Consciousness - a product of the brain?

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Studies of mental functions, behaviors and the nervous system.

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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1021  Postby kennyc » Nov 24, 2014 1:37 pm

Spearthrower wrote:
Macdoc wrote:
I see it as a gradient between the two states - not a jump of states.


This sums up what I think could be the problem here: we tend to platonify and idealize concepts - the concept must be delineated to be defined, and they need to be defined to conceive of them clearly or communicate them. But nature doesn't actually have those boundaries - I think it's essential to remember that they are constructs; artifacts of our cognitive processes.

Consciousness should, via evolutionary logic, be a gradient. Originally, organisms did not possess consciousness. Then sufficient nerve density occurred via selection resulting in a state we could call proto-consciousness. With more nerve endings connecting, more concentration of what would become the brain, more internal complexity so consciousness expanded. As with physical traits, there could be multiple pathways through the development of consciousness, and some organisms might possess certain aspects of what we would regard as consciousness, while not possessing other aspects. What we tend to conceive of as consciousness might simply be an otherwise arbitrary threshold along the gradient - something which satisfies our tendency to exemplify ourselves, but actively misses the point.


Yep.
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Re: The Illusions of Atheism

#1022  Postby epepke » Nov 24, 2014 8:48 pm

Kenaz wrote:I want to say once more, I am not trying to prove a notion that the brain is in fact a transmitter of consciousness as opposed to the source of it outright. I am going to say, however, that each of your points are only valid in proving the brain is THE source of consciousness if you assume that there can be no other medium or factor involved other than the organ of the brain. We hear, but our ears don't create the sound; they are a tool for receiving it and experiencing it. The notion that our brain may perhaps be better viewed as a tool for processing data from our other sensory organs and transmitting these in combination (forming our conscious experience) to what we call our 'consciousness' is an interesting one.


It isn't, however, as interesting as its popularity would seem to indicate. It could be, of course. There are a lot of things that could be.

However, the belief that it is fits in so obviously well with both human insecurity and a blatantly ignorant view of how life works, and the arguments for it are so monstrously contrived that I think the proper Bayesian probability to assign to it is rather low, and it certainly doesn't merit all the fuss.

We're learning more and more about how consciousness works in terms of neuroscience, but it's still in its infancy. When it gets to the point where we understand so much, and there are still glaring holes, then it will be time to come up with something wrong.

I make an analogy with Quantum Mechanics. Hardly anything is weirder, and it's write. However, before our instruments got so good that we would have seen classical behavior if it were present, and its absence clearly indicated it was wrong, classical assumptions were the proper way to go about exploring the universe.
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Re: The Illusions of Atheism

#1023  Postby Willie71 » Nov 24, 2014 9:23 pm

epepke wrote:
Kenaz wrote:I want to say once more, I am not trying to prove a notion that the brain is in fact a transmitter of consciousness as opposed to the source of it outright. I am going to say, however, that each of your points are only valid in proving the brain is THE source of consciousness if you assume that there can be no other medium or factor involved other than the organ of the brain. We hear, but our ears don't create the sound; they are a tool for receiving it and experiencing it. The notion that our brain may perhaps be better viewed as a tool for processing data from our other sensory organs and transmitting these in combination (forming our conscious experience) to what we call our 'consciousness' is an interesting one.


It isn't, however, as interesting as its popularity would seem to indicate. It could be, of course. There are a lot of things that could be.

However, the belief that it is fits in so obviously well with both human insecurity and a blatantly ignorant view of how life works, and the arguments for it are so monstrously contrived that I think the proper Bayesian probability to assign to it is rather low, and it certainly doesn't merit all the fuss.

We're learning more and more about how consciousness works in terms of neuroscience, but it's still in its infancy. When it gets to the point where we understand so much, and there are still glaring holes, then it will be time to come up with something wrong.

I make an analogy with Quantum Mechanics. Hardly anything is weirder, and it's write. However, before our instruments got so good that we would have seen classical behavior if it were present, and its absence clearly indicated it was wrong, classical assumptions were the proper way to go about exploring the universe.


epepke, great response! :thumbup:

I would like to ad that the problem in my mind is the one Sam Harris talks about, that we feel that we are a passenger in our body, riding along, rather than being part of it. This is the stumbling block for most people, as this illusion is quite persistent, and feels so real. As the neuroimaging tools get more sophisticated, we will see the answers to these philosophical questions answered by hard science.
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1024  Postby kennyc » Nov 24, 2014 10:00 pm

Willie as far as being a passenger in our bodies.....my belief is that it is literally true. Consciousness is simply one of the brain's processes which has evolved as a feedback system from awareness to provide a competitive advantage.
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1025  Postby Spearthrower » Nov 25, 2014 11:16 am

The elephant and the mahout.
I'm not an atheist; I just don't believe in gods :- that which I don't belong to isn't a group!
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Re: The Illusions of Atheism

#1026  Postby GrahamH » Nov 25, 2014 11:24 am

Willie71 wrote:I would like to ad that the problem in my mind is the one Sam Harris talks about, that we feel that we are a passenger in our body, riding along, rather than being part of it. This is the stumbling block for most people, as this illusion is quite persistent, and feels so real. As the neuroimaging tools get more sophisticated, we will see the answers to these philosophical questions answered by hard science.


This is interesting to me. I don't feel that. I feel very embodied and part of the world. The mind/body problem and possibility of separation is no part of my normal experience and seems a very abstract conceptual thing. Do you actually have this feeling of detachment often, as part of your normal experience?
Why do you think that?
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1027  Postby SpeedOfSound » Nov 25, 2014 11:41 am

Worse is to have this separation of mind/body deep in the structure of our thinking and language and not be aware of it.
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1028  Postby Ven. Kwan Tam Woo » Nov 25, 2014 12:03 pm

SpeedOfSound wrote:Worse is to have this separation of mind/body deep in the structure of our thinking and language and not be aware of it.


Or to use a noun where we ought to use a verb...
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1029  Postby GrahamH » Nov 25, 2014 12:20 pm

kennyc wrote:Willie as far as being a passenger in our bodies.....my belief is that it is literally true. Consciousness is simply one of the brain's processes which has evolved as a feedback system from awareness to provide a competitive advantage.


That would be 'literally false' then. The brain is not the 'passenger', it is part of the body, so 'brain's processes' are 'body processes'. Judging your position from your previous posts you should reject any notion of of being a separate mind riding in a body.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1030  Postby SpeedOfSound » Nov 25, 2014 12:32 pm

Ven. Kwan Tam Woo wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:Worse is to have this separation of mind/body deep in the structure of our thinking and language and not be aware of it.


Or to use a noun where we ought to use a verb...

I never found that to be a problem after I quit high school. :smoke:
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1031  Postby kennyc » Nov 25, 2014 12:38 pm

GrahamH wrote:
kennyc wrote:Willie as far as being a passenger in our bodies.....my belief is that it is literally true. Consciousness is simply one of the brain's processes which has evolved as a feedback system from awareness to provide a competitive advantage.


That would be 'literally false' then. The brain is not the 'passenger', it is part of the body, so 'brain's processes' are 'body processes'. Judging your position from your previous posts you should reject any notion of of being a separate mind riding in a body.


Your interpretation is clearly not what I said. But it does shed light on your confusion about brain/mind. A process (whether body or mind) is not the body or mind itself but a result of its activity.

Consciousness is not the brain, it is a process that takes place in the brain.
Memory is not the brain, it is a process that takes place in the brain.
Respiration is not the body, but a process that takes place in the body.
Digestion is not the body, but a process that takes place in the body.
etc.
etc.
etc.

If you think of consciousness as a process it is something distinct from other processes as well as distinct from its specific environment (the brain) this makes it literally true in being a 'passenger' in the brain/body.
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1032  Postby Shrunk » Nov 25, 2014 2:38 pm

amkerman wrote:from what i understand consciousness is a fundamental property of reality which complex systems such s the brain are sufficiently wired enough to intercept.

like gravity.



This is waaaay late, and this guy isn't even a member here anymore. But that's not what gravity is.
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Re: The Illusions of Atheism

#1033  Postby Willie71 » Nov 25, 2014 4:05 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Willie71 wrote:I would like to ad that the problem in my mind is the one Sam Harris talks about, that we feel that we are a passenger in our body, riding along, rather than being part of it. This is the stumbling block for most people, as this illusion is quite persistent, and feels so real. As the neuroimaging tools get more sophisticated, we will see the answers to these philosophical questions answered by hard science.


This is interesting to me. I don't feel that. I feel very embodied and part of the world. The mind/body problem and possibility of separation is no part of my normal experience and seems a very abstract conceptual thing. Do you actually have this feeling of detachment often, as part of your normal experience?



I'm a visual spatial learner so I don't experience much in traditional ways. I've been thinking about how to explain it, but the best I can do is that my consciousness seems to reside behind my eyes or in my forehead. :scratch:
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Re: The Illusions of Atheism

#1034  Postby GrahamH » Nov 25, 2014 4:38 pm

Willie71 wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Willie71 wrote:I would like to ad that the problem in my mind is the one Sam Harris talks about, that we feel that we are a passenger in our body, riding along, rather than being part of it. This is the stumbling block for most people, as this illusion is quite persistent, and feels so real. As the neuroimaging tools get more sophisticated, we will see the answers to these philosophical questions answered by hard science.


This is interesting to me. I don't feel that. I feel very embodied and part of the world. The mind/body problem and possibility of separation is no part of my normal experience and seems a very abstract conceptual thing. Do you actually have this feeling of detachment often, as part of your normal experience?



I'm a visual spatial learner so I don't experience much in traditional ways. I've been thinking about how to explain it, but the best I can do is that my consciousness seems to reside behind my eyes or in my forehead. :scratch:


How about touching something? Does it seem that you touch it directly or is there a sense that you receive touch inside your head?
Visually I guess we all have a point of view between our eyes, and how far forward or back from the eyes is perhaps a bit arbitrary. But to me that seems like a viewpoint, a place I see from, not the place I happen to be. I feel very much in/of my body. Those are my hands typing, not robot hands I control remotely. I don't feel detached from the body. For example, it doesn't feel like driving a car, being a driver of a vehicle.
How about sound? Does it seem the sound is over there, in your ear or in your head?
Is it any different for you?
Why do you think that?
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Re: The Illusions of Atheism

#1035  Postby kennyc » Nov 25, 2014 4:45 pm

GrahamH wrote:
Willie71 wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
Willie71 wrote:I would like to ad that the problem in my mind is the one Sam Harris talks about, that we feel that we are a passenger in our body, riding along, rather than being part of it. This is the stumbling block for most people, as this illusion is quite persistent, and feels so real. As the neuroimaging tools get more sophisticated, we will see the answers to these philosophical questions answered by hard science.


This is interesting to me. I don't feel that. I feel very embodied and part of the world. The mind/body problem and possibility of separation is no part of my normal experience and seems a very abstract conceptual thing. Do you actually have this feeling of detachment often, as part of your normal experience?



I'm a visual spatial learner so I don't experience much in traditional ways. I've been thinking about how to explain it, but the best I can do is that my consciousness seems to reside behind my eyes or in my forehead. :scratch:


How about touching something? Does it seem that you touch it directly or is there a sense that you receive touch inside your head?
Visually I guess we all have a point of view between our eyes, and how far forward or back from the eyes is perhaps a bit arbitrary. But to me that seems like a viewpoint, a place I see from, not the place I happen to be. I feel very much in/of my body. Those are my hands typing, not robot hands I control remotely. I don't feel detached from the body. For example, it doesn't feel like driving a car, being a driver of a vehicle.
How about sound? Does it seem the sound is over there, in your ear or in your head?
Is it any different for you?


again this fits my reasoning of consciousness being a process -a feedback process that is monitoring the brain and sensations themselves. These 'reside' in the brain, therefore it would make sense for the sensation/the place of consciousness to 'reside' in the brain as well, just as when touching something with your fingers the sensation of location is at the tips of the fingers.....

Where would you say the 'sense' of memory is located? or dreams?
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1036  Postby GrahamH » Nov 25, 2014 4:49 pm

Just a reminder:
we feel that we are a passenger in our body, riding along, rather than being part of it.

The passenger issue is purely about a subjective feeling of being somehow separate from, but located within the head. That's it. It has nothing to do with where neural processes occur. It is not an anatomical question.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1037  Postby kennyc » Nov 25, 2014 4:53 pm

GrahamH wrote:Just a reminder:
we feel that we are a passenger in our body, riding along, rather than being part of it.

The passenger issue is purely about a subjective feeling of being somehow separate from, but located within the head. That's it. It has nothing to do with where neural processes occur. It is not an anatomical question.


So?
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1038  Postby kennyc » Nov 25, 2014 4:55 pm

The actual fact is that it does have to do with where the processes are occurring or where we feel they are occurring. You yourself used the example of touching something, hearing something...

even so when we touch something with our fingers the sensation is being attributed by our brain to our fingers. If you want to argue about that then I'll refer you once again to the phantom limb and alien limb phenomena.
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1039  Postby angelo » Nov 26, 2014 8:29 am

Spearthrower wrote:
angelo wrote:Again, conciousness arose in homo sapien as he gradually became self aware and as an aid for self survival.



Why H sapiens? Why not H neanderthalensis? Why not H erectus? Why not A afarensis? Why not Pan trogolodytes?

Please help me understand how you can know that consciousness is a property only of modern humans?

Trace back the origins of religion, long before that, homo erectus started to become self aware is roughly when conciousness arose. There are traces of this conciousness in many living beings like a dolphin for example. But it never matches the conciousness of homo sapiens sapien. Only he has built a civilisation through his superior brain power.
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Re: Consciousness - a product of the brain?

#1040  Postby Ven. Kwan Tam Woo » Nov 26, 2014 8:44 am

Civilisation is only here because of the tiny minority of modern humans who were/are very smart and capable, not the vast majority who are captivated by things like Kim Kardashian's arse.
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