• Cabbage Farmer
    204
    Is it just an accident of evolution that ended up having no negative survival value? A fluke?Unseen
    Do you suggest that consciousness is bad for survival? Negative survival value is not the same as zero survival value.

    Why do tetrapods have four limbs, why do we have two arms and two legs, instead of more? Is it the optimal number? Or maybe it's been just good enough to get by, given the rest of our selective advantages and good fortune.

    The fact that artificial intelligence will one day imitate or surpass human intelligence without consciousness does not entail that, in the actual, concrete, historical course of animal evolution, there never has been any survival value for consciousness. It might just have happened that functions that could be satisfied without consciousness in another context got satisfied with consciousness instead.

    As functions that could be satisfied by six limbs got satisfied by four instead.
  • 3rdClassCitizen
    25
    The falling tree doesn't require awareness for it to make a SOUND. Noise suggests awareness of a nearby person with hearing. Facts exist, knowlege suggests a being aware of a fact.

    There doesnt seem to be any other system, besides consciousness, to guide complicated fauna in its daily struggles.That should tell us that consciousness is the best game in town.
  • luckswallowsall
    46


    Yes... because to be aware of X and to know of X is the same thing.

    Knowledge requires both rationality and consciousness. This is why neither rationalism nor empiricism can lead to knowledge.

    A completely irrational fool cannot have knowledge of X because he doesn't understand X. A robot can't have knowledge of X because he's not conscious of X.
  • Pattern-chaser
    1.5k
    So knowledge of X is subjective; personal; believer-dependent. OK, I can go with that. After all, X (whatever it is) exists externally and mind-independently, but the knowledge of X is personal. That makes some sense to me.... :chin:

    Facts exist, knowledge suggests a being aware of a fact.3rdClassCitizen

    I'm OK with the last bit, but I wonder if even facts exist in a mind-independent way? A fact is some sort of explanation about the world. I think that explanation originates with us, although the subject of the explanation exists mind-independently. :chin: But this is really a quibble. In general, I wouldn't argue against what you're saying. :smile: :up:
  • halo
    44
    If we lived in an unconscious state all the time, I doubt we would have been able to create the technology we have. The unconscious mind basically allows us to survive without analyzing, judging etc... To analyze, requires consciousness.
  • luckswallowsall
    46
    Knowledge requires a combination of epistemic objectivity and ontological subjectivity.

    Look at it this way: Knowledge is *at a minimum* Justified True Belief (we can exclude Gettier cases for the time being because not every case is a Gettier case): Truth and justification is the objective aspect and belief is the subjective aspect.
  • Unseen
    121
    ↪Unseen If we lived in an unconscious state all the time, I doubt we would have been able to create the technology we have. The unconscious mind basically allows us to survive without analyzing, judging etc... To analyze, requires consciousness.halo

    The preconscious mind IS conscious in the required way. What call and perceive as consciousness is what that mind passes on to us as consciousness. So, to be paradoxical, we ARE conscious (in the way you say is necessary) without being conscious of it.
  • Frotunes
    114
    “We’re conscious beings, why?”

    Ok. Let’s see.
    Looks like a living thing has the natural tendency to alter its genes such that it’s offsprings can use the environment around them optimally to increase the chances of survival and reproduction, be it matter or energy. Both plants and animals can be observed to use these physical entities, matter like chemicals, water, gases, etc and energy like light, sound, heat, gravity, etc. But while such matter and energy was often used directly, such as in mineral observation and photosynthesis in plants, and metabolism and locomotion in animals, living beings had another way of conducting their lives in the planet, which is something called “sensing”. At first it is believed to have been rather primitive by our standards, some globule of chemicals that could identify a helpful chemical from a useless one, or could slowly swim itself towards some source of heat it sensed, but eventually thanks to evolution, some lineage of beings became equipped with such enormously complex and powerful organs as eyes and ears, supplying their central nervous system with detailed information about their environment. It is believed to have been a sort of automatic process, called instincts and habits. There was no mind in the brain of even the most complex animals like mammals, i.e. they could go to a river and drink some water, but didn’t know that. Eventually Homo Sapiens came along, and they differed from all other mammals in the regard that they could not only do that, but know what exactly they’re doing. Being conscious about it.
    Now, why are Homo Sapiens conscious? It’s the same answer to the question why are plants green or why are birds restless? It’s because every living being tends to not only try to make the best use of its environment to survive and reproduce, but each of it tends to as a species try (sometimes successfully) to make its reproduced offsprings even better equipped for survival and further improved reproduction. But not all of them do it the same way. For some species it’s a lager paw while for others it’s a more reddish hue of its flowers. For some primates it was apparently a more advanced brain capable of consciousness, abstract reasoning, planning, language, and much else.

    (Little must have nature herself guessed what would eventually happen when she first equipped some great apes with this singular capacity.)
  • Willyfaust
    21
    We our conduction of existence, we do not create, we mediate.
  • halo
    44
    We may not need consciousness to survive in natural, but we definitely need it to survive socially. Obviously, we cannot act on all our unconscious desires. As societies have grown, so has consciousness. And surviving socially is an extension our of physical survival (mating, large group safety, market exchange).
  • Norman Stone
    9
    The inquiry should begin with "what special characteristic of animals/humans enables them to be sentient?" The whys and hows of conscious experience can't be explored if we can't answer this first question.

    OK. So, what is so special about organisms? It may be that they maintain atomic-level spontaneity, by being able to amplify the effects of events as small as a single electron excitation. It is not impossible for a single photon to initiate a cascade-response throughout the organism. This doesn't necessarily mean we are "tuned into" the quantum universe, but what it does mean is that organisms are vertically responsive -- whatever has guided our evolution has done it in a way that preserves the sensitivity of literally billions of micro-systems that make up our bodies, and enables these sensitivities to be marshaled into organism-level responses.

    So, does this sensitivity cause sentience? A radio antenna does not cause radio waves, but we would be tempted to think it does if antennae provided our only evidence of them. We can apply the same argument to sentience. The micro-sensitivity of organisms is like a choir of a billion voices -- not in unison, but influencing and responding to each other. Organisms constitute the only example we have of this kind of complexity, but again, the complexity is not necessarily the cause of sentience; rather it is what enables organisms to participate "creatively" in whatever sentience is.

    Now, we may speculate that sentience is everywhere, or we may speculate that every energy event has an experiential component; these would be two versions of panpsychism. Let's say that some version of panpsychism is true. Organic micro-sensitivity would enable organic systems, like nervous systems. to experience and amplify orchestrated sensitivity. While inorganic structures are not excluded from whatever sentience is, their inability to amplify micro-sensitivity would exclude them from any form of activity that reveals the presence of sentience.
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