Arguments of consciousness
Posted: 24 February 2012 05:48 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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So there is a person who is talking about consciousness and I find he gives oversimplified answers. Discuss. Here is the video from youtube:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1pzP7A33O0&feature=related

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Posted: 24 February 2012 07:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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What did you want him or anyone to say? He makes the basic point that can be made which I have also made and so have others.. consciousness seems to be a thing sui generis . I agree with this.


Consciousness is not something we really understand much , we don’t even really understand its boundaries .. literally we don’t   even know what we’re talking about. So how much can anyone have to say about it that is coherent? I get what he’s saying. It’s not without sense.


Someone is dying and wants to know what will happen to his “selfness” . It’s the oldest scenario in the book, no? There’s nothing wrong with this guy’s answer particularly nor with the questioner’s question. It’s still a mystery what consciousness is so, so the questioner’s question we can’t even say if it has a birth and a death. This is just a fact about our state of knowledge.

 

I always give this analogy so stop reading if you’ve heard this one before- it’s like the gold fish and the watch. The goldfish can bump right up against a watch and no matter how he interacts with it will never comprehend what the watch is really about. That’s because the goldfish doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand the concept of human time with minutes and hours and seconds and all this kind of thing- he’s just a goldfish.


Yet if you ask a human, the goldfish is as constrained as anything else by a universe which includes time . The goldfish’s ignorance of what time doesn’t mean that time based processes don’t effect the goldfish- he’ll just never understand any of those processes ... even as they effect him.

 

 

We’re probably goldfish with respect to consciousness. We’re bumping right up against something the nature of which were are not constituted to comprehend in any meaningful way. We’re not made to understand what it is all about.


What an unhappy thought.  What a miserable dead end street to be walking down.


But at the same time, it leaves a lot of possibilities open, about meaning and the persistence of consciousness and boundaries between things we take to be separate selves.. foundational issues which are the source of the questioner’s questions.


Maybe there’s some aspect of our awareness that can penetrates some of this. Maybe mystical experiences are actually more like perceptions of reality and less like hallucinations. Who knows? Not that guy. Not me. Not the questioner. So you get smart people like this guy groping for words and analogies. This is not some kind of mental laziness on his part. It springs from   the nature of the question meeting the our own built in limitations. You’re a fish.

[ Edited: 24 February 2012 07:40 PM by softwarevisualization]
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Posted: 26 February 2012 09:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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softwarevisualization - 24 February 2012 07:35 PM

Consciousness is not something we really understand much , we don’t even really understand its boundaries .. literally we don’t   even know what we’re talking about. So how much can anyone have to say about it that is coherent?

The field of neurology has a profound understanding of consciousness, though such understanding will of course continue to be augmented by discoveries via future research just like everything else. Could it be that antiquated philosophical notions surrounding consciousness have led you to assume that our knowledge is instead paltry? My advice is not to expect reasoned answers to questions asked out of ancient ignorance.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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