What is beyond consciousness?

  • #51
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Loren Booda said:
eggman

The assumption that consciousness may be limited?

What i meant to say was that you being conscious is an assumption..

Science suggest we dont even exsist...:bugeye:
 
  • #52
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Science suggests that we don't actually exist.

This is different than not existing.
 
  • #53
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moving finger said:
According to Metzinger, there is no “real” self, the intuition of a “self” is an illusion brought about by the phenomenon of consciousness.

Best Regards

MF
So then consciousness can exist without a self?
Experience without an experiencer?
 
  • #54
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PIT2 said:
So then consciousness can exist without a self?
Experience without an experiencer?
No, consciousness cannot exist without a "self"
But the "self" (according to Metzinger) is not a real self, it is a virtual self, created by the (information processing) act of consciousness.

Best Regards
 
  • #55
Rade
moving finger said:
...According to Metzinger, there is no “real” self, the intuition of a “self” is an illusion brought about by the phenomenon of consciousness
OK, just so I understand, is then Metzinger saying that the consciousness is also an illusion ? It would seem so since "self" contains consciousness, just as self contains heart, liver, lungs. And, if both self and consciousness are illusion, then what does Metzinger classify as being "real", and how would Metzinger know it ?
 
  • #56
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Rade said:
OK, just so I understand, is then Metzinger saying that the consciousness is also an illusion ? It would seem so since "self" contains consciousness, just as self contains heart, liver, lungs. And, if both self and consciousness are illusion, then what does Metzinger classify as being "real", and how would Metzinger know it ?
It depends on how one defines self. One could define self as the entire physical body, or one could define self as the feeling of conscious self which seems to exist somewhere within the brain (the agent which seems to be making conscious decisions and having conscious phenomenal experiences). For the purposes of discussion on consciousness, I am taking the latter definition of self. If you like we could call it "conscious self" to distinguish if from "physical self" (which latter woud be the entire body).

Consciousness is an information process which takes place within the brain. Consciousness is thus not an illusion, it is a very real information process. The outputs of consciousness, the feeling of "conscious self" and the phenomenal experiences we call "qualia", are virtual objects contructed within that information processing.

Where the "illusion" comes in is that this infornation processing system we call consciousness effectively "spins a story" centred on the virtual conscious self, to the effect that this virtual conscious self is having phenomenal experiences (what we call qualia). The illusion is that we think the conscious self and the qualia are somehow real entities that exist "somewhere in the brain", whereas all that is happening is a system of information processing.

Best Regards
 
  • #57
HMS
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Loren Booda said:
What is beyond consciousness?
If we say X is beyond consciousness, are we not, by the very act of doing so, subjugating X to the realm of conscioussness ?
 
  • #58
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I like enigmas like this, it's like theorizing additional dimensions
Let's first consider a few laws to base our decision on

- Anything not observable must be ascertained indirectly
- We can only discern what our mental capacity allows

Maybe hallucinations/dreams can give an indirect peak at what's beyond. Hallucinations are basically realities that are pieced together by subconscious mentality.

More like refexes. I would think this constitutes as beyond consciousness
In other words, uncontrolled awareness.
 
  • #59
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From the website: http://www.isc.cnrs.fr/wp/wpjea9805.htm

3. Consciousness of action.
The first question to be discussed relates to conscious awareness of a self-generated action. It is known from the literature that normal subjects are poorly aware of the determinants of their own actions. For example, if a target briskly changes its location during the ocular saccade that precedes a pointing movement toward that target, subjects may remain unaware of the displacement (they see only one, stationary, target); yet, they correctly point at the final target location (e.g., Bridgeman, Kirch & Sperling, 1981).
This might have some pertinence to this thread.
 
  • #60
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Loren Booda said:
What is beyond consciousness?
Being.
For something to be conscious, something must be.
For something to be and be aware it must be conscious.
That which is and is aware that it is, is conscious and is a being.
A being may not always be conscious but a being must always be.
Consciousness cannot be without a being to be conscious.
 
  • #61
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Is it possible that consciousness,is that which percieves its existence regadless of the operating environment? Further is it also possible that beyond conciousness is that which exists but needs no declaration ie: I AM
 
  • #62
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meteor said:
The way i see it, Consciousness is a subset of a more general whole called "Mind". Similarly, Intelligence is a subset of the set Consciousness.

Thus, a human being would have Mind, Consciousness and Intelligence. A dog would have Mind and Consciousness, but not Intelligence. An ant would have Mind but would lack the other two qualities.
I just wanted to comment on this..

Could it be possible that there is in actuality only one component?

If we say that we can divide the human mind into two things, memories and conscious experience, then we can also say that these are actually the same.

If you look at babies development cycle, you see that they can't differentiate color, or depth of field, from a very young age.
As their brain perceives and absorbs more and more stimuli, they start seeing the world as they are supposed to.

Consciousness doesn't really work properly if there are no memories or proper experienced neuralnet.
So this division of entities seem to be OUR creation, not the universes.
 
  • #63
selfAdjoint
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
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octelcogopod said:
I just wanted to comment on this..

Could it be possible that there is in actuality only one component?

If we say that we can divide the human mind into two things, memories and conscious experience, then we can also say that these are actually the same.

If you look at babies development cycle, you see that they can't differentiate color, or depth of field, from a very young age.
As their brain perceives and absorbs more and more stimuli, they start seeing the world as they are supposed to.

Consciousness doesn't really work properly if there are no memories or proper experienced neuralnet.
So this division of entities seem to be OUR creation, not the universes.
I think there is a lot to this idea. A lot of what we call consciousness is what we might call "current memories", interactions between the short term memory store and the long term "deep memory" one.
 
  • #64
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Yeah definetly.

If we for instance the brain receives a signal from the eye, then the signal is processed in the brain, then cross referenced for earlier memories, then the brain somehow "sees" it.

This whole process is quite diffuse to me, if anyone has any links to any science papers that has a primer on consciousness I'd love to read it.

I looked over wikipedia but there doesn't seem to be an article specfically on this.
 
  • #65
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Consciousness is simply a point of view. An awareness. With or without a charge.

Awareness must necessarily be encompassed, by a more fundamental principle.

I AM aware. What "I AM" is... well, that's a longer story.
 
  • #66
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That's ok. Presumably you're the same I am as I am so there's no need to to tell it. :)

Browsing through this caught my eye.

Consciousness is an information process which takes place within the brain.
Why do so many people believe this? And not just believe it, but think it is a fact. It is not a fact. If a person believes it is a fact then they will be unable to consider the question of consciousness dispassionately. It is an assumption, one that will provide only an extremely rickety foundation for any theory derived from it. It has so far proved impossible to demonstrate that the statement is true and many professional researchers argue that it is not true, as of course do all the mystics, sages and prophets who ever lived. Any theory derived from it will be ad hoc. Surely nobody wants an ad hoc theory.

When we talk about consciousness we are talking about the most important topic there is. We're talking ourselves, for goodness sake, about who and what we really are, whether we are just discrete instances of consciousnesses epiphenomenal on a very temporary body and brain whose lives are short, brutish and pointless, or whether we are part of something much larger, and do not entirely evaporate on our death, and maybe have the potential to evolve over many lifetimes, even to reach some state of eternal happiness. We cannot start our search for the truth by assuming the latter possibility is nonsense, we must demonstrate that it is. Otherwise we may be ruining our life, and for all we know many of our future lives as well.

Of course, many people reject the idea that there is more to consciousness than information processing in the brain. Nevertheless, Erwin Schrodinger argued for the last forty years of life that there is. It cannot be be good practice to simply assume that he made a mistake in his reasoning. Nobel prize-winners do not usually get caught out by the likes of us lot. Moreover, the statement above is equivalent to the statement that mysticism is nonsense. It is all very well to believe this, but we cannot claim to know it before we have demonstrated it.

If these discussions were refereed then any statement to this effect that consciousness is information processing would need to be properly justified prior to publication. But nobody has yet succeeded in justifying to the satisfaction of the consciousness studies community. Until we can justify it then we must consider all the possibilities dispassionately, proceeding with all the caution of a good physicist. One of the possibilities is that the statement is false. A believable theory of consciousness must be axiomatised on something we know, and know we know etc., not by tossing a coin to answer one of our most fundamental questions about it.

Sorry if this sounds tetchy, but we're not talking about our tastes in music here, we're trying to work out the truth about our very own individual consciousness, what happens when it dies, God etc.

Regards
Canute
 
  • #67
1,604
1
Consciousness is an information process which takes place within the brain.
Canute said:
Why do so many people believe this? And not just believe it, but think it is a fact. It is not a fact.
It is a premise.

If one believes it is true, then it follows that one thinks it a fact. You may not believe it is true, in which case you do not think it a fact.

Canute said:
If a person believes it is a fact then they will be unable to consider the question of consciousness dispassionately.
What “question of consciousness” is it that you refer to, and why should it follow that one will be unable to consider this question dispassionately if one believes that consciousness is an information process?

Canute said:
It is an assumption, one that will provide only an extremely rickety foundation for any theory derived from it.
All theories and explanations are based on assumptions (or premises).

What is it that you assume about consciousness, could you tell us?

Why would a theory based on the assumption that consciousness is an information process be “rickety” (or are you just assuming that it would be?)

Canute said:
It has so far proved impossible to demonstrate that the statement is true and many professional researchers argue that it is not true, as of course do all the mystics, sages and prophets who ever lived.
Science does not progress by “proving statements true”, it progresses by showing hypotheses false. Nobody can “prove” that quantum mechanics, or general relativity, is true – all we can do is show that these explanations have not so far been shown to be false.

Canute said:
Any theory derived from it will be ad hoc. Surely nobody wants an ad hoc theory.
How do you define an “ad hoc” theory – one which makes assumptions?

Could you come up with a theory which is not “ad hoc”?

Canute said:
When we talk about consciousness we are talking about the most important topic there is. We're talking ourselves, for goodness sake, about who and what we really are, whether we are just discrete instances of consciousnesses epiphenomenal on a very temporary body and brain whose lives are short, brutish and pointless, or whether we are part of something much larger, and do not entirely evaporate on our death, and maybe have the potential to evolve over many lifetimes, even to reach some state of eternal happiness. We cannot start our search for the truth by assuming the latter possibility is nonsense, we must demonstrate that it is. Otherwise we may be ruining our life, and for all we know many of our future lives as well.
The premise that consciousness is a particular form of information processing does not entail that consciousness is an epiphenomenon.

What does any of this have to do with the premise that consciousness is a particular form of information processing?

Canute said:
Of course, many people reject the idea that there is more to consciousness than information processing in the brain. Nevertheless, Erwin Schrodinger argued for the last forty years of life that there is. It cannot be be good practice to simply assume that he made a mistake in his reasoning. Nobel prize-winners do not usually get caught out by the likes of us lot.
Oh come, come, Canute. Schroedinger was not awarded the Nobel prize for his beliefs about consciousness. Being awarded the Nobel prize is not a sign of infallibility, and claiming that Erwin Schrodinger believed there is something more to consciousness than information processing is neither a good philosophical nor a good scientific argument.

Canute said:
Moreover, the statement above is equivalent to the statement that mysticism is nonsense. It is all very well to believe this, but we cannot claim to know it before we have demonstrated it.
Perhaps you believe I also cannot claim to know that the Tooth Fairy does not exist before I have demonstrated it. Hmmmmm, now, how would one go about demonstrating that the Tooth Fairy does not exist? Any ideas?

Why does the premise that consciousness is a particular form of information processing entail that mysticism is nonsense?

Canute said:
If these discussions were refereed then any statement to this effect that consciousness is information processing would need to be properly justified prior to publication. But nobody has yet succeeded in justifying to the satisfaction of the consciousness studies community. Until we can justify it then we must consider all the possibilities dispassionately, proceeding with all the caution of a good physicist. One of the possibilities is that the statement is false. A believable theory of consciousness must be axiomatised on something we know, and know we know etc., not by tossing a coin to answer one of our most fundamental questions about it.
That consciousness is a particular form of information processing is an assumption or a premise, and it may indeed be false.

Perhaps you would care to advance your alternative view of consciousness (which would also be an asumption or a premise).

Best Regards
 
  • #68
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moving finger said:
It is a premise.
Exactly.

If one believes it is true, then it follows that one thinks it a fact. You may not believe it is true, in which case you do not think it a fact.
Alternatively, we can admit we do not know whether or not it is a fact and proceed accordingly.

What “question of consciousness” is it that you refer to, and why should it follow that one will be unable to consider this question dispassionately if one believes that consciousness is an information process?
What does it matter what we believe? Either we know that there is no more to consciousness than information processing or we do not. If we do not then we must explore all the possibilities without preconceptions or prior judgements. Otherwise, our research is not dispassionate. This doesn't mean we are not entitled to believe this or that, but we cannot let those beliefs place a limit on our reasoning.

All theories and explanations are based on assumptions (or premises).
This is almost true, but the proviso would be that an explanation may not be based on an assumption as far as the giver of it is concerned.

What is it that you assume about consciousness, could you tell us?
I'm suggesting that anybody looking into this issue should not start by making major assumptions like the one being discussed. How can we hope to work out the truth if we start by assuming what the truth is? (What my particular view is doesn't matter here).

Why would a theory based on the assumption that consciousness is an information process be “rickety” (or are you just assuming that it would be?)
Because the assumption may not be true. Worse, there is no evidence that it is true. If we are talking about what Chalmers calls 'psychological consciousness' then there would be no problem. But if we are talking about what he calls 'phenomenal consciousness' ('what it is like'), then there would be nothing but problems, as we see from the lack of progress on the 'hard' problem.

Science does not progress by “proving statements true”, it progresses by showing hypotheses false. Nobody can “prove” that quantum mechanics, or general relativity, is true – all we can do is show that these explanations have not so far been shown to be false.
That's my understanding of science also.

How do you define an “ad hoc” theory – one which makes assumptions?
I'd define an ad hoc theory as one that rests on an ad hoc assumption.

Could you come up with a theory which is not “ad hoc”?
Yes. But it doesn't matter what I can and cannot do.

The premise that consciousness is a particular form of information processing does not entail that consciousness is an epiphenomenon.
I think this depends on your point of view. If consciousness is information processing then it's existence would be contingent on spacetime, and I tend to regard everything that is not fundamental as an epiphenomenon of what is. I agree though that even if it is no more than information processing it does not necessarily follow that it is epiphenomenal on brains.

What does any of this have to do with the premise that consciousness is a particular form of information processing?
If we make this assumption then we have elimated a possibility from our enquiries on a whim. Do you really think this is a good way to approach the problem? We wouldn't get far as a detective, and it is hardly a scientific approach. Of course, we need to make assumptions to explore and test the theories that derive from them, but it would be a strange decision not to bother to test the opposite assumption equally carefully.

Oh come, come, Canute. Schroedinger was not awarded the Nobel prize for his beliefs about consciousness. Being awarded the Nobel prize is not a sign of infallibility, and claiming that Erwin Schrodinger believed there is something more to consciousness than information processing is neither a good philosophical nor a good scientific argument.
Right, so Schrodinger was a perfectly sane and competent person at work, not to say a genius, but a fool at home who didn't bother to test his beliefs against his reason. Have you read his writings? It doesn't sound like it. I'm not saying that his view is correct, although I happen to think it is. I'm simply saying that it is foolish to dismiss the thoughts of a great physicist and thinker as nonsense without a reason. And of course, I mention him only as a well known example. There are countless others, many of them working professionally in consciousness studies.

Perhaps you believe I also cannot claim to know that the Tooth Fairy does not exist before I have demonstrated it. Hmmmmm, now, how would one go about demonstrating that the Tooth Fairy does not exist? Any ideas?
I think you are missing the point. It is impossible to prove this sort of thing. Ditto unicorns, ghosts and alligators in the sewers of New York.

Why does the premise that consciousness is a particular form of information processing entail that mysticism is nonsense?
Because in the esoteric view consciousness is more than this. However, some care is needed on the definition of 'consciousness'. In esotericism it has two definitions, the convential (information based) definition, which would cover our notion of individual selves, our thoughts etc., and a definition by which it is something more like Paul Martin's 'primordial consciousness' or the Buddhist 'pristine awareness'.

That consciousness is a particular form of information processing is an assumption or a premise, and it may indeed be false.
In this case we agree. This is all I'm saying.

Perhaps you would care to advance your alternative view of consciousness (which would also be an asumption or a premise).
This isn't the place, but I will somewhere else if you want. But you're wrong to assume it will be an assumption (it might be, it might not be). Our own consciousness is the only phenomenon we can know directly, without making assumptions. In my opinion we should not even assume that solipsism is true or false.

Btw, I'm being careful not to argue for any particular view here. If a person wants to believe that consciousness has an entirely functional explanation that's fine. If they want to believe our souls go to Heaven that's also fine. But when we set out to justify or falsify this belief using our reason we cannot start by assuming what it is we're trying to find out.

All I'm suggesting is that we should be as honest in researching consciousness as we are when researching anything else. We cannot dismiss a possibility just because it seems implausible to us. I thought this was an uncontentious idea but apparently not.

Regards
Canute
 
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  • #69
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Canute said:
We cannot dismiss a possibility just because it seems implausible to us. I thought this was an uncontentious idea but apparently not.
I'll give you a big no "solid animal waste" for that one!
 

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