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Define counciousness

  1. Sep 25, 2006 #1
    Ok so far, I believe that those who have conciousness have souls. But then, I think only those who have brain have counciousness. So if something doesn't have counciousness, such as jellyfish, is it right to kill them?
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2006 #2
    I don't think we are ready to really define councioussness. I mean, you can look it up in a dictionary and there is your definition right there. Maybe it is self-awareness according to one. It will be the holy grail of modern science to discover it's secrets. It may infact hold a key in uniting science and religion.

    Then there is the concept of a soul which has to be tied somehow to concioussness if soul is real. In quantum mechanics, a concious observer can have impact on experimental results. So thats something.

    A jelly-fish might not be self aware, just like a rock or a tree. But it might have a soul or some kind of a life force, . American indians where especially sensitive to this kind of thing.

    It is a fact that our complex brain gives rise to self-awareness more than jelly-fish. But if souls are real, the our self-awareness would basically teach the soul our experience of the world. Where as a soul of a rock wouldn't develop very much.
  4. Sep 26, 2006 #3
    Well I know that why I asked in philosophy. Do you know of any religions that may have an answer? Has any of you arrived at a conclusion by logic to the question and would like to share with us here? Of, if anything, do any of you have any opinion that may be able to give me a direction to where to start lookign about these? I believe since thsi is not the ultimate question, it can be answered.
  5. Sep 26, 2006 #4
    I fail to see the connection between consciousness/souls and "right to kill". Is this some religious argument against killing?
    Please clarify.
  6. Sep 27, 2006 #5
    is consciousness supposed to supervene on the soul, or vice versa?
    is it possible for a soul to give rise to consciousness in the absence of a brain?
    does lack of consciousness necessarily imply lack of a soul?
    what happens to the soul when we are asleep, is it also asleep?
    what happens to the soul when we are unconscious, or when we die?

    Best Regards
  7. Sep 27, 2006 #6
    if i consider someones arm to not have consciousness can i cut it off?
  8. Sep 27, 2006 #7


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    Your title is "Define Consciousness" but you started off by asserting that "only those who have brain have counciousness". Do you have any reason for that? If you assert such a thing you must already have a definition of consciousness. What is it?

    Waht identified consciousness with "self-awareness". I'm not sure I accept that. If something is aware of its surroundings but is not aware of itself as a distince being, doesn't it have consciousness but not self-awareness?
  9. Sep 27, 2006 #8
    Well, I defined my def. of conciousness, that is to say, it has brain. I was wondering you def. of it.

    About the arm argument that are you allowed to cut it. Well, since brain is connected to the arm and soul is conciousness, I believe it would be wrong to cut it. My bro. has presented a new approach. He said that we define living being by DNA. But really, it doesn't have to be true. He thinks that cells have subsouls, souls on a different level, conciousness on a different level. And we are like dirt on planet which is also self-aware. I mean planets do everything we do. They grow, they have a beginning and an end, they travel. Maybe at the core, they think too! But I think their life is much larger than ours so when our species will be destroyed, that may be like a min. for them. I don't know, some philosophy.
  10. Sep 27, 2006 #9


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    You lose any ability to have a meaningful discussion when you invoke the existence of a soul.
  11. Sep 27, 2006 #10
    Alright, lets kick soul out. Do you think is it right to kill something that doesn't have conciousness? How do you define it though? Doesn't something that has brain can only have conciousness? If it is right to kill something that doesn't have conciousness then why is the new technology that is based on electricuting cells in order to get work out of them is considered inhumane?
  12. Sep 27, 2006 #11


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    [Skhandelwal]then why is the new technology that is based on electricuting cells in order to get work out of them is considered inhumane?[/quote]

    What technology is that? Cells in what?
  13. Sep 28, 2006 #12


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    Does the lion have the right to kill the gazelle?

    "Rights" are an entirely human creation. As such, it is up to us, and entirely arbitrary - in the gander scheme of nature - what we decide.
  14. Sep 28, 2006 #13
    I'm not sure I agree with this statement.

    To me a soul is that which makes me me.
    The complete set of memories, toppled with my current experience.

    But more importantly, it's that which separates me, in my mind, from everyone else.
    If I was just a "machine" walking around absorbing stimuli and responding to it and analyzing it, I don't think there would be much room left for the individual experience.

    A soul might not exist separately from physicality, but it surely is an emergent property that should not be ignored, for it is what gives us freedom and space and individuality, and a little bit of personal exploration.

    Edit: yeah the soul is purely a spiritual entity, it's not to be taken as something physical.
  15. Sep 28, 2006 #14
    This is true as I see it. It is also true that what we perceive as "consciousness" is also "up to us, and entirely arbitrary" when it is applied to the realities outside of human pre-concept.
  16. Sep 29, 2006 #15


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    Exactly. A soul is a personal, individual thing, meaning different things to different people. It is also dependent on faith and can neither proven nor disproven. It has no place in a meaningful discussion about consciousness.

    There can be only outcome of a discussion about the soul:
    You: A soul is this.
    Me: No. All you can state is your personal belief.
    You: OK, I believe a soul is this.
    Me: How nice for you. More tea?
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