33 of 38
33
Panpsychism
Posted: 10 July 2008 12:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 481 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  94
Joined  2008-06-29
GAD - 10 July 2008 12:57 PM
workinprogress - 09 July 2008 04:41 PM

Are materialists really explaining consciousness? Explaining it as an epiphenoma, or some sort of emergence from complexity, only explains how consciousness looks from the outside; it doesn’t explain that subjective awareness of being alive, regardless of what level of complexity a living organism might have.

So all matter (at what level, atom?) has some hidden and as of yet undiscovered property called consciousness? If so why is only some matter alive?

You have to have a high degree of complexity before you’re going to arrive at a lifeform with self-awareness. But are simple one-celled animals conscious? Or are they organic robots? There are some researchers who believe that simple E-coli and salmonella bacteria, show signs of communication and group behaviour. But whatever consciousness a bacteria could possess, it wouldn’t be anything we can relate to.  http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE3DF1239F930A25753C1A964958260&sec;=&spon;=&pagewanted=all

Take the Sun for example, it has a hell of a lot of matter it should have a consciousness billions and billions of times greater then all things we call living combined. How does your theory account for the fact that 99.9999999999999999999999999% of all matter that supposedly has consciousness does not show any, but instead only a tiny few atoms in certain configurations do.

Self-awareness depends on complexity regardless of whether or not you believe the so called Hard Problem of Consciousness is real. The Sun is massive, but it’s made up of primarily hydrogen and helium, and it is so hot that there is no opportunity for any kind of structure to be maintained.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2008 01:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 482 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  2006-12-17
Salt Creek - 08 July 2008 09:15 PM

Meanwhile the neuroscientists await the insights of the “consciousness scientists”. The brain’s function didn’t evolve for the purpose of contemplating its own processes, so any surprises you get are manufactured by you for your own entertainment. The reason that you are not a zombie is so that you don’t eat your own foot when you’re hungry. Putting your foot into your mouth is still allowed, though.

No, the reason a zombie doesn’t eat its own foot when hungry is that it evolved to survive and from that perspective autoingestion to facilitate digestion is outta da question.

On the other hand, you might recall the scene in the Heinlein book Glory Road  where the hero fights an unbeatable monster and at a certain point, monster’s jaws slavering above him in the clinch, stuffs the monster’s foot into its mouth.  This leads to an episode of auto-self-consumption resulting in the eventual vanishing of the monster from existence.  The heroine looks at the hero and exclaims something like: “You didn’t tell me you were a mathematician!”

Of course the brain contemplates its own processes since all experience we have is only possible via neural processes—the question is where that self-contemplative ability comes from.  You may hold onto the belief (since there currently is no evidence) that it some how emerges like Jack popping out of the box, and I can believe (since there currently is no evidence) that it requires existence of an a priori consciousness as an intrinsic aspect of the cosmos.  But I’ll bet I can construct a more coherent theory since all you have to fall back on is “Emergence did it!” which seems strangely parallel to another belief occasionally expressed here….

But if you are a zombie into self-consumption, chew on your hand a bit.  Tenderer than a foot (or better yet, find a convenient breast).

[ Edited: 10 July 2008 01:51 PM by burt]
Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2008 01:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 483 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3765
Joined  2007-03-11
burt - 10 July 2008 05:44 PM

(or better yet, find a convenient breast).

Stop it, Burt, I’m beginning to experience emergence.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2008 01:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 484 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  2006-12-17
Bruce Burleson - 10 July 2008 05:47 PM
burt - 10 July 2008 05:44 PM

(or better yet, find a convenient breast).

Stop it, Burt, I’m beginning to experience emergence.

wink

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2008 11:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 485 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
burt - 10 July 2008 05:44 PM

the question is where that self-contemplative ability comes from.

Sure, as long as you keep asking where it “comes from” you never have to ask the question about what possible function it has. If it doesn’t have the same function for you as it does for a dog, you need to explain why not. This is not really such a good thing for you, since from there forward, it’s nothing but navel-gazing. Just be careful when you’re thinking how marvelous that ability is, because guess who’s telling you! You should get a second opinion. East of the Misssisippi, tune into radio WUWU. West of the Mississippi, the station is KUKU.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 10 July 2008 11:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 486 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1044
Joined  2008-02-15
workinprogress - 10 July 2008 04:12 PM
GAD - 10 July 2008 12:57 PM
workinprogress - 09 July 2008 04:41 PM

Are materialists really explaining consciousness? Explaining it as an epiphenoma, or some sort of emergence from complexity, only explains how consciousness looks from the outside; it doesn’t explain that subjective awareness of being alive, regardless of what level of complexity a living organism might have.

So all matter (at what level, atom?) has some hidden and as of yet undiscovered property called consciousness? If so why is only some matter alive?

You have to have a high degree of complexity before you’re going to arrive at a lifeform with self-awareness. But are simple one-celled animals conscious? Or are they organic robots? There are some researchers who believe that simple E-coli and salmonella bacteria, show signs of communication and group behaviour. But whatever consciousness a bacteria could possess, it wouldn’t be anything we can relate to.  http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E0CE3DF1239F930A25753C1A964958260&sec;=&spon;=&pagewanted=all

Take the Sun for example, it has a hell of a lot of matter it should have a consciousness billions and billions of times greater then all things we call living combined. How does your theory account for the fact that 99.9999999999999999999999999% of all matter that supposedly has consciousness does not show any, but instead only a tiny few atoms in certain configurations do.

Self-awareness depends on complexity regardless of whether or not you believe the so called Hard Problem of Consciousness is real. The Sun is massive, but it’s made up of primarily hydrogen and helium, and it is so hot that there is no opportunity for any kind of structure to be maintained.

So consciousness is dependent on material complexity. That means that the material had to become complex first i.e. it had to meet the definition of life first before it’s special hidden property could manifest itself as consciousness.   

Which is to say that consciousness is as an epiphenoma, or some sort of emergence from complexity….......

 Signature 

Why is there Something instead of Nothing: No reason or ever knowable reason.

Kissing Hank’s Ass
Pope Song (rated NC17).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2008 12:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 487 ]  
Jr. Member
RankRank
Total Posts:  94
Joined  2008-06-29
GAD - 11 July 2008 03:48 AM

So consciousness is dependent on material complexity.

The self-conscious awareness that we enjoy, which is generated by what neuroscientists tell us is the most complex physical structure in the known universe, certainly depends on complexity.

That means that the material had to become complex first i.e. it had to meet the definition of life first before it’s special hidden property could manifest itself as consciousness.

   

But who’s to say that consciousness does not exist until a given level of complexity is arrived at where a living creature attains some level of self-awareness? Are simple, one-celled organisms conscious? What about viruses and prions - those self-replicating proteins that wreak havoc, causing many diseases. Some very simple animals like ants, termites, bees and even bacteria, have tiny brains and yet exhibit complex social behaviour—looking at the colony as a unit, it’s almost as if they are conscious at the community level.

Which is to say that consciousness is as an epiphenoma, or some sort of emergence from complexity….......

Burt has already asked this question before about whether we can explain this subjective capacity for self-awareness as an epiphenomena that emerges from the complex organization of inert matter; or if the parts that are being organized have to have conscious properties to begin with! I don’t know if it’s an argument that can be falsified, but I still don’t buy the physicalist approaches that just dismiss subjectivity with a wave of the hand. Dennett maintains that there is no Hard Problem of Consciousness in the first place. Doesn’t seem like a very satisfying answer to me!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2008 07:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 488 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
workinprogress - 11 July 2008 04:53 AM

But who’s to say that consciousness does not exist until a given level of complexity is arrived at where a living creature attains some level of self-awareness?

Back to ontology 101 for you. If things exist just because you can conceive of them, then you’re fine, and should be satisfied with metaphysics. Best avoid methodological materialism, then. Your goals are inconsistent with the latter, but I think what you want is the kind of existence that scientists talk about. Otherwise it’s not worth much, is it?

Your need for the physical existence of a million dollars in your wallet does not put it there. How is consciousness (outside of the brain function) different?

And this “who’s to say” shit? Sounds like speculative/wishful thinking again. Do you imagine that a speculation constitutes an argument? Even among philosophers, where it is called a conjecture, it doesn’t, and is merely something you wish to prove.

Even I, not trained at all as a philosopher, can smell a wannabe a mile off, dateless, jerking off into his own hat. You just want to see your own precious mental productions in black and white, splashed all gooey onto an LCD screen near you.

workinprogress - 11 July 2008 04:53 AM

I still don’t buy the physicalist approaches that just dismiss subjectivity with a wave of the hand. Dennett maintains that there is no Hard Problem of Consciousness in the first place. Doesn’t seem like a very satisfying answer to me!

Bullshit arguments like the whoozy-futzy dualists come up with are themselves hand-waving and can be dismissed by hand-waving. Neuroscientists talk about synapses. Whoozy-futzy dualists talk about “essences” of “substances”.

Sorry the experience is less-than-satisfying. Maybe you just need a good fantasy to haul your rocks for you. Keep waving your hand and you will “come” to a conclusion.

[ Edited: 11 July 2008 08:13 AM by Traces Elk]
 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2008 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 489 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1044
Joined  2008-02-15
workinprogress - 11 July 2008 04:53 AM

The self-conscious awareness that we enjoy, which is generated by what neuroscientists tell us is the most complex physical structure in the known universe, certainly depends on complexity.

Again, the complex physical structure had to come first, before the self-conscious awareness. So life and self-conscious awareness are separate things i.e. life doesn’t need self-conscious awareness but self-conscious awareness does need life. From this POV then there should be no issue with the notion of abiogenesis as the necessary physical structure has to come first, before and without self-conscious awareness.

But who’s to say that consciousness does not exist until a given level of complexity is arrived at where a living creature attains some level of self-awareness? Are simple, one-celled organisms conscious? What about viruses and prions - those self-replicating proteins that wreak havoc, causing many diseases. Some very simple animals like ants, termites, bees and even bacteria, have tiny brains and yet exhibit complex social behaviour—looking at the colony as a unit, it’s almost as if they are conscious at the community level.


But why would anyone say it? The simpler view with far fewer assumptions is that consciousness is not a property of matter.

Burt has already asked this question before about whether we can explain this subjective capacity for self-awareness as an epiphenomena that emerges from the complex organization of inert matter; or if the parts that are being organized have to have conscious properties to begin with! I don’t know if it’s an argument that can be falsified, but I still don’t buy the physicalist approaches that just dismiss subjectivity with a wave of the hand. Dennett maintains that there is no Hard Problem of Consciousness in the first place. Doesn’t seem like a very satisfying answer to me!

We may dismiss subjectivity with the wave of our hand, but that seems more reasonable then you trying to pull it out of a hat with yours….....

 Signature 

Why is there Something instead of Nothing: No reason or ever knowable reason.

Kissing Hank’s Ass
Pope Song (rated NC17).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2008 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 490 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  2006-12-17
GAD - 11 July 2008 02:53 PM

We may dismiss subjectivity with the wave of our hand, but that seems more reasonable then you trying to pull it out of a hat with yours….....

See the ending of Robert Anton Wilson, The Trick Top Hat (second book in the Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy).  (Salt Creek would love these books, especially the final ending, which I shall not divulge.)  The trick top hat is the human brain, from which we pull not only rabbits, but all sorts of wonderful things.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2008 01:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 491 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
burt - 11 July 2008 03:57 PM

See the ending of Robert Anton Wilson, The Trick Top Hat (second book in the Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy).  (Salt Creek would love these books, especially the final ending, which I shall not divulge.)  The trick top hat is the human brain, from which we pull not only rabbits, but all sorts of wonderful things.

I am discouraged from reading R. A. Wilson, not only from having seen a sample of his drivel online, which was monumentally pedestrian (there’s an oxymoron for you!) but also from having met a a couple of his worshipers/fans, who are among the most obnoxiously self-satisfied schmucks in the populated universe. Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Heinlein are probably off in the afterlife somewhere, engaging in some sort of targetless nerd-on-nerd mutual masturbation.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2008 02:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 492 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  2006-12-17
Salt Creek - 11 July 2008 05:09 PM
burt - 11 July 2008 03:57 PM

See the ending of Robert Anton Wilson, The Trick Top Hat (second book in the Schrodinger’s Cat Trilogy).  (Salt Creek would love these books, especially the final ending, which I shall not divulge.)  The trick top hat is the human brain, from which we pull not only rabbits, but all sorts of wonderful things.

I am discouraged from reading R. A. Wilson, not only from having seen a sample of his drivel online, which was monumentally pedestrian (there’s an oxymoron for you!) but also from having met a a couple of his worshipers/fans, who are among the most obnoxiously self-satisfied schmucks in the populated universe. Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Heinlein are probably off in the afterlife somewhere, engaging in some sort of targetless nerd-on-nerd mutual masturbation.

Ah, we do agree about much of good old R.A., but Salty, you would so appreciate these particular books, at least if you were able to work through them to the end which is the groaner of all groaners (talking about shaggy dog stories—sort of a perverse Odyssey).

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2008 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 493 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
burt - 11 July 2008 06:56 PM

Ah, we do agree about much of good old R.A., but Salty, you would so appreciate these particular books, at least if you were able to work through them to the end which is the groaner of all groaners (talking about shaggy dog stories—sort of a perverse Odyssey).

Life is too short to read bad SF. In fact, life is too short to read even good SF much past the age of 25. This rule is different if you are actually an SF writer. I was very fond of Poul Anderson, Andre Norton, Niven & Pournelle, and even old Robert A. in my youth. I really liked the Burroughs Mars and Venus stories and O. A. Kline’s reasonable imitations.

Dejah Thoris rocks! These novels really need to be committed to celluloid now that graphics technology is up to the task. If they can do the Incredible Hulk, they can sure do Tars Tarkas.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2008 03:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 494 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  2927
Joined  2006-12-17
Salt Creek - 11 July 2008 07:06 PM
burt - 11 July 2008 06:56 PM

Ah, we do agree about much of good old R.A., but Salty, you would so appreciate these particular books, at least if you were able to work through them to the end which is the groaner of all groaners (talking about shaggy dog stories—sort of a perverse Odyssey).

Life is too short to read bad SF. In fact, life is too short to read even good SF much past the age of 25. This rule is different if you are actually an SF writer. I was very fond of Poul Anderson, Andre Norton, Niven & Pournelle, and even old Robert A. in my youth. I really liked the Burroughs Mars and Venus stories and O. A. Kline’s reasonable imitations.

Dejah Thoris rocks! These novels really need to be committed to celluloid now that graphics technology is up to the task. If they can do the Incredible Hulk, they can sure do Tars Tarkas.

As for me, I know it’s time to start writing instead of just thinking and scribbling when I find myself browsing the SF shelves in bookstores looking for something to distract me from more serious work.  grin

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 July 2008 03:51 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 495 ]  
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  5404
Joined  2006-09-27
burt - 11 July 2008 07:19 PM

As for me, I know it’s time to start writing instead of just thinking and scribbling when I find myself browsing the SF shelves in bookstores looking for something to distract me from more serious work.

Actually, if I were to conceive of a serious project, I would try to answer the idiocy spouted by the woo-woo crowd in threads like this one. I thought Dennett’s analogy with magic tricks was kind of sweet. E. O. Wilson has a chapter on “Mind” in his book entitled Consilience that strikingly obliterates most of the bullshit that has gone down here, and he’s a just biologist who studies ants, for heaven’s sake. There actually isn’t a serious need for an answer to the woo-heads who blather about “consciousnessness”.

You can’t explain to me what the functionality of “self-awareness” really is, yet every bit of human culture is an indirect product of it. What you are calling “experience” (the part you don’t attempt utterly to mystify) is nothing more than the absence of equilbrium between the organism’s state and what it would find “comfortable”. Contemplating what “state” you’re in consists in comparing where you are to where you’d like to be. You can meditate yourself into oblivion, but be sure not to miss mealtime.

You want to say that there is something about experience that cannot be communicated by words, art, music, and so on, but nobody really considers it worthwhile to do more than remind us that we cannot say what it “is”. Who care what it is? Notice what it does. What self-awareness cannot do is contribute unequivocally to your survival on the stage of natural selection. You can say that it is responsible for architecture, and control of fire, and the wheel, but you need to note that it is responsible for overpopulation, too. Look at what it does, not what it “is”.

 Signature 

INVEST in cynicism!

Profile
 
 
   
33 of 38
33
 
RSS 2.0     Atom Feed