• Tyler
    58
    Since you have not supported this with any evidence whatevercharleton
    The evidence is the rationality of the explanation and the function of the process. Quite a bit of explanation, and I could post a link to a lot more if preferred.

    its a bit rich trying to pretend that the arguments that have been offered to you already are unreasonable.charleton
    I was addressing your comment of, "Nonetheless..." which seems to insinuate; regardless of the previous reasoning.
    But, if including your previous argument, I wouldn't necessarily say it is unreasonable, but I gave reasoning why it would rationally not be a valid argument. As I mentioned, amnesia patients wouldn't be reason against consciousness being a function of memory access. It seems pretty logical that any amnesia patient would have to have some memories to be able to operate as a conscious human. If they are truly void of any memories, they would have no ability to comprehend anything whatsoever, which would fall well short of the definition of consciousness.

    Your suggestion is prima facie absurd since there are no memories without the sense experience to collect them in the first place. A foetus can have no memories, and can only begin to form them by the active sensation of the world in which it thrives.
    Consciousness must precede memory
    charleton
    The method of obtaining memories is irrelevant, if there is a process which causes consciousness, that involves the use of the memories -without use of the method of receiving them. Just because there is a certain process which occurs prior to another process, doesn't disprove the following process.
    True, sensory input seems to be the only method humans obtain memories, but that doesn't mean that particular function of obtaining memories, is required for consciousness. It is possible that input function is required for consciousness, but an alternate possibility doesn't disprove the other.

    The only way I see that your example could prove consciousness precedes memory, is if a fetus has consciousness, before it acquires memories. Considering consciousness is a state of awareness and comprehension, it seems quite unlikely that a fetus has consciousness.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    The evidence is the rationality of the explanation and the function of the process. Quite a bit of explanation, and I could post a link to a lot more if preferred.Tyler
    In other words you have no evidence.

    The method of obtaining memories is irrelevant,Tyler

    How convenient for you!!! LOL
  • Tyler
    58
    In other words you have no evidence.charleton
    With a lack of rational comprehension by the one interpreting it, then no evidence.

    How convenient for you!!! LOLcharleton
    Yes, proving you wrong is convenient, thanks.
  • Ying
    213
    Is consciousness nothing more than a particular method of memory access?Tyler

    The psyche is the psyche (according to gestalt psychology anyway). Its not really divisible into it's supposed subcomponents since it forms a unified whole. As such, it's made up of a constant awareness of my body, both in a physical and spatial (relative to my direct environment) sense, my perceptual field and my inner world of thoughts and emotions. But these aren't really divided. All are constants in my awareness. I can focus, causing certain phenomena to become highlighted, but this doesn't mean that the rest isn't there. This is actually somewhat of a problem when trying to describe the mind, since it's easy to lose sight of this issue when trying to describe the mind with words.

    Anyway... Memory access. Well, lets discuss some of the various identified memory systems first.

    -Iconic memory
    A sensory memory buffer, active in our visual field; it's what causes what's called persistence of vision. Another thing it does: When we perceive a scene, we do so in short 200 millisecond bursts called saccades. Iconic memory allows us to piece together a singular scene out of these partial snapshots.

    -Echoic memory
    Similar to iconic memory in that it's a sensory memory buffer. This one pertains to hearing.

    -Working memory
    Or short term memory. It's the workbench of memory systems, the one able to retain chunks of information for a limited amount of time. It's also the place where things are transferred to long term memory.

    -Episodic memory
    What people usually think about when talking about memories; the one that pertains to time and space.

    -Semantic memory
    Information storage basically.

    -Implicit memory
    Storage of tacit knowledge. This one is responsible for learning social behavior according to script theory.

    -Procedural memory
    Pertains to learning tasks.

    OK. Going back to your original question. "Is consciousness nothing more than a particular method of memory access?" Well, no. The various memory systems play a fundamental part in our mental faculties, but aren't the sole bearers of cognition. The mind isn't just a passive operator. Directing our attention is a fundamental part of our consciousness (through figure-ground in sensory perception and through modulation of consciousness thresholds when it comes to the other phenomenological regions). As such, our own agency plays an equally important part in how we see and interact with the world.

    Note that I distinguish between the psyche, the mind and consciousness. When I talk about the psyche, I'm talking about the whole form, the entire gestalt. I define mind as being the realm where phenomena present themselves to consciousness and consciousness as the acting agent in the center. But like I said earlier, there's no real divide imho (told you, it would get muddy).
  • Tyler
    58
    Its not really divisible into it's supposed subcomponents since it forms a unified whole... But these aren't really divided. All are constants in my awareness. I can focus, causing certain phenomena to become highlighted, but this doesn't mean that the rest isn't there.Ying

    > I think I understand what you mean, that all the components are combined and constantly a part of the entire structure. But I dont think that means the parts can't be divisible, since as long as there is a constant distinguishable function, shared between certain components, they could be virtually divided in theory, by categorization. Or, if you mean psyche is not physically divisible to allow the whole to still function; I think this is not necessarily true either, since some categorized functions could be removed, and there would still be the overall whole of the psyche (unless your definition of psyche includes every single component). For eg, someone with a dysfunction, that does not have 1 specific component (perhaps sense of smell), would likely still be considered to have their psyche.

    -Interesting categorization of memories

    The mind isn't just a passive operator. Directing our attention is a fundamental part of our consciousness (through figure-ground in sensory perception and through modulation of consciousness thresholds when it comes to the other phenomenological regions). As such, our own agency plays an equally important part in how we see and interact with the world.Ying

    > Is what you describe here, basically the concept of free will?
    So do you believe there is a part of the psyche which is unexplained (and phenomenal as you mentioned), which guides the direction of memories which are being accessed during consciousness?
    I would suggest that this concept is a bit of an illusion (kind of like consciousness as a whole). As far as I can understand, the driver of attention within consciousness is similar, if not the same as the driver of subconscious action (such that animals act on). Basically just emotions, which are feedback triggers linked to memories (episodic?) to determine which action to take, or which alternate memory to access.
    The difference with human consciousness, would be that we can access much more memories, and more specific aspects of memories, making that which is triggered, less distinct and predicatable.
    If this is correct, then granted, feedback triggers are likely a required variable for the sum of consciousness.
    But, including guiding-triggers as part of the method, consciousness would still be: but a method of memory access, wouldn't it?
  • Ying
    213
    I think I understand what you mean, that all the components are combined and constantly a part of the entire structure. But I dont think that means the parts can't be divisible, since as long as there is a constant distinguishable function, shared between certain components, they could be virtually divided in theory, by categorization.Tyler

    In theory. See, that's a problem. Because one would be describing a hypothetical as opposed to a phenomenological (the way we actually experience ourselves) mind. That's why I prefer a phenomenological approach; abstraction doesn't really work when describing the mind as is, imho.

    Is what you describe here, basically the concept of free will?

    Are you looking at your computer screen? Notice how the screen becomes posited in a sort of clear foreground while other objects fade into a less defined background? Ever notice how you are constantly shifting this gaze by paying attention to different objects? Yeah, that's not just a peculiarity of your eyes.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Visual_space

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure%E2%80%93ground_(perception)

    But, including guiding-triggers as part of the method, consciousness would still be: but a method of memory access, wouldn't it?

    Only if you ignore all other mental faculties present, as I stated already.
  • Tyler
    58
    one would be describing a hypothetical as opposed to a phenomenologicalYing

    >But I was describing the phenomenological mind in the 2nd half of that paragraph, here:
    "Or, if you mean psyche is not physically divisible to allow the whole to still function; I think this is not necessarily true either, since some categorized functions could be removed, and there would still be the overall whole of the psyche"

    Ever notice how you are constantly shifting this gaze by paying attention to different objects? Yeah, that's not just a peculiarity of your eyes.Ying

    >Yes, gaze and focus shift without attentive direct, but wouldn't that be explained by triggers in the brain guiding reaction (as a result of evolution)? Just as any automatic reaction by preset triggers in animals, which we call instinct. Instinct, or subconscious (if more prevalent) reaction, as I explained, by feedback triggers.

    Only if you ignore all other mental faculties present, as I stated already.Ying

    >Are you referring to your 1st paragraph? If so, I thought that paragraph was describing the "phyche"? Which I think you described as being the larger whole, therein including those extra aspects of mental faculties.
    Whereas you specified consciousness "as the acting agent in the center", so potentially not including extra mental faculty.

    If all extra mental components are to be considered part of consciousness, it seems unlikely they are a minimum basic requirement. Since, similar to my earlier argument, the whole can exist with those components removed.
  • Ying
    213
    >But I was describing the phenomenological mind in the 2nd half of that paragraph, here:
    "Or, if you mean psyche is not physically divisible to allow the whole to still function; I think this is not necessarily true either, since some categorized functions could be removed, and there would still be the overall whole of the psyche"
    Tyler

    What I was getting at is that the psyche as such forms a singularly unified entity. The problem with describing said entity is that this singularly unified status and the interrelationships between mental faculties is hard to express with words. Take sight for example. We might be discussing sight, but it's not an insular mental faculty. It's completely integrated with all the other mental faculties, too. This makes talk about the mind in that way exceedingly difficult.

    So. Your comment that certain functions could be removed doesn't really add or detract to what I said.

    Yes, gaze and focus shift without attentive direct, but wouldn't that be explained by triggers in the brain guiding reaction (as a result of evolution)? Just as any automatic reaction by preset triggers in animals, which we call instinct. Instinct, or subconscious (if more prevalent) reaction, as I explained, by feedback triggers.

    Look. Can you spin your eyes in a circle? Congratulations, you just employed your psychological agency. Otherwise, do tell what instinct is fulfilled by eye spinning.

    As for our neurological scaffolding...

    Ever heard of the optic tectum? That's a part of the brain responsible for object location. Object identification takes place in the visual cortex. Action potentials pass through the optic tectum before reaching the visual cortex. And here's the kicker. It's possible to make a conscious effort to bypass the visual cortex (object identification) in favor of a faster response time. You can test this yourself btw.

    https://www.humanbenchmark.com/tests/reactiontime
  • Tyler
    58
    Look. Can you spin your eyes in a circle? Congratulations, you just employed your psychological agency. Otherwise, do tell what instinct is fulfilled by eye spinning.Ying

    >Spinning eyes in a circle would be a "conscious decision", but I was referring to subconscious or instinctual action (as I specified "without attentive direct"), because I thought that is what your point was about gaze shift etc.. When you mentioned gaze shifting, was your point, that it occurs without conscious thought, or with?

    If non-conscious gaze shift; objects would grab attention according to relevance, based on instinct and subconscious order of priority of what is important to notice.
    If conscious viewing (such as rolling eyes); that's when the quantity and diversity of causes becomes very in depth and complex. But if you believe in determinism, then all conscious choices such as spinning your eyes, do have a rational calculable cause, even if its so complex, that we cant pin point it.

    A basic (thought maybe incomplete) answer to your question might be: the instinct that is being fulfilled by spinning my eyes in that context, would be task accomplishment. The instinct of task accomplishment and motivation, was likely developed through evolution for individuals to attempt to accomplish something within a complex environment, therein causing them to be more likely to survive.

    I'm guessing you dont believe in determinism, since you seem to believe we have free agency?
    Earlier today, I happen to have watched this 10 min video about such concepts, which I'd recommend: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vCGtkDzELAI&list=PLMdCqdiXqqRxnFCY4AuUCiPRBwChmYFmV&index=7&t=2s

    It's possible to make a conscious effort to bypass the visual cortex (object identification) in favor of a faster response time.Ying

    >This is interesting. So, basically we consciously choose to bypass conscious activity...
  • Ying
    213
    'm guessing you dont believe in determinism, since you seem to believe we have free agency?Tyler
    That's one of the issues I postpone judgment on since I'm not particularly interested in running around in a philosophical cul de sac.
    The psychological agency I'm talking about, the one that allows you to distinguish objects from their sensory surroundings, has nothing to do with determinism though, be it neurological or otherwise (ontological). Figure-ground is a phenomenological act, and that's all it needs to be, since the rest is "bracketed" out.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bracketing_(phenomenology)
  • Corvus
    83
    Consciousness could access all parts of mental activity and state, not just memory but also imagination, various emotions and inference for the future events too.
  • Tyler
    58

    So your saying the psychological agency of figure-ground is a phenomenological act, because it's an act in the mind relevant to the way we experience the world right?
    And your saying determinism is irrelevant to figure-ground?
    But in the context here, of distinguishing and explaining consciousness. If the functions of the mind, including figure-ground, are worked out, that is evidence for determinism and against any unexplained agency.
    Determinism seems pretty relevant to consciousness, if there is a functional explanation for it.
  • Tyler
    58
    Consciousness could access all parts of mental activity and state, not just memory but also imagination, various emotions and inference for the future events too.Corvus
    >But what is imagination or inference, other than combining pieces of memories?
    And what are emotions, other than triggers for memories?
  • Ying
    213
    So your saying the psychological agency of figure-ground is a phenomenological act, because it's an act in the mind relevant to the way we experience the world right?
    And your saying determinism is irrelevant to figure-ground?
    Tyler

    Did you read the link about bracketing? No? Well then, I guess you should. Otherwise we are going to keep talking past each other.

    But in the context here, of distinguishing and explaining consciousness. If the functions of the mind, including figure-ground, are worked out, that is evidence for determinism and against any unexplained agency.

    Yeah, that's a non sequitur. Figuring out how the mind operates on a phenomenological level doesn't imply ontological determinism in any way whatsoever.

    Anyway, since you want to argue, fine. You conceded this point already when you stated:

    Spinning eyes in a circle would be a "conscious decision", but I was referring to subconscious or instinctual action (as I specified "without attentive direct"), because I thought that is what your point was about gaze shift etc.. When you mentioned gaze shifting, was your point, that it occurs without conscious thought, or with?

    ... So, since you insist on some form of determinism, you'll have to account for said "conscious decision" as being predetermined in some way or the other or risk being inconsistent in your views (which would be your problem, not mine). And if you're going to insist on some kind of "illusion of choice", well then, we are back to bracketing, making the whole "illusion" part nonsense.
  • Ying
    213
    You know what, I have some spare time, so I might as well:

    Pro: Some sort of mental determinism is implied by the experiments of Benjamin Libet (you can look this up yourself).

    Counter: We still don't know how the brain operates specifically. Neural activity can be measured and correlated to certain functions but claims of the sort Libet makes are very liable to be post hoc fallacies.

    Contra: Determinism doesn't exist because we have what's called "free won't", the ability to veto actions at any point.

    Counter: Free won't also is predetermined by as yet to be uncovered neurological structures (Weaksauce argument, I know. But: "Because of his love of humanity the Skeptic wishes to cure by argument, so far as he can, the conceit and precipitancy of the Dogmatists. Accordingly, just as the doctors who treat physical symptoms have remedies that differ in strength, and prescribe the severe ones for people with severe symptoms and milder ones for those mildly affected, so too the Skeptic sets forth arguments differing in strength." -Sextus Empiricus, "Outlines of Pyrrhonism" book 3, ch. 32)

    What does this leave? Well, I don't know. Better to postpone judgment imho. So let's just bracket the issue and move on to phenomenology instead of running around in circles.
  • Tyler
    58
    Did you read the link about bracketing? No?Ying
    >Yes, I did. Maybe I misunderstand something, but I gather bracketing is basically choosing to focus on the minds experience, not on the function of that which is bracketed.
    So related to your statement: "Figure-ground is a phenomenological act, and that's all it needs to be, since the rest is "bracketed" out.",
    do you mean figure-ground is just an experience, and we'll leave it at that?
    If so, this is why I then mentioned: "But in the context here, of distinguishing and explaining consciousness...",
    because I think the point, is to work out the function of the minds processes.

    Figuring out how the mind operates on a phenomenological level doesn't imply ontological determinism in any way whatsoever.Ying
    >Explaining the mechanical function of the mind, implies determinism because if there is a scientific and measurable method which causes the mind to operate the way it does, then functions of the mind like choices, and decisions are predictable and determined.

    So, since you insist on some form of determinism, you'll have to account for said "conscious decision" as being predetermined in some way or the other or risk being inconsistent in your viewsYing
    >Yes, I thought that was the whole point of that part of the discussion.
    Which is why I did theorize an account for the conscious decision, with the follow-up of that paragraph as here;
    "If conscious viewing (such as rolling eyes); that's when the quantity and diversity of causes becomes very in depth and complex. But if you believe in determinism, then all conscious choices such as spinning your eyes, do have a rational calculable cause, even if its so complex, that we cant pin point it.

    A basic (thought maybe incomplete) answer to your question might be: the instinct that is being fulfilled by spinning my eyes in that context, would be task accomplishment. The instinct of task accomplishment and motivation, was likely developed through evolution for individuals to attempt to accomplish something within a complex environment, therein causing them to be more likely to survive."

    Counter: We still don't know how the brain operates specifically.Ying
    >This seems to only suggest that there is insufficient knowledge on the topic at this point, which is true, but doesn't really evidence against the evidence.

    Free won't also is predetermined by as yet to be uncovered neurological structuresYing
    >This sounds like it involves part of the concept of consciousness. Free won't would be a result of conscious thought, which is unexplained, but the point of my initial post is to attempt to explain consciousness, and likely therein explain free wont.

    Better to postpone judgment imho. So let's just bracket the issue and move on to phenomenology instead of running around in circles.Ying
    Is the point of this discussion not directly related to this? as the mechanical function of the mind, choice, and consciousness.
  • Ying
    213
    >Yes, I did.Tyler

    Note to self: Don't assume silly things.

    Anyway, my bad. Sorry about that. :)

    do you mean figure-ground is just an experience, and we'll leave it at that?

    No. What I'm talking about is called the primacy of experience. It's looking at phenomenological content on it's own, temporarily disregarding other issues like neurological substructures. A precise correlation between such substructures and their phenomenological contents isn't an exact science at this point anyway, because of how FMRI functions. This way of looking at the mind and it's contents isn't new or anything, as it's employed by both phenomenologists and gestalt psychologists (figure-ground is a concept from gestalt psychology).

    Explaining the mechanical function of the mind, implies determinism because if there is a scientific and measurable method which causes the mind to operate the way it does, then functions of the mind like choices, and decisions are predictable and determined.

    We still have to pick our clothes in the morning, regardless of any kind of determinism. The same holds for breaking habits. You might not believe in will, but you're going to need it if you're going to quit smoking. We have what might be called "apparent choice" in such cases (if determinism is true or whatever). Here's the thing, though. That choice is a phenomenological act, and as such, there's nothing "apparent" about it. So, there's that (Didn't I go through this already?). Anyway, you basically stated:

    "...if there is a scientific and measurable method which causes the mind to operate the way it does, then functions of the mind like choices, and decisions are predictable and determined."

    Well, there is a so called "scientific" method to measure the mind. The field of psychometrics. Probably not what you mean though. :)
  • Tyler
    58
    Note to self: Don't assume silly things.
    Anyway, my bad. Sorry about that.
    Ying
    >No problem. Everything is an assumption to some degree (or so I assume).

    It's looking at phenomenological content on it's own, temporarily disregarding other issues like neurological substructures.
    >Is the purpose of this, to focus on the ways that different aspects of phenomenology react with each other, or react with external factors? Basically taking the concepts of mind functions to a more generalized degree, since the specifics aren't proven?

    We still have to pick our clothes in the morning, regardless of any kind of determinism. The same holds for breaking habits. You might not believe in will, but you're going to need it if you're going to quit smoking.
    >But that which causes the result of picking clothes, would be dependent on determinism. And I think the implications are quite significant whether determined or not.
    If determined the choice of clothes is based on:
    Subconscious influences (positive or negative influences of memories related to the clothes being chosen),
    + Conscious consideration (working memory analyzing more detailed effects of the result of clothing chosen)
    + State of Mind (current emotions/mood influencing decision, and amount of each type of neural activity used)
    =predetermined and predictable (if vast quantity of affecting variables were known)

    Or if free will:
    some factor is involved in the brain, causing the outcome of decision to be incalculable. This factor must be unknown to current math and science, and I would think would be an amazing discovery.

    Basically, same concept for quitting smoking.

    We have what might be called "apparent choice"
    That sounds like an accurate label for what is currently known about it.

    That choice is a phenomenological act, and as such, there's nothing "apparent" about it.
    I'm confused why you say there's nothing apparent about a phenomenological act?
    Isn't the idea behind phenomenology, to leave things unspecified, and so would indeed be "apparent", or seems to be a way but is uncertain?
    It seems like from a phenomenological perspective, "choice" would be left to that specificity, of "apparent", whereas from a deterministic perspective, "choice" would be analysed for the scientific mechanical cause and effect.

    The field of psychometrics.
    >That sounds similar to what I mean, as I think that would be a way of measuring and predicting results of mind activity. But I'm more concerned with the neurological function of the brain, in relation to memory storage.
  • Ying
    213
    >No problem. Everything is an assumption to some degree (or so I assume).Tyler

    >Is the purpose of this, to focus on the ways that different aspects of phenomenology react with each other, or react with external factors? Basically taking the concepts of mind functions to a more generalized degree, since the specifics aren't proven?
    In it's base, it's a fundamentally different stance on the question "what is the mind"? Instead of starting at concepts, phenomenology proposes that we start at our everyday, daily experience of ourselves. You can do the same thing with the question "what is life?" Instead of focusing on concepts, you focus on the sequence of ones everyday, mundane experiences. The same holds for how it's used in gestalt psychology. Perception for instance is studied as it's own thing, with it's own phenomenological properties, as a mental function. Considerations about non phenomenological entities don't figure into such accounts. They don't need to after all, since the mind functions as a unified whole.


    I'm confused why you say there's nothing apparent about a phenomenological act?

    That was badly worded on my part. Sometimes figures of speech don't translate well. Anyway, let's restate that: there's nothing fake or hypothetical about the choices we make because those choices are actual phenomenological acts.
12Next
bold
italic
underline
strike
code
quote
ulist
image
url
mention
reveal
youtube
tweet
Add a Comment

Welcome to The Philosophy Forum!

Get involved in philosophical discussions about knowledge, truth, language, consciousness, science, politics, religion, logic and mathematics, art, history, and lots more. No ads, no clutter, and very little agreement — just fascinating conversations.