What do you believe that you can't prove?

The NY Times ran a great article about what scientists believe but they can't prove. It yielded some great things from an Anthroposophical perspective, such as:

Donald Hoffman
Cognitive scientist, University of California, Irvine; author, "Visual Intelligence"

I believe that consciousness and its contents are all that exists. Space-time, matter and fields never were the fundamental denizens of the universe but have always been, from their beginning, among the humbler contents of consciousness, dependent on it for their very being.

The world of our daily experience - the world of tables, chairs, stars and people, with their attendant shapes, smells, feels and sounds - is a species-specific user interface to a realm far more complex, a realm whose essential character is conscious. It is unlikely that the contents of our interface in any way resemble that realm.

Indeed the usefulness of an interface requires, in general, that they do not. For the point of an interface, such as the Windows interface on a computer, is simplification and ease of use. We click icons because this is quicker and less prone to error than editing megabytes of software or toggling voltages in circuits.

Evolutionary pressures dictate that our species-specific interface, this world of our daily experience, should itself be a radical simplification, selected not for the exhaustive depiction of truth but for the mutable pragmatics of survival.

If this is right, if consciousness is fundamental, then we should not be surprised that, despite centuries of effort by the most brilliant of minds, there is as yet no physicalist theory of consciousness, no theory that explains how mindless matter or energy or fields could be, or cause, conscious experience.

This is philosophically compatible with Steiner and Idealistic Philosophy in general. In fact, it is strikingly similar to Steiner's claim that the spiritual world is the "real" world and the physical world, while also real, is a reflection of the spiritual world. Interesting also is the conclusion by Hoffman - not stated explicitly, that the proposition is not provable by physical science.

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This page contains a single entry by Daniel Hindes published on January 8, 2005 11:42 AM.

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