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Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Gee
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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Gee » November 9th, 2019, 7:43 pm

RJG wrote:
November 7th, 2019, 8:30 am

Absolute truth = "experiencing exists"
How can "experiencing" exist if there is no one or nothing to have the experience? Descartes was too logical to have missed that point. IMO

Gee

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Gee » November 9th, 2019, 8:13 pm

RJG wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 7:56 am
Zelebg wrote:In other words, is thinking the same thing as being sentient?
Assuming that "thinking" means "experiencing thoughts", then yes, I think most people agree that consciously experiencing thoughts is what makes us "sentient" beings.
No. All life, ALL LIFE, is sentient, which simply means that it has some awareness (consciousness) of somethings. When you talk about thoughts, you are talking about sapient -- we are thinking sapient beings.

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Consul
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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » November 9th, 2019, 8:51 pm

Gee wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 8:13 pm
No. All life, ALL LIFE, is sentient, which simply means that it has some awareness (consciousness) of somethings.
There's a difference between physiological sensitivity (reactivity/responsivity to physical or chemical stimuli) and psychological sentience in the form of subjective sensations. Bacteria, fungi, plants, and brainless animals are physiologically sensitive organisms but not psychologically sentient ones.

There's a corresponding difference between objective awareness (perception/cognition), which doesn't involve any subjective sensations, and subjective awareness (perception/cognition), which does involve some subjective sensations.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

Zelebg
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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Zelebg » November 9th, 2019, 9:10 pm

RJG wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 12:14 pm
Correct, not initially anyways. Without a developed memory capability, they are essentially just little "experientially reactive" animals (beings). They can't "know" (recognize) what they experience until their memory capability develops.
Does that mean if they feel pain they don't really suffer (physically), they don't actually feel it? How memory helps to bring in suffering along with the pain, i.e. to 'realize' feeling of pain along with the pain signal.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » November 9th, 2019, 9:15 pm

RJG wrote:
November 5th, 2019, 8:32 am
Zelebg wrote:Any experience is necessarily subjective experience.
Agreed.
It's not if "experience" is used to refer to acquired, accumulated knowledge or skills (e.g. "He has a lot of experience in his profession"), or to nonmental events or actions (e.g. "The concert was an enjoyable experience", "Base jumping is an exciting experience").
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Consul
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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » November 9th, 2019, 9:18 pm

Consul wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 9:15 pm
It's not if "experience" is used to refer to acquired, accumulated knowledge or skills (e.g. "He has a lot of experience in his profession"), or to nonmental events or actions (e.g. "The concert was an enjoyable experience", "Base jumping is an exciting experience").
What is true is that all inner experiences qua mental occurrences are subjective experiences.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

Zelebg
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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Zelebg » November 9th, 2019, 9:41 pm

h_k_s wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 3:49 pm
You @RJG have raised a good point -- which is -- what comes first? (A) the experiencing or (B) the thinking about the experiencing?
I fail to see the difference. Can they not be the same thing, or cause and effect like mirror reflection?

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Zelebg » November 9th, 2019, 10:21 pm

Gee wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 7:34 pm
Most people believe that the rational mind is the "self" -- it is not -- it is the reflection.
That feels quite true to me. Is it possible to 'feel' the truth? Where did you get that? Anyway, reflection is a concept which certainly must have a role in sentience. It may be for a good reason we use it as a synonim for thinking, as in when we're reflecting upon something.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Zelebg » November 9th, 2019, 10:47 pm

RJG wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 7:56 am
No, not at all. Emotions, sensations (sensory), and cognition (thoughts) are all just bodily 'experiences' (bodily reactions). The consciousness (knowing) of these experiences are 'conscious experiences' (i.e. the knowing/recognizing of our bodily reactions/experiences).
Where is the difference between _extern sensation and _inner 'emotion and thought' if you say all are "bodily reactions"? It also doesn't look right 'cognition is categorized along with emotions and feelings opposite to 'knowing' when cognition must be a part or involved in the act or process of knowing.

By the way, is consciousness continuous stream, succession of individual events, or state of being as a property of some dynamics or system state changes, or...?

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Zelebg » November 10th, 2019, 12:06 am

Gee wrote:
November 9th, 2019, 6:47 pm
I would say that consciousness is essentially communication that can be internal or external.

Communication with self, like talking to mirror?

Let's get very concrete and very specific by making a process diagram of a _minimal_ personal computer software and hardware components in order to make it sentient. This should help us understand each other better so we can focus on finding the "missing link", or at least point to where it should be and what it needs to do, if anything.

1. Camera A: visual input extern -> feeds into 2

2. Program A: subconsciousness & memory -> feeds into 3

3. Display A: visual output inner -> feeds into 4

4. Camera B: visual input inner -> feeds into 5

5. Program B: cognition & free will -> feeds into 6 & 2

6. Speaker: audio output extern

For example, I can ask you now do you by consciousness mean the communication between Display A and Camera B, between Program B and Program A. We can be quite specific and you can of course modify the diagram to describe your point of view better.

Let me start. I say consciousness is not calculation or process of any kind, but immediate effect like mirror reflection or raindrop splashes. Thus I say sentience is located, somehow, between Display A and Camera B, rather than being a part of the Program B for example. And therefore the definition of consciousness is "act of self-observation", whatever "observation" is supposed to mean in that context.

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Felix
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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Felix » November 10th, 2019, 1:28 am

RJG: Logical impossibility #2: We can only experience 'experiences' (thoughts, ideas, sensations, etc), not 'actual' things, or "selfs" themselves.
Your "logical impossibility" has been disproven by clinical studies. Mental control of the body's physiological processes has been achieved by advanced yoga practitioners and has been observed in cases of dissociative identity disorder (a.k.a., multiple identity disorder).

For example, I recall reading about the case of a man who had a dissociative identity who was extremely allergic to peanuts, we'll call this allergic identity Tom. The ingestion of a single peanut would send Tom into anaphylactic shock. However, this man had another personality that did not have this allergy, let's call him Jim. Tom had eaten some peanut butter and was starting to react to it. However, a physician familiar with this man's psychiatric history was immediately called and he told Tom that it was very urgent that he speak to Jim (the non-allergic personality). When the man assumed the persona of Jim, his allergic symptoms quickly dissipated - symptoms that would have led to Tom's death.

Here's a novel consciousness theory related to dissociative identity disorder -- https://bit.ly/2X1fzdY
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

Atla
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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Atla » November 10th, 2019, 3:36 am

Felix wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 1:28 am
RJG: Logical impossibility #2: We can only experience 'experiences' (thoughts, ideas, sensations, etc), not 'actual' things, or "selfs" themselves.
Your "logical impossibility" has been disproven by clinical studies. Mental control of the body's physiological processes has been achieved by advanced yoga practitioners and has been observed in cases of dissociative identity disorder (a.k.a., multiple identity disorder).

For example, I recall reading about the case of a man who had a dissociative identity who was extremely allergic to peanuts, we'll call this allergic identity Tom. The ingestion of a single peanut would send Tom into anaphylactic shock. However, this man had another personality that did not have this allergy, let's call him Jim. Tom had eaten some peanut butter and was starting to react to it. However, a physician familiar with this man's psychiatric history was immediately called and he told Tom that it was very urgent that he speak to Jim (the non-allergic personality). When the man assumed the persona of Jim, his allergic symptoms quickly dissipated - symptoms that would have led to Tom's death.

Here's a novel consciousness theory related to dissociative identity disorder -- https://bit.ly/2X1fzdY
That theory is quite flawed. While "constitutive panpsychism" is a roughly correct view, the "universal consciousness" is not some kind of personality, it's simply just the world. It's not something that has alters, it's simply the sum of all existing things, including personalities.

DID simply shows how that there can be more than one personalities in one human. And that the center locations of these personalities in the brain are typically different. (For example left hemisphere vs right hemisphere, or frontal parts of the neocortex vs reptilian brain, things like that.) Because they are cenetred on different regions of the brain, the currently (more) active personality can produce different brainwasves, release different chemicals, start or don't start various body processes, which can sometimes lead to the absurd result that one personality is allergic and the other isn't.

What advanced yoga practicioners are probably doing is that they have become so skilled at intentional brainwave / chemical control, generation, control of bodily EM fields etc. that they can intentionally take control of otherwise unconscious bodily processes.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by RJG » November 10th, 2019, 8:51 am

RJG wrote:Absolute truth = "experiencing exists"
Gee wrote:How can "experiencing" exist if there is no one or nothing to have the experience?
Logically (hint hint), it can't! The existence of "I" can only be known as a 'logical' truth, not an 'absolute' truth. Gee, please refer back to the earlier discussions for more clarity on this point.

RJG wrote:Correct, not initially anyways. Without a developed memory capability, they [babies] are essentially just little "experientially reactive" animals (beings). They can't "know" (recognize) what they experience until their memory capability develops.
Zelebg wrote:Does that mean if they feel pain they don't really suffer (physically), they don't actually feel it?
Physically, they (their bodies) certainly do suffer, and auto-reacts accordingly. Mentally, they just have no idea (literally!) of what is causing the extreme discomfort.

Zelebg wrote:I fail to see the difference. Can they not be the same thing, or cause and effect like mirror reflection?
Bodily experiences (bodily reactions) are non-conscious. The "knowing" (recognition) of our bodily experiences/reactions is conscious. We have X, and we have the consciousness-of-X (recognition-of-X); TWO distinct things. Experiences [X] and Conscious Experiences.[consciousness-of-X].

RJG wrote:Emotions, sensations (sensory), and cognition (thoughts) are all just bodily 'experiences' (bodily reactions). The consciousness (knowing) of these experiences are 'conscious experiences' (i.e. the knowing/recognizing of our bodily reactions/experiences).
Zelebg wrote:Where is the difference between _extern sensation and _inner 'emotion and thought' if you say all are "bodily reactions"? It also doesn't look right 'cognition is categorized along with emotions and feelings opposite to 'knowing' when cognition must be a part or involved in the act or process of knowing.
It is 'recognition' that creates 'knowing' (i.e. the matching; or the re-experiencing of a past experience held in memory).

Thoughts are just bodily reactions (like all the others) that we may or may not become conscious of.

Zelebg wrote:By the way, is consciousness continuous stream, succession of individual events, or state of being as a property of some dynamics or system state changes, or...?
Consciousness comes and goes. Without something to be conscious of, there is no consciousness. E.g. without something to see, there is no seeing

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Felix
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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Felix » November 10th, 2019, 12:59 pm

Atla: That theory is quite flawed. While " constitutive panpsychism" is a roughly correct view, the "universal consciousness" is not some kind of personality, it's simply just the world.
They were not suggesting that consciousness is some sort of god-like persona, but that it fabricates the sense of self and is the vehicle for conscious action in the world. This is similar to the Hindu concept of Brahma, the primal source of consciousness that transcends the ego. I imagine they elaborate on the theory in their book, the blog article was just a teaser.

Besides, I was responding to RJG's statement that we cannot experience selves. The fact is that we cannot avoid experiencing them, because illusory or not, they are our habitual mode of being in the world.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Consul
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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » November 10th, 2019, 3:33 pm

RJG wrote:
November 10th, 2019, 8:51 am
Without something to be conscious of, there is no consciousness. E.g. without something to see, there is no seeing.
What do you see when you stand in a pitch-black room with your eyes open? What do you see when you press your fingers against your eyeballs and experience phosphenes? – The answer: nothing! That is, you experience something—a visual sensation/impression—, but you don't visually perceive (see) anything. In this case, you are (phenomenally) conscious without being (perceptually) conscious of anything.
There's a relevant distinction between visually perceiving (seeing) something and having visual experiences (sensations/impressions). Blind people cannot visually perceive (see) anything, but they can still have hallucinatory visual experiences.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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