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

#61  Postby GrahamH » Sep 14, 2018 11:04 am

SpeedOfSound wrote:
Doesn't that fall securely in the eliminativist camp?


I don't know bout "securely in". I don't think "eliminativism" is a useful label. How do you define it?
In the sense that sport is not a substance or that language is not an object?
Consciosness in Graziano's view is something we know with certainty. It means we all have a subjective self having experiences, an inner life we can refer to. But it's not "an immortal soul" or dualism or homunculus in the brain and it's not panpsychism nor epiphenomenon.

What were you looking for when you typed "Consciousness is not a thing"? Were you camping securely outside "eliminativism" in any form?
Why do you think that?
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#62  Postby Macdoc » Sep 14, 2018 5:41 pm

Consciosness in Graziano's view is something we know with certainty. It means we all have a subjective self having experiences, an inner life we can refer to.


and importantly compare experiences ....so that the person who sees colours differently knows what he is missing and that others share that difficulty that would be the real world there Jamest....testable. :coffee:
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#63  Postby GrahamH » Sep 14, 2018 7:20 pm

Macdoc wrote:
Consciosness in Graziano's view is something we know with certainty. It means we all have a subjective self having experiences, an inner life we can refer to.


and importantly compare experiences ....so that the person who sees colours differently knows what he is missing and that others share that difficulty that would be the real world there Jamest....testable. :coffee:


They might know that there is something missing, but it isn't communicable. There would be a "what it's like" but it would be an aspect of a private model that is inaccessible to anyone else and only meaningful in the context that brain, that model.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#64  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 17, 2018 12:15 pm

GrahamH wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:
Doesn't that fall securely in the eliminativist camp?


I don't know bout "securely in". I don't think "eliminativism" is a useful label. How do you define it?
In the sense that sport is not a substance or that language is not an object?
Consciosness in Graziano's view is something we know with certainty. It means we all have a subjective self having experiences, an inner life we can refer to. But it's not "an immortal soul" or dualism or homunculus in the brain and it's not panpsychism nor epiphenomenon.

What were you looking for when you typed "Consciousness is not a thing"? Were you camping securely outside "eliminativism" in any form?


Eliminativism for me is simply learning to find other ways to talk about subjective experience than using the word consciousness.

In the above mention of Graziano I was using it differently though. I was asking if Graziano in: "interprets that as subjective experience. The brain attributes consciousness to itself." was mounting the idea that we 'imagine' we have experience or construct it in some higher order way.

Hard to put a fine edge on this though. Hence my desire to find a new way to talk about what it is that is happening to me when I wake up and live my day than by calling it consciousness. If I am conscious than I am not sleeping or knocked out or dead. There is no 'ness' there to get nouny or verby about.

If I am 'unconscious-of' a thing then that thing could be something a thousand miles away or perhaps in another galaxy. What are we trying to say when we look for a part of the brain or a process in the brain that falls into one of two categories: unconscious or conscious?

But if you disagree then tell me what is this C-thing that you are referring to and please give an example from your waking day. Are you conscious of something in your world? Or is there something that you can factor out of being 'conscious-of' all the things that you ever have been?

If it's just the former than why not say 'aware-of' or 'attending-to'? We know how that stuff works in the brain or at least have a damned good start at knowing.

Now imagine I have just landed from another planet and you have to explain to me what all of this consciousness stuff is about because I have no language that supports it. Rorty's Antipodeans.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#65  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 17, 2018 12:35 pm

We have to imagine a broad brush of time when talking about being aware-of a visual scene. It's a little brush, say about three seconds when the thing is in front of us and we are oriented to it.

There are waves of activity across our visual field as our eyes saccade about. A field or architectonic map of the scene in retinal neurons is firing but the some constant structure is moving around in the field. The information reaches a little brain in the superior colliculus and then is passed on to a number of maps in the pulvinar region of the thalamus, while another stream reaches the LGN and is passed on to the V1 at the back of the brain.

As neurons successively light up going forward in many streams from posterior to anterior, but two main ones: the dorsal and ventral That moving field is somehow relieved of it's fluttering about and becomes singular. Now mind you, the earlier neurons from retina to V1 are still tingling with information. It doesn't 'get processed' from one stage to another. More like it sets up as a standing wave in the more anterior sections with much waving about between V1 and the eyes.

As each stage of the visual system reaches stasis on the static world scene they feed back and modify all the earlier stages including V1. So there is a setting up of this standing wave from eyeball to almost every area of the brain. But the stasis is mostly in the middle. Both the raw input and downstream areas are fluttering about. And feeding that back all the way.

Across the brush of time we want to stick a pin in the timeline as it settles out and say that the C magic happens HERE. Or There. But prior to that there was another visual scene, and many other modal things that were also candidates for the magical C. The best we can say is that the content is changing in some continuum.

Now we could say that it is when the vision is highly processed by higher order things then that is where the thing becomes conscious. But that to is a standing wave setting up and fluttering around and feeding back across the whole timeline. And what is that higher order stuff but just more firing of neurons and oscillating and looping and why is THAT C? Well. Maybe because by the time enough of the brain is on fire to get that higher order thing we can now remember it and name it.

I am unconvinced about this business of sticking a pin in part or process of the brain and announcing 'this is IT'.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#66  Postby GrahamH » Sep 17, 2018 2:06 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:
In the above mention of Graziano I was using it differently though. I was asking if Graziano in: "interprets that as subjective experience. The brain attributes consciousness to itself." was mounting the idea that we 'imagine' we have experience or construct it in some higher order way.


I'd say "imagining" is subjective experience, not vice versa.
Constructed yes, but not "high level". It's "low level". If it makes sense to try to rank these things, maybe, at the level of Damasio's enhanced body map -> self map which is very deep down. I think there's a lot in common between Graziano and Damasio, although they may look very different on the surface.

SpeedOfSound wrote:If I am 'unconscious-of' a thing then that thing could be something a thousand miles away or perhaps in another galaxy.



I think that the "you" that can experience the thing is ontologically at precisely the same level as the experience. The subject and the "experienced object" arise together in our comprehension / construction / attribution.


BTW Graziano's book is on Audible.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#67  Postby GrahamH » Sep 17, 2018 2:13 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:Across the brush of time we want to stick a pin in the timeline as it settles out and say that the C magic happens HERE. Or There. But prior to that there was another visual scene, and many other modal things that were also candidates for the magical C. The best we can say is that the content is changing in some continuum.

I am unconvinced about this business of sticking a pin in part or process of the brain and announcing 'this is IT'.



I'm unconvinced about that as well. So what the brain does is complex and strange-loopy and this bit or that bit are active in this loop or that loop. All very interesting for "easy problem" but what does it say abut how a brain gives rise to C? That's a philosophical hurdle. We aren't asking how a bit of brain can become a conscious subject, are we?
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#68  Postby Macdoc » Sep 17, 2018 3:55 pm

The brain is mapping what is exposed to and combining recurrent, new and stored input ....

Your Brain Sees Faces, Even When You Don't - Live Science
https://www.livescience.com › Health
Sep 21, 2017 - Researchers have identified a neuron in the brain that can recognize familiar ... the "Jennifer Aniston neuron" — a single neuron in a study participant's brain that ...


It's not really strange if you buy into the comparative/mapping aspect of the brain.

The Brain Never Stops Making Maps

OCTOBER 22, 2017BY ELIZABETH BORNEMANMAPS AND GIS

https://www.geolounge.com/brain-never-s ... king-maps/

Recognising faces - The Brain in Action
https://www.thebraininaction.com/face-recognition/
by P Moleman - ‎Related articles
Oct 12, 2017 - And one can do this with thousands of faces: a clever trick of our brains. ... Each neuron that is involved in facial recognition measures any one dimension.


I don't think it's a philo question at all....it may be a definition problem.
I'm not of the opinion that our neural net is composed only of consciousness activity ....it's a spectrum from autonomic, to dream/lucid dream, to recorded but not noticed to fully aware.

It IS complex
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EO Wilson in On Human Nature wrote:
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#69  Postby GrahamH » Sep 17, 2018 4:09 pm

Macdoc wrote:The brain is mapping what is exposed to and combining recurrent, new and stored input ....

Your Brain Sees Faces, Even When You Don't - Live Science
https://www.livescience.com › Health
Sep 21, 2017 - Researchers have identified a neuron in the brain that can recognize familiar ... the "Jennifer Aniston neuron" — a single neuron in a study participant's brain that ...


It's not really strange if you buy into the comparative/mapping aspect of the brain.

The Brain Never Stops Making Maps

OCTOBER 22, 2017BY ELIZABETH BORNEMANMAPS AND GIS

https://www.geolounge.com/brain-never-s ... king-maps/

Recognising faces - The Brain in Action
https://www.thebraininaction.com/face-recognition/
by P Moleman - ‎Related articles
Oct 12, 2017 - And one can do this with thousands of faces: a clever trick of our brains. ... Each neuron that is involved in facial recognition measures any one dimension.


I don't think it's a philo question at all....it may be a definition problem.
I'm not of the opinion that our neural net is composed only of consciousness activity ....it's a spectrum from autonomic, to dream/lucid dream, to recorded but not noticed to fully aware.

It IS complex


To clarify, how the brain works is not the question for these 'C' threads. It's the unravelling of the so called "hard problem" according to Chalmers.We can see how neural networks can 'just see faces'. Is that a face? The usual assumption / deep intuition about our own natures is that we are the inner subject apprehending the experiences and the philosophical shift is that the subject and it's experiences are themselves something apprehended by the very organ that does all the apprehending and handles all the understanding, construction of thoughts etc. It's a sort of inside-out flip to how the philosophy of consciousness has often been approached.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#70  Postby Macdoc » Sep 17, 2018 4:30 pm

I have no time or interest for gobblety gook philobabble.....hunt up Jamest.

We can see how neural networks can 'just see faces'. Is that a face?


It is a map of a face .....of course it is not a face. That's the kind of nonsense I have no time for.....akin to angels on the head of a pin.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#71  Postby Macdoc » Sep 17, 2018 4:36 pm

This is exactly it...

Machines are conscious. A fact that seems to be hiding in plain view these days. Respected scientists publish articles with titles like “Can Machines Be Conscious?” The “world’s smartest physicist” believes consciousness “will remain a mystery”. Visionary members of the Church of Singularity boldly ask: “are machines on the verge of consciousness?”
The problem with these questions is, of course, that machines are already conscious. These people are looking for a future that’s already here, and not finding it. How embarrassing.


https://becominghuman.ai/the-proof-of-m ... 572351de18
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#72  Postby GrahamH » Sep 17, 2018 4:42 pm

Macdoc wrote:I have no time or interest for gobblety gook philobabble.....hunt up Jamest.

We can see how neural networks can 'just see faces'. Is that a face?


It is a map of a face .....of course it is not a face. That's the kind of nonsense I have no time for.....akin to angels on the head of a pin.


WTF? :scratch:

I think you misread me. There is nothing remotely like jamest philosobollocks there.
I'm fine with "it's a map of a face" or "it's a face classifier" or the like. Brains can detect faces in the visual field. We don't need to refer to consciousness for that. All I was trying to convey is that recognising that there is a face and recognising that the subject self is having an experience of X are similar sorts of processes. There is a map of self/experiences. If your "self-experience classifier" is activated you know (your brain knows) you are a subject having an experience.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#73  Postby GrahamH » Sep 17, 2018 4:52 pm

Macdoc wrote:This is exactly it...

Machines are conscious. A fact that seems to be hiding in plain view these days. Respected scientists publish articles with titles like “Can Machines Be Conscious?” The “world’s smartest physicist” believes consciousness “will remain a mystery”. Visionary members of the Church of Singularity boldly ask: “are machines on the verge of consciousness?”
The problem with these questions is, of course, that machines are already conscious. These people are looking for a future that’s already here, and not finding it. How embarrassing.


https://becominghuman.ai/the-proof-of-m ... 572351de18


That sounds unpleasantly like plobs' "Swing a rope fast enough and it'll go conscious".

I much prefer Graziano's attention schema theory and the notion of "attribution". Is a machine can generate a schema or model of a subjective self and attribute that model to it's own functioning it might be conscious. basically if it can recognise consciousness in itself it is conscious.

It's not sufficient for us to attribute consciousness to a machine and declare it conscious. It's not sufficient to liken some responses as similar to human responses and suppose the machine has an "inner life" or subjective feelings.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#74  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 17, 2018 5:31 pm

Macdoc wrote:I have no time or interest for gobblety gook philobabble.....hunt up Jamest.

...


I kind of agree but the issue is that other people are never going to shut up about it until philosophy writes the chapter that shuts them up.

We know everything we need to know about how we have subjective experiences. Though in some cases the exact system details are still choosing between one or another model. If you sit down and read 1% of that science you no longer have the hard problem for yourself. The only thing left is this sense of 'how could this brain NOT be conscious?".

So a deep trek into the science has left me with an intuitive understanding of my subjective experience much like a tour of spdf orbitals has left me with a satisfying intuitive understanding of table salt.

What I am trying to do in philosophy, and so far naively failing, is to change our semantics a bit so we can have a clean analysis of what it means to understand things like table salt and our own minds. That last is difficult. We are trying to use our flashlight on the beam of our flashlight. Something has to be wrong with that approach.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#75  Postby GrahamH » Sep 17, 2018 5:44 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:
Macdoc wrote:I have no time or interest for gobblety gook philobabble.....hunt up Jamest.

...


I kind of agree but the issue is that other people are never going to shut up about it until philosophy writes the chapter that shuts them up.

We know everything we need to know about how we have subjective experiences. Though in some cases the exact system details are still choosing between one or another model. If you sit down and read 1% of that science you no longer have the hard problem for yourself. The only thing left is this sense of 'how could this brain NOT be conscious?".

So a deep trek into the science has left me with an intuitive understanding of my subjective experience much like a tour of spdf orbitals has left me with a satisfying intuitive understanding of table salt.

What I am trying to do in philosophy, and so far naively failing, is to change our semantics a bit so we can have a clean analysis of what it means to understand things like table salt and our own minds. That last is difficult. We are trying to use our flashlight on the beam of our flashlight. Something has to be wrong with that approach.



In light of current discussion what's wrong with that approach is that it supposes that you have a view from inside, that "an intuitive understanding of my subjective experience" is any use at all for getting to grips with what C is, how it can be subjective and experiential at all.

I think you are trying to use beam of your virtual reality flashlight in the hope that it will illuminate something of your brain that explains C from your inner subjective view, but the flashlight can't shine out and your brain isn't inside so that route is futile.

I think we have the changed semantics. There is no hard problem. Thoughts don't originate from within a subjective mind. The brain creates the map and generates the thoughts and recognises the map as the self having experiences as if it was the thinker.


It might help if you can discard the idea that it's your mind that is working on this problem. Your brain is working on it and attributing some of the results to a subject having thoughts.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#76  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 17, 2018 6:04 pm

Macdoc wrote:This is exactly it...

Machines are conscious. A fact that seems to be hiding in plain view these days. Respected scientists publish articles with titles like “Can Machines Be Conscious?” The “world’s smartest physicist” believes consciousness “will remain a mystery”. Visionary members of the Church of Singularity boldly ask: “are machines on the verge of consciousness?”
The problem with these questions is, of course, that machines are already conscious. These people are looking for a future that’s already here, and not finding it. How embarrassing.


https://becominghuman.ai/the-proof-of-m ... 572351de18

That is a good catch.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#77  Postby Macdoc » Sep 17, 2018 6:11 pm

The brain creates the map and generates the thoughts and recognises the map as the self having experiences as if it was the thinker.


IT IS THE THINKER .....self reflection is simply a sophisticated check circuit and is really an aspect of the Baysenian brain - create a map, new imputs, compare the map and the new stuff, and alter to update.

There is no need to invoke duality....your neural network extends to the interactive machines you use and even out onto the web.

Think this recent dialogue through.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#78  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 17, 2018 6:16 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Macdoc wrote:I have no time or interest for gobblety gook philobabble.....hunt up Jamest.

We can see how neural networks can 'just see faces'. Is that a face?


It is a map of a face .....of course it is not a face. That's the kind of nonsense I have no time for.....akin to angels on the head of a pin.


WTF? :scratch:

I think you misread me. There is nothing remotely like jamest philosobollocks there.
I'm fine with "it's a map of a face" or "it's a face classifier" or the like. Brains can detect faces in the visual field. We don't need to refer to consciousness for that. All I was trying to convey is that recognising that there is a face and recognising that the subject self is having an experience of X are similar sorts of processes. There is a map of self/experiences. If your "self-experience classifier" is activated you know (your brain knows) you are a subject having an experience.


You don't need to refer to consciousness at all, ever. That's all there is to it. The object is classified and that is it. Graziano's further description on temporal/parietal involvement is just a little more consciousness on top of what was already there. I just left a conversation (Hi Gina!) where we were talking about the C of my Red Kitty Qualia Cup and I had a pain in my foot which I was not attending to but nevertheless I insist it was part of my conscious experience of the RKQC. I started to attend to the foot and was somewhat attending to both now. I turn up RKQC and the foot turns down. But it is not 'unconscious'. It's still a part of the whole. Just not attended to and 'further processed' into words and hippocampal markers to be remembered. Or into Graziano information. Call that GI. GI is happening with things I 'attend-to'.

So all we need are two words. Attend and aware. There is no further spook called consciousness. Trying to find the spook is looking at the beam of a flashlight with the very same flashlight and will result in infinite regress or confusion.

I have been making a green tick on all the places in my books where they use language like 'C arises' or 'generates C' or 'Constructs C' and in each case I am asking why we want this extra step. It's as if we are trying to find the thing the homunculus is looking at. Neither that thing or the homunculus exist. It's almost a Zen thing when you start to let go of this kind of thinking.

One other place that gets a green mark is when the dichotomy of conscious/unconscious crops up. I have a deep intuition that this kind of talk is where we go off the rails.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#79  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 17, 2018 6:20 pm

GrahamH wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:
Macdoc wrote:I have no time or interest for gobblety gook philobabble.....hunt up Jamest.

...


I kind of agree but the issue is that other people are never going to shut up about it until philosophy writes the chapter that shuts them up.

We know everything we need to know about how we have subjective experiences. Though in some cases the exact system details are still choosing between one or another model. If you sit down and read 1% of that science you no longer have the hard problem for yourself. The only thing left is this sense of 'how could this brain NOT be conscious?".

So a deep trek into the science has left me with an intuitive understanding of my subjective experience much like a tour of spdf orbitals has left me with a satisfying intuitive understanding of table salt.

What I am trying to do in philosophy, and so far naively failing, is to change our semantics a bit so we can have a clean analysis of what it means to understand things like table salt and our own minds. That last is difficult. We are trying to use our flashlight on the beam of our flashlight. Something has to be wrong with that approach.



In light of current discussion what's wrong with that approach is that it supposes that you have a view from inside, that "an intuitive understanding of my subjective experience" is any use at all for getting to grips with what C is, how it can be subjective and experiential at all.

I think you are trying to use beam of your virtual reality flashlight in the hope that it will illuminate something of your brain that explains C from your inner subjective view, but the flashlight can't shine out and your brain isn't inside so that route is futile.

I think we have the changed semantics. There is no hard problem. Thoughts don't originate from within a subjective mind. The brain creates the map and generates the thoughts and recognises the map as the self having experiences as if it was the thinker.


It might help if you can discard the idea that it's your mind that is working on this problem. Your brain is working on it and attributing some of the results to a subject having thoughts.


Now THAT is interesting. You just represented me as doing the polar opposite of what I am in fact doing. Where have we failed each other in the endeavor to communicate?
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#80  Postby GrahamH » Sep 17, 2018 6:43 pm

Macdoc wrote:
The brain creates the map and generates the thoughts and recognises the map as the self having experiences as if it was the thinker.


IT IS THE THINKER .....self reflection is simply a sophisticated check circuit and is really an aspect of the Baysenian brain - create a map, new imputs, compare the map and the new stuff, and alter to update.

There is no need to invoke duality....your neural network extends to the interactive machines you use and even out onto the web.

Think this recent dialogue through.


THERE IS NO DUALITY

The best I can suggest is to read Graziano with an open mind.
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