What is CTD?

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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#91  Postby Londoner » November 13th, 2017, 1:47 pm

Burning ghost wrote:For this experiment they said the following:

"The subjects were asked to relax while fixating on the center of the screen where a stream of letters were presented. At some point, when they felt the urge to do so, they were to freely decide between one of two buttons, operated by the left and right index fingers, and press it immediately. In parallel, they should remember the letter presented when their motor decision was consciously made."


They introduce words like 'impulse', 'decide', 'conscious' and 'motor decision' without any explanation as to what these words mean.

Thus we get statements like the one above. First, they declare that the subject experiences something called an 'urge'. An 'urge' prompts them to 'decide', but not actually to make a 'decision'. The 'decision' is something separate from the 'urge' and it happens 'freely'. We are not told what it is 'free' from. Then there is yet another thing that occurs; 'a motor decision', which may or may not be something distinct from the 'free decision'. We are told that the 'motor decision' is 'consciously made'; but we are not told if 'urges' are 'conscious', or if 'free decisions' are conscious.

Now considering that this is supposed to be an experiment into the nature of consciousness, it seems to me that the experimenters are assuming a model of consciousness before they start, one which I do not understand and that I suspect begs the question they are trying to answer. In other words, if you create dubious entities like an 'urge', then declaring whether it comes before or after some other mental event is going to depend on your interpretation of the meaning of your word rather than any empirical fact.

That is precisely the point they were making. You must therefore agree with the experiment and that consciousness is an illusion; merely a "reflex" like a cough and nothing more?


If 'consciousness' really is an illusion, then we could not do experiments on it!

First we should have to say what we mean by 'consciousness'. It could include absolutely everything that takes place in the brain, or in the nervous system as a whole, or be limited to certain kinds of self-reflective thoughts. There is no point in insisting on the correctness of any particular definition, but if we are talking to others we ought to be able to explain what we mean.
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Re: What is CTD?



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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#92  Postby RJG » November 13th, 2017, 2:04 pm

Togo1 wrote:
RJG wrote:Aren't ALL decisions preceded by an 'urge' (a want, desire, compulsion, etc)?

No, I wouldn't say so.

Togo1 wrote:
RJG wrote:...or can one actually make a decision (a bodily action/reaction) without the seemingly pre-requisite 'urge' to do so?

Yes.

Can you give us an example of an "urge-less" decision?


Togo1 wrote:
Arthur Schopenhauer wrote:"Man can do what he wants, but he cannot want what he wants

Every morning I want to stay in bed. I would say that the only reason I get out of bed is by carefully cultivating a will to do so. This is an example of wanting what I want. Any exercise of willpower ultimately involves wanting what one wants.

Mustn’t you first have the ‘want’ to do this ‘wanting’? …or why do it?

You are missing Schopenhauer’s brilliance here. Schopenhauer is saying -- since it is our ‘wants’ that determine our ‘doings’; our actions (i.e. “we do as we want”), it is therefore impossible to want ‘other’ than what we want. For to do so, would require that we ‘want’ to do so, which still holds us captive to our wants.

In other words, our wants (urges/desires) control us, not the other way around. We can’t want what we want without first having the pre-requisite want (or urge) to want it.


Togo1 wrote:
RJG wrote:One cannot be 'conscious' of a thought, without a pre-requisite 'thought' to be conscious of.

Yes one can. The thought and being conscious of the thought occur at the same time.

Not so. If CTD exists, then consciousness “lags” (happens AFTER) that which it is conscious of, and therefore cannot occur at the “same time”.
We cannot be conscious of ‘something’ if there is no ‘something’ to be conscious of. The ‘something’ comes first, then the ‘consciousness’-of-this-something.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#93  Postby Londoner » November 13th, 2017, 2:36 pm

RJG wrote:Londoner, you seem to insinuate that decisions are "urge-less". Aren't ALL decisions preceded by an 'urge' (a want, desire, compulsion, etc)? ...or can one actually make a decision (a bodily action/reaction) without the seemingly pre-requisite 'urge' to do so? ...can one possibly have an (pre-requisite) urge not to have the urge to do as they do?

"Man can do what he wants, but he cannot want what he wants [Der Mensch kann wohl tun, was er will, aber er kann nicht wollen, was er will]" -- Arthur Schopenhauer

Even if it were possible to do the impossible, at what point do you 'know' (are conscious of) when your decision is made? Is it before or AFTER the decision was made?


Certainly we want things, certainly we have bodies that react to stimuli, and to internal states like 'hunger' etc. If that wasn't the case, if we were some sort of disembodied spirit, indifferent to the world, that would not free us to make true decisions because we would be utterly indifferent to what happens! But nor are we simply driven by urges in a one-to-one way; hungry so eat, tired so sleep, etc. I think we are all aware that we have different and competing urges.

The question of 'at what point do you 'know' (are conscious of) when your decision is made' seems to hang on the idea of a decision being 'made', as if it was an object. As if consciousness processes a single question, makes a decision, then prints it out and locks it in a filing cabinet. But surely consciousness is continuous. We never 'make a decision' since it can always be revised. Only when it becomes an action, and moves into the past, is it fixed - but even then we are free to change the way we think about what we did.

Because of CTD, the consciousness of an act can only happen AFTER the act. Conscious "decision making" is only an illusion. We cannot consciously "do" (or decide) anything (including deciding our own thoughts!). We can only be conscious of what we have "done" (or decided). ...'consciousness' is always a "day-late-and-a-dollar-short".


I think this is a version of Zeno's Paradox. It assumes that things, including decision making, happens in a series of 'moments' and that because this series in infinitely divisible then we cannot pick any single one in which the event happened. Taking that argument, we can end up declaring that either change is impossible, or that there is no such thing as extension, or there is no such thing as time....but we will be mistaken.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#94  Postby Togo1 » November 13th, 2017, 2:40 pm

RJG wrote:Can you give us an example of an "urge-less" decision?


Sure, deciding to reply to you. I mulled over what you said, and decided to write a reply with a particular set of contents. There was not, at any point, a prior 'urge' to write these particular words I'm writing now.

RJG wrote:
Togo1 wrote:Every morning I want to stay in bed. I would say that the only reason I get out of bed is by carefully cultivating a will to do so. This is an example of wanting what I want. Any exercise of willpower ultimately involves wanting what one wants.

You are missing Schopenhauer’s brilliance here. Schopenhauer is saying -- since it is our ‘wants’ that determine our ‘doings’; our actions (i.e. “we do as we want”), it is therefore impossible to want ‘other’ than what we want. For to do so, would require that we ‘want’ to do so, which still holds us captive to our wants.

In other words, our wants (urges/desires) control us, not the other way around. We can’t want what we want without first having the pre-requisite want (or urge) to want it.


No, I understand what he's saying. But it's a bit like arguing that chickens are impossible, because they only come from chicken eggs, which in turn only every come from chickens, and therefore you can never have the first chicken. It's one of those class of arguements that sounds plausible because it relies on an infinite regress, just as Xeno's paradox does. But something described as an infinite series can have a finite sum - you don't gain infinity just by splitting off from a decision ever finer prior 'urges'. At some point Xeno's arrow hits the turtle. At some point a chicken hatches from an egg that was not laid by a chicken, and at some point you made a decision that was not contained within a prior urge.

RJG wrote:
Togo1 wrote:(Nested quote removed.)

Yes one can. The thought and being conscious of the thought occur at the same time.

Not so. If CTD exists, then consciousness “lags” (happens AFTER) that which it is conscious of, and therefore cannot occur at the “same time”.


No, as I said before this doesn't logically follow. Two events can start or end at different times, and still take place at times that substantially overlap.

RJG wrote:We cannot be conscious of ‘something’ if there is no ‘something’ to be conscious of.


Then we can't be conscious of past events, only present ones.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#95  Postby RJG » November 13th, 2017, 4:40 pm

Londoner wrote:I think this is a version of Zeno's Paradox. It assumes that things, including decision making, happens in a series of 'moments' and that because this series in infinitely divisible then we cannot pick any single one in which the event happened. Taking that argument, we can end up declaring that either change is impossible, or that there is no such thing as extension, or there is no such thing as time....but we will be mistaken.

Not so. The only “Zeno’s Paradox” here is in your false belief of “instantaneous” processing. Your indoctrinated belief that we can consciously sense/detect the happenings in reality “instantly” (with 'zero' duration!) is at the root of your confusion.

If CTD exists, then everything that we are conscious of, has already happened! --- and no, this is NOT a "Zeno Trick", ...this is just Simple Logic.


Togo1 wrote:
RJG wrote:Can you give us an example of an "urge-less" decision?

Sure, deciding to reply to you. I mulled over what you said, and decided to write a reply with a particular set of contents. There was not, at any point, a prior 'urge' to write these particular words I'm writing now.

So then why did you bother to write these words? ...let me guess, …umm, …because you “wanted” to!


Togo1 wrote:No, as I said before this doesn't logically follow. Two events can start or end at different times, and still take place at times that substantially overlap.

If so, then these two events are NOT in sync. One “lags” the other.


RJG wrote:We cannot be conscious of ‘something’ if there is no ‘something’ to be conscious of.

Togo1 wrote:Then we can't be conscious of past events, only present ones.

Our 'present' view is of 'past' events. -- Consciousness only provides us with a window seat to the past.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#96  Postby Chili » November 13th, 2017, 7:26 pm

RJG wrote:
Chili wrote:This is why tennis players (and in other sports) gain such benefit from mentally rehearsing their games. You are building in the hard-coded responses that will come into play in the heat of the moment.

Unconscious muscle memory dictates unconscious bodily reaction.

Chili wrote:You have indeed, over the long term, chosen those actions.

Not 'consciously' "chosen" though. For everything that we are (and were) conscious of, were of past events.

We can only be conscious of what we've "done", ...and never, of what we "do".


Does a consciousness not have its hands on any levers whatsoever? This is when one starts to look foolish talking about other minds.

-- Updated November 13th, 2017, 7:29 pm to add the following --

People lay in wait. People plan carefully. Not all is stimulus -> response.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#97  Postby RJG » November 14th, 2017, 12:10 am

RJG wrote:We can only be conscious of what we've "done", ...and never, of what we "do".

Chili wrote:Does a consciousness not have its hands on any levers whatsoever?

No, none at all. The lag/lead (before/after) relationship as established by CTD makes it logically impossible for consciousness to ever 'cause' or 'do' anything (or pull any levers) in reality.

Reality is always a step ahead ("leading"), pulling-the-levers and calling-the-shots as it sees fit, whereas consciousness forever chases behind ("lagging"), only experiencing reality's effects. Consciousness can never catch up to, and affect, or beat reality to the punch, - it is as futile as chasing one's own shadow.


Chili wrote:This is when one starts to look foolish talking about other minds.

I don't follow. Or are you implying that minds can do something?


Chili wrote:People plan carefully.

Correction: People don't plan, people experience thoughts of planning.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#98  Postby Burning ghost » November 14th, 2017, 1:08 am

Togo1 wrote:
Burning ghost wrote:This is 100% accuracy too:

nature.com/articles/nn.2112.epdf?referr ... _referrer=

It is not "sometimes right" or "sometimes wrong". The outcome of the decision can be traced back a few seconds before the feeling of conscious volition. It is not a "hit and miss" scenario. They can see clearly that the decision is primed unconsciously before the illusion of "the decision".


No, it's sometimes right or sometimes wrong.

If you look at the diagrams on page 2, you'll see the percentage accuracy along the left hand side of the graphs. 6 seconds peaks at... 55% accuracy, where 50% is chance. These studies produce extremely inaccurate results.


Good job! :)

I admit I didn't look closely enough. A its peak it is more close to 75% (I am assuming the graph doesn't account for BOLD?). This basically says that when you think you make a decision, in the setting of the experiment, it correlates 50% with the data.

There are numerous other things to discuss that were not mentioned in the experiment.

I made a cognitive boo boo! :oops: The 100% claim is to do with our optimism bias (sorry for the mistake - I do have a very strange memory of this though, I know that memories can err though ... I'll keep an eye out for the study I was originally referring to. Even though I am playing devil's advocate here I wasn't trying to present false information, just did a sloppy job.) This is the strongest argument that RJG has on his side. People generally want to believe they have control and will claim control when they have none, dodge data that doesn't fit their view and generally deny anything that may harm them to vary degrees.

What did you think about the other clip? Again, it is presented in the video in such a way that it leads to more questions about the method than conclusions. If I am trying to push the idea of no conscious volition (which I am) then it can be weighed in my favour to some degree.

Londoner -

Now you're being silly. But, also, you're not being silly.

Point being it didn't take much of an effort on my part to see your view is contrary without having to select specific words and question the semantic value. You made the analogy of "coughing" and "consciousness", therefore consciousness is a reflexive action, it is an effecting principle not a affecting principle. There is the potential of running into ad infinitum situations here.

If consciousness is an illusion then we are not doing experiments on it. I agree. Much like when people do magic spells that happen to relate to some instances of causal phenomenon and claim their spell did it.

The semantic argument is one that is very complex. We are limited by language and cannot simply imposed new sets of terminology on people who have completely different starting positions. Heidegger made some attempts in that direction regarding ideas of "consciousness".

-- Updated November 14th, 2017, 1:13 am to add the following --

TO ALL -

To back up RJG here, some of you seem to be insinuating (purposefully or not?) that language is consciousness. That is an extremely bold claim and one you'll have to do some serious work backing up!

note: "thought" is the term where confusion leaks in. Some people use the term exclusively for "verbal thought", so make the distinction clear RJG when people seem to be making such claims or you'll both be going around in circles forever.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#99  Postby Togo1 » November 14th, 2017, 6:29 am

RJG wrote:
Londoner wrote:I think this is a version of Zeno's Paradox. It assumes that things, including decision making, happens in a series of 'moments' and that because this series in infinitely divisible then we cannot pick any single one in which the event happened. Taking that argument, we can end up declaring that either change is impossible, or that there is no such thing as extension, or there is no such thing as time....but we will be mistaken.

Not so. The only “Zeno’s Paradox” here is in your false belief of “instantaneous” processing. Your indoctrinated belief that we can consciously sense/detect the happenings in reality “instantly” (with 'zero' duration!) is at the root of your confusion.

If CTD exists, then everything that we are conscious of, has already happened! --- and no, this is NOT a "Zeno Trick", ...this is just Simple Logic.


No, it's a Zeno trick. You're arguing that because the arrow starts off off after the tortoise, it can't catch up with it.

I'd also point out that the experiments you're citing rely on modelling a decision as instantaneous processing. The experiment measures when the subject feels the conscious decision has been made. It doesn't measure when the conscious decision starts. So your delay depends entirely on the idea that consicous decision making is an instant in time, and doesn't have duration. Otherwise you could argue that consciious decision making is a process that starts before unconscious processing and ends after it. That's fully consistent with the experimental results.

RJG wrote:
Togo1 wrote:Sure, deciding to reply to you. I mulled over what you said, and decided to write a reply with a particular set of contents. There was not, at any point, a prior 'urge' to write these particular words I'm writing now.

So then why did you bother to write these words? ...let me guess, …umm, …because you “wanted” to!


That was a decision I came to as a result of consciously considering what to write, yes. It wasn't a prior urge.

RJG wrote:
Togo1 wrote:No, as I said before this doesn't logically follow. Two events can start or end at different times, and still take place at times that substantially overlap.

If so, then these two events are NOT in sync. One “lags” the other.


They're running on the same brain at the same time. There's no neurological reason why they can't synch.

There's also no evidence that unconscious processing starts before conscious processing.

-- Updated November 14th, 2017, 7:20 am to add the following --

Burning ghost wrote:A its peak it is more close to 75% (I am assuming the graph doesn't account for BOLD?). This basically says that when you think you make a decision, in the setting of the experiment, it correlates 50% with the data.


??? It means that when the MRI scanner decides that you've already unconsciously 'made a decision', the decision it thinks you made doesn't match what the subject actually decides to do. And it doesn't match 45%-25% of the time. If you replace the MRI scanner with a coin flip, the coin flip would fail to match 50% of the time.

There are two possible explanations for this. The first is experiemental error - the measurement is inaccurate in some way. The second is that after the trace is detected, the subject changes their mind - the trace doesn't represent a final decision.

Against the first explanation is the fact that, in 40 years of research into this phenomenon, we've not managed a signficant increase in accuracy. The percentages are roughly the same with the most sophisticated medical equipment Haynes could get his hands on, and a 1970s EEG machine.

In favour of the second explanation are veto studies, where the subject is asked to think about pressing a button, but not press it. You get exactly the same trace, but no decision to press the button.

From this kind of evidence I'd suggest that the idea that the trace represents a unconcious decision that can't be changed, is implausible.

Burning ghost wrote:This is the strongest argument that RJG has on his side. People generally want to believe they have control and will claim control when they have none, dodge data that doesn't fit their view and generally deny anything that may harm them to vary degrees.


Just to be clear, you're arguing that because a measure of consciousness is prone to error, that somehow means consciousness doesn't exist? I'm not sure I'm following the logic there.

Burning ghost wrote:What did you think about the other clip? Again, it is presented in the video in such a way that it leads to more questions about the method than conclusions. If I am trying to push the idea of no conscious volition (which I am) then it can be weighed in my favour to some degree.


I'm not in a place where I can watch videos, but I'll try and arrange something.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#100  Postby RJG » November 14th, 2017, 8:40 am

RJG wrote:If CTD exists, then everything that we are conscious of, has already happened! --- and no, this is NOT a "Zeno Trick", ...this is just Simple Logic.

Togo 1 wrote:No, it's a Zeno trick.

Togo, here is the Simple Logic:

    P1. “Instantaneous” detection/sensing is not logically (nor scientifically) possible. This includes human conscious experiences (sensing/detecting). A ‘time delay’ is an unavoidable fact.

    P2. None of our conscious processes are ‘exempt’ from this ‘time delay’, as ALL processes consume time.

    C. Therefore, our ‘present’ conscious experiences are of ‘past’ events, and our ‘future’ (next) conscious experiences have already happened, (...we just don’t ‘know’ it yet!).
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#101  Postby Londoner » November 14th, 2017, 9:36 am

RJG wrote:Not so. The only “Zeno’s Paradox” here is in your false belief of “instantaneous” processing. Your indoctrinated belief that we can consciously sense/detect the happenings in reality “instantly” (with 'zero' duration!) is at the root of your confusion.


You understand 'Zeno's Paradox' is an actual thing in philosophy concerning time, not some kind of slang for 'mistake'?

And is it OK if I say what I believe, rather than you telling me?
If CTD exists, then everything that we are conscious of, has already happened! --- and no, this is NOT a "Zeno Trick", ...this is just Simple Logic.


Again, 'logic' means something specific. It is not slang for 'I'm right'.

You do not present any reply to what I write or any argument of your own, so there is nothing more I can add.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#102  Postby Steve3007 » November 14th, 2017, 10:21 am

I'm really late in joining this conversation and I must have missed something vital, because I cannot see for the life of me what the big deal is. So there is a delay between an event happening out there in the world and my conscious awareness of that event. Yes. Of course there is. That doesn't come as any surprise at all.

But then, at the end of the OP, there's the sudden leap to the unfounded conclusion that we don't consciously do anything!

We are, in effect, being ‘fed’ our conscious experiences. That which happens, ‘necessarily’ happens. This conclusion is a bit ‘chilling’, as it destroys any viability of conscious control (aka “free-will”, mental causation, conscious causation) or any form or notion of “consciously doing” anything.

So, contrary to popular belief, we don’t actually “consciously do” anything, ...we are only “conscious” of what we’ve “done”.


Of course we do. No amount of delay is going to change that. When mission control were talking to the astronauts on the moon and there was a 2.5 second round-trip delay, that didn't stop the mission controllers from asking the astronauts to do something and then, about 2.5 seconds later, seeing them do it. It just meant that it took a little while for the order to be carried out, and for the confirmation to arrive back on Earth that it had been carried out. Yes, when they see the action being carried out it has already happened. So what? That doesn't alter the fact that they consciously ordered the action.

Am I missing something RJG? Because this seems obvious to me.

-- Updated Tue Nov 14, 2017 3:51 pm to add the following --

I had a little look back through previous posts, particularly the exchanges between RJG and JamesOfSeatle in the first 2 or 3 pages. RJG seems to me to be a bit confused. He/she seems to think that just because we cannot perceive the results of our conscious decisions until after they have already happened, that somehow means that we didn't cause them to happen. Obviously that's not true.

I used the example of NASA mission control and astronauts on the Moon to increase the time delay to a relatively large value and thereby demonstrate that the time delay is irrelevant to the question of whether a conscious act of control is taking place. If the astronauts were on Mars the delay would be even longer. Maybe a 40 minute round trip. That still wouldn't stop Mission control from consciously ordering the astronauts to do something. It simply increases the period of time that they have to wait in order to see if their order was successful. It increases the "lag". It slows down any actions which require feedback mechanisms to confirm that they've happened.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#103  Postby Burning ghost » November 14th, 2017, 11:13 am

Togo -

I was even more wrong than that! If we're being extremely generous it peaks at 60%, but realistically we're talking somewhere in the ballpark of 55% (certainly not anything like 75%!!)

Just to be clear, you're arguing that because a measure of consciousness is prone to error, that somehow means consciousness doesn't exist? I'm not sure I'm following the logic there


Haha! Nah, was just saying that the 100% came from another source I mixed this up with (I think??)

We are 'wired' to be optimistic. We could not accept no free-will even if it was the case, because the "we" just seems to have volition because the brain is wired like that. This would be what RJG has called the difficult truth, or something like that, because we do like to think that we're in control to some degree. Merely "liking" is not a big deal though.

The only serious way I can argue for a position that denies volition it via the route that Londoner went, and I was trying to avoid. That would be via an assault upon language itself (there is more weight there than anywhere else, but its still possible to take the very same route for consciousness too.) Personally I find it more worthy a path than experiments measuring actions.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#104  Postby RJG » November 14th, 2017, 4:55 pm

Londoner wrote:You understand 'Zeno's Paradox' is an actual thing in philosophy concerning time...

Not so. “Zeno’s Paradox” is a sleight-of-hand “parlor trick”. It is not real or “actual”.


Londoner wrote:Again, 'logic' means something specific. It is not slang for 'I'm right'.

Logic is our ‘innate’ means of “making sense”. Without it, 'nothing' makes sense.


Steve3007 wrote:I'm really late in joining this conversation and I must have missed something vital, because I cannot see for the life of me what the big deal is. So there is a delay between an event happening out there in the world and my conscious awareness of that event. Yes. Of course there is. That doesn't come as any surprise at all.

Hi Steve, I’m glad you’ve joined in, and agree that CTD exists.


Steve3007 wrote:But then, at the end of the OP, there's the sudden leap to the unfounded conclusion that we don't consciously do anything!

There are no "unfounded" conclusions here. If CTD exists, then “conscious causation” simply and logically cannot. Maybe one of these explanations may help:

1- If CTD exists, then consciousness FOLLOWS X (an event in reality). If Conscious Causation exists, then consciousness must PRECEDE X. One is not possible if the other is true. These are mutually exclusive.

2- If CTD exists, then ‘everything’ one is conscious of, has ALREADY HAPPENED. If it has already happened, then it has already been caused. If it has already been caused, then it is too late to ‘cause’ it.

3- If CTD exists, then EVERYTHING one is conscious of, has already happened. If 'everything’ means ‘everything’, then there is ‘nothing’ left to cause.


RJG wrote:We are, in effect, being ‘fed’ our conscious experiences. That which happens, ‘necessarily’ happens. This conclusion is a bit ‘chilling’, as it destroys any viability of conscious control (aka “free-will”, mental causation, conscious causation) or any form or notion of “consciously doing” anything.

RJG wrote:So, contrary to popular belief, we don’t actually “consciously do” anything, ...we are only “conscious” of what we’ve “done”.

Steve3007 wrote:Of course we do. No amount of delay is going to change that. When mission control were talking to the astronauts on the moon and there was a 2.5 second round-trip delay, that didn't stop the mission controllers from asking the astronauts to do something and then, about 2.5 seconds later, seeing them do it. It just meant that it took a little while for the order to be carried out, and for the confirmation to arrive back on Earth that it had been carried out.

Your analogy of mission control’s view of the astronauts on the moon is a good one, but you are leaving out the time delay when it comes to the events happening at mission control itself, as if somehow these are ‘exempt’ from this time delay. In other words, if you wish to use this analogy to represent CTD (conscious time delay), then you must include ‘everything’ that one is conscious of, otherwise the analogy is non-representative.

Here is another (I think better) analogy:
RJG wrote:To help better understand -- imagine watching a “live-broadcasted” sporting event on TV. We believe that what we see (on the TV) is actually happening in ‘real-time’, but due to “network transmission delays” of up to 7 seconds, our ‘present’ view actually consists of ‘past’ events. While we may see the batter on TV going through his warm-up swings, but back at Fenway Park, in so-called ‘real-time’, he has already hit a home run, ...we just don’t know it yet!

We view live sporting events through the ‘time-delayed’ view of our TV. And likewise, we view reality through the ‘time-delayed’ window of consciousness. ...this being our only access (view) to reality.



Steve3007 wrote:Am I missing something RJG? Because this seems obvious to me.

Yes, you are making the false presumption that we consciously experience events happening in the 'present'. We don't. We are only conscious of ‘past’ events. That’s it. Anything and everything that we consciously experience ‘now’ is old-news; it has already happened.

Although we may physically exist in the ‘present’, we consciously exist in the ‘past’.


Steve3007 wrote:He/she seems to think that just because we cannot perceive the results of our conscious decisions until after they have already happened, that somehow means that we didn't [consciously] cause them to happen.

Correct. …I’ve included the missing word in [] that makes this correct. If we are not conscious of what we do until ‘after’ we do it, then how can we then claim to be the conscious causer of it???

Btw, I'm a "he".


Steve3007 wrote:I used the example of NASA mission control and astronauts on the Moon to increase the time delay to a relatively large value and thereby demonstrate that the time delay is irrelevant to the question of whether a conscious act of control is taking place. If the astronauts were on Mars the delay would be even longer. Maybe a 40 minute round trip. That still wouldn't stop Mission control from consciously ordering the astronauts to do something. It simply increases the period of time that they have to wait in order to see if their order was successful. It increases the "lag". It slows down any actions which require feedback mechanisms to confirm that they've happened.

Again, you (mis-representatively) assert that the conscious activity happening at mission control is somehow 'exempt' from this time delay. There is no conscious part of us that is exempt from CTD. EVERYTHING that we are conscious of, has already happened. Our future actions have already played-out in reality. There is nothing we can do in our conscious state now to change that which has already happened, or the future that has already play-out, ...that we have yet to consciously realize.

********

Burning ghost wrote:We are 'wired' to be optimistic. We could not accept no free-will even if it was the case, because the "we" just seems to have volition because the brain is wired like that. This would be what RJG has called the difficult truth, or something like that, because we do like to think that we're in control to some degree. Merely "liking" is not a big deal though.

I think the phrase we’ve discussed in the past was “psychologically unable to accept an ugly truth”. And our “liking” has no relevance in the free-will / volition debates.
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Re: What is CTD?

Post Number:#105  Postby Steve3007 » November 15th, 2017, 2:45 am

RJG:
There are no "unfounded" conclusions here. If CTD exists, then “conscious causation” simply and logically cannot. Maybe one of these explanations may help:

1- If CTD exists, then consciousness FOLLOWS X (an event in reality). ...


Correct. Every event that happens in reality, including events consciously caused by us, are perceived slightly after they happened. If we have caused an event, then we will only know that we caused it afterwards, as illustrated below.

...If Conscious Causation exists, then consciousness must PRECEDE X. One is not possible if the other is true. These are mutually exclusive.


Incorrect. I consciously cause an event. Then the event happens. Then I consciously perceive the event to have happened. Here is the timeline, using the example of catching a ball:


1. Event in the world: Ball approaches my hand

Delay

2. Event in my brain: I perceive the ball

Delay

3. Event in my brain: I issue a command to my hand to catch the ball

Delay

4. Event in the world: My hand catches the ball

Delay

5. Event in my brain: I perceive my hand catching the ball


Do you agree with the above? (I can't see why anyone wouldn't. It's pretty obvious. Just as the whole idea that there is a time delay is surely obvious to anyone who knows that such things as nerves and light exist.)

It's a simple feedback loop. As in all feedback loops there is a lag, caused by those delays. The longer the delays, the longer it takes to perform and confirm, and if necessary correct, an action which requires feedback. Event 3 was the conscious act that caused event 4. Event 5 was the conscious perception of event 4 having happened. If event 5 had been "I perceive my hand missing the ball" then there would be a longer string of events and delays. That's the role of feedback. In computing we call it "handshaking" for obvious reasons.

2- If CTD exists, then ‘everything’ one is conscious of, has ALREADY HAPPENED. If it has already happened, then it has already been caused. If it has already been caused, then it is too late to ‘cause’ it.


Referring back to my timeline, above. We do not cause events that we are already conscious of. We cause future events and then perceive them to have happened. 3 causes 4. 4 is perceived by 5. Two separate mental events. The action, and the confirmation of whether the action was successful - the "handshake".

3- If CTD exists, then EVERYTHING one is conscious of, has already happened. If 'everything’ means ‘everything’, then there is ‘nothing’ left to cause.


As I said, we do not cause events in the past. We cause events in the future. We do not know whether we have been successful in causing them until the later event of perceiving them - event 5.

-- Updated Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:58 am to add the following --

---

(Everything from here on is icing on the cake. The point has been made.)

Your analogy of mission control’s view of the astronauts on the moon is a good one, but you are leaving out the time delay when it comes to the events happening at mission control itself, as if somehow these are ‘exempt’ from this time delay. In other words, if you wish to use this analogy to represent CTD (conscious time delay), then you must include ‘everything’ that one is conscious of, otherwise the analogy is non-representative.


In this analogy, the delay caused by the finite speed of the radio transmissions between Earth and Moon represents all the causes of delay that you listed in your OP - finite speeds of light and nerve impulses etc. Mission Control is the brain. Buzz Aldrin, standing on the Moon, is the hand. Mission Control says "jump" and then waits to see if that command was actioned by Buzz Aldrin. So there's the conscious act of issuing the command and then, some time later (it doesn't matter how long) the conscious act of seeing the event was actioned.

Your sporting event analogy is incomplete because it is one-way. It is about passively observing. There is no feedback.
"Even men with steel hearts love to see a dog on the pitch."
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