Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#901  Postby zoon » May 19, 2014 3:22 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
zoon wrote:...
(My own take is that the Hard Problem exists because we are confused robots; we’ve evolved to model and interpret others and ourselves as essentially autonomous individuals with essentially private phenomenal consciousness, but scientific discoveries are showing us that that interpretation is in the end mistaken. Since programming robots to be confused is not in principle an impossible task, I would see the ‘hard’ problem as reducible to the ‘easy’ one.)

I was not aware that the privacy of phenomenal consciousness was "just an illusion", and one that has been exposed as such by "scientific discoveries". Perhaps you can point us to them.

I did say “essential privacy”; I was referring to the way it’s generally taken as read that one person’s experiences must always be separate from another person’s. Assuming the scientific view of brains as physical systems is correct, it presumably follows that there’s nothing in principle to prevent one person from knowing at least as much about another as that person knows about themselves?

Of course, so far each person’s thoughts are in fact private because brains are (so far) much too complex to be read in any useful real-time detail by any current technology; the best way we have of predicting another person is still the evolved prescientific collection of brain processes known as Theory of Mind, which rely on simulation and guesswork.
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#902  Postby zoon » May 19, 2014 3:24 pm

kennyc wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
zoon wrote:...
(My own take is that the Hard Problem exists because we are confused robots; we’ve evolved to model and interpret others and ourselves as essentially autonomous individuals with essentially private phenomenal consciousness, but scientific discoveries are showing us that that interpretation is in the end mistaken. Since programming robots to be confused is not in principle an impossible task, I would see the ‘hard’ problem as reducible to the ‘easy’ one.)

I was not aware that the privacy of phenomenal consciousness was "just an illusion", and one that has been exposed as such by "scientific discoveries". Perhaps you can point us to them.


This is his belief, he has been consistent as far as I know. I disagree wrt consciousness being an illusion. I also disagree that the hard problem even exists.

Consciousness is nothing more than evolved awareness, and it is very real.

When mentalising terms like “awareness” turn up in the scientific literature, it’s usually in the context of Theory of Mind experiments, where researchers are working out the developmental processes as young children start to attribute mental states such as beliefs to others and to themselves. In that sense, that humans are wired up to attribute mental states to each other (and to themselves), mental states could be said to have objective reality in the same way that the image in a mirror has objective reality: everyone can agree on what the image in the mirror looks like, where it appears to be, and so on. Whether the image in a mirror counts as an illusion or as a part of objective reality depends on how it’s being discussed, and I would say the same is true of consciousness.
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#903  Postby kennyc » May 19, 2014 3:32 pm

zoon wrote:.....
When mentalising terms like “awareness” turn up in the scientific literature, it’s usually in the context of Theory of Mind experiments,....



Absolutely wrong. You need to broaden your horizons. I suggest you start here: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=con ... CCkQgQMwAA

Theory of mind is bullshit when it comes to consciousness. Consciousness is BUILT UPON awareness.
The theory of mind bullshit is something way and far removed from awareness and layered on top of consciousness and self-consciousness in a context of survival and social interaction.

I don't know how to say it any more clearly than I have. If you have PROOF, EVIDENCE, or even RATIONAL REASONING that TOM comes or came before consciousness then let's see it, otherwise stop the bullshit claims that it has anything whatsoever to do with consciousness. TOM is IRRELEVANT when it comes to consciousness.


:doh: :doh: :doh:
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#904  Postby DavidMcC » May 19, 2014 3:38 pm

zoon wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
zoon wrote:...
(My own take is that the Hard Problem exists because we are confused robots; we’ve evolved to model and interpret others and ourselves as essentially autonomous individuals with essentially private phenomenal consciousness, but scientific discoveries are showing us that that interpretation is in the end mistaken. Since programming robots to be confused is not in principle an impossible task, I would see the ‘hard’ problem as reducible to the ‘easy’ one.)

I was not aware that the privacy of phenomenal consciousness was "just an illusion", and one that has been exposed as such by "scientific discoveries". Perhaps you can point us to them.

I did say “essential privacy”; I was referring to the way it’s generally taken as read that one person’s experiences must always be separate from another person’s. Assuming the scientific view of brains as physical systems is correct, it presumably follows that there’s nothing in principle to prevent one person from knowing at least as much about another as that person knows about themselves?

Of course, so far each person’s thoughts are in fact private because brains are (so far) much too complex to be read in any useful real-time detail by any current technology; the best way we have of predicting another person is still the evolved prescientific collection of brain processes known as Theory of Mind, which rely on simulation and guesswork.

It is not obvious that, say, what the subjective experience (se) of one person, seeing blue is like, will ever be clear to another person. ToM is not about SE, it is about thought (which may be based on SE).
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#905  Postby kennyc » May 19, 2014 3:45 pm

DavidMcC wrote:
zoon wrote:
DavidMcC wrote:
zoon wrote:...
(My own take is that the Hard Problem exists because we are confused robots; we’ve evolved to model and interpret others and ourselves as essentially autonomous individuals with essentially private phenomenal consciousness, but scientific discoveries are showing us that that interpretation is in the end mistaken. Since programming robots to be confused is not in principle an impossible task, I would see the ‘hard’ problem as reducible to the ‘easy’ one.)

I was not aware that the privacy of phenomenal consciousness was "just an illusion", and one that has been exposed as such by "scientific discoveries". Perhaps you can point us to them.

I did say “essential privacy”; I was referring to the way it’s generally taken as read that one person’s experiences must always be separate from another person’s. Assuming the scientific view of brains as physical systems is correct, it presumably follows that there’s nothing in principle to prevent one person from knowing at least as much about another as that person knows about themselves?

Of course, so far each person’s thoughts are in fact private because brains are (so far) much too complex to be read in any useful real-time detail by any current technology; the best way we have of predicting another person is still the evolved prescientific collection of brain processes known as Theory of Mind, which rely on simulation and guesswork.

It is not obvious that, say, what the subjective experience (se) of one person, seeing blue is like, will ever be clear to another person. ToM is not about SE, it is about thought (which may be based on SE).



Just like sensitivity to pain varies from person to person and ability to hear and discriminate musical tones/notes.

And to go to a whole different level how my fingerprints, retina prints, gut biomes are individual. We may be able to agree on what blue is or what pain is or a musical note, but we can't BE that person. Brains are even more individually different from one another than fingerprints etc. Each is unique, each will have different abilities and capabilities and no two will be exactly alike.
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#906  Postby jamest » May 19, 2014 4:14 pm

kennyc wrote:
zoon wrote:.....
When mentalising terms like “awareness” turn up in the scientific literature, it’s usually in the context of Theory of Mind experiments,....



Absolutely wrong. You need to broaden your horizons. I suggest you start here: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=con ... CCkQgQMwAA

Theory of mind is bullshit when it comes to consciousness. Consciousness is BUILT UPON awareness.
The theory of mind bullshit is something way and far removed from awareness and layered on top of consciousness and self-consciousness in a context of survival and social interaction.

I don't know how to say it any more clearly than I have. If you have PROOF, EVIDENCE, or even RATIONAL REASONING that TOM comes or came before consciousness then let's see it, otherwise stop the bullshit claims that it has anything whatsoever to do with consciousness. TOM is IRRELEVANT when it comes to consciousness.


:doh: :doh: :doh:

Yes, we need to ask zoon how one can develop a mindset commensurate with the theory of mind without already being aware. At most, TOM provides a means for explaining the development of consciousness... but not its origin.
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#907  Postby zoon » May 19, 2014 10:14 pm

DavidMcC wrote:It is not obvious that, say, what the subjective experience (se) of one person, seeing blue is like, will ever be clear to another person. ToM is not about SE, it is about thought (which may be based on SE).


jamest wrote:Yes, we need to ask zoon how one can develop a mindset commensurate with the theory of mind without already being aware. At most, TOM provides a means for explaining the development of consciousness... but not its origin.



kennyc wrote:
zoon wrote:.....
When mentalising terms like “awareness” turn up in the scientific literature, it’s usually in the context of Theory of Mind experiments,....



Absolutely wrong. You need to broaden your horizons. I suggest you start here: http://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=con ... CCkQgQMwAA

Theory of mind is bullshit when it comes to consciousness. Consciousness is BUILT UPON awareness.
The theory of mind bullshit is something way and far removed from awareness and layered on top of consciousness and self-consciousness in a context of survival and social interaction.

I don't know how to say it any more clearly than I have. If you have PROOF, EVIDENCE, or even RATIONAL REASONING that TOM comes or came before consciousness then let's see it, otherwise stop the bullshit claims that it has anything whatsoever to do with consciousness. TOM is IRRELEVANT when it comes to consciousness.


:doh: :doh: :doh:

“Awareness” and “consciousness” have a wide range of meanings, so it’s very easy to get into arguments about them even where the participants may agree about what’s going on in the world. You and DavidMcC and jamest all agree that I’m mistaken in thinking Theory of Mind has a central role, but as far as I can tell, you have very different ideas about what awareness is. Going by your post #482 in this thread, you see it as a fundamental component of all living things, DavidMcC (if I understand him) sees it as a property of certain feedback loops in the mammalian brain involving the thalamus, and jamest (again, if I’ve followed what he’s saying) regards it as an aspect of a unitary god’s awareness which underlies everything, not just living things. As far as I could tell, most of the papers which you linked to in your post above were using “aware” or “conscious” to describe people or large animals with brains which were responding to stimuli, I don’t have the impression that a single cell’s response would have counted.

It seems to me that the common aspect of all these startlingly different interpretations of “awareness” is that they refer to things which trigger the Theory of Mind processes in our brains. You say that all living things have awareness: it is the case that all living things can be interpreted as behaving in goal-directed ways, and this is one of the features which sets off the ToM processes and causes us to see things as having a mental aspect. DavidMcC limits “awareness” to mammals, and it is also true that our ToM processes very readily ascribe consciousness to (non-human) mammals because their behaviour is in many ways like ours. (In your terms, both mammals and amoebae have awareness, but mammals have a greater quantity of it.) Jamest’s theistic approach doesn’t attempt to follow the findings of science, it’s about the way we take our minds to encompass the world, which is a presupposition of the scientific method. Again, the presumption that each person has a mind which represents and includes the world as it is for that person is a feature of Theory of Mind, it’s an aspect of the way we’ve evolved to predict each other using dedicated mindreading modules in our brains.

I take the line that “awareness” or “consciousness” is a non-scientific concept which we attribute to things (primarily people) which set off the evolved ToM mindreading processes in our brains, so I think different people can interpret it in very different ways, as I’ve described above. (The core use of ToM is still in managing ordinary social life with other adult humans; you and DavidMcC and jamest may have wildly divergent views about the awareness of amoebae, or of the universe as a whole, but you would almost certainly be in close agreement about the awareness of the people you talk to every day.) It’s in this sense that I regard Theory of Mind as central to “awareness” or “consciousness”.
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#908  Postby kennyc » May 19, 2014 11:07 pm

So then no, you have no support, no reason, no evidence for your claims, so please take the TOM discussion elsewhere so we can discuss consciousness.
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#909  Postby zoon » May 20, 2014 2:00 pm

kennyc wrote:So then no, you have no support, no reason, no evidence for your claims, so please take the TOM discussion elsewhere so we can discuss consciousness.

I have given evidence and reasons in support of my claims, if you would like more detail, the book “Consciousness and the Social Brain” (note “social”), which you recommended here, is an excellent source.

Your own view of “awareness” is far from mainstream. The first pageful of papers which you linked to in your post #903 above are all concerned with human awareness, and are making a clear distinction between processes which are conscious or aware, as distinct from unconscious processes (see the quotes from the first two linked papers at the end of this post). The last link on that page is to a paper entitled: “Perception without awareness: perspectives from cognitive psychology” – as I understand you, your view is that all perception involves awareness. If you are taking “awareness” to be something which is present even in single cells, you are not using the word in the way all of those researchers are using it.

As I understand you, you regard a single-celled living organism, such as a bacterium, as having real awareness, whereas an object such as a thermostat only has a functional similarity to real awareness. What is it about living things which, in your view, makes the difference between real awareness and mere similarity? Is it that living things are usually seen as having a purpose (e.g. to maximise their inclusive fitness)?

link 1
Richard Schmidt wrote:There are three major points of view represented in the foreign language teaching community. The first is the most traditional, and stresses the importance of conscious understanding and study for success in learning foreign languages.......The second major point of view is that language learning (or 'acquisition') is unconscious or subconscious (no one seems to make a distinction between the two terms).


link 2
Duezel et al wrote:According to one theory of human memory there exist two different modes of access to, and two corresponding forms of conscious awareness of, information about previously experienced events: autonoetic and noetic awareness (1, 17). Autonoetic awareness (remembering) represents the standard experiential mode of the episodic memory system (1, 17). It is the kind of awareness that characterizes mental “re-living” of happenings from one’s personal past. It is phenomenally known to all healthy people who can “travel back in time” in their own minds. Noetic awareness (knowing) accompanies an individual’s interaction with its environment in the present. It is the standard experiential mode of retrieval operations in the semantic memory (general knowledge) system (18). When an individual thinks about the world, relying on her semantic memory, she is consciously aware of the relation between her thoughts and aspects of the world that are not perceptually present at the time. The experiential flavor of the noetic awareness is different from autonoetic awareness of personally experienced past events.
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#910  Postby GrahamH » May 20, 2014 2:46 pm

Yes, we need to ask zoon how one can develop a mindset commensurate with the theory of mind without already being aware. At most, TOM provides a means for explaining the development of consciousness... but not its origin.[/quote]

Very simply, because developing Mindsets may not be a function of 'conscious minds'.

I know you have a feeling of absolute certainty that you are a conscious mind that generates is own thoughts. You are sure that mind is source and observer of thoughts. The proposition discussed is that such certainty may be in error.

Here is an excellent pod cast discussing 'the feeling of being certain' which addresses these issues of cognitive illusions as consequences of unconscious neural processes.

http://brainsciencepodcast.com/bsp/on-b ... sp-43.html
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#911  Postby GrahamH » May 20, 2014 2:47 pm

Good posts zoon. They are wasted on kenny.
Why do you think that?
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#912  Postby kennyc » May 20, 2014 3:17 pm

zoon wrote:
kennyc wrote:So then no, you have no support, no reason, no evidence for your claims, so please take the TOM discussion elsewhere so we can discuss consciousness.

I have given evidence and reasons in support of my claims, if you would like more detail, the book “Consciousness and the Social Brain” (note “social”), which you recommended here, is an excellent source.
...


Certainly humans and many other animals have social aspects to their interaction with each other, but it has NOTHING to do with our awareness, consciousness and self-consciousness. That is a completely different aspect of our mental and emotional capabilities which in addition to consciousness and self-consciousness provide a competitive advantage.

It is NOT the source of consciousness by any stretch of the imagination.

It's very sad that you can't or refuse to understand this very simple concept.


P.S. nothing in your response provides any support whatsoever for TOM being the source of consciousness. So your answer to my question is still no. You don't appear to understand what it is under discussion when we say awareness, consciousness or self consciousness.
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#913  Postby DavidMcC » May 20, 2014 3:40 pm

GrahamH wrote:...
Very simply, because developing Mindsets may not be a function of 'conscious minds'.
...

Wtf is a "mindset", in the context of a TOM?
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#914  Postby zoon » May 20, 2014 5:00 pm

kennyc wrote:You don't appear to understand what it is under discussion when we say awareness, consciousness or self consciousness.

Since your interpretation of “awareness” is markedly different from most people’s interpretation of the word, I asked you above, in post #909, to clarify it:

zoon wrote:As I understand you, you regard a single-celled living organism, such as a bacterium, as having real awareness, whereas an object such as a thermostat only has a functional similarity to real awareness. What is it about living things which, in your view, makes the difference between real awareness and mere similarity? Is it that living things are usually seen as having a purpose (e.g. to maximise their inclusive fitness)?
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#915  Postby kennyc » May 20, 2014 5:26 pm

zoon wrote:
kennyc wrote:You don't appear to understand what it is under discussion when we say awareness, consciousness or self consciousness.

Since your interpretation of “awareness” is markedly different from most people’s interpretation of the word, I asked you above, in post #909, to clarify it:

zoon wrote:As I understand you, you regard a single-celled living organism, such as a bacterium, as having real awareness, whereas an object such as a thermostat only has a functional similarity to real awareness. What is it about living things which, in your view, makes the difference between real awareness and mere similarity? Is it that living things are usually seen as having a purpose (e.g. to maximise their inclusive fitness)?


I'm not the one that's confused. It's a simple definition and not 'markedly different.'

Provide your support for your claim that TOM is the source of consciousness.....oh wait....you can't.....imagine that. :roll:
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#916  Postby kennyc » May 20, 2014 5:58 pm

zoon wrote:
kennyc wrote:You don't appear to understand what it is under discussion when we say awareness, consciousness or self consciousness.

Since your interpretation of “awareness” is markedly different from most people’s interpretation of the word, I asked you above, in post #909, to clarify it.....


If that is truly what you think and in conjunction with your claims about TOM in regards to consciousness, it seems clear that your understanding of the field is extremely limited. Please do some reading on the topic of consciousness outside your pet theory, there is much information freely available on the internet.

You might even start here with the basic wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness
which opens exactly along the lines and with the definitions and understandings that I continue to express. Not the word used.

Consciousness is the quality or state of self-awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.[1][2] It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind.[3] Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is.[4] As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."[5].....
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#917  Postby zoon » May 20, 2014 6:42 pm

kennyc wrote:
zoon wrote:
kennyc wrote:You don't appear to understand what it is under discussion when we say awareness, consciousness or self consciousness.

Since your interpretation of “awareness” is markedly different from most people’s interpretation of the word, I asked you above, in post #909, to clarify it.....


If that is truly what you think and in conjunction with your claims about TOM in regards to consciousness, it seems clear that your understanding of the field is extremely limited. Please do some reading on the topic of consciousness outside your pet theory, there is much information freely available on the internet.

You might even start here with the basic wikipedia entry: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness
which opens exactly along the lines and with the definitions and understandings that I continue to express. Not the word used.

Consciousness is the quality or state of self-awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself.[1][2] It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or to feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and the executive control system of the mind.[3] Despite the difficulty in definition, many philosophers believe that there is a broadly shared underlying intuition about what consciousness is.[4] As Max Velmans and Susan Schneider wrote in The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness: "Anything that we are aware of at a given moment forms part of our consciousness, making conscious experience at once the most familiar and most mysterious aspect of our lives."[5].....

Thank you, I’m happy with that definition. Most people, for example the authors of the first pageful of papers which you linked to in your post #903 above, would suppose that the only creatures which we are reasonably sure have such awareness are human beings when in a state of consciousness (not when living and healthy but unconscious), with the possible addition of some other large-brained animals. You, by contrast, are clear that “awareness” is possessed even by single-celled organisms such as bacteria. Quoting your post #482 in this thread:

kennyc #482 wrote:amazing Graham and I partially agree, but.....There was not a 'time' when consciousness came into existence, it is “a fundamental component of all living things” beginning at least with awareness of boundary, chemical and electrical potentials .... but even beyond that perhaps to naked viruses and dna precursors ability to chemically identify and acquire needed 'nutrients' to grow, multiply, etc.

Awareness has been around a damn long time!

What is your evidence that a bacterium has “the quality or state of self-awareness, or, of being aware of an external object or something within oneself”, while a thermostat doesn’t?
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#918  Postby kennyc » May 20, 2014 7:28 pm

And of course the perspective and approach Michio presents in the opening video and in his book is where we need to restart because consciousness has been completely taken to the wrong and non-scientific approach by the speculation.

You're welcome to be 'reasonable sure' of whatever you like but that's exactly what got us to this idiotic place of misunderstanding what consciousness is and it's reason for being. I encourage you to read up on it. ;)

I've explained everything that need to be explained about my perspective on awareness, consciousness and self-awareness and even how that related to thermostats (and their consciousness) so don't be upset if I refuse to play your little game of going around the block again. I would invite you to reread this and the other threads where I've clearly and concisely explained this. It is not up for debate.
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#919  Postby zoon » May 21, 2014 2:54 pm

kennyc wrote:And of course the perspective and approach Michio presents in the opening video and in his book is where we need to restart because consciousness has been completely taken to the wrong and non-scientific approach by the speculation.

You're welcome to be 'reasonable sure' of whatever you like but that's exactly what got us to this idiotic place of misunderstanding what consciousness is and it's reason for being. I encourage you to read up on it. ;)

I've explained everything that need to be explained about my perspective on awareness, consciousness and self-awareness and even how that related to thermostats (and their consciousness) so don't be upset if I refuse to play your little game of going around the block again. I would invite you to reread this and the other threads where I've clearly and concisely explained this. It is not up for debate.

In the opening video Michio Kaku gives this definition of consciousness:

Michio Kaku wrote:Consciousness is the number of feedback loops required to create a model of your position in space with relationship to other organisms and finally with relationship to time.

I’m quoting from posts #74, #118, and #482 from this thread as representative of your views. If you don’t agree, please expand on why.

kennyc #74 wrote:
GrahamH wrote:
SpeedOfSound wrote:Now obviously we will have an entirely different feel from the thermostat. But then our 'feels' are continuously different even from ourselves.


How can a thermostat feel? .....


Wrong question. A more proper question as indicated in the context of the video and in the instances where I have brought it up is in comparing the function of a thermostat to the function of consciousness. They are both feedback systems, monitoring and providing information and potential for action or corrective action. Is that not what 'feelings' do?


kennyc #118 wrote:…You first have to understand what a feedback loop/system is and then you have to recognize that that is exactly the function of consciousness, in the same manner as a thermostat is in its system.

It has nothing to do with what you think of as subjective experience, but certainly a thermostat is aware of and senses the environment and makes conscious decisions based on that experience/awareness/sensation. So yes it does 'model' its environment its 'mind' even as simple as it is.


kennyc #482 wrote:.....There was not a 'time' when consciousness came into existence, it is “a fundamental component of all living things” beginning at least with awareness of boundary, chemical and electrical potentials .... but even beyond that perhaps to naked viruses and dna precursors ability to chemically identify and acquire needed 'nutrients' to grow, multiply, etc.

You and Michio Kaku are both using a definition of “consciousness” which is entirely different from that of scientists who are studying consciousness. Quoting from the Wikipedia entry on “consciousness” which you took your working definition from in post #916 of this thread:

Wikipedia wrote:Experimental research on consciousness presents special difficulties, due to the lack of a universally accepted operational definition. In the majority of experiments that are specifically about consciousness, the subjects are human, and the criterion that is used is verbal report: in other words, subjects are asked to describe their experiences, and their descriptions are treated as observations of the contents of consciousness.[69] For example, subjects who stare continuously at a Necker cube usually report that they experience it "flipping" between two 3D configurations, even though the stimulus itself remains the same.
.......
Although verbal report is in practice the "gold standard" for ascribing consciousness, it is not the only possible criterion.[72] In medicine, consciousness is assessed as a combination of verbal behavior, arousal, brain activity and purposeful movement. The last three of these can be used as indicators of consciousness when verbal behavior is absent.[76] The scientific literature regarding the neural bases of arousal and purposeful movement is very extensive. Their reliability as indicators of consciousness is disputed, however, due to numerous studies showing that alert human subjects can be induced to behave purposefully in a variety of ways in spite of reporting a complete lack of awareness.

That quote from Wikipedia makes it clear that scientists who study consciousness are studying humans, and specifically humans who are capable of giving verbal reports. There is a grey area where people may behave apparently purposefully without being able to report verbally, but anyone who is, for example, unconscious as a result of having been administered anaesthetic does not count as conscious or aware, even though many of the cells of that person’s body are still as actively responsive to external stimuli as any amoeba.

When you or Michio Kaku talk of thermostats or flowers having units of consciousness, you are using the word in an entirely different sense from that in use in current research.

Of course, just because you are using the word in a different way from the neuroscientists who are studying consciousness, doesn’t mean that you are talking nonsense, only that you cannot call on those researchers to support your views. Almost certainly, human consciousness (whether illusory or otherwise) with verbal reports evolved gradually from single-celled creatures, and it’s also the case that feedback loops are heavily involved in both systems. Those statements, however, are extremely vague and general. In particular, what GrahamH and I are saying is entirely compatible with both of those statements: modelling oneself evolved slowly, without saltations, and lots and lots of feedback loops are involved. In that respect, GrahamH and I are not contradicting what you are saying, we are merely attempting to add some of the details which are relevant to human awareness. Both you and Michio Kaku, in the quotes I’ve given above, speak of consciousness as involving the creation of models, why do you regard self-modelling as necessarily incompatible with your view?
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Re: Quantified Consciousness - Michio Kaku

#920  Postby DavidMcC » May 21, 2014 3:08 pm

Wikipedia wrote:Experimental research on consciousness presents special difficulties, due to the lack of a universally accepted operational definition. In the majority of experiments that are specifically about consciousness, the subjects are human, and the criterion that is used is verbal report: in other words, subjects are asked to describe their experiences, and their descriptions are treated as observations of the contents of consciousness.[69] For example, subjects who stare continuously at a Necker cube usually report that they experience it "flipping" between two 3D configurations, even though the stimulus itself remains the same.

That seems more like a statement of how a particular cognitive illusion works than any attempt to "quantify" human consciousness, so I agree with you, zoon, on this particular point.
EDIT: I also think the flipping is a result of the two equally valid ways the unconscious regions of the brain, that do the data preparation, can interpret the unnatural and ambiguous 2D image as a 3D object.
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