‹ First  < 2 3 4
 
   
 

Is consciousness just a subroutine in a “big loop” operating system?

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
Avatar
 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
Total Posts:  6784
Joined  08-12-2006
 
 
 
11 January 2019 09:26
 

“What you know” seems a little ambiguous to me (not misleading this time), but that could probably be resolved by pinning down the meaning of “knowledge.”

Qualia, on the other hand, makes more sense to me: “the internal and subjective component of sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena” (according to Google). Would it be fair to say that you see consciousness as a “thing,” like a model? As opposed to, say, a “state,” like awareness? I think that consciousness is closely related to—but not synonymous with—awareness.

I agree with your point about definitions depending on fundamental things that we know. I often find that people want to define consciousness such that they can claim their dog is conscious. (I’ve been called a “Descartesian Monster” for preferring a definition that might imply otherwise.) But I agree with you that it doesn’t make sense to define consciousness in terms of something that is unknowable: i.e., “what it is like” to be a dog or a bat. When it comes to consciousness, the only thing we really know is our own mental experience—and, to a lesser degree, that of other humans capable of communicating their mental experience.

 
 
nonverbal
 
Avatar
 
 
nonverbal
Total Posts:  1835
Joined  31-10-2015
 
 
 
11 January 2019 09:54
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

“What you know” seems a little ambiguous to me (not misleading this time), but that could probably be resolved by pinning down the meaning of “knowledge.”

Qualia, on the other hand, makes more sense to me: “the internal and subjective component of sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena” (according to Google). Would it be fair to say that you see consciousness as a “thing,” like a model? As opposed to, say, a “state,” like awareness? I think that consciousness is closely related to—but not synonymous with—awareness.

I agree with your point about definitions depending on fundamental things that we know. I often find that people want to define consciousness such that they can claim their dog is conscious. (I’ve been called a “Descartesian Monster” for preferring a definition that might imply otherwise.) But I agree with you that it doesn’t make sense to define consciousness in terms of something that is unknowable: i.e., “what it is like” to be a dog or a bat. When it comes to consciousness, the only thing we really know is our own mental experience—and, to a lesser degree, that of other humans capable of communicating their mental experience.

By no one here, I hope.

 
Speakpigeon
 
Avatar
 
 
Speakpigeon
Total Posts:  168
Joined  01-10-2017
 
 
 
12 January 2019 05:30
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

“What you know” seems a little ambiguous to me (not misleading this time), but that could probably be resolved by pinning down the meaning of “knowledge.”

If you don’t know what knowledge is on the basis of the things you know, there’s nothing I can do to help.
And I already made explicit the sense of knowledge I used:

Speakpigeon - 11 January 2019 04:25 AM

Consciousness is what you know.
Said differently, in a perhaps less misleading way, consciousness is knowledge, the only actual knowledge there seems to be, what Russell termed “knowledge by acquaintance”, and what people now tend to call “qualia”.

Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

Qualia, on the other hand, makes more sense to me: “the internal and subjective component of sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena” (according to Google).
Except we don’t know that qualia are components of “sense perceptions, arising from stimulation of the senses by phenomena”.

Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

Would it be fair to say that you see consciousness as a “thing,”

My conscious mind is the only thing I know, so it exists, as Descartes could well have said.

Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

like a model?

No.
It’s a fact that pretty much every quale we experience we take to represent something else, something in the world out there. But that in itself doesn’t entail that our conscious mind is a model. We can obviously see it as a model, but we don’t actually know it is. Still, for practical sciences like psychology and what not, taking consciousness to be a model should be good enough, if at all useful.

Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

I agree with your point about definitions depending on fundamental things that we know. I often find that people want to define consciousness such that they can claim their dog is conscious. (I’ve been called a “Descartesian Monster” for preferring a definition that might imply otherwise.)

I’m not sure what could go wrong with claiming your dog is conscious. I’m not even sure what would be wrong in claiming dog’s shit is conscious.

Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

But I agree with you that it doesn’t make sense to define consciousness in terms of something that is unknowable: i.e., “what it is like” to be a dog or a bat.

That was never meant as a definition. It was a clever way to help obdurate people understand what is meant by the word “consciousness” by trying to imagine what it’s like to be a bat.

Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

When it comes to consciousness, the only thing we really know is our own mental experience

Right.

Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

—and, to a lesser degree, that of other humans capable of communicating their mental experience.

???
Sorry, this is definitely coming from the left field.
I for one don’t know the mental experience of any other human being. Not even one. Ever. If I know such a thing, then I certainly don’t know that I know it.
And, your talk of knowing “to a lesser degree” doesn’t mean anything. There’s no degrees in knowledge. You know something or you don’t know it. You can’t know something to a lesser degree.
EB

 
Speakpigeon
 
Avatar
 
 
Speakpigeon
Total Posts:  168
Joined  01-10-2017
 
 
 
12 January 2019 05:34
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

I’ve been called a “Descartesian Monster”

That would be “a Cartesian monster”.
Your critic may have been illiterate. Maybe a dog?
EB

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
Avatar
 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
Total Posts:  6784
Joined  08-12-2006
 
 
 
14 January 2019 21:16
 
Speakpigeon - 12 January 2019 05:34 AM
Antisocialdarwinist - 11 January 2019 09:26 AM

I’ve been called a “Descartesian Monster”

That would be “a Cartesian monster”.
Your critic may have been illiterate. Maybe a dog?
EB

Ha ha, I’m pretty sure my critic said “Cartesian monster.” I’m the illiterate one, with a poor memory to boot. Same idea, though: “If you don’t believe animals are conscious you’ll inevitably torture them.” Which is like saying that if you don’t believe in God you’ll inevitably behave immorally.

I can’t find much here on which to disagree with you. You’re right: it’s sloppy to talk about lesser degrees of knowledge. I know how people describe their mental experience and—since what they describe is similar to my own mental experience—I believe that their mental experience is similar to mine.

I like to think of consciousness as a process rather than a thing or a state. The conscious mind is not a model; consciousness is the process by which a model of reality and the model of self are constructed in the mind. Awareness is limited to that model. Without the model, there would be nothing of which to be aware, nothing to be like.

 
 
Speakpigeon
 
Avatar
 
 
Speakpigeon
Total Posts:  168
Joined  01-10-2017
 
 
 
15 January 2019 02:03
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 14 January 2019 09:16 PM

I like to think of consciousness as a process rather than a thing or a state. The conscious mind is not a model; consciousness is the process by which a model of reality and the model of self are constructed in the mind. Awareness is limited to that model. Without the model, there would be nothing of which to be aware, nothing to be like.

I agree it’s one view of consciousness and that it’s a legitimate perspective. I like to call it “objective consciousness”, as this is what science is looking at. However, just calling it “consciousness” is definitely ambiguous since we also have a subjective view of consciousness, which accordingly I prefer to call “subjective consciousness”, something science isn’t looking at as far as I know, and even something which seems to be an irritant to the Good People of the Scientific Church. And so we’re left to wonder, or merely conjecture about what might be the connection between subjective consciousness and the physical world. We’re not going to find out any time soon, not so much because it would be a “hard problem” but because of the belief that we all seem to have, which is called “naive realism”. Although, admittedly, the problem might actually be very hard, even perhaps impossible to solve.
EB

 
Antisocialdarwinist
 
Avatar
 
 
Antisocialdarwinist
Total Posts:  6784
Joined  08-12-2006
 
 
 
15 January 2019 08:57
 
Speakpigeon - 15 January 2019 02:03 AM

I agree it’s one view of consciousness and that it’s a legitimate perspective. I like to call it “objective consciousness”, as this is what science is looking at.

My definition falls short in that it fails to convey that consciousness is not objective at all. The model constructed in the mind isn’t a model in the sense of being an exact replica of reality; rather, it’s analogous to reality. (This can be demonstrated with the optic never blind spot experiment, which I’m guessing you’re probably familiar with.) What we’re aware of is not direct sensory input. We’re only aware of the “model,” which is influenced—but not completely determined—by sensory input, along with a host of subjective expectations, desires, biases, beliefs, etc..

So put me in the “subjective consciousness” camp. “Objective consciousness” sounds like an oxymoron to me. I’m surprised that you say science looks at consciousness as being objective, although maybe I misunderstand you there. Doesn’t the scientific method’s emphasis on repeatability stem from the understanding—dare I say “knowledge?”—that our awareness of reality is subjective?

 
 
nonverbal
 
Avatar
 
 
nonverbal
Total Posts:  1835
Joined  31-10-2015
 
 
 
15 January 2019 09:09
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 14 January 2019 09:16 PM

. . . I’m pretty sure my critic said “Cartesian monster.” . . .

Must have been Salt Creek.

 
Speakpigeon
 
Avatar
 
 
Speakpigeon
Total Posts:  168
Joined  01-10-2017
 
 
 
15 January 2019 13:01
 
Antisocialdarwinist - 15 January 2019 08:57 AM
Speakpigeon - 15 January 2019 02:03 AM

I agree it’s one view of consciousness and that it’s a legitimate perspective. I like to call it “objective consciousness”, as this is what science is looking at.

My definition falls short in that it fails to convey that consciousness is not objective at all. The model constructed in the mind isn’t a model in the sense of being an exact replica of reality; rather, it’s analogous to reality. (This can be demonstrated with the optic never blind spot experiment, which I’m guessing you’re probably familiar with.) What we’re aware of is not direct sensory input. We’re only aware of the “model,” which is influenced—but not completely determined—by sensory input, along with a host of subjective expectations, desires, biases, beliefs, etc..

The difficulty in thinking consciousness is that we have a subjective perspective and an objective perspective. The equation subjective with what you know and objective with what you believe, which is exactly epistemological dualism, which I think is implicit in what Descartes said around the Cogito, doesn’t leave much room for fuzziness. I don’t think that you know, for example, that subjective consciousness is a process. I certainly think science takes consciousness to be a process. So, any notion of process has to fall on the objective side. Obviously, there’s no problem believing consciousness is a process, but you should realise that consciousness as a process is only something that science, or any act of investigation that would be similarly objective, can investigate. Subjective consciousness exists essentially “in the moment”. There’s no process within one moment, certainly not one we could consider and look at from our subjective perspective. Science can objectively look at it, within limits, but that’s likely all we will ever have if we want to look into consciousness as a process.
Obviously, we are able to remember, to some extent, our own mental states and therefore look at our own consciousness as a process, thinking in particular, but also to a lesser extent things like remembering, emotions etc. However, such an investigation is fundamentally analogous to any that science can do, i.e. objective. To give a concrete example, you can take note of your own mental states as experienced, for a period of time, and at the end of that period investigate what it is you remember of those mental states.

Antisocialdarwinist - 15 January 2019 08:57 AM

So put me in the “subjective consciousness” camp. “Objective consciousness” sounds like an oxymoron to me. I’m surprised that you say science looks at consciousness as being objective, although maybe I misunderstand you there. Doesn’t the scientific method’s emphasis on repeatability stem from the understanding—dare I say “knowledge?”—that our awareness of reality is subjective?

Well, it’s a fact that science investigate consciousness and has been doing it for a very long time. Obviously, its method in doing so is of the same kind as the method for investigating stars and elementary particles, which wouldn’t work too well for investigating subjective consciousness. The investigation of objective consciousness includes for example the quantification of the perception of pain as reported by subjects, and pain definitely is something closely associated with consciousness. And if you want to understand whatever mental processes may be underpinning consciousness, you better not ignore the scientific view of them, although introspection, as an objective perspective, also helps our understanding of consciousness.
More generally, while I think it is useful and perhaps essential to have a clear conception of consciousness as dual objective/subjective consciousness, we should remain open to the idea that somehow these two things might in fact well be somehow identical. And in any case, I don’t know what could possibly be wrong with such a stance.
EB

[ Edited: 15 January 2019 13:04 by Speakpigeon]
 
‹ First  < 2 3 4