• TheMadFool
    10k
    It is just so strange that this thread popped up out of the blue again, when I was in the middle of reading and writing on current threads. The threads themselves seem to have life after death.Jack Cummins

    I propose a set of equations:

    1. Physicalism: Brain + Thoughts = Consciousness
    2. Nonphysicalism: Brain + Immaterial Mind + Thoughts = Xonsciousness

    When we sleep, thinking ceases but the brain/immaterial mind continues on.

    When we die, as per physicalism, consciousness ceases, the thing capapble of consciousness (brain) is destroyed, end of story.

    However, according to nonphysicalism, the immaterial mind (the thing capable of consciousness) survives death and, in some religions, is transferred to another body (reincarnation).

    From equations 1 and 2 above, we get,

    3. [Physicalism] Brain + Thoughts = [Nonphysicalism] Brain + Immaterial Mind + Thoughts

    Subtracting Thoughts from both sides, we get,

    4. [Physicalism] Brain = [Nonphysicalism] Brain + Immaterial Mind

    At this point we can conclude that the physicalist brain is identical to the nonphysicalist brain with an immaterial mind. Ockham's razor, duely applied, should shave off the immaterial mind and we're left with only the brain.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    I am aware of one problem with what you are saying, 'When we are asleep, thinking ceases', because it clearly doesn't. When we are asleep, dreaming, thinking is present. The narrator consciousness and ego remain. In most instances, we remain aware of identity. In dreams we remain in the 'I' consciousness, rather than just immersed in a sea of images.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    I am aware of one problem with what you are saying, 'When we are asleep, thinking ceases', because it clearly doesn't. When we are asleep, dreaming, thinking is present. The narrator consciousness and ego remain. In most instances, we remain aware of identity. In dreams we remain in the 'I' consciousness, rather than just immersed in a sea of imagesJack Cummins

    Agreed, we dream but that's only during REM sleep. There's the NREM sleep we can't ignore.
  • Jack Cummins
    2.9k

    I think that it is so hard to know because there are various forms of sleep consciousness, and we cannot be sure that the near death experiences don't point to something significant which may come after death. The NDEs aren't proof of life after death as such, because the person didn't really die. In the same way, this applies to the dreamless states within sleep, because the person is not dead, but simply paused from thought.
  • Apollodorus
    1.3k
    we cannot be sure that the near death experiences don't point to something significant which may come after death.Jack Cummins

    If there is life after death, then presumably, there will be some form of consciousness in which case our mind may be pre-programmed for it and some sleep experiences and, indeed, NDEs may be a preparation for after-death states.

    So, I tend to agree that research into sleep consciousness may lead to insights into after-death states.
  • Corvus
    185
    One things for sure is that, we never hear from the dead, how they are doing since their deaths. Surely if their consciousness exist somewhere in some form, they would have (tried to) contacted us?
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    I can conceive of a synthetic mind-substrate extension of the organic mind-substrate whereby the continuity of self-aware personal identity (i.e. "consciousness") is, in effect, transferred from the latter to the former without being interrupted by – prior to – irreversible organic mind-substrate (brain)-death. However, "consciousness after the death of consciousness" makes no sense whatsoever except as wishful thinking. After all, "consciousness" (or life) is like a flame and, no doubt, a flame does not go anywhere else when it goes out. 
  • Apollodorus
    1.3k
    Surely if their consciousness exist somewhere in some form, they would have (tried to) contacted us?Corvus

    Not necessarily. Maybe some of them try but fail to establish contact except through dreams and visions, etc. that, unfortunately, can be explained away as imagination.

    Also, they may go into a state of sleep, be reborn or otherwise be engaged in activities or experiences that impede contact with the living.
  • Apollodorus
    1.3k
    However, "consciousness after the death of consciousness" makes no sense whatsoever except as wishful thinking.180 Proof

    However, the issue is not "consciousness after the death of consciousness" but consciousness after the death of the physical body or separation of the former from the latter.
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Ah, that "disembodied consciousness" chimera again. I'm afraid my observation lacks that unwarranted, anachronistic, and conceptually incoherent, assumption. Of course, if I'm mistaken and given the ubiquity of the dying everyday for at least the last one hundred millennia, it's more than reasonable to expect easily corroborable evidence of, as you say, "separation of (consciousness) from the (physical body)", and yet I still wait for such correction. :smirk:
  • Corvus
    185
    Not necessarily. Maybe some of them try but fail to establish contact except through dreams and visions, etc. that, unfortunately, can be explained away as imagination.

    Also, they may go into a state of sleep, be reborn or otherwise be engaged in activities or experiences that impede contact with the living.
    Apollodorus

    But the concept of "consciousness" seems imply inherently, if it exists, then it would make contact, communicate and interact.

    When consciousness is asleep or in dreams without its presiding bodies, would it be meaningful to even call it consciousness?
  • Apollodorus
    1.3k
    Ah, that "disembodied consciousness" chimera again.180 Proof

    It's only a "chimera" to those who are afraid of the unknown. That's where anti-materialism diverges from materialism. Human knowledge constantly progresses and expands. What may seem a "chimera" today could become established fact tomorrow. We can't stay stuck in the materialist past for ever. Science may even find ways of extending consciousness beyond death. IMO philosophy is about expanding consciousness and knowledge, not restricting it.
  • Apollodorus
    1.3k
    But the concept of "consciousness" seems imply inherently, if it exists, then it would make contact, communicate and interact.Corvus

    You don't know that it doesn't make contact, communicate and interact. For example, inspiration, artistic, scientific, or religious, may partly come from disembodied souls.

    When consciousness is asleep or in dreams without its presiding bodies, would it be meaningful to even call it consciousness?Corvus

    That question is based on the unproven assumption that consciousness can't exist independently of a physical body. Does a body at rest cease to be a body? Disembodied consciousness may perfectly well experience states of rest or sleep, after which it is reborn into a new body and forgets its previous existence.

    Besides, consciousness after death is said to inhabit a body (called ochema in Platonism) that is similar to the physical one but made of a more subtle form of substance.

    According to Ian Stevenson children sometimes seem to remember aspects of former lives for a few years until memories fade away and the child's consciousness becomes fully integrated with its new existence.
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Of course, not a shred of evidence. Like I said: wishful thinking.
  • BigThoughtDropper
    38
    @Jack Cummins

    Descartes solved this one for me. Drugs can alter how the conscious mind behaves, therefore, there is no separation between the physical and the mental. When we die - we die. An eternal nothingness. The "eternal anaesthetic" in Larkin's words.

    Or, as I prefer to call it, THE FINAL ADVENTURE. Heck, there's always a 0.000000 [...] 000 chance that we are in an alternative universe wherein the conscious mind continues to exist for an eternity ...
  • Banno
    12.7k
    What happens to consciousness when we die?

    What happens to consciousness when we sleep?
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    @Banno I tried that tact some time ago too ...
    ... how does non-consciousness arise from consciousness (e.g. sleep, auto-pilot habit) and yield consciousness again (e.g. waking-up, novelty)?180 Proof
    :smirk:

    When we die - we die. An eternal nothingness. The "eternal anaesthetic" in Larkin's words.BigThoughtDropper
    :up:
  • The Opposite
    868


    What consciousness is beyond our universe?

    What consciousness is beyond death?
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Pardon me but do share any corroborable evidence you have, or can indicate, of these "beyonds" you're referring to so that we can make sense of your "questions". Much appreciated. :sparkle:
  • The Opposite
    868
    "I" "don't" "have" "to" "provide" "evidence". "I'm" "not" "on" "trial" "here" ☆■□《》○
  • Banno
    12.7k


    There's no reason to think there is any, for either.

    Ah. Another one?
  • The Opposite
    868
    There's no reason to think there is any, for either.Banno

    There's no reason to think anything you or @180 Proof say is true
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Sure there is: you haven't defeated any arguments we've made or provided any warrant for any of your contrary assertions. But that's okay, Oopsy, I know you know you don't know what the hell you're babytalking about so all you can do is wantonly flatulate in lieu of giving or taking reasons. I'd love for you to prove me (us) wrong though by substantiating that your "beyonds" are facts and not mere fictions. Can you even do that, Oopsy?
  • Banno
    12.7k
    That's not how rationality works.

    But hey, suit yourself. Whatever gets you through the night. Just don't expect agreement.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    I can conceive of a synthetic mind-substrate extension of the organic mind-substrate whereby the continuity of self-aware personal identity (i.e. "consciousness") is, in effect, transferred from the latter to the former without being interrupted by – prior to – irreversible organic mind-substrate (brain)-death. However, "consciousness after the death of consciousness" makes no sense whatsoever except as wishful thinking. After all, "consciousness" (or life) is like a flame and, no doubt, a flame does not go anywhere else when it goes out.180 Proof

    I want to run something by you. Consciousness can't be a physical pattern like ocean waves are of water - the brain would have to literally jiggle as it were with every thought, the frequency and amplitude of the jiggle being correlates of thoughts.

    Ergo, consciousness is, my best guess, an electrical energy pattern that's generated in the gigantic neuronal network the brain is. If so, is it possible, do you think?, we can extract such neuronal patterns and adapt them to artificial brains, in a sense making consciousness immortal? Second question, if consciousness can be transferred, an idea you seem to take seriously enough, what's the status of physicalism?
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    "I" "don't" "have" "to" "provide" "evidence". "I'm" "not" "on" "trial" "here" ☆■□《》○The Opposite

    :up: :rofl: Your honor, the defendant is unfit to stand trial.
  • TheMadFool
    10k
    What happens to consciousness when we die?

    What happens to consciousness when we sleep?
    Banno

    In Greek mythology, Hypnos (sleep) and Thanatos (death) were twin brothers. The Greeks were onto something.
  • 180 Proof
    4k
    Consciousness can't be a physical pattern like ocean waves are of water ... Ergo, consciousness is, my best guess, an electrical energy pattern that's generated in the gigantic neuronal network the brain is. TheMadFool
    Unless I'm missing something else, this is confused, Fool. "An electrical energy pattern" IS "a physical pattern".

    is it possible ... [to] extract such neuronal patterns and adapt them to artificial brains, in a sense making consciousness immortal?
    Yes. The 'connectome' is the target. I speculate on such a scenario here. (Scroll down this barely one page thread for a couple of brief, clarifying, replies).

    Second question, if consciousness can be transferred, an idea you seem to take seriously enough, what's the status of physicalism?
    This would show nonreductive physicalism (to which I subscribe, hence my scenario linked above) to be more useful methodologically than the alternatives as a functionalist description of 'mind is what CNS-brains do'.
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