Consciousness is Not a Thing

or a process, or anything for that matter

on fundamental matters such as existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind and ethics.

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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#21  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 08, 2018 8:47 am

BWE wrote:Things are products of mind.


That's one way to look at it, sure. But it's not the only way. If you want to use semantics to get rid of things, good luck. Semantics isn't a thing, either, whether or not it's your thing. See above, Isley Brothers.

To paraphrase the way Ray Bradbury once quoted someone as saying, "I thing the body electric." This has to do with the difference between a volt and a dolt.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#22  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 08, 2018 10:37 am

Again, I do not think we are being clear about what exactly it is we are wanting to explain when we ask for an explanation of C. There is some missing semantic analysis here.

Is it a thing or a process? What if that statement is itself wrong-headed? Maybe a category error?

Can we make sense of a contrast between conscious and unconscious 'processing'? What is the evidence for the item we wish to explain?

Back to table salt. I think even table salt is not quite thoroughly hashed out yet in it's semantics. Though we are a lot closer to success with explaining salt we think.

I have a salt shaker here. I can see it. I am aware of it. I am attending to it. I have some explanations for it. I am aware and attending to those right now.

See the problem? The meta level we wanting to get to? The encroaching stink of dualism?
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#23  Postby Destroyer » Sep 08, 2018 11:03 am

It is probably easier to understand the statement "Consciousness is Not a Thing" if one explains that "Thing" in this context means: substance, i.e., Consciousness has no solidity/independence to give it validity as an entity. Therefore everyone who posits Consciousness as the foundation of existence are in essence claiming It to be a "Thing".
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#24  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 08, 2018 11:11 am

It quite ruffles my feathers when I hear some scientist say "science knows nothing about consciousness". What is really going on here is that no one knows what it is that they are calling consciousness so it is a bit premature to ask science for it's explanation. My title for the thread the opening is about that problem.

Philosophers do not know jack shit about consciousness. If they did the abundant science we have today about the brain and biology would be quick to tell you what exactly it is.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#25  Postby Destroyer » Sep 08, 2018 12:01 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:It quite ruffles my feathers when I hear some scientist say "science knows nothing about consciousness". What is really going on here is that no one knows what it is that they are calling consciousness so it is a bit premature to ask science for it's explanation. My title for the thread the opening is about that problem.

Philosophers do not know jack shit about consciousness. If they did the abundant science we have today about the brain and biology would be quick to tell you what exactly it is.

Well, it is very easy to ask someone: if what they mean by "Consciousness" is a function that is distinct from brain functioning. If that is what they mean then it is incumbent upon them to demonstrate how this is so.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#26  Postby felltoearth » Sep 08, 2018 12:39 pm

I see metaphysics has done away with nouns now. Good. Things are like, a bummer man.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#27  Postby laklak » Sep 08, 2018 1:12 pm

Things have utility. Like the rug. It really ties the room together.
A man who carries a cat by the tail learns something he can learn in no other way. - Mark Twain
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#28  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 08, 2018 1:30 pm

laklak wrote:Things have utility. Like the rug. It really ties the room together.


Utility is a thing, but I don't know if we (let alone a rug) can have it. That would be like having the rug and eating it too. Or having the carpet, and munching it, too. It really ties the philosophy together.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#29  Postby laklak » Sep 08, 2018 1:41 pm

Shit, now I have to define "utility". It's a goddamned rat hole, this philosofeezing th… damn … I almost said "thing".
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#30  Postby GrahamH » Sep 08, 2018 4:42 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:Again, I do not think we are being clear about what exactly it is we are wanting to explain when we ask for an explanation of C. There is some missing semantic analysis here.

Is it a thing or a process? What if that statement is itself wrong-headed? Maybe a category error?


Wrong headed? How about not a thing or a process?

SpeedOfSound wrote:
Can we make sense of a contrast between conscious and unconscious 'processing'? What is the evidence for the item we wish to explain?


If C is not a process processes might contribute to C occurring. Neural processes might construct the attention schema. They might perform the attribution of experiences to subject without being a subject.

There is no necessity for all processes, or all neural processes, to be involved with the phenomenology. Then you could reasonably say that some processes are "conscious processing" where they implement C or "unconscious processing" where it falls outside the attention schema. Always remembering that proceses that build the schema are not "consciousness itself".

SpeedOfSound wrote:Back to table salt. I think even table salt is not quite thoroughly hashed out yet in it's semantics. Though we are a lot closer to success with explaining salt we think.

I have a salt shaker here. I can see it. I am aware of it. I am attending to it. I have some explanations for it. I am aware and attending to those right now.

See the problem? The meta level we wanting to get to? The encroaching stink of dualism?


No.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#31  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 08, 2018 5:09 pm

GrahamH wrote:Then you could reasonably say that some processes are "conscious processing" where they implement C or "unconscious processing" where it falls outside the attention schema.


No, you couldn't, without bullshitting. I mean, how much do you have to have on the ball to say that some processes are "conscious processing" when you're saying that consciousness is processing? It could be some, it could be all. You don't know. That's why you're bullshitting. The difference between some and all is not subtle. Somebody less intent on bullshitting wouldn't try to say that one unspecified process was "conscious processing" and another was not. It might be true, but you don't know. You're just guessing, and you're guessing about a point that's not very subtle. Why are you trying to sound as if you know something? You know that something you're not aware of falls outside the attention schema. Brilliant. Welcome to the Department of Tautology Department.
Last edited by Cito di Pense on Sep 08, 2018 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#32  Postby BWE » Sep 08, 2018 5:19 pm

laklak wrote:Things have utility. Like the rug. It really ties the room together.

That's exactly my point. Models are some weird shit when they get to the point of self-reference. Imagine if a rug pondered about rugs. The room would suddenly lose all it's good feng shui.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#33  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 08, 2018 5:20 pm

BWE wrote:
laklak wrote:Things have utility. Like the rug. It really ties the room together.

That's exactly my point. Models are some weird shit when they get to the point of self-reference. Imagine if a rug pondered about rugs. The room would suddenly lose all it's good feng shui.


First we discover recursion. Here we go again.

You're not wrong that it's weird when models get to the point of self-reference in constructing the model, but sometimes this has been successful. That's not the problem with models of consciousnessnss. The problem there is that the models are bullshit.

Some poetry about Feng Shui doesn't help much, either.
Last edited by Cito di Pense on Sep 08, 2018 5:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#34  Postby GrahamH » Sep 08, 2018 5:21 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
GrahamH wrote:Then you could reasonably say that some processes are "conscious processing" where they implement C or "unconscious processing" where it falls outside the attention schema.


No, you couldn't, without bullshitting. I mean, how much do you have to have on the ball to say that some processes are "conscious processing" when you're saying that consciousness is processing?


You might have a point if I had written that "consciousness is processing", but I didn't, did I?

GrahamH wrote:Wrong headed? How about not a thing or a process?



Neither a thing nor a process.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#35  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 08, 2018 5:23 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
GrahamH wrote:Then you could reasonably say that some processes are "conscious processing" where they implement C or "unconscious processing" where it falls outside the attention schema.


No, you couldn't, without bullshitting. I mean, how much do you have to have on the ball to say that some processes are "conscious processing" when you're saying that consciousness is processing?


You might have a point if I had written that "consciousness is processing", but I didn't, did I?

GrahamH wrote:Wrong headed? How about not a thing or a process?


OK, then. In keeping with OOP, you're saying not that consciousness is processing but that consciousness has processing.

So you really just want to say that there are some processes, and that some of them have something to do with consciousnessness, which is neither a thing nor a process, whatever else it is. You should be embarrassed, but you're not.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#36  Postby GrahamH » Sep 08, 2018 6:11 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
GrahamH wrote:Then you could reasonably say that some processes are "conscious processing" where they implement C or "unconscious processing" where it falls outside the attention schema.


No, you couldn't, without bullshitting. I mean, how much do you have to have on the ball to say that some processes are "conscious processing" when you're saying that consciousness is processing?


You might have a point if I had written that "consciousness is processing", but I didn't, did I?

GrahamH wrote:Wrong headed? How about not a thing or a process?


OK, then. In keeping with OOP, you're saying not that consciousness is processing but that consciousness has processing.

So you really just want to say that there are some processes, and that some of them have something to do with consciousnessness, which is neither a thing nor a process, whatever else it is. You should be embarrassed, but you're not.


I wouldn't say "has processing". What would that mean?

The subtopic here is Graziano's Attention schema theory. He's written papers and books about it if you wanted to explore why I'm not embarrassed. It's rather good and better explained than I can manage in a few short forum posts.

I can hope that SoS has read and retained anough of it that my posts ,make sense to him even if they mean nothing to you.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#37  Postby Cito di Pense » Sep 08, 2018 6:31 pm

GrahamH wrote:
The subtopic here is Graziano's Attention schema theory. He's written papers and books about it if you wanted to explore why I'm not embarrassed. It's rather good and better explained than I can manage in a few short forum posts.

I can hope that SoS has read and retained anough of it that my posts ,make sense to him even if they mean nothing to you.


So you're giving your best summary of Graziano's AS theory. Either Graziano should be embarrassed, or you should be. If having a conversation about Graziano's Attention Schema theory requires one to read the sources, instead of depending on you to give a representative summary, then that's the way it is, in this nonspecialists' discussion.
Хлопнут без некролога. -- Серге́й Па́влович Королёв

Translation by Elbert Hubbard: Do not take life too seriously. You're not going to get out of it alive.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#38  Postby BWE » Sep 08, 2018 7:50 pm

GrahamH wrote:
BWE wrote: Things are products of mind. Naming is a way to begin to make models.


I think you are coming at that from far to high a level. Any attempt to identify what consciousness is should not start with 'mind' or 'products of mind'.

Brains make models (Bayesian predictors if you like) and models can support names.

I disagree. Without mind, or the processes we call mind anyway, is exactly the starting point required unless you are positing a mind of god.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#39  Postby BWE » Sep 08, 2018 7:54 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
BWE wrote:Things are products of mind.


That's one way to look at it, sure. But it's not the only way. If you want to use semantics to get rid of things, good luck. Semantics isn't a thing, either, whether or not it's your thing. See above, Isley Brothers.

To paraphrase the way Ray Bradbury once quoted someone as saying, "I thing the body electric." This has to do with the difference between a volt and a dolt.

I have not encountered an argument which provides an alternative yet. If you know of one, please educate me. Without the need for navigation, for proaction (as opposed to reaction), the idea of things turns into a meaningless concept afaict.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#40  Postby GrahamH » Sep 08, 2018 8:16 pm

Cito di Pense wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
The subtopic here is Graziano's Attention schema theory. He's written papers and books about it if you wanted to explore why I'm not embarrassed. It's rather good and better explained than I can manage in a few short forum posts.

I can hope that SoS has read and retained anough of it that my posts ,make sense to him even if they mean nothing to you.


So you're giving your best summary of Graziano's AS theory. Either Graziano should be embarrassed, or you should be. If having a conversation about Graziano's Attention Schema theory requires one to read the sources, instead of depending on you to give a representative summary, then that's the way it is, in this nonspecialists' discussion.


I'm pointing to Graziano in reply to SoS who says he knows something about attention schema theory.
If you have a point to make about that based on knowledge and understanding of that theory let's have it. It could be interesting. Otherwise you are just embarrassing yourself.
Why do you think that?
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