Donald Hoffman's Conscious Realism

4. Complete List of Objections

Listed below is the complete set of my objections to Hoffman's three theories. They are listed in order of treatment in my Hoffman's Conscious Realism: A Critical Review.

Objections to Fitness Beats Truth (FBT) Theorem

Book cover: Cognitive Science: An Introduction to the Science of the Mind by Jose Luis Bermudez
  1. Claims for the FBT modelling are overstated:

    • in the short run, some members of a species may sense truth to at least some extent.
    • even where fitness is maximized, there is some mapping to external reality.
  2. Hoffman's mathematical simulations rig the game in favour of the strict interface strategy.

  3. Hoffman's mathematical simulations are only accurate in oversimplified cases of an organism using only one source of information.

  4. The FBT Theorem is self-refuting as Hoffman assumes many facts about the external world in constructing his FBT Theorem.

  5. The FBT Theorem does not disprove 'metaphysical realism'; at best, only that properties of objects are unknown.

  6. Given Hoffman's ability to evaluate whether test organisms see 'true facts' or not, his FBT Theorem is reduced to a reductio ad absurdum.

  7. If the FBT Theorem is true and scientists cannot determine scalar quantities, scientists could not practice science.

  8. The FBT modelling presumes wrongly for all organisms a direct relation between perception and action.

  9. Hoffman's denial of time is contradicted by his reliance on the axioms of 'universal Darwinism'.

  10. Hoffman's denial of space is contradicted by his acceptance of visual fields and desktop 'icons'.

Objections to Interface Theory of Perception (ITP)

  1. Desktop icons are veridical in the same way a map is veridical, even though neither is identical with its object.

  2. Icons on a desktop are not epistemological prisons, as we can peer behind the icon to see the inner workings of the computer interface.

  3. Hoffman misconstrues Kappers and Koenderink et al's research purportedly showing that our perception of distance is not 'veridical'.

  4. Under normal perceptual conditions, mammals use neuronal grid cell firings to map out veridically evenly spaced locations.

  5. Hoffman contradictorily explains the non-veridical perception of distant objects by contrasting it with our veridical perception of objects close up.

  6. Hoffman's idea that perception of distance is not veridical renders his own diagrams illustrating his FBT Theorem unintelligible.

  7. Hoffman ignores the essential role that theory construction plays in scientific achievements.

  8. Hoffman's ITP is parasitic on scientific realism in merely reverse engineering its achievements.

  9. Hoffman leaves unanswered how scientists' evolved technical abilities enhance their reproductive fitness when they, in fact, reduce their fertility.

Objections to Conscious Realism

  1. By having everyday objects pop into and out of existence, Conscious Realism reduces our ordinary way of speaking about these objects to absurdity.

  2. In disallowing public objects, Conscious Realism generates linguistic puzzles over object individuation.

  3. Hoffman's Interface Theory of Perception (ITP) entails that our 'consciousness' may be just another deceptive icon.

  4. Hoffman's Interface Theory of Perception (ITP) collapses to solipsism; that we cannot know other minds exist.

  5. Whereas metaphysical realism explains in a rich way, Conscious Realism fails to explain:

    • a. how individual perceptual experiences combine to form the perception of a single material object.
    • b. how the atomic conscious agents in the postulated network combine to form a unified conscious being at the macro-level.
    • c. how aggregates of atomic conscious agents are carved into distinct higher-order conscious agents.
    • d. the ubiquity of intra-species communication and the paucity of inter-species communication.
  6. With Hoffman's axiom that experiences of a conscious agent are entirely private, his confidence in explaining introspection is misplaced.

  7. Hoffman's research program is heuristically sterile in providing an explanation for how the direct 'dynamic interactions' between disembodied conscious agents cause our complex experiences of a supposed mind-independent world.

  8. Hoffman's anti-realist mathematical model of vision is parasitic on the predictive successes of realist research programs.

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