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Instinct vs Consciousness


Ten oz
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If we accept/presume all living things are conscious, then most people implicitly accept degrees of consciousness. [Most] people think nothing of squashing the life out of a mosquito, whereas [most] people would not squash the life out of another person.

True but is that conditioning or because those things we squash are not conscious and we inherently know that?

 

Inherently knowing about consciousness is conditioning of consciousness. This is not to say some conscious creature -humans included- can not reflexively, i.e. instinctually, squash a mosquito that has bitten them or even alighted on them, without any conscious consideration of the squashee's consciousness. See withdrawal reflex

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Worse in what sense, iNow?

In the sense that your position seems incoherent, your argument forced, and it feels like you're trying to bash a square peg through a round hole... then, your suggestion to improve matters was to try a rectangle instead.
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iNow,

 

Sort of an unspecific finding on your part. Can you specifically mention what is the peg and what is the hole I am forcing it into?

 

Knowing you, I am concerned you are concerned about ascribing consciousness to non-humans. Perhaps even according to Dunning-Kruger you are against allowing anybody to be superior to you in particular. You have certain arguments you have repeated throughout the many years we have both been on this board, and you habitually come out with ad hominem arguments, that portray me, or your adversary as somehow foolish, without mentioning the particular part of my argument, that you find foolish.

 

In this thread, one of the issues is are animals, and even perhaps are plants, conscious, or do they operate on autopilot, building their nest according to wiring, without any conscious involvement. To this, I offered a definition widening solution, where we differentiate between being conscious, and having human consciousness. That is, a Zebra has Zebra consciousness and a human has human consciousness, and that requires that there may be some similarities between Zebras and Humans, that allows both to be conscious, but also allows for differences between the two that would explain why Zebras run in herds, and humans do crossword puzzles.

 

Regards, TAR

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Ten Oz,

 

No, you are right, my statement was too simplistic and did not take into account the various religions and political systems and institutional acceptance that any idea requires. I withdraw it as a general statement of fact, as it obviously is very layered and complex, as to what ideas are accepted and which rejected. However that goes both ways, and it would be equally wrong to consider a brilliant scientist had a valuable idea, when the idea is only valuable or workable to her, and the rest of the world has no particular use for it.

 

 

Ten oz,

 

Well I do have a little logical bind there in the theory, if the TPJ is responsible for consciousness, how does a 2 year old achieve consciousness before the TPJ functionality is operational. Well I am not sure how exactly that works,

 

tar,

I think what iNow is referring to is the way you present quickly refuted concepts as facts or fleshed out ideas only to modify and move the goal posts once confronted. Many times you seem to be attemoting to shift discussion to fit your thoughts rather than to shift your thoughts to meet the realities of the discussion.

 

Considering this is a thread in philosophy it doesn't bother me. As a style of thinking you seem to be the sort which prefers to just exhaust ideas, starting with the ones you like, until something fits. It is normal unusual. However it can become problematic when one become disinterested in solutions once their own fails. Attempting all ideas until something works is only effective when one has the integrity, patience, and humblleness to follow through and attempt all options rather than walking away once their own are failed.

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Ten Oz,

 

Was thinking this morning about your example of life/non-life being a binary thing, as consciousness is in your view. I had incorrectly thought you were binding life to consciousness, and thought perhaps the two conditions should not be bound, but I think now, perhaps there is a connection.

 

There are patterns all over the place. A wisp of smoke creates a meaningful curve as convection currents twist it this way and that...but it, the wisp, makes no effort to maintain its pattern. It is and then it is gone. No children, no identity, no pattern brought to the next wisp. Your example of crystal growth as non-life is interesting to me, because I used it once to explain how perhaps life can come from non-life in stages. A crystal does grow, and repeats its pattern...says this is how reality is going to look right here, right now and it is going to be this shape and this color with this garnet geometry. There is a level of life, that is chemical in nature. Certain patterns of amino acids, repeated in certain order that create a certain specific chemical or positional reality. The complex grows, and maintains itself. Causes a border to form between what is the entity and what is not. But on a certain level, the entity is "trying" to be the entity, at the expense of, or in opposition to, any and all other entities trying to establish themselves. Weeds growing in the garden are "trying" to live, without much evident concern over the life of the petunia or the tomato plant. The pattern is repeated in the offspring of the lifeform. A certain knowledge, of how to be a weed is required for this to happen.

 

Regards, TAR

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Ten Oz,

 

I don't agree with your suggestion that I walk away when an idea of mine fails. I instead, as you correctly state, move the goal posts accordingly. I spent 3 years in my 12 sections of the sphere thread to determine the divisions I proposed were of equal area.

 

In all discussions I take part in, I attempt to fit the various aspects of my understanding of the world into one consistent worldview. That is, whatever I believe, it has to explain religion, politics, scientific evidence, how I feel about my wife, neurochemistry, language and the meaning behind language, and why people get addicted to stuff. It is all one puzzle to me. I do not ever walk away from attempting to solve it.

 

 

Regards, TAR


 

Why?

 

dimreepr,

 

A certain knowledge of how to metabolize sugar must be held within you, or you would not be able to do it.

 

Regards, TAR


A human does not accidentally eat honey. A human does it on purpose.

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Ten Oz,

 

I perhaps think of these discussions more as brainstorming then arguments.

 

It is not important for me to be right, when I am wrong I see it and move on. But it is important to me that I get it right in the end. That is, that we all have it right.

 

Regards, TAR


dimreepr,

 

while no particular snowflake feels responsible for the avalanche, there would not be an avalanche of snow, without particular snowflakes being involved

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dimreepr,

 

while no particular snowflake feels responsible for the avalanche, there would not be an avalanche of snow, without particular snowflakes being involved

 

Are you suggesting the snowflakes conspire to cause an avalanche?

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I am concerned you are concerned about ascribing consciousness to non-humans.

Well, you must not know me as well as you think. It's the opposite, really. I don't believe there's a distinction between humans and non-humans in the way so many people suggest (like you did by offering that there is "consciousness" and "human consciousness" as if they were two different things.

 

The difference IMO is one of degree, not one of type. There is no zebra consciousness or human consciousness... there are just consciousnesses of different magnitudes and vibrancy.

 

Perhaps even according to Dunning-Kruger you are against allowing anybody to be superior to you in particular.

No, not even close. If that's how you perceive me, then I've failed in my communications.
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ridiculous? Except we actually do know how to metabolize sugar. We get hungry, we search out the hive, we get the honey, we eat it, and we metabolize it. All on purpose.

This is chemistry, not knowledge. It truly is ridiculous what you're saying. How can we respond in a way that this becomes more clear to you? What type of example would you like us to provide to highlight this fact in a way that you can comprehend?

 

I don't have to know how to metabolize sugar for it to happen. Infants don't have to know, either, yet they do it, too.

The iron doesn't have to understand oxidation in order to rust, yet it happens because of the underlying physics of the universe.

The salt doesn't need to understand dissolution in order to dissolve into the glass of water, nor the sugar to sweeten the tea.

.

However, your position seems to mandate inanimate objects have such an understanding. It's not just ridiculous, it's a category error.

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Well, you must not know me as well as you think. It's the opposite, really. I don't believe there's a distinction between humans and non-humans in the way so many people suggest (like you did by offering that there is "consciousness" and "human consciousness" as if they were two different things.

 

The difference IMO is one of degree, not one of type. There is no zebra consciousness or human consciousness... there are just consciousnesses of different magnitudes and vibrancy.

 

No, not even close. If that's how you perceive me, then I've failed in my communications.

 

iNow,

 

But Zebra consciousness and human consciousness are different, in that you can put yourself in another person's shoes, but you cannot put yourself in a Zebra's shoes, because you are not a Zebra.

 

Regards, TAR

This is chemistry, not knowledge. It truly is ridiculous what you're saying. How can we respond in a way that this becomes more clear to you? What type of example would you like us to provide to highlight this fact in a way that you can comprehend?

 

I don't have to know how to metabolize sugar for it to happen. Infants don't have to know, either, yet they do it, too.

The iron doesn't have to understand oxidation in order to rust, yet it happens because of the underlying physics of the universe.

The salt doesn't need to understand dissolution in order to dissolve into the glass of water, nor the sugar to sweeten the tea.

.

However, your position seems to mandate inanimate objects have such an understanding. It's not just ridiculous, it's a category error.

 

iNow,

 

What examples must I give you to show you that we also are subject to the laws of physics, and are equally inanimate as all other lumps of chemicals extant. Except for the "spark of life" which has to be not magically or divinely inspired, but something which occurred and is occurring because of the physics of the universe. That is, we have to understand how we pulled ourselves up by our own bootstraps, from inanimate to animate. There is no category error. Life has to come from non-life. We are a lump of chemicals. Particularly arranged to grab life and form and pattern and structure from a universe, otherwise heading toward entropy. We are already victorious, by being alive, by surviving, by being us. There is no shame in being human. It is good.

 

Regards, TAR

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iNow,

 

But Zebra consciousness and human consciousness are different, in that you can put yourself in another person's shoes, but you cannot put yourself in a Zebra's shoes, because you are not a Zebra.

 

Regards, TAR

 

Can you put yourself in the shoes of Stalin (do you imagine you understand his motives)?

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What examples must I give you to show you that we also are subject to the laws of physics, and are equally inanimate as all other lumps of chemicals extant.

No examples required. We do not disagree on this point.

 

There is no category error.

I understand that is your opinion, but my opinion is that you are wrong.
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dimreepr,

 

Well we actually can put ourselves in Stalin's shoes, and determine where he did it differently than he should have.

 

And we can ascribe intentions that are incorrectly ascribed, as I did iNow, just before. But we can still converse with each other, and believe that the other actually has a mind that has intentions and thoughts in it. We can do this with other humans, because we have done it with ourselves, and allow that what our mind seems to be like, is something similar to what is going on in the other. Difficult to do with Zebra. We can make allowances and imagine that if we were a human in a Zebra body, what might we be thinking. But we cannot imagine what a zebra consciousness is actually like, having never been a Zebra. We can put ourselves in the shoes of the creator of the Universe, and imagine what he/she/it is thinking...that is the reason why we, some of us, believe in an anthropomorphic god. Or if we are mathematicians, imagine Pi taken to infinite digits, or if we are physicists, imagine all molecules in the universe obeying a simple gas law, but the exercise is occurring in a finite, chemical brain. Just a bunch of synapses and neurotransmitters and arrangements of cells with different ion concentrations, but that is all we are, and that is everything we are. There again, is no shame in being human. It is something rather central to our existence. We can be no other entity than the one we are.

 

Regards, TAR

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dimreepr,

 

Well we actually can put ourselves in Stalin's shoes, and determine where he did it differently than he should have.

 

And we can ascribe intentions that are incorrectly ascribed, as I did iNow, just before. But we can still converse with each other, and believe that the other actually has a mind that has intentions and thoughts in it. We can do this with other humans, because we have done it with ourselves, and allow that what our mind seems to be like, is something similar to what is going on in the other. Difficult to do with Zebra. We can make allowances and imagine that if we were a human in a Zebra body, what might we be thinking. But we cannot imagine what a zebra consciousness is actually like, having never been a Zebra. We can put ourselves in the shoes of the creator of the Universe, and imagine what he/she/it is thinking...that is the reason why we, some of us, believe in an anthropomorphic god. Or if we are mathematicians, imagine Pi taken to infinite digits, or if we are physicists, imagine all molecules in the universe obeying a simple gas law, but the exercise is occurring in a finite, chemical brain. Just a bunch of synapses and neurotransmitters and arrangements of cells with different ion concentrations, but that is all we are, and that is everything we are. There again, is no shame in being human. It is something rather central to our existence. We can be no other entity than the one we are.

 

Regards, TAR

 

There go the goal posts, where they go no one knows...

 

My post was cross posted with a far more eloquent answer, the one you've just ignored in favour of mine.

 

However, I think it's quite possible to empathise with a different species, over my ability to do so with the extremes of my species. For instance, I have no idea what Stalin and his ilk might be thinking when he commits genocide; whereas I find it quite easy to empathise with my dog's disappointment when I show up displaying all the triggers that would suggest a walk is in the offing but doesn't happen.

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dimreepr,

 

So, in terms of instinct and consciousness, are you suggesting you are closer to your dog in consciousness, while being closer to Stalin in instinct? That is you can put yourself in your dog's shoes, and understand his or her motives and thoughts, more easily than you can put yourself in the shoes of an adversary human, that has your same brain construction?

 

If I may, not to move the goalposts, but to parse in TAR language (me trying to figure out my dopamine theory) it is important to us humans to be right. We get dopamine from having a correct model of the world. When it matches, we like it. We like to align ourselves with other peoples thoughts, and we like it when other people understand our logic and our thinking. We don't like it when others get us wrong. But politically we align ourselves with others that we think, think like us. We have to be actually wrong about what others think, as in it is impossible that all people that voted for Trump think alike, or that all people that voted for Sanders think alike, or that all people that voted for Hillary think alike. In fact it is almost a sure thing that somebody you agree with on climate change you would disagree with on a religious issue.

 

But in terms of the instinct v consciousness idea, it is my feeling that we are closer to Stalin in our consciousness than we are our dog. Even though we understand our dog and not Stalin.

 

Regards, TAR


We are also closer to Stalin than our dog when it comes to instincts.

 

iNow,

 

Your suggestion earlier that consciousness varies in amplitude and vibrancy rather than kind, reminds me of the term "consciousness raising". That is, consciousness determined as a qualitative judgement.

 

Regards, TAR

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times you seem to be attemoting to shift

 

Considering this is a thread in philosophy it doesn't bother me. As a style of thinking you seem to be the sort which prefers to just exhaust ideas, starting with the ones you like, until something fits. It is normal unusual. However it can become problematic when one become disinterested in solutions once their own fails. Attempting all ideas until something works is only effective when one has the integrity, patience, and humblleness to follow through and attempt all options rather than walking away once their own are failed.

Ten Oz,

 

I perhaps think of these discussions more as brainstorming then arguments.

 

It is not important for me to be right, when I am wrong I see it and move on. But it is important to me that I get it right in the end. That is, that we all have it right.

 

Regards, TAR

 

I you read the post again you'll so I clear said considering this is a philosophy thread it doesn't bother me. So I concede this is just brainstorming. That is one of the reasons why no one in here has been hit with negative rep points. This is all just casual spit balling.

 

I don't think life is needed for consciousness. If we define life in the traditional sense of something which reproduces, autonomously moves, consumer, exchanges gases, has a circulatory system, dies, and etc. One day artificial intelligence (AI) may become conscious without meeting any of the other various standards which Generally define life.

 

I think in the OP I should have replaced the animal with mammal. I don't believe all animals are conscious but rather all mammals. Perhaps certain fish or reptiles but I am not sure. I used animal as a catch all but probably shouldn't have.

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Ten Oz,

 

I would think life and consciousness might be more closely aligned than to allow consciousness to arise without life accompanying it.

 

I am particularly thinking of people's conception of heaven. That the consciousness can continue on, once the body has died, or perhaps the AI thought that one's consciousness could be recorded and reestablished in a computer. I am pretty much of the belief that heaven is not a workable plan, as you cannot have pleasure without the dopamine that stopped flowing and affecting how you felt, when you died. How are you going to walk through the gates without legs, see God without eyes, or be in a rapture condition, without the neurons or the neurotransmitters, to make it happen. And if heaven is a state of mind and you don't have a functioning one anymore, where does the consciousness reside. What real thing is having the conscious experience, and what is it that the conscious thing is conscious of.

 

The hopes of transferring your consciousness to a machine that will continue for a lot longer than a human lives, is a hope or thought that many have had, but that is just because we would rather live. survive, be alive, be conscious and happy forever, rather than dying and not having life and consciousness any more.

 

So some have considered Heaven and crossing the Rainbow Bridge and being reunited with the dog you had to put to sleep, and such, but these thoughts are of the same type as hoping for an AI piece of equipment to house your consciousness. The ghost in the machine idea, I think is incorrect. We actually are alive and conscious, and it is not permanent or magical. And the two are not completely separate things that can exist independently.

 

To some extent, on this board, I have seen an illogical downplay of life after death thoughts, when espoused by religious people, and an illogical upholding of wishes and dreams for consciousness to be replaced by technology. I don't think you can have it both ways. Either the soul is bound to the body and stops when the body stops, or there is a reality beyond this life, that we can and will experience when our bodies stop.

 

Personally I don't think heaven makes any sense, but I am sort of hoping that I will be alright, after I die...whatever that might mean.

 

Regards, TAR

Edited by tar
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I think in the OP I should have replaced the animal with mammal. I don't believe all animals are conscious but rather all mammals. Perhaps certain fish or reptiles but I am not sure. I used animal as a catch all but probably shouldn't have.

 

Don't forget birds! And octopii!

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Tar;

 

Thread,

 

I had learned in HS psychology class that humans, outside of perhaps suckling, have no species wide complex unlearned behaviors suitable to be classified as instinctual. Common reflexes and proclivities, sure but no behaviors like building the same shape nest out of the same materials, just because you are a certain species of bird.

 

It has been a long time since you were in high school. Your above statements are hogwash; a prime example of how people will word a question in order to get the answer they want -- "species wide complex unlearned behaviors".

 

If you go to Wiki and look up instincts, you will find that there are people who have identified thousands of human instincts, and people who deny that humans have instincts. How do they do this? By redefining the word instincts to suit their ideas.

 

Religion told us many centuries ago that we were created in God's image and had souls (consciousness), other species did not -- they were just there to fill up the world like furniture. But other species did things that made them look like they were conscious, so we came up with the idea of instincts. (They did these things automatically, without thought, and were not really conscious.) Most people also believed that other life forms did not experience emotion. Thanks to science, we now know that this is hogwash. We have instincts, and other species have consciousness and feeling/emotion.

 

Gee

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