• Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    You and others seem to alccuse me of repeating myself.Unseen

    Maybe because you keep making the same assertions, over and over, without listening to what others are trying to say to you?

    I've pointed out (I repeat) that science SHOWS that the real action goes on temporally before the news gets to consciousness.Unseen

    Science has shown no such thing. Quite a few things that are similar, but less dogmatic and all-encompassing than your assertions, have been discovered. And work is progressing. But our understanding is not complete or universally accepted yet. The rest-of-the-mind does much more than we ever imagined, including making some decisions that we thought were conscious. But you go farther, and assert that the conscious mind does nothing and has no function. This is not among the things that science has SHOWN us.

    Refute that fact [^above quote^] and show how the conscious mind is actually in control of the brain before the brain knows what it's doing.Unseen

    I have no intention of trying, as this is not what I believe, and not what I (or anyone else posting here) is saying.
  • Unseen
    56
    You wrote: " But you go farther, and assert that the conscious mind does nothing and has no function. This is not among the things that science has SHOWN us." I went farther, true, by following the logic.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    I went farther, true, by following the logic.Unseen

    What logic? Please elucidate.
  • SophistiCat
    749
    You haven't "SHOWN" either the science or the logic. In my very first response in this thread I advised you to have a closer look at the science of consciousness and its evolution, but you haven't demonstrated any interest in that matter. When you inadvertently touched upon the logic (that would be the epiphenomenalism bit), you immediately dropped it like a hot potato.

    Cut the jibber-jabber. Put up or shut up.
  • Unseen
    56
    I'm not running away from the description of consciousness as an epiphenomenon of something temporally prior. What else can it be? A thing on its own? Then if you think the consciousness can exert control, what is the causal chain by which it's done? And then you're awaly from the monism adhered to by most scientists according to which everything is matter or an epiphenomenon of matter and talking about some form of the ghost in the machine.

    If you're not convinced, tell me what WOULD convince you that the consciousness is simply a passive observer of goings on over which it has no control?
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    If you're not convinced...Unseen

    Why would anyone be convinced by assertion without persuasion or argument? You seem to be relying on your co-respondents to go and read the articles you have read. Do you also expect us to take up these issues with the authors of these articles, who might at least be able to discuss them, and even offer some justification?

    Why don't you tell us why you think that "consciousness is simply a passive observer of goings on over which it has no control"? I'll start, if you like: I think your dismissal of consciousness is going too far. While it is true that the conscious mind does much less than we thought, it still has a function; it still does stuff, and thereby makes its contribution. If it made no contribution, we should already have seen it fading away, as evolution selects for other, more useful, traits, no?
  • BrianW
    757
    So, why are we conscious? In addition to humans, evolution also produced plants, and while plants can react to their environment in stimulus/response fashion, there’s no indication whatsoever that plants are aware of themselves as beings.Unseen

    What do you mean by this, "indication... aware of themselves as beings"? And what designates or determines consciousness to be in some but not others?

    What is the relation between consciousness and life or life-forms? Can life or life-forms lack consciousness (even just rudimentary levels of it)?

    What is self-awareness? At what stage of animal life does the self-awareness begin? Is recognition and response of stimuli part of self-awareness? Is self-preservation mechanisms in response to conditions (both internal and external) affecting a life or life-form part of self-awareness?


    What I'm trying to get at is if you're just referring to consciousness from an uncritical or casual (layperson's) point of view or is it something that you have thought through and can give insight into your analytical process. How have you arrived at what consciousness is and how have you characterised it in relation to those that possess it?
  • Unseen
    56
    I've MADE an argument: Science shows us that consciousness is always temporally behind the times and experiments show that the brain has made the decision before the consciousness thinks it has made it. It follows from those things that the consciousness is merely an observer of brain activities.

    If you want to maintain that consciousness is an entity unto itself and not merely an epiphenomenon of brain activities, where is it if not in the brain. How can it be in the brain and yet separate from it and in control of it like a driver drives a car? It's hard to avoid a mind/matter dualism if you want to go down that road.

    Remember, we are discussing WHY we are conscious and not whether we are conscious or how it works or is produced.

    Why are we conscious since it appears to be gratuitous? The brain could carry on without conscious and does so very much of the time, processing info we are unaware it's processing.
  • Unseen
    56
    From another post: Science shows us that consciousness is always temporally behind the times and experiments show that the brain has made the decision before the consciousness thinks it has made it. It follows from those things that the consciousness is merely an observer of brain activities.

    You also wrote: "What I'm trying to get at is if you're just referring to consciousness from an uncritical or casual (layperson's) point of view or is it something that you have thought through and can give insight into your analytical process. How have you arrived at what consciousness is and how have you characterised it in relation to those that possess it?"

    I don't think we can have much more than a layperson's analysis of consciousness. I think it's probably a so-called "primitive" (primary, unanalyzable concept, known directly and in no other way).

    You can only know consciousness by experiences because having experiences is, basically, all consciousness is.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    Science shows us that consciousness is always temporally behind the times and experiments show that the rest-of-the-mind has made some decisions before the consciousness thinks it has made it.Unseen

    My changes indicate where I think you're over-stating your case. You are describing work in progress. Work that, one day, might justify your conclusions. But today, your conclusions are premature and unfounded.
  • Unseen
    56
    Hang your hat on someday you'll be right if you like.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    Hang your hat on someday you'll be right if you like.Unseen

    No! Not "you will be right" but "you may be right".
  • Unseen
    56
    You don't believe in facts? I believe consciousness is a primitive, unanalyzable notion. We know it directly. It can't be put on a table and autopsied. It's something the brain does but there's only the one way to know it: directly through experiences, because that's all consciousness is: a series of experiences.
  • SophistiCat
    749
    If you're not convinced, tell me what WOULD convince you that the consciousness is simply a passive observer of goings on over which it has no control?Unseen

    I don't think we can have much more than a layperson's analysis of consciousness. I think it's probably a so-called "primitive" (primary, unanalyzable concept, known directly and in no other way).Unseen

    Some sort of empirically informed analysis, not just your say-so. But you have already dismissed science and philosophical analysis as suitable tools, and your entire pattern of posts in this thread consists in repeating the same primitive slogans over and over again, so I am not holding my breath.
  • Sam26
    1.3k
    So, why are we conscious?Unseen

    Why? Because consciousness is the source of everything, and it's what unifies everything. There, I just gave you what will someday be one of the greatest discoveries of all time. :gasp:
  • Unseen
    56
    But you have already dismissed science and philosophical analysis as suitable tools, and your entire pattern of posts in this thread consists in repeating the same primitive slogans over and over again, so I am not holding my breath.SophistiCat

    I have given you the science that shows that what is present in the consciousness is old news, having been processed in the brain a short time earlier. I don't know what sort of "philosophical analysis" I could do, especially since it doesn't seem necessary to analyze the obvious.
  • Unseen
    56
    Why? Because consciousness is the source of everything, and it's what unifies everything. There, I just gave you what will someday be one of the greatest discoveries of all time. :gasp:Sam26

    There's no evidence whatsoever that consciousness can do anything since deeds are decided upon before the consciousness finds out about them. How COULD the consciousness do anything? Are there buttons to push or levers to pull? How can something immaterial do anything, since all that consciousness is is a series of experiences.
  • Couchyam
    20
    There's a reason we call it philosophy.
  • Sam26
    1.3k
    There's no evidence whatsoever that consciousness can do anythingUnseen

    Consciousness can manifest itself in a variety of ways, one way is through a body of some kind. Moreover, there are different levels of consciousness, and at some levels very little can be done, at other levels things can be done that are beyond your imagination. Essentially when we refer to consciousness we're talking about a mind or minds.
  • Unseen
    56
    Consciousness can manifest itself in a variety of ways, one way is through a body of some kind. Moreover, there are different levels of consciousness, and at some levels very little can be done, at other levels things can be done that are beyond your imagination. Essentially when we refer to consciousness we're talking about a mind or minds.Sam26

    I have levels of consciousness. Two of them. The pre-conscious "mind" which is in control, and the conscious mind watching whatever the pre-conscious mind sends its way.
  • BrianW
    757
    Science shows us that consciousness is always temporally behind the timesUnseen

    Does this refer to sensory awareness?

    and experiments show that the brain has made the decision before the consciousness thinks it has made it.Unseen

    Is thinking carried out by the brain or consciousness?

    It follows from those things that the consciousness is merely an observer of brain activities.Unseen

    If the brain is the centre of sensory input and processing, what is consciousness and how does it observe brain activities?

    I don't think we can have much more than a layperson's analysis of consciousness. I think it's probably a so-called "primitive" (primary, unanalyzable concept, known directly and in no other way).Unseen

    First, there's the consciousness that is a state of attention or focus in awareness. By this I mean, being conscious or not conscious of something.
    Secondly, there's the consciousness that is a collective aspect of our mental faculty. This not only involves sensory awareness but also our perceptions and conceptions and all the processes and relations involved including thinking, belief, knowledge and understanding.
    Thirdly, there's the consciousness that denotes our ultimate presence in reality. That is, what we are fundamentally in relation to what is. This goes beyond what we currently know or are aware of and is determined by how best we can represent the relation between the absolute of reality and our individual selves participating in that reality.

    I think, if properly characterized and defined, then coupled with the appropriate logical connections, any hypothesis on consciousness may be said to be beyond a layperson's babble. And it may be the way to make it relevant or the least bit credible as a subject/object of consideration.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    I have given you the science that shows that what is present in the consciousness is old news, having been processed in the brain a short time earlier.Unseen

    Haven't you realised? Sensory data cannot be processed in zero time. By the time it has been processed, and reached the conscious part of the mind, about 250 msec has passed. We live a quarter of a second in the past, for this reason.

    I know that this isn't the delay you're so hung up on, the one that shows some decisions can be made earlier than we might think. But time delay is intrinsic to the mind, because mental processing takes time. And this delay (the 250 msec) is the one you refer to in the above quote, although I suspect you don't realise it.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    How can something immaterial do anythingUnseen

    So it's the brain that controls the body, in your world? Does the (immaterial) mind have no place in your scheme? Forget for a moment that the 'conscious mind' is part of the mind, and consider the mind as a whole. Every criticism you have levelled at consciousness seems also to apply to the mind as a whole. So, is the human mind just a figment, a frippery? After all, according to you it can do nothing...?
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    what is consciousnessBrianW

    :razz: Trick question! :smile: Philosophers since Hume, and probably long before, have struggled with this one, as you surely know. :naughty: :wink:
  • BrianW
    757
    :razz: Trick question! :smile: Philosophers since Hume, and probably long before, have struggled with this one, as you surely know. :naughty: :wink:Pattern-chaser

    Yeah, but it's different for us now, thanks to them. I'm asking what "consciousness" they're talking about. Even if they don't know what consciousness is, they should know what they're trying to say and mean - what their reference is in relation to the subject/object in question. I'm trying to establish a common language so that we don't have an argument where we're both discussing different things while insisting they're identical.
  • Unseen
    56
    You: Science shows us that consciousness is always temporally behind the times
    — Unseen

    Does this refer to sensory awareness?

    Me: That, yes, and also in reference to the goings on in the brain..

    You: and experiments show that the brain has made the decision before the consciousness thinks it has made it.
    — Unseen

    Is thinking carried out by the brain or consciousness?

    Me: Consciousness is the state of having experiences. It is a passive state. I use the analogy of a person seeing a movie.

    You: It follows from those things that the consciousness is merely an observer of brain activities.
    — Unseen

    If the brain is the centre of sensory input and processing, what is consciousness and how does it observe brain activities?

    Me: How the brain effects (in the sense of "makes" or "brings about") consciousness is and may forever remain a mystery and we may have to be satisfied with "Well, somehow it happens," but the conscious mind simply gets what it is revealed to it. Obviously, the brain knows much more than it sends along to the conscious mind in the form of experiences.

    (This is all I have time for but I think you can apply most of it to the rest of your post.)
  • Unseen
    56
    Your point is rather obvious, because the only way to be totally contemporaneous to what's going on is to BE what's going on.
  • Unseen
    56
    I have defined consciousness for my purpose as being in the state of having experiences.
  • Unseen
    56
    As I have stated several times, in my terminology, "consciousness" is being in the state of having experiences. To be conscious is to be experiencing something, even if that happens to be a dream, because to be conscious is to be conscious of something. If you're experiencing something that isn't there at all, like a heat mirage shimmering, apparently, on or over the road in the distance. Rainbows, similarly, are quite visible to the eye, but it's a kind of mirage. Drive toward it and you'll never reach it.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.2k
    I have defined consciousness for my purpose as being in the state of having experiences.Unseen

    To be conscious is to be experiencing something...Unseen

    You have said this a number of times, in different ways. You always refer to consciousness as a passive thing. Consciousness is "being in the state of having experiences", as you say. But surely there is an active aspect to this too? Empirical observation confirms that we also initiate or create experiences, for ourselves and for others. As conscious entities, we experience stuff, and we interact with the world so as to create experiences too, don't we?
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