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

Post by Felix » December 4th, 2019, 3:01 am

Consul: 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.
Yes of course they can be, unless one is hopelessly insane, and cannot distinguish between reality and imagination, which is why RJG's claim that the two are equivalent is false.
"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 » December 4th, 2019, 3:34 am

Felix wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 3:01 am
Consul: 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.
Yes of course they can be, unless one is hopelessly insane, and cannot distinguish between reality and imagination, which is why RJG's claim that the two are equivalent is false.
Hallucinations may or may not be subjectively, experientially/phenomenally distinguishable from (veridical) sensory perceptions, but they are surely subjectively, experientially/phenomenally distinguishable from imaginations.

"Imagination is qualitatively different from hallucination. The visions of artists and scientists, the fantasies and daydreams we all have, are located in the imaginative space of our own minds, our own private theaters. They do not normally appear in external space, like the objects of perception. Something has to happen in the mind/brain for imagination to overleap its boundaries and be replaced by hallucination. Some dissociation or disconnection must occur, some breakdown of the mechanisms that normally allow us to recognize and take responsibility for our own thoughts and imaginings, to see them as ours and not as external in origin."

(Sacks, Oliver. Hallucinations. New York: Knopf, 2012. p. 242)
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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

Post by Tamminen » December 4th, 2019, 3:46 am

RJG wrote:
December 3rd, 2019, 10:12 pm
Your mind can only see "mental impressions"
Some progress here: you don't speak about "bodily reactions" any more. This is reflection, the Cartesian idea concerning certainty. But as to the ontology of consciousness, Consul is right: normally we are not conscious of our mental impressions but their objects.

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

Post by Felix » December 4th, 2019, 3:50 am

I agree, Consul, imagination was the wrong word choice - there are people with imaginations so vivid though that they are almost hallucinatory.
"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 » December 4th, 2019, 4:21 am

Felix wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 3:50 am
I agree, Consul, imagination was the wrong word choice - there are people with imaginations so vivid though that they are almost hallucinatory.
"By the term impression, then, I mean all our more lively perceptions, when we hear, or see, or feel, or love, or hate, or desire, or will. And impressions are distinguished from ideas, which are the less lively perceptions, of which we are conscious, when we reflect on any of those sensations or movements above mentioned."

(Hume, David. An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding. 1748. Sect. II: Of the Origin of Ideas)

"All the perceptions of the human mind resolve themselves into two distinct kinds, which I shall call impressions and ideas. The difference betwixt these consists in the degrees of force and liveliness, with which they strike upon the mind, and make their way into our thought or consciousness. Those perceptions, which enter with most force and violence, we may name impressions; and under this name I comprehend all our sensations, passions and emotions, as they make their first appearance in the soul. By ideas I mean the faint images of these in thinking and reasoning; such as, for instance, are all the perceptions excited by the present discourse, excepting only, those which arise from the sight and touch, and excepting the immediate pleasure or uneasiness it may occasion. I believe it will not be very necessary to employ many words in explaining this distinction. Every one of himself will readily perceive the difference betwixt feeling and thinking. The common degrees of these are easily distinguished; though it is not impossible but in particular instances they may very nearly approach to each other. Thus in sleep, in a fever, in madness, or in any very violent emotions of soul, our ideas may approach to our impressions: As on the other hand it sometimes happens, that our impressions are so faint and low, that we cannot distinguish them from our ideas. But notwithstanding this near resemblance in a few instances, they are in general so very different, that no one can make a scruple to rank them under distinct heads, and assign to each a peculiar name to mark the difference."

(Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. 1739-40. Bk. 1: Pt. 1; Sect. 1: Of the Origin of Our Ideas)

"Impressions and ideas differ only in their strength and vivacity. …An idea is a weaker impression[.]"

(Hume, David. A Treatise of Human Nature. 1739-40. Bk. 1: Pt. 1; Sect. 7: Of Abstract Ideas)

But, as he himself concedes, there can be weak impressions and strong ideas (mental images), so the distinction between impressions and ideas (mental images) in terms of their respective "strength and vivacity" is vague.
"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 » December 4th, 2019, 4:44 am

Consul wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 4:21 am
But, as he himself concedes, there can be weak impressions and strong ideas (mental images), so the distinction between impressions and ideas (mental images) in terms of their respective "strength and vivacity" is vague.
I think the difference between sensory perception and imagination is the difference between actual sensations and virtual sensations, i.e. mental imitations or simulations of actual sensations. Husserl calls mental images sensory phantasms (Sinnesphantasmen in German), and I think that's what they are. (Imagination is reconstructive in the case of memories, and constructive or creative in the case of fantasies.) For example, visually imagining a horse is similar to (yet more sketchy than) actually seeing a horse. (And actually seeing a horse is different from seeing a physical or mental picture of it.)

Given the above distinction, I'd say the difference between imagination and hallucination is that the former consists of virtual sensations, whereas the latter consists of actual sensations. However, my distinction may be as vague as Hume's distinction between ideas and impressions.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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

Post by Gee » December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am

Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
And yet you stated: "There are three basic kinds of consciousness/experience: sensation, emotion, and imagination." All life, bacteria, fungi, and plants, sense and have sensation, so you are not being consistent in your position.
Yes, I am, because I've already stressed several times that there is a relevant difference between (mere) physiological sensitivity (reactivity/responsivity to physical/chemical stimuli or signals) and psychological sentience (experience of sensations). When nonsentient organisms are said to "sense" things, this is "objective sensing" (or "objective perceiving") in the context of merely physiological sensitivity. For example, bacteria are capable of "quorum sensing", which has nothing to do with subjective sensing:
Oh yeah? Then why do bacteria not do any "quorum sensing" when they are dead? Could it possibly be because they no longer experience the sensations? You can not mix biology and chemistry willy nilly without corrupting your information.

Do you see the words, "mere" and "merely" that you typed in your response? This is not the first time you have used them in this manner. It is as obvious as a nose on a face that you think psychological sentience is superior to physiological sentience. You have also made it clear that psychological sentience requires a brain, which you have, so you have not only closed your mind to any consciousness that does not come from a brain, you have also made psychological sentience look like magic. It has no source and could not have evolved. Since you are human and have a brain, it also looks like bias.

This is a common problem with many people, who claim to be materialist/physicalists. They are not. They are actually brainists and are as difficult to discuss consciousness with as the most radically religious people. I am probably more of a physicalist than you are because I study the physical aspects of consciousness. I threw out Monism v Dualism a long time ago, so I don't need to worry about whether consciousness came from humans (the brain) or "God".

If you think that consciousness is physical, then tell me what you think is physical about it -- and why -- in your own words. Do not tell me what other people think. I am not talking to them.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
"Quorum sensing is the regulation of gene expression in response to fluctuations in cell-population density. Quorum sensing bacteria produce and release chemical signal molecules called autoinducers that increase in concentration as a function of cell density. The detection of a minimal threshold stimulatory concentration of an autoinducer leads to an alteration in gene expression. Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria use quorum sensing communication circuits to regulate a diverse array of physiological activities. These processes include symbiosis, virulence, competence, conjugation, antibiotic production, motility, sporulation, and biofilm formation. In general, Gram-negative bacteria use acylated homoserine lactones as autoinducers, and Gram-positive bacteria use processed oligo-peptides to communicate. Recent advances in the field indicate that cell-cell communication via autoinducers occurs both within and between bacterial species. Furthermore, there is mounting data suggesting that bacterial autoinducers elicit specific responses from host organisms. Although the nature of the chemical signals, the signal relay mechanisms, and the target genes controlled by bacterial quorum sensing systems differ, in every case the ability to communicate with one another allows bacteria to coordinate the gene expression, and therefore the behavior, of the entire community. Presumably, this process bestows upon bacteria some of the qualities of higher organisms. The evolution of quorum sensing systems in bacteria could, therefore, have been one of the early steps in the development of multicellularity."

Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11544353

And if you take it up one level, what you find is that every cell in every body of every life form works in a similar way. Each cell has three main directives; to maintain itself, to reproduce itself, and to support whatever system it is in (blood cell, bone cell, brain cell, etc.). Then hormones (the communicators) regulate the systems causing homeostasis. Biological bodies are full of communication all of the time. Until they are dead.

And if you take it up another level, what you find is that every life form works in a similar way. Each life form has three main directives; to maintain itself, to reproduce itself, and to support it's specie. Then pheromones (the communicators) regulate species assisting the self balancing of ecosystems. Don't make the mistake of thinking pheromones are only about sex; all multi-celled species have pheromones that match up with the hormones that regulate survival instincts. If you consider how many life forms live in a forest, animal, plant, bird, fish, insect, etc., then you multiply that by how many survival instincts each possesses, you end up with an unnamable number. If this communication were audible, then walking into a forest would deafen you.

Do you see what I underlined regarding communication in your post? All biological life is in constant communication. Consciousness is essentially communication.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
Speculation is always avoidable in your conclusions. The biggest differences between "highly plausible or probable assumptions and wildly implausible or improbable" assumptions is belief and evidence. I like evidence. I do not like assumptions as they bring out the worst in philosophy and science.
No, they don't. Assumptions (as I use this term) are weak beliefs or weaker than beliefs, and they are much weaker than convictions, being an expression of doxastic modesty in case of epistemic uncertainty. Assumptions are judgements or opinions without conviction. I equate them neither with (a priori) presuppositions nor with non-evidence-based or non-justified assertions.
Which is why they should never be in your conclusions -- that was my point. They should also not lead to conclusions.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
You enter the realm of speculative assumptions or speculations as soon as your conclusions go beyond what is deductively or inductively inferable from your (evidence-describing) premises.
Deductively is not usually a problem, it is when we use "inductively" and assume that some things should be included and others should not based on beliefs and assumptions, that we get in trouble. Like when we assume consciousness comes from the brain or "God", then build theories that support our assumptions. Monism v Dualism is a good example.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
No. What you are actually saying is that if there is no brain, then there is no mind, so there can be no psychological experience. You can not separate the two ideas in your thinking. I suspect that this is because you do not actually study mind -- you study humans and the brain.
It depends on what we mean by "mind". If minds are defined not as mental substances but as complexes of mental attributes, then what attributes are necessary (and sufficient) for having a mind? Some say that having consciousness is necessary, such that nonconscious beings are mindless beings. If that's true, brainless beings are mindless beings, because consciousness is brain-dependent. For example, Galen Strawson thinks that…
There is no such thing as a "nonconscious being". I suspect that is an oxymoron.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
"[O]nly experiencing beings can have mental properties (be in mental states, etc.). …The basic idea here is very simple: experience is crucial. (I am expounding an intuition, not offering an argument.) A being is a mental being just in case it is an experiencing being; only a mental being can have mental properties. And when we ask which, if any, of the properties of a mental being, other than its experiential properties, are mental properties, the answer may be no more than a matter of convenient theoretical or terminological decision."

(Strawson, Galen. Mental Reality. 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009. p. 154)

Good point! Experiential properties are paradigmatic mental properties, but what kinds of nonexperiential properties are (distinctively and genuinely) mental ones (as opposed to nonmental ones)?

Consider the so-called propositional attitudes such as beliefs and desires. Can a thing inherently lacking consciousness still have nonconscious propositional attitudes? It can only if they are defined behavioristically in terms of behavioral dispositions—but what's genuinely mental about such nonconscious dispositional states?

If having a mind requires nothing more than dispositions to behavior, behavior-causing and -controlling internal processes, and forms of behavior, then having a mind is independent of having consciousness; and then it's also independent of having a brain—unless the forms of behavior are so complex and variable they need to be governed by a CPU (central processing unit), which needn't be an organic brain. (Computers and AI robots have CPUs.)

For example, plants are behavioral systems without a CPU or brain. But can they properly be said to have minds or mental properties/states? Does it make sense to ascribe (nonconscious) propositional attitudes to them (in addition to patterns of behavior)? Is "plant intelligence" a mental characteristic? What's mental about the "intelligence" of plants?
I don't study intelligence of plants or anything else, but I can tell you what I do know. Before 1960, science knew that an oak tree, when infested with pests, could communicate with other oak trees in the area causing the other oaks to do their best to prepare for the invasion. It was naturally assumed that this communication happened through the root system. We were wrong. The communication happened through pheromones. So why did the maples, ash, birch, and pine not get the message? A communication problem? A language problem? A mind problem? Who knows. Or is this just another example of Jung's collective and communal unconscious within a specie?

Does Strawson know that you are "cherry picking" his words, where he states that he is not offering an argument, and using them in an argument?
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
This is pure BS. It is an assumption. It is also a biased assumption made by neurology and people who study the brain and humans-- not all scientific knowledge. It also assumes the study of the mind is a study of the brain -- not consciousness -- and is not evidence of exclusivity of subjective experience in the brain.
No, that assumption is not at all an expression of bias! That the brain is the natural organ (substrate/seat/source) of consciousness not only in humans but in all conscious bodies or organisms is the only reasonably plausible conclusion made on the basis of the scientific evidence coming from biology, neurology, and psychopathology (psychiatry). The scientific evidence doesn't eliminate the logical possibility of brain-independent forms of consciousness/experience, but it makes it highly implausible and improbable that there actually are such forms.
You don't like the word, bias? I wish you could read the arguments made by white plantation owners to justify their ownership of black slaves. The white people believed that they were the natural leaders of the world and black people were like children, who needed to be cared for, directed, and yes, occasionally disciplined. People actually believed that nonsense and Science backed them up, as did psychiatry. After posting in a science forum for a few years, I learned that science in general has no idea of how to form a valid premise; they tend to put their faith in test results, which can be invalid when based on an invalid premise. This is why science will always need philosophy.

You routinely confuse the rational conscious aspect of mind with consciousness. The brain causes the rational aspect of mind (thought and intent); it does not cause consciousness or experience. Neurologists are talking about a step or level of consciousness, not the reality of consciousness. Would it help if I explained that it was a working neurologist, who is a moderator at a well-respected science forum, who explained to me that all life, ALL LIFE, is sentient? Sentience is a level of consciousness and requires subjectivity. Look it up.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
You have a point, except for the idea that we can only speculate and the "requisite organ of consciousness" part.
What nonbrains are there which might be alternative organs or physical substrates of consciousness?
I think this is the problem right here. You don't have an abstract mind, so you can not conceive of consciousness as anything unless you can attach it to something material. Has it occurred to you yet that some of the components of consciousness may actually be physical? Much like gravity is physical, but a little different and harder to understand.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
Do you see the underlined above? Do you know what "survival" means? You just stated that plants will protect their selves. Their SELVES. They will behave in a way that protects the "self". This has nothing to do with sophisticated AI -- that is a strawman argument.
Plants protect themselves, not "their selves"; and their self-protecting behavior isn't evidence for their being "selves" in the sense of being subjects of experience.

Interesting argument from a person who claims to not like, nor understand, the idea of "self".
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
After listening to comparisons of AI to consciousness over and over in another forum, I finally became frustrated and asked: How complex does AI have to get before it can compare to a blade of grass? I only got one response to that question, and that was from a microbiologist, who stated that there is no comparison. AI can not even reach the complexity of a cell, much less a whole blade of grass.
Many AI fans believe it's just a short step from artificial intelligence to artificial experience. I think they're wrong, and so does Michael Gazzaniga, one of the leading neuroscientists in the world:

"The most surprising discovery for me is that I now think we humans will never build a machine that mimics our personal consciousness. Inanimate silicon-based machines work one way, and living carbon-based systems work another. One works with a deterministic set of instructions, and the other through symbols that inherently carry some degree of uncertainty. This perspective leads to the view that the human attempt to mimic intelligence and consciousness in machines, a continuing goal of the field of AI, is doomed."

(Gazzaniga, Michael S. The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2018. p. 236)

Nonetheless, the forms of (active and reactive) behavior AI machines are capable of are getting more and more complex and more and more sophisticated. For example, meet SPOT:
I've met SPOT before. If you can convince me that bacteria wear a battery pack, you might have a point. Otherwise, you are badly off topic.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
Are you telling me that plants sense things objectively? Please explain how that works. One can observe objectively, but sensing is subjective.
Yes, in the psychological or phenomenological sense (which I prefer); but in the objectivistic (neuro)physiological sense, an organism's sensing consists in the (nonconscious) receiving, processing, and reacting to physical or chemical stimuli or signals.
So you are saying that plants communicate unconsciously. I knew that. The next step is to study the unconscious, which is not the same as un-experience.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
Yes it is similar, but how does that work with consciousness? How does the image go from the horse, to the eye, to the brain, and then to the mind? I think awareness actually causes a bond.
:?:
When you imagine or perceive a horse, no horse-images/-pictures are moving from the imagined/perceived horse to your brain/mind.
So there is nothing causal going on? It is just more magic? Wonderful.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
So do you think sensations are outerly felt by the organisms?
I've used the adverb "innerly" to stress the special character of feelings. They are not only inner in the spatial sense of occurring inside or within organisms, but also in the nonspatial sense of what Colin McGinn calls "ontological innerness", which concerns the special external imperceptibility, privacy, and subjectivity of experiences.
Ah. So it is the special experiences. That would be the human ones. Right? Well it is certainly clear now.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am

That is a crock! You do realize that the word "zombie" actually means that it is dead -- don't you? Dead animals, plants, protozoa, and bacteria don't do anything, because they are dead. Zombies are not actually real.
By "zombie" I don't mean zombies as depicted in George Romero's movies and The Walking Dead but simply nonconscious living or nonliving agents or automata.

In the philosophy of mind, the word "zombie" is used in a special sense: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/zombies/
I am aware. When I first joined a science forum and realized their ideas of consciousness differed from mine, I decided to read everything that was available under Consciousness in the SEP. Zombie was the last entry, and I thought it was very amusing, but Chalmers did not use that word the way that you did, nor did he use it for the same reasons. You are corrupting his work.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
Awareness is always on -- until you are dead -- then it is off for you. Even if the rational aspect of mind takes a nap, the body is still aware of the need to breathe, digest, and continue in it's work and maintenance to keep us alive.
You're talking about objective awareness that is different from subjective awareness/consciousness, because the former is nonconscious perception and processing of physical or chemical signals. I didn't say objective awareness/perception is off during a dreamless sleep.

I think you are talking nonsense. There is no such thing as "objective awareness" in the way you are using it. That is not only BS, it is also impossible. Awareness can only exist if there is time, space, and matter, because awarenesss requires focus; a point to focus from and something to focus on -- two points. The point "to focus from" is the subject. I worked this out while researching the possibility of an aware "God" that started the Universe, which would be impossible without time and space.

Now you are stating that there is such a thing as "objective awareness", which would be awareness that would be received by multiple perspectives (subjects), so it could be objective. That is the very essence of the "God" concept. Are you trying to make a religious argument? Or are you trying to understand the unconscious?
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
I don't know you well enough to try to discern if you are making a strawman argument or if you are actually unaware of the difference between instincts and survival instincts. The only quote above that is relevant is the one from the Oxford Dictionary of Psychology.

I did 20 pages on the subject of instincts in a science forum with the help of a neurologist, who also worked on an AI project, an animal behaviorist, and a few other knowledgeable members. There is not much that I didn't learn about instincts, but the paramount thing that I learned is that no one actually understands them.

Survival instincts are different. We know a great deal about them, what triggers them, and how they work through hormones and pheromones. We know which parts of the body produce these chemicals, we know that the brain is sitting in a chemical bath of them, we know how individual hormones relate to individual instincts, we know that hormones can affect emotion, moods, and turn off and on different aspects of mind, and we use these chemicals to treat schizophrenia and other mental disorders. We know that monks, who are trying to reach Nirvana, often use fasting and sleep deprivation in order to succeed, and we know that fasting and sleep deprivation affect hormone levels. We also know that hormones cause homeostasis and preserve life in a life form and within a specie, but can also turn off and on the switches in DNA, which means that they could possibly influence evolution. To say that hormones and survival instincts have nothing to do with phenomenal consciousness is ludicrous.
I'm not saying that (the experiential content of) phenomenal consciousness isn't influenced by hormonal factors. My point is that the presence of instincts in general and survival instincts in particular doesn't entail the presence of phenomenal consciousness. Instinctive behavior is independent of subjective experience.
Instinctive behavior is all about subjective experience. I would ask you to back up your statement, but you are too good at manipulating information (as I have noted in this post), so I would not believe you.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
By the way, the eminent neuroscientist Michael Gazzaniga has written a book titled "The Consciousness Instinct":

"Plainly stated, I believe consciousness is an instinct. Many organisms, not just humans, come with it, ready-made. That is what instincts are, something organisms come with. Living things have an organization that allows life and ultimately consciousness to exist, even though they are made from the same materials as the non-living natural world that surrounds them. And instincts envelop organisms from bacteria to humans. Survival, sex, resilience, and walking are commonly thought to be instincts, but so, too, are more complex capacities such as language and sociality—all are instincts. The list is long, and we humans seem to have more instincts than other creatures. Yet there is something special about the consciousness instinct. It is no ordinary instinct. In fact, it seems so extraordinary that many think only we humans can lay claim to it. Even if that’s not the case, we want to know more about it. And because we all have it, we all think we have insight into it. As we will see, it is a slippery, complex instinct situated in the universe’s most impenetrable organ, the brain."

(Gazzaniga, Michael S. The Consciousness Instinct: Unraveling the Mystery of How the Brain Makes the Mind. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2018. pp. 5-6)
This is about the brain -- again. It is a little redundant to say that consciousness is an instinct because consciousness sources from the unconscious and instincts source from the unconscious and we don't know much about either one of them. It would be like saying that planets hang around in space. Well, duh.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
I would say hormones and pheromones. Nervous systems and even the CNS are necessary to communicate within the body; they have no direct access to mind (except on the cellular level) as far as I can see -- much like computers, or "zombies". The brain itself does have access to mind, but then it is swimming in a bath of hormones. Most of what hormones do is access mind internally and externally. All species have some type/s of hormones.
So you think endocrinological processes in organisms are sufficient for (phenomenal) consciousness? Do you think glands are organs of consciousness? (Only animals have glands, plants don't. I've read every plant cell can produce hormones. Do you think each plant cell is therefore an organ of consciousness?)
I said hormones, not glands. I think every living cell is an organ of consciousness.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Is there any scientist who takes your hypothesis seriously—that endocrinological processes constitute or produce subjective experiences (independently of neurological processes)?
Is that my hypothesis? Nice of you to tell me, because I didn't know. (Yes. This is sarcasm.) Sooner or later you are going to have to learn that there is a difference between a hypothesis and evidence. I was talking about evidence -- things we know to be true. If you doubt me, then please look them up.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
You mistook my meaning. What I doubt is that life could start with a singular event. First consciousness (the unconscious aspect) would have to evolve enough to support life, then life would have to have evolved in a mass, rather than in a single life form.

If you want an example of something that is and is not a life form, you could consider viruses. Although viruses have DNA, they do not have survival instincts. When in a body, they will mimic survival instincts and maintain themselves, reproduce, and even evolve, just like bacteria, but outside of a body, they will just sit there like a rock. There are some theories about viruses being responsible for life starting or for the evolution of life, but I have not accepted any of them.
There are borderline cases of life such as viruses, which I don't deny. What I deny is that there are borderline cases of (phenomenal) consciousness.
People in deep comas. Sometimes we are sure there is no conscious mind and they are gone for months, maybe years, but then they come back. Sometimes we think they are still here, but they never come back. According to you, when they are not conscious, then they have no phenomenal consciousness -- like a vegetable. They also have no subjectivity, according to you, and they have no experience, according to you. So we should just pull the plug and save some money. Right? The insurance companies certainly think so.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Living organisms don't need consciousness to support or protect their lives. The evolution of life is prior to the evolution of consciousness!
Yeah. They use magic. (More sarcasm.)
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
You come perilously close to stating that the mentally handicapped can not be conscious here.
I wrote "totally dysfunctional", not "partially dysfunctional". It's certainly not the case that all mental or intellectual disabilities or impairments destroy consciousness—in fact most don't—, but some neurocognitive functions are essential to consciousness. If certain information-processing neural circuits in certain parts of the brain are disrupted (ask the experts for details!), consciousness is thereby destroyed.
Nonsense. See above regarding coma. I am not sure that consciousness is ever really destroyed. Inhibiting of the rational aspect of mind is possible because of damage or disability.
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Gee wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 12:47 am
Do you have any idea of what the unconscious aspect of mind is? Or how it works? It is unfortunate that we use the word, unconscious, as that makes people assume that it is NOT consciousness. Nothing could be farther from the truth. All life does not possess a rational conscious aspect of mind, but it does possess consciousness in the unconscious aspect of mind, and there is a lot of evidence to support this. To understand it, you really need to understand the unconscious.
The concept of a non-/unconscious mind or mental event/state is hard to understand.
You could read about it. Never mind. I just deleted the rest of your post because it was all about denial of the unconscious, and it is clear that you do not have a clue as to the unconscious aspect of mind and your instincts are simply to deny it.

Gee

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by RJG » December 4th, 2019, 9:45 am

RJG wrote:Are you conscious of this visual/mental impression or of the 'real' tree (and ghost) himself?
Consul wrote:I'm conscious or aware of the tree (only)...
You're avoiding the question. Let me try again -- Are you conscious of the REAL (actual) tree and ghost, or only of your MENTAL IMPRESSIONS of these?

RJG wrote:Your mind can only see "mental impressions", not the 'cause' of these mental impressions.
Consul wrote:No, you cannot see your visual impressions.
Huh? If we can't see our visual impressions, then why the heck do we need eyeballs?? Aren't eyeballs necessary to create the mental/visual impression that we then become conscious of? If we don't need visual impressions to see, then we don't need that which causes these visual impressions.

Consul, do you agree with this causal relationship?
Tree → Light waves → Bodily Reactions → Mental Impression (conscious realization)

If you believe this causal relationship is incorrect, then please show your version of the causal relationship!

Consul wrote:I've never had any hallucination (and I'm not keen on having one)...
How would/could you possibly know?

If you agree that it is possible to unknowingly hallucinate our realities, then this is proof that our conscious perceptions are just "mental impressions" that may, or may not, align with 'objective reality'.

Claiming that the tree/ghost that we consciously perceive is actually real, is doing so without any rational basis. Again, we are only privy to our mental impressions, and NOT the 'causes' of them.


*********
RJG wrote:Your mind can only see "mental impressions"...
Tamminen wrote:Some progress here: you don't speak about "bodily reactions" any more.
"Mental impressions" ARE the conscious realization of "bodily reactions".

Tamminen wrote:...normally we are not conscious of our mental impressions but their objects.
Nonsense. We can't see an object without a means to see the object. Without reactive eyeballs reacting to light waves impacting the optic nerve, there is no seeing of an object. Without reactive ear drums reacting to sound waves, there is no hearing. Without reactive neural activity, in the brain, there is no conscious imagining or realizations of anything.

Without Bodily Reactions, there can be no Conscious Realizations:
Bodily Reactions → Mental Impression (conscious realization)

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Tamminen » December 4th, 2019, 10:30 am

RJG wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 9:45 am
"Mental impressions" ARE the conscious realization of 'bodily reactions'.
But we can only be conscious of the mental impressions - which are modes of consciousness themselves as you seem to admit - but we are not conscious of the bodily reactions. The correlations between those two are a matter of empirical research.
We can't see an object without a means to see the object. Without reactive eyeballs reacting to light waves impacting the optic nerve, there is no seeing of an object. Without ear drums reacting to sound waves, there is no hearing. Without neuron reactions in the brain, there is no conscious imagining or realizations of anything.
Yes, those are the means of perceiving objects, and means of being conscious in general. But we are not conscious of the means of being conscious unless we reflect on them. Our physiological means of consciousness correlate with our sense impressions, and our sense impressions are perceptions of something beyond themselves. That we may hallucinate does not change this ontological structure of perceiving and consciousness in general.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by RJG » December 4th, 2019, 11:45 am

RJG wrote:"Mental impressions" ARE the conscious realization of 'bodily reactions'.
Tamminen wrote:But we can only be conscious of the mental impressions…
Technically this is not correct. We can only be 'conscious' of our bodily 'experiences'/reactions/"impressions". In other words, we can't be 'conscious' of a "conscious experience" (or "mental impression"), we can only be 'conscious' of an "experience".

"Mental Impression" = "Conscious Experience".

Tamminen wrote:But we are not conscious of the means of being conscious unless we reflect on them. Our physiological means of consciousness correlate with our sense impressions, and our sense impressions are perceptions of something beyond themselves. That we may hallucinate does not change this ontological structure of perceiving and consciousness in general.
Tam, you are over-complicating the matter. To put it simply: Without 'something' to be conscious of, there is no consciousness; no conscious experience; no mental impression. This 'something' is just a bodily experience/reaction. That's all!! Therefore, if you are conscious of reflecting, then this reflection (a composition of thought) is itself, a bodily experience/reaction.

Without Bodily Reactions, there can be no Conscious Realizations:
Bodily Reactions → Mental Impression (i.e. the conscious realization ("translation") of the bodily reaction)

And to put it even more simply:
A Conscious Experience is an experience (bodily reaction) that we are conscious of. Plain and simple.

In other words, when we are conscious of seeing a tree, it is not the actual "tree" that we see. It is the many specs of light that we experience (have a bodily reaction) and recognize and translate from memory, as a "tree". If we hallucinate a tree, then again it is not the actual "tree" that we see, it is the many specs of light that we experience and recognize and translate from memory, as a "tree".

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Tamminen » December 4th, 2019, 2:01 pm

RJG wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 11:45 am
We can only be 'conscious' of our bodily 'experiences'/reactions/"impressions". In other words, we can't be 'conscious' of a "conscious experience" (or "mental impression"), we can only be 'conscious' of an "experience".
When I see a bird, I am not conscious of my seeing the bird, i.e. my perception, let alone the brain processes that accompany my seeing. I see the bird, I am conscious of the bird. And if I reflect on my perception, I am conscious of a conscious experience. In seeing the bird I cannot be conscious of the bodily reactions that correlate with my seeing.
To put it simply: Without 'something' to be conscious of, there is no consciousness; no conscious experience; no mental impression.
Correct.
This 'something' is just a bodily experience/reaction.
It can be a bodily reaction, like in the experience of pain, but usually it is something else, like a bird.
Therefore, if you are conscious of reflecting, then this reflection (a composition of thought) is itself, a bodily experience/reaction.
Reflection consists of two successive conscious experiences where the first one becomes an object for the second one, i.e. the second one contains a reference to the first one. Of course there are physiological correlates of this, but they are irrelevant when we speak about the concept.
Without Bodily Reactions, there can be no Conscious Realizations:
Correct.
A Conscious Experience is an experience (bodily reaction) that we are conscious of.
No, a bodily reaction is not an experience, and usually we are not conscious of our bodily reactions. An experience is conscious by definition in my vocabulary.
In other words, when we are conscious of seeing a tree, it is not the actual "tree" that we see.
When I see a tree, I see a real tree, i.e. I am conscious of a real tree. When I am conscious of seeing a tree I am reflecting on my seeing, i.e. I am conscious of my consciousness of the real tree. If there is no tree, this does not mean that I am conscious of something else, only that reality does not correspond to what I see. The intentional object of perception is in the objective world, not in sense impressions or bodily reactions, although perception may fail sometimes.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by RJG » December 4th, 2019, 3:15 pm

RJG wrote:We can only be 'conscious' of an "experience".
Tamminen wrote:When I see a bird, I am not conscious of my seeing the bird…
Agreed. You are not conscious of your "perceiving" ("seeing") of the bird.
Tamminen wrote:...i.e. my perception
Disagree. But you are conscious of your "perception" (the visual 'experience'; the 'sight') of the bird.

Tamminen wrote:I see the bird, I am conscious of the bird.
Not so. You are only conscious of the 'sight' (the visual experience) that you recognize/translate as "bird".

RJG wrote:In other words, when we are conscious of seeing a tree, it is not the actual [real] "tree" that we see.
Tamminen wrote:When I see a tree, I see a real tree, i.e. I am conscious of a real tree.
Not so. We can only perceive "perceptions". None of us can perceive past our own perceptions. We can only be conscious of our bodily 'experiences'. Nothing more.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Tamminen » December 4th, 2019, 4:06 pm

RJG wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 3:15 pm
RJG wrote:We can only be 'conscious' of an "experience".
Tamminen wrote:When I see a bird, I am not conscious of my seeing the bird…
Agreed. You are not conscious of your "perceiving" ("seeing") of the bird.
Tamminen wrote:...i.e. my perception
Disagree. But you are conscious of your "perception" (the visual 'experience'; the 'sight') of the bird.

Tamminen wrote:I see the bird, I am conscious of the bird.
Not so. You are only conscious of the 'sight' (the visual experience) that you recognize/translate as "bird".

RJG wrote:In other words, when we are conscious of seeing a tree, it is not the actual [real] "tree" that we see.
Tamminen wrote:When I see a tree, I see a real tree, i.e. I am conscious of a real tree.
Not so. We can only perceive "perceptions". None of us can perceive past our own perceptions. We can only be conscious of our bodily 'experiences'. Nothing more.
To sum up: we disagree. Nothing more to say.

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Re: Consciousness, what is and what it requires?

Post by Consul » December 5th, 2019, 3:09 pm

Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Oh yeah? Then why do bacteria not do any "quorum sensing" when they are dead?
Eh…because they're dead. Dead organisms do nothing.
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Could it possibly be because they no longer experience the sensations? You can not mix biology and chemistry willy nilly without corrupting your information.
:?:
As you know, I deny that living bacteria have (subjective) sensations.
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Do you see the words, "mere" and "merely" that you typed in your response? This is not the first time you have used them in this manner. It is as obvious as a nose on a face that you think psychological sentience is superior to physiological sentience.
No, that's not what I think! "Different from" doesn't mean "superior to".
I could have used "purely" instead of "merely", with purely physiological sensitivity (not sentience!) not involving any psychological sentience.

Note that I'm not saying that psychological sentience (sensory experience) is a nonphysiological phenomenon, but only that there is an essential ontological difference between it and mere/pure physiological sensitivity: the former is ontologically subjective, having a "first-person ontology" (Searle), and the latter is ontologically objective, having a "third-person ontology" (Searle).
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
You have also made it clear that psychological sentience requires a brain, which you have, so you have not only closed your mind to any consciousness that does not come from a brain, you have also made psychological sentience look like magic. It has no source and could not have evolved.
:?:
Sentience does have a natural source: (electrochemical processes in) the brain!
It's panpsychism which makes sentience "look like magic" (as sorta "creatio ex nihilo").
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Since you are human and have a brain, it also looks like bias.
I see very good reasons to believe that animal brains are the only natural organs of sentience (sensory experience), and no good reasons to believe they're not. This is not an expression of prejudice (against brainless beings) but a well-considered judgement made on the basis of empirical evidence and theoretical arguments. Making such a judgement isn't "closing one's mind", because my judgement is revisable. But given the status quo, I see no philosophical or scientific reasons to change my mind.
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
This is a common problem with many people, who claim to be materialist/physicalists. They are not. They are actually brainists and are as difficult to discuss consciousness with as the most radically religious people. I am probably more of a physicalist than you are because I study the physical aspects of consciousness. I threw out Monism v Dualism a long time ago, so I don't need to worry about whether consciousness came from humans (the brain) or "God".
Materialism doesn't logically include "brainism" (cerebralism) about consciousness, but the discoveries and inquiries of natural science have led to it. That's why we now have a promising neuroscience of consciousness!
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
If you think that consciousness is physical, then tell me what you think is physical about it -- and why -- in your own words. Do not tell me what other people think. I am not talking to them.
The precise definition of "physical" is a contentious issue, but I nonetheless think that consciousness is a physical (or physiological) phenomenon—in the sense that experiences are either composed of/constituted by/constructed out of (neuro-)physical processes or mechanisms or caused/produced by such ones.

I call the former view equative (reductive) materialism (because it equates or reductively identifies experiences with neurophysical processes) and the latter causative (nonreductive) materialism (because it regards experiences as effects or products of neurophysical processes).

If the latter is true, then physically caused experiences are phenomena sui generis; but they are properly called physical, because the following principle is arguably true: Whatever is naturally caused by (or "emergent from") a purely physical process is physical itself.
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
And if you take it up one level, what you find is that every cell in every body of every life form works in a similar way. Each cell has three main directives; to maintain itself, to reproduce itself, and to support whatever system it is in (blood cell, bone cell, brain cell, etc.). Then hormones (the communicators) regulate the systems causing homeostasis. Biological bodies are full of communication all of the time. Until they are dead.

And if you take it up another level, what you find is that every life form works in a similar way. Each life form has three main directives; to maintain itself, to reproduce itself, and to support it's specie. Then pheromones (the communicators) regulate species assisting the self balancing of ecosystems. Don't make the mistake of thinking pheromones are only about sex; all multi-celled species have pheromones that match up with the hormones that regulate survival instincts. If you consider how many life forms live in a forest, animal, plant, bird, fish, insect, etc., then you multiply that by how many survival instincts each possesses, you end up with an unnamable number. If this communication were audible, then walking into a forest would deafen you.

Do you see what I underlined regarding communication in your post? All biological life is in constant communication. Consciousness is essentially communication.
Communication is information exchange, the exchange of signals or signs; but it isn't the same as and doesn't per se entail consciousness. For example, the machine-to-machine communication between computers doesn't involve any consciousness (apart from the consciousnesses of their human users). It's not the case that there is consciousness wherever there is information and communication!

(Footnote: I know, but disagree with, Giulio Tononi's Integrated Information Theory (IIT) of consciousness, according to which consciousness is integrated information, such that there is consciousness wherever there is integrated information in a physical system, which needn't be a biological, let alone zoological one in order to be a subject of consciousness. So IIT has panpsychistic implications.)

There's a branch of semiotics called biosemiotics:

"biosemiotics. the study of signs, of communication, and of information in living organisms."

(Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 2nd ed., 2006.)

See: https://www.biosemiotics.org/biosemiotics-introduction/

"BIOSEMIOTICS.

The body of any living entity consists of an intricate web of semioses; the term ‘endosemiosis’ refers to trains of sign transmission inside the organism. The messages that are transmitted include information about the meaning of processes in one system of the body (cells, tissues, organs or organ systems) for other systems as well as for the integrative regulation devices (especially the brain) and such control systems as the immune code (crucially capable of distinguishing self from non-self). Among the other fundamental endosemiotic codes are the genetic code, the metabolic code and the neural code."


(Cobley, Paul, ed. The Routledge Companion to Semiotics. New York: Routledge, 2010. pp. 180-1)

"ENDOSEMIOSIS. The body of any living entity consists of a huge number of semioses; the term ‘endosemiosis’ refers to trains of sign transmission inside the organism. Messages transmitted within a living body include information about the meaning of processes in one system of the body (cells, tissues, organs or organ systems) for other systems, as well as for the integrative regulation devices (especially the brain). Bodies also contain endosemiotic codes, amongst which the most crucial, perhaps, is the semiotic self. Among the other fundamental endosemiotic codes are the genetic code, the metabolic code and the neural code. It follows that signs outside of bodies should be thought of in terms of exosemiosis."

(Cobley, Paul, ed. The Routledge Companion to Semiotics. New York: Routledge, 2010. pp. 213-4)
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
"[O]nly experiencing beings can have mental properties (be in mental states, etc.). …The basic idea here is very simple: experience is crucial. (I am expounding an intuition, not offering an argument.) A being is a mental being just in case it is an experiencing being; only a mental being can have mental properties. And when we ask which, if any, of the properties of a mental being, other than its experiential properties, are mental properties, the answer may be no more than a matter of convenient theoretical or terminological decision."

(Strawson, Galen. Mental Reality. 2nd ed. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2009. p. 154)

Good point! Experiential properties are paradigmatic mental properties, but what kinds of nonexperiential properties are (distinctively and genuinely) mental ones (as opposed to nonmental ones)?
Does Strawson know that you are "cherry picking" his words, where he states that he is not offering an argument, and using them in an argument?
If you think his intuition that "experience is crucial" is false, what do you answer "when we ask which, if any, of the properties of a mental being, other than its experiential properties, are mental properties"?
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
You routinely confuse the rational conscious aspect of mind with consciousness. The brain causes the rational aspect of mind (thought and intent); it does not cause consciousness or experience.
No, the brain causes all sorts of experiences, all kinds of sensing, feeling, thinking, and imagining.
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Neurologists are talking about a step or level of consciousness, not the reality of consciousness.
When neurologists are talking about "levels of consciousness", they usually mean the following:

"The concept of level refers to the different degrees of arousal and awakeness and thus to the state of consciousness. The level or state of consciousness is related to global metabolism and energy supply which are found to be impaired and highly reduced in disorders of consciousness like vegetative state and coma."

(Northoff, Georg. Unlocking the Brain, Vol. 2: Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. p. xlviii)
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Would it help if I explained that it was a working neurologist, who is a moderator at a well-respected science forum, who explained to me that all life, ALL LIFE, is sentient? Sentience is a level of consciousness and requires subjectivity. Look it up.
Yes, sentience is subjective sensory experience, and to be sentient is to be conscious. But what reasons are there to believe that all living beings are sentient beings, and that brains are unnecessary for consciousness?
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
What nonbrains are there which might be alternative organs or physical substrates of consciousness?
I think this is the problem right here. You don't have an abstract mind, so you can not conceive of consciousness as anything unless you can attach it to something material. Has it occurred to you yet that some of the components of consciousness may actually be physical? Much like gravity is physical, but a little different and harder to understand.
Conscious states are physical phenomena that depend on physical substrates, viz. central nervous systems. If you disagree, thinking that CNSs are unnecessary for conscious states, what alternative physical systems or mechanisms are there that can be their substrates?
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
So you are saying that plants communicate unconsciously. I knew that. The next step is to study the unconscious, which is not the same as un-experience.
What exactly do you mean by "the unconscious"?
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
I've used the adverb "innerly" to stress the special character of feelings. They are not only inner in the spatial sense of occurring inside or within organisms, but also in the nonspatial sense of what Colin McGinn calls "ontological innerness", which concerns the special external imperceptibility, privacy, and subjectivity of experiences.
Ah. So it is the special experiences. That would be the human ones. Right? Well it is certainly clear now.
No, all human or nonhuman experiences are ontologically special.
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
I think you are talking nonsense. There is no such thing as "objective awareness" in the way you are using it. That is not only BS, it is also impossible. Awareness can only exist if there is time, space, and matter, because awarenesss requires focus; a point to focus from and something to focus on -- two points. The point "to focus from" is the subject. I worked this out while researching the possibility of an aware "God" that started the Universe, which would be impossible without time and space.
Now you are stating that there is such a thing as "objective awareness", which would be awareness that would be received by multiple perspectives (subjects), so it could be objective. That is the very essence of the "God" concept. Are you trying to make a religious argument? Or are you trying to understand the unconscious?
Objective awareness is simply awareness without subjective experience; so it's nonconscious awareness (perception, cognition). Blindsight is an example.
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Instinctive behavior is all about subjective experience. I would ask you to back up your statement, but you are too good at manipulating information (as I have noted in this post), so I would not believe you.
"Manipulating information"? What the heck are you talking about?!
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
So you think endocrinological processes in organisms are sufficient for (phenomenal) consciousness? Do you think glands are organs of consciousness? (Only animals have glands, plants don't. I've read every plant cell can produce hormones. Do you think each plant cell is therefore an organ of consciousness?)
I said hormones, not glands.
Glands produce hormones.
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
I think every living cell is an organ of consciousness.
How is that possible? Which physical/chemical mechanism in a single cell can generate subjective experiences? We know that millions of interacting nerve cells in the brain can do that collectively, but how could one single cell do that individually, especially when it's not even a nerve cell?
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
Is there any scientist who takes your hypothesis seriously—that endocrinological processes constitute or produce subjective experiences (independently of neurological processes)?
Is that my hypothesis? Nice of you to tell me, because I didn't know. (Yes. This is sarcasm.) Sooner or later you are going to have to learn that there is a difference between a hypothesis and evidence. I was talking about evidence -- things we know to be true. If you doubt me, then please look them up.
What "evidence" and what "things we know to be true" are you talking about?

Anyway, I'm interested in your alternative hypothesis and your reasons for believing it to be true.
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
There are borderline cases of life such as viruses, which I don't deny. What I deny is that there are borderline cases of (phenomenal) consciousness.
People in deep comas. Sometimes we are sure there is no conscious mind and they are gone for months, maybe years, but then they come back. Sometimes we think they are still here, but they never come back. According to you, when they are not conscious, then they have no phenomenal consciousness -- like a vegetable. They also have no subjectivity, according to you, and they have no experience, according to you. So we should just pull the plug and save some money. Right? The insurance companies certainly think so.
This is not an ethical discussion!

You seem to be confusing epistemological borderline cases of knowledge of consciousness—where it's undecidable and unknowable from the external, third-person point of view whether or not the individual in question is conscious—with ontological borderline cases of consciousness—where there is an intermediate state between consciousness (the presence of experience) and nonconsciousness (the absence of experience). There can be epistemic uncertainty in this matter but no ontic indeterminacy.
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
Consul wrote:
November 27th, 2019, 9:19 pm
The concept of a non-/unconscious mind or mental event/state is hard to understand.
You could read about it. Never mind. I just deleted the rest of your post because it was all about denial of the unconscious, and it is clear that you do not have a clue as to the unconscious aspect of mind and your instincts are simply to deny it.
What does the unconscious mind consist of?
"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 5th, 2019, 5:56 pm

Consul wrote:
December 5th, 2019, 3:09 pm
Gee wrote:
December 4th, 2019, 5:40 am
I think every living cell is an organ of consciousness.
How is that possible? Which physical/chemical mechanism in a single cell can generate subjective experiences? We know that millions of interacting nerve cells in the brain can do that collectively, but how could one single cell do that individually, especially when it's not even a nerve cell?
Doing some googling, I just came upon Jonathan Edwards, an Emeritus Professor of Connective Tissue Medicine, who believes in cytopsychism, the view that single cells are conscious—ones which are either unicellular organisms themselves (e.g. archaea and bacteria) or components of multicellular organisms. He even seems to think that only single cells are conscious rather than networks of them.

See: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/jonathan-edwards

He's written a book and a paper, which can both be downloaded freely:

1. How Many People Are There in My Head? and in Hers? An Exploration of Single Cell Consciousness (2006): https://www.ucl.ac.uk/jonathan-edwards/ ... w_Many.pdf

2. Is Consciousness Only a Property of Individual Cells? (2005): https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... dual_Cells

Online version of 2: https://www.ucl.ac.uk/jonathan-edwards/ ... cpropcells
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

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