What makes my consciousness mine ?

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What makes my consciousness to be mine ?
 

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  • #2
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What makes my consciousness to be mine ?
Why would it not be yours? If it belonged to someone else, then it wouldn't be yours, would it?

EDIT: I'm not trying to be flippant. That's really all you can say about it. You are who you are during some time of existence and there's no point in asking why, at least from a scientific perspective. Your brain gives rise to your consciousness in ways that are not understood.
 
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  • #3
Ryan_m_b
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What do you mean by the question?
You (as can be identified) are a body and a mind, the latter being an emergent property of the former. You are your consciousness
 
  • #4
Pythagorean
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integrated receptor fields
 
  • #5
rhody
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Nick,

Not to make light of your question, do you feel like different people with different personalities (at different times), feel like you are disassociated from your body (at times), or, is this a purely academic exercise ? The response to this question will help.

Rhody...
 
  • #6
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If my left brain hemisphere would be switched with another guy's left brain hemisphere , and vice-versa, or maybe a smaller part of the brain not as big as a hemisphere, or maybe that transplant or transfer would be done neuron by neuron over a longer period of time, who's consciousness would end up being... who's ?
 
  • #7
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I would predict you'd have a real confused set of people until the foreign chunk of brain found a clique with the rest of the body, based on stimuli and internal genetic programs.
 
  • #8
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I would predict you'd have a real confused set of people until the foreign chunk of brain found a clique with the rest of the body, based on stimuli and internal genetic programs.
You can give someone a piece of your mind, but you can't give someone a piece of your brain, at least not yet. If and when that ever happens, I think it would be like a psychotic "symphony" with a very bad finale. Look at the US Congress. Can you imagine all of that going on inside one skull?
 
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  • #9
rhody
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You can give someone a piece of your mind, but you can't give someone a piece of your brain, at least not yet. If and when that ever happens, I think it would be like a psychotic "symphony" with a very bad finale. Look at the US Congress. Can you imagine all of that going on inside one skull?
SW,

:yuck: :rofl:

Nick,

So, back to my original question. is this a purely academic exercise ? It is hard to pin down, since you answer each new question with a new one of your own.

Rhody... :confused:
 
  • #10
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You can give someone a piece of your mind, but you can't give someone a piece of your brain,
Thats why I added that it would be done neuron by neuron, over a period of time.
 
  • #12
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Thats why I added that it would be done neuron by neuron, over a period of time.
Neuron by neuron is probably a very different proposition (but who really knows). You might even try to transplant neocortical column by neocortical column. Each neocortical column contains about 10,000 neurons. Apparently the only difference, or at least the main difference, between the mouse cortex and the human cortex is the number of neocortical columns. These are the structural units of the neocortex for all mammals. You can look up the Blue Brain Project where the mammalian neocortical column has been simulated on a supercomputer. My guess is (and that's all it is) that gradually replacing neocortical columns would not be perceived by the subject as affecting her/his consciousness. The neurophysiology that underlies consciousness is a feature of the entire cerebrum (including subcortical structures) acting as a system with stored bits of memory and 'programs' all over. These are pulled together and refreshed by complex signaling subsystems. So a single transplanted neocortical column might simply adapt to its environment and "blend in". In other words, it would become a part of the big symphony by playing its assigned role and not try to play its own tune.
 
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  • #14
Ryan_m_b
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Seems to be an adaptation of Theseus' ship. Neurones are arranged in networks which can change over time. I would imagine if you exchanged a chunk all sorts of weird things would happen but you wouldnt have two confused people (unless you took a whole hemisphere: see split-brain phenomenon). What you would get is two people who are subtly or radically different to the first two patients, drastic personality changes, odd tangled memories etc
 
  • #15
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Is this about neurogenesis or like the paradox of Theseus’ ship?
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/identity-relative/
https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=488045
In terms of the neurology, I wasn't talking about neurogenesis per se, but "neuro-transplantation" in response to the OPs question. The basic idea is that components of a system are constrained by the system in such a way that the system maintains its identity even as its components are replaced. This should be true even if all the components were eventually replaced (without significant disruption of the system's architecture) provided the components can satisfy the system's requirements.

In the neurological context, the question is whether the transplant can be made to operate to satisfy the system's requirements in its new environment. For the reasons I gave in my previous post, it might well be possible that a transplanted neocortical column could be modified by the system in such a way that the system's identity is maintained. Now just what is meant by a system's "identity" is a philosophical question best discussed in that forum. In the present context, the system preserves the continuity of the subject's consciousness without the subject noticing any change.
 
  • #16
fuzzyfelt
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Thank you for the clarifications, ryan m b and SW VanderCarr.
 
  • #17
rhody
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Nick,
When I asked,

is this a purely academic exercise ?

and you answered ,
Yes.

About a week ago, do you have any more to add to your inquiry ?
It has been about a week, and I assume you are satisfied, no ?

Rhody...:devil:
 
  • #18
Q_Goest
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In his book, "The Emperor’s New Mind" (pg 27), Penrose asks a similar question. Penrose cites Hofstadter and Dennett from their book “The Mind’s Eye” which can be found online here:
http://themindi.blogspot.com/2007/02/introduction.html

An idea frequently discussed in this kind of context is the teleportation machine of science fiction. It is intended as a means of 'transportation' from, say, one planet to another, but whether it actually would be such, is what the discussion is all about. Instead of being physically transported by a spaceship the 'normal' way, the would-be traveler is scanned from head to toe, the accurate location and complete specification of every atom and every electron in his body being recorded in full detail. All this information is then beamed (at the speed of light), by an electromagnetic signal, to the distant planet of intended destination. There, the information is collected and used as the instructions to assemble a precise duplicate of the traveler, together with all his memories, his intentions, his hopes, and his deepest feelings. At least that is what is expected; for every detail of the state of his brain has been faithfully recorded, transmitted, and reconstructed. Assuming that the mechanism has worked, the original copy of the traveler can be ‘safely’ destroyed. Of course the question is: is this really a method of travelling from one place to another or is it merely the construction of a duplicate, together with the murder of the original? Would you be prepared to use this method of ‘travel’ – assuming that the method had been shown to be completely reliable, within its terms of reference? If teleportation is not traveling, then what is the difference in principal between it and just walking from one room into another? In the latter case, are not one’s atoms of one moment simply providing the information for the locations of the atoms of the next moment? We have seen, after all, that there is no significance in preserving the identity of any particular atom. The question of the identity of any particular atom is not even meaningful. Does not any moving pattern of atoms simply constitute a wave of information propagating from one place to another? Where is the essential difference between the propagation of waves which describes our traveler ambling in a commonplace way from one room to the other and that which takes place in the teleportation device?

Suppose it is true that teleportation does actually ‘work’, in the sense that the traveler’s own ‘awareness’ is actually reawakened in the copy of himself on the distant planet (assuming that this question has genuine meaning). What would happen if the original copy of the traveler were not destroyed, as the rules of this game demand? Would his ‘awareness’ be in two places at once? (Try to imagine your response to being told the following: ‘Oh dear, so the drug we gave you before placing you in the Teleporter has worn off prematurely has it? That is a little unfortunate, but no matter. Anyway, you will be pleased to hear that the other you – er, I mean the actual you, that is – has now arrived safely on Venus, so we can, er, dispose of you here – er, I mean of the redundant copy here. It will of course, be quite painless’) The situation has an air of paradox about it. Is there anything in the laws of physics which could render teleportation in principal impossible?
I think it makes sense to dismiss any definition of the concept of ‘me’ that we are so accustomed to. There is no 'me', there is no single thing or substance that the 'me' is dependent on - the 'me' is only a pattern, the material for which is replaced regularly by the body's own devices. DNA splits, and new cells are formed, while the material for the old cells is reprocessed or discarded. We can replace the concept of there being a me or you with the concept of there being a phenomenon (or set of phenomena) that occur and is dependant on the material on which it occurs. But the phenomenon is not anything more than that. It is analogous to a wave on the ocean, moving along the surface, and constituted by all sorts of different molecules over time, but the wave is not dependent on a single set of molecules and does not exist separately from the water. Other than the water, there are no substances, natural or supernatural, required to define the wave.
 
  • #19
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In his book, "The Emperor’s New Mind" (pg 27), Penrose asks a similar question. Penrose cites Hofstadter and Dennett from their book “The Mind’s Eye” which can be found online here:
http://themindi.blogspot.com/2007/02/introduction.html


I think it makes sense to dismiss any definition of the concept of ‘me’ that we are so accustomed to. There is no 'me', there is no single thing or substance that the 'me' is dependent on - the 'me' is only a pattern, the material for which is replaced regularly by the body's own devices. DNA splits, and new cells are formed, while the material for the old cells is reprocessed or discarded. We can replace the concept of there being a me or you with the concept of there being a phenomenon (or set of phenomena) that occur and is dependant on the material on which it occurs. But the phenomenon is not anything more than that. It is analogous to a wave on the ocean, moving along the surface, and constituted by all sorts of different molecules over time, but the wave is not dependent on a single set of molecules and does not exist separately from the water. Other than the water, there are no substances, natural or supernatural, required to define the wave.
I remember one of Dennet's talks where he presented the factory view of consciousness and asked the question "what if nobody's running the wheelhouse?"

I think it's partially helpful for studying mechanistic questions, but we still need to consider the "phenomena" as you call it. As with the case with any phenomena, it's a boundary we define arbitrarily. We isolate some information structure (like a "wave") from the rest of the universe and give it a name ("me" or "I" in this case). Where we choose to set the boundaries is arbitrary in the case of a wave, and even in the case of "me" (some people might include their arms and legs part of their "me", some people may consider these just appendages of their "vessel"). But in both cases, the majority of the wave, the peak of the wave, the majority of the subjective experience is always included inside these boundaries. So while the boundary is fuzzy, by consensus reality, it's somehow consistently there. Consensus reality wouldn't be particularly important when studying a wave, but when it comes to asking questions about subjective experience it's more difficult to avoid the subjective perspective.

Anyway, it's still a big mystery as to why matter can have a subjective experience in the first place. Once (if) we figure that out, I'd hope a lot of these questions will become easier to answer.
 
  • #20
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An Interesting Counter to Dennet and Hofstadter's highly reductionist views would be that of David Chalmers (who in fact was a former Hofstadter student). For anyone reading too much of Dennet and Hofstadter (which is easy to do, because they're both quite good), The Conscious Mind might provide a good counter.
 
  • #21
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Anyway, it's still a big mystery as to why matter can have a subjective experience in the first place. Once (if) we figure that out, I'd hope a lot of these questions will become easier to answer.
We can observe and describe consciousness in its global manifestations (just by talking to someone). I have no doubt that we can eventually understand consciousness in its detail, by a fairly complete description of the process. But that still doesn't explain consciousness as a subjective experience.

The paradox is that I can observe and measure someone else's unconsciousness but I cannot observe and measure my own. I can only experience qualia when I'm conscious. I can only describe qualia to another when I'm conscious. So the question becomes; can we understand Q if we can never experience or describe not Q? Is it hopeless to try to understand the "on" state in its own terms when we cannot measure or observe the "off" state?

I'm just asking the question.
 
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  • #22
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While I used the term "paradox", it's only appropriate if we don't allow an exception for the first person perspective (reflexive discovery).

Premise: I can discover if any person is conscious or unconscious.

Premise: I am a person

Conclusion: I can discover if I am conscious or unconscious.

This should be true if we do not recognize a special case for reflexive discovery. Obviously we do and that's the point. It's not clear to me how this paradox can ever be resolved. It seems that qualia are certainly real. Who wants to argue that pain is not real or that it cannot be described and evaluated? However it is an entirely subjective internal experience (except perhaps for one retired US president).

I haven't read the literature that's been cited in this thread, but from a scientific perspective I see no way the usual scientific methods can be applied. Perhaps someone can suggest where I'm wrong. Remember, we are not talking about observable physical correlates of qualia, but the qualia themselves.
 
  • #23
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What makes my consciousness to be mine ?
your body and your ego according to taoists. if you remove your "self" and i remove my "self" our consciousness would be much the same.
 
  • #24
Ryan_m_b
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your body and your ego according to taoists. if you remove your "self" and i remove my "self" our consciousness would be much the same.
Unsupported claims and religious crackpottery have no place on this forum.
 
  • #25
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Unsupported claims and religious crackpottery have no place on this forum.
fine. if we lived the exact same lifes it would be presumable our consciousness wouldn't differ a great deal. what i've studied simply states that people generally behave the same way. its when you add environment, religeon, education, hardship, or any diversity, that makes us different. this gives us a sense of self, individuallity. it is unnecessary for our existence . if we left all the b.s at the door we would probably both get hungry, seek shelter, find mates, even sleep.
 
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