Volume 10, Issue 1, 2012

What Kind of Being Is Mental Presence ? Toward a Novel Analysis of the Hard Problem of Consciousness
Georg Franck, Department of Digital Methods in Architecture and Planning, Vienna University of Technology, Austria

Mental presence is how phenomenal consciousness exists. The very existence of consciousness is what gives rise to the so-called "hard problem of consciousness". In contrast to problems concerning the contents of conscious phenomena, the problem of their very existence has so far escaped detailed analysis. This paper ventures a new attempt, making use of the distinction between mental presence and the temporal present. Even though mental presence is tied to the temporal present regarding location in and travel through time, it is shown that the distinction can be drawn both intra- and inter-subjectively. The temporal present can be discerned by its autonomous movement and its inter-subjective significance. By virtue of the inter-subjective synchronization of the temporal present, presence as such is not purely subjective. Mental presence might have a root in the capability of performing inter-subjective synchronization.
The paper speculates that quantum measurement may be of particular interest in this respect. Quantum measurement is not restricted to the laboratory, but it is a ubiquitous process of constituting facts. It waits to be related to the coming forth of the actual state in which reality presents itself to experience. Could it be that living organisms, in the course of evolution, have learned to make use of this universal process of actualization for elaborating actuality into mental presence? The arguments put forward touch upon the discussion about a time observable and its role for the evolution of conscious minds.

From Mind to Matter - How Bergson Anticipated Quantum Ideas
Joel Dolbeault, Sciences Humaines et Sociales, Universite Lille, France

In his book Matter and Memory of 1896, Bergson anticipated the quantum conception of matter: the idea that particles have a holistic nature, that matter is not substantial, that the movement and the position of a body cannot be determined simultaneously, and that physical processes do not obey a strict necessity. Surprisingly, he drew these conclusions from a reflection about the relation between mind and matter, in particular from his idea that perception is a relative coincidence of mind with matter, that a sensory quality is a mnesic synthesis of very brief moments, and that consciousness admits of degrees. This latter point leads to a panpsychism which is neither idealist nor physicalist.

On the Physiological Generation of Antinomies and Paradoxes
Carlos Acosta, San Luis Obispo, California, USA

It has been proposed that subconscious retro-prediction in conjunction with brain state update cycles are instrumental in the physiological generation of conscious sensations and perceptions, and in all abstract thought. In this contribution, the hypothesis is supported by conducting a detailed re-evaluation of the self-referential statements in set theory and formal logic known as antinomies. This study concludes that the recursive behavior exhibited by abstract enigmas such as "Russell's Paradox" is analogous to the oscillations typical of bistable perceptual phenomena.

Non-Reductive Objectivism - An Ultrmicroscopic Account
Jamie Carnie, Bath, United Kingdom

This paper argues for a form of non-reductive objectivism which takes many sensory qualities to be temporary properties of space, the character of which are causally determined by material micro-events in the regions of space in which the qualities arise. Contemporary physics views "empty" space as likely to possess a Planck scale structure, and sensory qualities are conceived of as "grainy" at such an ultramicroscopic scale. It is shown that the outlook meets a number of conditions that can be identified as requirements of non-reductive objectivism. Explanations are also given of (a) the objectivity of sensory qualities despite the predominantly spatial nature of atomic matter, (b) the irreducibility of objective sensory qualities to scientific properties despite their being accountable in terms of the material hierarchy central to physics.

Last revision: 14 Aug 2012