# what is consciousness?

by Rothiemurchus
Tags: consciousness
HW Helper
P: 2,566
 Quote by Canute I'm not sure it makes sense to say that there are such things as intrinsic properties or intrinsic aspects. Properties and aspects are external things, which is the whole problem in a nutshell. Take away everything extrinsic and there must be something intrinsic left over. Why not call this consciousness? If this is beyond science then so be it. We already know that consciousness is beyond observation or measurement, so there's no point in inventing some other intrinsic thing that's beyond science, one's enough.
I agree with everything here except the denial of intrinsic properties. Surely red has a different intrinsic nature than blue?

 Causality is a problem, but perhaps consciousness is causal in the sense of being the contingent condition under which physical causation operates. I think this is something like what Rosenberg is arguing, although I haven't got to grips with his argument yet. For example, when we throw a match on a pile of straw we say that the match caused the resultant fire. But a match only causes a fire given a wide range of contingent conditions (the presence of oxygen, the absence of torrential rain, etc). We wouldn't normally say that these contingent conditions caused the fire, but there'd be no fire without them.
I'd like to find a summary of his proposal, since it has been promised to address these problems, and I don't have $45 for the whole book. As for the subtleties of cause, I've never really explored this. I have always equated a causal role with an explanatory role, and I don't see where there is room for a difference. For example, the concept of neurons firing has (in all likelihood) enough power to explain why we discuss consciousness. Consciousness itself is extraneous. And yet, obviously, this cannot be correct.  P: 160 Can we understand consciousness without ALREADY HAVING consciousness? This is exactly where the entire problem becomes intractable. Only a conscious mind can behold consciousness, but then we can't take consciousness apart because the entire phenomena-experience is already present and operating and we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are studying it or we can't. It can't be broken down in any way, and isn't composed of parts, its explanation doesn't exist outside itself. This problem is totally intractable. Only an artificial intelligent other being or mind can understand it maybe...  P: 11 Consciousness is the ability to percieve, interpret and react. Our brain uses electrical currents, chemical reactions and another reaction I've found within the studies of physics. Information I must retain. Subconsciouness is a permanate storage. Whe you have a dream it is the permanent memories are sorting themselves. Like defragmenting a hard drive on an older computer. What is powerful is when you can open the gates to the subconsciounce and attain any information stored. A man made a comment once. Even though I do not believe in his ethics and lifestyle it made sense. "open the doors of perception". who? Appreciate having an individual consciousness, thoughts, senses and cocoughfinal value of which to operate freely within a realm. To start to understand consciousness you must first appreciate it. P: 1,499  Quote by StatusX I agree with everything here except the denial of intrinsic properties. Surely red has a different intrinsic nature than blue? Hmm. That's a tricky one. Do you mean that physically they have different intrinsic natures, or that in consciousness they do?  I'd like to find a summary of his proposal, since it has been promised to address these problems, and I don't have$45 for the whole book.
A chapter at a time Hypnagague is summarising it in the discussion thread. There's a bits and pieces online as well. I haven't got to the bottom of it yet.

 As for the subtleties of cause, I've never really explored this. I have always equated a causal role with an explanatory role, and I don't see where there is room for a difference. For example, the concept of neurons firing has (in all likelihood) enough power to explain why we discuss consciousness. Consciousness itself is extraneous. And yet, obviously, this cannot be correct.
I think you've hit on the heart of the problem of cause and explanation. If you explain everything in terms of causes then sooner or later you hit a snag, the 'first cause' problem. Yet without one, if cause is explanation, our existence cannot be explained. So sooner or later in our explanation we have to explain something in non-causal terms.

Thus in Taoism the Tao is not said to cause the universe, but rather the universe comes into existence as a result of the Tao being what it is, which is a different way of looking at it, as more like a contingent condition than a cause. This is relevant to everyday cause and effect, and to the problem of intrinsic 'substance' of things, because the Tao is not some fundamental substance from which the universe arose long ago, but that from which it arises in every moment (so it is said). Similarly GSB's axiomatic 'void' is not causal, but the condition under which, or within which, indications, marks or distinctions can be made. This is quite different to the normal axioms of a system, which are defined as either true or false and which thus 'cause' the theorems that are derived from it. (I'm not sure if that makes sense - just trying it out).
 P: 81 as far as i understand, consciousness is like the rules and cause of energetic phenomena, but is formed by energy. Similar to taoist, i believe there was no beginning, and there is no end, just energy metamorphosing along with consciousness. both dependent upon one another (interdependent). it is a two way process, and not a simple linear progression. consciousness is not only causal, but caused. equal and opposite to energy. energy is the physicality, or the 'common ground' by which consciousness's interact, and at the same time consciousness is the result of the interaction of energy. this paradox is not a problem to be solved. it is a way of modelling nature without the neccessity of there being a solution to it all. certainty is linked to egoism. knowledge is not a simple definition. knowledge is very powerful. beyond intellectualisms, me thinks. cheers

 Related Discussions General Discussion 68 General Discussion 16 General Discussion 2 Biology 56