• Pattern-chaser
    549
    With the driving example, one thing that's important to point out is that we're not talking about propositional knowledge there, we're talking about "how to" knowledge at best--in other words, the ability to do something. In that scenario, by saying that it's evidence of subconscious mental content, you're ruling out that it can simply be akin to "muscle memory," and you're saying that it's necessary to think about it in some sense, just where you're not aware that you're thinking about it. So in the face of a challenge about that, we'd need to be able to provide evidence that there's necessarily something mental about it.Terrapin Station

    The driving home involves some sort of mental control. The physical body cannot achieve such things unaided. Deduction beyond this simple observation is difficult, and who is to say what is the exact nature of this "mental control" that I have referred to? But I think it is clear that there is something mental going on, and that is the point I wished to make.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    The driving home involves some sort of mental control. The physical body cannot achieve such things unaided.Pattern-chaser

    Right. So that's a claim. What's the support of the claim?

    (And I'm trying to avoid that you're phrasing that as if the mind is something different than "the physical body" . . . we can just say, "The physical body aside from mind" I suppose.)
  • Pattern-chaser
    549
    What's the support of the claim?Terrapin Station

    Empirical evidence. Our brains control many (all?) aspects of our physical behaviour. We call this "mental", presumably because it's the brain that does it? Even unconsciously, we make decisions to allow our driving to proceed. [E.g. the decision to change lane.] These decisions are "mental". [Beyond that simple observation, I assert nothing.]
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    Just to clarify, the dispute isn't over whether the brain is involved in some way. It obviously is.

    The dispute is over whether there are mental phenomena occurring that we're not aware of. What are mental phenomena? It's difficult to make an exhaustive list, but examples are (having) thoughts, desires, concepts, ideas, etc.

    No one claims that all autonomic functions are mental functions just because the brain is doing them.

    So, I'm asking you what the empirical evidence would be that our brains regulate driving, say, in a manner that involves thought that we're not aware of versus something like muscle memory where that involves no thought.

    So take a lane change. And we're assuming that we're not aware of making a lane change (otherwise this wouldn't be an example of mental content that we're not aware of).

    One side says, (A) "We're doing that via muscle memory and other non-mental events akin to muscle memory."

    The other side says,(B) "We're doing that via having a thought (or whatever sort of mental phenomenon you want to say that it is) that we're not aware of."

    What counts as empirical (or other) evidence of (B) over (A)?
  • JupiterJess
    123
    With the driving example, one thing that's important to point out is that we're not talking about propositional knowledge there, we're talking about "how to" knowledge at best--in other words, the ability to do something. In that scenario, by saying that it's evidence of subconscious mental content, you're ruling out that it can simply be akin to "muscle memory," and you're saying that it's necessary to think about it in some sense, just where you're not aware that you're thinking about it. So in the face of a challenge about that, we'd need to be able to provide evidence that there's necessarily something mental about it.Terrapin Station

    I agree with a lot of what you're saying.
    Btw, I see things like driving as evidence of there NOT being a subconscious. For example, when my mind drifts elsewhere I often act on habit and drive along a road towards somewhere I don't live anymore before realizing what I've done.
    If there was a subconscious greater mind it would be able to discern things like that. However if it was only autonomic habit (something akin to muscle memory) then it makes more sense.
    I think dreams are harder to explain but that may also be autonomic with the conscious mind discerning bits of what the autonomic mind is throwing at it. I had a good conversation with @apokrisis about this recently.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    With dreams, it doesn't make any sense for us to talk about them but to say that they're not conscious. By definition, we'd have no awareness of them, or the content of any of them, if they weren't conscious. So those aren't good examples. Dreams are simply an example of consciousness that's different than waking consciousness.

    The unconscious or subconscious issue with dreams would be claims to the effect that "You're dreaming even when you're not aware of any content of the dreams in question." I'd ask just what could count as evidence of that claim.

    Basically, we wind up with claims where:

    (a) The subject in question has no awareness of the phenomena in question by definition. (Otherwise we're talking about conscious phenomena, not unconscious or subconscious phenomena.)

    (b) A third-person observer is claiming empirical evidence of someone else's mental phenomena.

    That should be obviously problematic.
  • JupiterJess
    123
    "You're dreaming even when you're not aware of any content of the dreams in question."Terrapin Station

    I wasn't referring to the dream in itself. I mean the fact parts of dreams are unpredictable unlike normal thinking. Content we associate with intentionality can appear involuntarily. The content is conscious but the argument is that prior to that it was subconscious otherwise we would have prior knowledge of it or be able to predict it coming.
  • JupiterJess
    123
    (b) A third-person observer is claiming empirical evidence of someone else's mental phenomena.Terrapin Station

    So can this not be resolved by being at an earlier point to A)?

    IE: the observer predicts this mental content exists at X time and will be made conscious to the subject at Y time?
  • Pattern-chaser
    549
    Just to clarify, the dispute isn't over whether the brain is involved in some way. It obviously is. The dispute is over whether there are mental phenomena occurring that we're not aware of. What are mental phenomena?Terrapin Station

    They're phenomena that have to do with the brain, and its activities. This is about vocabulary, not more. "Mental" is the word we use for this purpose.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    The content is conscious but the argument is that prior to that it was subconscious otherwise we would have prior knowledge of it or be able to predict it coming.JupiterJess

    The problem there would be an illusion or belief in control of one's mental content that doesn't really pan out that well.

    IE: the observer predicts this mental content exists at X time and will be made conscious to the subject at Y time?JupiterJess

    There would be no way to show that there was mental content at Tx and not just at Ty..

    Or another way to put that is this: there's no practical difference between a prediction a la "S has mental content M at Time Tx that they'll become aware of at time Ty" and a prediction simply that "S will have mental content M at time Ty" . . . well, no difference aside from the fact that in the first prediction, we're positing something that there's no way to demonstrate.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    They're phenomena that have to do with the brain, and its activities. This is about vocabulary, not more. "Mental" is the word we use for this purpose.Pattern-chaser

    Here's the way that it's not about vocabulary:

    There are people who posit that there is not only unconscious/subconscious brain activity, but that the unconscious brain activity consists of things such as thoughts, desires, concepts, etc.

    If you don't posit that then that's fine. Per my vocabulary, you agree that there is no reason at all to believe that there is unconscious or subconscious mental phenomena.

    The people who are positing thoughts, desires, etc. that we're not aware of would not agree with that.
  • Pattern-chaser
    549
    There are people who posit that there is not only unconscious/subconscious brain activity, but that the unconscious brain activity consists of things such as thoughts, desires, concepts, etc. If you don't posit that then that's fine.Terrapin Station

    I don't. :up: But I observe, by inference from empirical observation, there is mental stuff of some sort going on when, for example, we drive home without conscious intervention. The exact nature of that mental stuff is unclear to me, but that's OK. This stuff is unconscious; it takes place outside of our conscious awareness, so we don't/can't know exactly what's going on, by definition.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k
    there is mental stuff of some sort going on when, for example, we drive home without conscious intervention.Pattern-chaser

    All you're saying there is that there is brain activity? Or are you saying that the brain activity in question is something in the vein of thinking, desiring, etc.--those sorts of things?
  • Pattern-chaser
    549
    All you're saying there is that there is brain activity? Or are you saying that the brain activity in question is something in the vein of thinking, desiring, etc.--those sorts of things?Terrapin Station

    All I am saying is that there is mental activity of some kind, a conclusion I derive from simple inference based on empirical observation. I surmise that there may well be details here that I might love to delve into, but my delving would, in the end, be simple speculation. My unconscious mind clearly indulges in what I might as well call thought, with the careful proviso that unconscious-mind-thought and conscious-mind-thought might differ significantly, and in ways that have not occurred to me. Such is the nature of real life, eh? :smile: :up:
  • hks
    91
    If it were my conscience then I would be aware of it. These situations were ones of total alarm (just short of fright) where someone else was trying very hard to kill me but he failed. They cause nightmares afterwards. Really realistic ones where you wake up sweating.
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    So it doesn't sound like you think you're simply referring to brain activity per se, especially if you're using a phrase like "unconscious-mind-thought"
  • JupiterJess
    123


    ok one question,
    If a device generated complex decisions that were then fed into a brain which a short time after were made conscious 100% of the time, would the device be a subconscious?
  • Terrapin Station
    4.4k


    A problem with the question is the word "decisions."

    "Decisions" in many contexts has a connotation of mental deliberation (or at the very least what seems to be a sort of mental "dice rolling"). So I'd need to know just what's supposed to be going on with respect to saying that a device is making decisions.
  • Ranger
    46
    This is actually a very interesting response which i dont have time to get into but theres a lot of depth to it. Thank you for this.
  • Gilliatt
    21
    more or less; I think that exist a "subconsciounessly" (strange word, but it is a arquetipal subconscious); I don't think that "subconsciouness" is a reality, but it consist only in alterity.
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