprecise boundaries, are malleable, changeable, and sometimes completely abstract; physical objects have problematic boundaries, since their boundaries are generally defined conceptually. If I take a cup of water and toss it into the sea, does that cup of water still exist? If I split a rock in two, do I have two rocks or two halves of one rock? Do concepts like 'love' and 'democracy' have relations to the physical world at all?

The relationship between perceptual experience and the physical world is decidedly more fractal than you realize. Imposing a strictly linear identity structure on either side is problematic at best.

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  • WedWringley would you be interested in a "discussion" (in chat) why I think it should be possible. Ping me in any chatroom (if interested)? Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 15:37
  • I don't know how to do that. 😀 Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 15:57
  • type '@' in the chatroom. Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 16:05
  • @MoreAnonymous — well, I set one up, so tell me if you see it. Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 16:35
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Ignore "consciousness" etc.

Mathematically you have a relationship between two sets, where for each set, this statement is either true or false:

  • Every element maps to exactly one element in the other set.

There are 4 possible combinations (2 sets, each with 2 possible descriptions).

There is no 5th possibility.

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  • Actually "Netural Monism + the claim it is impossible to demarcate between experience and physical experience is a possibility." was something a facebook friend thinks is a possibility. Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 14:46
  • @MoreAnonymous - Yes. This was my point. But you start the question by rejecting this view and drawing a line between the physical and world and consciousness, so it is a view not on your list. If you take the neutral view (NOT monism but 'non-dualism') then there are not two sets, so as you say there is a further possibility not considered here by Ray. But if there are two sets, as your question suggests, then he's right to say there are just four possibilities. I feel your question could be adjusted to be more clear on this issue. .
    – user20253
    Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 15:02
  • @PeterJ I wasn't aware of my own subtle assumptions :P Commented Nov 23, 2019 at 15:33
  • @MoreAnonymous - Join the club.
    – user20253
    Commented Nov 24, 2019 at 11:56

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