The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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RG1
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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by RG1 » Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:01 pm

Ginkgo wrote:Then you are probably a Indirect Realist.
Ginkgo, let me respond with a quote from one of my all-time favorite philosphers... "I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam." ― Popeye

Ginkgo
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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by Ginkgo » Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:17 am

RG1 wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:Then you are probably a Indirect Realist.
Ginkgo, let me respond with a quote from one of my all-time favorite philosphers... "I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam." ― Popeye
That wasn't Popeye, it was Descartes... "I think therefore I yam"

Greylorn Ell
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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by Greylorn Ell » Mon Aug 17, 2015 1:11 am

Graeme M wrote:I recently began tackling the question of mind and how it arises from the brain. I'm always pressed for free time but have made a start reading articles on the web. My first serious book on the subject is Consciousness Explained by Daniel Dennett.

Given my relatively early stage of understanding about the consciousness question, I've found Dennett's book tough going. In particular, I'm struggling with what appears to me a central dichotomy of definition. I'm hoping someone can clarify for me.

Dennett presents his Multiple Drafts model in which he argues against what he terms the Cartesian Theatre - the idea that there is some central stage or place where the outcomes of experience arise in a comprehensible form for consciousness to observe. He suggests that events in the brain are spatially and temporally smeared across the neural substrates concerned and only when a probe occurs does a particular event arise to the level of consciousness.

While I follow that, I don't see exactly how he can argue there is no privileged internal observer and yet have mental events visible in consciousness. Consciousness itself must be that privileged observer else we should not have any conscious awareness of our experiences, or so it seems to me.

Clearly I misunderstand what he means.

To explain a little more clearly, his current approximation is what he calls Fame in the Brain. Events in the brain play out and multiple 'drafts' of experience are prepared, but it is only when a proble occurs (ie the focus of attention is placed on an aspect of the experiential stream) that a particular draft becomes elevated in priority such that it modifies behaviour and leaves its traces in memory.

Yet clearly the observed or consciously experienced draft is observed by some thing. Even if this does not happen immediately and depends on memory fixation of behavioural responses, surely it still implies a central observer. If there is NO observer to form the narrative explanation of those events, then there is no ME.

Similarly I do not see how only events that rise to conscious awareness and thence memory are reportable. We act in many ways without conscious thought - for example during an animated discussion over dinner I reach for the salt. My focus is on the discussion and the salt reaching is something of an automatic act, or at least it is an act beneath conscious consideration, and yet I remain aware that I did it. Even if I am not aware that I did it, it was an act of conscious appreciation of my world. Being so inconsequential, or perhaps mundane, the act does not remain in memory for long (it does not achieve 'Fame') yet it cannot have been anything other than a conscious act (or perhaps more exactly an act of consciousness).

It seems to me that much of my everyday life involves events - mental events - that result in behavioural outcomes and yet which are not directly conscious in the form that Dennett is proposing.

Can anyone shed light on where I am going wrong in appreciating Dennett's model?
G.M.

There is one and only one fundamental error in your thinking. It is, that because Dennett has the right academic credentials, a three-digit I.Q., and is somewhat famous among atheist circles, he is right.

Dennett's model sucks, in more respects than those you've noted. It blows off the entire diverse spectrum of paranormal phenomena, for starters. You mistakenly think that you are "going wrong" by finding the flaws in the arguments of a brilliant idiot. You got it right. But don't expect support from the faithful followers of authority figures you'll find on this site.

The only mistake you made was to write, "Clearly I misunderstand what he means." That's horseshit, and I think you know it. You understand Dennett perfectly well. Grow cojones.

Trust your own analysis. It has been put forth by others, notably Rene Descartes himself, Descartes was considerably smarter than Dennett, as demonstrated by his invention of Analytic Geometry and the Cartesian coordinate system, still a useful tool for the analysis of physics problems. By way of contrast, Dennett is conspicuously ignorant of and uneducated in mathematics and physics, despite that unlike Descartes who provided the mathematical underpinnings of modern physics, a rich understanding of physics was there for Dennett's taking. He studied philosophy instead, dooming himself to an irrelevant life.

I'm guessing that you read Dennett before Descartes, rather than in their historical sequence, because you've been programmed to favor atheism. However, Descartes, despite being forced to join the religion of his country or die as another of the Inquisition's victims, was not a Catholic at heart. His belief in "soul" translates into your belief in mind. You might be well advised to treat all religious beliefs exactly like all atheistic beliefs, as complete nonsense.

Why? Because neither have proved their case, and the fundamentals of each are functionally identical. No scientist can verify the existence of God because God is a spirit, beyond the measure of physical instruments. Nor can any scientist verify the existence of the cosmic micropea, singularity, or however the alleged precursor of the universe might be defined in "Cosmology This Month," because it blew up a while back.

Likewise, scientists cannot verify the existence of soul, because religionists have defined it as a "spirit," beyond the reach of physical instruments. But if you take a brief course in neurophysiology you'll find lots of well defined brain sections: cortex, prefrontal cortex, limbic system, amygdala, thalamus-- even Descartes' hypothetical interface to the soul, the pineal gland.

What you will not find is a map of the conscious mind. Nor will you fine the mechanisms responsible for the subconscious or super-conscious minds. You might ask yourself how it happens that the human brain (not monkey, rat, or fruit fly brain) is the only mechanism on the planet which contains no components to implement its primary functions.

My suggestion is that you pursue your curiosity about the nature of mind by studying hard science and ignoring philosophy. Neither field knows jack shit about consciousness, but hard scientists are less inclined to pretend to knowledge they lack. An honest neuroscientist will admit that Wilder Penfield's 1948 experiments can be reproduced but not explained, and that the Sperry/Gazzaniga experiments of the 1960s remain unexplained.

You are as likely to understand Dennett as you are to understand the Pope, because both are teaching ideas based upon childish hypotheses that you know are absurd. Trust your own mind. Compensating for youth and educational programming, you seem competent enough. When you cannot make sense of something, it may be because you lack the background. Or, as is the case more often than anyone wants to admit, you could be trusting authority figures or a brilliant idiot who's trying to bullshit you.

On rare occasions in human history an independently intelligent individual has bowed his head and subtracted his excellent mind in deference to powerful agreement systems. Very rare. This almost never happens. I believe that an obscure and irrelevant math teacher named Galileo made such mistakes-- but then risked his life to undo them.

If you are predisposed towards atheist principles, you might find "The Mind's I," (by Dennett and Hofstadter) an agreeable but more balanced (thanks to Doug) presentation. It is so diverse that it even includes a chapter from one of my books (under my given name).

If you insist upon an entirely atheistic perspective, try Sam Harris' books and many interesting video presentations and debates. If, in a few years you find your questions unresolved, good! Then it will be time to peruse my stuff. You won't be able to ask questions then because, with luck, I'll be dead; but the ideas needed to fully and completely explain human existence, human consciousness, and the beginnings of things are available.

Scott Mayers
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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by Scott Mayers » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:16 am

I don't want to re-engage in the terms as Dennett used in his "Consciousness Explained" since he uses different terms than I do, although I agree with him. The Cartesian Theater as Dennett discusses is too involved to deal with here.

I simplify this by referring to the Gaia Hypothesis that hints at how macro things like the Earth acts as a form of consciousness. Us as individual humans on Earth act as cells do in relative comparison to our biological cells. The cells cannot determine the entity it is a part of as being meaningful from its perspective in kind to how humans cannot perceive the Earth as a living entity akin to consciousness that we experience locally.

As such, I interpret consciousness as a logical construct only.

What distinguishes consciousness as we experience it from all other things in nature is its apparently contradictory state to be able to 'feel' multiple events from various points simultaneously. This is like QM's superposition of matter beyond its simple binary explanation since we can sense way more than merely two points in space through the brain.

An experiment where pendulum clocks lie on the same wall demonstrate how they appear to communicate to each other because in time, they become in sync with one another where the pendulum swings in sync but in opposite directions (their phase). This is binary as in QM too. I can't speak of how multiple clocks on the same wall might behave as I haven't heard of anything regarding this. But I believe that the neurons act in a similar way but extends each neuron's behavior during consciousness like multiple pendulum clocks on the same wall. [See Why Pendulum Clocks Sync Up for an account of this effect and its explanation]

The common factor between both clocks is their logical function of the pendulum. That is, you can change the construction of how the clock appears as long as the pendulums are of the same structure and this still works. Thus, it is this common logical factor, the physical laws that define the pendulum which causes this behavior.

This suggests that with regards to human consciousness, it is something about what is common about the neurons themselves in both its structure and its common activity (a dynamic structure...or procedure) that defines how we are consciously aware of each independent 'feeling' of all neurons in sync with one another. This means that our consciousness is a product of 'feeling' the simultaneous nature of each independent neuron when in sync. The altered phases are the distinct sensations we 'feel'. This simply means that we can say hear out of both ears, both eyes, and all other senses simultaneously. This parallelism differs from a simple core of a CPU in that such a CPU is linearly defined by only being able to do one thing at a time. Multicore systems approach this with one other distinctive difference to biology: that each neuron acts both as a CPU AND yet as a simple gate. As such, each neuron acts 'linear' locally by firing a charge through its axon like a function in math.

Yet to feel all the neurons simultaneously also requires a medium in common, like the wall for the clocks. This is why a set of twins cannot actually 'feel' each other collectively from the vantage point of each twin's level of consciousness even while they may have identical physical neuronal structures.

When surgeons have operated on brains to separate the connections between the two hemispheres (for grand mal epileptic patients) the person develops distinctly two separate consciousnesses. They still share a link through other parts of the body but is like a very big wall separating clocks that still may act in sync but with sufficient interference between them to begin to digress from being in sync.

Thus, consciousness is simply any logically similar elemental construct that acts in sync with one another no matter how far in space they are but requires the additional logical sub-structure of having a common medium of exchange but in different directions. That is, a clock affects the other clock on the wall by informing it (through sound vibrations, for instance) such that one clock communicates itself towards the other clock in equally but opposing directions in the media between them. This is due to Newton's third law in this description.

Ignore all the other concerns about terminology as Dennett uses for this one instead as it simplifies what I believe he means as I interpret consciousness here.

Scott Mayers
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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by Scott Mayers » Mon Aug 17, 2015 2:27 am

Note too that this effect (consciousness) is a logical construct equally valid for anything. For instance, since the structure of the cells of a particular organ like the heart are similar to each other, they 'feel' each other simultaneously in time, but only affect one another through their common extended link or medium between them (by being in contact with one another in the same organ) and in sync but out of phase. This is demonstrated on simpler animals like fish where you can remove the heart and it remains pumping until the individual cells lose the energy to maintain themselves in sync dynamically.

In sync means the cells act in the same way but don't require the activity to be in the same phase. This is how the heart can have different phases within the same structure such that one part of it can be contracting while another part is equally but oppositely retracting.

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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by clueless » Wed Nov 18, 2015 7:04 am

Graeme M wrote:Not sure I can elaborate simply. But here goes. I agree with the notion that all living things are conscious, though for me I'd not accept the idea that exchanging 'information' represents some form of cognition. I suspect that idea is rooted in a quantum view of the universe? I prefer to think more practically I suppose, my personal outlook is that things just are what they are.

My definition of consciousness is merely that a living organism interacts with its environment. To be sure there are additional levels of complexity, but I base this view on the fact that evolution has simply built upon a common base and the chemistry and physics remains the same.

That said, it *seems* to me that there is more than just interaction happening. Take vision. If all I need to do is process visual input in order to interact with my environment, I do not have any need to "see" anything. Why present me with a visual representation? Image processing can go on within neural circuitry and modify behaviour quite happily without the additional overhead of a representation. But there IS a representation and there is something which perceives that.

It's like the monitor analogy above - the representation is simply signals and connections within the circuitry until I intercept that with a mechanism for realisation of that representation as a perceived image.

So something is what it is to perceive and represent it as a somewhat unified coherent analog of the external environment.

In other words, if all I have to do to exist as an organism is receive external stimuli, process them and then react, there is simply no need for a perceived coherent analog.

You've called that awareness, yet for me that does little more than move the problem of perception of this analog to some other conceptual space.

I am not positing a homunculus, but I can't quite get my head around the suggestion that there is not some central perception/direction happening.

That said, I actually do not think that we do anything more elaborate than react to our environment. I don't think we are conscious in the way that most people might imagine.
Most of what you say makes sense to me. Which way is it that you think most people might imagine we are conscious?

Because "we" exist in the form that "we" exist, the visual representation is necessary. Without it, "we" receive no visual information. I'm guessing nature designed it this way because it constitutes an evolutionary advantage somehow. Besides, it enables us to experience information; to respond emotionally to what we see. It enables us to be us.

I enjoyed the dialogue and learned from it Please keep posting.

Greylorn Ell
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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by Greylorn Ell » Thu Nov 19, 2015 3:35 am

clueless wrote:
Graeme M wrote:Not sure I can elaborate simply. But here goes. I agree with the notion that all living things are conscious, though for me I'd not accept the idea that exchanging 'information' represents some form of cognition. I suspect that idea is rooted in a quantum view of the universe? I prefer to think more practically I suppose, my personal outlook is that things just are what they are.

My definition of consciousness is merely that a living organism interacts with its environment. To be sure there are additional levels of complexity, but I base this view on the fact that evolution has simply built upon a common base and the chemistry and physics remains the same.

That said, it *seems* to me that there is more than just interaction happening. Take vision. If all I need to do is process visual input in order to interact with my environment, I do not have any need to "see" anything. Why present me with a visual representation? Image processing can go on within neural circuitry and modify behaviour quite happily without the additional overhead of a representation. But there IS a representation and there is something which perceives that.

It's like the monitor analogy above - the representation is simply signals and connections within the circuitry until I intercept that with a mechanism for realisation of that representation as a perceived image.

So something is what it is to perceive and represent it as a somewhat unified coherent analog of the external environment.

In other words, if all I have to do to exist as an organism is receive external stimuli, process them and then react, there is simply no need for a perceived coherent analog.

You've called that awareness, yet for me that does little more than move the problem of perception of this analog to some other conceptual space.

I am not positing a homunculus, but I can't quite get my head around the suggestion that there is not some central perception/direction happening.

That said, I actually do not think that we do anything more elaborate than react to our environment. I don't think we are conscious in the way that most people might imagine.
Most of what you say makes sense to me. Which way is it that you think most people might imagine we are conscious?

Because "we" exist in the form that "we" exist, the visual representation is necessary. Without it, "we" receive no visual information. I'm guessing nature designed it this way because it constitutes an evolutionary advantage somehow. Besides, it enables us to experience information; to respond emotionally to what we see. It enables us to be us.

I enjoyed the dialogue and learned from it Please keep posting.
Clueless,
Your handle is well chosen. You and GM suffer from the same problem, and will exchange deficient beliefs together, ad infinitum, another pair of pinheaded philosophers who cannot make distinctions.

There is a unique quality possessed by a few humans that even you and GM might share. Human consciousness is not the same thing as the ability of critters to effectively respond to their environment. You both seem to be incapable of making distinctions between intelligent humans and chipmunks. What are you doing on a philosophy forum?

Greylorn

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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by clueless » Wed Nov 25, 2015 2:18 am

Greylorn

I'm currently studying psychology. I hope eventually to be educated enough in that discipline to be able to determine what motivates folks such as you to interfere in the conversations of others and attempt to disparage, discourage, and intimidate them. Such behavior is not very professorial, if you ask me.

I purchased "The Mind's I" several years ago and found it a good read, as they say, and a good re-read as well. At the same time, I also purchased Zukav's "The Dancing Wu Li Masters", Jayne's "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral mind", Miller's "States of Mind", and Watson's "Molecular Biology of the Gene". I likewise found these books fascinating, educational, and entertaining, as, at that time, I was very much interested in the mind from a biological perspective, and in physics and biology in general.

I don't have beliefs. That way, I can avoid deficient ones. I don't even have strong opinions. I try to keep an open mind and avoid trampling on the rights and opinions of others.

I'm inclined to think the "mind" (the brain) has many I's, which take turns, as it were, expressing themselves via the brain's language facility.

Were you to recommend one of your books to/for me, which would it be?

Obvious Leo
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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Nov 25, 2015 3:28 am

Clueless. I would highly recommend the work of Antonio Damasio when it comes to a scholarly analysis of consciousness. His primary field is in neuroscience but he is very well schooled in many of the related disciplines and I also regard him highly as a philosopher. I'm not sure how many books he's written but I have three of them and I'm fairly sure there are a few others. The three I have are all very insightful.

"Descartes Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain"

"Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain"

"Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain"

The last of these works I found particularly helpful for my own work, which is in the field of non-linear dynamic systems theory.

Ignore Greylorn. He sometimes has something useful to say but he's a relentless mystic with the manners of a pig.

clueless
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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by clueless » Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:51 pm

Obvious Leo

Thanks for your recommendations. I assure you they're much appreciated and will be given serious consideration.

As for Non-linear Dynamic Systems Theory: I'll have to look into that; sounds mathy. Does it apply to chaos? Just remember: I equals the cyclic integral of H dotted into dl.

Speaking of loops, has it ever seemed to you that loops are somehow involved in consciousness (its production)? I have in mind the homunculus and the infinite regress "problem" it poses. Can't the problem be eliminated with a loop (some sort of feedback or re-entrance)? The idea of a loop as being fundamentally essential to consciousness occurred to me once long ago.

Speaking of equivalence: Why is it that math relies on it so heavily (is seemingly, if not actually, a language of equivalence); i.e., E=mcc? Consider that units of measurement must always be specified. Without them, the equation is of no practical value. Less precisely, matter, light, and energy are somehow related. Would it help to know that C = RSQ/(L+XZZ-3.14159MYW) where C stands for consiousness and R, S, Q, L, X, Z, M, Y, and W stand for God knows what?

TIME? Is it a river? I spend too much time on TIME.

Can we understand (fathom) the brain through an objective examination of what it does? For one thing, it attempts to communicate. It spends a lot of time in that attempt. It does math. It employs LOGIC. Is comprehension possible in the absence of logic?

I wonder if a true AI system (one involving two computers with a common language by which they can "talk" to each other (communicate) on a voluntary basis) would attempt to communicate with us? Look at what's implied - a desire to communicate; an understanding of what it means to communicate; and recognizing humans as potential participants in a conversation.

The last I read of Edelman, long ago, he was declaring that brains construct their reality. Is he now insisting that non-biological, artificially intelligent "computers" can do the same?

Thanks for your indulgence.

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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by surreptitious57 » Wed Nov 25, 2015 9:21 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:
I would highly recommend the work of Antonio Damasio

Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain
I have this too though have not yet read it but he is very highly regarded as a neuroscientist

And I also have Mind Change by Susan Greenfield and How The Mind Works by Steven Pinker

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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:38 pm

clueless wrote: As for Non-linear Dynamic Systems Theory: I'll have to look into that; sounds mathy. Does it apply to chaos?
It can be very mathy for those who incline that way but my interest in it is as a philosopher of science. Indeed it is all about chaos and the nature of determinism because non-linear determinism is synonymous with self-determinism and self-determinism directly contradicts the Newtonian world on which most of the science of physics is predicated. Indeed it is this flawed understanding of the nature of determinism which explains why the epistemic models of modern physics make no sense.

Consciousness can only be understood in terms of chaotic determinism. Newtonian determinism works OK for our desktop computers but this sort of modelling doesn't work for the way that minds process information. Modern neuroscience is very capable of illustrating this.
clueless wrote:Speaking of loops, has it ever seemed to you that loops are somehow involved in consciousness (its production)? I have in mind the homunculus and the infinite regress "problem" it poses. Can't the problem be eliminated with a loop (some sort of feedback or re-entrance)? The idea of a loop as being fundamentally essential to consciousness occurred to me once long ago.
Causal feedback loops and embedded causal domains are essential to the process of cognition and I can also steer you in the right direction for this. Umberto Maturana and Francisco Varela were a couple of Chilean blokes who founded the "Santiago School" of cognition. This probably represents the mainstream stance in cognitive neuroscience nowadays and it is one of the hottest fields in all of science.
clueless wrote: Speaking of equivalence: Why is it that math relies on it so heavily
Don't get your nuts in a knot about it. Maths is only designed to model a procedure of thought and can make no truth statements about the nature of reality. I don't downplay its importance to science but it's only a language tool and I don't allow maths to define my truths for me.
clueless wrote:TIME? Is it a river? I spend too much time on TIME.
In my philosophy time is exactly what it appears to be, an infinite sequence of moments. However in all fairness I should point out that this is not a view shared by mainstream physics, which is inclined to conflate its map with its territory.
clueless wrote:Can we understand (fathom) the brain through an objective examination of what it does?
This statement is an oxymoron because an objective examination is a logical non-sequitur. It is an inescapable truth that all knowledge is subjective by its very definition.
clueless wrote:Is comprehension possible in the absence of logic?
No.
clueless wrote: The last I read of Edelman, long ago, he was declaring that brains construct their reality. Is he now insisting that non-biological, artificially intelligent "computers" can do the same?
Not yet, and not in the foreseeable future. However the proposition does not fall into the class of events which are physically impossible. However a mind is a loose cannon because it self-programmes its own agenda. Only a misanthropic psychopath would ever risk Armageddon by daring to construct such a thing.

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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by Obvious Leo » Wed Nov 25, 2015 10:46 pm

surreptitious57 wrote:I have this too though have not yet read it but he is very highly regarded as a neuroscientist
Read it, mate, you'll love it. Not only is Damasio regarded as the duck's nuts in neuroscience, he's also a highly accomplished writer and very accessible to the lay reader.

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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by Greylorn Ell » Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:01 am

clueless wrote:Greylorn

I'm currently studying psychology. I hope eventually to be educated enough in that discipline to be able to determine what motivates folks such as you to interfere in the conversations of others and attempt to disparage, discourage, and intimidate them. Such behavior is not very professorial, if you ask me.
Hi there, Clueless.

Since I'm just a well-informed person without a Ph.D to append to either my real name or pseudonym, it is good that you recognize my comments as non-professorial, even though I neither asked you nor particularly care about your assessment.

Nonetheless, my comments got your attention. Whether or not your attention is worth getting is up to you, on a very long term scale that I'll not likely be around to assist. Whatever you might learn from me, learn it quickly or not at all.

You won't learn jack shit by studying a pseudo-science which purports to study a "mind" that it cannot reduce to physical brain components. Ask one of your dumbfuck perfessers to identify the component of the human brain that embodies the mind. No, wait. First study a neuroanatomy textbook. My favorite was Strong & Elwyn's because it covered a large idea-bandwidth, but you probably cannot find that in print these days. So find another. While studying, seek the locus of mind.

You might also study Wilder Penfield's experiments on the brain re: consciousness. Old stuff, never explained.

If you think that you can understand the human mind without also understanding physics, you are deluded. Welcome to the great bulk of the human race.
clueless wrote: I purchased "The Mind's I" several years ago and found it a good read, as they say, and a good re-read as well. At the same time, I also purchased Zukav's "The Dancing Wu Li Masters", Jayne's "The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral mind", Miller's "States of Mind", and Watson's "Molecular Biology of the Gene". I likewise found these books fascinating, educational, and entertaining, as, at that time, I was very much interested in the mind from a biological perspective, and in physics and biology in general.
"The Mind's I" pretty much sucked, IMO. Doug badly misinterpreted my material. He tried to explain that in a private conversation one night in a local tavern, but I think he was bullshitting me. Yet there is hope of sorts for him, but not for Dennet who is more dogmatic in his atheism than any Inquisitor in his fucked up Catholicism. My guess: Dennet was an Inquisitor in a previous life, one of the particularly evil ones.

Your choice of reading material defines the bent of your mind. You strike me as the typical mystic, a nitwit who wants to understand the universe but cannot imagine how a basic physics education might further the process. "Dancing Wu Li Masters?" I'd put that on top of my mystical bullshit book list, if I kept lists. But WTF--- At least you're reading some things. Good sign.
clueless wrote: I don't have beliefs. That way, I can avoid deficient ones. I don't even have strong opinions. I try to keep an open mind and avoid trampling on the rights and opinions of others.
Bullshit. Everyone has beliefs, and yours are shown in your predelictions for study. Nothing wrong with that--- IMO beliefs are important, because they give us a focus for the mind's natural curiosity. Show me a man without beliefs and I'll show you a cretin. But to deny that you have beliefs is just stupid. Why not acknowledge and identify them? If you did that, you might not be driven by them.

That's a scary prospect because it would leave you genuinely open to alternative ideas. I doubt that you are up to it, given your propensity to believe in the principles of a "science" incapable of defining the thing it purports to study.
clueless wrote: I'm inclined to think the "mind" (the brain) has many I's, which take turns, as it were, expressing themselves via the brain's language facility.
That figures.
clueless wrote:Were you to recommend one of your books to/for me, which would it be?
None. Would a competent teacher recommend to a Physics 101a student that he evaluate Big Al's interpretation of Max Planck's initial paper on quantum theory?

Years ago I worked my way through school on a summertime road construction crew. I started by shoveling dirt and wet cement. Later on, I got to drive a shitty old truck that the union teamsters would not touch. Promotion! It came after the shoveling. Do you even know what a shovel is?

Greylorn Ell
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Re: The Cartesian Theatre - What Is It?

Post by Greylorn Ell » Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:24 am

Obvious Leo wrote:Clueless. I would highly recommend the work of Antonio Damasio when it comes to a scholarly analysis of consciousness. His primary field is in neuroscience but he is very well schooled in many of the related disciplines and I also regard him highly as a philosopher. I'm not sure how many books he's written but I have three of them and I'm fairly sure there are a few others. The three I have are all very insightful.

"Descartes Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain"

"Looking for Spinoza: Joy, Sorrow and the Feeling Brain"

"Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain"

The last of these works I found particularly helpful for my own work, which is in the field of non-linear dynamic systems theory.

Ignore Greylorn. He sometimes has something useful to say but he's a relentless mystic with the manners of a pig.
And in return, I could say, Ignore Obvious Leo because he is a relentless purveyor of commonly held scientist beliefs, with the imagination of a pig. Except that pigs are relatively intelligent, according to those who think that studying critters will lead us to an understanding of ourselves.

Thank you for acknowledging that I might offer some useful comments. Why not get a pair of balls and discuss those with me?

Indeed, I'm not conventionally mannered, but I can perform well enough in public to confuse observers. Forums like this are more interesting because I do not need to perform. I can simply offer my ideas and see if anyone finds them interesting.

It's like going fishing, except that when fishing, you only get to catch an animal stupid enough to be caught. Here, I'm fishing for intelligence. It's a hard find.

Pretend for a moment that you are objective. What difference does it make to you, a pretentious asshole, if a useful ideas comes from another pretentious asshole? A useful idea must stand on its own, or fall. The assholes are not relevant to their ideas.

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