Top-down Individuation: Nonduality and the Fallacies of Panpsychism and Artificial Sentience
Here is the abstract of my upcoming presentation at the Science and Non-Duality Gathering 2015, in San Jose, California, coming October:
We live in culture dominated by two contrived metaphysical inferences: that the world exists outside consciousness and that particular arrangements of matter in that world somehow generate consciousness. This distorted view of reality feeds the delusory dreams of artificial consciousness so prevalent in the media today, such as in movies like Ex_Machina.
In contrast to science fiction, however, there is the cold science fact of our complete failure to articulate, even in principle, how particular arrangements of matter could possibly generate consciousness. But instead of forcing our culture to revise its mistaken metaphysics, this failure is leading to a new delusion: panpsychism, or the notion that consciousness is in all matter, as opposed to all matter in consciousness. Under panpsychism, consciousness is fundamentally fragmented, just as matter appears to be. Single atoms allegedly have very simple consciousness, while more complex psyches, such as our own, can be built bottom-up by connecting atoms together.
In this talk, we will see how both panpsychism and our dreams of artificial consciousness arise from a delusory interpretation of the facts of reality, as available to experience. We will see that consciousness isn’t created, but the framework wherein all creation happens. We will see that consciousness isn’t fundamentally fragmented, but fundamentally one. We will see that individual psyches don’t arise from bottom-up integration, but from top-down dissociation of a single consciousness. Finally, we will see how all this follows directly from true non-dualism.
Copyright © 2015 by Bernardo Kastrup. All rights are reserved.