Philosophy of Mind

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

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clueless
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by clueless » Sat Dec 05, 2015 7:11 pm

Words fail us. A case in point is the word "instant". My dictionary defines it as: an infinitesimal space of time; especially a point in time separating two states <at the ~ of death>. Here, we have encountered the word "infinitesimal", which my dictionary defines as: taking on values arbitrarily close to, but greater than, zero; also, immeasurably or incalculably small. If we adhere to the aforementioned definition of "instant", we have that a point in time, though incalculably small, is not of zero duration. Actually, except to a mathematician, the phrase "zero duration" is bordering on oxymoron for obvious reasons; there is no event of zero duration. If the instantaneous (at a point in time) magnitude of a time-varying voltage is exactly 50 volts, what is it half a Planck interval later? At what point in the Planck interval was it measured? Does it matter? Here, "point" doesn't refer to an infinitesimal interval; it refers to a stopped clock...putting the brakes on TIME and having a look, which, of course, is not doable.

Obvious Leo
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by Obvious Leo » Sat Dec 05, 2015 8:48 pm

Probably the best way to think of the no-further-divisible Planck interval is as a moment in time which becomes its own next moment. According to E=mcc matter is an emergent construct which has no meaning at the Planck scale so we can think of this interval as having only an energy content which is continually changing at the speed of light and it this process of continual change which encodes for the emergent reality which we observe from the subatomic scale up through an embedded hierarchy of informational complexity. The energy content of the Planck moments encode for electrons, quarks, bosons etc, the behaviour of which collectively encodes for atoms which encode for molecules etc etc in an ascending but embedded hierarchy of complexity which ultimately leads to galaxies, stars, planets, life and mind. This is a self-causal model for reality which simply defines the universe as that which is itself becoming. It's an entirely spontaneous process which needs no organising principle beyond the meta-law of causality.

clueless
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by clueless » Sat Dec 05, 2015 10:29 pm

PAST, PRESENT, AND FUTURE: Are these useful terms? The past is what has happened, we think. You may have some recollection of it. You may see some evidence of it, in a dilapidated barn, for example. The present is what is said to be happening. You may be conscious of it an instant after it happens. Is a minute from now, or a minute ago, included in the present? The future is what might happen, if the universe doesn't come to a halt, which would itself be a happening, and one that no one would recollect. When the future happens, it will have become the present...or the past? The future will keep happening, and the present will keep slipping into the past...or is it that the present will keep happening, the future being as relative to the present as is the past? It's as if the future becomes immediately the past, leaving no room for the present; yet we do somehow have these experiences; this sense of the present. Our experiences leave us changed; bring us cloer to dilapidation; closer to the end of our being. What's the duration of the NOW - one Planck interval? If you're 30 years old, how many Planck intervals have you experienced?

Experience entails exposure to sensible events. Exposure takes time. A capacitor takes time to charge. The voltage across its terminals is a funtion of the interval of time during which current flows through it and the magnitude of the current; hence, the voltage is time and current dependent. The voltage (electromotive force, if you prefer) is measurable. The measurement itself takes time. By the time the voltage has been measured, the actual instantaneous voltage differs. We never know what the voltage is; only what it was by the time we succeeded in measuring it.

The question is, or ought to be, what is the duration of NOW? What will be happening a minute from NOW? What happened a minute ago? IS there a minute from now or a minute ago? Is there a past and a future, or just an eternal NOW? The capacitor voltage is a reflection of its charging history. What we, and all things, are now, is the sum total of all changes which have occurred in us since the beginning of our existence. Each change, regardless of how large or small, takes time. No exposure of less than 1 Planck interval - according to Planck - can result in change.

TIME is an agent of change. At every instant - separated in time from the previous instant by a Planck interval (?) - we are older, along with that event we call "the universe", of which we are an inseparable part.

I say this and yet I somehow know this cannot be correct. Is the past really separate from the present, and in what sense? Aren't past, present, and future just our way of trying to make sense of things?

clueless
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by clueless » Tue Dec 08, 2015 6:34 am

Obvious Leo wrote:Probably the best way to think of the no-further-divisible Planck interval is as a moment in time which becomes its own next moment. According to E=mcc matter is an emergent construct which has no meaning at the Planck scale so we can think of this interval as having only an energy content which is continually changing at the speed of light and it this process of continual change which encodes for the emergent reality which we observe from the subatomic scale up through an embedded hierarchy of informational complexity. The energy content of the Planck moments encode for electrons, bosons etc, the behaviour of which collectively encodes for atoms which encode for molecules etc etc in an ascending but embedded hierarchy of complexity which ultimately leads to galaxies, stars, planets, life and mind. This is a self-causal model for reality which simply defines the universe as that which is itself becoming. It's an entirely spontaneous process which needs no organising principle beyond the meta-law of causality.
Marvelous!

First, allow me to correct and attempt to clarify some of what I've written on the topic to date: Instead of "oscillograph", I should have written "oscillogram". The former is what produces the latter. The "instant" in time (or "point") initially characterized as the "present" of zero duration, should have been characterized as the boundary between the past and the future. A boundary is not a physical entity (is TIME?). Of course, the entire event record displayed by the oscillogram is historical. The terms PAST and FUTURE apply to what occurred BEFORE (to the left of) the point in time of interest (the boundary) and AFTER (to the right of) the point in time of interest respectively. The AFTER picks up where the BEFORE leaves off. There is no gap representing the present. If one were to draw it, with one's imagination, the width of the boundary would be zero.

It's probably the case that what we refer to as the "present" is principally, if not entirely, the immediate past. Even recalling the more "distant" past occurs in the present as above defined. It's probably the case that the brain/mind relies substantially on memory. Instead of memory of things past, we could think of it as memory of things present, with a little stretch of the imagination.

Our state or states of mind/brain (neurons and synapses, etc.) at any "instant" is/are the result of whatever "processing" is going on, which is, itself, concerned with whatever sensory and other information is contained in the data stream/s of the moment (the brief period which constitutes the immediate past).

Zeno and his paradoxes: a man after my own heart.

Do all brains construct the same reality? Is not the brain itself such a construct?

I enjoy reading your thoughts.

Obvious Leo
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by Obvious Leo » Tue Dec 08, 2015 7:10 am

clueless wrote: First, allow me to correct and attempt to clarify some of what I've written on the topic to date: Instead of "oscillograph", I should have written "oscillogram". The former is what produces the latter. The "instant" in time (or "point") initially characterized as the "present" of zero duration, should have been characterized as the boundary between the past and the future. A boundary is not a physical entity (is TIME?). Of course, the entire event record displayed by the oscillogram is historical. The terms PAST and FUTURE apply to what occurred BEFORE (to the left of) the point in time of interest (the boundary) and AFTER (to the right of) the point in time of interest respectively. The AFTER picks up where the BEFORE leaves off. There is no gap representing the present. If one were to draw it, with one's imagination, the width of the boundary would be zero.
If you could only get rid of the zero time interval I'd go along with most of this. The Zeno story is logically flawless so time simply CANNOT be infinitely divisible. However you're right on track with your idea of the moment NOW as existing as a nexus between a no-longer-existent past and a yet-to-be existent future. Obviously this moment NOW must have a minimum but finite duration but it is unobservable because it's changing into its own new moment NOW at the speed of light, so what we actually observe is rather like a live event being projected onto our consciousness on a temporal delay. This nexus point of NOW is indeed the boundary of the universe and it is only on this boundary that reality can be said to exist so in the modern parlance this defines an observation as a holographic projection from this boundary. To put it more poetically it means that we live in the wake of time and It is only our consciousness which reconstructs this dead past into the glorious and complex world of our experience. The REAL universe is that which is continuously re-making itself but this real world always lies tantalisingly beyond our perception.
clueless wrote: It's probably the case that what we refer to as the "present" is principally, if not entirely, the immediate past.
Yes. Because the speed of light is so bloody fast the difference is negligible as far as our everyday experience is concerned but even as you watch a bird flying past your window you are actually watching something which has already occurred in your own past. On the cosmological scale this is far more obvious because you can lie on the grass gazing at a star which actually exploded into non-existence a thousand years ago, but the news of this event hasn't reached you yet.
clueless wrote: Instead of memory of things past, we could think of it as memory of things present, with a little stretch of the imagination.
The important thing to bear in mind about human memory is that it is quite unlike a computer memory. A computer stores its information digitally and reproduces it faithfully on command in the same way every time because it cannot do otherwise. However a human memory is a complete cognitive reconstruction of a dead past every time we recall something and although we might delude ourselves to the contrary it is literally impossible for a mind to reconstruct the same memory in the same way twice.
clueless wrote:Do all brains construct the same reality?
Absolutely not. Not only does your brain construct a reality quite different from mine it even constructs a different reality today than it did yesterday. We call it learning.

clueless
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by clueless » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:52 am

[quote="Obvious Leo"]

If you could only get rid of the zero time interval I'd go along with most of this. The Zeno story is logically flawless so time simply CANNOT be infinitely divisible.

[quote]

Very good!

I think I can make this work by abandoning the "nexus" along with the future and the past. In reality, neither future nor past exists.

I'll go into more detail tomorrow.

clueless
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by clueless » Wed Dec 09, 2015 6:55 am

Apologies. My machine is acting up.

clueless
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by clueless » Thu Dec 10, 2015 2:08 am

Obvious Leo wrote: If you could only get rid of the zero time interval I'd go along with most of this. The Zeno story is logically flawless so time simply CANNOT be infinitely divisible.
If we take into consideration the "processing" time delay that undoubtedly exists between what shows up in consciousness (the percept) and what really occurs "out there", your bird flyby being an apt example, we can understand how the wavefront of advancing time (the true NOW) can lead the perceptual NOW.

As for how the brain reconstructs the past, is the same process applied to specific facts such as telephone numbers?

The brain itself is an event with a finite lifetime.

How do photons avoid bumping into one another? Why do they travel at the speed of light? Do waves have mass?

How do those photons, which comprise the telescope image of stars long extinct, manage to traverse such great distances over such great expanses of time without being rearranged or obliterated? Can we count on the star having been where we now see it? I suppose whatever forces bend the trajectory of one arriving photon would bend them all.

I sometimes signal the extraterrestrials with my flashlight. I'm counting on them being familiar with morse code.

Obvious Leo
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by Obvious Leo » Tue Dec 15, 2015 12:35 pm

clueless wrote:
If we take into consideration the "processing" time delay that undoubtedly exists between what shows up in consciousness (the percept) and what really occurs "out there", your bird flyby being an apt example, we can understand how the wavefront of advancing time (the true NOW) can lead the perceptual NOW.
There are two different delay factors at play in our perception of the bird in flight. The first is simply the physical amount of time it takes for the light information from the bird to reach our retina. Since the speed of light is absurdly fast we can safely say that this time interval is negligible but in the real world negligible is not synonymous with irrelevant so the fact remains that by the time this light information reaches the retina it is already obsolete. The more significant delay factor is the time it takes for the brain to process the light information which the retina has received. We imagine that we see with our eyes but this intuitive assumption is false because in fact we see with our minds. It takes a finite amount of time for the sensory information received by the retina to be processed in such a way that the brain can form the image of "flying bird" and present it to the executive function regions of the pre-frontal cortex as an awareness. This varies a lot but is on average about 200 milliseconds and it's also worth bearing in mind that only the tiniest fraction of all the light information which our eyes receive ever impinges on our awareness at all. We are only aware of what we attend to so our awareness always lags behind reality by a non-trivial temporal margin.
clueless wrote:As for how the brain reconstructs the past, is the same process applied to specific facts such as telephone numbers?
No. The same brain regions are involved but we do not deploy exactly the same neurons in exactly the same way each time we recall a number. That's why we sometimes get it wrong, no matter how well we know it.
clueless wrote:The brain itself is an event with a finite lifetime.
Ain't that the truth. And it's performance starts to drop off as it's use-by date approaches, trust me.
clueless wrote:How do photons avoid bumping into one another?
Good question. As Einstein showed in GR each photon exists solely in its own temporal referential frame but they do collide with each other and this combines their energy content. They can also split in two and produce two daughter photons, each with half the energy content of the parent photon.
clueless wrote:Why do they travel at the speed of light?
Because they cannot do otherwise. That photons travel at the speed of light is a statement of definition.
clueless wrote: Do waves have mass?
A wave is a mathematical construct, not a physical one. It is a heuristic used to describe the behaviour of photons over time and since reality only exists in the moment NOW the wave has no ontological status. The wave models the past.

Thinkinoutloud
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by Thinkinoutloud » Thu Jul 28, 2016 1:15 am

Hey! I think I'm home!

So seems we have a beautiful amazing discussions here!

Time is something I noticed discussed. Like how light is delayed because it does have a speed. Which is 186000 miles per second. And with the BIRD debate, like that one.

I thought a lot about that in my life and came up with a quote. I don't know if anyone said the same thing already but I saw time and existence and past and present like this:

The moment in a picture is the present, the rest is the past"

Tell me please what u think. Hopefully this will get me into your discussions

Thanks. Hope I'm welcomed here

Dalek Prime
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by Dalek Prime » Thu Jul 28, 2016 2:49 am

Thinkinoutloud wrote:Hey! I think I'm home!

So seems we have a beautiful amazing discussions here!

Time is something I noticed discussed. Like how light is delayed because it does have a speed. Which is 186000 miles per second. And with the BIRD debate, like that one.

I thought a lot about that in my life and came up with a quote. I don't know if anyone said the same thing already but I saw time and existence and past and present like this:

The moment in a picture is the present, the rest is the past"

Tell me please what u think. Hopefully this will get me into your discussions

Thanks. Hope I'm welcomed here
The picture is already fading. The light striking the lens is the past.

Random thoughts can be nifty and fun, but that's all they are. And don't accomplish much, if anything. And really, who cares what tense you are experiencing? If there's joy in a past photo or memory to be found, does it matter if it's in the past? The joy is still present.

Thinkinoutloud
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by Thinkinoutloud » Fri Jul 29, 2016 11:02 pm

I like your thinking.

However thoughts are very important. They create windows and doors to a New world. If you have a problem, you brain storm for ideas on a solution. I'm pretty sure that's how things get invented and theories come up.

But refer if the the picture and the quote. What I was trying to do is imagine the the most smallest time that exists. Can time be captured? In a picture for example. I mean u exist in that picture, it seems real and it's a time and a place. But it seems as if time was frozen in a picture. So does time really exist in a picture?

surreptitious57
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by surreptitious57 » Sat Jul 30, 2016 3:17 am

Thinkinoutloud wrote:
What I was trying to do is imagine the the most smallest time that exists. Can time be captured ? In a picture for example. I mean u exist in
that picture it seems real and it is a time and a place. But it seems as if time was frozen in a picture. So does time really exist in a picture ?
A picture or photograph will reference a specific point or place in time that is frozen. However when one sees it one does so in real time
And so while it might not change itself [ ageing notwithstanding ] every time it is seen will be a different point in time [ and spacetime ]

Darkstar
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by Darkstar » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:01 pm

Hi
The shortest possible time was described by one of the forum users back in 2015 but it is also defined in Carlo Rovelli's book 'Reality is not what it seems - the journey into quantum gravity'.

At the Planck interval scale in the theory of quantum gravity the concept and properties of time break down so that there is an equal chance that the future will come before the past and vice versa - so time ceases to exist and can't be measured.

We know that if this theory is true and valid then that is where time disappears.

What we don't know yet is: Is the theory of quantum gravity correct? There are at least two versions of it - maybe more as physicists view to think up new ways of describing it and I always think that this is the fun part where esoteric knowledge and truth shimmer in the cloud of unknowing.

The question is: just how many humans must believe quantum gravity for it to be true without doubt - one clever person? or more?
Given that some people are still wondering how to find Hermes Trismegistus, or why Emanuel Swedenborg rolled in the mud naked and gave out money, we may have to wait a long time for consensus!

Maybe it is better to be William Blake?

Darkstar
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Re: Philosophy of Mind

Post by Darkstar » Mon Jan 02, 2017 5:20 pm

Some people believe that the brain acts like a radio receiver - that consciousness is a 'field' - an external and eternally existing source available for reception by plants and animals provided your 'radio set' is good enough and tuned in. if you are a worm, your radio is not good enough to have a high level of consciousness.

Now that women are opting more and more for C-section births, the brain does not have to go through the birth canal. Maybe we will evolve into large brained creatures that can only be born by C-section and our consciousness will be further enhanced. We will then see the mind of God (or just boring old loop quantum gravity).

or ... hee hee, maybe not!

Do you think that if we ever did obtain a higher level of consciousness we would try to vie with 'God' and make our own universe - and then mess it up like we are messing up this one?

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