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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Thomyum2
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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Thomyum2 » December 2nd, 2019, 8:31 pm

Consul wrote:
December 2nd, 2019, 7:10 pm
RJG wrote:
December 2nd, 2019, 4:51 pm
When we are conscious, we are ONLY conscious of physical bodily reactions ("physical experiences"). And NOTHING else! -- If you disagree, then please give an example of a case where conscious perception is of a non-bodily reaction. I'm sure you will not find any such case.
For example, if you claim that we can consciously perceive a tree outside our window, then you are mistaken, as it is not the tree itself that we are conscious of, it is the physical bodily reaction caused by the light waves bouncing off the tree and reflecting into our eyes, impacting our optic nerves, creating the conscious experience of perceiving the tree. For without this physical bodily reaction, there would be nothing for us to be conscious of.
A "conscious experience" is a physical bodily experience that we are conscious of.
No, when you see a tree, what you see—the object of your visual perception—is the tree and not the neurophysiological process causing your visual perception of it.
I agree - to point to the ‘bodily reaction’ as the point where consciousness begins it problematic because the ‘body’ itself is not clearly defined. This could be a separate thread or topic in its own right, but it is not such an easy task as it seems to distinguish between what is part of one’s body and what is not, or which parts of it do or do not have a role in perception and consciousness. The ‘boundary’ of our the body, both in time and in space, is a somewhat arbitrary notion, and reminiscent of the Ship of Theseus problem. At what point does some thing or some sensation ‘enter’ our body from outside to create that experience? At what point in the chain of events does it go from being a mere physical occurrence to becoming something that we perceive and can be aware of? At the spatial boundary? At the first cellular membrane? At the point it enters the nervous system? At the brain? Which part of the brain then?

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Sculptor1 » December 3rd, 2019, 5:27 am

Papus79 wrote:
November 4th, 2019, 8:19 am
This actually hits on an issue that I've been running into before, ie. that when certain intuitions 'pan out' and random chance doesn't explain it or when we find ourselves observing strong synchronicities, if we're not averse to some radical form of functionalism (which anymore I'd say that I'm not) much of this is most likely layers of cross-talk that we don't have access to on our own introspection, that its technically 'real' but that its so remote that our intuitions about it quite often won't be valid in that it can't be read literally by the time it gets too us - too much information has been lost. It's interesting to think that on certain levels above us there are organizing contracts of sorts that are regulating groups of people in a self-aware manner similar to how I hold my brain together as one me.
But most "intuitions" do not pan out to reality. There is strong selective bias to focus on the ones that do, but the brain is searching for the patterns and trends all the time, until it hits one that is successful. And successful does not always mean true or even real.
I'd not heard the name Hoffman before I read you post but I did take a look at his TED talk; pretty standard stuff. But one thing he does is review the evolutionary argument for seeing as accurate against seeing as successful.
We do not see what is accurate as much as what works to our survival. RED is all important way beyond the quale to "see" a colour. Red is blood, red is the berry, the tomato. Food is on the cutting edge of evolution. Plants have benefited from this colour bias to help distribute their seed. It goes further than that. Red is sex. red painted lips have far more meaning and emotive reaction to a man than unpainted lips. When a man sees a naked woman, he's not just seeing a collection of flesh, he sees something desirable. And like the Australian Jewel Beetle that can't stop himself **** a dimpled beer bottle, the human male spaffs his load over Internet Porn, to no advantage except base pleasure.
SO yeah we find syncronicities, but they are not necessarily there. People see god all the time. Since there are so many religions they cannot all be right, but many seem keen enough to kill others when they think they are right.

"It's interesting to think that on certain levels above us there are organizing contracts of sorts that are regulating groups of people in a self-aware manner similar to how I hold my brain together as one me."

This bit, not sure I could agree.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by RJG » December 3rd, 2019, 7:52 am

Consul wrote:No, when you see a tree, what you see—the object of your visual perception— is the tree and not the neurophysiological process causing your visual perception of it.
So, in other words, "the tree" that you are conscious of is the one created by your physical brain processes, ...correct?

And so, if we perceive a ghost flying about, it is NOT the actual/real ghost that we perceive, but instead it is "the ghost" that was created by our physical brain processes, ...correct?

If correct, then you (Consul) and I, may have reached an agreement here.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Atla » December 3rd, 2019, 1:05 pm

RJG wrote:
December 2nd, 2019, 8:32 am
RJG wrote:Sorry, but physical "objects" and "experiences" are NOT the same thing. Check your local dictionary.
Atla wrote:But my local dictionary is based on a centuries old hallucination. That hallucination is embedded on all levels in Western thinking. Everyone is wrong here.
Atla, you seemingly contradict yourself. -- If as you claim, "everything is an hallucination", then so is your point. If you are "certain that everything is uncertain" then you undercut the validity of your own words.
I totally didn't said anything like "everything is a hallucination".. whatever

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Atla » December 3rd, 2019, 1:18 pm

Consul wrote:
December 1st, 2019, 4:22 pm
What do you mean by "Western philosophy" and "Western thinking"?
..
All Western thinking is dualistic. (Here dualistic means something like: thing-ifying, pluralistic, dual, countable, reifies the abstract forms of thoughts and treats them as concrete. There's just no good way to put it.)

Eastern philosophy has both dualistic and nondual thinking. These are the two major forms of human thinking, but from what I can tell, you guys on this forum aren't aware of the other one (the correct one).

I'm not saying that the great Western physicists fully understood this, but modern physics just isn't compatible with dualistic thinking, with Western worldviews in general.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by RJG » December 3rd, 2019, 2:29 pm

Atla wrote:Besides there are no subjects and objects either.
Atla wrote:There is no 'physical' and 'mental'.
Atla wrote:These are made-up categories, people hallucinated them a few hundred to thousand years ago, and then reified them.
...
RJG wrote:Atla, you seemingly contradict yourself. -- If as you claim, "everything is an hallucination", then so is your point. If you are "certain that everything is uncertain" then you undercut the validity of your own words.
Atla wrote:I totally didn't said anything like "everything is a hallucination".. whatever
If there is no ("subject or object" or "physical or mental" entity named) "Atla", then who/what is making these "subjective" statements/points of view? If "Atla" is just an hallucination (as Atla claims) then so are the statements that Atla says and writes. Atla's very own statements/words thereby 'defeat' the validity/legitimacy of Atla's argument!

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » December 3rd, 2019, 3:06 pm

Atla wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 1:18 pm
All Western thinking is dualistic. (Here dualistic means something like: thing-ifying, pluralistic, dual, countable, reifies the abstract forms of thoughts and treats them as concrete. There's just no good way to put it.)
Eastern philosophy has both dualistic and nondual thinking. These are the two major forms of human thinking, but from what I can tell, you guys on this forum aren't aware of the other one (the correct one).
I'm not saying that the great Western physicists fully understood this, but modern physics just isn't compatible with dualistic thinking, with Western worldviews in general.
This is off-topic, so just two remarks:

1. A dualism is always one between two kinds of things (in the broadest sense of "thing"), so we would first have to talk about what exactly those two kinds of things are.

2. In any case, it is not true that "all Western thinking is dualistic," and that "modern physics just isn't compatible with dualistic thinking, with Western worldviews in general."
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » December 3rd, 2019, 3:20 pm

RJG wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 7:52 am
Consul wrote:No, when you see a tree, what you see—the object of your visual perception— is the tree and not the neurophysiological process causing your visual perception of it.
So, in other words, "the tree" that you are conscious of is the one created by your physical brain processes, ...correct?
No, brain processes don't create trees but sensory appearances or impressions of them. The tree is the intentional object of perception—that which I perceive—, and the sensory tree-appearance/-impression (the sensation involved) is the experiential content of perception—that which I experience. The intentional object is perceived through the experiential content, the latter of which is experienced but not itself perceived. When you see a tree, what you see is the tree and not your seeing of it, which is constituted by your having of visual impressions of the tree. You don't see the visual impressions you have, because your having of visual impressions IS your seeing of (other) things.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by RJG » December 3rd, 2019, 9:20 pm

RJG wrote:So, in other words, "the tree" that you are conscious of is the one created by your physical brain processes, ...correct?

And so, if we perceive a ghost flying about, it is NOT the actual/real ghost that we perceive, but instead it is "the ghost" that was created by our physical brain processes, ...correct?
Consul wrote:No, brain processes don't create trees but sensory appearances or impressions of them.
Consul, you are playing games here. [deep exhale]. Okay, so then physical brain processes create [the "mental impressions"] of "the tree" and "the ghost" that we are conscious of, ...correct?

Consul wrote:When you see a tree, what you see is the tree and not your seeing of it...
Yikes! Now you seem to be saying that when we see a "ghost", we are actually seeing the 'real' "ghost" himself!! Can we actually know the 'cause' of our delusions ("mental impressions")? Can we actually know which of our delusions/hallucinations are real, and which are not-real (imagined; delusion-ed)? NO IS THE ANSWER.

We are only privy to (conscious; knowing of) our "mental impressions", that's it! ...and not to the 'causes' of these mental impressions! The causes can only be speculated, and never known with certainty by themselves, ...no matter what Searle says!

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » December 3rd, 2019, 9:52 pm

RJG wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 9:20 pm
Consul wrote:No, brain processes don't create trees but sensory appearances or impressions of them.
Consul, you are playing games here.
No, I'm drawing important distinctions.
RJG wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 9:20 pm
Okay, [deep exhale] -- So then physical brain processes create the "mental impressions" of "the tree" and "the ghost" that we are conscious of, ...correct?
No, when you see a tree and are thereby conscious of it, the only thing created by your brain is your visual impression of the tree.
RJG wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 9:20 pm
Consul wrote:When you see a tree, what you see is the tree and not your seeing of it...
Yikes! Now you seem to be saying that when we see a "ghost", we are actually seeing the 'real' "ghost" himself!! Can we tell when we are hallucinating/delusional or not hallucinating/delusional? Or is everything that we consciously perceive really real?
Consul, I suspect that you have been reading too much of Searle's Fantasy Philosophy.
As far as the nature of perception is concerned, he's right!

Hallucinations aren't cases of perception, because their intentional objects do not exist; and you cannot perceive what isn't there. To have a hallucinatory visual impression of something is to experience something (some visual sensation), but it's not to perceive anything, since there is nothing to perceive. Hallucinations are experientially contentful but existentially objectless. Of course, the hallucinating subject may mistake her/his hallucinatory experience for a veridical perception of something (existent).
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by RJG » December 3rd, 2019, 10:04 pm

Consul wrote:No, when you see a tree and are thereby conscious of it, the only thing created by your brain is your visual impression of the tree.
Are you conscious of this visual/mental impression or of the 'real' tree (and ghost) himself?

Consul wrote:Hallucinations aren't cases of perception, because their intentional objects do not exist; and you cannot perceive what isn't there.
Yes, of course, hallucinations are not of real objects. But this side-steps the issue here. The issue is what is it exactly that you are conscious of when conscious of something? Are you conscious of the "mental impression" (that was created by your brain processes) or of the real tree/ghost himself?

The possibility of hallucinations/delusions gives us the answer! We are therefore ONLY conscious of our "mental impressions", and not that which causes our mental impressions. You have no way of knowing if you are hallucinating or not hallucinating. You have no way of knowing if your conscious perception of a tree or the ghost is real, ...you are only conscious of "mental impressions"!!

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » December 3rd, 2019, 10:07 pm

RJG wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 9:20 pm
We are only privy to (conscious; knowing of) our "mental impressions", that's it! ...and not to the 'causes' of these mental impressions! The causes can only be speculated, and never known with certainty by themselves, ...no matter what Searle says!
It's a fundamental idealistic mistake to believe that the (experiential) contents of perception are also its (intentional) objects, such that we never perceive anything external and objective, but always something internal and subjective—some sensation (sensory impression or appearance). For we do have perceptual access to nonexperiential/nonmental reality! My mind is not a windowless dungeon!
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by RJG » December 3rd, 2019, 10:12 pm

Consul wrote:It's a fundamental idealistic mistake to believe that the (experiential) contents of perception are also its (intentional) objects, such that we never perceive anything external and objective, but always something internal and subjective—some sensation (sensory impression or appearance). For we do have perceptual access to nonexperiential/nonmental reality! My mind is not a windowless dungeon!
Your mind can only see "mental impressions", not the 'cause' of these mental impressions. So, in this sense, you are trapped within a "windowless dungeon"! Your belief otherwise, or your claim that the tree is not-real and the ghost is real is purely speculative at best.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » December 3rd, 2019, 10:37 pm

RJG wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 10:04 pm
Consul wrote:No, when you see a tree and are thereby conscious of it, the only thing created by your brain is your visual impression of the tree.
Are you conscious of this visual/mental impression or of the 'real' tree (and ghost) himself?
I'm conscious or aware of the tree (only)—unless my sense-perceptual or extrospective consciousness/awareness of the tree is accompanied by introspective or reflective consciousness/awareness of my tree-impressions (my visual sensations functioning as visual impressions or appearances of the tree).
The capacity for sensory perception doesn't depend on the capacity for introspection or reflection. All animals have the former, but most of them lack the latter.
RJG wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 10:04 pm
Consul wrote:Hallucinations aren't cases of perception, because their intentional objects do not exist; and you cannot perceive what isn't there.
Yes, of course, hallucinations are not of real objects. But this side-steps the issue here. The issue is what is it exactly that you are conscious of when conscious of something? Are you conscious of the "mental impression" (that was created by your brain processes) or of the real tree/ghost himself?

The possibility of hallucinations/delusions gives us the answer! We are therefore ONLY conscious of our "mental impressions", and not that which causes our mental impressions. You have no way of knowing if you are hallucinating or not hallucinating. You have no way of knowing if your conscious perception of a tree or the ghost is real, ...you are only conscious of "mental impressions"!!
Nope!
First of all, there's a distinction between the epistemology of perception and its ontology (its essence or nature). I'm talking about the latter!

In the case of (veridical) perception, the subject seems to be sense-perceptually or extrospectively conscious/aware of something and is really extrospectively conscious/aware of something. The subject may but needn't be introspectively conscious/aware of her/his (nonhallucinatory) sensations.

In the case of hallucination, the subject seems to be sense-perceptually or extrospectively conscious/aware of something but is really extrospectively conscious/aware of nothing. The subject may but needn't be introspectively conscious/aware of her/his (hallucinatory) sensations; and s/he may but needn't be conscious/aware of the fact that what seems to be a (veridical) perception is a hallucination.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » December 3rd, 2019, 10:55 pm

RJG wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 10:12 pm
Your mind can only see "mental impressions", not the 'cause' of these mental impressions. So, in this sense, you are trapped within a "windowless dungeon"! Your belief otherwise, or your claim that the tree is not-real and the ghost is real is purely speculative at best.
No, you cannot see your visual impressions. I agree with Searle—see below!

I've never had any hallucination (and I'm not keen on having one), so I don't know from my own experience whether hallucinations are or can be subjectively indistinguishable from veridical perceptions.

———

"The subjective visual field has to be sharply distinguished from the objective visual field. The former is an intentional presentation of the latter.

The objective visual field is ontologically public and objective, a third-person set of objects and states of affairs that are identified relative to a particular perceiver and his or her point of view. So right now, the objective visual field for me consists of all the objects and states of affairs that I can see under these lighting conditions in my present physiological and psychological state and from this point of view. The subjective visual field is ontologically private, a first-person set of experiences that go on entirely in the head.

In the objective visual field, everything is seen or can be seen; in the subjective visual field, nothing is seen nor can be seen.

My objective visual field is defined as the set of objects and states of affairs that are visible from my point of view under these conditions. My subjective visual field, on the other hand, is ontologically subjective, and it exists entirely in my brain. The most important thing to re-emphasize is that in the subjective visual field, nothing is seen. This is not because the entities in the subjective visual field are invisible, but rather because their existence is the seeing of objects in the objective visual field. One thing you cannot see when you see anything is your seeing of that thing. And this holds whether or not the case is a good case or a bad case, whether it is veridical or hallucinatory, because in the hallucinatory case you do not see anything. And, in particular, you do not see the hallucinatory seeing. To think otherwise, to think that the entities in the subjective visual field are themselves seen, is to commit the Bad Argument. It is, as I have argued earlier, the disaster from which a large number of the disasters of Western philosophy over the past four centuries result.

I actually believe that if this point had been appreciated, not just about vision but about perception in general, from the seventeenth century on, the entire history of Western philosophy would have been different. Many truly appalling mistakes—from Descartes' Representative Theory of Perception all the way through to Kant's Transcendental Idealism and beyond—would have been avoided if everybody understood you cannot see or otherwise perceive anything in the subjective perceptual field."


(Searle, John R. Seeing Things As They Are: A Theory of Perception. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015. pp. 106-7)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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