• charleton
    1.2k
    I think the difference is that computers do not access memories of factors simultaneously to the interaction of that factorTyler

    What do you mean.?
  • Tyler
    41
    Imagine a child born without any sensation. What would they be conscious or? Nothing.charleton
    I think I agree that a child born with no senses, would not be conscious. So sensory input is required at some point, to provide information for the brain to be conscious of. But, my point was that, "continuous" input is not required. It may be difficult to prove, but based on the prospect that we can be conscious by function of mental processes, using only memories which were created by senses that we do not have active input from at the time of being conscious.

    We have proprioperception, hunger, and a range of other senses way beyond the classical Big Five.charleton
    True, but it seems likely those additional senses don't play a role in causing the person to be consciously aware in their mind, of their existence relative to the world. Someone in sensory deprivation could still access -to some degree- many memories which were recorded by the main senses, which are at the time deprived. Therefore, they are using past sensory input to be conscious, without current or continuous sensory input.

    What do you mean.?charleton
    By "factor", I mean basically any information, whether 1 unit, or a constructed compound of information. Basically a very generalized term for anything which a person or computer can have saved as memory.
    By "interaction of that factor", I mean the relative cause and effect of that factor.
    This is how I describe the most basic form of the concept of being "conscious".
    So, to be conscious of any given factor, the memory system just needs to access memory of the factor, simultaneously to accessing memory of the cause and effect of that factor. This, I believe computers do not do typically.
  • Rich
    3.2k
    I think I agree that a child born with no senses,Tyler

    Without senses, the child would not be alive.

    Sensing and mind is synonymous. No sense, then unconscious. Sometimes the mind does wakes up and begins to be sense again. Sometimes not.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    So, to be conscious of any given factor, the memory system just needs to access memory of the factor,Tyler

    You have no warrant to conclude this. Since and existence with no sensation is impossible, sensory input is an indelible part of consciousness.
    It is, however possible to live with a complete lack of any memory. In rare cases of profound amnesia, consciousness persists with no reference to memories, patients living in the eternal present, conscious but utterly confused living moment by moment.
  • Tyler
    41
    You have no warrant to conclude this.charleton
    That (plus the rest of the sentence) is only a theoretical conclusion warranted by rational interpretation of observations, stated for the potential of counter-evidence.

    Since and existence with no sensation is impossible, sensory input is an indelible part of consciousness.charleton
    How is this counter evidence to what you quoted ("to be conscious of any given factor, the memory system just needs to access memory of the factor")? Are you saying that, since sensory input is required for consciousness, then sensory input must also be part of the definition of being conscious?
    If so, I disagree, since only the information involved should be required to be conscious. Yes, humans use the method of sensory input to receive the information, but that doesn't mean senses are the only possible method for gaining information. Information could potentially be directly downloaded (such as with a computer).

    It is, however possible to live with a complete lack of any memory. In rare cases of profound amnesia, consciousness persists with no reference to memoriescharleton
    Interesting, and this would be counter-evidence to consciousness being memory access, but I doubt the amnesia is a complete lack of memories. I suspect they still have long term memories from before the amnesia started, which allows all the requirements of memory data. If they did not have memories of language -they could not speak, or if no memories of what any object (clothing, door, utensils etc.) is -they would not know how to use it. If they had a complete lack of any memory, they would be in a continuous infant-like mental state.
  • charleton
    1.2k
    but I doubt the amnesia is a complete lack of memories.Tyler

    Generally amnesia is partial. Not in all cases. And there are all to many cases where the loss is profound. Nonetheless, pretending that consciousness is nothing more than memory access is absurd.
  • CasKev
    383
    I think I agree that a child born with no senses, would not be conscious. So sensory input is required at some point, to provide information for the brain to be conscious of.Tyler

    Theoretically, if you kept this child alive via intravenous, consciousness would likely still arise, though it would remain completely empty. When awake, I think there would be some sort of awareness of existence, kind of like the state of 'empty mind' one achieves when meditating.

    As for memory, certainly some form of memory is required for a human being to properly function, but even if you removed all forms of memory, you would still have a consciousness capable of observing sensory input, even though the ability to interpret it may be lacking.
  • bahman
    530
    Is consciousness nothing more than a particular method of memory access?Tyler

    No, consciousness is about having ability to experience.
  • Tyler
    41
    Nonetheless, pretending that consciousness is nothing more than memory access is absurd.charleton
    Ok, but why? Part of the point I posted this, is to get feedback of reasoning or supporting evidence that I'm incorrect, as I haven't come up with much for counter-evidence so far. I explained reasoning that it could make sense, so you can say its absurd, but by what reasoning is it absurd?

    consciousness would likely still arise, though it would remain completely empty. When awake, I think there would be some sort of awareness of existence, kind of like the state of 'empty mind' one achieves when meditatingCasKev
    I would not consider that state, to fit the common meaning of the term consciousness. True, it would have the capability of having consciousness, but without information for the brain, there's nothing to be aware of. Perhaps similar to a state of meditation and empty-mindedness (though, I think there would still be subconscious brain activity), or in a deep dreamless sleep, I think I would not consider those states to be conscious states.


    What is experience, other than memories?
  • charleton
    1.2k
    Ok, but why? Part of the point I posted this, is to get feedback of reasoning or supporting evidence that I'm incorrect, as I haven't come up with much for counter-evidence so far.Tyler

    Since you have not supported this with any evidence whatever, its a bit rich trying to pretend that the arguments that have been offered to you already are unreasonable.

    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.
  • Tyler
    41
    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
    41
    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
    165
    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
    41
    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
    165
    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
    41
    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
    165
    >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
    41
    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
    165
    '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)
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