Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

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Burning ghost
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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Burning ghost » October 12th, 2017, 10:26 am

RJG -

Call it "reluctance" if it makes you feel better.
AKA badgerjelly

Chili
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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Chili » October 12th, 2017, 10:29 am

RJG wrote: Agreed, but again, experiencing the "thought" of self is NOT experiencing the "self" itself.

Experiencing the "thought" of a 'pink elephant' does not mean experiencing the 'pink elephant' himself.
This is an odd attempt at hair-splitting. Where does a "thought" take place, if not within the "self". If you're conscious and you know it, how is that not finding intimate evidence of your self ?

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Consul » October 12th, 2017, 11:24 am

RJG wrote:Agreed, but again, experiencing the "thought" of self is NOT experiencing the "self" itself.
Experiencing the "thought" of a 'pink elephant' does not mean experiencing the 'pink elephant' himself.
Strictly speaking, what a subject experiences are its experiences (including its thoughts); and since the subject is not itself an experience, it doesn't experience itself (directly). But it doesn't follow that subjects cannot perceive or conceive of themselves, that they are incapable of self-perception, self-conception, and self-cognition. Subjects are aware of themselves through the (representational) content of their experience (without being part of it).
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by RJG » October 12th, 2017, 11:39 am

Consul wrote:
RJG wrote: Consul, can you answer this honestly? --- When the self is conscious of itself, is this self the ‘observer’ or the ‘observed’?
First of all, I don't like the noun "self", because it's an odd reification of the reflexive pronouns. If we want to talk about subjects, we should use the noun "subject" rather than "self".
You seem to be avoiding the question, okay, let me rephrase:
  • When the “subject” is conscious of the “subject”, is he the observer? …or the observed?
Chili wrote:
RJG wrote: Agreed, but again, experiencing the "thought" of self is NOT experiencing the "self" itself.

Experiencing the "thought" of a 'pink elephant' does not mean experiencing the 'pink elephant' himself.
This is an odd attempt at hair-splitting. Where does a "thought" take place, if not within the "self" If you're conscious and you know it, how is that not finding intimate evidence of your self ?
Chili, I may be wrong here, but I think most people believe that they are actually conscious/aware of the ‘Real McCoy’; the actual ‘SELF’ himself! (…and not just conscious of the “evidence” or “thoughts”, or “hints and clues” of this mystery man.)

…am I wrong?

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Consul » October 12th, 2017, 11:46 am

RJG wrote:Experiencing the "thought" of a 'pink elephant' does not mean experiencing the 'pink elephant' himself.
Of course, experiencing a thought of a pink elephant is not the same as perceiving a pink elephant; but e.g. experiencing a bodily sensation is the same as perceiving (a part of) oneself. (In the case of phantom limb pain as sensed by amputees, the apparent bodily perception is a hallucination.)

-- Updated October 12th, 2017, 10:50 am to add the following --
RJG wrote: You seem to be avoiding the question, okay, let me rephrase:
  • When the “subject” is conscious of the “subject”, is he the observer? …or the observed?
Obviously, in the case of self-observation, the subject is its own (intentional-observational) object, being both the observer and the observed.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Chili » October 12th, 2017, 11:52 am

RJG wrote: Chili, I may be wrong here, but I think most people believe that they are actually conscious/aware of the ‘Real McCoy’; the actual ‘SELF’ himself! (…and not just conscious of the “evidence” or “thoughts”, or “hints and clues” of this mystery man.)
…am I wrong?
Hmm I thought I responded to this just now but don't see it.

Anyway, just because a person sees the tip of the iceberg and doesn't notice the rest underneath, doesn't mean that the person isn't looking at the iceberg.

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by RJG » October 12th, 2017, 12:20 pm

Consul wrote:Strictly speaking, what a subject experiences are its experiences (including its thoughts); and since the subject is not itself an experience, it doesn't experience itself (directly).
Yes, nicely said Consul. Subjects can only experience ‘experiences’ (thoughts/feelings/sensations), and NEVER actual objects/things/entities themselves.
Consul wrote:Subjects are aware of themselves through the (representational) content of their experience (without being part of it).
Again, yes. Subjects can experience the “thoughts/perceptions” (mental "representations") of themselves, but that’s it! They can NEVER experience themselves, as they are limited to only the ‘imaginations’ of themselves.
Consul wrote:
RJG wrote: When the “subject” is conscious of the “subject”, is he the observer? …or the observed?
Obviously, in the case of self-observation, the subject is its own (intentional-observational) object, being both the observer and the observed.
So you actually believe the ‘subject’ can be “both” the subject AND object at the SAME time (simultaneously)???

How is this logically possible? ..can the subject split itself into two pieces?

Chili wrote:
RJG wrote:Chili, I may be wrong here, but I think most people believe that they are actually conscious/aware of the ‘Real McCoy’; the actual ‘SELF’ himself! (…and not just conscious of the “evidence” or “thoughts”, or “hints and clues” of this mystery man.)

…am I wrong?
…just because a person sees the tip of the iceberg and doesn't notice the rest underneath, doesn't mean that the person isn't looking at the iceberg.
? So does this mean I am wrong, ...or right? :? :)

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Togo1 » October 12th, 2017, 12:29 pm

RJG wrote:
Togo1 wrote:150 milliseconds is old data from the 1970s. With modern equipment, Soon, Brass, Heinze, and Haynes (2008) pushed that figure out to 7 seconds (sic). Eysenck claims to have pushed it out even futher.

...

It's worth thinking about the implications of that. 7 seconds is a pretty big gap.
Yes, the implications are huge! Though, it is not necessarily the ‘amount’ of time that really matters,
The amount of time really does matter. The idea that the brain arrives at a decision 150milliseconds before you become conscious of it sounds vaguely plausible, in that it's a small enough gap that you could overlook it. 7 seconds isn't. It's not remotely plausible. If the brain really was making decisions that far ahead, there should be evidence of it everywhere. Imagine trying to learn to play the piano with a 7 second gap.
RJG wrote: as much as the ‘before-and-after’ relationship. For example:
  • 1. If you were consciously viewing an old video of yourself at the age of ten, is there anything you can do ‘now’ to change what you did back ‘then’?
But that is a gap between viewing an action being performed, and watching it later. The 150 milliseconds gap you're citing isn't an action, it's the gap between a feeling that a decision has been made, and a neural trace associated with it. The action decided on takes place afterwards.
RJG wrote:But it is actually the ‘before-and-after’ relationship that truly exposes the impossibilities of such notions as “conscious control” (aka free-will/mental-causation/conscious-causation), or anything else that implies “consciously doing” something/anything.
No, it isn't. Your 'impossiblity' is based on an assumption that action and awareness are two distinct processes that cannot co-exist. It's just a variation on Xeno's paradoxes, where the arguement that two things can't be combined is based only the assumption that they're seperate to start with.
RJG wrote:A “conscious being” CANNOT be conscious of ‘itself’! It cannot be in TWO places at ONE time. It cannot be both the ‘subject’ and ‘object’ simultaneously. Again, a knife cannot cut itself, a hammer cannot hit itself, ...and a conscious being cannot be conscious of itself!
Why not? A knife can cut itself, if you bend the handle around in a U shape. So can a hammer. A camera can certainly record itself, provided there's a mirror handy. Where's the logical impossiblity?

Let's start small. If you put your hand out of sight, you still know where it is. So you're aware of your hand. And 'you' includes your hand. If it it didn't you wouldn't be able to feel where it was, because the neural connections wouldn't be there. So we can agree that you can feel your own hand, even though it's part of 'you'. Where does consciousness make this impossible?
RJG wrote:Not so. Although "overlap" of events are possible, these events can NEVER EVER "occur simultaneously".

For example, using the TV live broadcast baseball analogy:

Suppose the batter remains absolutely motionless for 8 seconds, and the TV transmission delay is 7 seconds (from real-time at Fenway Park to my living room TV), then there will be 1 second of “overlap” where my view (on my TV) matches that of reality at Fenway Park. But this “overlap” is NOT simultaneous. On my TV, I see the ‘first’ second (of the total 8 seconds), whereas in reality (at Fenway), the batter is on his ‘last’ of 8 seconds.
And this is an excellent example. Here we can see that the only reason why you claim they can't be simultaneous is that you see awareness as being series of infinitely short moments of time, strung in sequence like beads. They can't be combined for the same reason that Xeno's turtle can't cover more than half the distance to his target, because you're picturing them as separate.

Of course, that's not how it works. It would be impossible for awareness to work that way, because each instant would come in isolation, as surprising as the last, with no rhyme reason or pattern. You can only get pattern, understanding, awareness, through a series over time.

Again, forget awareness for a moment, and just imagine trying to catch a baseball. According to your account this is entirely impossible, because there is a delay in the visual processing. The <mechanism to move hands> doesn't have information on where the ball is, it has information on where the ball was, due to the amount of time it takes light to hit the ball, activate the retina, build up activation in the visual nerves to discharge levels, dissumulate through the primary visual cortex (to identify the balls), trigger memory and attentional processing (to identify the correct ball, and how it is expected to behave), plan the muscle movement needed to intercept, trigger them in the correct pattern, and correct as updated. According to you, we can't catch baseballs because there is a time delay, and the image we have of the ball will always be out of step with reality.

However, people catch balls all the time. So you've gone wrong somewhere.
RJG wrote:Now slide the bottom time line to the right 150 ms.
No, not 150ms. 7 seconds. That puts the neural trace comfortably before the ball is even thrown.

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Consul » October 12th, 2017, 12:33 pm

Consul wrote:Strictly speaking, what a subject experiences are its experiences (including its thoughts); and since the subject is not itself an experience, it doesn't experience itself (directly). But it doesn't follow that subjects cannot perceive or conceive of themselves, that they are incapable of self-perception, self-conception, and self-cognition. Subjects are aware of themselves through the (representational) content of their experience (without being part of it).
"The phenomenological and the popular concept of experience

A similar aim leads us to point out that our concept of experience does not tally with the popular notion; here the distinction just sketched, between real and intentional content, has its part to play.

If someone say he 'experienced' the wars of 1866 and 1870. then what he has been said to have 'experienced' in this sense, is a complex of outer events, and 'experiencing' consists here in perceptions, judgements and other acts, in which these events appear as objects, and often as objects of certain assertion which relate them to the empirical ego. The experiencing ego, in the phenomenologically paradigmatic sense, has naturally not got these events in itself as things mentally lived through, as its real constituents or contents, in the way in which these events are in the things concerned in them. What it finds in itself, what are present in it as realities, are the relevant acts of perceiving, judging etc., with their variable sense-material, their interpretative content, their assertive characters etc. Experiencing in the latter sense is quite different from experiencing in the former sense. To experience outer events meant to have certain acts of perception, of this or that type of knowledge, directed upon them. This 'having' at once furnishes an instance of the quite different 'experiencing' in the sense of phenomenology. This merely means that certain contents help to constitute a unity of consciousness, enter into the phenomenologically unified stream of consciousness of an empirical ego. This itself is a real whole, in reality made up of manifold parts, each of which may be said to be 'experienced'. It is in this sense that what the ego or consciousness experiences, are its experiences: there is no difference between the experience or conscious content and the experience itself. What is sensed is, e.g., no different from the sensation. If, however, an experience 'directs itself' to an object distinguishable from itself, as, e.g., external perception directs itself to a perceived object, a nominal presentation to an object named etc., such an object is not experienced or conscious in the sense to be established here, but perceived, named etc.

The situation justified talk of 'contents', which is here entirely proper. The normal sense of the word 'content' is relative: it refers quite generally to a comprehensive unity which has its content in the sum total of its component parts. Whatever can be regarded as a part of a whole, and as truly constituting it in real fashion, belongs to the content of that whole. In our current descriptive-psychological talk of contents, the tacitly assumed relational focus, i.e. the corresponding whole, is the real unity of consciousness. Its content is the sum total of present experiences, and 'contents' in the plural means these experiences themselves, i.e. all that as real parts constitute any phenomenological stream of consciousness."


(Husserl, Edmund. Logical Investigations, Vol 2. Translated by J. N. Findlay. London: Routledge, 2001. pp. 84-5)
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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Chili » October 12th, 2017, 1:22 pm

RJG wrote:? So does this mean I am wrong, ...or right? :? :)
♪ I'm leaving it all up, up to you ♫

Obviously nobody is 100% "right" about anything.

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Consul » October 12th, 2017, 1:42 pm

RJG wrote:Again, yes. Subjects can experience the “thoughts/perceptions” (mental "representations") of themselves, but that’s it! They can NEVER experience themselves, as they are limited to only the ‘imaginations’ of themselves.
No, they can perceive themselves too by means of outer and inner perception of their body, and (in case they have higher-order consciousness) by means of inner perception of their mind.
RJG wrote:
Consul wrote: (Nested quote removed.)

Obviously, in the case of self-observation, the subject is its own (intentional-observational) object, being both the observer and the observed.
So you actually believe the ‘subject’ can be “both” the subject AND object at the SAME time (simultaneously)???
How is this logically possible? ..can the subject split itself into two pieces?
There's no "splitting", because all you need is one subject having percepts and concepts of itself. Simple as that!
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by RJG » October 12th, 2017, 4:19 pm

Togo1 wrote:Again, forget awareness for a moment, and just imagine trying to catch a baseball. According to your account this is entirely impossible, because there is a delay in the visual processing. The <mechanism to move hands> doesn't have information on where the ball is, it has information on where the ball was, due to the amount of time it takes light to hit the ball, activate the retina, build up activation in the visual nerves to discharge levels, dissumulate through the primary visual cortex (to identify the balls), trigger memory and attentional processing (to identify the correct ball, and how it is expected to behave), plan the muscle movement needed to intercept, trigger them in the correct pattern, and correct as updated. According to you, we can't catch baseballs because there is a time delay, and the image we have of the ball will always be out of step with reality.

However, people catch balls all the time. So you've gone wrong somewhere.
Not so. This confusion stems from your inter-mixing of the timelines (real-time and conscious-time). Remember, we view reality through the 'time-delayed' window of consciousness. The ability to catch a ball has NOTHING to do with this time-lag! Everything we are conscious of is just 'shifted' by at least 150 ms after the happenings in reality. That's all.

For example, using the baseball analogy of a pitcher throwing a fastball to the catcher, let's assume the following:
1. The ball takes 500 ms to reach the catcher at home plate once it leaves the pitcher's hand.
2. The catcher takes 250 ms to initiate and finish moving his body/glove into the proper position to receive/catch the ball.
3. The catcher’s conscious time lag (from real-time) is 250 ms.

Comparing the two (the events happening in reality, and the events happening in the conscious mind of the catcher) on a single timeline. Here is what we get:

@t=0
Real-time --- ball leaves pitcher's hand
Conscious-time --- catcher is conscious of pitcher going through his wind up

@t=250ms
Real-time --- ball is halfway to the plate, catcher initiates body/glove into proper position
Conscious-time --- catcher is conscious of the ball just now leaving pitcher's hand

@t=500ms
Real-time --- ball reaches plate, catcher catches ball
Conscious-time --- catcher is conscious of the ball halfway to the plate, catcher is conscious of initiating body/glove into position

@t=750ms
Real-time --- catcher spits on the ground
Conscious-time --- catcher is conscious of catching the ball

@t=1000ms
Real-time --- catcher throws the ball back
Conscious-time --- catcher is conscious of spitting on the ground

In both cases (real-time and conscious-time), the duration of flight time of the ball to the plate/catcher is the 'same' 500 ms. The difficulty in catching a fastball is related to this 'duration', and not to a time lag, or time shift in the timelines.

Agreed?

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Togo1 » October 13th, 2017, 1:29 pm

RJG wrote:
Togo1 wrote:Again, forget awareness for a moment, and just imagine trying to catch a baseball. According to your account this is entirely impossible, because there is a delay in the visual processing. The <mechanism to move hands> doesn't have information on where the ball is, it has information on where the ball was, due to the amount of time it takes light to hit the ball, activate the retina, build up activation in the visual nerves to discharge levels, dissumulate through the primary visual cortex (to identify the balls), trigger memory and attentional processing (to identify the correct ball, and how it is expected to behave), plan the muscle movement needed to intercept, trigger them in the correct pattern, and correct as updated. According to you, we can't catch baseballs because there is a time delay, and the image we have of the ball will always be out of step with reality.

However, people catch balls all the time. So you've gone wrong somewhere.
Not so. This confusion stems from your inter-mixing of the timelines (real-time and conscious-time).
I'm not mixing, I'm ignoring conscious time entirely. I'm saying that a purely unconscious system still has a time delay. The body doesn't process real time information any more than consciousness does.

The image that the brain has of your baseball, without any conscious system involvement at all, is still time-delayed from reality. The signals have to get through your eye, down the optic nerve, navigate the entire visual cortex, and so on. That all takes a fair bit of time. Certainly enough for the baseball to have moved several feet.

So how do people catch baseballs? If you really think that a time delay in a conscioius process makes catching a fast-moving baseball impossible, then why doesn't a time delay in an unconscious process make it impossible to catch baseballs?
RJG wrote:For example, using the baseball analogy of a pitcher throwing a fastball to the catcher, let's assume the following:
1. The ball takes 500 ms to reach the catcher at home plate once it leaves the pitcher's hand.
2. The catcher takes 250 ms to initiate and finish moving his body/glove into the proper position to receive/catch the ball.
3. The catcher’s conscious time lag (from real-time) is 250 ms.
More accurately, this becomes:

1. The ball takes 500 ms to reach the catcher at home plate once it leaves the pitcher's hand.
2. The catcher takes 250 ms to process the visual image of the moving ball, to the minimum required to act upon the information in some way.
3. The catcher’s conscious time lag (from real-time) is 7s as per your interpretation of neural tracing.

Comparing the three (the events happening in reality, events happening according to the body's visual equipment, and the events happening in the conscious mind of the catcher) on a single timeline. Here is what we get:

@t=0
Real-time --- ball leaves pitcher's hand
Visual cortex-time ---- pitcher going through his wind up
Conscious-time --- catcher is conscious of pitcher talking to his team mates

@t=250ms
Real-time --- ball is halfway to the plate.
Visual cortex-time ---- ball leaves pitcher's hand, reaction to ball commences
Conscious-time --- catcher is still conscious of pitcher talking to his team mates

@t=500ms
Real-time --- ball arrives at the plate.
Visual cortex-time ---- ball is half way to the plate, instructions to muscles still in progress
Conscious-time --- catcher is still conscious of pitcher talking to his team mates

@t=750ms
Real-time --- ball hits the fence behind the catcher
Visual cortex-time ---- ball arrives at the plate, muscles have moved the glove to intercept the ball*
Conscious-time --- catcher is conscious of the pitcher stopping talking, and starting to approach the pitching mound.

In all cases (real-time and conscious-time), the duration of flight time of the ball to the plate/catcher is the 'same' 500 ms. Consciousness doesn't have real-time position of the ball, making it impossible to be involved, or so you say. But the physical visual system doesn't have real-time position of the ball either. According to you, catching baseballs is impossible.

We can take two things from this example.

The first is that real-time information is unnecessary. If it was necessary, the body couldn't function at all.

The second is that there is something very very strange about your insistance that consciousness must be time-delayed by 150ms. Because once we update that figure to the figure achieved through modern measurement, it becomes 7seconds, and that just isn't a plausible gap. It's clear that the original experiment has been misinterpreted.

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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Empiricist-Bruno » October 13th, 2017, 2:18 pm

I think an incisive definition for consciousness must involve 1) an appreciation for the consciousness of an author, any author: divine, animal or even machine like. I think an incisive definition for consciousness must exist in relation to them.

I also think an incisive definition for consciousness must 2) take into the account the story where the consciousness is found. For instance, people in this thread are attempting (apparently) to find a sharp definition for the consciousness that we find in the real world (but it can exist elsewhere such as in dreams!).

You also need 3) to agree upon what kind of world we live in first to get a sharp definition for consciousness, or a definition that people who think like you will agree with. So, is the world's story of divine nature, universal nature, or individual nature or mechanical nature? Depending on your view on this question, you will define consciousness differently.

But ultimately, I think the subject of finding an incisive definition for consciousness must include 4) the consciousness that you find in book stories, whether they are fiction or non-fiction books. Now, when an author writes fiction, his consciousness of all the events and the consciousness of all his/her characters are also conscious to him. The whole story of an author does not exist in time, at least not the timeline of the story that he/she created. What I'm saying is that the consciousness of character of a story is really dependent upon the consciousness of the maker of the story.

And to make his story, the author uses fonts and it is through these fonts that the stories' characters find their consciousness, their link and presence within the story. So ultimately, the basis of reality to which we can be conscious of has to be found in our fonts. But fonts are really meant for the readers of the story and not for the characters present in the story. But I am finding that I, as a character in the story of the world, can end up finding that my consciousness is tied to an authors fonts. And it isn't clear where these fonts really exist: do they exist within the characters of the story themselves or do they exist in multiple places at the same time? Anyway, our connection with living fonts surely must be center stage to any sharp definition of consciousness.

Now what I'm saying here isn't really anything particularly original and I'd like to add that a lot of confusion about the meaning for consciousness could be explained if we were to understand that there is such a thing as dead and living consciousness. Let me explain, if a story cannot be changed, it means it is devoid of a living consciousness; it's author is dead. This is why machines, for instances, can be viewed as creators and have consciousness but their consciousness is dead. RJG for instance, seems to suggest a world where the world's consciousness is dead as the world is a running machine.
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Re: Could this be an incisive definition for consciousness?

Post by Present awareness » October 13th, 2017, 3:00 pm

Since time is only a concept and does not exists in reality, a time delay is also only a concept. Everything that is here at this moment, is already here, no time involved whatsoever. How much time does it take for the present moment to arrive? None, because it’s already here. How much time before the present moment leaves? None, the present moment does not leave, it is always the present moment.

Consciousness “is” the present moment, because everything is contained within it.
Even though you can see me, I might not be here.

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