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Consciousness and the Periodic Table

  1. Nov 26, 2004 #1
    The only thing we know is conscious - ourselves - is a lifeform based on carbon, which is in group 4 of the Periodic Table.Silicon is too.Since silicon is found in computers this raises an intriguing possibility that computers could experience emotions and colours and sounds and so on.Silicon and carbon both form chains.Are chains of atoms of the same kind a root cause of conscious experience?
     
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  3. Nov 26, 2004 #2

    Tom Mattson

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    Diamonds are also carbon based. Does that mean that they have dreams?

    Physicalist accounts of consciousness don't appeal to the carbon basis of our bodies, they appeal to the electrical connections in our brains.
     
  4. Nov 27, 2004 #3
    maybe they dream of being put into a setting and being shown off on someone's finger for all of the other diamonds to see...

    lol yes i don't agree with this. have you ever see the movie "Evolution"? very good movie, it doesn't deal with human evolution but with a lifeform that is based on silicon that gets on Earth and evoles. you might enjoy it.
     
  5. Nov 27, 2004 #4
    Tom Mattson:

    Physicalist accounts of consciousness don't appeal to the carbon basis of our bodies, they appeal to the electrical connections in our brains.

    Rothiemurchus:

    The connections made from carbon!
     
  6. Nov 27, 2004 #5
    Ai

    For a computer to be completly aware of itself, it would also have to be completly aware of its creator, which would be humans. If humans in turn have a creator, the computer would also have to be aware of that entity as well.
     
  7. Nov 28, 2004 #6

    Tom Mattson

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    No, they aren't. Carbon is an insulator, and as such is used as a resistor (not a conductor). Interneuron connections are made via electrolytes in solution inside brain tissue.

    edit to add:

    Nonsense. I am aware of myself, and yet I am not aware of "my creator". I'm not even sure I have a creator. Why on Earth should self awareness be contingent on knowledge of an entity that may or may not even exist?

    In this Mentor's opinion, this thread is not measuring up to the Philosophy Forums Guidelines. Specifically, the argument from analogy given in the opening post is extremely weak, in that no justification is given for why the analogy should even hold.

    I'll extend to the author the opportunity to expand on the opening post, but if the thread continues on this path of overspeculation and handwaving it is going to be locked.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2004
  8. Nov 28, 2004 #7

    Kerrie

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    I'll second that Tom...
     
  9. Nov 28, 2004 #8
    Tom Mattson:
    Interneuron connections are made via electrolytes in solution inside brain tissue.

    Where is the proof that consciousness is caused by or resides in the electrolytes.
    They are undoubtedly needed to cause the brain to function properly.
    But the reason I asked the question about chains of silicon and carbon in the first place is because I am trying to narrow down what the minimal essential ingredients for consciousness are - I don't think that fluorine and lead and ruthenium would
    make a conscious entity because it is not apparent at all how these atoms could form something resembling humans or other animals we would expect to be conscious.
    Conscious entities seem to be made from stable combinations of atoms and lots of these atoms.We could make electrical impulses pass between any number of contrived combinations of groups of atoms,but what is special about the combinations of atoms that cause consciousness? There must be something that is physical and which defines a combination that can cause consciousness from one that cannot.
    For example
    we would expect that a single atom of any kind could not be a root cause of consciousness on its own because we would see nothing unusual about that atom compared to others.But when we start combining atoms and they have chemical bonds,the molecules can have vastly different electron probability distributions,polarities and so on.But the distributions which cause conscious experience must form a set that is different to other distributions in some key way.Or ,for example,the charges which cause a nerve impulse to travel along an axon,must move in some unique way that is ultimately defined by a unique combination of the atoms that form a nerve cell.If consciousness is defined by a neurotransmitter then this must have some unique physical property that sets it apart from other molecules.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2004
  10. Nov 29, 2004 #9

    Tom Mattson

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    Whoa Nellie! I didn't even make that claim. I said that the electrical connections are made via electrolytic solutions, and that is a fact. Neurons are the basic unit in the brain, and the synaptic gaps are filled with electrolytes, by which electrical signals are passed.

    No one knows what causes consciousness or where it resides. It is far from being universally acknowledged that it is caused by the brain at all. Since the rest of your post seems to presuppose that the brain does cause consciousness, you are not likely to even have your premise granted by the "consciousness gurus" here at our Philosophy Forums. (I'd grant it, but I know full well that I cannot prove it).
     
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