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Question regarding Daniel Dennett's quote


MattMVS7
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I will point out one of Daniel Dennett's quotes:

 

"We're all zombies. Nobody is conscious."

 

I think we do have consciousness and consciousness is real. I think all the physical processes in the brain take on two different forms. One form would be when you are looking at the brain through a scan. You will see neurons, synapses, etc. But for the individual with that brain, all those physical processes will take on the form of consciousness for this person. Therefore, the brain and consciousness would be the same thing. Since the brain exists, then consciousness exists.

 

Consciousness would simply be a different form the brain takes on. I think you can have a certain thing in this universe with two different ways of looking at it, but it would still be the same thing. Just because there is a different way of looking at that said thing does not mean that this other way of looking at it does not exist. Therefore, with this being said, I do not understand Daniel Dennett's quote. What does he mean by his quote?

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Dennett is an atheist materialist. Like Dawkins. As such, he dismisses any notion of a Creator God, pre ordained destiny, or meaning in life. Other than of course to survive and produce progeny. So this bottom up thinking extends to us homo sapiens and by proxy to our minds. And from their, our CNS and its cpu, the brain.

 

We h sapiens are nothing but pure chemistry. Emotions like love and anger are simply the terms we give to states of mind we are experiencing when different combinations of brain chemicals, called neurotransmitters, are exuding their respective effects on us. No more do we need a soul or spirit to feel these than a pitcher of water does to turn blue when dye is dumped into it.

And of course Dennett outright dismisses the notion of a soul.

 

So.... our brains are basically little more than feedback loops. What we think and feel is dependants on experience and upbringing, which are like inputs to a computer. When we do or think things over and over we create, we etch, neural pathways. Think of wearing a path in a field of dry grass you walk across every day. In time, we become slavish to these pathways. These paths make habits. Addictions. They impair optimal cognitive abilities.

 

So, our concepts of bring imbued with Free Will is a myth. We are nothing more than the results of the various loops that have been etched in our brains by neurons over the course of our life. Run by them as much as a robot is by it's programming and software.

 

Or a zombie is who is really dead but is animated only by learned behavior and insatiable need to survive. And who may think it has free will but in reality does not. It does only what it's biological primal chemically driven urges tell it to do. Imho Dennett misspeaks when he equates bring controlled by ingrained neural pathways with no bring conscious I also find him overly dismissive of our abilities to shed bad habits and live spontaneously.

 

Anyway....That's basically what DD meant.... I put all that in my own words from having read much Dennett. So apologies if I didn't quote him verbatim. But I'm confident I provided you with the gist of his theory.

 

And... I know, his worldview can be sort of depressing, really. But the good news is that through neurotransmitters plasticity we do not have to become locked into poor thinking habits of coping skills. I'm not sure Dennett has ever addressed n-p, however.

 

 

I assume you would have to read the book to understand the point he is making.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Consciousness_Explained

 

The quote by itself means nothing.

I disagree. The quote only means nothing to those unfamiliar with Dennett and his work. To those of us who have read him..And btw agree with him..the quote is a pithy get perhaps overly terse indicator phrase on his materialist and atheistic theories regarding the cognitive abilities of homo sapien sapiens. That's why I explained it in my own words to the OP author rather than just Google and paste a link. Cheers. Edited by Velocity_Boy
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I will point out one of Daniel Dennett's quotes:

 

"We're all zombies. Nobody is conscious."

That's not the full quote:

 

"We're all zombies. Nobody is conscious - not in the systematically mysterious way that supports such doctrines as epiphenomenalism."

 

which is pretty important unless you want to misrepresent his view as a denial of consciousness, which it's not unless you accept qualia in general or in the epiphenomenal "side effect" sense. To provide a bit of background, if you were to study consciousness with the heterophenomenological approach (the one Dennett promotes in Consciousness Explained), there's nothing which tells you the "lights are on and someone is home" other than their reports, correlated physiological changes etc. If qualia (from the epiphenomenal account) are to have no function, arise from changes in our brains without themselves having a sort of measurable effect on other brain states (causally inert), then we cannot falsify them and so "we're all [empirically] zombies."

So, our concepts of bring imbued with Free Will is a myth.

Dennett is a compatibilist. What did you mean by this, the typical libertarian free will?

Imho Dennett misspeaks when he equates bring controlled by ingrained neural pathways with no bring conscious

He doesn't, his theory just attempts to avoid the "hard problems of consciousness" by explaining away the hard part. Consciousness is still a thing to be studied, otherwise his whole "heterophenomenology" would be pointless, no?

Edited by andrewcellini
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  • 4 weeks later...

Basically, his book is like this.

 

Imagine the world was made up of sentient, thinking cars. And the cars asked "Why am I conscious? Why am I here"?

Dennet's book would say "300 years ago, some guys at Ford Automotive constructed your chassis. Contained in your circuit boards, is some AI nodes. These AI nodes are the reason you think and feel".

"Why do the AI nodes make me think and feel?"
"Feedback loop."
"Why am I stuck in a feedback loop?"
"We all are. We are basically zombies. And feedback loops."

 

Basically, 500 pages of this.

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  • 1 month later...

That's not the full quote:

 

"We're all zombies⁶. Nobody is conscious - not in the systematically mysterious way that supports such doctrines as epiphenomenalism."

 

Completely right of course. It is even worse what was done here. Dennett has this sentence 'foot noted'

 

⁶It would be an act of desperate intellectual dishonesty to quote this assertion out of context!

 

So where did you find this quote, MattMVS7?

Edited by Eise
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I recently did read the book, based on recommendations in another thread where were were discussing the mechanism of self-awareness. Maybe I "read it wrong" somehow, but I got pretty much nothing out of it. I walked away feeling like ultimately Dennett chooses simply to ignore the "first person" perspective which is the basis of each of us being "aware of our own awareness." I think that pretty much every behavior of living things can be explained via physical mechanisms (and the book does a great job of introducing a whole range of explicit techniques for going about that) if you are willing to take a 100% third person perspective.

 

But that simply does not change the fact that I do have a first person sensation that I call self awareness, and I assume everyone else does as well. I think the book just left that completely unaddressed.

 

And, by the way, I see no reason whatsoever to bring God into it - just because I believe that I have self awareness and that it is therefore likely that all of you do as well doesn't in any way whatsoever make it necessary to invoke a "higher" form of that same sort of thing. It doesn't rule it out, but it doesn't necessitate it either.

 

It's hard for me to see how to even apply the principles of science to this, given that science is about evidence that we can share with one another and agree on. I don't see how I can prove to all of you that I actually do have this sensation of awareness. I'm the only person that feels my awareness.

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I recently did read the book, based on recommendations in another thread where were were discussing the mechanism of self-awareness. Maybe I "read it wrong" somehow, but I got pretty much nothing out of it.

 

If you literally got nothing out of it, then surely you read it wrong.

 

I walked away feeling like ultimately Dennett chooses simply to ignore the "first person" perspective which is the basis of each of us being "aware of our own awareness." I think that pretty much every behavior of living things can be explained via physical mechanisms (and the book does a great job of introducing a whole range of explicit techniques for going about that) if you are willing to take a 100% third person perspective.

 

DD does not ignore the 1st person at all. However, the only way we have access to this 1st person is by a person's actions and speech. So we must find the conditions in the brain and the 'software running on it' that make e.g. the reporting of inner states possible. That is all what science can do, because science is the 3rd person view per definition. DD presents his view on what these conditions are, and refutes all kind of arguments against his views.

The crux of your argument is refuted by the character of it: 'I can imagine systems that conform to all these conditions, but are not conscious'. DDs reaction to this is (in my words) that you are lying. Nobody can really imagine this (Chapter 9.5):

 

Now I am ready to take on the objections. We can begin by addressing the unanswered question two paragraphs back. Couldn’t something unconscious — a zombie, for instance — have a Joycean machine? This question implies an objection that is so perennially popular at moments like these that the philosopher Peter Bieri (1990) has dubbed it The Tibetan Prayer Wheel. It just keeps recurring, over and over, no matter what theory has been put forward:

 

That’s all very well, all those functional details about how the brain does this and that, but I can imagine all that happening in an entity without the occurrence of any real consciousness!

 

A good answer to this, but one seldom heard, is: Oh, can you? How do you know? How do you know you’ve imagined “all that” in sufficient detail, and with sufficient attention to all the implications? What makes you think your claim is a premise leading to any interesting conclusion? Consider how unimpressed we would be if some present-day vitalist were to say:

 

That’s all very well, all that stuff about DNA and proteins and such, but I can imagine discovering an entity that looked and acted just like a cat, right down to the blood in its veins and DNA in its “cells,” but was not alive. (Can I really? Sure: There it is, meowing, and then God whispers in my ear, “It’s not alive! It’s just a mechanical DNA-thingamabob!” In my imagination, I believe Him.)

 

I trust that no one thinks this is a good argument for vitalism. This effort of imagination doesn’t count. Why not? Because it is too puny to weigh against the account of life presented by contemporary biology. The only thing this “argument” shows is that you can ignore “all that” and cling to a conviction if you’re determined to do so. Is the Tibetan Prayer Wheel any better as an argument against the theory I have sketched?

 

We are now in a position, thanks to all the imagination-stretching of the previous chapters, to shift the burden of proof. The Tibetan Prayer Wheel (and there are several importantly different variations, as we shall see) is a descendant of Descartes’s famous argument (see chapter 2), in which he claims to be able to conceive clearly and distinctly that his mind is distinct from his brain. The force of such an argument depends critically on how high one’s standards of conception are. Some people may claim they can clearly and distinctly conceive of a greatest prime number or a triangle that is not a rigid figure. They are wrong — or at any rate, whatever they’re doing when they say they’re conceiving these things should not be taken as a sign of what is possible. We are now in a position to imagine “all that” in some detail. Can you really imagine a zombie? The only sense in which it’s “obvious” that you can is not a sense that challenges my theory, and a stronger, unobvious sense calls for a demonstration.

 

What is your reaction to this?

 

It's hard for me to see how to even apply the principles of science to this, given that science is about evidence that we can share with one another and agree on. I don't see how I can prove to all of you that I actually do have this sensation of awareness.

 

Right. Here lies the problem, at least it seems so. In reality I am fully convinced that you are aware. Only conscious programs can write such texts as you do.

 

I'm the only person that feels my awareness.

 

Yes. And I am the only person that is standing in the middle of the rainbow, only I have a glory around my head, and at sunrise above the sea the light mirroring in the water is pointing at me.

 

330px-Solar_glory_and_Spectre_of_the_Bro

 

270px-Audrey_Jeffers_Highway_Trinidad.JP

 

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DD does not ignore the 1st person at all. However, the only way we have access to this 1st person is by a person's actions and speech.

 

That's the only way we have access to one another's first persons. It's not the only way we have access to our own first person. And yet I feel quite sure that we each have our own first person - no one of us is the only person standing in the middle of the rainbow.

Explaining your observations (third person) of my words and actions as I describe my (first person) experience of awareness is not explaining the awareness or my experience of it. It's merely explaining my words and actions - they are not the same thing.

I agree with you that addressing the things that lead to the external behavior may be all science can do. I'm perfectly willing to accept that discussion of first person experiences of awareness is not a fit topic for science. And we can just let it go at that if you wish.

Edited by KipIngram
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That's the only way we have access to one another's first persons. It's not the only way we have access to our own first person.

 

Yes, of course. But the question is 'what do I leave out' when I present a complete theory of consciousness. If a theory of consciousness explains how a person honestly reports about his inner states, must we add then some mystical extra? Do you need, together with a report of an inner state, also that the person says 'and I am conscious of this inner state'? Or is the reporting of the inner state consciousness?

 

And yet I feel quite sure that we each have our own first person - no one of us is the only person standing in the middle of the rainbow.

 

But of another rainbow. The person next to you does not see the rainbow at exactly the same place. You have your brain, I've got mine. I have my inner states, you have yours.

 

Explaining your observations (third person) of my words and actions as I describe my (first person) experience of awareness is not explaining the awareness or my experience of it. It's merely explaining my words and actions - they are not the same thing.

 

Again, you lay higher constraints for an explanation on consciousness than you do for other phenomena. At some point also the physicist stops explaining. Having a complete theory is enough. There will always be left some basic elements that cannot be explained. Same for consciousness. DD presents his ideas as more or less 'complete' explanation of consciousness. Why should his theory not be the exlplanation of the 'feeling aware of oneself'?

 

I agree with you that addressing the things that lead to the external behavior may be all science can do. I'm perfectly willing to accept that discussion of first person experiences of awareness is not a fit topic for science. And we can just let it go at that if you wish.

 

If you accept that science cannot explain first person experiences, then you also should not try. Science is just the methodological way of structuring the 3rd person view: so any explanation that you can share with others is bound to fail, because it presupposes the 3rd person view. So also Donald Hoffman's views are no use.

 

BTW, I asked your reaction for the quote from DD's book. Do you have one? Why would the defence of vitalism be wrong, but your defence of the incompleteness of DD's theory not? They have exactly the same structure!

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Why should his theory not be the explanation of the 'feeling aware of oneself'?

 

BTW, I asked your reaction for the quote from DD's book. Do you have one? Why would the defence of vitalism be wrong, but your defence of the incompleteness of DD's theory not? They have exactly the same structure!

 

Because it doesn't explain how that 'feeling aware of oneself' arises from basic physics, or even what it is. It explains very well how the external behaviors arise, but that is all. If you beg to differ, then what is awareness exactly? Does it have an electromagnetic basis? A gravitational one? Weak or strong nuclear? Do computers have this awareness? When I run, say, a finite element analysis program on my computer vs. a word processor, does the computer "feel different"? When I peg the CPU, does it feel strained? If not, then will future computers acquire these sensations, and if so what will be different about their architectures?

 

Regarding the quote from Dennett, I recall the text he surrounded it with and the footnote as well - it's only been a few weeks since devoted a weekend to the book. I didn't have much of a reaction, actually. At that point it was pretty clear where he was going. Honestly, that quote taken along with the surrounding text, strikes me as Dennett's way of saying that "nothing 'new' arises from these algorithms and structures - there is no emergent epiphenomenon." And I agree with that - my whole issue with this business to start with is my gut instinct that computer structures and algorithms cannot lead to self awareness. He and I completely agree on that. And yet, my awareness exists.

 

I finally gave up on the other thread - I opened it because I was hoping for people to point me at actual proposals for connections between physics and awareness (the latest journal papers on theories of emergence and so on). But the conversation wound up going mostly in a different direction. StringJunky made the very good point about anesthesia, so I was quite happy to get that. And I really do regard the Dennett book as a superb "first read" for someone about to launch into a study of artificial intelligence, prior to diving into the technical details of the various techniques he gives a high-level description of. But for my own interest in the matter I wound up finding myself in that camp of people who feel that the book's title should really have been Consciousness Explained Away.

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It's basically just chemistry reactions along a biological substrate that is itself plastic.

 

The problem comes in when people try to force there to be something special about consciousness, or when they posit it as binary. It exists along a spectrum. There's no point where we absolutely have it or absolutely don't.

 

We're all just acting on the illusions created by the electrochemical reactions. Those reactions can be influenced by our surroundings, past experiences, and learning, but they're outside of our control.

 

We're basically zombies caught in an illusion and convinced we're not. Even the illusion is an illusion.

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...We're basically zombies caught in an illusion and convinced we're not. Even the illusion is an illusion.

I think the problem is that we can't see or sense the joins between the functional interfaces that make us what we are; we feel like we are one contiguous whole.

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Because it doesn't explain how that 'feeling aware of oneself' arises from basic physics, or even what it is. It explains very well how the external behaviors arise, but that is all. Does it have an electromagnetic basis? A gravitational one? Weak or strong nuclear?

 

No, no and no. Physics can and never will explain the basis of consciousness. I thought we were past this point? Consciousness will be explained by neurology and cognitive science. Its explanation will be based on a functional analysis, not on the accidental stuff that implements these structures. Every physical basis that implements the functions needed has consciousness. That is the reason you can forget to explain consciousness by any fundamental law of physics, because these details do not matter.

 

If you beg to differ, then what is awareness exactly?

 

Awareness is the capability of a system to universally anticipate possible events and how its own actions might affect them. It is also capable to reflect on its own inner states.

 

Every system that shows it has such capabilities, is conscious. Saying that you can imagine such a system but that it is not conscious, is not a valid argument. I would even say: you cannot imagine it. See DD's quote above.

 

my whole issue with this business to start with is my gut instinct that computer structures and algorithms cannot lead to self awareness. He and I completely agree on that. And yet, my awareness exists.

 

Your gut feeling is underestimating how terrible complex the brain is. When thinking about machines, we might think about steam engines, or nowadays' modern computers. That is the thinking behind sayings that consciousness is '...basically just chemistry reactions along a biological substrate that is itself plastic'. No. To say it cryptically: consciousness is basically not basic. It can exist only in very complex structures, how complex we still have to find out. But the basis is the structure, not the substrate.

 

Therefore, if you are looking for consciousness, do not look at basic physical or chemical laws: look for complex structures!

 

And I really do regard the Dennett book as a superb "first read" for someone about to launch into a study of artificial intelligence, prior to diving into the technical details of the various techniques he gives a high-level description of. But for my own interest in the matter I wound up finding myself in that camp of people who feel that the book's title should really have been Consciousness Explained Away.

 

You always avoided to answer one of my main questions to you: what form could a possible explanation of consciousness have, that you would really call it an explanation?

 

Two thoughts to that:

  1. Would you ever accept an explanation that somehow makes the step from something not conscious, to something that is conscious? If not, the only way out seems to be 'reality is fundamentally conscious' as basic proposition. No explanation possible. (Or become religious, or believe in a soul: which is more or less the same as 'No explanation possible')
  2. The concept of 'explanation' implies that something can be explained to others. But that is a 3rd person viewpoint. How can a 3rd person explanation explain 1st person awareness?

My conclusion is clear: your road to understanding consciousness is a dead end. To say it pretty bold: it is your gut feeling against my arguments (and of many others, of course...).

 

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Awareness is the capability of a system to universally anticipate possible events and how its own actions might affect them. It is also capable to reflect on its own inner states.

 

Every system that shows it has such capabilities, is conscious.

I don't know of any system ( or person ) which can universally anticipate possible events.

Given that incapability, isn't a microprocessor based central heating system which reports internal faults aware and conscious by your definition?

 

 

Infinite regression is the real problem in trying to analyze consciousness.

 

e.g. if you introspectively analyze your own consciousness, is it possible to include that aspect of your consciousness which is aware of your self analysis?

If not, self awareness is not subject to your analysis.

If yes, it should be possible to include awareness of self analysis, awareness of awareness of self analysis, awareness of awareness of awareness of self analysis,.....

 

Consciousness will be explained by neurology and cognitive science. Its explanation will be based on a functional analysis, not on the accidental stuff that implements these structures.

Note the impersonal explanation; implicitly the explanation is for an observer which is assumed to have no consciousness.

 

Otherwise, the observer has the infinite regress problem of explaining how (s)he is aware/conscious of the explanation of consciousness.

 

It is possible in principle to find quite accurate correlations between brain activity etc and consciousness but there is only a qualitative difference between that and sticking a pin in someone and saying 'I am aware that you are conscious of pain.'

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You always avoided to answer one of my main questions to you: what form could a possible explanation of consciousness have, that you would really call it an explanation?

 

I didn't mean to avoid anything - I'm just not sure what my answer would be. I think if I knew that I wouldn't have the hard time that I do have with the idea of emergence. When I think of a computer, I think of transistors connected in an array of some kind. I think of each transistor as just "transistor-ing." None of them do anything other than just that, no matter how sophisticated the overall architecture is. So I'm left with no idea at all of how awareness would ever enter in.

 

You may be right - there may just be "no explanation possible." One of the things you suggested (awareness present at the lowest levels, to some extent, or whatever) may in fact be the right answer, and that may just make the whole thing unreachable by science. At the same time, though, I'm not just totally closed-minded to the idea that some argument could change my mind, and to whatever extent candidate arguments are out there I'd like to read up on them.

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I don't know of any system ( or person ) which can universally anticipate possible events.

Given that incapability, isn't a microprocessor based central heating system which reports internal faults aware and conscious by your definition?

 

Good point. I was aware (!) that I am a bit vague with 'universal'. What I do not mean is all-knowing. What I do mean goes in the direction that the world of an 'universal anticipator' is not artificially limited, which is, I assume, the same as that there is no principal limit to what we can learn. Now of course there are chess programs that can learn, but this capability is limited to an artificial limited world.

 

So no, the central heating system is not aware. It just has sensors for the faults it can report, and that is not an inner state.

 

Infinite regression is the real problem in trying to analyze consciousness.

 

e.g. if you introspectively analyze your own consciousness, is it possible to include that aspect of your consciousness which is aware of your self analysis?

If not, self awareness is not subject to your analysis.

If yes, it should be possible to include awareness of self analysis, awareness of awareness of self analysis, awareness of awareness of awareness of self analysis,.....

 

You do as if consciousness for inner states is the same as for objects I observe through the senses, in other words, that the 'awareness of a sensation' is in itself again a sensation. I do not believe that. Try it out. If I look at my computer mouse, I am aware of something black. I am also aware that I am aware of something that is black. But for me it stops there. What you really describe is just a logical construction, that does not occur in the mind.

 

Note the impersonal explanation; implicitly the explanation is for an observer which is assumed to have no consciousness.

 

I do not understand what you mean here.

 

It is possible in principle to find quite accurate correlations between brain activity etc and consciousness but there is only a qualitative difference between that and sticking a pin in someone and saying 'I am aware that you are conscious of pain.'

 

If I say 'I am aware that you are conscious of pain' I am not reporting that I am in pain. That another person is in pain is not a report of an inner state of mine.

 

But maybe I did not get your point.

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If I say 'I am aware that you are conscious of pain' I am not reporting that I am in pain. That another person is in pain is not a report of an inner state of mine.

It actually is reflective of your inner state if you're aware of it

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It actually is reflective of your inner state if you're aware of it

 

Of course, but we have to distinguish what these inner states are:

  • For the person having the pain it is the pain itself
  • For the observer it is seeing (and hearing?) that a person reports pain
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Of course, but we have to distinguish what these inner states are:

 

  • For the person having the pain it is the pain itself
  • For the observer it is seeing (and hearing?) that a person reports pain
False dichotomy. Studies show we actually feel it ourselves.

We've learned a lot since then, but here's a write up on this exact topic from almost a decade ago: http://scienceblogs.com/neurophilosophy/2009/12/17/feeling-the-pain-of-others/

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False dichotomy. Studies show we actually feel it ourselves.

We've learned a lot since then, but here's a write up on this exact topic from almost a decade ago: http://scienceblogs.com/neurophilosophy/2009/12/17/feeling-the-pain-of-others/

 

That's fascinating. I absolutely love supernatural fiction (books, movies, TV shows, whatever), and often it's very dark. One of my favorite reads was Stephen King's Dark Tower series. I recommended it to my wife, who has always described herself as a "hyper sensitive" person. She didn't make it through the first book - there's a particularly dark episode in there and she just couldn't get through it. That article you just linked implies that different individuals amongst us can have not only reactions of different degrees to such things, but also of entirely different types.

 

Wow.

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False dichotomy. Studies show we actually feel it ourselves.

We've learned a lot since then, but here's a write up on this exact topic from almost a decade ago: http://scienceblogs.com/neurophilosophy/2009/12/17/feeling-the-pain-of-others/

 

No, the dichotomy is not false. The 'we' according to the article applies to 1/3 of the people, 2/3 obviously do not have this. And further the way you present it suggests that the kind of pain the injured and the observers feel is exactly the same. Were that the case they would not be able to distinguish pain inflicted on directly on them, or on others. I very much doubt that is the case.

 

But of course, it is an interesting phenomenon.

 

With your background in neurology, you might be able to answer the main question of KipIngram: how to explain awareness (the feeling of having experiences yourself) scientifically.

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Infinite regression is the real problem in trying to analyze consciousness.

 

e.g. if you introspectively analyze your own consciousness, is it possible to include that aspect of your consciousness which is aware of your self analysis?

If not, self awareness is not subject to your analysis.

If yes, it should be possible to include awareness of self analysis, awareness of awareness of self analysis, awareness of awareness of awareness of self analysis,.....

 

Note the impersonal explanation; implicitly the explanation is for an observer which is assumed to have no consciousness.

 

Otherwise, the observer has the infinite regress problem of explaining how (s)he is aware/conscious of the explanation of consciousness.

You do as if consciousness for inner states is the same as for objects I observe through the senses, in other words, that the 'awareness of a sensation' is in itself again a sensation. I do not believe that. Try it out. If I look at my computer mouse, I am aware of something black. I am also aware that I am aware of something that is black. But for me it stops there. What you really describe is just a logical construction, that does not occur in the mind.

 

What you really describe is just a logical construction, that does not occur in the mind.

How can you discuss a logical construction which does not occur in the/your mind?

You do as if consciousness for inner states is the same as for objects I observe through the senses

Most of what we 'observe' visually is actually a very clever construct in our brains i.e. inner states.

If you blink or shut your eyes while looking at your mouse, you no longer observe it through the senses and are only conscious of it in inner states, but I doubt your consciousness significantly changes.

Shouldn't "I am also aware that I am aware of something that is black" be

"a logical construction, that does not occur in the mind, is also aware that I am aware of something that is black"

or "there is an undefined awareness that I am aware of something that is black"

I prefer infinite regression.

[Carrock claims] 'awareness of a sensation' is in itself again a sensation

No. You can't experience a sensation without being aware of it.

e.g. if someone lightly touches me on the arm to get my attention when I'm busy, I may not notice and may later believe no one touched me.

If the person persists, I may become aware/conscious of not only the later touch, but also of earlier touches which were retained for a time in unconscious memory.

 

I do not understand what you mean here.

 

It is possible in principle to find quite accurate correlations between brain activity etc and consciousness but there is only a qualitative difference between that and sticking a pin in someone and saying 'I am aware that you are conscious of pain.'

If I say 'I am aware that you are conscious of pain' I am not reporting that I am in pain. That another person is in pain is not a report of an inner state of mine.

 

But maybe I did not get your point.

 

My error: I missed out some essentials.

I've tried updating it but soon realized it wasn't useful.

 

 

I've only responded to Eise as their are a lot of partial overlaps of concepts in this thread.

 

 

A very brief summary of my views: consciousness has strong evolutionary advantages for humans and at least some other animals.

It's not fully susceptible to scientific or philosophical analysis because they both implicitly regard consciousness as axiomatic.

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