MM-Theory - The Inconceivability of Consciousness

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The Lockean View and The Inconceivable The Objectification Process The Origins of Objectification

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Introduction

Descartes' Chiliagon

Objectifying Consciousness Conceiving Consciousness

Objectifying Without Erring

The Central-Self

Reconciliations of MMTheory

Conceiving The Inconceivable

The Inconceivability of Consciousness
ABSTRACT: The paper begins with Locke's view of mind - that all concepts and knowledge originate from sensory experiences - and then examines the implications this has for phenomena that, by this account, should be inconceivable but of which it seems we do have some conception. The concept of mental models is introduced as a reconciliation between the conceivable and the inconceivable. The difference between visualizing and conceptualizing is then examined, using Descartes' chiliagon as an example. The "objectification process" is introduced to explain how the mind creates and works with mental models, and why this process is inadequate for certain phenomena like consciousness. This inadequacy results in certain concepts failing to represent phenomena in their true forms. To show how the objectification process lies at the heart of the paradox of mind and matter, the concept of the central-self is introduced. Finally, a reconciliation between MM-Theory and those of the central-self, objectification process, and mental models is made.

Introduction
If there is anything more difficult than conceptualizing difficult concepts, it's conceptualizing how such concepts get conceptualized. Nevertheless, this is the challenge this paper will take on. The importance of devoting a separate paper to this topic becomes apparent when one experiences how confusing it can be to philosophize about mind when it is the mind that does the philosophizing. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to offer a paradigm by which the distinction can more easily be made between our subjective experiences of our own minds and the abstract constructs of mind we derive through philosophizing. Putting this another way - a way that will be made clear later - this paradigm will distinguish between the phenomena our concepts are about and The Mind/Matter the process by which these concepts are formed. This paradigm will also help us avoid the trap of trusting that our constructs of mind (and other difficult concepts) match the actual phenomenon they represent with perfect Paradox accuracy - a trap fallen into more often than one might think, and is the major factor responsible for making the mind/matter paradox such a conundrum. I would recommend reading the papers The Basic Theory of Mind and Matter and The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter with more emphasis on the Basic Theory. They are not essential for this paper, however, and where reference to concepts elaborated on in the aforementioned papers is required, I do my best to elaborate on them sufficiently in this paper. Needless to say, this paper deals with the concept of consciousness in the conventional context - that is, it assumes the reader understands consciousness to be something that only exists for an individual with a brain whose function it is to produce it. It also assumes the reader understands consciousness to be an awareness of reality (as opposed to a system of experiences, as MM-Theory would have it). The reader might believe in other theories of consciousness, but it is assumed that he/she at least understands the conventional model. This is the model that will be used for every section of this paper except the final section, where we bring MM-Theory into the picture. At that point, if the reader hasn't done so already, he/she

Experience

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will need to break from this paper to read the Basic and Advanced Theories.

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The Lockean View and The Inconceivable
Let's begin with the Lockean view of mind. John Locke was a hardnosed empiricist - that is, one who believes that all knowledge and anything conceivable is derived from sensory experiences. Sometimes knowledge and concepts can be formed by taking parts or aspects of sensory experiences and recombining them with other parts. So, for example, a mermaid might be conceptualized by taking one experience of seeing a woman and another of seeing a fish, and combining them together. Locke intended his theory to apply to all sensations, so one could conceive of things in auditory and tactile forms as well as those of the chemical senses (see sidenote ). Locke also believed that because newborns have no prior sensory experience (or very little at least), they cannot have any knowledge and cannot conceptualize anything. He used the metaphor of the tabula rasa (blank slate) to describe the newborn's mind - meaning that the newborn's mind is like a slate with nothing written on it. When the child encounters experiences from the world, these get written to the slate and can be referred to by the child at his/her choosing. The Lockean view is probably the most intuitive model of mind and how it builds concepts. But as is usually the case, the picture is not as simple as intuition might have us believe. For example, when it comes to the topic of what can and can't be conceived, it would seem that the Lockean view, if at all accurate, would have to be validated against itself - that is, it purports a conception of mind whose validity would have to meet the criteria of its own precepts. Its precepts are, of course, that it must somehow be derived from pieces of sensory experiences. In other words, mind must be something akin to the objects of sensory experience, and subject to the same processes they undergo. This wasn't a problem in Locke's time - Locke's model is grounded in the Newtonian worldview known as classical mechanics. The ideal of classical mechanics is that the world can be explained in its entirety according to natural laws, and this includes mind. Although it does not purport mind to be physical per se, it has been describe as a corpuscular model - that is, mind, like matter, is made of corpuscles. Today, we know the corpuscles of matter as molecules and atoms, and Locke's picture of corpuscles of mind was something like this - that is, the mind's corpuscles could be thought of as its fundamental elements, like atoms, and interact in a mechanical manner. These might be thoughts, memories, experience, etc., and they are bonded together by what Locke called "associations". In other words, in order for the Lockean view to be correct, it must mean that mind is like a mechanical phenomenon, sharing all its features in common with the world accessible to our senses. Models of mind can therefore be built by assembling together various pieces of sensory experiences. If the essence of mind is something other than this, the Lockean view falls flat on its face - essentially purporting a concept of mind that cannot be derived from sensory experience, and thus cannot be derived at all. Although we will not get into the matter of whether the mind is mechanical or not, we will say that such a position would be very difficult to push in today's world, and leave it at that. Instead, we will get into another objection to Locke's theory - namely, examining concepts that seem should be inconceivable according to the Lockean view. Examples of such concepts include infinity, eternity, time and space, death, and indeed consciousness itself. Let's consider infinity in more depth. To imagine infinity is to imagine an end to space that is so far away it would take an eternity to reach it no matter how fast we traveled towards it. But is such a concept accurate? To imagine that infinity is an actual "end" to space that somehow exists, even if we keep in mind that it is unreachable, could not possibly be correct. Infinity is defined as the lack of any such end. What if we imagined infinity as a perpetual traversing of space in a steady direction? Would this be accurate? Again, it could not possibly be - to imagine traversing space, no matter what the distance, must be done in a finite amount of time. In order for such a conception to accurately portray infinity, we would need an eternity to think it. Similar difficulties exist for the concept of eternity. What about time and space? Surely we're experiencing these things all the time, so what's so difficult about conceptualizing them? Well, are we really experiencing them - that is, in a sensory way? When you look up into the night sky, what do you see between the stars? A blanket of sheer blackness, right? But is this what space Color Opponency really looks like? It can't be - space shouldn't have a color, not even black. To see an all-encompassing dome of Theory black as the background of the night sky is more a result of the way our visual system responds to the lack of light entering our eyes. That is, according to color opponency theory, there are MODs in our brains for the perception of black which seem to respond best when no other color or light information is coming in from the eyes - sort of a "default" color. There are also MODs for depth perception, and these also seem to have a default value - a maximum depth - when the disparity between the images of each eye is near zero. In effect, the resultant perception becomes that of a black "wall" with stars pinned on it - but this is not space. Space does not MODs

John Locke

The Other Senses

Classical Mechanics

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have a color - it is transparent. It is not a certain distance away either - it is all around us and infinite in extent. Imagine looking into an empty box. What you see are the walls and the base of the box, but not the space within it. There is nothing of the space to be seen. There might be several different ways of visualizing space - one that I use is a threedimensional grid much like a cartesian coordinate system. Other times, I envision a field of points Cartesian scattered randomly and packed Coordinate System densely in all directions as far as I can see. In reality, however, I have never seen a 3D coordinate system or a field of points - and if I have, these were actual objects presumably serving as representations of space - but as such could not be space themselves. The concept of time suffers similar difficulties - the best one can do is visualize the passing of a series of events, or perhaps a time line - but time itself is neither of these, and for all intents and purposes seems to be quite impossible to visualize. There are many other examples I could name off - altered states of consciousness, what death is like, imaginary numbers, God and other transcendental beings, and so on. However, I think the above examples are sufficient to get the main point across - that there are certain concepts we seem to have some sort of grasp on, whether loosely or firmly, that we could not have acquired through sensory experience. That is to say, Locke would have a tough time explaining these concepts, if he didn't forfeit beforehand. I'm sure if Locke were alive today, and he were here to dispute this point with me, he might say something like the following:
All the ideas that are considered as having parts, and are capable of increase by the addition of any equal or less parts, afford us, by their repetition, the idea of infinity; because, with this endless repetition, there is continued an enlargement of which there can be no end.[...] Whatsoever positive ideas we have in our minds of any space, duration, or number, let them be ever so great, they are still finite; but when we suppose an inexhaustible remainder, from which we remove all bounds, and wherein we allow the mind an endless progression of thought, without ever completing the idea, there we have our idea of infinity.

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This is actually taken from Locke's "An Essay Concerning Human Understanding: Book 2: Chapter 17". What Locke is saying is that the concept of infinity is really the understanding that certain quantities, like the extents of space or the duration of time, lack ends - that is, we conceive of infinity when we imagine something not having an end. We arrive at this idea by taking real life sensory experiences, quantifying them in the mind, and then perpetually adding them together until we come to the realization that there will never be a condition under which such adding will have to cease. For example, suppose we took our experience of walking. We can An Essay imagine quantifying the steps we take by thinking of them as units of Concerning distance - namely, feet. Then we can imagine taking a unit of distance one Human foot long and adding it to another unit of the same length. We can continue Understanding: this process, adding ever more foot long units to each other, over and over Book 2: Chapter ad infinitum. When it suddenly dons on us that there will never be a moment 17 when we've added the last unit - that is, the critical unit after which no more units can be added - then we will have apprehended infinity. Or so Locke believed. Well, all right, Mr. Locke, but what we, in this scenario, have conceptualized, if solely based on the aforementioned sensory experiences, is not infinity. What this thought experiment shows is that one can arrive at the concept of infinity using these sensory experiences as means, but the concept of infinity is not merely the sum total of these experiences as played out in the thought experiment. I don't deny that this thought experiment could bring one to realize that such an exercise would be endless, and that the conceptualization of infinity would accompany this, but even this realization is a concept that rises above the banal sensory elements as I shall now show. I propose that, in the above thought experiment, one comes to grips with the concept of infinity before realizing that it is a never ending process. That is to say that the thought process would go something like "Wait a minute! This exercise is infinite! Therefore, it doesn't have an end!" rather than "Wait a minute! This exercise doesn't have an end! Therefore, it's infinite!" Why do I propose this? Well, to refer to the exercise as never-ending is necessarily to refer to the entire exercise. Therefore, to come to the realization that it is never-ending is to already conceptualize the entire exercise. To refer only to a portion of it - and more particularly, to the current moment -

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all one can realize is that no end has been encountered yet. Let's phrase it another way. Suppose you thought, "Wait a minute! This exercise goes on forever!" The word "forever" refers to eternity, the temporal counterpart of infinity. You would be saying, in effect, that the amount of time it takes to complete the exercise is infinite. This means you would already have to hold the concept of infinity (or eternity) in your mind, and your realization that the exercise has no end would have to be based on this. Of course, I am not proposing that it's impossible to understand the concept of infinity. I am proposing that we can, and do, understand it, despite the fact that there is no sensory material out of which it can be built - Locke was wrong. So then what's the right view? If these concepts cannot be derived from anything we experience with our senses, then how are they derived? One thing we can subscribe to is a simple idea that I came up with a long time ago - long before MM-Theory. It is the idea of "mental models", constructs representing phenomena that can't be derived from Lockean mechanisms (i.e. sensory experiences). The notion of mental models is nothing new - I do not need to formally define this term (although I will) in order for the reader to understand that they are constructs representing phenomena of which we don't necessarily have the psychological tools to imagine in their true forms. That is, mental models are, for the most part, heuristics that help in diagramming, either publicly or in one's head, phenomena such that we are able to think about and communicate them. Note that this definition does not exclude phenomena of which we have no trouble conceptualizing - there is nothing wrong with calling the concept of a tree a mental model. The important point to realize is that mental models represent phenomena of both flavors - those that can be fully described in sensory terminology and those that can't. Now, although this concept is not new, I should mention something about it that was unique at the time I came up with it. At the time, my understanding of the mind was very much in line with the Lockean view - that is, the view that whatever resides in the mind (namely, knowledge and concepts) must be a reflection of what was previously experienced by the senses. Mental models are no exception. Now, what this means is that, when mental models represent phenomena that cannot be derived from Lockean mechanisms, they actually fail to represent, as accurately as possible, that which they refer to. That is, since mental models can only be made up of sensory experiences, then any phenomena that cannot be experienced by the senses must be represented by mental models in an inaccurate way. In other words, we may have a mental model of a phenomenon like infinity, but this mental model falls short of representing the genuine thing in its true form.

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Figure 1: Mental models of infinity. To compensate for this, I theorized that we must keep track of what I called a "feature list", a set of facts that, although about the phenomenon in question, are not inherent in the mental model itself. For example, suppose when I tried to imagine infinity, I was forced to visualize something that was finite, such as a 2D grid where the horizon marked infinity (see figure 1 above), knowing full well that this only represents infinity. This would be the mental model. To

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compensate for the finite structure of the visual representation, I could bring up a whole slew of facts about infinity that aren't obvious from the mental model itself. Examples of such features might include
• • • • infinity cannot be reached infinity is greater than any quantified magnitude infinite distances require an eternity to traverse infinity is unimaginable

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and so on. So although the mental model cannot accurately portray infinity, associating it with a feature list resolves this problem.

Definition: Mental Models A mental model is a conceptual representation of a phenomenon. Due to the fact that the phenomenon may take a form that the mind is incapable of mirroring, mental models may fall short of being as accurate a representation as possible. Definition: Feature List A conceptual list of features that refer to properties or facts about a phenomenon represented by a mental model, and can compensate for the inaccuracy of the representation.
Now there's nothing special about the feature list that puts it above ordinary concepts. Indeed, the feature list is simply a list of ideas, just as the mental model is. The reason why it resolves the problem of the inadequacy of mental models is because it is only through the combined functions of the feature list and the mental model that the phenomenon in question can be conceptualized. Neither the feature list nor the mental model alone can achieve this. The mental model, by itself, misrepresents the phenomenon, and the feature list, by itself, is a meaningless set of facts, the idea they refer to being utterly non-extant. As an analogy, we can imagine that this network of ideas - those in the feature list and the mental model itself are like a corporation. The mental model is like the CEO who has a great sense of vision - he/she sees the "big picture". How this picture becomes a reality, however, is less his/her expertise and more the expertise of the professionals who work under him/her. These professionals are like the feature list in that each one knows a lot about a specific area - that is, he/she can tell you the technical facts about the enterprise they endeavor in, but they don't necessarily have the vision to see the big picture. In fact, some are so wrapped up in their own isolated field that they don't even know what the CEO's vision is - they just do what they're told. Furthermore, they only know their own field in-depth, while the field of other professionals, though just as skilled in their subject matter, is only known superficially. The CEO has complete faith in these professionals, knowing full well that however it is that his/her vision becomes a reality, they know the means and they have the wherewithal to see it through. Thus, he/she doesn't need to wrack his/her brains over the technical details of how to achieve his/her dream. Just the same, the mental model doesn't need to reflect the actual phenomenon to absolute perfection - the feature list possesses the expertise of keeping the individual aware of the shortcomings of the mental model and the actual facts about the phenomenon represented. Of course, the feature list is sometimes ignored (usually unconsciously). The most prevalent example of this is the mistake so many people make in regards to the mental model of the mind. This mistake is the assumption that the mind is something ethereal - that is, something ghostly or vaporous, as if it takes up a spatial volume and physically resides in the body or brain. If one takes this line of thought further, one might even wonder whether the mind could leave the body or continue on after death, where it might float about in the air or something. This is a result of paying too much attention to the visual aspects of the mental model, and not enough to the items in the feature list such as "is not physical", "doesn't take up spatial volume", "doesn't have a spatial location", "is sustained by a functioning brain", and so on (see disclaimer ). We have a tendency to fall into these traps - and indeed this is an example of the trap mention in the introduction of this paper. Now, the reader might think this all makes a whole lot of sense, but make no mistake - there are problems with it. Even though this idea worked for me at the time, it contains a grave error that we should point out now, resting assured that MM-Theory offers an alternative solution. To understand this error, we need to think of the feature list, not as a list of features that the phenomenon in question has, but as a list of criteria that a proper conception

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of the phenomenon must meet. For example, let's reconsider the feature list for the concept of infinity, displayed again here:
• • • • infinity cannot be reached infinity is greater than any quantified magnitude infinite distances require an eternity to traverse infinity is unimaginable

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If we consider this as a list of criteria that the mental model of infinity must meet, then it obviously fails. Based solely on the visual aspects of the mental model, which is all the mental model has, infinity seems quite reachable, has a definite quantity, seems traversable in a finite amount of time, and is certainly imaginable. However, we might argue that the strength of the feature list is that it allows us to ignore the imperfections of the mental model. But if the mental model can be ignored, then we couldn't say that the feature list and mental model are interdependent. This doesn't make much sense. A feature list by itself amounts to nothing more than a list of facts that purport to belong to some phenomenon of which we have no conception. It would be like the professionals of the corporation analogy working arduously but going astray because the CEO is absent. To make this more clear, let's consider another analogy: the feature list is to the mental model as a riddle is to an answer. For example, consider this riddle: what starts with 'e', ends with 'e', and contains one letter? Whatever the answer to this riddle is, the features of starting with 'e', ending with 'e', and containing one letter are the set of criteria that it must meet. This is like the feature list. Now, it should be obvious that a feature list, like a riddle, does not suffice as a conception for the phenomenon it refers to. It only serves as a guide for determining when we have the right conception and when we don't. And of course, the mental model is like the answer. But now notice that in order for it to be correct, it must actually meet the criteria. If it fails, like the mental model of infinity surely does, it is just like a wrong answer to the riddle - it doesn't work. Now the riddle used in the above example has a conceivable answer: an envelope. This is just like a phenomenon for which there is a conceivable mental model - a tree for example. But not all phenomena, in the context of the Lockean view, can be conceived - infinity is one of these. So when we refer to the feature list for infinity, we are essentially noting what our mental model must reflect. Since our mental model fails to do so, we cannot claim that the feature list helps in the least. To say that the feature list compensates for the shortcomings of the mental model is like saying the criteria delineated in the riddle compensates for any answer that might be blatantly wrong. For example, if I were to say the answer to the above riddle was "a can of beer", I couldn't justify this by saying we can ignore the fact that it doesn't start and end with 'e's and contains more than one letter, and instead pretend that it does. That doesn't make it the right answer. Thus, the theory of the feature list is not adequate for explaining how we conceive of things that should be, on a Lockean account, inconceivable. We need an alternate theory. We will offer one at the end of this paper where we will show how MM-Theory resolves the problem in a completely different way. Essentially, we will get rid of the feature list, resting assured that the mental model is a bona fide conception of the true phenomenon. What will remain the same is the definition of mental models - namely, that they are constructs that represent phenomena for which there are no Lockean mechanisms capable of creating them. In other words, the difference between the Lockean take on mental models and that of MM-Theory is inconsequential. But before we can understand the approach MMTheory takes towards mental models, we need to distinguish between conceptualizing and visualizing things. This will be our focus in the next section.

Descartes' Chiliagon
In his Meditations On First Philosophy, René Descartes used the chiliagon as an example of something that cannot be visualized yet can be conceived. A chiliagon is a polygon with 1000 sides of equal length and at equal angles to each other. He had this to say:
...I remark in the first place the difference that exists between the imagination and pure intellection. For example, when I imagine a triangle, I do not conceive it only as a figure comprehended by three lines, but I also apprehend these three lines as present by the power and inward vision of my mind, and this is what I call imagining. But if I desire to think of a chiliagon, I certainly conceive truly that it is a figure composed of a thousand sides, just as easily as I conceive of a triangle that it is a figure of three sides only; but I cannot in any way imagine the thousand sides of a chiliagon, nor do I, so to speak, regard them as present. And although in accordance with the habit I have formed of always employing the aid of my imagination when I think of corporeal things, it may happen that in imagining a chiliagon I confusedly represent to myself some figure, yet it is very evident that this figure is not a chiliagon, since it in no way differs from that which I represent to myself when I think of a myriagon or any other many-sided figure; nor does it serve my purpose in discovering the properties which go to form the distinction between a chiliagon and other polygons. But if the question turns upon a pentagon, it is quite true that I can conceive its figure as well as that of a chiliagon without the help of my imagination; but I can also imagine it by applying the attention of my mind to each of its five sides, and at the same time to the space which they enclose. And thus I clearly recognise that I have need of a particular effort of mind in order to affect the act of imagination, such as I do not require in order to understand, and this particular effort of mind clearly manifests the difference which exists between imagination and pure intellection.

René Descartes' "Meditations On First Philosophy (Meditation VI)"

Descartes is saying that a chiliagon has so many sides that it is impossible for him to visualize it (what he calls "imagining") but he still understands what one is (what he calls "intellection"). In other words, there's a world of

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difference between visualizing a chiliagon and conceptualizing it. Furthermore, he notes that when he conceptualizes a chiliagon, he can "confusedly represent to [him]self some figure, yet it is very evident that this figure is not a chiliagon". In other words, even though he cannot visualize a chiliagon, there tends to be a visualization of something such as a myriagon or any other polygon. This is typical of mental models - even though they sometimes represent phenomena that cannot be visualized, there is always some visualization going on when contemplating it. Consequently, this visualization will misrepresent the phenomenon, but we nevertheless seem to disregard this as we hold the concept, which is more true to the phenomenon, centrally in our minds. Also note that the conception of a chiliagon cannot come from actually seeing one. One could never recognize or distinguish a chiliagon from, say, a polygon with 999 sides or 1001 sides - sensory experience does not help in forming the concept. Now, this adds an interesting twist to the Lockean perspective of mental models. With the Lockean view, mental models are built out of memories and pieces of sensory experiences. But if we make the distinction between visualization and conceptualization, as Descartes does, we see that the shortcoming of the mental model lies only in the visualization of it - the conceptualization does not necessarily suffer the same inadequacy. I think it is reasonable to agree that Locke's empiricistic model of the mind applies to visualization - that is, the material the mind uses for visualization must be drawn from the sensory experiences one has had. As for conceptualization, Descartes shows how this can be peeled off from visualization and remain functional. Therefore, it is possible that concepts can transcend the limits of visualization - namely, being able to accurately reflect phenomena that don't necessarily take on visual forms (or forms of any sensation). The question now is, how?

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Definition: Visualization vs. Conceptualization 1) Visualization: the activity of simulating sensory experiences in the mind apart from the comprehension of what's being simulated. 2) Conceptualization: the understanding of an idea apart from the mental simulation of sensory experiences that might represent it.
How could we ever grasp something that cannot be sensed or simulated in the mind as sensation? To gain a potential answer to this, let's go through a hypothetical scenario. Suppose we took a visit to the Amazon and for accommodations, we enjoyed the hospitality of one of the native tribes. We stayed in the dwellings of Yatra, one of the tribe's shamans. Every night, we have these gripping conversations, enlightening each other about one another's cultures. We come across the subject of geometry. Yatra asks, "I've heard in your culture the word 'polygon'. What does it mean?" Of course, Yatra knows what a polygon is - she just has a different word for it in her culture. But in trying to answer her question, we might say something like
Well, you know what a triangle is, right? It's a shape with three straight sides. Here, I'll draw one in the sand. I'll also draw a square. And beside the square, I'll draw a pentagon and an octagon. These are all polygons. They are all shapes with some number of straight sides - a triangle has three, a square has four, and a pentagon and octagon have five and eight respectively. In general, a polygon is any shape that has n number of sides.

So after looking at the shapes in the sand, Yatra lifts her head and visualizes them. Visualizing each shape is the easiest task she has ever taken on, and she finds the conceptualization of what each shape is equally simple. When she thinks about how all these shapes (and others) are polygons, she also finds this simple, but the visualization is a little more tricky. Why? Because to visualize a polygon apart from a pentagon, octagon, or any other "gon" with a determined number of sides is impossible - that is, to visualize a polygon necessarily requires choosing a specific number of sides. This means that one cannot visualize a polygon as such, but only specific instances. Of course, this is okay as far as forming the mental model is concerned - that is, if the mental model needs to settle for a specific number of sides in order to manifest itself, this is fine so long as we keep in mind that this specific number is not necessarily an attribute of the concept of polygons.

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So what happened when Yatra went from triangles and squares to the abstract notion of polygons? Here's my hypothesis. Yatra's mind is like the mind of any human being in that when it is given concrete (visual) examples of some abstract class of things, it detects what features they all have in common and what features they don't. In the case of triangles, squares, pentagons, and octagons, what they have in common is that they all have straight sides and span some area. What they don't have in common is the specific number of sides. The mind then disregards the features they don't share in common. What remains becomes the concept. For Yatra, since straight lines and an area are what each shape has in common, this becomes the conception of a polygon. The exact number of sides does not go into the concept. Notice what this does to the visualization of the concept - it renders it unvisualizable. That is, if Yatra wants to visualize this conception of polygons, she must re-attach a specific number of sides to it. This is why conceptualization often dissociates itself from visualization. This is the process that all things undergo to become concepts. Let's assume that Yatra's tribe has always lived in huts and so Yatra asked, "What does the word 'house' mean?" We might show her various pictures of houses from our culture. Her mind would disregard all the trivial differences of each one such as the color, the size, the ornaments on the front lawn, the type of shingles, etc. The concept of a house would end up being some kind of architectural enclosing where people could dwell, much like the huts of her village but made from different materials and through a different method. Suppose Yatra asked, "What is a 'car'?" Again, we pull out pictures. We might also show her the vehicle we used to get here. Yatra would ignore things like color, model, the rust above the wheels, the crack in the windshield, etc. The concept would end up being some kind of enclosed carriage on four wheels that one person could control from the inside and two or three others could go along as passengers. No matter what the concept, it becomes an abstraction of a variety of instances - each being presented in slightly different forms - and to be visualized, one of these instances along with all its specific features must be utilized. Of course, there are other means by which concepts can be formed. Instead of showing Yatra pictures of houses, we could have given a verbal description. We would not mention concrete details such as color, shape, ornaments on the lawn or the exact type of shingles - we would simply say something like "It's an architectural enclosing where people dwell, much like the huts of your village but made from different materials and through a different method." The way this works is it pulls together various concepts that are already well understand by Yatra - concepts like "architectural", "dwell", "huts", "materials", "method", etc. - sort of like Locke's idea of recombining memories of sensory experiences, except instead of memories, it's a recombination of concepts. Nevertheless, since these are concepts, they too had to be formed by some process - and although we could argue that these more elementary concepts were formed in a similar fashion (i.e. by a verbal description), we can only do this up to a point. Eventually, we would have to concede that elementary concepts must be drawn from abstractions of sensory experiences or mental simulations of such. In effect, this process is the opposite of the Lockean view. Locke's view says that concepts are formed from sensory experiences or the recombination of certain features in the sensory experiences. What we are saying is that concepts are formed from ignoring certain features of sensory experiences - that is, we form abstract concepts by disregarding all features that the various instances don't share in common. This makes sense if you think about it - that is, if the concept is an abstraction of the instances, it must be abstracted out of the instances, essentially being revealed only after stripping away the features that conceal the similarities between the instances. When it comes down to it, a concept is a recognition that there is more to the phenomenon conceived than our sensations show us - that is, there is something there beneath the surface, an actual ontology as opposed to mere sensations. This is something that would be hard to argue from a Lockean account (and, as some might guess, easy on a Cartesian account). So what happens if we push this process to the extreme? Rather than deriving a concept of a polygon, suppose we derived a concept for something more general like an "object". In this case, the concept of a polygon would be an instance as would a whole myriad of other things like books, people, molecules, machines, etc. In this case, the feature of straight lines would have to be discarded. But as long as we're talking about physical things, objects would still have to span a certain area (or volume). Suppose we wanted to derive the concept of an "abstract entity" - that is, something that wasn't necessarily physical - like ideas, numbers, laws, stories, games, values, seasons, etc. In that case, we'd have to strip even the feature of area or volume. Now the latter example brings a paradox to the surface - in order to derive the concept of abstract entities such as these, it seems we have to strip away every sensory feature. But if we strip away every sensory feature, what's left to use as the content

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for the concept? What does the concept use as its "meat" so to speak? Well, there might be one feature that can't be stripped from any instance: its existence - that is, we could consider the sheer existence of some instance as one of its features. Therefore, if we strip all features from an instance except its existence, we'd be left with something that cannot be visualized, not just partially but in all its properties, but still understood to "be there". The advantage of this idea is that it describes the very notion of what a concept is - something that could be real but not necessarily demonstrable except by an instance. Concepts seem to hold onto this property even when all other properties are removed, and in this way, the "realness" of the concept could be thought of as a potential, if not actual, existence should reality have turned out that way. A disadvantage is that it's hard to argue that "realness" is actually a feature. On the one hand, we see it in everything we come in contact with. It's clear that everything we experience, unless, of course, we're talking about the imagination, is presented to us as something real. On the other hand, we can't really identify "realness" in a phenomenon as we would ordinary features such as smoothness, brightness, warmth, width, wetness, color, etc. Realness seems to be something deeper than mere properties, something ubiquitous within the phenomenon but invisible. It gets even more tricky than this - we wouldn't only say that the phenomenon is real, but its features are real as well. That is, realness is not only a feature of the phenomenon, but a feature of its features. This confusion is our queue to stop before we tie more inadvertent knots in our intellect. The subject of existence is a whole other ballpark of philosophy - about which MM-Theory has a lot more to say. For this reason, MMTheory will untie these knots by attacking the problem from a completely different angle. For now, let's simply recap what we've said so far. We have shown that the Lockean view is inadequate for explaining how we derive certain abstract concepts such as infinity, eternity, time and space, consciousness and death, and the like. We examined a potential solution to this problem when contemplating mental models and feature lists, but saw how this was problematic when compared to riddles. Descartes' chiliagon showed us that there is a difference between concepts and visualizations - the latter being, most likely, the more fitting product of Lockean mechanisms. We used Yatra, the Amazonian shaman, to suggest a possible (non-Lockean) way that concepts are derived from visualizations, but came up short in explaining how the most extreme conceptual abstractions could work with this method. Now before we see how MM-Theory resolves this problem, let's take a look at what I call the "objectification process". To do this, we will have to take it for granted that concepts indeed carry the feature of existence within them. This is not a problem per se so long as we're not concerned with how they acquire this feature, just that they have it. Furthermore, we shall see that, albeit it won't resolve the issue, the objectification process will shed quite a bit of light on it.

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The Objectification Process
Simply put, the objectification process is the process by which things are objectified in the mind - we make mental objects out of things. We do this when we want to contemplate some phenomenon or subject matter - we pull away from the immediacy of the here-and-now and go into a state of thought where we visualize, conceptualize, and play around with ideas. It's not something that only philosophers do, but the average man on the street does this when the need arises. This is not a new idea - but there is a twist I'd like to add to it. The objectification process is not a choice - that is, when contemplating some phenomenon or subject matter, we don't objectify it as an old habit, as though we ought to remember that some things are not objects and shouldn't be thought of as such. The objectification process is an inseparable part of the activity of contemplation - that is, we can't contemplate anything without objectifying it. In saying this, the onus is on me to justify this claim - so let's elaborate further on what exactly the term "objectification process" means. For starters, we don't mean to say that we consciously assume the ideas we contemplate are objects - as though the notion of the abstract is beyond us. We know full well that concepts like "energy", "life", "ambitions", "sorrow", "communication", "fashions", "weekends", "childhood", "memories", "philosophy", and so on are not objects. They are like mental models in this regard - that is, even if we acknowledge that mental models are limited by their visual appearance, our understanding of what they represent transcends this limitation. What the concept of the objectification process means to convey is that even in transcending the visual limitations of the mental model, the concept still seems to harbor the objectified aspect of the visual form - that is, it still seems to want to be thought of as an entity very much like a physical object. It seems to be okay with taking an abstract form - so that it is not literally physical - but it seems to want to remain a "thing". It is much like looking at a painting or a photograph of a person: the image of the person may give off the impression of being real, but we have no trouble understanding that it's really just blotches of color on a two-dimensional surface. We also see this reflected in language - whatever concept we choose to talk about, it always plays the role of the noun in our sentences. We might ask, "What are emotions? Emotions are..." or "Mathematics is a very interesting subject. It is the study of numbers and the operations performed on them." The underlined words, which are obviously abstract concepts, are nouns. As nouns, the mind feels comfortable treating them as objects. Linguistically, this allows for the possibility of talking about them as if they were honest to goodness objects. For example, there would be nothing grammatically wrong with the statement "I stepped on an emotion today." The

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semantics are a different matter - but the point is, if you allowed your imagination to be stretched enough, you could work with this statement and contrive some kind of visualization for it. I don't know how you would visualize an emotion - perhaps a box with the word "happiness" or "sadness" on it - but it would not be hard to do so, and then you could imagine stepping on it. What we are saying, essentially, is that the aspect of the concept of emotions - or any abstract concept - that allows it to be subject to these kinds of fanciful scenarios is their objectification. In other words, whereas nouns play the role of objects in language, concepts play the same role in our contemplations.

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It is my belief that the objectification of our concepts is what inspired Plato to theorize his metaphysical realm of perfect forms. Plato must have recognized the objectified aspect of our abstract concepts and took that to indicate that they are indeed objects that exist akin to physical objects. He called these abstract objects "perfect forms" and proposed that they exist in a metaphysical realm that parallels the physical one. We cannot see this metaphysical realm with our eyes (or any of our senses), but we can with our minds - that is, to understand these abstract concepts is tantamount to sensing them. In other words, Plato believed that when we conceptualize abstract ideas like "love", "rhythm", "peace", and the like, we were actually "seeing" things in the metaphysical realm of perfect forms. To Plato, the mind, or at least that part of it which understands abstract concepts, was like a "third eye", performing a similar function as the senses but on an invisible world, the contents of which were just as real and independent of perception as the visible contents of the physical world. This is an easy misinterpretation to come to when we take the objectification of our concepts for granted. Yes, we can make use of the objectification process, but we must not succumb, as Plato did, to the impression of outer existence and independence that it gives off. Instead, we must recognize that objectification is useful for working through complicated and confusing concepts, but in sorting out these complications and confusions, we must refrain from taking objectification too literally (lest we take happiness to literally be a box ).

The Origins of Objectification
If the objectification process is so useful, what could be its purpose? Why does the mind want to convert everything into objects before contemplating them? The best answer to these questions, I believe, would be an anthropological one. What we need to ask, therefore, is what function does the objectification process serve in helping the human species survive in the environment it evolved in? And assuming it evolved to help us survive, what more primitive process or feature did it evolve from? Let's answer the second question first - the answer to the first question will follow. Before we had the modern form of the objectification process - that is, before we had philosophers - we used to analyze the world with a more hands-on approach. Our thought processes were most concerned with manipulating and handling matter. They were most active in the midst of such activities - that is, it would be rare to find someone sitting under a tree contemplating how to catch a fish or get the coconuts from hard-to-reach places. Usually, if ingenious methods were invented for doing such things, they happened in the act of the attempt (and most likely accidentally). If we must date this, we might say this was about two to three million years ago. What I propose is that the objectification process evolved to produce that oddball human being who would sit under the tree contemplating better ways to catch fish and retrieve coconuts from tall trees. He (or she) may have been laughed at by his (or her) peers - "Look at that space cadet," they would have said (after adopting the modern dialect ), "sitting under that tree staring off into space while we do all the work of catching these fish." Then one day, he/she joins the group, not with a spear but a net - and to his/her peers' astonishment, casually scoops up, not one, but two fish in one foul swoop. Who's laughing now? But all joking aside, what was happening in our budding genius's mind was that the mechanisms for dealing with material things in the world were extending their functions in a unique way - they were forming visualizations out of various sensory experiences he/she remembered having (à-la-Locke). These visualizations aren't quite the abstract concepts we know of today, but they make possible a more efficient method of problem solving. It requires moments of withdrawal from the immediate environment and into what we have come to know as the imagination - but in doing so, a vast field of technological innovation becomes achievable. Also note that, as a visualization mechanism, this technique works best on things that are visual - in other words, it evolved as a means of dealing with the material world. You might, therefore, recognize this as a clue to answering our question about why the mind likes to objectify things (but read on ).

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The leap from visualization to conceptualization (that is, pure conceptualization - where visualization becomes only an annoying parasite) took place when the need arose to extend this problem solving mechanism even further - as small tribes evolved into societies and civilizations, the need for problem solving in the sociopolitical sphere grew ever stronger. The need arose to understand and communicate the dynamics of human relationships. The problems involved in personal and social relations bring with them a whole slew of phenomena that cannot be captured by material, visual, or object-like terminology. Nonetheless, the visualization technique that worked so well in solving physical problems has been extended to solve problems in this arena. The advent of the abstract concept was the result. The abstract concept incorporates elements of the old and new problems - it incorporates the new element of not being visual (although, as we noted, it always seems to come with visualization), and it incorporates the old element of objectification. The former is important because the problems it is built to solve are non-visual and the latter is important because it is the aspect of objectification that made the technique work in the first place. Let's emphasize that last point because it is important. As noted, this technique originally evolved to deal with objects. It works because it is a technique of manipulating and experimenting with objects - it is based on an understanding of what the object is and what it is prone to do under certain conditions. Therefore, in order to extend this technique to abstract sociopolitical problems, it must construct mental representations of these problems that lend themselves easily to this process. Thus, in order meet this criterion, the abstract concept, which is such a representation, must maintain the aspect of objectification. Only in this form can concepts be subject to the same kind of manipulation and testing as physical objects. Of course, the type of manipulation and testing that applies to abstract concepts is not the same as that for physical objects. For a physical object, we might do things like hit it with a hammer to see if it cracks, or throw it in water to see if it dissolves, or prick our finger on it to see if it's sharp. For an abstract concept, we manipulate and test its logical consequences in hypothetical situations. For example, we may ask whether it's wrong to lie to a murderer asking for the whereabouts of a potential victim, or whether a tree falling in the forest makes a sound if there's no one around to hear it, or whether a person can have rights by nature if there were no legislative institutions to acknowledge those rights. This kind of testing works on abstract concepts because the kind of behavior or reactions such concepts exhibit is the entailing of logical implications - that is, they are propositional, and therefore adhere to the laws of logic, not physics. This is a natural consequence of abandoning visualization (the incorporation of the new element mentioned above), for without taking a visual (or sensory) form, it makes little sense to suppose it could obey physical laws. Logical laws, however, suite it just fine. As far gone as these testing methods are from the original ones - the ones best suited for physical objects - they carry on the same tradition - treating their subject matter as though they were actual objects and experimenting with them under different conditions.

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Objectifying Consciousness
At this point, we might feel a formal definition of the objectification process is in order. For the vast majority of abstract concepts, we could render a formal definition now, but for our present purposes, let's look at one abstract concept from which even more profound implications concerning objectification follow. That concept is consciousness. The objectification of the concept of consciousness is especially problematic, not only because consciousness is not an object that we can hold in our hands, but because it isn't even something to be distinguished from the self. Many abstract concepts can be distinguished from the self without causing a whole lot of confusion - understanding numbers, marriage, history, popularity, and so on can be done quite easily despite the fact that we conceive them as independent from ourselves - in fact, that's how they should be conceived. But this is not so for consciousness, for consciousness is so intricately intertwined with the self that to imagine it as independent is a total misunderstanding of the phenomenon. Yet this is what the objectification process is bound to - a concept cannot be objectified without being juxtaposed against the self. It cannot be made into an object, whether concrete or abstract, without being made into "other". In fact, we might be inclined to say that the very notion of "object" is defined by the fact that it is "other" - that is, not the self. This follows directly from the fact that in the relation between objects and ourselves, there are two roles being filled - the observer and the observed. Quite obviously, the observer is played by us and the observed by the objects. The objectification process, therefore, serves more than just to cast abstract concepts in the garb of objects or things, but to cast them as the observed. This last point is the implication we were looking for, the implication that will suffice for a thorough definition of the objectification process in such a way that it sheds light on why problem of consciousness is unique, and far more perplexing, among philosophical problems in general.

Definition: The Objectification Process

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The objectification process is the psychological mechanism whereby concepts are formed. It objectifies phenomena by: i) forming concepts of them that feel like objects or things, though not necessarily concrete. ii) assigning these concepts to the role of the "observed" in an observer-observed relationship with the self.
How well does the objectification process work for abstract concepts? There really isn't any question as to the adequacy of the objectification process when it comes to things that are already objects - such as that which we can visualize without misrepresentation. But when we think of concepts such as "consciousness", "logic", "hyperspace", "afterlife", "morality", and so on, how much good does objectifying them do us when the goal is to understand what they are and how they work? Our ability to conceptualize in this abstract way is fairly recent - no older than the age of our species (roughly two hundred thousand years), and maybe even more recent. It has had quite the effect on our imagination, giving rise to ritual and religion. Anthropologists say that these conceptual modes of perceiving the world have been useful, not in accurately reflecting reality, but in building social cohesion within society. That is, by participating in rituals regularly and believing in the same worldviews, individuals help preserve the integrity of their social group and perpetuate its functionality. But this is solving a different problem than the one intended for initially that is, it solves sociopolitical problems, not physical ones. So the question is, do abstract concepts reflect the phenomena they were initially meant to represent - or more particularly, does the objectified aspect of abstract concepts help or hinder our understanding of the phenomena they (mis)represent? Well, they certainly seem to help when we consider that without them, we could not understand anything abstract. On the other hand, we have seen how there might be a potential hindrance when it comes to concepts like infinity, eternity, time and space, etc. Another one that I certainly believe we are struggling with, for reasons mentioned above, is consciousness. It's not hard to see that the crux of the problem is that consciousness is not an object - but plenty of abstract concepts can be given as examples of objectified non-objects that don't suffer philosophical difficulties. That's why to see the problem we must look deeper than the objectification of consciousness. We must see what effect objectification has for consciousness in particular, and we have seen the effect: objectification results in the concept filling the role of the observed. This would be innocuous for any concept besides consciousness, but when it comes to consciousness, it is detrimental. Consciousness is diametrically opposite the observed - it is the observer. Being in the position of the observed renders consciousness as a third person phenomenon, as something that could conceivably be studied objectively, as something absolutely not subjective. Not only is consciousness a first person subjective phenomenon, but these qualities - being first person and subjective - are at its very core, making it the quintessential thing it is. This is what makes the objectification of consciousness a real problem: we can be mistaken about certain features or the nature of some phenomenon, and thereby experience difficulty understanding it, but so long as these misunderstood features or nature don't define its very essence, we can be Objectification vs. corrected. But when these features or nature do define its essence - and especially when we have no choice but to Objectivity misunderstand them (i.e. we can't dispense with objectification) - the phenomenon becomes incomprehensible and our misunderstanding insurmountable. This brings us to a point where we can state the problem of mind and matter thus: when we want to contemplate the mind - asking ourselves what it is and how it works - we rely on the only psychological tool we have been given by evolution: the objectification process. It is the tool we use for any other philosophical or analytical task, and this problem presents itself as no different. What the objectification process does is it conceptualizes the problem - that is, it takes all our subjective experiences such as sensations, emotions, ideas, memories, desires, pains and pleasure, etc. and treats them as though they were "things". Moreover, it treats them as though, in our thought experiments, we could place them before us for observation - available for poking, prodding, pushing, and testing in any other way we deem fruitful (again, this is a metaphor for testing their logical consequences). But this entire process, from the point of being conceptualized, has converted them into a form that precludes their most essential feature - first-person subjectivity. It is impossible to capture how an experience feels by placing it before us like an object, and this makes understanding consciousness in its proper form impossible. The subjectivity of conscious experience is something to be felt, not observed.

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Principle: The Problem of Conceptualizing Consciousness The problem with conceptualizing consciousness is that we are forced to use the objectification process in doing so. This process renders consciousness as though it could be observed as a third-person object - a form totally antithetical to its very essence.
But if this is true, then anything mental - namely, emotions, thoughts, desires, pains and pleasures, etc. - is inconceivable unless objectified, and for these concepts, objectification sabotages the process from the moment it starts. So are we actually saying that we have no idea what these things really are? Note that if we are saying this, sensations must be an exception since they are what the objectification process evolved to deal with. That is, to conceptualize the things we sense just is to understand what sensation is. If we bring in MM-Theory, we can reassure ourselves that there is no difference between sensations and the things sensed, and so to understand the physical objects in the world that we sense, which is precisely what the objectification process allows us to do, is to understand what sensation is. In other words, objectification is the process by which sensation is converted into understanding. But when we want to understand things other than sensation, the objectification process is a poor tool. But what about introspection? It's one thing, after all, to try and conceptualize our inner experiences - like thought and emotion - and quite another to verify them by way of introspection. Doesn't introspection work somewhat like sensation? Well, I can only speak from personal experience, but when I introspect, I notice that I can only see my thoughts - my visualizations and my conceptualizations. In other words, I, for the most part, equate introspection with thinking. This is not to say that I cannot experience emotion or anything else - but the way in which I experience emotions is by feeling them, not by "seeing" them with the mind's eye as the notion of introspection might insinuate. This is neither to say that when I feel them, I cannot think about the fact that I feel them - but I do not confuse the way they feel with my thoughts about them. And when I think about them, I indeed call this introspection. But now notice what this means - it means that the closest I can come to introspecting my emotions or other noncognitive internal First- and Secondexperiences is Order Thoughts to focus on my mental models of them. And, yes, these mental models are objectified, and therefore cannot represent the things they stand for in their true form. This includes thought itself. Although I see my thoughts quite directly when I introspect, this sort of "seeing" is generally the same as feeling my emotions. That is to say, whereas I can feel my emotions but cannot form a proper mental model of them (and therefore cannot fully understand them), I can also feel my thoughts (which is the same as "seeing" them when I introspect) but cannot form a proper mental model of them. I can easily form an improper mental model of them, just as I can for emotions, but when I do this, I have formed a second-order thought about the first-order thought I am trying to model (see sidenote ). The same things we have been saying about emotion and first-order thoughts apply to the second-order thought - namely, that when I introspect it, I can feel it but cannot understand it. What I do understand in feeling it - or at least, think I understand - is what the first-order thought which it is about is (I only think I understand because, as an improper mental model, it fails to accurately represent it). Thus, because I don't really understand what the first-order thought is, nor do I understand what my emotions or any other experience apart from sensations are, I can only conjure up approximations to these in the form of mental models. I can introspect these mental models, and thereby feel them, sometimes confusing this feel for a true understanding of the experiences they are about, but introspecting these mental models is different from introspecting the experiences themselves. I can still feel these

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experiences, but my mind cannot craft a perfect understanding - that is, a perfect mental model - of what they are. It seems, then, that we are lead to the conclusion that we can't understand mental things like emotions, thoughts, desires, pains and pleasures, etc. - at least, not perfectly. This should be no surprise to most philosophers, but it is quite ironic for us to claim that MM-Theory accurately captures the true essence of mind. We will address this point when we bring MM-Theory into the discussion, but for now we will address a simpler, but more general, concern - namely, how to avoid conceptual mistakes (like Plato's) in using the objectification process. As we said above, the objectification process is quite unavoidable when we put ourselves to the task of abstract contemplation and philosophizing. It can't be the case, however, that at the end of all such tasks, we inevitably fail to arrive at sound and accurate understandings of things. Indeed, this is not the case - we can arrive at sound and accurate understandings so long as we carefully observe a few simple rules.

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Objectifying Without Erring
To be precise, there is one rule, and it is this: don't ever use the objectified aspect of the concept in question - that is, its thing-like character - as one of the grounds upon which your conclusions stand. This was Plato's mistake. In order for our understanding of abstract things - like mathematical relations, philosophical principles, moral maxims, and so on - to really be out there in a sort of metaphysical plane of existence, sustained independently from our perceptions of them, they really have to be "things" just as objectification makes them out to be. But if we were to say instead that such things - say mathematical relations for example - are simply true (as opposed to real in the metaphysical/Platonic sense), there would be nothing erroneous with this conclusion. We can even go so far as to say that the truth of these abstract concepts is independent of our minds (or, as MM-Theory would have it, not subject to change). Thing-ness is not a requirement for these conclusions. Plato wasn't the only one to succumb to the objectification process; most people who believe that the soul will rise from the body after death, like smoke from a flame, are either making the same mistake or have been taught this by someone else who has. It's one thing to posit that we have a soul - that is, some immaterial essence that can be treated independently of the body - but it's quite another to say of it that it literally resides in the body, or that it can rise from it and travel through space. If this were true, the soul would have to be a literal object - a metaphysical object perhaps, but an object nonetheless. I have no doubt this idea, believed by so many, comes down to us from the objectification process run amok. It's not uncommon to believe we have a soul - it might go by other names such as "mind" or "consciousness" or "self" - and this belief isn't necessarily a mistake of objectification (however much the reader may disagree with it). Such a concept may have begun far back in history innocently enough, but at some point, we came to believe things about it - such that it literally has a position in space and can move around - which can't be assumed without treating it literally as an object. These notions depend on objectification in order to be true, and is a sure indication that the rule for avoiding mistakes like this is not followed. I'm confident that MM-Theory holds fast to this rule. Although it may sound as if we are positing the existence of experiences as real external things in a universe akin to Plato's metaphysical realm, we have never explicitly made such a claim - and in fact, we claim now that they are not real external things akin to Plato's metaphysical forms. To really understand what MM-Theory says about the non-human experiences constituting the rest of the universe, one ought to heed the formulation given in the Basic Theory: they are the reasons for behavior. A reason for behavior, even if it belongs to the non-human physical systems in our subjective realities, is not Subjective "external" per se, it is not an "object" per se, it need not exist in a parallel world per se, a world like Plato's forms. Realities Even to say that a reason "exists" doesn't necessarily depend on its being an object, for who would deny that his/her pain exists, which is a reason for squirming and shouting, when it feels so excruciating and unbearable. He/she wouldn't have to believe it was an actual object, for to say it "exists", in this case, simply means he/she feels it. A reason certainly isn't "in" the physical system exhibiting the behavior - we only say that it corresponds to it, that there is a link, a special relation between them. We do say that the reason must be experienced in order Epistemic to exist, and that this experience "belongs" to the physical system, but this in no way depends on the experience Awareness being an object or being placed somewhere in space. We also say that whatever the reason a non-human physical system has for behaving, it is "outside" our minds, but this only connotes that we have no epistemic awareness of the reason. It connotes that it's not ours. It wouldn't be a terrible misconception, in other words, to suppose that this reason is actually just as close to us as our emotions or thoughts - here and nowhere at the same time, always in our midst so to speak - but, due to our lack of epistemic awareness, we just can't feel it. We can even say the For Those Who same of every experience in the universe - nowhere and everywhere at once - for "placement" is inapplicable to Know MM-Theory reasons. In the end, what our theory says is that there is a reason justifying everything that happens, and this reason is, by definition, an experience. It is difficult to keep these points in mind, for the objectification process runs rampant within all philosophical contemplations, and no theory of mind is exempt. There is always the tendency for concepts of mental things to come across as thing-like objects, and we are therefore confined to talking about them much like we would actual objects. But if we keep in mind that this talk is just talk and nothing more, and remember to focus on the logic of

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our arguments rather than the thing-talk we are forced to employ, we can get away with using the objectification process. If it is noticed that the logic of our arguments necessarily hinges on the "thingness" that our thing-talk conveys, then we have a problem. I maintain that no such problem crops up in MM-Theory.

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Principle: Objectifying Without Erring To avoid mistakenly taking the objectified character of abstract concepts literally, never depend on this objectified character in your arguments.
This wraps up the section on the objectification process. With this new idea, we are in a better position to understand the relation between visualizing and conceptualizing. We left off the section on Descartes' Chiliagon noting that the one similarity visualizations and conceptualizations seem to have in common was the feature of existence, but it was difficult to see how existence could pass as an actual feature. Our understanding of the objectification process does not exactly resolve this problem, but it does shed some light on it, allowing us to understand what this feature actually is - namely, the aspect of being a "thing" that, in virtue of its distinction from the self, becomes subject to observation. This is a more accurate description of the feature of "existence" which, although not wrong, was a little too crude for any further philosophizing. This is not to say that we now have a full understanding of how visualization becomes conceptualization, for "thingness" is just as awkward as "existence" insofar as calling it a feature goes. MM-Theory, however, can resolve this, so we must await the final section of this paper where MM-Theory becomes the central focus. Before we do this, however, let's briefly return to a Lockean perspective and ask ourselves this question: does the Lockean perspective allow for self-consciousness? It is obvious that consciousness does not lend itself to sensory experiences, but in Locke's time, the notion that consciousness was self-conscious was widely accepted. This was another of Descartes' ideas, and it was the understanding that before being conscious of anything, one must, first and foremost, be self-conscious. To Descartes, this was the surest thing he could be conscious of - that he existed - and all other knowledge depended on that. This makes sense when we consider that consciousness is the closest thing it has to itself, and therefore, if it is to be conscious of anything, it must be conscious of that. Therefore, it shouldn't need to experience itself through sensation - it should be able to conceive of itself instantly and without misrepresentation. Even the objectification process, although explaining why our conception of consciousness falls short, does not entail that consciousness is not self-conscious in this way. But what we shall see now is that, just in virtue of being itself, it does not follow that consciousness must be self-conscious. Let's show why this is by introducing the idea of the "central-self".

The Central-Self
The concept of the central-self goes hand-in-hand with mental models. They were born from the same need - that is, when I came up with the idea of the central-self, I also came up with mental models. At the time, I was struggling with a philosophical problem: how is it that we can see tragedies and horrible catastrophes on the news and in real life and react so apathetically? I mean, we hear stories about terrorist attacks and missing children, and although we can say "What a horrible tragedy!" and mean it, we generally go about the rest of our day like it's business as usual. Meanwhile, the victims of these tragedies suffer unspeakable torment and will probably need several years to overcome it. I had a particular understanding of the nature of mind at the time, and according to this understanding, it shouldn't matter whether one was the victim of these tragedies or a distant observer - so long as one knew what was happening, the suffering should be equal (as though we should all be empaths). Although we won't get into why I thought this, we will get into the concept of the central-self and how this served as a solution. Of course, the main focus will be on its relevance to how the mind forms concepts - and particularly the concept of consciousness - but in the course of doing this, it will become obvious how it works as an explanation for our apathy in the midst of tragedies. The idea of the central-self is a theory about the self best explained by an analogy. The analogy I used was that the self, or consciousness, is like an arrow. An arrow has one function: to point at things. Consciousness has one function: to be conscious of things. Arrows can point anywhere in the universe. Conscious can be conscious of anything in the universe it can gain access to. If flexible, an arrow can even point at itself. Consciousness can be directed at one's own body, and with introspection, at one's own thoughts. But can an arrow point at it's own tip? The answer to this, I was sure, would carry over to consciousness - that is, consciousness being directed at itself to become self-conscious. If an arrow can point at it's own tip, consciousness can be self-conscious. Otherwise, consciousness cannot.

Empaths

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I was convinced that it couldn't - but this is not so obvious. One might argue that the arrow is always pointing at its own tip because it is its own tip - just like consciousness, in virtue of being itself, must be self-conscious. I argued against this, saying this was a misunderstanding of the arrow's function. Its function is more than just to be oriented in a certain direction - it is to indicate a specific object or point. Therefore, just because something is on the axis along which the arrow points does not mean that the arrow is meant to indicate that something. Figure 2 provides an example of this. Even though the square and triangle are on the axis the arrow is aligned with, the function of this particular arrow is to indicate only the circle. The square and triangle are just in convenient positions. The same applies to the arrow's tip - just because it is in the path of the arrow's orientation does not mean the arrow is indicating it. If all we had was an arrow pointing off into empty space with no object to indicate (as in figure 3), how should we interpret this? Should we say the arrow is indicating its own tip or that it's indicating nothing? I say it's the latter. An arrow cannot perform the function of indicating its own tip. It requires either another arrow pointing at the first one's tip or the first one must somehow turn upon itself. Although the former can be done with arrows, it cannot be done with consciousness since one's consciousness is not accessible to others in this way. The latter case cannot be done with arrows at all, and I maintained that it cannot be done with consciousness for the same reason.

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Figure 2: An arrow pointing to a circle.

Figure 3: An arrow pointing to nothing.

This is not to say that consciousness can't attempt to turn upon itself. But try as it might, it would be like an arrow spinning itself in circles or tightening itself in ever more convoluted spirals, attempting to point to its own tip, but never quite managing. Add to the mix that, as stated above, I held a deeply entrenched Lockean view of the mind. What follows from this is that no sensory experience that could account for consciousness ever gets written to the tabula furthermore, if consciousness cannot be self-directed, there is no experience of consciousness that can be written to the tabula, let alone sensations. Therefore, no concept of consciousness could ever be constructed, and so consciousness is inconceivable. That's the central-self theory in a nutshell. The "central" aspect of the central-self comes from the analogy of the arrow's tip - I thought of consciousness as a sort of singularity or point, like the arrow's tip, from which its gaze is directed outward to the world it perceives. This came from the experience of my thoughts seeming serial - that is, only one thought, it seemed, could be brought into consciousness at a time. Therefore, one's "stream of thought" is one dimensional, and thus could be thought of as passing through consciousness as if through a point. I thought of this point as at the center of our being, and therefore "central". I also equated consciousness with the self. Without self, I thought, we could have no consciousness, and visa-versa. So this accounts for the "self" aspect of the central-self.

Principle: The Central-Self Theory Consciousness cannot be directly self-conscious for the same reason that an arrow cannot point to its own tip.
I also thought of this point, being the center of our selves, as the link between the mind and the brain. And seeing no reason to doubt the conventional notion that the brain produces the mind, I considered the neuro-chemical activity of the brain to bring about the mind through this point. That is, no mental activity can exist except through consciousness and no consciousness can exist except by way of the brain. In other words, I thought of consciousness as a sort of platform from which all mental life could spring, and this platform was supported by brain processes. This platform was also the gateway for sensory experiences to pass on through to the mind. But of course, consciousness could not pass itself through - but if it could, it would be processed in the same way as sensory experiences. In a Lockain context, that means we would be able to conceptualize consciousness for the phenomenon it truly is - we could behold its very essence, so to speak. We would be looking at the gap between mind and brain. If we could do that, what we would have, in essence, is a true bona fide understanding of how the brain produces the mind. We would have, in our possession, the ultimate solution to the problem of mind and

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matter.

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I considered the plethora of mental phenomena, such as thoughts, feelings, desires, plans, intentions, moods, etc., to be the activity of the central-self - that is, the things consciousness was doing (tasks, problems, or entertainment it was preoccupying itself with). In other words, mental entities weren't something distinct from the central-self, they were simply the states the central-self enters in and out of. But what this implied was that, if the central-self is not conceivable, neither are its states - if I cannot imagine consciousness, I'm surely out of luck imagining consciousness in a particular state. Therefore, to be added to the list of inconceivable concepts after consciousness were thoughts, drives, aspirations, memories, opinions, affections, and all else from the mental domain. This explains why we are so apathetic of other people's suffering - that is, we see them in pain and we see the tragedies they go through, but the fact of the matter is, we don't even understand what their pains and torments are. How could we if these things are mental? We don't even understand that they're conscious! To feel for them is no more possible than to feel for a rock or a shoe. How morbid! There is a silver lining though (actually, more than one). Even at the time, I had a way of explaining how we can stir up sympathy, but it was in an indirect way. Basically, I argued that observing tragedies could remind us of similar events from our own lives, and using this to feel for ourselves, we end up indirectly feeling for others. Another silver lining is that saying "we don't understand that they're conscious" is a drastic overstatement. That is, there's a difference between knowing one has consciousness and knowing what consciousness is - there is still a chance the former is possible. Likewise, we know that others feel emotions, often painful ones, so we have no problem acknowledging that those in the midst of tragedy endure excruciating emotional turmoil. Nevertheless, without a clear understanding of what emotions are, this acknowledgement amounts to nothing more than a stoic factual statement. Needless to say, these silver linings leave much to be desired. But never fear, there is one more silver lining: MM-Theory, and this will address these issues in the next section. But first, a word on mental models. As you can see, if consciousness and its states are inconceivable, then something is needed to explain what it is we are conceiving when we think about them. I was very much aware at the time that although no one could understand consciousness, we nevertheless could talk about it, attaching some meaning to its utterance. We could say things like "I am conscious, but my pencil is not" or "consciousness allows one to think" or "the more knowledge one has, the more conscious he/she is of the world" and so on. And someone listening would respond, "Yes, this is true." - that is, not only can we say these things, but we understand what they mean and we can agree or disagree. Therefore, we must have some concept in mind of what consciousness is. Thus was born the idea of mental models. When examining my own conception of consciousness, I had to admit there was something substantial and meaningful about my understand of it, but also superficial, representational, and objectified - in other words, fake. The falsity I could explain - I already had with the theory of the central-self so I had to explain the meaningfulness as merely an approximation. That is, I had to conclude that, although we can't conceive of consciousness, we nevertheless strive for the closest approximation we can form. The concept that falls out of this is what I called mental models. So we are indeed capable of conceptualizing something, but if this is merely a mental model that falls short of representing the true phenomenon, it means that, however meaningful the mental model is, we've necessarily got it wrong. And of course, I brought in the concept of the feature list to explain how it is that we can make factual statements about the phenomenon without having a direct understanding of it, statements that actually could be considered correct. This, of course, requires that we become aware of the existence of consciousness in the first place - not necessarily understanding what it is, but somehow being signaled to its presence. I explained this by appeal to our upbringing - that is, from as young an age as we can be to understand consciousness (or, at least, the mental model of it), we are taught the concept from our elders. And where do they get the concept? From their elders, and their elders before them, and so on back through the generations and the centuries and the epochs, until we get to some of the earliest conceptions of consciousness. I hypothesized that at that early a time in our history, there's no reason to assume that the concept of consciousness was at all the same as it is today. Therefore, I could

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easily argue that the concept was based on something quite amenable to Lockean mechanisms. In particular, I believed that consciousness originally referred to some mysterious driving force or mechanism that seemed to originate from within the human body, bringing about all our behavior, speech, emotional expressions, social interactions, and so on. In other words, consciousness was originally a behavioristic term. I also believed that these behavioristic observations continue to be used as inferences for mental states today. That is, to explain how we could ever know when we were feeling happy or sad, thinking this or that, planning one thing or another, I believed we make inferences based on clues that our consciousness could gain access to. We do this unconsciously, of course, having practiced it since we were psychologically capable, and when we finally become adults, or children as young as (say) five or six, this practice becomes so ingrained into our psyche that it is carried out without having to think about it, much like walking or riding a bike. This, for me and my Lockean perspective, settled the matter. But that was then and this is now. There are many aspects of this theory that I still believe in, but many others that I don't. The essential difference today is that my perspective is no longer Lockean. This opens the door to the possibility of conceiving of things by other means than just sensory experiences. We might have ways of understanding consciousness and other abstract concepts even though they don't lend themselves to sensation. We might also be able to sympathize for others directly even though we don't have direct experience of their mental states. In fact, MM-Theory offers a down-to-earth explanation for how these things are possible. What remains the same from these theories is that I still believe we make use of mental models when contemplating abstract concepts, but I don't believe they ever refer to something other than what they manifest themselves to be. This doesn't guarantee they'll always be right, but it does mean that we aren't fooling ourselves when we state what we believe and conceive. I also maintain my belief that the logic of the arrow analogy is applicable to consciousness, but this only precludes self-consciousness in the Cartesian sense - that is, as direct, immediate, and constant selfconsciousness. Instead, I believe we have indirect awareness of our consciousness. This is explained in my paper The Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter under the section The Acknowledgements Paradox of Individuality where I also explain that, although we cannot have direct self-consciousness, we can have automatic consciousness of our mental states (what I call "acknowledgements"). That is, we do not require any mode of rational deduction to infer our mental states (as we would according to the central-self theory) - when we feel an emotion, our cognitive faculties are automatically informed of its presence, as they are when we have sensations or other thoughts. But being informed of their presence does not entail that we can conceptualize them in their true form - it just means we can focus our attention on their mental models and say of it "this is what I am experiencing right now". Neither does it mean we can't feel the experience - we can, just as it seems we can - but conceptualizing the experience is not the same as feeling it, and the claim being made here is that the concept of the experience is automatically validated as what's being felt. I leave it for the Advanced Theory to make this more clear. I also believe in the distinction between visualization and conceptualization, and that our concepts are formed from the objectification process (these two ideas are actually more recent). In fact, the argument for the objectification process has a similar structure to the central-self theory. It says that the ultimate material out of which it forms concepts is sensory experiences (via visualization). This may sound Lockean but notice that it doesn't say that concepts are just recombinations of features taken from sensory experiences - it leaves open the possibility for the formation of things that transcend the sensory features, but it must begin with sensory experiences (of course, visualization is another matter). What this has to do with the central-self is that it can form concepts out of any sensations fed into consciousness, but this necessarily excludes consciousness itself that is, just as an arrow can't point to its own tip, consciousness cannot feed itself through this process. So both the central-self theory and the objectification process suggest that it is impossible to conceptualize consciousness for what it is - and if this is true, it follows that the mind/matter problem cannot be solved. How can one solve a problem where the central matter at hand will never be conceptualized properly? Now this is quite an ironic idea to be found in a website devoted to such a solution. Therefore, this paper would not be complete without a thorough look at what MM-Theory has to say about all this.

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Reconciliations of MM-Theory
Since this is the section where we tie MM-Theory into our discussion, the reader needs to have read the Basic Theory and the Advanced Theory of Mind and Matter before proceeding. MM-Theory will reconcile all problems encountered in the preceding discussions. In particular, there are two major reconciliations that need to be made: 1) how the mind creates abstract concepts that seem should be inconceivable, and 2) how a theory of consciousness can be made conceivable if the objectification process and central-self theory claim it to be

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impossible. Let's begin with the first one.

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Conceiving The Inconceivable
MM-Theory is fully compatible with the objectification process, but it has additional things to say about it. It offers a ready made argument for how conceptualization can rise above and beyond the mere sensory features of visualization. It's simple: all experiences are unique. In other words, if the MODs corresponding to visualization are configured differently than those corresponding to conceptualization, then these experiences need not bear any resemblance to each other whatsoever. The Lockean view is simply unnecessary. There is still the matter of conceptualization coming from visualization, but this is simply an example of flow. The Basic Theory defines flow as the entailment of an ensuing experience from an antecedent one. It comes about from the fact that the meaning in the antecedent experience necessitates the meaning in the ensuing one. The important point to keep in mind is that this process does not limit the experiences to take on constrained forms - on the contrary, it permits experiences to morph into whatever forms its flow demands, so long as it is continuous. Therefore, when visualization morphs into conceptualization, there is no reason to suppose the qualities of the concept must have been present in the visualization beforehand. The qualities of the concept can be completely new and unique. Of course, there can be resemblances between one experience and an ensuing one, and there usually are due to the continuous nature of flow. Objectification is the feature that accounts for the resemblance between visualization and conceptualization. Strictly speaking, however, they need not bear even this degree of resemblance. If the MODs corresponding to conceptualization were significantly different, the experience might have been entirely incomparable to visualization (albeit, we probably couldn't call it conceptualization anymore). There would still have to be continuity, but the amount of change the visualization would go through in such a short period of time would be enough for the two experiences to be completely alien to each other. But as it turns out, there are similarities between visualization and conceptualization - despite there also being differences - and objectification, or "thingness", is the common aspect between them.

Flow

Entailment

Meaning

The Essence of Realness

Projection

This is not to be confused with the essence of realness - the aspect of all experiences that make them feel real. There are many experiences we can cite that, even in their projected form, don't feel objectified. Remember that one of the criteria for being objectified is to be placed in the role of the observed. Not all experiences can be said to be observable, even when projected. For example, whenever we feel excited and we project that excitement onto the situation, saying "Isn't it great news!", we aren't able to observe the great news as though it were an object before us. The great news is not something that we can point to or demonstrate. However, if we were to think about the concept of the great news - as opposed to feeling excited about it - we might objectify it in order to contemplate it. Then, in our minds or on paper, we might demonstrate it, point to it, and generally observe it. In other words, when the feeling of excitement gets projected, it becomes something that belongs to reality instead of our minds, but in addition, it can be given the quality of "thingness" by going through the objectification process and becoming conceptualized. That is to say, the quality of "thingness" is specific to experiences like concepts, visualizations, and sensations, whereas the essence of realness is a quality that is universal to all experiences. Nevertheless, the essence of realness nicely explains the feature of "existence" that, as we saw, not only seems present in objects, but in their features as well. This resolves the problem of features having existence as a feature. The essence of realness doesn't reside in the features because it is a feature itself, but because the features are an experience and as such come with the essence of realness. Keep in mind, however, that as the visualization of the object with these features morphs into conceptualization, these features may be stripped away, but it is not the essence of realness that is left behind to create the essential feel of the concept. It is the objectification of it - the "thingness". That's not to say that the essence of realness is lost in the stripping process either - it remains no matter what as it cannot be removed from any experience. This is neither to say that there even is a stripping process - that is, MM-Theory only states that visualization morphs into conceptualization. Whether or not features are actually "stripped" per se depends on the algorithm being employed (i.e. the method

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being carried out) by the relevant MODs. It's not necessary to toss this idea out the window entirely as it does make sense out of how we draw out abstractions from concrete instances. But if the paradox we encountered poses any trouble - the paradox of stripping away all features such that there's nothing left to make a concept out of - we should keep in mind that MM-Theory does not encounter this problem. Perhaps, then, what is going on when visualization is converted to conceptualization is a combination of morphing and the stripping process. So all features the instances do not share in common get stripped, and the visualization morphs into something that transcends all visual features such that there exists a "something" without the need to exhibit visual features. The objectification process ties directly into the Problem of Reductionism that the Advanced Theory lays bare. The problem of conceiving consciousness that the objectification process teaches us is just another way of explaining the Problem of Reductionism. At the heart of the latter problem lies the fact that objects always present themselves to us contingently - that is, we see that they are there, and we see their actions, states, and features, but we are left to question why they are there. That is to say, we are given no necessary reason for them. This results in an infinite regress of reduction because no matter what we find as we pick these objects apart into their components, those components also will be objects (or objectified entities), just as contingent, just as subject to questioning. Now we see, thanks to our examination of the objectification process, that this is inevitable in virtue of the fact that we can't help but to objectify - even when we wish to posit the existence of The Problem of abstract or metaphysical entities. This is especially damning to the problem of consciousness not only because the infinite regress applies to it too once objectified, but that the second it is objectified, it loses that most Reductionism essential feature that makes it what it is. In our treatment of the objectification process, we called this its firstperson subjectivity. With respect to the Problem of Reductionism, we may call it its necessity. The Advanced Theory is all about showing the connection between these two - that is, that subjective first-person experiences rest on, and can be identified with, necessity. As you can see, the objectification process works well with MM-Theory. There is one slight modification, however, that MM-Theory would make to it. It was said above that the main quality of consciousness that makes it elusive to the objectification process is its first-person subjectivity. To be perfectly consistent with MMTheory, we ought to say that it's the quality of not being objectified. The reason for this minor, but crucial, alteration is that, because MM-Theory places experience at the base of all reality, everything is subjective. And as we mentioned above, objectification is but one type of experience that exists among the myriad of others. Essentially, MM-Theory says that objectification is a subclass of subjectivity, not an opposite (see sidenote above ). So experiences with the quality of "thingness" are still subjective, but it is because they are also objectified that they can be dealt with by the objectification process. All other experiences, plus consciousness itself in general, are not objectified entities, and thus cannot be dealt with by the objectification process. Now, what about the ontology of the phenomena our mental models represent? It's one thing to say that concepts are unique and need not bear any resemblance to their antecedents - it's quite another to say they accurately mirror the phenomena they represent. The question of ontology is a topic for another paper - namely, Reality and Perception - but we should say something about the ontology of consciousness, if only to bring closure to the topic at hand. In the paper Reality and Perception, we shall formally introduce a principle called "the transparency of experiences". This principle states that any experience directly defines the content of a subjective reality, and this includes mental models regardless of whether they are an accurate representation or not. In other words, our mental models of consciousness, whatever they are, make consciousness real in the exact form the mental model portrays it - at least in the context of our subjective realities. However, one of the central tenets of this paper is that consciousness is inconceivable. This clashes with the aforementioned principle - that is, if some mental model defines consciousness in its own terms, then it renders it conceivable, in those terms, as accurately as possible. To resolve this conflict, we need to recognize that the meaning of "conceivability" differs between these two contexts. When MM-Theory posits that some mental model is necessarily conceived, this Subjective Reality means to convey that a conception has been conjured up - but this doesn't entail that the phenomenon conceived of is fully understood. It might be vague, it might contain gaps, and it might even be fraught with contradictions and Reality (so long as the beholder isn't compelled by these contradictions to abandon the mental model). Nevertheless, so long as we perceive it to be real, it is real, and takes the form we believe it to take (this can be more clearly understood in the section Determinants and Non-Determinants of the paper Reality and Perception). The meaning of "conceivability" in the context of this paper, on the other hand, conveys a full and consistent understanding of what the phenomenon is and how it works. What is being said here is that it is impossible to get this degree of clarity in our conceptions of consciousness. In other words, so long as we have some conception of consciousness, this is enough to establish it in our subjective reality, but because it might not be completely understood, we can work on perfecting it, coming closer to a full understanding, but we will never quite meeting this end. In other words, any mental model of consciousness will always have an ontology in virtue of the fact that it exists within a subjective reality, and all mental models are cognitive experiences possessing the essence of realness, which gives rise to projection, making for an entity with a full ontology unto itself. This doesn't tell us much, however, about the ontology of the thing the mental model represents. Does it have an ontology? Well, assuming there is such a thing that the mental model represents (which MM-Theory certainly claims there is - in regards to consciousness, that is), it must have its own ontology. What the previous paragraph attempts to point out is that

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Essence of Realness

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although our mental models are certainly real within the context of our subjective realities, they fall short in accurately portraying that which they mean to represent; but what they represent certainly has its own ontology. MM-Theory would mandate that it gets this ontology from experience itself - that is, from the essence of realness therein - but that being said, consciousness is therefore what all our experiences, including any mental model we uphold to represent it, constitute. In other words, consciousness is not something separate from our mental models of it; it is, in part, manifested by those very mental models - not so much in what those mental models purport consciousness to be, but in being mental models. It is manifested in any and all experience. Of course, this is what MM-Theory says; in so saying, it can only be regarded as another mental model of consciousness, and therefore only a shoddy approximation. Although this may be true, it still allows for that which it represents consciousness in its true form - to possess its own ontology. Nothing from our theory prohibits this. What's prohibited is that its ontology is reflected in our mental models of it (unless, of course, we're talking about that marginal instance of consciousness that such mental models constitute). What's allowed, on the other hand, is that it finds its ontology in other experiences - those that it can be decomposed into. The central difficulty of our theory is that it prohibits us from forming as accurate a mental model as possible of those experiences, and therefore we can only conjure up shoddy approximations. Nevertheless, the fact that these mental models tend towards approximation, and that they are subject to incremental improvements in their approximation over time, permits us to posit that there is indeed something towards which such approximations draw near, and we have no reason to deny that this something exists. Having said that mental models define the phenomenon in their own terms, there is no need to infer a feature list. The function served by the feature list was to compensate for the shortcomings of Lockean mechanisms. It stood in for those features that the Lockean mechanisms couldn't incorporate into the mental model. But MM-Theory is not the Lockean view - the process depicted by this theory doesn't have these shortcomings. All information that would be reflected by the feature list is imbedded in the mental model already. If there is anything inconceivable about the phenomenon represented by the mental model, the feature list could do no better in making it conceivable than the mental model itself could. Therefore, MM-Theory is a much more thorough explanation for conceptualization than the Lockean view. In fact, MM-Theory makes room for the possibility of innate concepts - that is, the idea that we could be born with fundamental understandings of certain phenomena. All that would be required is that our brains develop the appropriate MODs naturally. Some of the most basic concepts, such as matter, space, time, other people, quantities, and the like, might evolve without cultural indoctrination or the corresponding sensory experiences. It would certainly benefit us to have at least a few concepts under our belt from birth, and therefore it's reasonable to hypothesize that evolution might have bestowed us with a few. This also allows us to have true understandings of others' feelings, including their pain and suffering. If you want to know whether or not you understand how another is feeling, simply ask yourself "Do I have some conception in mind of what they feel?" It's not a question one needs to think deeply about. The answer is simply yes or no. If yes, then you have an understanding. This doesn't guarantee that your understanding matches the feelings the person in question experiences, but assuming their feelings are not hard to grasp, if you are mistaken about them, you can easily be corrected. Also keep in mind that a proper conception of such feelings neither guarantees that one will be fully motivated to do something about it. Concepts are of such quality that they merely offer a reflection of phenomena in an objectified form. This is enough grounds for understanding the phenomenon in question, but more is needed to motivate a response to it. The latter requires some kind of emotional stirring. MM-Theory says nothing against this - that is, there is nothing preventing a true understanding of some phenomenon, like the pain and suffering of others, from inciting emotion. But it doesn't mandate it either. In the end, we might have to concede that the reason we aren't moved more by the horrific images we see on the news or the tragic stories we read in the paper, is because understanding these images and stories is not a strong enough instigator for emotional reactions. But MM-Theory certainly does not suggest that concepts are futile toward this end.

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Projection

Conceiving Consciousness
The second reconciliation MM-Theory needs to make is to justify how it can be a legitimate theory of consciousness yet maintain that the theories of the objectification process and central-self are correct in claiming consciousness to be an impossible concept to grasp. This is not exactly the same issue we addressed earlier when we noted the conflict between consciousness necessarily being conceivable and this paper claiming it to be inconceivable. That conflict concerned the ontology of consciousness within the context of a subjective reality. But "subjective realities", and why conceptions of consciousness are possible (and legitimate) within them, is an artifact of MM-Theory itself. It stands to ask "Why should we believe MM-Theory?" If, after all, the objectification process and central-self theory claim consciousness to be an impossible concept, we shouldn't believe MM-Theory, and our account for how concepts of consciousness are possible, and legitimate, within subjective realities, dependent on MM-Theory as it is, falls with it. There are two responses we can make to such a conundrum: i) the inconceivability of consciousness is actually taken into account in the theory, forming an

Experience

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inherent part of the definition of experience, and ii) MM-Theory is not a theory about what consciousness is but of how to explain the relation between mind and matter. Let's elaborate on the first point. Let's revisit the definition of "experience" - specifically, the first property:

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Definition: Experience (first contribution) An experience is any instance of qualitivity.
This component of the definition was introduced in the Basic Theory where we had to follow it up with some explication. For one thing, it was necessary to point out that "our definition of experience encompasses more than just the human experiences - conceivability is not a necessary aspect" (italics added). This aspect is understood to be implicit in the above definition. Some examples of this might be the perception of colors outside the familiar red-to-violet range, or an emotion never experienced by any human being, or sensations from nonhuman sensory organs like the bat's echolocation system. In other words, if an experience is inconceivable, that makes no difference to our definition. Also note that it helps that many experiences are conceivable - namely, the human experiences (at the very least, sensations) - which allows the mental model of experience to have some substance - samples, as it were, with which to extrapolate. That is, although we can't appreciate what the universal essence of experience is due to the fact that we can't conceive of each and every possible experience, we can nevertheless fall back on the experiences we are familiar with as an analogy or instance - saying of it that other experiences, inconceivable as they may be, are to some degree like these.

Human Experiences

The Window-toReality vs. Systemof-Experiences Models

And in turn, consciousness gets defined as a system-of-experiences, so consciousness inherits the inconceivability of itself in its own definition. In other words, MM-Theory covers all its bases on this matter very early on. This is not only for the purposes of getting this issue out of the way, but it is central to the very functionality of the theory. That is, the way MM-Theory resolves the Mind/Matter Paradox is by showing how mind need not be confined to the familiar human experiences, and can therefore continue to parallel the brain's activity no matter where the brain leads it. This would not be an option if we held onto the conviction that consciousness had to be conceivable.

The Mind/Paradox Paradox

Now, as a mental model of consciousness, this gives it a unique twist. It makes it okay for it to be misrepresented. If what we are saying is that consciousness is inconceivable, then the mental model that falls out of this cannot pose as something that it is not. It still stands in for something that it is not, but it doesn't pose as such. In other words, in the midst of presenting a model of consciousness to us, it tells us not to be fooled by this presentation because consciousness cannot be so presented. It doesn't purport itself to be wrong, it's just explicit about the inadequacy of its own representational status. Therefore, unless we forget that this fact is embedded in the mental model, we cannot be deceived into thinking that consciousness is exactly that which we are conceiving. We will expand more on this point in Reality and Perception. So we begin expounding the Basic Theory with this aspect of inconceivability. We also end the Advanced Theory on the same note. Recall our discussion on the "substance of existence" which we defined as a hybrid of mind and matter. It was brief, but the essential point was to keep the reader aware that, concerning the fundamental fabric of the universe, it would be absurd to suppose that any human being could ever conceive of what this substance truly is. We seem to be capable of conceive of this stuff called "matter" and some other stuff called "mind", but these conceptual forms seem mutually exclusive. Nevertheless, it was proposed that the "substance of existence" was a strange sort of mix of the two. The inconceivability of this substance was compared to the wave-particle duality of photons, the fundamental particle of light. Physicists will tell us that photons exhibit properties of waves but also properties of particles, and they fully concede that this is difficult, if not impossible, to grasp. Likewise, the "substance of existence" exhibits properties of matter but also properties of mind. In other words, not only is the true essence of consciousness inconceivable, but if we could understand what it is, we would realize that it's something beyond both mental and material. This makes sense. It's exactly what we should expect if all our mental models of consciousness necessarily misrepresent the phenomenon - the true phenomenon is nothing like what we think it is.

Wave-Particle Duality

Photon

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MM-Theory - The Inconceivability of Consciousness
To put this another way, we can construct a concept of consciousness because, by incorporating its own inconceivability into the concept, it does not deny the claims made by the central-self theory or our treatment of the objectification process that consciousness is impossible to conceive. The aspect of inconceivability is much like the gaps or obscurities we talked about in all concepts of consciousness as they project inside our subjective realities. We said that this is no obstacle to constructing such concepts nor to their projecting as real things. What the objectification process and central-self theory imply is that consciousness is not fully conceivable, but they don't say a close approximation is likewise beyond reach. In other words, a lot can be said about consciousness even if not everything can be said. There are other parts of the definition of experience that allow us to build MM -Theory. For instance, we say that experience is qualitative, it contains the essence of realness, and that it contains meaning. Therefore, while we concede that consciousness is inconceivable, this is only true of what it is in essence, but not its more peripheral aspects. We can still talk about the forms it can take, the things it is prone to do, its relation to reality, the mechanisms that drive it to morph, and so on. John Searle supports this point by distinguishing between what he calls "common sense definitions" and "analytic definitions". He gives a lecture in which he says:
We need to distinguish common sense definitions whose purpose is to identify a subject matter from analytic definitions that tell us about the essence, [or] the essential traits, of the subject matter we've identified. Now, analytic definitions come at the end of a scientific investigation, not at the beginning. But at the beginning, we want a common sense definition that will enable us to know what we're talking about. So consider the definition of water. Water is standardly defined as a colorless, tasteless liquid of the sort that falls in rain storms and flows in rivers and exists in lakes and oceans. That's a common sense definition. I looked it up in the dictionary, and that's, in fact, what they say. But then they also give the analytic definition: water's H2O. Now notice, the fact that water's H2O [is] a much later discovery. We all have a common sense definition of water before we ever get the chemical analysis that enables us to give the scientific/analytic definition. Same goes for consciousness. It's easy to give a common sense definition of consciousness. I'll do it: conscious states are those subjective states of sentience or awareness that begin in the morning when you wake up from a dreamless sleep and continue throughout the day until you fall asleep again or go into a coma or die or otherwise become unconscious. ...any one of the inner, subjective, qualitative states of feeling or sentience or awareness [is] what we're talking about when we're talking about consciousness. It's not a difficult problem. It's not a difficult phenomenon to identify.

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The Essence of Realness

Meaning

John Searle

Of course, our definition of experience can hardly be considered "common sense", but it nevertheless serves the same purpose as Searle's idea of common sense definitions. That is, so long as some measure of understanding is met, we can use it as a starting point in solving the Mind/Matter Paradox without actually having a firm grasp on what exactly the true essence of consciousness is. Perhaps, then, we should call it a "working definition" instead of a "common sense definition", keeping in mind that the difference is inconsequential. So as a working definition, our concept of experience can be used to erect a theory of mind, matter, and the universe. In the end, The Mind/Paradox however, we are no closer to acquiring a satisfactory understanding of what consciousness is. But from what Paradox we've been saying, this is key to the theory working. Searle might speak up at this point, emphasizing that the point of a common sense definition is to work towards acquiring an analytic definition. We can reply that having a common sense or working definition never guarantees the success of deriving an analytic definition. It's certainly possible that we might fail in this endeavor. This does not mean that our common sense or working definition was flawed in anyway. Indeed, in this case, we see that the flaw has to do with the fact that consciousness, or at least its bare essence, is not something that can be conceptualized. But then it may seem rather silly to even begin this endeavor. That is, in starting with our working definition of experience, and knowing all along that it will get us nowhere insofar as understanding what consciousness is, why bother with such a philosophy? The answer to this question concerns the second response we can make to the issue of how our theory is a legitimate one. MM-Theory is not a theory about what consciousness is, but about the relation between consciousness and the brain (or, more generally, matter). We made this very clear in the introduction to this website. This can be done from start to finish with just a basic working definition like the one we used for experience. Now, this is impossible according to the central-self theory. The central-self theory says that the only way we're going to solve the mind/matter problem is by turning consciousness back onto itself such that it is exposed to the gap between the brain and the mind. But notice that the central-self theory rests on the conventional assumption that the brain produces the mind (as shown in figure 4a). This is a particular type of mind/matter relationship. MM-Theory, on the other hand, claims that the relationship works the other way around - namely, mind produces matter. If this is the case, we have a completely different arrangement between mind, matter, and consciousness. Figure 4b shows consciousness playing the role of the foundation for particular mental content. Thus, the mind is based on consciousness, and matter, in turn, is based on mind. So consciousness is no longer sandwiched between brain and mind. This means that the gap between brain and mind is not mediated by anything as utterly inconceivable as consciousness, and therefore we have no reason to believe the relationship is unintelligible. Consciousness, nevertheless, remains inconceivable for the reasons the central-self theory purports - it is like an arrow that can't point at its own tip. It cannot produce mental content that accurately mirrors what itself is in essence.

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Figure 4a: The relation between brain, mind, and consciousness according to the central-self theory.

Figure 4b: The relation between brain, mind, and consciousness according to MM-Theory.

MM-Theory resolves this problem quite nicely, but even in doing so, it goes far beyond brains and human minds. It ends up having implications for all matter, the entire universe, and even suggesting the existence of transcendental realities. And all of it, the theory goes, is experience. Now, considering what we've said about the inconceivability of consciousness so far, this might bring the theory down a few notches. That is to say, if consciousness is defined as a system-of-experiences, making it more or less synonymous with experience, then the entire universe, as the greatest system-of-experiences there is, is fundamentally inconceivable. So it doesn't seem like much of a theory to say that mind, matter, and the universe are all one inconceivable thing. Note that this is not paradoxical, as we've shown how the definition of experience takes this inconceivability into account and that the theory never claims to make consciousness conceivable, only to resolve the Mind/Matter Paradox. But it is unflattering. Well, let's not be so harsh. After all, whoever said the fundamental essence of the universe was supposed to be conceivable? We shouldn't expect it to be. At least with MM-Theory, we've reduced two inconceivable entities namely, consciousness and the fundamental essence of the universe - into one, thereby simplifying the problem a great deal. We might even say, thereafter, that having done such a reduction, the problem of consciousness has been handed off to the problem of the fundamental essence of the universe. So in a crude manner of speaking, there is no more problem of consciousness - we've solved it! In addition, even though the bare essence of consciousness may not be conceivable, this doesn't imply that a theory of consciousness, like MM-Theory, can't be rich in details and insights. It's a mental model, after all. It represents consciousness. It is fully consistent and logical as concerns the things that are conceivable about it. It's main strength is that, out of all theories of the universe put forward hitherto, it leaves the least number of Well, Maybe More questions unanswered (whether those answers are right is another matter) - that is, the only unanswered question so happens to be "what is consciousness?" Everything else - matter, mind, space and time, energy, the universe, Than One and whatever else we can dream up - fits nicely into place. Question

Meaning

Furthermore, even though consciousness cannot be conceived, MM-Theory does reduce it to meaning, which is equally inconceivable but also more useful for understanding how it may be self-sustaining. In the Advanced Theory, we saw how this is by showing that meaning need not rely on anything more fundamental than itself to be self-sustaining. In other words, even if consciousness is inconceivable, this does not prevent us from acknowledging its independence from the problem of reductionism as we called it. Being immune to this problem, we can rest assured that it provides its own basis for existence even if we can't conceive of what it is.

The Problem of Reductionism

Finally, even if consciousness is inconceivable, there is still hope for those who want to get some kind of grasp of its essence. It may be impossible to conceptualize consciousness in its true form, but it would be absurd to suppose we couldn't feel consciousness. And considering the fact that we feel our consciousness, there isn't anything other than its true form that we could be feeling. So if you want to know exactly what consciousness is, it's there in your subjective experience of it. It is the meaning that accompanies every experience, that keeps

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MM-Theory - The Inconceivability of Consciousness
consciousness flowing, and that serves as its very reason d'être. So we must not think of the essence of consciousness as this obscure, alienated, distant phenomenon that is so far beyond conception that it is impossible to reach. It is constantly imminent and acutely within our grasp. We just have to be content with the fact that we must use something other than concepts to have this grasp. If it is truly to be the essence of consciousness, it must not change its form in the slightest. If it is an emotion, it must remain an emotion. If it is a vision, it must remain a vision. If it is a sensation of pleasure, it must remain this as well. If we wanted to make it into a concept, it would become a thought, which is clearly distinct from an emotion, a vision, a pleasure sensation, or any other experience save the concept we wish to make it. Therefore, I'd like to leave the reader with this: strive as you might, you will never get a fully satisfying theory of what consciousness is, but if you simply stop and pay attention to your experiences, you will find that it has been there, and always will be, in the midst of your very being. Reality and Perception
The Lockean View and The Inconceivable The Objectification Process The Origins of Objectification

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Introduction

Descartes' Chiliagon

Objectifying Consciousness Conceiving Consciousness

Objectifying Without Erring

The Central-Self

Reconciliations of MMTheory TOP

Conceiving The Inconceivable

Bookmark this page now! © Copywrite 2008, 2009 Gibran Shah.

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Appendix
The Other Senses At this point, it is important for me to mention that we will be using mainly vision in our examples and discussion throughout this paper, but it is implicit that what we will say carries over to the other senses as well. Disclaimer! I don't want to discredit religious beliefs of the "eternal soul". I just want to point out that such an idea need not be conceived as something visual or physical. There are many other ways that one could argue for the eternal being of the mind or soul. I, for one, believe that mind is eternal, and I voice this belief in the Advanced Theory. I say that mental experiences continue to be had, albeit in different forms, even after one dies. This process can be described without recourse to physical or ethereal terminology. We don't need to imagine a ghost rising from the body. One's experiences of the physical world simply cease and are replaced with entirely different and unfathomable ones. These new experiences constitute the world of the afterlife. Objectification vs. Objectivity Calling subjectivity the antithesis of objectification can be misleading. Strictly speaking, subjectivity is the opposite of objectivity, not objectification. There is a subtle difference. Objectivity means to be treated without bias, whereas objectification (the term employed in this paper) means to be treated like an object. For the most part, of course, these two meanings go hand-in-hand. When something is objectified, its features are approached as though, like those of an object, they are open to public examination, and therefore no difference in how they are perceived should exist, making it fit for objective treatment. Similarly, when something is considered subjective, its features are approached as though they are the private experiences of the beholder, and therefore may differ from one person to another. I want to make it clear, however, that, although they usually go hand-in-hand, this relation is not a necessary one. It is one thing to talk about an object being accessible to public observation versus an experience being accessible only to one's private observation, and another to talk about something being experienced identically or diversely. That is, to

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(treated like an object) does not necessarily entail that it can be objectively treated - one person may have different opinions about something than another, opinions that can't be settled objectively, despite the fact that they both treat it like an object. It is easy to agree with this when it comes to abstract concepts, which this paper argues are objectified. Similarly, one person may have his/her own subjective experiences that bear no differences whatsoever to another person's subjective experiences, despite the fact that such experiences are private. People who often share similar tastes in music or film can attest to this. Therefore, I have diagrammed the relationship between objectification/objectivity and subjectivity in figure 5. For the purposes of this paper, the antithetical relationship between objectification and subjectivity is to be understood in the context of the rightmost meaning indicated in the figure. That is, when we say that consciousness is inherently subjective, we mean that it is experiential in nature, not necessarily that these experiences differ from one person to another (and if there was such a word as "subjectification", I'd use it ). First- and Second-Order Thoughts We briefly explained what first- and second-order thoughts are in the Basic Theory, but just in case the reader has forgotten (or hasn't read the Basic Theory), here's what we said: The idea of second-order thoughts is a philosophy that states that you can have thoughts about thoughts. For example, I could be thinking about how awful so-and-so's formaldehyde ice cream tastes, and this would constitute a first-order thought. The next moment, I could be thinking about the fact that, a second ago, I was thinking about how awful so-and-so's formaldehyde ice cream tastes. This would be a second-order thought. For Those Who Know MM-Theory For those who are familiar with MM-Theory, it may seem as though the objectification process could never be a mistake. Why is this? Because if one were to believe in the objectified character of certain abstract concepts, like Plato's forms, MM-Theory would say that those concepts, in virtue of being projected onto a reality, actually are real, and actually do take the thing-like form in which they are projected. This is all well and good, but the mistake we are talking about is not whether these things can be projected and thereby take on full ontological status, but whether such an ontology can be upheld indefinitely. That is to say, even though, according to MM-Theory, any arbitrary belief will be true by default, there is no telling whether that belief will be held forever or whether it will eventually be brought crashing down in the face of some contending belief or some undeniable evidence against it. MM-Theory does not deny this can happen. The problem with taking objectification too literally when

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it is not warranted is that the logic of the arguments that depend on it will suffer this weakness - that is, they will suffer certain errors which can be exploited by anyone wishing to destroy those arguments - either that, or the one putting those arguments forward may come to recognize the errors therein at some point. He/she may not see the errors right away, but if they are ever brought to his/her attention, the arguments they betray will crumble, as will the reality they hitherto sustained. More will be said about the "weakness" and "strength" of realities, and how they can "crumble", in Reality and Perception. Well, Maybe More Than One Question Okay, there's obviously more than one question left behind. These questions fall into two categories: 1) questions that have yet to be answered by other papers in this website, and 2) questions that, although may not be directly answered by MM-Theory, at least fall under its purview. These latter questions are much like the sorts of questions that fall under the purview of classical mechanics. Classical mechanics is the system of physical theory laid down by Newton's laws of motion. Newton believed that all the universe was physical, the workings of which could be exclusively put in terms of his three laws of motion. Whatever phenomena occurred in the universe, it could be put in physical terms and explained by his three laws. In that sense, then, Newton's theories "explain" everything - nothing is left unanswered. But of course, there are questions lingering. Newton's physics tells us nothing about whether life exists on other planets, whether the Earth will be struck by a meteor within the next millennium, what forms of life have come and gone in the evolutionary process here on Earth, and so on. These are still mysteries, but Newton's physics promises that if they are ever brought to light, they will be explained in physical terms and their dynamics in terms of his three laws. The questions that remain for MM-Theory, besides the ones that will be addressed in other papers, are like these questions. They are question like: what does such-and-such physical system experience? What does it feel like to be a fluid - or to have the experience corresponding to fluid phenomena? What is it like to be a molecule? What is it like to be a bat? Although MM-Theory can't answer these questions, they still fall under its purview. These experiences that we are questioning are like the mysterious physical phenomena in a mechanical universe like Newton's. They are about the contents of the universe, but as such they already fall under a general theoretical framework whose terminology captures their basic nature. Whatever they are however they feel - they can be described in terms of our customized definition of experience.

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