The March Philosophy Book of the Month is Final Notice by Van Fleisher. Discuss Final Notice now.

The April Philosophy Book of the Month is The Unbound Soul by Richard L. Haight

Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
Post Reply
User avatar
RJG
Moderator
Posts: 1259
Joined: March 28th, 2012, 8:52 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by RJG » January 7th, 2019, 9:13 am

RJG wrote:There are no "intentional" objects of your consciousness. If you experience "intention" then this is a just another 'X' experience (content) of your consciousness.
Consul wrote:Here "intentional" relates to intentionality ("aboutness") and not to intention.
@Consul - Why use the term "intentional" to refer to the object of consciousness? --- Is there then such a thing as a "non-intentional" object of consciousness?

If "intention" in this context means "aboutness", then does there exist "non-aboutness" objects of consciousness?

Or is it that Husserl is trying to make the point (as I have made) that without an object ('X') there can be no consciousness, ...and in this sense, consciousness is not consciousness if it is not "about" an object (X)???

And if so, then aren't ALL objects of consciousness, by default, considered "intentional"? ...and if so, then what is the purpose for saying, or adding this word, when it adds no value or new information to the statement?

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7657
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Greta » January 8th, 2019, 2:14 am

Another thought: Consciousness survives physical death because, after one snuffs it, there's still plenty of consciousness left in the world! What survives even longer is approximate morphology. That is, people are variably similar or different in terms of how they fit into and function in communities, which is ultimately a critical aspect of what it means to be you - how you relate to the world.

Your "youness" is unique. However, simply through probability, there will be a small number of people around the globe who function so similarly to you in their society that it would blow your mind. Then there will be a larger number who are similar to you, but less so. Logically, if you continue this process of likening there will be a pyramid - the point being the unique individual type followed by the most similar people, then the next, followed by a diminishing degree of similarity. Each person is both the apex of their own "pyramid of likeness" and part of others' pyramids. I would personally extend the pyramids beyond species (and beyond that) but I suspect for many that would be a bridge too far :)

Re: Consciousness and death, as mentioned earlier, a conscious sense of being apparently only lasts as long as the brain does, but how long those final few minutes feel to an individual undergoing a significant NDE is unknown. Based on NDE reports, the subjective sense of time dilation can be significant. As with dreams, the time dilation is apparent rather than actual. That is, memories of events are significantly compressed (not unlike an MPEG file). Information that is not emotionally resonant is removed, eg. dreamers tend to subjectively teleport from one scenario to the next.

If the compression becomes ever greater as the brain dies, who knows how much subjective afterlife can be crammed into that final 3-7 minutes? The possibilities there are both exciting and daunting! Think happy thoughts ... :)

BigBango
Posts: 180
Joined: March 15th, 2018, 6:15 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by BigBango » January 9th, 2019, 12:35 am

Greta wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 2:14 am

Re: Consciousness and death, as mentioned earlier, a conscious sense of being apparently only lasts as long as the brain does, but how long those final few minutes feel to an individual undergoing a significant NDE is unknown. Based on NDE reports, the subjective sense of time dilation can be significant. As with dreams, the time dilation is apparent rather than actual. That is, memories of events are significantly compressed (not unlike an MPEG file). Information that is not emotionally resonant is removed, eg. dreamers tend to subjectively teleport from one scenario to the next.

If the compression becomes ever greater as the brain dies, who knows how much subjective afterlife can be crammed into that final 3-7 minutes? The possibilities there are both exciting and daunting! Think happy thoughts ... :)
Greta, thank you for getting us back on track with the OP.

Your assumption that consciousness dies when the brain dies is problematic. I doubt you have any real evidence for that except that it is consistent with a theory of consciousness that is simply the result of the product of the evolution of the nervous system. So when the brain dies so does your individual consciousness die.

You are exactly right that when you die the "consciousness" of any being in this world is dead as far as its engagement with the physical world it is immersed in. However, is that loss really a loss of all consciousness? If you would give more than lip service to the idea of fractals than you would realize that our conscious identity actually crosses the worlds that existed before the BB.

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 437
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Count Lucanor » January 9th, 2019, 2:28 pm

BigBango wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 12:35 am
Your assumption that consciousness dies when the brain dies is problematic. I doubt you have any real evidence for that
BigBango wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 12:35 am
... our conscious identity actually crosses the worlds that existed before the BB.
I doubt you have any real evidence for that.

User avatar
The Beast
Posts: 798
Joined: July 7th, 2013, 10:32 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by The Beast » January 9th, 2019, 2:52 pm

Obviously. Our exuberance must have a Universal language. The same way we have a link to our parents, the cells of our body have a link to the primordial elements… and yet so materialistic. If there are Universal abstracts and some humans have a connection to them (values) then, the values are a quantity in whatever unit (undiscovered) the abstract is measured. This which is something cannot be nothing and It may not need a substrate. Although, alter mental events are a rarity, scarabs were used by ancient people to ward off the spirits wandering (in matter) waiting for a suitable host. Since that which is not a Universal abstract is a lie then a certain unitary value is attached to a substrate…

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7657
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Greta » January 9th, 2019, 4:30 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 2:28 pm
BigBango wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 12:35 am
Your assumption that consciousness dies when the brain dies is problematic. I doubt you have any real evidence for that
BigBango wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 12:35 am
... our conscious identity actually crosses the worlds that existed before the BB.
I doubt you have any real evidence for that.
No one has real evidence to support their views here, only enough to suggest to them that they may be right. If hard evidence is required then the only option is to follow the medical profession in this issue without extrapolation, even though this issue is not their concern.

Wmhoerr
Posts: 44
Joined: January 3rd, 2019, 1:51 pm
Favorite Philosopher: Bertrand Russell
Contact:

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Wmhoerr » January 9th, 2019, 5:23 pm

The term "induction" has been used in some of the arguments above. Let's do some backwards induction. Now let's say consciousness survives death, then it is logical that the consciousness of your parents also survived. And so on backwards. Then we get to homo erectus. Do we stop there, no we keep going. What about going back all the way to fish. As soon as we stop we get to a child who's consciousness survives and a parent who's consciousness does not. Of course, Buddhists would be happy with this logic as they see most things as conscious, but for the evolutionist the argument gets more and more unbelievable. I see the idea that consciousness survives death as an exercise in people thinking that they are more important than they are.

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 437
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Count Lucanor » January 9th, 2019, 9:28 pm

Greta wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 4:30 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 2:28 pm


I doubt you have any real evidence for that.
No one has real evidence to support their views here, only enough to suggest to them that they may be right. If hard evidence is required then the only option is to follow the medical profession in this issue without extrapolation, even though this issue is not their concern.
My view here is that there's no evidence of a disembodied consciousness and of an immaterial realm where the consciousness that is supposed to survive bodily death goes to. The lack of evidences supports my view.

Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 1934
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Belindi » January 9th, 2019, 9:34 pm

How could there be consciousness if there is nothing there to be conscious?

User avatar
Felix
Posts: 2102
Joined: February 9th, 2009, 5:45 am

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Felix » January 9th, 2019, 9:41 pm

Wmhoerr: Now let's say consciousness survives death, then it is logical that the consciousness of your parents also survived. And so on backwards.
You've confused personal identity with consciousness, obviously the ego does not survive death, but it is not the ego that is purported to do so.

And people are also confusing consciousness with subject/object awareness in this thread, the consciousness that survives death would be untethered from that mode of polarized awareness.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7657
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Greta » January 9th, 2019, 10:16 pm

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:28 pm
Greta wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 4:30 pm

No one has real evidence to support their views here, only enough to suggest to them that they may be right. If hard evidence is required then the only option is to follow the medical profession in this issue without extrapolation, even though this issue is not their concern.
My view here is that there's no evidence of a disembodied consciousness and of an immaterial realm where the consciousness that is supposed to survive bodily death goes to. The lack of evidences supports my view.
You certainty echoes that of those who assumed too quickly down the ages.

If humanity worked out what actually constitutes reality it would be a big help in this question. Alas, we are utterly clueless. We are completely flummoxed by 95% of reality, so termed dark matter and dark energy as placeholders until we work out what the smeg they are. As for the other 5% aka matter/energy, we don't understand what it is either. What is energy? Work; a perturbation in the fabric of space. What is space? An arena consisting of endless perturbations. In a nutshell, that's where we are up to so far.

I see no reason why there would not be numerous possibilities regarding the nature of reality that no one has imagined in the slightest due to anthropomorphic (and -centric) perspective effects. We humans may simply be utterly ill-equipped to perceive most of reality, not least due to our biological computational limitations, our minds usually already stretched to the limit just keeping everyday life on track.

As you know, we humans evolved to perceive that which kept our ancestors alive and reproducing. That is it. Full stop. It worked for them so it was passed down. That leaves a fair gap between the ability to be a fecund organism and comprehending the ultimate nature of being, time and the cosmos. Hence we tend to find such subjects difficult.

Yet humans are attracted to difficult puzzles, aware that permanent gains through cultural transmission are possible with breakthroughs. We have made great progress yet our understanding of natural systems remains very basic. In fact, there's no evidence that we are even close to comprehending the fringes of reality, let alone deeper systemic qualities. My guess (which might be as wrong as anyone else's) is that our relationship with time significantly skews our perceptions of reality, and in ways we are ill-equipped to comprehend.

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7657
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Greta » January 9th, 2019, 10:22 pm

Belindi wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:34 pm
How could there be consciousness if there is nothing there to be conscious?
What if there is something? Who knows? For all we know there could be informational preservation at the Planck scale. Maybe nothing is really lost? Maybe there are finer granularities beyond space and time (given that Planck scale is only the theorised minimal granularity where time and space can be said to be meaningful concepts)?

I don't quite support mysterianism, though, because that's an assumption too. I'm not saying that we can never understand the nature of consciousness, but that is still a possibility.

User avatar
Count Lucanor
Posts: 437
Joined: May 6th, 2017, 5:08 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Count Lucanor » January 9th, 2019, 11:54 pm

Greta wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 10:16 pm
Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:28 pm

My view here is that there's no evidence of a disembodied consciousness and of an immaterial realm where the consciousness that is supposed to survive bodily death goes to. The lack of evidences supports my view.
You certainty echoes that of those who assumed too quickly down the ages.

If humanity worked out what actually constitutes reality it would be a big help in this question. Alas, we are utterly clueless. We are completely flummoxed by 95% of reality, so termed dark matter and dark energy as placeholders until we work out what the smeg they are. As for the other 5% aka matter/energy, we don't understand what it is either. What is energy? Work; a perturbation in the fabric of space. What is space? An arena consisting of endless perturbations. In a nutshell, that's where we are up to so far.

I see no reason why there would not be numerous possibilities regarding the nature of reality that no one has imagined in the slightest due to anthropomorphic (and -centric) perspective effects. We humans may simply be utterly ill-equipped to perceive most of reality, not least due to our biological computational limitations, our minds usually already stretched to the limit just keeping everyday life on track.

As you know, we humans evolved to perceive that which kept our ancestors alive and reproducing. That is it. Full stop. It worked for them so it was passed down. That leaves a fair gap between the ability to be a fecund organism and comprehending the ultimate nature of being, time and the cosmos. Hence we tend to find such subjects difficult.

Yet humans are attracted to difficult puzzles, aware that permanent gains through cultural transmission are possible with breakthroughs. We have made great progress yet our understanding of natural systems remains very basic. In fact, there's no evidence that we are even close to comprehending the fringes of reality, let alone deeper systemic qualities. My guess (which might be as wrong as anyone else's) is that our relationship with time significantly skews our perceptions of reality, and in ways we are ill-equipped to comprehend.
Epistemological agnosticism is nothing more than the old God of the Gaps, applied to the universe as the whole of reality. It's not true that we live in almost complete ignorance of what reality is all about, but that's the argument that epistemological agnosticism needs to advance, using the same God of the Gaps technique of constantly moving the goalpost. Religious certainties about supernatural powers ruling the universe arose from people's ignorance about the real natural causes of phenomena, but as scientific knowledge progressed, the old supernatural idealism kept regrouping in the remaining gaps, and trying to expand it. The problem with all of this, of course, as it happens with the God of the Gaps argument, is that those who stand for it, in theory should feel themselves obligated to affirm absolutely nothing, as nothing could be affirmed for which there could not appear a negation in the future, since "everything is possible", anything goes. But of course, we know that as in the God of the Gaps, epistemological agnosticism cares very little about holding back its affirmations, actually it just wants the space for the free non-restricted affirmation of anything. What hides behind it? The old supernatural idealism, religion in disguise.

A fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage

Suppose (I'm following a group therapy approach by the psychologist Richard Franklin) I seriously make such an assertion to you. Surely you'd want to check it out, see for yourself. There have been innumerable stories of dragons over the centuries, but no real evidence. What an opportunity!

"Show me," you say. I lead you to my garage. You look inside and see a ladder, empty paint cans, an old tricycle--but no dragon.

"Where's the dragon?" you ask.

"Oh, she's right here," I reply, waving vaguely. "I neglected to mention that she's an invisible dragon."

You propose spreading flour on the floor of the garage to capture the dragon's footprints.

"Good idea," I say, "but this dragon floats in the air."

Then you'll use an infrared sensor to detect the invisible fire.

"Good idea, but the invisible fire is also heatless."

You'll spray-paint the dragon and make her visible.

"Good idea, but she's an incorporeal dragon and the paint won't stick."

And so on. I counter every physical test you propose with a special explanation of why it won't work.

Now, what's the difference between an invisible, incorporeal, floating dragon who spits heatless fire and no dragon at all? If there's no way to disprove my contention, no conceivable experiment that would count against it, what does it mean to say that my dragon exists? Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so."


(Sagan, Carl. The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark, Ballantine: New York, 1996).

User avatar
Greta
Site Admin
Posts: 7657
Joined: December 16th, 2013, 9:05 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Greta » January 10th, 2019, 1:48 am

Count Lucanor wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 11:54 pm
Greta wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 10:16 pm

You certainty echoes that of those who assumed too quickly down the ages.

If humanity worked out what actually constitutes reality it would be a big help in this question. Alas, we are utterly clueless. We are completely flummoxed by 95% of reality, so termed dark matter and dark energy as placeholders until we work out what the smeg they are. As for the other 5% aka matter/energy, we don't understand what it is either. What is energy? Work; a perturbation in the fabric of space. What is space? An arena consisting of endless perturbations. In a nutshell, that's where we are up to so far.

I see no reason why there would not be numerous possibilities regarding the nature of reality that no one has imagined in the slightest due to anthropomorphic (and -centric) perspective effects. We humans may simply be utterly ill-equipped to perceive most of reality, not least due to our biological computational limitations, our minds usually already stretched to the limit just keeping everyday life on track.

As you know, we humans evolved to perceive that which kept our ancestors alive and reproducing. That is it. Full stop. It worked for them so it was passed down. That leaves a fair gap between the ability to be a fecund organism and comprehending the ultimate nature of being, time and the cosmos. Hence we tend to find such subjects difficult.

Yet humans are attracted to difficult puzzles, aware that permanent gains through cultural transmission are possible with breakthroughs. We have made great progress yet our understanding of natural systems remains very basic. In fact, there's no evidence that we are even close to comprehending the fringes of reality, let alone deeper systemic qualities. My guess (which might be as wrong as anyone else's) is that our relationship with time significantly skews our perceptions of reality, and in ways we are ill-equipped to comprehend.
Epistemological agnosticism is nothing more than the old God of the Gaps, applied to the universe as the whole of reality. It's not true that we live in almost complete ignorance of what reality is all about, but that's the argument that epistemological agnosticism needs to advance, using the same God of the Gaps technique of constantly moving the goalpost. Religious certainties about supernatural powers ruling the universe arose from people's ignorance about the real natural causes of phenomena, but as scientific knowledge progressed, the old supernatural idealism kept regrouping in the remaining gaps, and trying to expand it. The problem with all of this, of course, as it happens with the God of the Gaps argument, is that those who stand for it, in theory should feel themselves obligated to affirm absolutely nothing, as nothing could be affirmed for which there could not appear a negation in the future, since "everything is possible", anything goes. But of course, we know that as in the God of the Gaps, epistemological agnosticism cares very little about holding back its affirmations, actually it just wants the space for the free non-restricted affirmation of anything. What hides behind it? The old supernatural idealism, religion in disguise.
You are being defensive. Only you said that the unknown need have anything to do with God or gods. I sure didn't. God is your concern, not mine.

The unknown is exactly that - unknown. If we knew what was unknown then it wouldn't be unknown, would it? It would be the vaguely or somewhat known. I am talking about possibilities of phenomena and dynamics that we all have absolutely no idea about whatsoever.

If you wish to place a straw deity into "the unknown" to use as a punching bag, I hope it makes you feel better so the topic can move on from disproving God, which is still looking at life through an Abrahamic prism.

That is what we need to get away from so we can think about reality clearly, as if religion never existed.

Belindi
Moderator
Posts: 1934
Joined: September 11th, 2016, 2:11 pm

Re: Evidence that Consciousness Survives Bodily Death?

Post by Belindi » January 10th, 2019, 6:00 am

Greta wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 10:22 pm
Belindi wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 9:34 pm
How could there be consciousness if there is nothing there to be conscious?
What if there is something? Who knows? For all we know there could be informational preservation at the Planck scale. Maybe nothing is really lost? Maybe there are finer granularities beyond space and time (given that Planck scale is only the theorised minimal granularity where time and space can be said to be meaningful concepts)?

I don't quite support mysterianism, though, because that's an assumption too. I'm not saying that we can never understand the nature of consciousness, but that is still a possibility.


I know from introspection that when I sleep without dreaming and also when I dream my 'I' is absent. Only when I'm awake my 'I' makes decisions and choices.I am an 'I'only when awake. I can't be awake when my body is dead.

I know from introspection that I'm not a finer granularity or information, as I'm always conscious of I as a body/mind.

Post Reply