Consciousness-defined in science ?

  • Thread starter drag
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Consciousness-strictly defined by modern science ?

  • Yes

    Votes: 3 25.0%
  • No

    Votes: 8 66.7%
  • Not sure

    Votes: 1 8.3%

  • Total voters
    12
  • #26
1,481
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Mentant and Drag,

I thing right now I'm taalking about the uncertainty of my consciousness

Okay lets talk about probabilites in QM within the uncertainty principle. Lets say I have 100 electrons and I calculate that 99% of them will go to point A and 1% of them will NOT go to Point A but either stay where they are or go some where else. My question then is how do all of the electrons decide which one and only which one will not go to point A over 10,000 repetions of the experiment so that the actual events agree with my calculations. I realize that every so often none of the electrons will go to point A and every once in a while all will go to point A but over 10,000 reps they will work it out so that 99% go to point A and 1% does not go to A. How?
 
  • #27
3,762
2
Originally posted by drag
Mentat, science at its basis is a single interconnected
entity. It is interconnected through mathematics (its
most basic reasoning)

Well, while you are right about it's being interconnected, it is not through mathematics. Science's most basic reasoning is the Scientific Method.

Thus it is inconcievable for something to be stated and formulated
scientificly and not be connected to some of its other parts.
If consciosness is scientificly defined then it MUST
be connected to the physical particles and everything
else in science.

First off, I didn't say that consciousness was scientifically defined, merely accepted by scientists.

Secondly, even if consciousness can't be explained in all fields of Science, yet, that doesn't mean it wont ever be so. Think of gravity, for instance; it can't be explained in all fields of Science, but that doesn't mean it never will be.
 
  • #28
1,029
1
Originally posted by heusdens
Isn't it more reasonable to say that matter is primary, and consciousness secondary?

Science proved that this has to be the case.

No No No. It has not.
 
  • #29
1,029
1
Originally posted by sage
b] From all this it seems clear that consciousness is nothing but the cumulative result of the chain of activities by which information is received and processed in our brain.[/b]

Actually, it seems clear that the brain has something to do with it. This tells me nothing that I didn't already know. But playing a part in a process and creating the process are not the same things.
 
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  • #30
2,225
0
Get a Clue Science!

Sounds like Science has the same problem with concsciousness as it does with God. Hmm ... I wonder why? Is it possible that they're related? And yet how could Science continue on with its endeavors without a grasp on something so fundamental as consciousness? How is it possible to inquire about anything without first being conscious? Doesn't that sound like a clue? How else do we compare the results then? From the standpoint of being unconscious? That would be like sailing out on the sea without a rudder! Does that make sense? Come on Science, GET A CLUE!!!

So we can't pin down God, we can't pin the fact that we have a soul, and we can't pin down the fact that we're conscious, three "distinct things" which all seem to be related. Hmm ... Will wonders never cease.
 
  • #31
597
0


Originally posted by Iacchus32
Will wonders never cease.

No, I don't think they will. :wink:

Give 'em heck, Iacchus. I'll spot you when you're tired!
 
  • #32
drag
Science Advisor
1,062
0
Greetings !

Sage, thanks for telling us about that experiment. :smile:
Originally posted by Fliption
Actually, it seems clear that the brain has something to do with it. This tells me nothing that I didn't already know.
Would a bullet blowing out the whole brain convince
you otherwise ?

Royce, again - it's just the interpretation or way of
looking at it that you might find confusing. Read my
water tubes example again. If you approach things the
way you did here then you can ask all sorts of "intuitive"
questions - why does something move - conserve momentum
after being pushed ? That is, how does it know it was pushed ?
There are many other examples. Science only has exact
mathematical discriptions but no single prespective
on the interpretation.

Originally posted by Mentat
Secondly, even if consciousness can't be explained in all fields of Science, yet, that doesn't mean it wont ever be so.
That is a subjective claim depending on your interpretation.
I could say that consciousness is already approximately
defined if I have an arbitrarily large enough active
nueral pathways collection. It's just that such a definition
is not precise and it is arbitrary in application - hence
of little practical use or value.

Peace and long life.
 
  • #33
2,225
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Originally posted by Fliption
Actually, it seems clear that the brain has something to do with it. This tells me nothing that I didn't already know. But playing a part in a process and creating the process are not the same things.
This would be comparable to creating a stereo system (the brain) and listening to the actual music (the mind/consciousness). Or, to understanding how a car functions, "properly," and actually owning the car (outright) and driving it. There's quite a difference! :wink:
 
  • #34
110
0
Actually, it seems clear that the brain has something to do with it. This tells me nothing that I didn't already know. But playing a part in a process and creating the process are not the same things.
Fliption,why do say brain has something to do with it and not that it has everything to do with it? We have seen that processes occurring within the brain has a direct relation to our consciousness. We have not yet seen any other phenomenon that has anything to do our being conscious. So the most plausible hypothesis is that these processes occurring within the brain are the only things responsible for our consciousness. Until any evidence to the contrary comes our way that is.

That's because you apparently believe that consciousness is only "confined" to "creatures" with brains . There might be other systems -- like the Universe Itself -- that do an even better job of perceiving, receiving, interpretting, processing and responding to information
gaspar, I only said that consciousness in creatures with brains can be explained as a set of electrochemical processes occurring within their brains. We do not need anything else in this case. Your claim is interesting but needs proof, as I have said earlier. I am only refuting the claim that supernatural phenomenon are needed to explain consciousness in humans.
 
  • #35
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2
A point that should be noted, is that consciousness cannot possibly be non-physical; because, if it was, it would be unable to interact with the physical brain/body. This means that consciousness must be a physical phenomenon (not the "ghost in shell" conception, that many have held since the days of Descartes).
 
  • #36
3,762
2
Originally posted by drag
That is a subjective claim depending on your interpretation.
I could say that consciousness is already approximately
defined if I have an arbitrarily large enough active
nueral pathways collection. It's just that such a definition
is not precise and it is arbitrary in application - hence
of little practical use or value.

I don't understand your point. Consciousness is not a collection of neural pathways, but rather the result of their interaction - or, so it is usually defined.

Seriously, imagine a purple cow. See it in your mind, in as much detail as possible.

Do you think that there is a part of your brain that turned purple, in order to percieve the cow as being purple? Do you think that pondering these questions is no different a process than walking, admiring a painting, or solving an equation?
 
  • #37
drag
Science Advisor
1,062
0
Greetings !
Originally posted by sage
We have not yet seen any other phenomenon that has anything to do our being conscious. So the most plausible hypothesis is that these processes occurring within the brain are the only things responsible for our consciousness. Until any evidence to the contrary comes our way that is.
Precisely my opinion !

Mentat, what I meant was that when you say something
like "consciousness has not yet been defined" it's
a subjective discription that in the context of the rest
of the thread contains an enitial assumption that
consciousness is really something you'd call "non-physical".
However, if you just stick to current scientific data
and use no such assumptions then if you at all feel
the need to use this vague term in today's science you
could try to define it as in the example I provided
(as awkward as that may be).

Live long and prosper.
 
  • #38
3,762
2
Originally posted by drag
Mentat, what I meant was that when you say something
like "consciousness has not yet been defined" it's
a subjective discription that in the context of the rest
of the thread contains an enitial assumption that
consciousness is really something you'd call "non-physical".
However, if you just stick to current scientific data
and use no such assumptions then if you at all feel
the need to use this vague term in today's science you
could try to define it as in the example I provided
(as awkward as that may be).

I have stuck to science, I know that current scientific understanding is limited in the area of consciousness, though I do not think that it is something "non-physical" or "metaphysical" or that it is something beyond the realm of materialistic science.
 
  • #39
597
0
Originally posted by sage
Fliption,why do say brain has something to do with it and not that it has everything to do with it? We have seen that processes occurring within the brain has a direct relation to our consciousness. We have not yet seen any other phenomenon that has anything to do our being conscious. So the most plausible hypothesis is that these processes occurring within the brain are the only things responsible for our consciousness. Until any evidence to the contrary comes our way that is.


gaspar, I only said that consciousness in creatures with brains can be explained as a set of electrochemical processes occurring within their brains. We do not need anything else in this case. Your claim is interesting but needs proof, as I have said earlier. I am only refuting the claim that supernatural phenomenon are needed to explain consciousness in humans.

There are schools of thought that offer the POSSIBILITY that "consciousness" may be a FUNDAMENTAL feature of the Universe.

I was recently directed to a series of articles by a fellow poster -- ahkenaten, to be precise -- that discuss this philosophy, dubbed "Panpsychism".

One article in particular -- "Consciousness, Information and Pansychism" by a William Seager, at the University of Toronto -- presents certain lines of thinking that draw some to this view.

Although purely philosophical , such thinking is supported by findings in Quantum Mechanics...as well as other areas of scientific thought.

Since I cannot hope to summarize the article in one post, I will only attempt to address one avenue of thought. Seager calls it the "generation problem".

"The hard problem of consciousness...is explaining why and how experience is generated by certain particular configurations of physical stuff." In other words, where in the chain of biological development does experience (aka consciousness) emerge?

"A theory of consciousness, Seager asserts, "ought to tell us what consciousness is, what things in the world possess it, how to tell whether something possesses it and how it arises in the physical world." He gives an example of the honey bee which "acts like a creature that has experiences (visual olfactory, as well as painful and pleasurable)....(but) on which side of the fuzzy line betweeen sentience and nonsentience does the bee reside?"

The question asked is "which level (of function) is the appropriate level of description (of counsciousness) and who decides?

Seager discusses certain experiments in physics -- the quantum eraser and the basic two-slit experiment -- as demonstrating that "there is a noncausal, but information laden (his ital) connection amongst the elements of a quantum system....Here, perhaps, we find a...highly significant sense in which information is truly a fundamental feature of the world (maybe the fundamental feature)."

The article also references the Thomas Nagel (1979), who suggests that "if consciousness is not reducible then we cannot explain its appearance at a certain level of physical complexity merely in terms of that complexity and so, if it does not emerge at these levels of complexity, it must have been already present at the lower levels."

Thus, others have led themselves to the theory/proposition of Panpsychism, which is the doctrine that all matter -- systems great, small and singular -- have an aspect of consciousness to it.

It may be "bad science" but its "good philosophy"...I think.
 
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  • #40
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2
Could you, perhaps, post a link on Panpsychism for us, M. Gaspar?
 
  • #41
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0
Originally posted by Mentat
Could you, perhaps, post a link on Panpsychism for us, M. Gaspar?

Don't know how. Please advise?

Will search for post by ahkenaten that directs us to several links.
 
  • #42
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Admittedly, I've only read some of the posts fully and others I just peruse over - shall we say.

Anyway, I do believe consciousness exist down to the molecular level but just to play devils advocate, the opposite could also be true -- consciousness may not exist at all and we are all simply products of cause and effect.

"Absurd" some of you might say, but truly if electrons, protons, etc. are responding in a certain fashion then maybe it is just caused by a certain effect (random or reoccuring). Then our genetic make-up is created by cause and effect, our personalities may be created by nothing else but cause and effect and our decisions are made by cause and effect information in which our personalities which are created by cause and effect have chosen to make those decisions based on the cause and effect factors (what did I just say -- I think you brilliant people know what I mean).

All of us and everything in the universe is interlinked and the cause and effect factor can be so complex it can be maddening trying to figure it out. In essence, I am suggesting our consciousness is made up of all these cause and effect factors and thus we do not truly have a consciousness but merely a product of cause and effect. All our thoughts, beliefs, personality factors, etc. are all reactionary based on certain factors that may originate down to our genetic code makeup. Maybe we are all destined in a direction just as the universe is but that destiny seems pre-designed based on the cause and effect of the big bang or whatever theory of the universal birth theory you believe in.

Just thought I'd throw a wrench into the subject.
 
  • #43
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0
Originally posted by Raven
... I do believe consciousness exist down to the molecular level but just to play devils advocate, the opposite could also be true -- consciousness may not exist at all and we are all simply products of cause and effect.
I agree that the Universe is a cause and effect system...with inherent forces, processes and ingredients...and among the ingredients is consciousness.

And, to say a little more, among the "forces" that serves as a CAUSE in the cause & effect system is INTENTION.

All of us and everything in the universe is interlinked and the cause and effect factor can be so complex it can be maddening trying to figure it out. In essence, I am suggesting our consciousness is made up of all these cause and effect factors and thus we do not truly have a consciousness but merely a product of cause and effect. All our thoughts, beliefs, personality factors, etc. are all reactionary based on certain factors that may originate down to our genetic code makeup. Maybe we are all destined in a direction just as the universe is but that destiny seems pre-designed based on the cause and effect of the big bang or whatever theory of the universal birth theory you believe in.
Yes. It's complex.

Just thought I'd throw a wrench into the subject.
Not a problem. And just so you'll know, the devil has MANY advocates within this Forum.
 
  • #44
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What is Panpsychism?

Originally posted by M. Gaspar
Don't know how. Please advise?

Will search for post by ahkenaten that directs us to several links.
These links can be found on the thread, https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=830&perpage=15&pagenumber=16", beginning on page 16 ...

CONSCIOUSNESS, INFORMATION AND PANPSYCHISM - William Seager

Here are some more related links:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/online/science/story/0,12450,884678,00.html [Broken]
God Is the Machine
http://www.consciousness.arizona.edu/hameroff/
http://mattersofconsequence.com/cmtu3htm.html [Broken]
http://www.zynet.co.uk/imprint/Tucson/4.htm [Broken]
http://www.u.arizona.edu/~chalmers/online3.html#neuroscience [Broken]
http://www.consciousness.arizona.edu/hameroff/Pen-Ham/Funda-Mentality/Fundamentality.htm [Broken]

Additional links:

http://www.u.arizona.edu/~chalmers/online1.html#panpsychism" [Broken]

http://www.datadiwan.de/SciMedNet/library/articles/9803141712.htm" [Broken]

http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/humannature/article.jsp?id=23955000&sub=What%20is%20human%20nature?" [Broken]

http://www.newscientist.com/hottopics/humannature/sectindex.jsp?sub=Free%20will" [Broken]
 
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