Gees

Consciousness and Evolution

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Tar;

Let me first state that in my opinion, dopamine is very much related to consciousness and evolution. You are correct. When a specie changes and that change makes it feel better, we call the change evolving. Examples: camouflage makes the specie feel better, safer; better ways of acquiring food makes it feel better as it satisfies hunger. If a specie changes in a way that makes it feel like shit, then it is no longer satisfying its needs and is not happy, so that would be devolving. Feeling good and evolution within species is very much related. This is not difficult to comprehend. 

I will admit that you do a little rambling in your posts. When I first read your posts, I found them difficult to comprehend, but then I study consciousness, so I do difficult to comprehend. What I discovered is that you have a very different perspective from mine. I tend to be very analytical in my thinking,  but you tend to see things from a more personal perspective adding an experiential value to the information. I also noted that you take in the considerations as to how the information relates to societies, families, or groups, as a whole which is something that I miss, not being a very social person. So in short, I learn from you, and that is why I am here -- to learn.

So if I have not said so before, I am saying so now. I appreciate the work you put into your posts and my exposure to a different perspective and viewpoint. I value your input and am glad that you choose to participate in my threads. Thank you for the things that you have taught me; I hope that you have also learned from me.

I also value the fact that you seem to understand philosophy, how it works, and how to work it. Many do not. After playing in a number of different Science and Philosophy sites, I have begun to categorize these people, who do not have a clue as to how to work philosophy. I categorize them as the "jokers" and the "scab-pickers".

The jokers seem to have no clue as to the topic, so they participate by making jokes, quips, sarcastic remarks, or adding videos or music that seems to have no relevance to the topic. They clutter up a thread, but usually do no serious harm.

The scab-pickers are much worse and can destroy a thread. Sometimes I wonder if that is their goal, to take a thread so off-topic that nothing is ever learned or resolved. These people scan a thread, rather than reading it, to look for real or imagined "weaknesses" or "flaws", then they will expound on their discovery like a hunter coming home with a prize. They will pound over and over until the flaw or weakness is acknowledged, whether it is real or imagined. If someone is stupid enough to admit to the flaw/weakness, then the scab-pickers will simply go on to scan for another flaw/weakness. If you try to ignore the scab-picker, then they will go over and over and over the same thing. In some forums, moderators will stop this from happening, but in this forum, the moderators seem to have no understanding of how to work philosophy -- being more science oriented. So in this forum, the scab-pickers are allowed to pick, pick, pick, until no one remembers the topic, and everyone is focused on what is now the horrendous wound that is the "flaw" or "weakness".

I am in no way implying that anyone in this thread is a "joker" or "scab-picker". This is strictly a hypothetical instruction to a friend, so any coincidental activities of members in this thread with my "categories" is just that -- coincidental. As far as this thread goes, I would compare most of page three to a kindergarten class where the teacher stepped out half an hour ago, and forgot to return -- out-of-control, unruly, bad mannered, and undisciplined.

If there are any members in this thread, who are more science oriented, but like to play in the philosophy forum, and would like to learn how to do it, I can help. One must always bear in mind that Science spawned from Philosophy -- they are not that different. Both are disciplines. The biggest difference between them is their methodologies, which in turn limits each with what they can study.

If someone came up to you and stated that they have tested a theory and know that Einstein was wrong. How would you disprove their test? You would examine the test for flaws.

In philosophy we use opinion, rather than hypothesis, and argument rather than test. So if you think that someone's opinion (theory) is wrong, you would look at their argument (test) and examine it. Their argument consists of the evidence, experience, logic, and reasoning that culminates in their opinion. Likewise, if you choose to share your opinions, you would be required to present your evidence, experience, logic, and reasoning that caused your opinion. An opinion that is not already known or accepted as true information, is garbage without a valid argument.

So you examine their argument for flaws. Since this thread is not about learning English, you would not examine their English for flaws. Since this thread is not about writing skills, you would not examine their writing skills for flaws. You would examine the argument that relates to the topic, Consciousness and Evolution, for flaws.

Please bear in mind:

Arguing is not making an argument.

Criticizing is not critical thinking.

Arguing and criticizing is what a bitchy spouse does. It is not philosophy.

Gee

 

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44 minutes ago, tar said:

There was something wrong with each of your declarations.  I have tried to explain how each missed the mark.  It is not important to me whether you characterize my posts correctly or incorrectly.  It is important to me whether my posts are true or false, helpful or interesting, thought provoking or insightful.   If none of the above apply and my posts do nothing for you, just don't read them.  If I am using bad logic or incorrect facts please point those out.  But if you have some personal critique to make, that is not about Gees topic, but about my writing style, please PM me.

How can I possibly address your points if you make no serious effort to help me understand what those points are? That's a rhetorical question. But I get it. You will persist in being obtuse, so we'll just take that as read and I shall only respond to any future posts you make that are intelligible to me and that consider relevant.

 

47 minutes ago, tar said:

It is proper on this board to defend ideas not one's character or intelligence or writing prowess.

I never asked you to defend them, for I have not attacked your character. I have not attacked your intelligence. I have tried to help you understand that you are not communicating clearly. You don't wish to hear that. I don't know why you would wish to hide from that issue, but if that's your choice go ahead and write as badly as you like.  It is absolutely no skin off my nose.

 

52 minutes ago, tar said:

Specifically tell me whether or not you think my associating the TPJ with Freud's idea of the SuperEgo is appropriate.

Anything associated with most of Freud's ideas is nonsense and this is certainly true of the SuperEgo. Associating any other concept with the SuperEgo devalues that other concept.

 

29 minutes ago, Gees said:

Let me first state that in my opinion, dopamine is very much related to consciousness and evolution. You are correct. When a specie changes and that change makes it feel better, we call the change evolving. Examples: camouflage makes the specie feel better, safer; better ways of acquiring food makes it feel better as it satisfies hunger. If a specie changes in a way that makes it feel like shit, then it is no longer satisfying its needs and is not happy, so that would be devolving. Feeling good and evolution within species is very much related. This is not difficult to comprehend.

It is a pity that, while easy to comprehend, it is nonsense*. As Fermi said of another matter "it isn't even wrong". I'll leave you and tar ro your fantasies. Enjoy.

 

*Produce any citation from a reputable, peer reviewed journal that states "When a specie changes and that change makes it feel better, we call the change evolving." and I shall offer my unreserved apology.

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Gees,

Thank you for that.  It makes me feel better.  (got a little dopamine.)

But that is actually pertinent to the topic.   Why do pickers pick and jokers joke?  I think it is because they get a dopamine reward when they win, or feel they have won or won by avoiding defeat.  I think that survival wise it was important that we match up our model of the world with the actual world.  It was good to get it right, to get the joke, to solve the problem to be right in the theory of mind sense, about what the other guy or animal was thinking. Helped one decide when to fight and when to run and when to hide and when to attack.

Such has much to do with politics and human relations.  Many feel better by making others feel worse.  Or by imagining the other is evil and they are good.  Like Area54 enjoying being the  self appointed literary critic.  Gives him or her a boost of dopamine to "be right" about their critique.  They are right when they imagine they have proved the other wrong.   I need this a little, but it is usually done by me in a cooperative sense.  That is I want my team to win, my company, my town's football team, my political party, my country, and so on.  I have on this board protected religious folk against atheists, even though I am an atheist, because so many of my fellow humans, that are on many of the teams I am on, are religious, and I give them the benefit of the doubt. Science folk call everybody fact deniers so they can be right about their model of the world, more right, because the other is so wrong about some fact.   But again I allow this, expect this, because it is a human characteristic, an evolutionarily set up deal, where you feel good when you are right, when you match your model with the place, or match the place with your model (create something real).

Area54 needs me to say, "I'm sorry, you are right".   I would do this for my wife or my sister or for you, or iNow, because I know that it is more important to be a husband or a brother or a friendly fellow poster, than to be right about some detail.  Most fights between loved ones have to do with who is right.  Who left the silly thing behind when the other was told to not leave it behind, or whatever.   It is OK to be wrong, that is, it is not useful to be right, when being right is the wrong thing to do.  It is sometimes worth more personal dopamine to have the other receive dopamine by being right (and you wrong.)   I have noticed these things because I have been thinking in terms of dopamine flow in myself and the people around me, since I quit smoking and am currently working with my town and county alliances on the opioid crisis.  One of the aspects of the rTPJ that is involved with dopamine, is that we in general empathize with other humans, especially close humans, and want to make them happy (get them dopamine.)  This is a survival coup in the sense of community building and tribe security and happiness and such, because in general a band of humans is more successful in the survival sense than a lone happy human.  And what it sets up, in a human is this need to please an unseen other.   God, your wife, your dead grandma, Socrates, Einstein, some favorite author, your pastor, your boss, your mayor...someone.  But its all good .

Regards,  TAR

Edited by tar
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Tar;

1 hour ago, tar said:

Gees,

Thank you for that.  It makes me feel better.  (got a little dopamine.)

But that is actually pertinent to the topic.   Why do pickers pick and jokers joke?  I think it is because they get a dopamine reward when they win, or feel they have won or won by avoiding defeat. 

Area54 needs me to say, "I'm sorry, you are right".   I would do this for my wife or my sister or for you, or iNow, because I know that it is more important to be a husband or a brother or a friendly fellow poster, than to be right about some detail. 

You are welcome. And again, I suspect that you are right. If a person can not deal with the possibility of being wrong, they really need to stay away from philosophy. (chuckle) Philosophy tries to make the unknown more known, or to discover what is true. This is never an easy straight path, and we are going to go off in the wrong direction while exploring -- it is inevitable -- so we are going to be wrong sometimes. We have to know how to deal with that and turn around, so that we can learn more and find a better path.

Look how many theories there are on consciousness. Each of them has some truth and something of value, but the whole of the theory does not explain consciousness in a comprehensive manner. People have to back up and redirect their thinking. I can't even count the number of times I have been wrong on this very subject. But I have also been right a few times.

You are too nice. I will never be as nice as you are, as there is a little bitch hidden down deep inside of me that sometimes pops out.

Gee

 

 

Area54;

I thought you weren't talking to me. What happened?

2 hours ago, Area54 said:

Anything associated with most of Freud's ideas is nonsense and this is certainly true of the SuperEgo. Associating any other concept with the SuperEgo devalues that other concept.

Well, I did a little studying on Freud, and what I found was that even his detractors agreed that Freud was a genius -- so I'm not sure that "nonsense" is the right word. One of the things, that I learned about while studying Freud, was his take on "infantile sexuality", which was one of the more unpopular of his ideas. This may be the idea that caused them to burn his books. The problem is, I think that he was right. I was actually thinking about starting a thread on the subject of infantile sexuality and my take on this idea. Wouldn't that be interesting? 

Since you have expressed your opinion that Freud's ideas are nonsense, and this being a Philosophy forum, you would be obliged to state your argument that supports your opinion. Of course, it is off-topic, but the idea of the Superego is not off-topic. If you would prefer, you can save your argument for the other thread that I will be starting on infantile sexuality after I have finished this one.

 

Quote

It is a pity that, while easy to comprehend, it is nonsense*. As Fermi said of another matter "it isn't even wrong". I'll leave you and tar ro your fantasies. Enjoy.

If it isn't even wrong, then I would think that you should explain your opinion that it is "nonsense", as this "nonsense" is the topic of this thread.

 

Quote

 

*Produce any citation from a reputable, peer reviewed journal that states "When a specie changes and that change makes it feel better, we call the change evolving." and I shall offer my unreserved apology.

 

I don't want your apology. This is a philosophy forum. Peer reviewed journals that verify what I think are not required. Only verification of the facts are required, not my interpretation of them. That is what philosophers do -- we interpret. Some species evolve camouflage to make themselves safe from predators. (established knowledge) Other species evolve in order to access food. (established knowledge) 

Why would you think that this doesn't make them feel good?

Gee

 

 

iNow;

Are you talking about Hume's Law with the "is and ought" cartoon?

As far as I remember Hume's Law is about ethics or morality. I don't see how it applies in this thread.

Gee

Edited by Gees
spacing problem

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Freud was most assuredly brilliant (though perhaps a bit too fond of cocaine). His ideas even offer an interesting framework for laymen to describe the mind.

The problem I have is specifically with his three part model, his proposed psychic apparatus. Id, Ego, and Superego were interesting and clearly moved the discussion taking place way back in the 1800s forward, but we've learned a significant amount more about the brain since then and his ideas simply don't map on to anything actually happening in the human nervous system.

You might even say that these ideas from Freud are akin to using astrology to describe our behavior. The explanatory power is equivalent and the parallels striking. You may as well replace "superego" with "Gemini" or "Virgo." The utility and benefit of your comment would be unchanged; the accuracy and usefulness of what you're saying unaffected. 

Tar - I'm sure your dad helped a great many people. You should be proud of the work he did, and I'm sure many patients are/were thankful to have had him as a partner in their process of healing. I bet their families feel the same way.

I suspect, though, that the benefit he provided his patients came from being a kind, neutral listener... came from providing a safe place for people to express their deepest thoughts and feelings without judgment or penalty... allowing them to explore difficult memories and emotions in the presence of a caring guide and helper. That experience is critical in driving mental health and wellbeing.

It would IMO be a mistake, however, to suggest the benefits those patients reveived from their partnership with your dad had anything to do with Freud's interesting (but misguided) ideas that the human psyche is divided into the three part apparatus of Id, Ego, and Superego. Those concepts are theoretical constructs that offer a model, but that model does not in any way map on to reality... and we've known this for decades.

Sadly, these same criticisms also apply to Jung, another brilliant man whose works I loved reading and deeply considering when studying them and their impact on the field (you should know that many of Jungs books still populate my bookshelf today; modern man in search of a soul being a personal favorite).

Either way, we're far off topic and Gees seems to hate me and have a big enough hard on about me enough already (unsure if I'm a joker, a scab picker, a hybrid, or something else entirely in this exchange and TBH I frankly don't care), but please do recall that the map is not the territory.

Freud offered a map. I'm discussing the territory, and recommend that you should be, too.

Edited by iNow

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7 hours ago, tar said:

 

 Freud's idea of the SuperEgo is appropriate.

 

3 hours ago, Gees said:

 

 

Well, I did a little studying on Freud, and what I found was that even his detractors agreed that Freud was a genius.

 

3 hours ago, iNow said:

Freud was most assuredly brilliant (though perhaps a bit too fond of cocaine). His ideas even offer an interesting framework for laymen to describe the mind.

The problem I have is specifically with his three part model, his proposed psychic apparatus. Id, Ego, and Superego.

I think if you equate Freud's model with the ingenious metaphor of the Christian crucifixion, you may see something surprising:

superego --------- good thief

id ---------------------- bad thief

ego ------------------- christ

Do you see what i think i see?

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3 hours ago, iNow said:

Freud was most assuredly brilliant (though perhaps a bit too fond of cocaine). His ideas even offer an interesting framework for laymen to describe the mind.

The problem I have is specifically with his three part model, his proposed psychic apparatus. Id, Ego, and Superego were interesting and clearly moved the discussion taking place way back in the 1800s forward, but we've learned a significant amount more about the brain since then and his ideas simply don't map on to anything actually happening in the human nervous system.

You might even say that these ideas from Freud are akin to using astrology to describe our behavior. The explanatory power is equivalent and the parallels striking. You may as well replace "superego" with "Gemini" or "Virgo." The utility and benefit of your comment would be unchanged; the accuracy and usefulness of what you're saying unaffected. 

Tar - I'm sure your dad helped a great many people. You should be proud of the work he did, and I'm sure many patients are/were thankful to have had him as a partner in their process of healing. I bet their families feel the same way.

I suspect, though, that the benefit he provided his patients came from being a kind, neutral listener... came from providing a safe place for people to express their deepest thoughts and feelings without judgment or penalty... allowing them to explore difficult memories and emotions in the presence of a caring guide and helper. That experience is critical in driving mental health and wellbeing.

It would IMO be a mistake, however, to suggest the benefits those patients reveived from their partnership with your dad had anything to do with Freud's interesting (but misguided) ideas that the human psyche is divided into the three part apparatus of Id, Ego, and Superego. Those concepts are theoretical constructs that offer a model, but that model does not in any way map on to reality... and we've known this for decades.

Sadly, these same criticisms also apply to Jung, another brilliant man whose works I loved reading and deeply considering when studying them and their impact on the field (you should know that many of Jungs books still populate my bookshelf today; modern man in search of a soul being a personal favorite).

Either way, we're far off topic and Gees seems to hate me and have a big enough hard on about me enough already (unsure if I'm a joker, a scab picker, a hybrid, or something else entirely in this exchange and TBH I frankly don't care), but please do recall that the map is not the territory.

Freud offered a map. I'm discussing the territory, and recommend that you should be, too.

iNow,

I don't know Jung as well as you do, nor do I know Freud as well as my dad.  He has a shelf of blue books by Freud a yard long, that I have opened on occasion, but that he has read, thought about and understood.  My dad was and is a thinker and a professor.  He would not take Freud's work and distill it into the Id, Ego and SuperEgo, as I do.  There had to be much more to it than that, or there would not be a yard of material Freud produced in the topic.  As I understand it, Freud was a neurologist first, and therefore was familiar with the territory, before he drew the map.   Interesting to me that he would propose an area of the mind that was engaged in following the societal rules and pleasing authority and then later Rebbeca would find the territory involved in the theory of mind, moral decisions, and conversing with unseen others.

There is sometimes the reality that a figurative thing and a literal thing stand in the same place.   Such as the close relationship between dopamine, and the word "good".    To where walking the territory or looking at the map, reveals the same terrain.

Regards, TAR

12 minutes ago, Tub said:

 

 

I think if you equate Freud's model with the ingenious metaphor of the Christian crucifixion, you may see something surprising:

superego --------- good thief

id ---------------------- bad thief

ego ------------------- christ

Do you see what i think i see?

Perhaps if you drop the thief and just say the superego is good (or god), the id is man (fallen from innocence through acquiring the knowledge of good and evil ) and Christ is the moderator between God and man.

And even that actually does not work for me, because I am an atheist and don't believe in god and I associate good with dopamine which Gee associates with emotion which aligns more with the Id.  So the breakdown is not clear as to what role our emotions play in the crucifixion.   Is it good to be man?  Or is being man a sin?

Edited by tar

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7 minutes ago, tar said:

 

 

Perhaps if you drop the thief and just say the superego is good (or god), the id is man (fallen from innocence through acquiring the knowledge of good and evil ) and Christ is the moderator between God and man.

Hello,Tar. Thanks. What you say opens up other avenues for thought, but, for myself, i would prefer not to explore any possible religious aspects at the moment, just the implications for psychological enlightenment - what Jung called " Individuation ".

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iNow;

Welcome to my thread. I will admit that the first few months that I knew of you, I thought you were an idiot. Then I read a post of yours where you were obviously very bright, and learned that maybe you were even brilliant on occasion. After that it took me some time to realize that you are a very worthy poster, but only when you are sincere and honest.

Like many science people, you firmly believe that the brain and consciousness are the same thing -- there is some truth to that, but only some truth. Since all of my threads relate to consciousness, but none of them relate to the brain, you do not take my thoughts seriously, so you do not take me seriously. This leads to a feeling that you do not respect me, which I resent. If you were an idiot, then it would not bother me, but you are not and you have knowledge that I would like to ask you about. Because I doubt that you would take my questions seriously, I resent the inability to learn from you even more. So I agree that this resentment has caused me to treat you less than favorably, and for that I apologize.

When we say the word, consciousness, most people think we are talking about the brain, "God", or thought. The first two, the brain and "God" are not consciousness, they are where we think consciousness comes from. I have no interest in where consciousness comes from as I see this as a political issue and a continuation of the centuries old debate of monism v dualism or Science v Religion. I don't care about the politics and will gladly leave that to a braver soul. The third word, thought, is a part of consciousness, but only a part. It was a professor of physics and philosophy that I was corresponding with, who pointed out that thought can not do anything on it's own. Thoughts in a book are just ink and paper; thoughts on a DVD are just plastic. Without a reader for the book or a player for the DVD, the thoughts have no value, no ability.

So what I do is break consciousness down into it's components, and study them. How they work, how they can not work -- their possibilities and their limitations.

 

6 hours ago, iNow said:

Freud was most assuredly brilliant (though perhaps a bit too fond of cocaine). His ideas even offer an interesting framework for laymen to describe the mind.

According to my daughter, who just finished a class in psychology, he was also a bit too fond of his assistants having bedded most of them. But we are not trying to get him elected as President, so I think we can leave his personal choices out of the discussion. Freud was not brilliant; every paper that I found that talked about his mental abilities used the word "genius", and there is a difference. Brilliance is not too hard to follow; genius is often misunderstood. A lot of the work that was done, in his name, after he shared his ideas was awful. People made a mess of his theories and badly damaged the patients in their care, which of course was blamed on Freud.

 

Quote

The problem I have is specifically with his three part model, his proposed psychic apparatus. Id, Ego, and Superego were interesting and clearly moved the discussion taking place way back in the 1800s forward, but we've learned a significant amount more about the brain since then and his ideas simply don't map on to anything actually happening in the human nervous system.

Please note the words that I underlined above. You are saying that his "three part model" does not fit with what we know about the brain. I agree with you. There has been a great deal of knowledge acquired since Freud tried to map the brain and match it to mind. But his understanding of mind is still valid, and an understanding of mind is very difficult to acquire, which would be what made people call him a genius. I do not study the brain. This thread is not about the brain. I study consciousness and mind, so I value Freud's input.

 

Quote

You might even say that these ideas from Freud are akin to using astrology to describe our behavior. The explanatory power is equivalent and the parallels striking. You may as well replace "superego" with "Gemini" or "Virgo." The utility and benefit of your comment would be unchanged; the accuracy and usefulness of what you're saying unaffected. 

You might say that; I wouldn't. Do you know anything about psychology? Other than behavioral psychology?

 

Quote

It would IMO be a mistake, however, to suggest the benefits those patients reveived from their partnership with your dad had anything to do with Freud's interesting (but misguided) ideas that the human psyche is divided into the three part apparatus of Id, Ego, and Superego. Those concepts are theoretical constructs that offer a model, but that model does not in any way map on to reality... and we've known this for decades.

The concepts do not map onto the brain; they map the reality of mind. And we've known this for decades.

 

Quote

Either way, we're far off topic and Gees seems to hate me and have a big enough hard on about me enough already (unsure if I'm a joker, a scab picker, a hybrid, or something else entirely in this exchange and TBH I frankly don't care), but please do recall that the map is not the territory.

Actually, we are on topic . . . . finally. When I say consciousness, I am not talking about the brain. If a person tries to hook the brain to evolution, they end up with a very big problem. The brain was not yet evolved when evolution started to happen, so the brain had no input into the start of evolution.

If a person decides that consciousness (the brain) was involved in evolution, they are talking about a "God" or an Intelligent Designer, because there was no other brain in existence at the start. My thought is that consciousness evolved along with species, so there was no brain or mind guiding it -- no "God" and no Intelligent Designer, just simple laws of physics and nature.

Gee

 

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2 hours ago, Gees said:

Like many science people, you firmly believe that the brain and consciousness are the same thing

Not quite. I do not conflate them as if they're equal in the way you've repeatedly implied. It's more that consciousness appears to be an emergent property of chemistry which itself occurs across the nervous system as a whole. 

Of course part the problem ties back to my original reply. You've failed to define consciousness and consequently we all are here discussing different things yet using the same label. 

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1 hour ago, iNow said:

Of course part the problem ties back to my original reply. You've failed to define consciousness and consequently we all are here discussing different things yet using the same label. 

1

That would be useful but I, strongly, suspect it's just as resistant, to a definition, as time is.

+1 BTW...

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dimreepr,

resistant, but perhaps not immune

In "Critique of pure Reason" Kant thought out thought/reason in great detail and broke it down into the components of which it must be constructed.  He did identify two a priori considerations that could not be broken down any further into different things.  Two things that could not be synthesized from putting other things together.  Those were time and space.

He did not include consciousness in that.   In fact, he was writing a work to say something about how our mind works, what it is logically capable of and what our judgements about the world were like.  He identified 12 types of judgements we make and from this 12 categories of thought that completely covered what we can say about a thing in general.

But thinking about your post I remembered that he used terms like analytic, and synthesis, but also used the word "understanding" to refer to the process going on.  This word he used, and the fact he did not include consciousness as a thing you could not say something about, makes me think of the act of standing under something.  That is taking a position to where you are in a position to make a judgment or two on the thing and say something about it, use it to construct larger considerations (synthesize) and break it down into subcomponents (analyze ) .  One of his categories is relation, but the positional component implied in the term "understanding" makes me think that we can indeed say something about consciousness.

Regards, TAR
 

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3 hours ago, dimreepr said:

That would be useful but I, strongly, suspect it's just as resistant, to a definition, as time is.

+1 BTW...

It is certainly resistant to a definition, but not - I think - to definitions. As iNow said:

4 hours ago, iNow said:

we all are here discussing different things yet using the same label. 

There are multiple definitions of consciousness and probably none of them are wrong. Each has a field of application, some of which overlap. (Think Venn diagram.) The problem arises when, as in this thread, different members are sitting in different fields.

Gees appears to be using multiple definitions and, in particular, extending it to include mere sentience. For me that undermines the value of word consciousness. What would help you all discuss the topic with Gees would be if she clearly stated what definition(s) she is using and in which field(s) of application it/they apply.

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iNow;

Responding to your post is going to be difficult and probably lengthy, so try to be patient while reading it.

8 hours ago, iNow said:

Not quite. I do not conflate them as if they're equal in the way you've repeatedly implied. It's more that consciousness appears to be an emergent property of chemistry which itself occurs across the nervous system as a whole. 

I knew I was going to get in trouble when I wrote that line, but was just too tired to deal with it then. The problem is, in my opinion, that the brain does equate to consciousness, or at least it equates to what people call their consciousness, which is the rational aspect of mind. The rational aspect is where we do our thinking, our planning, our decision making, so this is what people think of as their consciousness, and I doubt that it could exist without a brain, or processor. On the other hand, every cell in our bodies is also conscious in that it is aware. This is a lower degree of consciousness and is called sentience -- all life is sentient. Every cell in our bodies will maintain itself, do it's work, and reproduce or duplicate itself to ensure its continuance -- this activity is the same as the activity in life forms that we call survival instincts. This is how we know that each cell is alive, because this activity indicates sentience. A virus will only activate this way when it is within another life form, so it is at best quasi-life or parasitic life and does not qualify as life. Yes, this is established knowledge. I got it first from a neurologist and then from a microbiologist -- every cell is sentient.

So does this mean that every cell is conscious and has a rational aspect of mind? I don't think so. (chuckle) I have seen no evidence to support that idea. Although some theories of consciousness seem to lean in that direction, I can not go there. What I can conclude from this information, is the idea that consciousness evolves along with life forms.

My take on this is that the first life was sentient. It was aware of the need to continue and exhibited this by eating, growing, and reproducing in some manner. This means that it could perceive and accept whatever was needed to feed it and had some knowledge of what was good to absorb. So sentient life can sense things and has some knowledge, but it had no mobility except for the environment which would buffet it along with wind or water.

Next came plant life, which set itself down in an environment that was capable of sustaining it, but it also had no ability to move. Eventually, mobile life evolved, and this life started to navigate its environment. In order to navigate the environment, senses were needed to be able to perceive farther than the simple ability to feel because as speed in navigating increased, so did the need to perceive obstacles further away. So things like vision and hearing evolved to resolve this problem, but vision and hearing are useless without some central place to dump the information -- hence a brain evolved. I could be wrong, but I think that actual brains are exclusive to mobile life.

This brain not only gathered information, but also began to make choices -- "that is water, should I go through it or around it? or that rock looks too big to climb over|. So this would be the very beginning of the rational conscious mind, which would eventually evolve into what we have today. It is clear to me that the rational aspect of mind (Freud's Ego) is designed to relate to physical reality, and I doubt that it could exist without a brain to process the thoughts and impressions that we receive.

Sentience, which is the earliest known form of consciousness does not require a recognition of physical reality outside of it's body and only needs to know how other things feel in relation to its body. Sentience does not require a rational aspect of mind, the Ego, so I suspect that sentient life experiences something like the unconscious aspect of mind, the Superego. The unconscious is not very well known, but there are some things that we do know about it. One of the things is that it does not give two hoots about time and does not even acknowledge it. In my mind, this implies that if it does not acknowledge time, then it does not acknowledge space and physical reality, so this is another reason for the evolution of the rational aspect of mind.

 

Yes, it appears in the nervous system, but in other systems as well. Consider that our immune system can actually learn; if it could not, then vaccines would not work. Also consider that hormones control homeostasis within our bodies, much like pheromones seem to cause it within ecosystems.

 

Quote

Of course part the problem ties back to my original reply. You've failed to define consciousness and consequently we all are here discussing different things yet using the same label. 

What a wonderful compliment!! Some of the greatest minds known to man have struggled with this definition for thousands of years, yet you imply that I might have the answer. How flattering. (chuckle)

But seriously, it is a reasonable request. The best that I can do is give you an explanation of my understanding of consciousness, but warn you it will probably be lengthy. Right now, I am tired as MS (multiple sclerosis) has a way of kicking my butt, and consciousness is a headache inducing subject. I will get back to this question either later tonight or tomorrow, depending on how well I feel.

This should give you time to consider my above comments

Gee

 

 

Area54;

 

3 hours ago, Area54 said:

It is certainly resistant to a definition, but not - I think - to definitions. As iNow said:

There are multiple definitions of consciousness and probably none of them are wrong. Each has a field of application, some of which overlap. (Think Venn diagram.) The problem arises when, as in this thread, different members are sitting in different fields.

Gees appears to be using multiple definitions and, in particular, extending it to include mere sentience. For me that undermines the value of word consciousness. What would help you all discuss the topic with Gees would be if she clearly stated what definition(s) she is using and in which field(s) of application it/they apply.

Thinking of a Venn diagram is very appropriate, but this problem is even more complex than that. If you study the various theories of consciousness, you will find that every one of them has some truth in it, but many do not even overlap, they conflict. I am resistant to saying that consciousness is this or that because I think that is the mistake that others have made -- to jump the gun and define it before we really understand it. Instead I try to stick to simple truths, small things that I can be relatively sure are true to build my understanding.

Hopefully my explanation to iNow that I will produce later, will also answer some of your questions. But I should state that I think of consciousness as a thing. I do this because it is the only way to study it without corrupting it with other ideas like "God" or the brain. Much like Freud did when he studied mind, he saw it as an object that he could take apart and examine, so he could analyze the components, I study consciousness the same way. But mind and consciousness are not really things and have no physical presence, so I think one of Freud's biggest mistakes was to try to match what he learned about mind with the brain. I do not intend to make that mistake.

In the meantime, consider this: I often relate my ideas about consciousness with water because I think they share properties, and it makes a good analogy.

Water can burn us in the form of steam, it can also kill us in that form; water can freeze us in the form of ice and snow, and can also kill us. It can crush us in an avalanche or destroy everything we own in a tsunami. It can drown us or knock us down in the form of slippery ice. But it can also clean us, reduce a fever and heal us, and floating on it in a small lake (if you learn how) is blissful.

It is a liquid and a gas and a solid, so how does one describe it? It is in everything (like "God" is everywhere) and is necessary to life. When mixed with other things it can be anything from a nourishing soup to a dangerous bog that will pull you down and kill you.

So imagine for a moment; if we could not be aware of water, if we could not see it or hear it or smell it, if we could only know how it affected us and made us feel, what would we think of it? How many ways would we try to describe this powerful, dangerous, but necessary and life giving thing? I suspect that long ago, we would have worshipped it and called it a "God".

Gee

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10 hours ago, Gees said:

Thinking of a Venn diagram is very appropriate, but this problem is even more complex than that. If you study the various theories of consciousness, you will find that every one of them has some truth in it, but many do not even overlap, they conflict. I am resistant to saying that consciousness is this or that because I think that is the mistake that others have made -- to jump the gun and define it before we really understand it. Instead I try to stick to simple truths, small things that I can be relatively sure are true to build my understanding

I believe your thinking, as expressed here, to be in error. In what way?

There are mental processes of great variety at work. There appear to be more of them, sometimes of greater complexity, in the minds of humans compared with the "mind" of an earthworm. (And we'll try to overlook the fact that "mental processes", "complexity" and "mind" probably ought to be defined before we go further. Until we do I'll run with the notion that our individual definitions of these is close enough for government work.)

You are talking about theories of consciousness. I do not see how we can begin to talk about theories of consciousness until we have defined which conscious we are discussing. I illustrate this with an example from geology. There are two (very) general types of igneous rocks - granites and basalts. If geologists were to discuss only the origin of igneous rocks there would be endlesss and ineffective debate, since the origins of granites and basalts is quite different. (And to add to the confusion there are a small number of granites that originate in similar way to basalts.) However, by tightly defining the igneous rocks we are discussing and being much more particular than just granite and basalt, we can derive satisfactory theories that remove apparent conflicts.

Therefore, if your thread is to achieve anything, before discussing theories of consciousness we must define which consciousness or consciousnesses we are talking about.

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20 hours ago, Area54 said:

It is certainly resistant to a definition, but not - I think - to definitions. As iNow said:

There are multiple definitions of consciousness and probably none of them are wrong. Each has a field of application, some of which overlap. (Think Venn diagram.) The problem arises when, as in this thread, different members are sitting in different fields.

1

Yet this thread hasn't produced even one...

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

Yet this thread hasn't produced even one...

Although i agree with Gee that it is more important to understand consciousness rather than try to define it, i'll act as a guinea-pig and, just for arguments sake, offer-up this short attempt at one subjective definition: 

The content of my consciousness is all my life-experiences: my upbringing, my education, my environment, and all the other  influences brought to bear on me, and this creates my sense of identity. Without that content there is no self-consciousness, and that content is my consciousness so, at the risk of being ridiculed, i will here define consciousness as identity.

Be gentle with me.:unsure:

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3 minutes ago, Tub said:

Although i agree with Gee that it is more important to understand consciousness rather than try to define it, i'll act as a guinea-pig and, just for arguments sake, offer-up this short attempt at one subjective definition: 

The content of my consciousness is all my life-experiences: my upbringing, my education, my environment, and all the other  influences brought to bear on me, and this creates my sense of identity. Without that content there is no self-consciousness, and that content is my consciousness so, at the risk of being ridiculed, i will here define consciousness as identity.

Be gentle with me.:unsure:

7

Nice try, but that seems true of everyone, culture involves us all, at what point is there an individual? 

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Tub,

I think that is a good start.  It deals with "the self" which I think is actually crucial to life.   I am thinking of the first cell, like a bubble,  creating an inside and an outside.  An identity, that separates one small part of the universe from the rest.

And then there is the existence in a human of a "memory" of all the things that touched it from when it started recording such things, or from perhaps the point when it became a separate identity from the rest of the place.  I have this scar on my knee from when I fell in some grass and dirt in the school yard onto a shard of glass.  You don't have this scar, nor the memory of falling and getting taken to a classmate's father (a dentist) to get the gash sewn up.  It is part of MY identity.  This particular consciousness, identified as TAR.

Regards, TAR

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59 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Nice try, but that seems true of everyone, culture involves us all, at what point is there an individual? 

Thanks, dimreepr. I must admit i felt as though i was walking into the lions' den with my post.

Anyway, you are right, culture does involve us all and can become a common feature of the consciousness of  each individual, but there are differing elements to consciousness that are unique to different people. If all goes well, each human brain is born with roughly the same  psychological apparatus required for developing and sustaining consciousness, and if i could liken this apparatus to a suitcase, we all have a similar suitcase and lots of things we pack into it are things that everybody else might pack, but some things we pack are unique to ourselves: an Inuit grandmother wouldn't have packed exactly the same things as a Korean dictator. I think that's where the individuality comes into the equation. 

At the moment, Gees and i hold different opinions as to whether it is consciousness per se that evolves or it is the capacity to be conscious that evolves and then accumulates consciousness. In other words, as i presently see it, the suitcase evolves but the contents of the suitcase accumulate. Either one of could be right or wrong.

1 hour ago, tar said:

Tub,

I think that is a good start.  It deals with "the self" which I think is actually crucial to life.   I am thinking of the first cell, like a bubble,  creating an inside and an outside.  An identity, that separates one small part of the universe from the rest.

And then there is the existence in a human of a "memory" of all the things that touched it from when it started recording such things, or from perhaps the point when it became a separate identity from the rest of the place.  I have this scar on my knee from when I fell in some grass and dirt in the school yard onto a shard of glass.  You don't have this scar, nor the memory of falling and getting taken to a classmate's father (a dentist) to get the gash sewn up.  It is part of MY identity.  This particular consciousness, identified as TAR.

Regards, TAR

 Thank you too,Tar. Even if i'm wrong, we can sometimes see the truth by seeing what is false.What i've underlined in your quote above is exactly what i was trying to get at. However, i have to add that i don't think that that is the be all and the end all of the matter: identity/self also needs examining further, ( especially that word " separates " ), but i think i have gone far enough into the lions' den just now. 

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First I would like to thank whoever gave me a positive rep on my last post. It is important for me to keep my rep in the green as red tends to destroy credibility, and I have seen too many philosophers be abandoned down that path. (A philosopher rarely receives an up vote for making a good argument or point.) The only reason I was confident enough to start this thread at all is because Ten oz very kindly gave me a few positive votes in response to my answers to some of his questions. So thank you all.  Gee

 

Area54;

11 hours ago, Area54 said:

You are talking about theories of consciousness. I do not see how we can begin to talk about theories of consciousness until we have defined which conscious we are discussing. I illustrate this with an example from geology. There are two (very) general types of igneous rocks - granites and basalts. If geologists were to discuss only the origin of igneous rocks there would be endlesss and ineffective debate, since the origins of granites and basalts is quite different. (And to add to the confusion there are a small number of granites that originate in similar way to basalts.) However, by tightly defining the igneous rocks we are discussing and being much more particular than just granite and basalt, we can derive satisfactory theories that remove apparent conflicts.

I have nosed around in the Science forums before and noticed that science does not like endless and pointless discussions any more than philosophy does. Sometimes when a person is obviously ignorant of the topic of discussion, one of the members will say, (paraphrased) "Get a book, read it, then come back to discuss it after you have a clue."

Therefore, I recommend that you go to the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) or the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy (IEP), both of which are on-line and free to use, look up Consciousness and read. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and maybe some popcorn. Once you are clear on what consciousness actually is, and have an understanding of the various theories, you can start a thread on consciousness. Expect the thread to be endless, assuming you can garner anyone's interest.

Gee

 

 

Dimreepr;

8 hours ago, dimreepr said:

Yet this thread hasn't produced even one...

Anyone can get out a dictionary and look up consciousness, or you can use the internet. When I right click, I get this:

Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object, or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and executive control of the mind.

Does that definition really help?

Or maybe you would like my personal simplified definition: Consciousness is communication. Whether it is internal or external, whether it is known (the rational mind / "executive control") or unknown (the unconscious / "sentience"), it is all communication.

Does that help?

Gee

 

 

Tar;

6 hours ago, tar said:

I think that is a good start.  It deals with "the self" which I think is actually crucial to life.   I am thinking of the first cell, like a bubble,  creating an inside and an outside.  An identity, that separates one small part of the universe from the rest.

You make a good point, but must remember that this is consciousness, and consciousness is never ever a simple thing.

The "self" seems to start with the individual, although I am not sure of that, but this core "self" immediately starts to bond with other selves and other ideas and things. This bonding creates larger selves much like the rings that occur when you drop a single drop of water into a lake, the surrounding circles that it makes are an indication that the drop happened, a continuation of the influence of that drop. Anything that you put the word "my" in front of can be an indication of a larger self. Examples:

My family is a larger self. Law even recognizes this larger self and allows Self Defense as a reasonable cause when spouse or children are endangered.

My school, college, alumni, team, hobby, occupation, place of work, sports interest, religion, church, neighborhood, society, town, state and country are examples of larger selves, although there can be many more. So although we are individuals, I am not so sure as to how individual we are.

Even zoos have recognized that many species will become despondent and even die if deprived of others of their kind. Isolation is also dangerous for humans, so although we are individuals, I suspect that we are also part of all life and must maintain bonds with life in order to survive.

Gee

 

 

Tub;

4 hours ago, Tub said:

Anyway, you are right, culture does involve us all and can become a common feature of the consciousness of  each individual, but there are differing elements to consciousness that are unique to different people. If all goes well, each human brain is born with roughly the same  psychological apparatus required for developing and sustaining consciousness, and if i could liken this apparatus to a suitcase, we all have a similar suitcase and lots of things we pack into it are things that everybody else might pack, but some things we pack are unique to ourselves: an Inuit grandmother wouldn't have packed exactly the same things as a Korean dictator. I think that's where the individuality comes into the equation

At the moment, Gees and i hold different opinions as to whether it is consciousness per se that evolves or it is the capacity to be conscious that evolves and then accumulates consciousness. In other words, as i presently see it, the suitcase evolves but the contents of the suitcase accumulate. Either one of could be right or wrong.

The underlined sentence is a good point.

As regards "the capacity", you have a point, and might be right, but must remember that we don't yet know how sentience started, or if it started. If science can state that one cell species evolve when they turn into us, then I think that I can state that sentience turning into the rational mind is also evolution.

Gee

My teenage grandson arrived, is playing with a rather large dog and blasting the latest showing of Supernatural. I can't think.

Later.

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1 hour ago, Gees said:

Tar;

You make a good point, but must remember that this is consciousness, and consciousness is never ever a simple thing.

The "self" seems to start with the individual, although I am not sure of that, but this core "self" immediately starts to bond with other selves and other ideas and things. This bonding creates larger selves much like the rings that occur when you drop a single drop of water into a lake, the surrounding circles that it makes are an indication that the drop happened, a continuation of the influence of that drop. Anything that you put the word "my" in front of can be an indication of a larger self. Examples:

My family is a larger self. Law even recognizes this larger self and allows Self Defense as a reasonable cause when spouse or children are endangered.

My school, college, alumni, team, hobby, occupation, place of work, sports interest, religion, church, neighborhood, society, town, state and country are examples of larger selves, although there can be many more. So although we are individuals, I am not so sure as to how individual we are.

Even zoos have recognized that many species will become despondent and even die if deprived of others of their kind. Isolation is also dangerous for humans, so although we are individuals, I suspect that we are also part of all life and must maintain bonds with life in order to survive.

Gee

 

Gees, 

I think that idea of bonding with other ideas and things is somehow at the root of consciousness.  Consider a baby somewhat analogous to an earlier lifeform on the evolutionary chart in terms of consciousness.  My father tells me a baby when it is first born and opens its eyes sees upside down and backward, and with double vision, to boot.  This is understandable, due to the way the eye"s lens focuses light on the back of the eye, and we have two eyes.  But as the baby starts to put together what is happening around her, sensing the other "things" and relationship between the things...especially linking up the input from the inner ear in terms of what is up, and sees things fall, and touches and tastes things enough, the place comes into coherence.  Mother's hum comes from the same thing that has that tasty milk and such.  The outside world starts to "make sense".

Perhaps one can somewhat trace consciousness's path through human evolution, by noting what a fetus is conscious of, at different stages of development, and then looking at a newborn and a one year old and a two and a three and a four, and see the development of the consciousness.

My thinking that this might be possible, is based on the fact that the rTPJ, was determined by Rebecca Saxe and others to develop, at least the first functioning of being able to put yourself in other people's shoes,  at the age of about 3 or 4 and continues to develop on into adulthood.

Regards, TAR

(I remember playing tag with my firstborn while she was in the womb...an elbow? would stick out here, and I would push on it lightly and something would pop out over on the other side of my wife's belly...so my little girl, in utero, was conscious of something touching her.)  And my wife could tell when the fetus was awake and when it was sleeping.  In fact someone told us it would work out better, in terms of momma's sleep once the baby was born, if you woke up the fetus when momma was awake. 

Edited by tar

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10 hours ago, Gees said:

Dimreepr;

Anyone can get out a dictionary and look up consciousness, or you can use the internet. When I right click, I get this:

Consciousness is the state or quality of awareness, or, of being aware of an external object, or something within oneself. It has been defined as: sentience, awareness, subjectivity, the ability to experience or feel, wakefulness, having a sense of selfhood, and executive control of the mind.

Does that definition really help?

1

Not at all, which is the point of a number of members on this thread.

Quote

 

Or maybe you would like my personal simplified definition: Consciousness is communication. Whether it is internal or external, whether it is known (the rational mind / "executive control") or unknown (the unconscious / "sentience"), it is all communication.

Does that help?

 

 

It barely makes sense, so no; besides, what little sense it does make, is obvious and irrelevant 

18 hours ago, Tub said:

If all goes well, each human brain is born with roughly the same  psychological apparatus required for developing and sustaining consciousness, and if i could liken this apparatus to a suitcase, we all have a similar suitcase and lots of things we pack into it are things that everybody else might pack, but some things we pack are unique to ourselves: an Inuit grandmother wouldn't have packed exactly the same things as a Korean dictator. I think that's where the individuality comes into the equation. 

1

We all have the suitcase but it's never the same size, which is why some have trouble dragging it around.

The secret is having a bad memory or failing that having a forgiving nature.

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Given the exchanges taking place here on definition, and the interest in the topic we all share, perhaps this brief video will help. The science of consciousness:

 

 

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