Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

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SteveKlinko
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Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

Post by SteveKlinko »

The following will present some of the current theories that are reported to explain Conscious Experience. I will stipulate that the theory must address Conscious Experience and not just talk about some vague generalized Consciousness concept. I will state that there actually is no such thing as just Consciousness. It is always some kind of Conscious Experience. I will apply the Inter Mind Model (IMM) to each theory. The theory must be able to Explain what an Inter Mind (IM) would be in the theory. In order to Explain how the theory incorporates an IM, the theory must have the answer to a basic question. Given:

1) Neural Activity happens in the Physical Mind (PM)

2) Conscious Experience happens in the Conscious Mind (CM)

How does the Neural Activity of 1 produce the Conscious Experience of 2?

The IMM expects that there is some sort of IM that takes the Neural Activity as the input and produces the Conscious Experience as the output. So, the following analyses will demand that each theory have a plausible Explanation for what an IM would be in the theory. In other words, how does the theory explain Conscious Experience.

First, I would like to talk about Orchestrated Objective Reduction (Orch OR) with respect to Conscious Experience. This theory says that Consciousness is based on certain structures in the Neurons (Microtubules) that operate at the Quantum Level. This is all well and good as a speculation about what might be happening in the Neurons. The problem is that even if it is correct, it sheds no light on the basic question as posed above. It will always talk about some vague Consciousness concept. It cannot solve any of the problems of Conscious Experience. There is no attempt at Explaining what an IM would be within the theory. Some writings claim the theory solves the Hard Problem of Conscious Experience. I don't see it, and it is Incoherent to state that this solves the Hard problem. Please, will someone show me how this theory can Explain any Conscious Experience?

Next, I would like to talk about Integrated Information Theory (IIT) with respect to Conscious Experience. This theory basically tries to measure the amount of Consciousness in a structure, like a Brain. The theory cannot address any particular Conscious Experience but only talks in generalities about the quantity of Consciousness. The theory basically says, more Information and Complexity means more Consciousness. But this is an Incoherent starting assumption. What is the chain of Logic that gets you from Information and Complexity to something like the Experience of Redness or the Salty Taste? There are some writings about how the theory can explain how the Visual Experience "feels" like it does. Can it Explain Redness? Can it Explain the totality of the integrated Visual Experience? I don't see it. Pun intended. If anything, this theory is more about the possible Neural Correlates of Conscious Experience and not at all about the Conscious Experience itself. There is no way this theory can Explain what the IM is within the theory. Again I must ask please, will someone show me how this theory can Explain any Conscious Experience?

Next, I would like to talk about Information Closure Theory (ICT) with respect to Conscious Experience. This is another theory that Incoherently assumes that Information is Consciousness. All the criticisms of IIT apply here. But yet again I must ask please, will someone show me how this theory can Explain any Conscious Experience?

Next, I would like to talk about Global Workspace Theory (GWT) with respect to Conscious Experience. I include this theory because people will often say that this theory explains Consciousness. In reality, this theory does not even try to Explain Conscious Experiences. This theory is a theory about Organizing our internal thought processes. There is no way this theory can Explain what the IM is within the theory. If I am wrong about this then please, will someone show me how this theory can Explain any Conscious Experience?

Next, I would like to talk about Predictive Coding Theory (PCT) with respect to Conscious Experience. This is not a theory of Conscious Experience but it is a theory of Brain function and therefore it is only about the Neural Correlates of Consciousness. I include this because there is a following out there that believes this actually explains Conscious Experience. There is no way this theory can Explain what the IM is within the theory. Please, will someone show me how this theory Explains any Conscious Experience?

Next, I would like to talk about Physicalism with respect to Conscious Experience. Physicalism is the proposition that everything is Physical. Physicalists like to say that Consciousness is in the Neurons. They boldly say that Neural Activity IS Conscious Experience. This means that the solution to the basic question above is that there is something in the Neurons that creates the Conscious Experience. This theory will need to put the IM in the Neurons as some kind of Chemical, Electrical, or other Neural process. This is an ok speculation but it really is quite Incoherent if you just consider it for a little while. How on Earth is the Experience of Redness or the Salty Taste being produced by the Neurons? How can Neural Activity actually BE these Experiences? I don't see it. The IM must be some function of the Neural Activity but there is no way this theory can Explain what the IM is within the theory. Please, someone show me how this theory Explains any Conscious Experience?

Next, I would like to talk about Panpsychism with respect to Conscious Experience. This seems to be a popular theory, or really just a speculation, that there is some sort of Consciousness aspect in everything. So Electrons, Protons, Neutrons, etc. have a tiny aspect of Consciousness. This is basically a Physicalist proposition because the theory stipulates Consciousness is in all matter even down to the level of elementary particles. The hope with this speculation is that when Electrons combine with Protons and other elementary particles, that the Atoms and Molecules will have some combined greater Consciousness. Finally, at the level of a massive object like a Brain, all the combined micro Consciousnesses will somehow combine to give us the Conscious Experiences that we have. There is no Logic or even a Clue as to how these micro Consciousnesses can combine into a larger Consciousness that has Conscious Experiences. So the biggest problem with this theory is that it always talks about some ambiguous vague generalized Consciousness Thing. It can never get to an Explanation for any actual Conscious Experience. There is no way this theory can Explain what the IM is within the theory. How does this theory Explain any Conscious Experience?

Next, I would like to talk about Emergence and Epiphenomenalism with respect to Conscious Experience. Emergence is a Physicalist proposition. Emergence proposes that Conscious Experience IS NOT the Neural Activity itself, but rather the Conscious Experience Emerges from the Neural Activity. But the Conscious Experience is still the result of Neural Activity even if you cannot say it IS the Neural Activity. Epiphenomenalism is a version of Emergence with the stipulation that the resulting Conscious Experience has no purpose. Both of these propositions imply that the solution to the basic question above is that there is something in the Neurons that creates the Conscious Experience. This theory will need to put the IM in the Neurons as some kind of Chemical, Electrical, or other Neural process. This is an ok speculation but it really is quite Incoherent if you just consider it for a little while. How on Earth is the Experience of Redness or the Salty Taste Emerging from the Neurons? Proponents of this theory have no Explanations of this. They just Boldly claim that Conscious Experience Emerges from the Neural Activity, and that is that. I don't see it. The IM must be some function of the Neural Activity but there is no way this theory can Explain what the IM is within the theory. Please, someone show me how this Explains any Conscious Experience?

Next, I would like to talk about Eliminativism and Illusionism with respect to Conscious Experience. Eliminativism is another Physicalist proposition. Eliminativism proposes that Conscious Experience does not even exist. Illusionism is a sub category of Eliminativism that proposes that Conscious Experience exists only as an Illusion. This is pure Denialism. How on Earth can someone think that the Redness or Salty Taste that they Experience is only an Illusion and does not Exist? They cannot have the same kind of Conscious Experience about these things that I have. They must also believe that the CM itself does not Exist. So for them the IM will not exist since the CM does not exist. There is not much more that can be said about this proposition. Please, someone show me how Conscious Experience does not Exist?

Next, I would like to talk about Idealism and Conscious Realism with respect to Conscious Experience. Idealism is a Philosophical proposition that goes all the way back to the ancient Greeks and Conscious Realism is a more recent proposition. The basic premise of both is that our Conscious Experiences are the only Real things in the Universe and that the External Physical World is created by these Conscious Experiences. So the Physical World does not really exist or is at least a secondary Epiphenomenon of Consciousness. This could be true but it is highly Incoherent when the facts of the Physical World are taken into account. I believe that the ancient Idealists realized our Conscious Experiences are separate from the Physical World but they made the mistake of thinking, that since Experiences were separate, the Physical World did not really exist. Idealism proposes this Incoherent and backwards causality of Consciousness creating the Physical World because their Science was not at a sophisticated enough level to properly explain the Physical World. It is inexplicable how a more modern Philosophy like Conscious Realism can promote the same backwards causality. Today it is clear that there is a causality trajectory from the Physical World to the Conscious World and not the other way around. Please, someone show me how Conscious Experience creates a Physical World?

Last, I would like to talk about the Simulation Hypothesis with respect to Conscious Experience. The Simulation Hypothesis states that our Reality is a Simulation executing on some super powerful computer. This is not really a theory about Conscious Experience and it does not even try to claim an understanding of Conscious Experience. But there is a following of people that think this Simulation concept could be true, and that it has something to do with Consciousness. The truth is that Simulations are just Representations or Surrogates for the Processes and Objects they are Simulating. Simulations are not even supposed to be the same thing as what they Simulate. As an example, when a Hurricane is Simulated nothing ever Physically gets wet anywhere. In the same way, if Redness is Simulated there never is any Experience of Redness anywhere. This will still be the case no matter how sophisticated the Computer Hardware becomes and no matter how detailed the Simulation software becomes. Computer Simulations cannot create actual Water for the Hurricane, and Computer Simulations cannot create actual Conscious Experiences for a Mind. Unbelievably, and without any chain of Logic, the Simulation Hypothesis just assumes Conscious Experience can arise from executing Computer Programs. In other words, it stipulates for example that the Experience of Redness, the Standard A Tone, and the Salty Taste are just code executing in some CPU. This is just another Physicalist proposition. How is an Experience of Redness, the Standard A Tone, or the Salty Taste ever going to arise from lines of code in a computer program? This could only be believed by people that have no understanding of Computers and Computer Software. This is a fun thing to think about, but this is an Incoherent theory of Conscious Experience. Computers and computer programs exist in Physical Space (PSp), so they cannot create a Conscious Experience since Conscious Experience exists in Conscious Space (CSp). But a computer might be able to Connect with a CM in CSp someday, if Science could understand how to do it. In that case our CMs would not existentially be the Program, but rather our CMs would Connect to the Program. In that case our Reality would be the Program that we Connect to. The Machine that is executing the Program would be a Conscious Machine. The Hard Problem of Conscious Experience would still exist with this Connection. Computer programs exist in PSp but Conscious Experience exists in CSp. What on Earth would an IM be within this theory? How does the Computer Connect to CSp?
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

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SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 am Given:

1) Neural Activity happens in the Physical Mind (PM)

2) Conscious Experience happens in the Conscious Mind (CM)

How does the Neural Activity of 1 produce the Conscious Experience of 2?
The Physical Mind is, presumably, the human brain. The brain is widely assumed to be the physical substrate for the mind, although this cannot be conclusively demonstrated. We just assume it's so, and maybe it is.

You mention also the Conscious Mind, but what about the rest of the mind? The term "conscious mind" identifies a particular, small, part of the human mind. What about the rest? Does an investigation into consciousness, which must necessarily consider the mind, not need to consider all of the mind? Even though it's consciousness that interests you, is the rest of the mind irrelevant?
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

Post by SteveKlinko »

Pattern-chaser wrote: November 21st, 2021, 10:03 am
SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 am Given:

1) Neural Activity happens in the Physical Mind (PM)

2) Conscious Experience happens in the Conscious Mind (CM)

How does the Neural Activity of 1 produce the Conscious Experience of 2?
The Physical Mind is, presumably, the human brain. The brain is widely assumed to be the physical substrate for the mind, although this cannot be conclusively demonstrated. We just assume it's so, and maybe it is.

You mention also the Conscious Mind, but what about the rest of the mind? The term "conscious mind" identifies a particular, small, part of the human mind. What about the rest? Does an investigation into consciousness, which must necessarily consider the mind, not need to consider all of the mind? Even though it's consciousness that interests you, is the rest of the mind irrelevant?
Very good. The hardware of the Physical Mind (Brain) is a tool that the Conscious Mind uses. If a particular Brain activity does not result in some kind of Conscious Experience, then it is irrelevant. Your Conscious Existence is all there is for you. So, name an aspect of Mind that is not a Conscious Experience.
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

Post by Papus79 »

I think part of the problem is that a lot of the terms are somewhat misleading, even when they're the terms of choice brought up by their proponents and a lot of them aren't necessarily mutually exclusive even if they presenters may be - themselves - coming from mutually exclusive convictions.

For example with idealism, it shouldn't suggest that everything's 'Maya', rather it's an attempt to answer the question 'what is matter' as opposed to remaining completely agnostic on the question as physicalism tends to do.

Also for simulation hypothesis there's not reason why one can't say that just because it could be a frame where the physical world is so reliable that we can print transistors several nanometers across (down to where we run into quantum tunneling issues) or can reliably send a probe on a complex route to rendezvous with Pluto and do so as successfully as planned - that could be an idealist / organic set and setting, it doesn't have to be a 'computer' in the Thirteen Floor or Matrix sense, hence one could just as easily put a physicalist or idealist spin on that one.

From my own combination of both having considered the science and also having had a lot of the kinds of experiences that 'aren't supposed to be real' and considering the flavor and character of them - most of these flavors line up with a very Darwinian and Daoism-flavored idealism, of the sort that's as hard around the edges as to give us a convincing reductive materialism on first blush. If one then dips their toes properly into 'occult' phenomena and even occult practice one finds something quite naturalistic in flavor and structure there, a bit more like a hidden biological level or, even in a rather animism-like sense, where functionalism with multiple realizability extends as deep as panpsychists would suggests, and as with multiple realizability and the concept of 'China Brains', the popular parlance for that is 'egregore'.

I posted a video by Michael Levine getting into the software layer of biology which is bioelectric rather than either necessarily strictly genetic (which provides the building blocks) or the neurological level (which is something that the templating and cell-differentiating process may yield - depending on what's being unpacked from the bioelectric template), and I think we're going to continue seeing odd information paradoxes in how the world behaves at different levels, including things that have already been spoken of anecdotally which are getting actual research now such as terminal lucidity and common end-of-life visions. With some of this stuff the world starts behaving a bit more in line with alchemical thinking albeit along more fixed lines and with more rigid rules than many mystics might care to admit.

I've heard some people suggest that the universe 'simulates itself into existence', I'm not sure what they mean by that 100% but it sounds much more likely than having a kind of materialism all the way down where we're an alien's Neopets that, for some strange reason, have the lights on consciously (which just confuses the issue - ie. the simulation then would have nothing to do with consciousness, it would just be a fact about our set and setting). I also increasingly find Stephen Wolfram's computational theories sounding like Donald Hoffman and Chetan Prakash's theories, or at least Wolfram's ruliad seems to behave very much like Donald Hoffman's idea of Consciousness writ large exploring all of mathematical space, which would be infinite based on Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem. I also like Donald Hoffman's theories because they're a granular account of how you might be able to get a functionalism with multiple realizability, even sort of 'spooky' agency connections (when they're wider than synaptic gaps) and multi-layer binding all the while having a world that seems put together in an incredibly, fundamentally, Darwinian fashion. For me and what life has demonstrated any theory hast to both offer an intelligent account of Darwinian evolution and not simply dismiss the 'woo' as wishful thinking, delusion, or hallucination, which it has it own logic that can and will consistently surprise you and it seems to really hang a bit beyond the edge of human comprehensibility as if it's constituent components simply weren't structured in a manner that lend themselves to our analysis easily. The kind of webbing that Hoffman's stacked 'contracts' between conscious agents seems to give a very satisfying model for this behavior as well as how tightly these channels of activity are confined.
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

Post by Sy Borg »

Good OP. Helpful to see all those ideas organised. I think there's a fair bit of overlap between them, eg. I see little difference between GWT and emergence. The idea is, as I understand it, that the neuronal structure needed for consciousness as we know it has emerged, evolved. Like the others, it's just a guess, though.

As regard your question about panpsychism, as I understand it, the units of mind are reflexes. Numerous small reflexes and automatic responses, with entire suites of reflexes responsive to emotions and conscious executive control.
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

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SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 am Given:

1) Neural Activity happens in the Physical Mind (PM)

2) Conscious Experience happens in the Conscious Mind (CM)

How does the Neural Activity of 1 produce the Conscious Experience of 2?
Pattern-chaser wrote: November 21st, 2021, 10:03 am The Physical Mind is, presumably, the human brain. The brain is widely assumed to be the physical substrate for the mind, although this cannot be conclusively demonstrated. We just assume it's so, and maybe it is.

You mention also the Conscious Mind, but what about the rest of the mind? The term "conscious mind" identifies a particular, small, part of the human mind. What about the rest? Does an investigation into consciousness, which must necessarily consider the mind, not need to consider all of the mind? Even though it's consciousness that interests you, is the rest of the mind irrelevant?
SteveKlinko wrote: November 21st, 2021, 11:49 am Very good. The hardware of the Physical Mind (Brain) is a tool that the Conscious Mind uses. If a particular Brain activity does not result in some kind of Conscious Experience, then it is irrelevant. Your Conscious Existence is all there is for you. So, name an aspect of Mind that is not a Conscious Experience.
To your final question: when I was still working, in software design, I often 'slept on' a problem, and woke up with a solution. I have always assumed this was the work of my non-conscious mind. Or consider Coleridge, whose poem "Kublai Khan" emerged from his nonconscious mind, only to be lost when a visitor called. The non-conscious mind covers all of the mind except the 'conscious mind', from the control of autonomic functions to the sort of sophisticated 'thought' that I have just described, and many other "aspects" in between.

Just because something in my mind happens outside my conscious mind does not mean that it has no effect on me, or my conscious mind. My "conscious existence" is all that I am aware of, I agree. But it is not "all that there is for [me]"
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

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Pattern-chaser wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 7:36 am
SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 am Given:

1) Neural Activity happens in the Physical Mind (PM)

2) Conscious Experience happens in the Conscious Mind (CM)

How does the Neural Activity of 1 produce the Conscious Experience of 2?
Pattern-chaser wrote: November 21st, 2021, 10:03 am The Physical Mind is, presumably, the human brain. The brain is widely assumed to be the physical substrate for the mind, although this cannot be conclusively demonstrated. We just assume it's so, and maybe it is.

You mention also the Conscious Mind, but what about the rest of the mind? The term "conscious mind" identifies a particular, small, part of the human mind. What about the rest? Does an investigation into consciousness, which must necessarily consider the mind, not need to consider all of the mind? Even though it's consciousness that interests you, is the rest of the mind irrelevant?
SteveKlinko wrote: November 21st, 2021, 11:49 am Very good. The hardware of the Physical Mind (Brain) is a tool that the Conscious Mind uses. If a particular Brain activity does not result in some kind of Conscious Experience, then it is irrelevant. Your Conscious Existence is all there is for you. So, name an aspect of Mind that is not a Conscious Experience.
To your final question: when I was still working, in software design, I often 'slept on' a problem, and woke up with a solution. I have always assumed this was the work of my non-conscious mind. Or consider Coleridge, whose poem "Kublai Khan" emerged from his nonconscious mind, only to be lost when a visitor called. The non-conscious mind covers all of the mind except the 'conscious mind', from the control of autonomic functions to the sort of sophisticated 'thought' that I have just described, and many other "aspects" in between.

Just because something in my mind happens outside my conscious mind does not mean that it has no effect on me, or my conscious mind. My "conscious existence" is all that I am aware of, I agree. But it is not "all that there is for [me]"
The Physical Mind (Brain) runs many subconscious Brain Programs. These are not like Computer Programs and they are not stored like Computer Programs. But these Brain Programs can Subconsciously sequence through steps of bodily control that would be impossible for us to always do Consciously. For example, when you walk you are mostly not thinking about every muscle contraction needed. When you drive your car, you do not have to constantly be aware of every compensation of the steering wheel and every gas pedal and brake pedal application. In fact, most of the time you will remember none of the hundreds of control actions you took during the drive. A concert pianist does not have to be aware of every key pressed during a fast sequence of notes, because he would be using a Brain Program to do it. These Brain Programs will be developed over time while doing a particular activity. All the above activities needed much concentration at first but after a while became automatic. But these are just programs running and have very little to do with what I would consider to be the Mind. These Brain Programs of course are in the Physical Mind so it could be fair to consider them to be an aspect of Mind. But I think that on further consideration you will see that they are very Mechanistic processes that are in support of the actual Mind which I think is not in the Brain but which is in a separate Conscious Mind aspect.
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

Post by Pattern-chaser »

SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 am Given:

1) Neural Activity happens in the Physical Mind (PM)

2) Conscious Experience happens in the Conscious Mind (CM)

How does the Neural Activity of 1 produce the Conscious Experience of 2?
Pattern-chaser wrote: November 21st, 2021, 10:03 am The Physical Mind is, presumably, the human brain. The brain is widely assumed to be the physical substrate for the mind, although this cannot be conclusively demonstrated. We just assume it's so, and maybe it is.

You mention also the Conscious Mind, but what about the rest of the mind? The term "conscious mind" identifies a particular, small, part of the human mind. What about the rest? Does an investigation into consciousness, which must necessarily consider the mind, not need to consider all of the mind? Even though it's consciousness that interests you, is the rest of the mind irrelevant?
SteveKlinko wrote: November 21st, 2021, 11:49 am Very good. The hardware of the Physical Mind (Brain) is a tool that the Conscious Mind uses. If a particular Brain activity does not result in some kind of Conscious Experience, then it is irrelevant. Your Conscious Existence is all there is for you. So, name an aspect of Mind that is not a Conscious Experience.
Pattern-chaser wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 7:36 am To your final question: when I was still working, in software design, I often 'slept on' a problem, and woke up with a solution. I have always assumed this was the work of my non-conscious mind. Or consider Coleridge, whose poem "Kublai Khan" emerged from his nonconscious mind, only to be lost when a visitor called. The non-conscious mind covers all of the mind except the 'conscious mind', from the control of autonomic functions to the sort of sophisticated 'thought' that I have just described, and many other "aspects" in between.

Just because something in my mind happens outside my conscious mind does not mean that it has no effect on me, or my conscious mind. My "conscious existence" is all that I am aware of, I agree. But it is not "all that there is for [me]"
SteveKlinko wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 11:15 am The Physical Mind (Brain) runs many subconscious Brain Programs. These are not like Computer Programs and they are not stored like Computer Programs. But these Brain Programs can Subconsciously sequence through steps of bodily control that would be impossible for us to always do Consciously. For example, when you walk you are mostly not thinking about every muscle contraction needed. When you drive your car, you do not have to constantly be aware of every compensation of the steering wheel and every gas pedal and brake pedal application. In fact, most of the time you will remember none of the hundreds of control actions you took during the drive. A concert pianist does not have to be aware of every key pressed during a fast sequence of notes, because he would be using a Brain Program to do it. These Brain Programs will be developed over time while doing a particular activity. All the above activities needed much concentration at first but after a while became automatic. But these are just programs running and have very little to do with what I would consider to be the Mind. These Brain Programs of course are in the Physical Mind so it could be fair to consider them to be an aspect of Mind. But I think that on further consideration you will see that they are very Mechanistic processes that are in support of the actual Mind which I think is not in the Brain but which is in a separate Conscious Mind aspect.
What you discuss here is how we can learn complex operations that we often repeat, so that they become habitual and unconscious. This is true enough, but the actions of the nonconscious mind that I described are both much more and much less than this. The problem-solving part, that also composes poetry, is the most sophisticated stuff that the nonconscious does, while control of the beating of our hearts (etc) is among the most fundamental operations. There is quite a lot in between, too.

These actions of the nonconscious mind directly and indirectly affect our conscious minds, and thereby our lives. So it is this that I offer in contrast to what you said:
SteveKlinko wrote: November 21st, 2021, 11:49 am If a particular Brain activity does not result in some kind of Conscious Experience, then it is irrelevant. Your Conscious Existence is all there is for you. So, name an aspect of Mind that is not a Conscious Experience.
I did name some such aspects, but you didn't seem to notice...?
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

Post by SteveKlinko »

Pattern-chaser wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 12:11 pm
SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 am Given:

1) Neural Activity happens in the Physical Mind (PM)

2) Conscious Experience happens in the Conscious Mind (CM)

How does the Neural Activity of 1 produce the Conscious Experience of 2?
Pattern-chaser wrote: November 21st, 2021, 10:03 am The Physical Mind is, presumably, the human brain. The brain is widely assumed to be the physical substrate for the mind, although this cannot be conclusively demonstrated. We just assume it's so, and maybe it is.

You mention also the Conscious Mind, but what about the rest of the mind? The term "conscious mind" identifies a particular, small, part of the human mind. What about the rest? Does an investigation into consciousness, which must necessarily consider the mind, not need to consider all of the mind? Even though it's consciousness that interests you, is the rest of the mind irrelevant?
SteveKlinko wrote: November 21st, 2021, 11:49 am Very good. The hardware of the Physical Mind (Brain) is a tool that the Conscious Mind uses. If a particular Brain activity does not result in some kind of Conscious Experience, then it is irrelevant. Your Conscious Existence is all there is for you. So, name an aspect of Mind that is not a Conscious Experience.
Pattern-chaser wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 7:36 am To your final question: when I was still working, in software design, I often 'slept on' a problem, and woke up with a solution. I have always assumed this was the work of my non-conscious mind. Or consider Coleridge, whose poem "Kublai Khan" emerged from his nonconscious mind, only to be lost when a visitor called. The non-conscious mind covers all of the mind except the 'conscious mind', from the control of autonomic functions to the sort of sophisticated 'thought' that I have just described, and many other "aspects" in between.

Just because something in my mind happens outside my conscious mind does not mean that it has no effect on me, or my conscious mind. My "conscious existence" is all that I am aware of, I agree. But it is not "all that there is for [me]"
SteveKlinko wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 11:15 am The Physical Mind (Brain) runs many subconscious Brain Programs. These are not like Computer Programs and they are not stored like Computer Programs. But these Brain Programs can Subconsciously sequence through steps of bodily control that would be impossible for us to always do Consciously. For example, when you walk you are mostly not thinking about every muscle contraction needed. When you drive your car, you do not have to constantly be aware of every compensation of the steering wheel and every gas pedal and brake pedal application. In fact, most of the time you will remember none of the hundreds of control actions you took during the drive. A concert pianist does not have to be aware of every key pressed during a fast sequence of notes, because he would be using a Brain Program to do it. These Brain Programs will be developed over time while doing a particular activity. All the above activities needed much concentration at first but after a while became automatic. But these are just programs running and have very little to do with what I would consider to be the Mind. These Brain Programs of course are in the Physical Mind so it could be fair to consider them to be an aspect of Mind. But I think that on further consideration you will see that they are very Mechanistic processes that are in support of the actual Mind which I think is not in the Brain but which is in a separate Conscious Mind aspect.
What you discuss here is how we can learn complex operations that we often repeat, so that they become habitual and unconscious. This is true enough, but the actions of the nonconscious mind that I described are both much more and much less than this. The problem-solving part, that also composes poetry, is the most sophisticated stuff that the nonconscious does, while control of the beating of our hearts (etc) is among the most fundamental operations. There is quite a lot in between, too.

These actions of the nonconscious mind directly and indirectly affect our conscious minds, and thereby our lives. So it is this that I offer in contrast to what you said:
SteveKlinko wrote: November 21st, 2021, 11:49 am If a particular Brain activity does not result in some kind of Conscious Experience, then it is irrelevant. Your Conscious Existence is all there is for you. So, name an aspect of Mind that is not a Conscious Experience.
I did name some such aspects, but you didn't seem to notice...?
But the problem solving part is irrelevant until a Conscious Experience of the Solution is obtained. Remember I said ... "result in some kind of Conscious Experience". Computers can solve problems but there is no Consciousness happening there. Poetry can only be Experienced to appreciate it. I think you are mistaken about Poetry being composed unconsciously. The Brain is always whirring away doing things behind the scenes. The outputs from all this whirring Brain activity that become part of our Conscious Mind Experience is the primary aspect of Consciousness that I am interested in. It is the unknown aspect of Consciousness. Brain processes are becoming more and more understood while the actual Conscious Experience that happens in the Mind is completely and absolutely not known at this time.
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

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Sy Borg wrote: November 21st, 2021, 10:19 pm Good OP. Helpful to see all those ideas organised. I think there's a fair bit of overlap between them, eg. I see little difference between GWT and emergence. The idea is, as I understand it, that the neuronal structure needed for consciousness as we know it has emerged, evolved. Like the others, it's just a guess, though.

As regard your question about panpsychism, as I understand it, the units of mind are reflexes. Numerous small reflexes and automatic responses, with entire suites of reflexes responsive to emotions and conscious executive control.
Could be. All speculations are on the table when it comes to Consciousness.
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

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Papus79 wrote: November 21st, 2021, 9:59 pm I think part of the problem is that a lot of the terms are somewhat misleading, even when they're the terms of choice brought up by their proponents and a lot of them aren't necessarily mutually exclusive even if they presenters may be - themselves - coming from mutually exclusive convictions.

For example with idealism, it shouldn't suggest that everything's 'Maya', rather it's an attempt to answer the question 'what is matter' as opposed to remaining completely agnostic on the question as physicalism tends to do.

Also for simulation hypothesis there's not reason why one can't say that just because it could be a frame where the physical world is so reliable that we can print transistors several nanometers across (down to where we run into quantum tunneling issues) or can reliably send a probe on a complex route to rendezvous with Pluto and do so as successfully as planned - that could be an idealist / organic set and setting, it doesn't have to be a 'computer' in the Thirteen Floor or Matrix sense, hence one could just as easily put a physicalist or idealist spin on that one.

From my own combination of both having considered the science and also having had a lot of the kinds of experiences that 'aren't supposed to be real' and considering the flavor and character of them - most of these flavors line up with a very Darwinian and Daoism-flavored idealism, of the sort that's as hard around the edges as to give us a convincing reductive materialism on first blush. If one then dips their toes properly into 'occult' phenomena and even occult practice one finds something quite naturalistic in flavor and structure there, a bit more like a hidden biological level or, even in a rather animism-like sense, where functionalism with multiple realizability extends as deep as panpsychists would suggests, and as with multiple realizability and the concept of 'China Brains', the popular parlance for that is 'egregore'.

I posted a video by Michael Levine getting into the software layer of biology which is bioelectric rather than either necessarily strictly genetic (which provides the building blocks) or the neurological level (which is something that the templating and cell-differentiating process may yield - depending on what's being unpacked from the bioelectric template), and I think we're going to continue seeing odd information paradoxes in how the world behaves at different levels, including things that have already been spoken of anecdotally which are getting actual research now such as terminal lucidity and common end-of-life visions. With some of this stuff the world starts behaving a bit more in line with alchemical thinking albeit along more fixed lines and with more rigid rules than many mystics might care to admit.

I've heard some people suggest that the universe 'simulates itself into existence', I'm not sure what they mean by that 100% but it sounds much more likely than having a kind of materialism all the way down where we're an alien's Neopets that, for some strange reason, have the lights on consciously (which just confuses the issue - ie. the simulation then would have nothing to do with consciousness, it would just be a fact about our set and setting). I also increasingly find Stephen Wolfram's computational theories sounding like Donald Hoffman and Chetan Prakash's theories, or at least Wolfram's ruliad seems to behave very much like Donald Hoffman's idea of Consciousness writ large exploring all of mathematical space, which would be infinite based on Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem. I also like Donald Hoffman's theories because they're a granular account of how you might be able to get a functionalism with multiple realizability, even sort of 'spooky' agency connections (when they're wider than synaptic gaps) and multi-layer binding all the while having a world that seems put together in an incredibly, fundamentally, Darwinian fashion. For me and what life has demonstrated any theory hast to both offer an intelligent account of Darwinian evolution and not simply dismiss the 'woo' as wishful thinking, delusion, or hallucination, which it has it own logic that can and will consistently surprise you and it seems to really hang a bit beyond the edge of human comprehensibility as if it's constituent components simply weren't structured in a manner that lend themselves to our analysis easily. The kind of webbing that Hoffman's stacked 'contracts' between conscious agents seems to give a very satisfying model for this behavior as well as how tightly these channels of activity are confined.
I appreciate your well thought out response. My opinion is that all speculations and theories are on the table when it comes to Consciousness. However, there is no theory or speculation that can Explain any of these Conscious Experiences: Redness, the Standard A Tone, the Salty Taste, the Smell of Bleach, or the Touch of a Rough Surface. If you can find a theory that can Explain any of these then you have got something. I specialize in the Experience of Redness and all the other Colors of Light. I have not been able to find anyone on this Planet that has a good Explanation for the Visual Experience of Redness.
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

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SteveKlinko wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 1:05 pm I appreciate your well thought out response. My opinion is that all speculations and theories are on the table when it comes to Consciousness. However, there is no theory or speculation that can Explain any of these Conscious Experiences: Redness, the Standard A Tone, the Salty Taste, the Smell of Bleach, or the Touch of a Rough Surface. If you can find a theory that can Explain any of these then you have got something. I specialize in the Experience of Redness and all the other Colors of Light. I have not been able to find anyone on this Planet that has a good Explanation for the Visual Experience of Redness.
On that specifically I wouldn't trust any answer that didn't get in directly, identify, and examine that process in its native context. The really up close and personal aspects of sensory experience, like the taste of coffee or seeing the color red, would either be hidden so deep in data contexts that we'd have a lot of decoding to get anywhere near them or/and the proper media on which they're happening is something we don't understand and in that case still have a much longer ways to stretch the term physicalism.
People aren't fundamentally good or fundamentally bad, we're fundamentally trying to survive. It's the environment and culture which tells us what that's going to be.
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

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SteveKlinko wrote: November 22nd, 2021, 12:48 pm Computers can solve problems but there is no Consciousness happening there.
If computers could solve the problems that I solved, as a software designer, then I would've been out of a job. But they can't, and I wasn't.

To use your terminology, it is irrelevant that the doings of my nonconscious mind only become known to me when I experience them consciously. The fact remains that our nonconscious minds do an enormous amount, at all levels of abstraction, that our conscious minds know nothing of. This doesn't mean that these things are "irrelevant", IMO.
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

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SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 amNext, I would like to talk about Global Workspace Theory (GWT) with respect to Conscious Experience. I include this theory because people will often say that this theory explains Consciousness. In reality, this theory does not even try to Explain Conscious Experiences. This theory is a theory about Organizing our internal thought processes. There is no way this theory can Explain what the IM is within the theory. If I am wrong about this then please, will someone show me how this theory can Explain any Conscious Experience?
You're wrong insofar as GWT does try to explain consciousness. For example, Peter Carruthers argues that "the [global-workspace] theory can provide a fully reductive explanation of phenomenal consciousness." "…This chapter shows how global-workspace theory can be developed into a satisfying, fully reductive, explanation of phenomenal consciousness." (Human and Animal Minds, Oxford UP, 2019, pp. 96+116)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars
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Re: Why All Current Scientific Theories Of Consciousness Fail

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SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 amNext, I would like to talk about Emergence and Epiphenomenalism with respect to Conscious Experience. Emergence is a Physicalist proposition.
Not always, because there isn't only emergent materialism. There are also emergent mentalism and emergent neutralism.
SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 amEmergence proposes that Conscious Experience IS NOT the Neural Activity itself, but rather the Conscious Experience Emerges from the Neural Activity. But the Conscious Experience is still the result of Neural Activity even if you cannot say it IS the Neural Activity.
If "emergence" isn't simply used as a metaphorical (reverse) term for causation—such that "x emerges from y" means "x is caused by y"/y causes x"—, I don't know what emergence is. In my understanding, emergent materialism = causal materialism.
SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 amNext, I would like to talk about Eliminativism and Illusionism with respect to Conscious Experience. Eliminativism is another Physicalist proposition.
Not always, because there isn't only eliminative materialism. There are also eliminative mentalism and eliminative neutralism.
SteveKlinko wrote: November 20th, 2021, 11:02 amEliminativism proposes that Conscious Experience does not even exist. Illusionism is a sub category of Eliminativism that proposes that Conscious Experience exists only as an Illusion.
…which is to say that only the (introspective) illusion of conscious experience exists, and that conscious experience (itself) doesn't exist.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars
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