Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Wayne92587 » August 10th, 2018, 12:03 pm

Brain scans show that humans make decisions before becoming consciously aware of the decisions.
I can only speculate that the source of animal consciousness, responses, are born of the automatic nervous system, that source of conditioned responses, exist outside the Brain, is not the Brain itself, that the source of the mortal soul is the Brain Stem.

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Greta » August 10th, 2018, 6:48 pm

Tamminen wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 9:40 am
Greta wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 7:07 am
I would describe what we call "consciousness" as a small subset of a larger phenomenon, responsiveness, which is part of a larger phenomenon - reactivity. Everything reacts and responds to something to some extent, certainly everything that we consider to be part of our reality.

The responses are either more or less complex, depending on the number of feedback loops. So the waking consciousness of we adult humans is more flexibly responsive than that of children and other intelligent species, which are more flexibly responsive than babies and less intelligent species (the latter two perhaps being roughly equivalent to weakly conscious adult states).

If we consider our own journey into consciousness, our interpretation is that at some point "the lights came on". When might that be? An infant's consciousness is very different to an adults' - and very much less sophisticated that the average pet dog, with its years of life experience. Yet an infant is awake and has a visceral sense of being, and presumably that came about when the brain and senses permitted enough input for the foetus to gain some experience, such as hearing the heartbeat, voices and local sounds.

It's the interplay of potential to make connections and the experience needed to to make them that brings about the kind of awareness that philosophers wax lyrical over as Consciousness (big C).

Yet do we value all these senses of experience or just the adult human mind? If we did value simple minds with a sense of being, we would not kill and eat any organisms with a nervous system.

So we only value that very narrow band of consciousness - the part that allows us to wax lyrical about consciousness. If we lost the capacity to think to that level, would we still value our minds?

So it depends on whether we are talking about the visceral sense of being or the associated adult human capacity to operate at a somewhat sophisticated level? There is a phenomenological gradation between them, but hard barriers in terms of what we notice and value.
Fine, I agree on everything you say, but if this is the answer to my question of what is between conscious and non-conscious, none of this is between, all you say is either non-consious or conscious. When "the light is on" we are conscious, otherwise not. It is on/off. And if it is off, we do not exist in the existential sense and there is a gap in physical time, but not in subjective time. But this is part of the phenomenological definition of consciousness. Therefore I asked you to give a phenomenological description of possible in-between states so that we could get a better definition, a definition that would allow those in-between states. I would say that no such description is possible. You give physiological decriptions and descriptions of behavior, but they are not relevant if we want to define consciousness as it is in itself, as it appears to us in reflection.
Following up on: "there is a gap in physical time, but not in subjective time".

Do we we agree that consciousness - the subjective experience of being - can be anywhere between profound or minimal? If so, then even if there is a continuation of being post mortem (for instance), that continuation may be so minimal that it may as well be absent for all it matters from a human perspective.

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Consul » August 10th, 2018, 8:13 pm

Tamminen wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 9:40 am
Fine, I agree on everything you say, but if this is the answer to my question of what is between conscious and non-conscious, none of this is between, all you say is either non-consious or conscious. When "the light is on" we are conscious, otherwise not. It is on/off.
"Consciousness as a state is like a background light or power switch that needs to be 'ON' for any contents of consciousness to be enabled. If it is in the 'OFF' position, we are unconscious. But the switch between these states does not necessarily work like a light switch that only allows fully conscious or fully unconscious states (lights on and complete illumination or lights off and total darkness). The switch works more like a dimmer that can be gradually switched on and off. Between full illumination and full darkness there are several degrees of being more or less fully conscious. If you are suddenly woken up from the deepest stages of sleep, or if you are heavily drunk, your dimmer may not illuminate your phenomenal consciousness very brightly at all.

The conscious state as such is not any particular experience. The particular experiences going on when we are conscious are called contents of consciousness. They may be sensations, perceptions, emotions, thoughts, mental images, or dreams for example.

The distinction between the state and the contents of consciousness could be compared to the distinction between the power source and the channels in your television. The state of consciousness vs. unconsciousness is like having your television set either powered on or off, whereas the contents of consciousness are like the actual channels or programs you see on the screen. You cannot have any programs without first having the power switched on, but just having the power on (without any channels) does not include any programs as such. Further, if consciousness is like a dimmer, then the brightness setting of the screen can be compared to how dimly or vividly you are aware of the contents of consciousness."


(Revonsuo, Antti. Foundations of Consciousness. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017. pp. 20-21)

By the way, the phrase "degree of consciousness" is ambiguous. If "consciousness" refers to the state of being a subject of experience, then there are only two degrees of consciousness: 0 (OFF) and 1 (ON). But there are non-binary degrees of brightness of consciousness between 0 and 1, i.e. different degrees of wakefulness or different degrees of cognitive (attentive/introspective/reflective) awareness of one's experience. That is, there are non-binary degrees of second-/higher-order consciousness (of one's first-order, primary consciousness), but first-order consciousness is an on-off affair: For all times t and all things x, x is either a subject of experience at t or x is not a subject of experience at t—tertium non datur!
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Consul » August 10th, 2018, 8:26 pm

Greta wrote:
August 9th, 2018, 5:19 pm
But the content is always there while alive or not in the very deepest of comas. Even in deep sleep there is some level of body awareness. This level of physical awareness gradually increases as sleep becomes lighter and during REM sleep and (some states of) wakefulness then a mental awareness emerges. What you are saying is basically, "We either notice consciousness or not".
The brain of a dreamlessly sleeping person still receives and processes both body-internal and body-external information; so there is nonconscious perception/cognition, which is nonconscious precisely because there is no subjective, experiential content involved (during a dreamless sleep).
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Greta » August 11th, 2018, 12:27 am

Consul wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 8:26 pm
Greta wrote:
August 9th, 2018, 5:19 pm
But the content is always there while alive or not in the very deepest of comas. Even in deep sleep there is some level of body awareness. This level of physical awareness gradually increases as sleep becomes lighter and during REM sleep and (some states of) wakefulness then a mental awareness emerges. What you are saying is basically, "We either notice consciousness or not".
The brain of a dreamlessly sleeping person still receives and processes both body-internal and body-external information; so there is nonconscious perception/cognition, which is nonconscious precisely because there is no subjective, experiential content involved (during a dreamless sleep).
Or from another perspective: during those apparently nonconscious states our brains are still receiving messages from the nervous and other systems, and it responds to that stimuli in a limited way but there is no sensation of time passing during these events.

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Karpel Tunnel » August 11th, 2018, 12:47 am

Consul wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 8:26 pm
Greta wrote:
August 9th, 2018, 5:19 pm
But the content is always there while alive or not in the very deepest of comas. Even in deep sleep there is some level of body awareness. This level of physical awareness gradually increases as sleep becomes lighter and during REM sleep and (some states of) wakefulness then a mental awareness emerges. What you are saying is basically, "We either notice consciousness or not".
The brain of a dreamlessly sleeping person still receives and processes both body-internal and body-external information; so there is nonconscious perception/cognition, which is nonconscious precisely because there is no subjective, experiential content involved (during a dreamless sleep).
Not consciously remembered, most of the time. This does not mean we are not conscious. AFter meditating one can become aware during dreamless sleep, hear yourself snoring, etc, and remember it. I am speaking from experience. I think we tend to think of consciousness as always including memory, but it need not.

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Tamminen » August 11th, 2018, 3:08 am

Consul wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 8:13 pm
By the way, the phrase "degree of consciousness" is ambiguous. If "consciousness" refers to the state of being a subject of experience, then there are only two degrees of consciousness: 0 (OFF) and 1 (ON). But there are non-binary degrees of brightness of consciousness between 0 and 1, i.e. different degrees of wakefulness or different degrees of cognitive (attentive/introspective/reflective) awareness of one's experience. That is, there are non-binary degrees of second-/higher-order consciousness (of one's first-order, primary consciousness), but first-order consciousness is an on-off affair: For all times t and all things x, x is either a subject of experience at t or x is not a subject of experience at t—tertium non datur!
Precisely. An exceptional case of agreement :)

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Tamminen » August 11th, 2018, 8:52 am

Consul:
I can easily imagine a logically possible word devoid of subjects.
In spite of the happy agreement on one point, this is where we disagree, because:

1. There is only one world.
2. There are subjects in the world.
3. Only subjects can use logic.
4. The scope of logic is the same as the scope of using logic.
5. The limits of the logical space where a subject can posit possibilities are defined by the subject-world relationship.
6. Therefore, because there is only one world, a subject cannot consistently imagine a world without subjects, because it lies outside of the limits of logic.

Where does this reasoning fail?

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Consul » August 11th, 2018, 9:07 am

Greta wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 12:27 am
Consul wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 8:26 pm
The brain of a dreamlessly sleeping person still receives and processes both body-internal and body-external information; so there is nonconscious perception/cognition, which is nonconscious precisely because there is no subjective, experiential content involved (during a dreamless sleep).
Or from another perspective: during those apparently nonconscious states our brains are still receiving messages from the nervous and other systems, and it responds to that stimuli in a limited way but there is no sensation of time passing during these events.
The important point is that consciousness isn't the same as responsiveness:

"Consciousness as responsiveness to stimulation

In clinical medicine, the state of consciousness is determined by measuring responsiveness to simple stimulation. To determine whether a patient is conscious or not, the patient is stimulated in particular ways. The behavioral responses elicited by the stimuli are believed to reveal whether the patient is conscious or unconscious. A verbal command such as “open your eyes!” or a command to press the doctor’s hand are commonly used. If there is no response to such verbal stimuli, a painful (but harmless) stimulus may be applied and the patient’s response to that observed.

The patient’s external responses to the different kinds of physical stimuli are scored as indications of the degree of consciousness along a continuum between totally unconscious and totally conscious. This practice, while useful at the clinic, easily leads to the identification (and the confusion) of consciousness with external responsiveness. Consciousness however is an internal, unobservable phenomenon, independent of behavior. With the discovery of inverse zombies, the internal nature of consciousness and the inadequacy of purely response-based definitions and measurements of consciousness have been gradually recognized. Now we know that it is possible for someone to respond to simple stimulation without consciousness, or to be unable to respond despite having internal consciousness."


(Revonsuo, Antti. Foundations of Consciousness. Abingdon: Routledge, 2017. p. 23)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Consul » August 11th, 2018, 9:38 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 12:47 am
Consul wrote:
August 10th, 2018, 8:26 pm
The brain of a dreamlessly sleeping person still receives and processes both body-internal and body-external information; so there is nonconscious perception/cognition, which is nonconscious precisely because there is no subjective, experiential content involved (during a dreamless sleep).
Not consciously remembered, most of the time. This does not mean we are not conscious. AFter meditating one can become aware during dreamless sleep, hear yourself snoring, etc, and remember it. I am speaking from experience. I think we tend to think of consciousness as always including memory, but it need not.
Okay, for the sake of objectivity it should be mentioned that there are philosophers/scientists (I don't know how many) who doubt or even deny that (phenomenal) consciousness is absent during a dreamless sleep:

"…The upshot of this critical assessment of the default view is that neither the subjective report data nor the objective neurophysiological data suffice to rule out the possibility of a subtle mode of phenomenal consciousness occurring in certain phases of dreamless sleep. To put the point another way, the sleep science construct of “dreamless sleep,” defined electrophysiologically as slow-wave sleep, may need phenomenological refinement. We need to allow for the possibility that certain types of slow-wave sleep may have a phenomenal character—a possibility that could in turn lead to refinements in the physiological construct of slow-wave sleep. It follows from these considerations that the standard neuroscientific definition of consciousness as “that which disappears in dreamless sleep and reappears in waking and dreaming states” is not acceptable. At the very least, it needs qualification in light of the present considerations, and it may need to be either substantially revised or abandoned in light of further research.
The case of dreamless sleep suggests that we need to allow at least for the possibility of there being modes of phenomenal consciousness that may not be cognitively accessible in the usual ways. At the same time, Yoga and Vedānta, as well as Indo-Tibetan Buddhism, maintain that aspects of the mind in deep and dreamless sleep can become cognitively accessible through meditative mental training."
(p. 13)

"The definition of consciousness as “that which disappears in dreamless sleep and reappears when we wake up or dream” is unsatisfactory. It rules out the possibility of states or phases of dreamless sleep in which some kind of consciousness is present. A strong case for taking seriously this possibility can be constructed by combining resources found in Indian philosophy, Western philosophy of mind, the neuroscience of consciousness, and sleep science. The main message of this paper—besides that of needing to revise the above definition of consciousness—is that we need a more refined taxonomy of sleep states than the one that sleep science and the neuroscience of consciousness currently employ, and that contemplative methods of mind training are relevant for advancing the neurophenomenology of sleep and consciousness."
(p. 17)

(Thompson, Evan. "Dreamless Sleep, the Embodied Mind, and Consciousness: The Relevance of a Classical Indian Debate to Cognitive Science." [PDF] In T. Metzinger & J. M. Windt (Eds). Open MIND 37(T). Frankfurt: MIND Group, 2015.)
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Consul » August 11th, 2018, 10:00 am

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 12:47 am
Not consciously remembered, most of the time. This does not mean we are not conscious. After meditating one can become aware during dreamless sleep, hear yourself snoring, etc, and remember it. I am speaking from experience. I think we tend to think of consciousness as always including memory, but it need not.
You're right insofar as "[t]he fact that you have no memory of some period of time doesn’t necessarily imply that you lacked all consciousness during that time. You might have been conscious—in the sense of undergoing qualitative states or processes of sentience or awareness—but for one reason or another not been able to form the kind of memories that later you can retrieve and verbally report." (Thompson 252)

"When you wake up and say, “I slept well and I didn’t know a thing,” are you really remembering what you experienced during sleep? Or are you inferring how you slept based on how you feel when you wake up?

The question is important because if you’re making an inference and not remembering, then the traditional Indian yogic argument for deep sleep being a mode of consciousness won’t work. Although memory of specific events does imply previous experience of them, if you’re not remembering but inferring how you slept based on how you feel upon awakening, then the crucial reason for thinking that you were subliminally conscious during sleep is lost. Why not say instead that consciousness is “switched off,” and the absence of consciousness explains why you’re not aware of cognizing anything, including yourself, while you’re in deep sleep?

In Indian philosophy, two of the main Hindu schools take opposite positions on this issue. On one side stands the Nyāya school, known for its writings on logic and the theory of knowledge. The Nyāya philosophers—known as Naiyāyikas—argue that the statement, “I slept peacefully and I did not know anything,” is a case of inference, not memory. The self continues to exist in deep sleep but loses the property of being conscious, so consciousness isn’t an essential property of the self.

On the other side stands the Vedānta school, especially its most prominent subschool, known as Advaita Vedānta (Nondual Vedānta). Advaita Vedānta follows the Yoga tradition in holding that deep sleep is a mode of consciousness."
(Thompson 240)

"One benefit of a contemplative sleep science is that it could offer a new approach to the guiding question of this chapter—whether deep and dreamless sleep qualifies as a mode of consciousness. Consider the following testable working hypothesis: in highly experienced practitioners of sleep and dream yoga, we should observe a closer relation between subjective reports of phenomenal qualities of sleep and various objective physiological measures (not just of the brain but also of the rest of the body). If highly experienced sleep yogis were able to provide reports upon awakening about their experience of the state they call deep and dreamless sleep, and if sleep scientists were able to relate these reports to fine-grained features of sleep physiology and to familiar aspects of the neural correlates of consciousness, then we would have new evidence from experimental science that deep and dreamless sleep—at least in certain individuals—is a mode of phenomenal consciousness, some of whose qualities can be made accessible to verbal report." (Thompson 271)

(Thompson, Evan. Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015.)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Karpel Tunnel » August 11th, 2018, 10:11 am

One can also wonder if the ego - I know a sloppy term - is the only conscious part of ourselves. The waking I has no memory and in fact perhaps that portion of consciousness in the self or Self was not conscious in any way, but another part of the self or Self was.

There is supposed to be a drug used by oral surgeons that eliminates memory but not consciousn of a short period of time - when one gets out wisdom teeth. Never had that experience but a friend was told that was what she was going to get. As we helped her out to her car, she yelled at her oral surgeon 'I remember everything'. But then I think she was bluffing.

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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Consul » August 11th, 2018, 10:48 am

Consul wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 10:00 am
"When you wake up and say, “I slept well and I didn’t know a thing,” are you really remembering what you experienced during sleep? Or are you inferring how you slept based on how you feel when you wake up?"

(Thompson, Evan. Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy. New York: Columbia University Press, 2015. p. 240)
As far as I'm concerned, I've never had any memorial evidence for the occurrence of sensations or emotions during a dreamless sleep; so I tend to think the "inferentialists" are right. I know from my own experience that there's a rich phenomenology of dreaming, but I've never been aware of any phenomenology of sleeping dreamlessly.
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Consul » August 11th, 2018, 11:31 am

Tamminen wrote:
August 11th, 2018, 8:52 am
Consul" wrote:I can easily imagine a logically possible word devoid of subjects.
In spite of the happy agreement on one point, this is where we disagree, because:

1. There is only one world.
2. There are subjects in the world.
3. Only subjects can use logic.
4. The scope of logic is the same as the scope of using logic.
5. The limits of the logical space where a subject can posit possibilities are defined by the subject-world relationship.
6. Therefore, because there is only one world, a subject cannot consistently imagine a world without subjects, because it lies outside of the limits of logic.

Where does this reasoning fail?
As for 1: I don't believe in the existence of mere possibilia or merely possible worlds, so I accept the premise that the actual world is the only existent/real world.

As for 2: Obviously true. However, it doesn't follow that there have always been (and will always be) subjects in the world. And even if this were true, it still wouldn't follow that the world depends for its existence on the existence of subjects. (Actual existence doesn't entail necessary existence!)

As for 3: True—unless logical processes (reasoning) can be implemented by nonconscious machines (computers). Of course, only subjects are capable of conscious reasoning (logical thought).

As for 4: This I do not understand.

As for 5: Again, I'm not sure what this means. Are you talking about the epistemology of modality—in particular, about the relationship between imaginability or conceivability and possibility?

As for 6: This is simply a non sequitur. The imaginability or conceivability of a world doesn't require its actuality, since we can imagine all sorts of non-actual/non-existent/non-real things, even impossible ones. But the crucial point is that there is nothing about logic which prevents us from consistently imagining or conceiving a subjectless world. Of course, there is no possible subjectless world where a subjectless world is imagined or conceived, since all imaginations and conceptions are subject-dependent; but it certainly doesn't follow that there is no possible subjectless world. (Idealists always make the basic mistake of confusing the subject- or mind-dependence of world-representations [world-perceptions/-conceptions/-descriptions/-imaginations] with a subject- or mind-dependence of the world.)

Moreover, you don't have to think of other possible worlds, because you can alternatively think of subjectless (past or future) temporal parts of the actual world. That is, you can consistently imagine past times when there weren't any subjects yet, and you can consistently imagine future times when they aren't any subjects anymore.
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Re: Whatever Consciousness is, it's Not Physical (or reducible to physical).

Post by Wayne92587 » August 11th, 2018, 2:15 pm

Man when first born is Flawed (an imperfection that is not usually detected)

Mortal, Animal Man is born flawed, imperfect, is born bare-ass Naked, (bare, less than a mere animal, boundless, is not born fully developed, incomplete, is not born fully dressed, without specification, Boundless, Free to do as he or she will, is born less than a mere Animal; man having no knowledge of Good and Evil, said knowledge being an illusion of Reality created by the Mind as it becomes Rational, Conscious.

The Knowledge of Good and Evil is absolutely Bad Knowledge which is easily mistaken to be Absolutely Good Knowledge, is an Illusion of Reality, a Rationalization, born of the Rational Mind,

Rationalization; the Rational Mind is the Source of, the Creator of all unnecessary suffering, all that is Evil, is the reason that Man often misses the mark, Sinns, going off on a tangent.

It is not until man consumes enough Knowledge of Reality, attains a certain level of Experience, (how much? unknown) that man become Conscious, Wise.

The Time at which, when, how, why, man becomes conscious is not a science, is unknown, depends on the individual and his or her experiences, skill level.

Mortal, animal, the source of the consciousness of the Flesh, the source of the Mortal Soul is the automatic nervous system, the Brain Stem.

When the Breath, the Immoral Spirit of God was breathed into man nostrils, God became a Living Soul, the Spirit of God.

God, Universe, Cosmic, Consciousness alive in the Flesh Body of Man, the Gate Way to the Manifold Secrets of the Universe.

How to square a circle, 0/1; 0

Three Times Great Hermes Trismegistus, Lord of the Ring, Keeper of the Holy Grail->0/1

Ye, Amen-Ra!

The Sun is the Lord unto the World, The World of Reality as seen in the Light of Day.

The Duality of Mind and Body is Greater than the sum total of its two parts, is Trice, Three Times Great.

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