• lorenzo sleakes
    10
    How is that the brain generates the private subjective world of the self and then for what purpose? it seems logically impossible that nerve signals can generate a subjective observer while at the same time enabling that self to have its own distinct powers. It appears to be a useless appendage.
    I propose that the brain only generates the content of consciousness and not the self that binds it into a whole. The visual processing center for instance generates visual perceptions and thoughts. But the conscious self, that private world that binds the sensations into a simple unity, has a more permanent status and is not generated by the pattern of nerve signals. Instead the mental subject comes from an already conscious nerve cell from which it splits off to become what Lebiniz called the dominant monad. The conscious self then is an atomic unity evolving from other conscious natural beings in a panpsychist universe and as such can have real causal powers.
    see:
    Panpsychism and Real Mental Causation
  • bert1
    445
    I'm a panspychist too and I agree with some of this.

    it seems logically impossible that nerve signals can generate a subjective observer while at the same time enabling that self to have its own distinct powers.lorenzo sleakes

    This is intuitively plausible but could do with more elaboration and argument, if you have time. Can you explain further what you mean?

    I propose that the brain only generates the content of consciousness and not the self that binds it into a whole. The visual processing center for instance generates visual perceptions and thoughts. But the conscious self, that private world that binds the sensations into a simple unity, has a more permanent status and is not generated by the pattern of nerve signalslorenzo sleakes

    I agree with that I think. I think identity should be distinguished from consciousness. Consciouness seems to me to be about the unification of its content, whereas identity is about the contents of consciousness, which are various and plural and determined by brain (or perhaps body) function.

    Instead the mental subject comes from an already conscious nerve cell from which it splits off to become what Lebiniz called the dominant monad. The conscious self then is an atomic unity evolving from other conscious natural beings in a panpsychist universe and as such can have real causal powers.lorenzo sleakes

    I can't bear Leibniz's Monadology, so I instinctively recoil from this. But you may have repurposed his ideas fruitfully, I don't know. I'd need to hear more about this bit.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    How is that the brain generates the private subjective world of the self and then for what purpose? it seems logically impossible that nerve signals can generate a subjective observer while at the same time enabling that self to have its own distinct powers. It appears to be a useless appendage.lorenzo sleakes

    You're seeing the brain and the subjective world of self as two different things--you're at least assuming some sort of epiphenomenalism if you're not simply asserting a partial dualism.

    The subjective world of the self is a property of brains. It's not something different than brains that is generated for some purpose. It's what brains are like/it's simply qualities brains have. It's what those materials, in those structures, undergoing those processes, are like. It's not something separate from that.
  • Pantagruel
    793
    The subjective world of the self is a property of brains. It's not something different than brains that is generated for some purpose. It's what brains are like/it's simply qualities brains have. It's what those materials, in those structures, undergoing those processes, are like. It's not something separate from that.Terrapin Station

    True. Chemical properties are "properties" of physical systems, however chemical properties are not explicable in terms of the laws of physics. Rather they are a new set of "rules" which emerge as a result of the formation of a complex-stable physical system creating a fundamentally new type of context. Likewise for other superordinate systems, biological, psychological, etc. Different systems can be connected without one necessarily being reducible to the other.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    however chemical properties are not explicable in terms of the laws of physics.Pantagruel

    What are the criteria for explanations in that scenario?
  • Pantagruel
    793
    Not sure what you mean by "criteria for explanations"?

    The fundamental forces of physics are gravitation, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force. Chemical properties abound. Flammability isn't explicable by any of the fundamental forces of physics. However the fundamental forces of physics can account for the formation of new macroscopic systems (gas clouds, stars, planetary bodies). These new environments, to the extent that they are stable, create the conditions of possibility for novel formations which exhibit novel properties giving rise to new rules.
  • Wayfarer
    9.6k
    I propose that the brain only generates the content of consciousness and not the self that binds it into a whole. The visual processing center for instance generates visual perceptions and thoughts. But the conscious self, that private world that binds the sensations into a simple unity, has a more permanent status and is not generated by the pattern of nerve signals. Instead the mental subject comes from an already conscious nerve cell from which it splits off to become what Lebiniz called the dominant monad.lorenzo sleakes

    I think this is very likely true, and is supported by the science. There's a recognized issue called the neural binding problem, which basically comes down to this: science knows a great deal about the neural systems that assimilate colour, movement, quantity, shape, and so on. But there's no faculty that has been identified that is responsible for 'binding' all of the disparate stimuli into a coherent whole. Aside from Liebniz' monad, this also corresponds with Kant's analysis of the transcendental unity of the subject.

    It's what those materials, in those structures, undergoing those processes, are like. It's not something separate from that.Terrapin Station

    This is completely incorrect, and here's a scientific paper which spells it out https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3538094/


    We will now address the deepest and most interesting variant of the Neural Binding Problem, the phenomenal unity of perception. There are intractable problems in all branches of science; for Neuroscience a major one is the mystery of subjective personal experience. This is one instance of the famous mind–body problem (Chalmers 1996) concerning the relation of our subjective experience (aka qualia) to neural function. Different visual features (color, size, shape, motion, etc.) are computed by largely distinct neural circuits, but we experience an integrated whole. This is closely related to the problem known as the illusion of a stable visual world (Martinez-Conde et al. 2008).

    We normally make about three saccades [rapid movement of the eye between fixing points] per second and detailed vision is possible only for about 1 degree at the fovea (cf. Figure 1). These facts will be important when we consider the version of the Visual Feature-Binding NBP in next section. There is now overwhelming biological and behavioral evidence that the brain contains no stable, high-resolution, full field representation of a visual scene, even though that is what we subjectively experience (Martinez-Conde et al. 2008). The structure of the primate visual system has been mapped in detail (Kaas and Collins 2003) and there is no area that could encode this detailed information. The subjective experience is thus inconsistent with the neural circuitry. Closely related problems include change- (Simons and Rensink 2005) and inattentional-blindness (Mack 2003), and the subjective unity of perception arising from activity in many separate brain areas (Fries 2009; Engel and Singer 2001).

    Bolds added.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k


    There's no way to map third-person observable data to first-person subjective data to make a statement to the effect of "there is no area that could encode this detailed information."

    Not that I was saying something about the relationship between external data and mental representations of it in my comment anyway. I was saying something about the idea that the "sense of self" is something different than certain states that one's brain is in.

    At least offer objections and criticisms that stem from understanding what I wrote/what I was saying in the first place. Otherwise you're just wasting my time.
  • lorenzo sleakes
    10
    This is intuitively plausible but could do with more elaboration and argument, if you have time. Can you explain further what you mean?bert1

    What i am saying is roughly the same as Michael Lockwood's disclosure view in which Awareness can be thought of as "a kind of a searchlight, sweeping around an inner landscape in the brain" . The brain can then create the various sensations but there is a self that ties them into a single unified being. The nerve signals are ephemeral and correspond to the ephemeral generation of experiences. But the self observing those experiences has more continuity and derives from the underlying consciousness of a conscious nerve cell from which its consciousness splits off to become the dominant consciousness in the brain. It is an interactive dualism, but one grounded in a natural panpsychist world where there is a flow of mentality in every living eukaryotic cell and all the way down. Why else would the brain spend so much energy creating a virtual world of colors and sounds and feelings if not for the benefit of an independent entity that has powers of its own? see https://philpapers.org/rec/SLEPAR
  • OmniscientNihilist
    171
    How is that the brain generates the private subjective world of the self and then for what purpose?lorenzo sleakes

    u have it backwards. its consciousness that is generating the brain
  • Alan
    62


    The brains of people in comma remain despite having lost consciousness...
  • OmniscientNihilist
    171
    The brains of people in comma remain despite having lost consciousness...Alan

    dont assume other consciousness's exist
  • Alan
    62


    So, I guess you're just explaining this to yourself and not the OP, right?
  • OmniscientNihilist
    171
    So, I guess you're just explaining this to yourself and not the OP, right?Alan

    u dont need other consciousness's to exist to have a conversation. you can talk to a computer if it responds well enough
  • Alan
    62

    Where's consciousness generated, then?
  • OmniscientNihilist
    171
    Where's consciousness generated, then?Alan

    consciousness is not generated its eternal

    and its omnipresent
  • Alan
    62

    How can you prove you have been around that long? How can you prove you have been everywhere?
  • OmniscientNihilist
    171
    How can you prove you have been around that long? How can you prove you have been everywhere?Alan

    only the here now is real, time and space are illusions
  • Zelebg
    599

    How is that the brain generates the private subjective world of the self and then for what purpose?

    I would phrase it like this: Brain generates cognition, sensation, and emotion. How can "self" experience those feelings and thoughts? For what purpose? What is "self"?

    The purpose of sentience or consciousness is so our brain can learn, which is how we "make choices". In other words, the purpose is so we can have "free will".
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    it seems logically impossible that nerve signals can generate a subjective observer while at the same time enabling that self to have its own distinct powers.lorenzo sleakes

    upon what 'logic' do you conclude that? My model only requires the brain to do it.


    If panpsychism was true then would not you expect that the lowest forms of animals with brains would share very similar abilities of MC/EC as do humans b/c they all have practically the same hardware (neurons, nerves, connectivity, etc.)? However, we already know that few animals are even self-aware (e.g., few are able recognize themselves and ID their own agency) let alone having EC.

    panpsychism supporters should start by experimentally making the above case before going to untestable near supernatural theories of quantum/atomic sources, etc..
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    The purpose of sentience or consciousness is so our brain can learn, which is how we "make choices". In other words, the purpose is so we can have "free will".Zelebg

    I think you are wrong about that. You certainly do not need sentience or consciousness to learn good enough "make choices". I assume you know better than that, so please better articulate what you mean, esp. wrt have "free will", which would only seem to require the agent (e.g., robot) to have control of the direction of its own program (easy to code that!).
  • Zelebg
    599
    I think you are wrong about that. You certainly do not need sentience or consciousness to learn good enough "make choices". I assume you know better than that, so please better articulate what you mean, esp. wrt have "free will", which would only seem to require the agent (e.g., robot) to have control of the direction of its own program (easy to code that!).

    To learn by imagining, that is mental / virtual experience in advance, rather than by waiting to live or die when the physical / actual experience really happens.

    It looks like another hint our ‘selves’ are virtual entities, virtual characters like in computer games. Living in a simulation, built not by evil machines, but by our own brains. Our personality, identity, ego, soul... it’s just a virtual little homunculus inside our heads.


    Yeah, free will should really mean actions are determined autonomously, that is mostly by personal identity or character, instead of whatever else. Any other meaning is self-defeating contradiction, including the current popular definition: “ability to choose otherwise”.
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    To learn by imagining, that is mental / virtual experience in advance,Zelebg

    in a previous reply to discount me saying that we cannot imagine infinity you said that was b/c "Well as we are talking about what can be imagined, not experienced, it seems you can imagine infinity.", but now you say imagination is almost synonymous w/ virtual experience in re 'To learn by imagining, that is mental / virtual experience in advance'. I strongly suspect you are confounding distinctly separate and different human faculties into one, which has you flip-flopping on definitions.

    free will should really mean actions are determined autonomously, that is mostly by personal identity or character,Zelebg

    OK, so I make a robot that evolves its own personality, goals, and decision making by way of a genetic algorithm, and then have it makes its own final action decisions based on its personal/unique personality, and goals, and, in part, on a random number generator to help bias it to action when split decisions are experienced (likely not too different than what most humans do). So, according to your definition, have I not invented/created a robot which has 'free will'? I suspect your next step will be to start including definitions of agency in 'will'. Be careful, that path is a house of cards.... :wink:
  • Zelebg
    599
    in a previous reply to discount me saying that we cannot imagine infinity you said that was b/c "Well as we are talking about what can be imagined, not experienced, it seems you can imagine infinity.", but now you say imagination is almost synonymous w/ virtual experience in re 'To learn by imagining, that is mental / virtual experience in advance'. I strongly suspect you are confounding distinctly separate and different human faculties into one, which has you flip-flopping on definitions.

    It looks like you mixed me with someone. In any case, I don't see you disagree, so is there anything else I should say or explain?
  • Zelebg
    599
    OK, so I make a robot that evolves its own personality, goals, and decision making by way of a genetic algorithm, and then have it makes its own final action decisions based on its personal/unique personality, and goals, and, in part, on a random number generator to help bias it to action when split decisions are experienced (likely not too different than what most humans do). So, according to your definition, have I not invented/created a robot which has 'free will'?

    Yes, that is free will, program does what program wants. Aything else takes away that freedom, even if it is a simple freedom, like a crazy wish to print "Hello world!" on the screen over and over again. Of course, some might want to include sentience and qualia for the free will to be complete, that's fine by me.
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    It looks like you mixed me with someone,Zelebg

    sorry about that. My head is spinning with all the threads I'm conversing on, like a game of whach-a-mole. So, if you actually consider imagination to be a virtual experience then must it have qualia to render the experience part? Panpsychism would seem to say yes, and it comes from our cells, atoms, etc. Or is, access consciousness enough to do human level imagination?
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    Yes, that is free will, program does what program wantsZelebg

    so, how can you have a 'will' w/o a sentient agent?

    Standard definitions seem to require the "I" be present in the agent. So, my robot example won't cut it, esp. since it cannot ever have the cogito ergo sum dilemma. That is, how can one say it made a willful choice when it does not have self-consciousness to know it is choosing anything? thus, no free will there b/c you don't have a sentient free agent.

    https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/freewill/
  • Zelebg
    599


    Agent is the program itself. Meat or metal, human, lizard, insect or a single cell bacteria, body doesn’t matter except in the degrees of freedom. The usual problem with the popular understanding of free will is that people think it must not be determined to be free. The error there is not understanding that free will is 100% free only if it is 100% determined, that is determined 100% by the ‘person’ and 0% determined by anything else. So the essence of the problem is really, or should be, about defining what is a ‘person’ or 'self', rather than with the determinism per se.
  • Metaphysician Undercover
    7.1k
    So, according to your definition, have I not invented/created a robot which has 'free will'?Sir Philo Sophia

    I wouldn't say that this robot has free will, it is determined to act according to the parameters of your program. This is an age old problem for theologians. How is it possible that God could have created us, and yet we have free will? This requires a separation between the agent (each of us), and the creator (God), such that there is no necessary relation between the agent and the creator. The necessary relation would allow the creator, to be able to figure out, and always know the agent's act, denying the possibility of free will. Free will would be an illusion. the agent would only be responding according to its program. The omniscient God would always be capable of knowing each agent's choice, demonstrating that the agent really does not have free will. To avoid this, we need a separation between the agent and God, the robot and its creator, such that the thing created is not a necessary effect of the act of the creator, more like an accident. But allowing such an accident denies the omniscience of God.
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    So the essence of the problem is really, or should be, about defining what is a ‘person’ or 'self', rather than with the determinism per se.Zelebg

    I agree, but is that not implicit in how we use/mean the word 'will'? According to your definition, a crystal growing has 'free will' because it has "actions [that are] are determined autonomously, that is mostly by personal identity or character, instead of whatever else" because you say "body doesn’t matter except in the degrees of freedom" . The growing crystal "on its own" with a high degree of autonomy, where it is going to grow. So, does a self-replicating crystal have free will?

    re robot, your robot is operating 100% deterministic on its program. So, your robot cannot represent or know itself. So, your robot cannot know what or why it wants. So, it cannot know itself to find ways modify its behavior according to new principles that have it go against its (prior) default programming. What about ‘will power’? Your robot has no struggle in implementing any new goals because it is completely rule driven so no ‘free will’. Something that is not rule driven will have conflict in deciding to execute a rule and will experience failure in trying to change its own rules.

    Further consider the bee whose behavior is dictated by the hive social rules. Most would say it effectively has no free will, even if it certainly has the degree of freedom to not obey them. What do you say?

    Again, I posit to you, how can one say it made a willful choice when it does not have self-consciousness to know it is choosing anything? thus, no free will there b/c you don't have a sentient free agent.

    What you seem to be (re)defining as ‘free will’ seems to be a trivial game of semantics, nothing deep or meaningful b/c it lacks an agent that has true free agency.
  • Sir Philo Sophia
    189
    TheZelebg
    It looks like another hint our ‘selves’ are virtual entities, virtual characters like in computer games. Living in a simulation, built not by evil machines, but by our own brains. Our personality, identity, ego, soul... it’s just a virtual little homunculus inside our heads.Zelebg

    sure, pretty clear our 'selves' is virtual entity (even panpsychist should agree with that); however, how do you logically tie that into "purpose of sentience or consciousness is so our brain can learn, which is how we "make choices". In other words, the purpose is so we can have "free will""

    an agent can certainly learn and make choices w/o sentience or consciousness, and you seem to be contradicting yourself by saying that the purpose of sentience or consciousness (which the robot doesn't have) is so we can have "free will" (which you said the robot does have) . Maybe you did not express what you really mean/think. Please restate it in more clear terms.
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.