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

#41  Postby zoon » Sep 09, 2018 10:23 am

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?

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?

I agree with you that if I’m considering an inanimate object such as a salt shaker, there’s no obvious need to bring in mentalistic concepts. I may be aware that I’m attending to the salt shaker, but my brain’s having some awareness of its own activities isn’t something I need to focus on in order to cope.

It seems to me that when we are considering other people in ordinary social life, we do still need to think in dualistic terms. Our evolved, prescientific mindreading uses concepts such as beliefs and intentions, and we can’t yet avoid making heavy use of these mentalistic concepts if we want to be even minimally socially competent. Of course, I agree with you that our brains are almost certainly entirely mechanistic, and I expect that eventually, if there’s no catastrophe, neuroscience will make mentalistic concepts redundant, but that’s well into the future. So far, modern science is for practical purposes useless at predicting other people in real time, and the evolved bag of tricks known collectively as Theory of Mind is very much more effective. As Graziano points out in "Consciousness and the Social Brain", the brain processes behind Theory of Mind make use of simulation, because one human brain is similar to another, so it’s a fundamentally different approach to prediction from the scientific one.

I certainly agree with you that we are almost certainly mechanisms which follow the laws of physics, and that a fully scientific description of a human brain will not include any non-physical, mentalistic components. But I don’t think we can yet avoid using mentalistic concepts such as “intention” and “belief” in ordinary social life. ??
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#42  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 09, 2018 10:59 am

GrahamH wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Cito di Pense wrote:

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.


An interesting but far more detailed theory, on attention and efference copy, is Cotterill's Enchanted Looms. Got that on order. I certainly need to review Graziano after my David Rose reading.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#43  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 09, 2018 11:05 am

zoon wrote:.... But I don’t think we can yet avoid using mentalistic concepts such as “intention” and “belief” in ordinary social life. ??


True that but consider that such simplified same-old-same-old folk psychology may split a country or put a mentally ill person to death.

It is interesting that when someone does some ass move in traffic if I attribute to him belief and intention, I drive away pissed off. But if instead I consider that he is an interesting organism doing strange things then I drive away peacefully musing.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#44  Postby surreptitious57 » Sep 09, 2018 11:13 am

SpeedOfSound wrote:
So first what is the thing to which we want to point and ask of science that it explain for us

We should definitely try to resist the temptation to separate mind and brain. While they can mean different things they are very obviously inter connected. This suggests nonduality rather than duality because they cannot ever be entirely separated from each other other before point of death. This should be taken as the default position pertaining to consciousness and all the ways it manifests itself. Brain and mind may be studied in isolation to each other as long as inter connection is accepted

Another thing would be to not treat consciousness as non physical because such language is entirely meaningless. Since any thing that exists by definition has to be physical regardless of actual composition. So it doesnt have to be three dimensional and possess mass and dimension to qualify as such. It might be better to describe it as a process rather than a thing but it is still physical whatever the preferred adjective of choice may be [ that said there should be some agreement upon what said adjective is so as to avoid superfluous semantic quibbling forever down the rabbit hole without actually addressing the really interesting question of what consciousness is ]

Establish these two provisional axioms as the foundation for consciousness and then proceed from there
That is the easy part because what comes after is much harder to understand and reach consensus upon
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#45  Postby zoon » Sep 09, 2018 1:53 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:
zoon wrote:.... But I don’t think we can yet avoid using mentalistic concepts such as “intention” and “belief” in ordinary social life. ??


True that but consider that such simplified same-old-same-old folk psychology may split a country or put a mentally ill person to death.

It is interesting that when someone does some ass move in traffic if I attribute to him belief and intention, I drive away pissed off. But if instead I consider that he is an interesting organism doing strange things then I drive away peacefully musing.

Yes, switching to scientific mode when I’m getting unduly emotional about something sounds like a good idea. :thumbup:

I’m certainly not intending to suggest cutting out rational thought or scientific information, only to recognise the extent to which social life still depends on pre-scientific thinking. As you say, folk psychology may split a country, but without folk psychology there would be no country in the first place. I don’t think people would have a hope of managing the necessary co-operation. Autism can be a socially crippling disability even when the individual has reasonably high intelligence, and it appears to be linked to low-functioning Theory of Mind. From an autism website here:
Theory of mind refers to the notion that many autistic individuals do not understand that other people have their own plans, thoughts, and points of view. Furthermore, it appears that they have difficulty understanding other people's beliefs, attitudes, and emotions.

Many of the tasks used to test this theory have been given to non-autistic children as well as children with mental retardation, and the theory of mind phenomenon appears to be unique to those with autism. In addition, theory of mind appears to be independent of intelligence even though people with Asperger's syndrome exhibit this problem to a lesser degree.

Interestingly, people with autism have difficulty comprehending when others don't know something. It is quite common, especially for those with savant abilities, to become upset when asking a question of a person to which the person does not know the answer.

By not understanding that other people think differently than themselves, many autistic individuals may have problems relating socially and communicating to other people. That is, they may not be able to anticipate what others will say or do in various situations. In addition, they may have difficulty understanding that their peers or classmates even have thoughts and emotions, and may thus appear to be self-centered, eccentric, or uncaring.

Although this is an egocentric view of the world, there is nothing in the theory of mind to imply that autistic individuals feel superior to others.


You say: “folk psychology … may put a mentally ill person to death”, but I don’t think the problem there is folk psychology, it’s ignorance about mental illness. Again, without folk psychology we would be unlikely to take the default position that killing an inconveniently ill person is wrong in the first place, or at least it would be a far less automatic position. Paul Bloom’s experiments with pre-verbal babies show that even such very young children don’t like an individual who harms another. For example, he says in an interview here:
Paul Bloom wrote:The sort of research that I’ve been involved with personally, looking at the origins of moral judgment, is difficult to do with very young babies. But we have found that even 3-month-olds respond differently to a character who helps another than to a character who hinders another person. This finding hints that moral judgment might have very early developmental origins.
(The babies watch puppet shows and are then offered a choice of soft toys which look like the puppets, they choose the helpful puppet over the unhelpful one with a frequency that is well above chance.)

I hope I’m not hijacking your thread by dumping in the whole of the short interview linked above. It's from 2013, when Bloom's book "The Moral Life of Babies" came out. He discusses both the finding that some moral emotions seem to be wired in as part of Theory of Mind, and also the great importance of tempering those emotions with rationality:
The Moral Life of Babies
Yale Psychology Professor Paul Bloom finds the origins of morality in infants

By Gareth Cook on November 12, 2013

Morality is not just something that people learn, argues Yale psychologist Paul Bloom: It is something we are all born with. At birth, babies are endowed with compassion, with empathy, with the beginnings of a sense of fairness. It is from these beginnings, he argues in his new book Just Babies, that adults develop their sense of right and wrong, their desire to do good — and, at times, their capacity to do terrible things. Bloom answered questions recently from Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.

What are the first signs of morality in babies?

The earliest signs are the glimmerings of empathy and compassion—pain at the pain of others, which you can see pretty soon after birth. Once they’re capable of coordinated movement, babies will often try to soothe others who are suffering, by patting and stroking.

The sort of research that I’ve been involved with personally, looking at the origins of moral judgment, is difficult to do with very young babies. But we have found that even 3-month-olds respond differently to a character who helps another than to a character who hinders another person. This finding hints that moral judgment might have very early developmental origins.

What is the strongest proof that morality has a genetic component, that two people may have differing moral views because of their genes?

There have been the usual sorts of behavioral genetics studies—adopted children, twins separated at birth, that sort of thing—that find evidence for heritability in capacities such as empathy, which is plainly related to morality.

But I think the strongest evidence that morality has a genetic component has little to do with human differences, and everything to do with human universals. Every normal person has a sense of right and wrong, some appreciation of justice and fairness, some gut feelings that are triggered by kindness and cruelty. I like how Thomas Jefferson put it—the moral sense is “as much a part of man as his leg or arm.”

What would you say are the moral principles which young children share?

A list would include: An understanding that helping is morally good, and that harming, hindering, or otherwise thwarting the goals of another person is morally bad. A rudimentary sense of justice—an understanding that good guys should be rewarded and bad guys should be punished. An initial sense of fairness—in particular, that there should be an equal division of resources. And alongside these principles are moral emotions, including empathy, compassion, guilt, shame, and righteous anger.

Can you give an example of a moral principle from childhood that tends to change as we grow older?

An understanding of fairness goes through considerable development as someone gets older. For young children, fairness pretty much reduces to equality—everyone gets the same. It’s only with development that we come to an appreciation of the complex ways in which fairness might diverge from equality, such as when one person deserves more (by working harder, perhaps) or is in greater need or has been short-changed in the past. In fact, even adults differ in our intuitions about what is, and what is not, fair. This is a domain in which there is a fascinating interplay between innate capacities, cultural learning, and the individual exercise of reason.

Are there ways that the moral emotions you mentioned — like “righteous anger” — lead to behavior that we would call “immoral”?

Absolutely. Our emotions have evolved for simpler times. They are not well calibrated for the modern world, where we are surrounded by countless strangers and have access to cars, guns, and the Internet. It makes sense to be outraged when you are deceived by a friend or when someone you love is wronged. This can be a moral response. But it is irrational—and often immoral—when the same anger is acted upon towards someone who cuts you off on the highway. Worse, righteous anger can provoke international confrontations that can lead to the death of millions. Anger is one thing when you are armed with your fists and a stick; quite another when you have an army and nuclear weapons.

It’s not just anger, though. All of the moral emotions can have disastrous effects. As I argue in a recent New Yorker article, I think this is true even for empathy—the capacity to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, to feel their pleasure and their pain. When it comes to personal relationships, empathy can be a good thing—I wouldn’t want a parent, a child, or a spouse who lacked empathy. But, just as with anger, empathy doesn’t scale. It is because of our empathetic responses that we care more about a little girl stuck in a well than about billions being affected in the future by climate change. The girl elicits empathy; statistical future harms do not. To the extent that we can recognize, and act upon, serious threats that don’t have identifiable victims, we are relying on rational deliberation, not gut responses.

How has learning about the origins of morality changed how you view the moral reasoning of adults?

There are two discoveries that I discuss in Just Babies that influence how I think about adult moral reasoning. The first is that there are hard-wired moral universals. To an important extent, all people have the same morality; the differences that we see—however important they are to our everyday lives—are variations on a theme. This universality provides some reason for optimism. It suggests that if we look hard enough, we can find common ground with any other neurologically normal human.

The second discovery is the importance of reason. Prominent writers and intellectuals like David Brooks, Malcolm Gladwell, and Jonathan Haidt have championed the view that, as David Hume famously put it, we are slaves of the passions. Our moral judgments and moral actions are driven mostly by gut feelings—rational thought has little to do with it. I find this a grim view of human nature, but if it were true, we should buck up and learn to live with it.

But I argue in Just Babies that it isn’t true. It is refuted by everyday experience, by history, and by the science of developmental psychology. It turns out instead that the right theory of our moral lives has two parts. It starts with what we are born with, and this is surprisingly rich: babies are moral animals. But we are more than just babies. A critical part of our morality—so much of what makes us human—emerges over the course of human history and individual development. It is the product of our compassion, our imagination, and our magnificent capacity for reason.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#46  Postby BWE » Sep 09, 2018 7:34 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:
zoon wrote:.... But I don’t think we can yet avoid using mentalistic concepts such as “intention” and “belief” in ordinary social life. ??


True that but consider that such simplified same-old-same-old folk psychology may split a country or put a mentally ill person to death.

It is interesting that when someone does some ass move in traffic if I attribute to him belief and intention, I drive away pissed off. But if instead I consider that he is an interesting organism doing strange things then I drive away peacefully musing.

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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#47  Postby GrahamH » Sep 10, 2018 10:07 am

SpeedOfSound wrote:
An interesting but far more detailed theory, on attention and efference copy, is Cotterill's Enchanted Looms. Got that on order. I certainly need to review Graziano after my David Rose reading.


Thanks for the pointer.


I'm not convinced that a discussion like this one needs a "far more detailed theory on attention and efference copy". We are talking philosophy here and we need to grasp the core concept rather than the intricate details. It seems to me Graziano does that well, and does ground it in the neuroscience of attention.


What is Cotterill's core insight that makes sense of C?
Why do you think that?
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#48  Postby GrahamH » Sep 10, 2018 10:28 am

This paper by J. G. Taylor is a far more detailed theory of attention and consciousness. It seems to fit with Graziano and presumably Cotterill.

The self has a variety of components, involving a subjective as well as an objective character (Mitchell, 1994). Here, we are concerned with subjective aspects of it going under the descriptions of ownership and agency (Gallagher, 1999, 2000). It is important to distinguish between these. I can consider that I am the agent of a movement of my arm as I move it. On the other hand, if my hand is moved passively by someone else, I can realize that is so, but still know that it is my arm that is being moved. Thus, agency and ownership are distinct. This is especially so in terms of the possibility of error. Thus, I cannot be in error when I claim that my arm moved. Similarly I cannot be in error that it is I who feel pain. It is not sensible to ask “are you sure it is you who feels pain?”. This important feature of conscious experience is what has been termed ‘immunity to error through misidentification with respect to the first person pronoun’ (Shoemaker, 1984). Such an error can occur over the attribution of agency, as is known by tests on subjects viewing their gloved hand moving (Fourneret and Jeannerod, 1998). An experimenter’s hand can replace (by suitable image tricks) the subject’s own hand without them realizing, provided the movements made by the experimenter are not too different from those of the subject. On the other hand it is difficult to conceive of attributing to someone else the inner conscious experience involved with ownership.

It is a reasonable thesis that the most primitive form of self-knowledge is that of the ownership of the movement of attention. This can arise in any animal with the most simple attention control system. It is not even necessary to possess a frontal goal module (possibly due to lack of frontal cortex), since attention could still be moved exogenously. As noted earlier, such low-level attention movement control occurs for rapid inputs: they gain nearly automatic access to the attention movement controller, the IMC (it should be called the AMC, but we stick to the control term ‘IMC’), as known by many studies of attention shifting (Wright and Ward, 1998). Such exogenous movement can also occur without

the need for peripheral feedback. It is therefore much more rapid than the endogenous variety (Wright and Ward, 1998). This mechanism of ownership, proposed here as arising from the buffered attention movement corollary discharge, helps explain the continued consciousness of subjects who have lost all sense of such feedback by de-afferentation (Cole and Paillard, 1995). They should have suffered severe deficits in their sense of self if there was a solely bodily basis for that; they did not. The claim now being made here is that the buffered CD signal produces a conscious experience of ownership, breathing the light of inner experience into temporally extended neural activity. The robot thereby equipped would no longer be a zombie. It would have an inner feel, of the ownership of the amplified input brought about by the short-lived CD signal on WMcd. The claim is based on the related one that non-perspectival content-full consciousness supposedly arises by temporally-extended activity on a suitably well-connected buffer site, already posited in locating the creation of the experience of non-perspectival consciousness in the buffer site of Fig. 7 (Taylor, 1999, 2001a). For the coupled monitor/buffer sites of Fig. 7 the new item of information is that of one’s own movement of one’s attention. It is this item that is the spark of ‘how it is like to be conscious’.

http://www.neuro-it.net/pdf_dateien/sum ... 202003.pdf
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#49  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 10, 2018 4:24 pm

GrahamH wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:
An interesting but far more detailed theory, on attention and efference copy, is Cotterill's Enchanted Looms. Got that on order. I certainly need to review Graziano after my David Rose reading.


Thanks for the pointer.


I'm not convinced that a discussion like this one needs a "far more detailed theory on attention and efference copy". We are talking philosophy here and we need to grasp the core concept rather than the intricate details. It seems to me Graziano does that well, and does ground it in the neuroscience of attention.


What is Cotterill's core insight that makes sense of C?


Cotterill gets deep into the circuitry. I have only read a synopsis by David Rose and am waiting for Cotterill's book.

Graziano and I differ in definitions of C and awareness but not attention. I will see about modifying my definitions to follow his. Need to read more about where he is going first. He has that Venn diagram at the beginning of the book.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#50  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 10, 2018 4:28 pm

zoon wrote:...
I hope I’m not hijacking your thread by dumping in the whole of the short interview linked above. ...


Not at all.
I am having an amazing time with a wild band of raccoons that I have been feeding. I have 11 babies and a half dozen adults. One of the babies is an asshole. The rest are extremely polite. It's interesting to watch them interact and it obvious that they have a well developed theory of mind.

Morality is built into them. Except for that one criminal coon. But even he responds to being scolded.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#51  Postby GrahamH » Sep 10, 2018 4:58 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:
An interesting but far more detailed theory, on attention and efference copy, is Cotterill's Enchanted Looms. Got that on order. I certainly need to review Graziano after my David Rose reading.


Thanks for the pointer.


I'm not convinced that a discussion like this one needs a "far more detailed theory on attention and efference copy". We are talking philosophy here and we need to grasp the core concept rather than the intricate details. It seems to me Graziano does that well, and does ground it in the neuroscience of attention.


What is Cotterill's core insight that makes sense of C?


Cotterill gets deep into the circuitry. I have only read a synopsis by David Rose and am waiting for Cotterill's book.

Graziano and I differ in definitions of C and awareness but not attention. I will see about modifying my definitions to follow his. Need to read more about where he is going first. He has that Venn diagram at the beginning of the book.


I recall a C discussion we had a long time ago about a robot "P- zombie". That if it could indeed function indistinguishably from a human, meaning being able to communicate a full range of subjective experiences, that it would be conscious (as much as humans are). That contradiction showing P-Zombies to be an incoherent concept


Graziano in a nutshell is that the brain that works out all our understanding works out what is being attended to and interprets that as subjective experience. The brain attributes consciousness to itself. He concludes:

Graziano wrote:The theory is truly explanatory in the sense that it explains the observables. It explains how an information-processing machine can scan its internal data and so find, discover, conclude, decide, assign certainty that it is aware of this or that, that awareness has all the properties that humans normally ascribe to it. The theory explains how a brain can decide with such confidence that it has an inner experience. It explains how a brain can attribute that particular, complex, rich, idiosyncratic combination of properties to itself, to others, to pets and even to ghosts and to gods.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#52  Postby jamest » Sep 10, 2018 11:51 pm

GrahamH wrote:
I recall a C discussion we had a long time ago about a robot "P- zombie". That if it could indeed function indistinguishably from a human, meaning being able to communicate a full range of subjective experiences, that it would be conscious (as much as humans are).

Whoa please, Sir. Given the metaphysical stage we're upon please note that the measure of 'consciousness' has fuck all to do with being human. That is, the essence of consciousness here is up for debate. Therefore, any debates here about zombies and/or robots/computers in direct comparison to 'being human', are fucking useless.

If you want to be sincere/genuine regards having a metaphysical debate in the philosophy forum about consciousness, then desist from presenting the retarted view that YOU ARE a physical human being prior to explaining anything else, especially consciousness.

In this part of the world, the philosophy forum, you will look like a retard every time you disregard this advice. You've been doing it regardless for about a decade. If you do it once more I will make you look like a zombie.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#53  Postby Macdoc » Sep 11, 2018 12:44 am

I don't think anyone here is very interested in your metafairyland Jamest, so please refrain from imposing your long discredited nonsense on others. :coffee:
....

Graziano wrote:
The theory is truly explanatory in the sense that it explains the observables. It explains how an information-processing machine can scan its internal data and so find, discover, conclude, decide, assign certainty that it is aware of this or that, that awareness has all the properties that humans normally ascribe to it. The theory explains how a brain can decide with such confidence that it has an inner experience. It explains how a brain can attribute that particular, complex, rich, idiosyncratic combination of properties to itself, to others, to pets and even to ghosts and to gods.


nice ...spectrums human/animal and machine consciousness :thumbup:
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#54  Postby jamest » Sep 11, 2018 1:15 am

Macdoc wrote:I don't think anyone here is very interested in your metafairyland Jamest, so please refrain from imposing your long discredited nonsense on others. :coffee:

I love you Macdoc. That is, I love your honesty. You've known about my philosophical ideas for a long time, yet still helped me with my North American holiday this summer. And now, when I get back, you're calling me a cunt again. I love that, seriously.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#55  Postby GrahamH » Sep 11, 2018 7:30 am

jamest wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
any debates here about zombies and/or robots/computers in direct comparison to 'being human', are fucking useless.

If you think humans aren't conscious that would be an interesting twist.

jamest wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
If you want to be sincere/genuine regards having a metaphysical debate in the philosophy forum about consciousness, then desist from presenting the retarted view that YOU ARE a physical human being prior to explaining anything else, especially consciousness.


I tell you what jamest, go and have a word with your frozen badgers about the irrational nonsense of you claiming humans are not physical. Take it as a premise if you like, but it is not a sound conclusion so you will be ignored.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#56  Postby GrahamH » Sep 11, 2018 8:28 am

Macdoc wrote:I don't think anyone here is very interested in your metafairyland Jamest, so please refrain from imposing your long discredited nonsense on others. :coffee:
....

Graziano wrote:
The theory is truly explanatory in the sense that it explains the observables. It explains how an information-processing machine can scan its internal data and so find, discover, conclude, decide, assign certainty that it is aware of this or that, that awareness has all the properties that humans normally ascribe to it. The theory explains how a brain can decide with such confidence that it has an inner experience. It explains how a brain can attribute that particular, complex, rich, idiosyncratic combination of properties to itself, to others, to pets and even to ghosts and to gods.


nice ...spectrums human/animal and machine consciousness :thumbup:


Yes, but it doesn't fall into panpsychism as would notions that consciousness is "information processing" or "integrated information". Although it's not one of the observables there is the key point of attribution, of what the information means to the organism / system. That may be an imponderable, particularly with entities that have very limited communication, but it is a distinction. Basically, if you can think you are conscious then you are, but 'you' are not the 'conscious mind' that is constructing the thought. So it overturns the Cogito as it is typically understood.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#57  Postby surreptitious57 » Sep 11, 2018 6:03 pm

james wrote:
If you want to be sincere/genuine regards having a metaphysical debate in the philosophy forum about consciousness then desist from presenting the retarded view that YOU ARE a physical human being prior to explaining anything else especially consciousness

Your requested is granted my lord :

There is no such thing as consciousness - there is only mind
There is no such thing as you - there is only mind

You is an illusion that came into being at the point of self awareness
Individual minds are merely representations of the one eternal Mind

Waking up from sleep is a form of self awareness even though you still existed while you were asleep
Being born is a form of self awareness even though the eternal Mind still existed before you were born

I do not subscribe to this particular view but it is certainly a more radical way of addressing consciousness
It says that we are merely part of a larger entity that has and will always exist even when we no longer do

Focusing on consciousness is therefore akin to looking at the tree while being completely unaware of the forest it is within
So the only way to focus on the forest and not the tree is to avoid ego because it reinforces the illusion of individual minds
Avoiding ego allows one to see the eternal Mind although it can be hard to achieve because it is a consequence of free will

True egolessness can therefore only come with death
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#58  Postby kennyc » Sep 14, 2018 1:55 am

Macdoc wrote:Is a network a "thing"? ...I find the title silly.

Try this

bayesian brain
THE GREATEST THEORY OF ALL TIME?


The more I learn about the Bayesian brain, the more it seems to me that the theory of predictive processing is about as important for neuroscience as the theory of evolution is for biology, and that Bayes’ law is about as important for cognitive science as the Schrödinger equation is for physics.

That is quite an ambitious statement: if our brains really are Bayesian, which is to say that predictive processing is the fundamental principle of cognition, it would mean that all our sensing, feeling, thinking, and doing is a matter of making predictions.


https://www.mindcoolness.com/blog/bayes ... rocessing/

I'm onside with this view /....Balkanizing the brain is similar to

Image

our brains constantly compare current inputs with previous understanding ..that's how we learn and consciousness is part of a spectrum that includes subconcious processes ....consciousness is an aspect of our neural network....which is indeed a thing.....a very complex thing.


This.

Fascinating to see that SOS is still living up to his name.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#59  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 14, 2018 10:37 am

jamest wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
I recall a C discussion we had a long time ago about a robot "P- zombie". That if it could indeed function indistinguishably from a human, meaning being able to communicate a full range of subjective experiences, that it would be conscious (as much as humans are).

Whoa please, Sir. Given the metaphysical stage we're upon please note that the measure of 'consciousness' has fuck all to do with being human. That is, the essence of consciousness here is up for debate. Therefore, any debates here about zombies and/or robots/computers in direct comparison to 'being human', are fucking useless.

If you want to be sincere/genuine regards having a metaphysical debate in the philosophy forum about consciousness, then desist from presenting the retarted view that YOU ARE a physical human being prior to explaining anything else, especially consciousness.

In this part of the world, the philosophy forum, you will look like a retard every time you disregard this advice. You've been doing it regardless for about a decade. If you do it once more I will make you look like a zombie.


Had a discussion about your variety of belief with some philosophers. They feel that you represent far less than 1% of those in the field today. Bit of a maverick y'are.
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Re: Consciousness is Not a Thing

#60  Postby SpeedOfSound » Sep 14, 2018 10:40 am

GrahamH wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:
An interesting but far more detailed theory, on attention and efference copy, is Cotterill's Enchanted Looms. Got that on order. I certainly need to review Graziano after my David Rose reading.


Thanks for the pointer.


I'm not convinced that a discussion like this one needs a "far more detailed theory on attention and efference copy". We are talking philosophy here and we need to grasp the core concept rather than the intricate details. It seems to me Graziano does that well, and does ground it in the neuroscience of attention.


What is Cotterill's core insight that makes sense of C?


Cotterill gets deep into the circuitry. I have only read a synopsis by David Rose and am waiting for Cotterill's book.

Graziano and I differ in definitions of C and awareness but not attention. I will see about modifying my definitions to follow his. Need to read more about where he is going first. He has that Venn diagram at the beginning of the book.


I recall a C discussion we had a long time ago about a robot "P- zombie". That if it could indeed function indistinguishably from a human, meaning being able to communicate a full range of subjective experiences, that it would be conscious (as much as humans are). That contradiction showing P-Zombies to be an incoherent concept


Graziano in a nutshell is that the brain that works out all our understanding works out what is being attended to and interprets that as subjective experience. The brain attributes consciousness to itself. He concludes:

Graziano wrote:The theory is truly explanatory in the sense that it explains the observables. It explains how an information-processing machine can scan its internal data and so find, discover, conclude, decide, assign certainty that it is aware of this or that, that awareness has all the properties that humans normally ascribe to it. The theory explains how a brain can decide with such confidence that it has an inner experience. It explains how a brain can attribute that particular, complex, rich, idiosyncratic combination of properties to itself, to others, to pets and even to ghosts and to gods.



Doesn't that fall securely in the eliminativist camp?
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