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The Consciousness Question (If such a question really exists)


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11 minutes ago, Genady said:

 I don't know why would they look for more.

Neither do I. But if they thought something was there that could be put on a slide, photographed and submitted as an original paper, believe me, they would.

Not that I think there are lots of MRI images of frogs and sparrows on file.... rats, maybe. 

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On 4/21/2022 at 9:13 AM, geordief said:

Yes perhaps we could coin the phrases "objective consciousness " and "subjective consciousness " (if they are not already in use)?

https://www.diamondapproach.org/glossary/refinery_phrases/objective-consciousness

You are joyful, you are kind, you are energetic, you are determined, you’re clear, you’re awake, you’re completely absorbed in your experience, you’re peaceful. All these qualities are present together in the objective level, as the diamond consciousness, or the objective consciousness. 

https://ndpr.nd.edu/reviews/subjective-consciousness-a-self-representational-theory/#:~:text=Subjective character is that feature,which the subject is aware.

 Subjective character is that feature of a conscious state by virtue of which there is something it is like for the subject. But being “for the subject”, according to Kriegel, means being something of which the subject is aware.

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The rabbit hole of the soft sciences!!!

Simply and elegantly put, (imvho of course!) consciousness is defined as a state of  awareness and responsiveness to one's surroundings."

 

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23 hours ago, Peterkin said:

Which, of course, leaves open the next big question. What's "a mind"? At what point in the evolutionary time-line of a modern organism that clearly does 'have' a mind (possession is another problematic concept here) - let's say, rather: that clearly does exhibits some or all of the characteristic functions of minds: desire, intention, volition, memory, curiosity, pattern formation, problem solving, purposeful action... not sure there is any consensus on emotion, sociability and communication... At what stage or bifurcation or documented mutation did a mindless awareness become a mindful one? What is the adaptation or modification which shows that Organism X has/had a mind, while its recent forebears,  Organisms W(m) and W(f), had none?    

Forgive this delayed response but there is a definition for "mind".  Mind is the environment of cognitive activity within a brain, which arises from that brain's functional matrix.  That matrix involves a brain's capacity to integrate dicotomous sensory stimuli with its memory functions to produce behaviors independent of an organism's instinct.  In essence, an organism has a mind when its behaviors suggest a thought process--a process that allows an organism to engage behaviors contrary to its instinctive nature.

To produce a mind, an organism must demostrate a capacity to experience stimuli and an associative capacity to store and recall the affects of that stimuli.  This is more about the science of brain function that philosophy.     

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1 hour ago, DrmDoc said:

This is more about the science of brain function that philosophy. 

So it is!

9 hours ago, Genady said:

I think it belongs rather to biology than philosophy forum. 

Been suggested already.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)
On 4/22/2022 at 9:53 PM, beecee said:

https://www.diamondapproach.org/glossary/refinery_phrases/objective-consciousness

You are joyful, you are kind, you are energetic, you are determined, you’re clear, you’re awake, you’re completely absorbed in your experience, you’re peaceful. All these qualities are present together in the objective level, as the diamond consciousness, or the objective consciousness. 

https://ndpr.nd.edu/reviews/subjective-consciousness-a-self-representational-theory/#:~:text=Subjective character is that feature,which the subject is aware.

 Subjective character is that feature of a conscious state by virtue of which there is something it is like for the subject. But being “for the subject”, according to Kriegel, means being something of which the subject is aware.

::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

The rabbit hole of the soft sciences!!!

Simply and elegantly put, (imvho of course!) consciousness is defined as a state of  awareness and responsiveness to one's surroundings."

seems geordief has been outGurdjieffed

http://theslenderthread.org/art-and-consciousness/

 

 

Edited by geordief
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On 4/19/2022 at 7:45 AM, geordief said:

"Is there any kind of a test (perhaps along the lines of the Turing test) that we could administer to a sentient creature (or a machine) that would allow us to define or determine whether or not the said subject was actually  conscious?

Until there is a definition for "consciousness" we will not be able to study it or even understand whether it must be "self-aware".  Then this begs the question of what is self awareness.  A cardinal has been flying into the rear view mirror of my parked car for days now.  Does this mean she's self aware?  Was the male cardinal conscious when it stabilized a hosta stem loaded with seeds while his mate gorged a few seasons back?  

Any definition of consciousness that excludes living things will prove a failure to its study.  Any definition of "self awareness" that applies only to humans will have no usefulness except to humans and it will provide no knowledge of consciousness.  

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2 hours ago, cladking said:

A cardinal has been flying into the rear view mirror of my parked car for days now.  Does this mean she's self aware? 

It mean you lack sufficient other-awareness to put a bag over the damn mirror!

Self-awareness does not require understanding of artefacts from outside one's natural environment. The natives of the Americas were conscious and self-aware, but gunpowder-unaware.   

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Self-awareness does not require understanding of artefacts from outside one's natural environment.

I would suggest that what we take as "self awareness" is merely a recognition of our own thinking.  But all "thinking" is an abstraction based in language which is the means by which we acquire all our knowledge and the ability to think.  For some unknown (to me) reason the cardinal appears to either be interested in her reflection or in streaking my car under the mirror with her waste.  I seriously doubt she's "thinking" in any terms we would recognize.  To understand her consciousness we must either learn the nature of consciousness or quit "thinking" in terms of self awareness or consciousness being something uniquely human.  

It is to be presumed cardinals have an exceedingly simple language based on their behavior.  Yes, they have highly complex and "intelligent" behavior but they don't attend school or read books.  They don't understand abstractions or form committees to study their problems.  

 

It seems there must be something far more fundamental to consciousness than self awareness; even more fundamental than thought or abstractions.  

I don't believe there is such a thing as "man made" so it follows that there is nothing in a cardinal's environment that isn't completely natural.  If she weren't trying to torture my mirror there are a dozen other cars within less than half a mile.  

Perhaps she wants me to drive her somewhere but then this is one trick I haven't learned yet.  

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14 minutes ago, cladking said:

To understand her consciousness we must either learn the nature of consciousness or quit "thinking" in terms of self awareness or consciousness being something uniquely human.  

I strongly recommend attempting both. Anthropocentric assumptions have kept us in ignorance about and indifference to everyone else - and pretty soon, there won't be anyone else. 

 

16 minutes ago, cladking said:

I don't believe there is such a thing as "man made"

Really? The existence of a watch proves... what? God?

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Posted (edited)
Quote

I strongly recommend attempting both. Anthropocentric assumptions have kept us in ignorance about and indifference to everyone else - and pretty soon, there won't be anyone else. 

I agree.   

But we can't do the latter until we do the former.  

Quote

Really? The existence of a watch proves... what? 

It merely proves that one species has sufficiently complex language, manual dexterity, and enough understanding to create a new thing of nature; a watch or a rear view mirror.  

Understanding the read out of any of our watches (since the sun dial) is probably too abstract for any animal to understand.  

But the cardinal might understand the mirror as well as most 15 year olds.  

Edited by cladking
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But the cardinal might understand the mirror as well as most 15 year olds.  

She sits on the window about 5" away looking at her reflection for a few seconds then flies into the mirror and then goes straight down to the ground staying only moments.  This is followed by a short flight to the bottom of the hill from whence she returns after about 20 seconds and repeats the process.  He mate usually watches from about 20'  from a vantage on the opposite side of the vehicle and downhill.  He's obviously watching her flight path rather than what seems to be her strange behavior.  

My understanding is cardinals don't necessarily nest in the spring and this spring has been so cold they might not be ready.  

 

I'll try to make a better observation and use some binoculars.  

Whatever she's thinking it's definitely the mirror that is fundamental since I've seen her flying into another one.  

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17 hours ago, cladking said:

I would suggest that what we take as "self awareness" is merely a recognition of our own thinking. 

I don't think that is a definition of self-awareness, let alone the comprehensive definition. This is not exactly a new subject for conjecture and discussion, a great many definitions have been proposed (for which I'm unable to go hunting right now.), some more satisfactory than others. 

17 hours ago, cladking said:

But all "thinking" is an abstraction based in language which is the means by which we acquire all our knowledge and the ability to think. 

Sez who?

1 hour ago, cladking said:

It merely proves that one species has sufficiently complex language, manual dexterity, and enough understanding to create a new thing of nature; a watch or a rear view mirror.  

You mean man-made objects?

1 hour ago, cladking said:

But the cardinal might understand the mirror as well as most 15 year olds.  

Why? For a 15-year-old modern, urban human, mirrors have been a standard fixture of their environment for at least 14 years. For a 15-year-old native of the remote Andes, mirrors may be entirely unknown. They may be surprised and delighted by a mirror, or terrified of it, but the substance and function of it can be explained to them. They also have a considerably larger brain than the average cardinal. 

I'm not sure why you're so concerned about this cardinal behaviour. It sounds to me more like something a male would do than a female; I have to cover my mirrors in springtime from robins and redwings. They see a reflection and take it for another member of their species who is invading their territory and must be driven off - particularly if it's near their nesting site. The motivation and the behaviour are clear and logical in terms of bird life, but the artifact has no significance in terms of bird culture.

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Posted (edited)
On 5/6/2022 at 2:11 PM, Peterkin said:

 

I'm not sure why you're so concerned about this cardinal behaviour. It sounds to me more like something a male would do than a female; I have to cover my mirrors in springtime from robins and redwings. They see a reflection and take it for another member of their species who is invading their territory and must be driven off - particularly if it's near their nesting site. The motivation and the behaviour are clear and logical in terms of bird life, but the artifact has no significance in terms of bird culture.

Ask a child why a mirror reverses left and right but not up and down.  

An animal that recognizes the existence of itself in a reflective surface will know "instinctively" the nature of a refection.

I've come up with a few possible hypotheses for why at least three species of birds fly into mirrors, but only one seems very possible at this time; they are trying to teach themselves how to hover better and, quite possibly, so they can defend a territory.  I'll be trying a few experiments and observations to try to support or deny the possibility. 

The point here, though is that "consciousness" exists and underlies everything from beaver fisheries to, perhaps, even pyramid construction.  Why do ants leave a pile of sand around their entrances?   Calling things "instinct" is not a solution to understanding how animals and humans think and behave.   

Edited by cladking
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19 minutes ago, cladking said:

Ask a child why a mirror reverses left and right but not up and down.  

An animal that recognizes the existence of itself in a reflective surface will know "instinctively" the nature of a refection.

I've come up with a few possible hypotheses for why at least three species of birds fly into mirrors, but only one seems very possible at this time; they are trying to teach themselves how to hover better and, quite possibly, so they can defend a territory.  I'll be trying a few experiments and observations to try to support or deny the possibility. 

The point here, though is that "consciousness" exists and underlies everything from beaver fisheries to, perhaps, even pyramid construction.  Why do ants leave a pile of sand around their entrances?   Calling things "instinct" is not a solution to understanding how animals and humans think and behave.   

I don't know what it has to do with consciousness: Top Tips to Stop Birds From Attacking Their Reflections | Lyric Wild Bird Food (lyricbirdfood.com)

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, cladking said:

I've come up with a few possible hypotheses for why at least three species of birds fly into mirrors,

I already told you this:

Quote

When they see their own reflection in your window, they assume they’re seeing a competitor and attack the image. The species most likely to do this are those that nest close to houses, such as American Robins, Northern Cardinals, bluebirds, California Towhees, Chipping Sparrows, and Song Sparrows. Both males and females engage in this.https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/a-bird-keeps-flying-into-my-window-or-car-mirror-on-purpose-what-should-i-do/

 

Budgies and parrots often like to have a mirror in their cage - they do seem to understand that it's their own reflection, because they'll posture at it - what seems like the  equivalent of a small child pulling faces.

 

35 minutes ago, cladking said:

Ask a child why a mirror reverses left and right but not up and down.  

 Why? They won't know until they study science in school.  How would a child's understanding of mirrors - which varies by age and experience of child; don't try in on the Rumanian orphans! - shed any light on consciousness?

 

35 minutes ago, cladking said:

An animal that recognizes the existence of itself in a reflective surface will know "instinctively" the nature of a refection.

Which animal? How do you it's recognizing itself? Kittens usually think it's another cat and either threaten it or try to play with it. They sidle up close to the reflection, go around and try to look behind the mirror (because house-cats are familiar with windows) After about six months of age, most cats, introduced to a mirror for the first time take a cursory look, front and back, and then ignore the reflection: it's nothing to do with them. Dogs generally take no interest after the first sniff: it's nothing to do with them. Neither cats nor dogs are as vision-dominant as we are; birds are much more so. 

Mirrors may be utterly mesmerizing to you and other humans, but they're not much use to animals.   

 

35 minutes ago, cladking said:

he point here, though is that "consciousness" exists and underlies everything from beaver fisheries to, perhaps, even pyramid construction.  Why do ants leave a pile of sand around their entrances?   Calling things "instinct" is not a solution to understanding how animals and humans think and behave.   

Pyramid construction? Calling instinct instinct takes nothing away from the awareness or deliberate thought processes of anybody. Human have consciousness, awareness, instincts and cognition - as do most other animals. Instinct and reasoning have their separate functions in different kinds of life. 

Edited by Peterkin
misplaced quote
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  • 3 weeks later...
10 hours ago, Willem F Esterhuyse said:

I have seen a mathematical definition of consciousness somewhere online.

Are you sure?

10 hours ago, Willem F Esterhuyse said:

Although I can't criticize it.

Sure you can.

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On 5/12/2022 at 4:13 PM, cladking said:

The point here, though is that "consciousness" exists and underlies everything from beaver fisheries to, perhaps, even pyramid construction.  Why do ants leave a pile of sand around their entrances?   Calling things "instinct" is not a solution to understanding how animals and humans think and behave.   

You've not really thought this through; an ant doesn't need conscious thought for hive intelligence to work, so an ant colony is intelligent unconsciously.  

3 hours ago, Willem F Esterhuyse said:

A good test would be to see if the person undergoing the test is proficient in working with words like: "listen" instead of "hear" and "see" instead of "look".

What do you think that's a test of?

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Posted (edited)
35 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

ant colony is intelligent unconsciously.

There are no real distinct demarcation lines between conscious and unconscious thought processes  ,are there?Don't they blend into each other?

You can't have unconscious processes without some kind of a conscious process in the background (and vice versa),can you?

 

At the very least,they must "talk to each other"  don't they?

 

Unless I am  quite likely talking rubbish.

Edited by geordief
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5 minutes ago, geordief said:

There are no real distinct demarcation lines between conscious and unconscious thought processes  ,are there?Don't they blend into each other?

You can't have unconscious processes without some kind of a conscious process in the background (and vice versa),can you?

 

At the very least,they must "talk to each other"  don't they?

 

Unless I am  quite likely talking rubbish.

Consciousness exists on a spectrum, so there will be a point, at which, we can say there is none; for instance, I think we can safely say "a pebble isn't conscious but I am", what we can't determine, because we're not them, is where an ant sits on that spectrum.

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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

You've not really thought this through; an ant doesn't need conscious thought for hive intelligence to work, so an ant colony is intelligent unconsciously.  

What do you think that's a test of?

 It is a test of awareness of perceptions and the act of perceiving.

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You've not really thought this through; an ant doesn't need conscious thought for hive intelligence to work, so an ant colony is intelligent unconsciously. 

An army doesn't require individuals to think either but you aren't ever going to be promoted for getting yourself killed following orders.   

I believe humans "think" differently than all other consciousness.  All consciousness arises from the wiring of the "brain" but human brains are programmed by a different type of language that is analog and  symbolic where other consciousness employs digital and representative language.  We perceive thought because it emerges from the way we think.   We act on our "understanding" which is really just our models and beliefs of reality but all other consciousness acts on their knowledge and this knowledge is species wide.  Individuals still think but do not experience thought.  

There is no "hive intelligence" but rather each individual acting and working in tandem create that which has served their needs ibn the past.  This action isn't really "instinct" but it is a product of language which is hard wired into the "brain" and usually into the genes as well.  Just like in humans every individual is thinking but more of the time animals are being carried along by their programming.  

Every new invention of termites or bees was invented by an individual and then communicated to the rest of the hive.  

 

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