Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

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

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Blaggard
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Blaggard » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:15 am

IF consciousness exists outside of our brains and I hasten to add outside of our bodies because we have two brains. Then there aught to be some evidence for it, mysticism is not a very good argument for existence, saying you personally know it, is like saying you once drank a bottle of whiskey and then woke up the next day, covered in some weird sort of ectoplasm from the spirits finding two more empty bottles than your memory can solve. If you have a good solution to a mystery you should probably probe it with logic, at least if you are not too hungover on your opinions; at least probe it before you pass go and prove it and collect £200.

Evidence will always trump opinion, even if you are covered in sick from your imaginative night.

Gee
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Gee » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:26 am

Ginkgo;

If you remember, I stated that my last major attack of MS (multiple sclerosis) caused me to lose half of my vocabulary and to start having trouble learning new terms. So some of the below is just me confirming or translating my understanding of terms.
Ginkgo wrote:If we are trying to to answer questions about the way the world is then we are basically doing metaphysics.

So metaphysics is the study of reality? According to Wiki, philosophy is the study of what we can know and how we know it. According to me, philosophy is the study of that which is real and true, and how we can know this. So it looks to me like philosophy is metaphysics, as it is the study of that which is not yet known. Everything after that would fall to some branch of science.
Ginkgo wrote:In the case of consciousness we might want to know about the types of things that exist as the result of consciousness. For example, emotions and thoughts. This being the case then we would be doing ontology, but not necessarily scientific ontology.
My thought is that life is conscious, as life is our only evidence of consciousness. The difference between life and nonlife is feeling, emotion, thought, and subjectivity. So my thought is that feeling, emotion, thought, and subjectivity all relate to consciousness.

So ontology is classifying, categorizing, and treeing information?
Ginkgo wrote:By "guess" I think Feynman means hypothesis. If the starting point for science is just guesswork then it would be an unknown rather than a known. Nonetheless, I can see what you mean by science starting out with something that is known. Perhaps the scientist could say that he/she has some good reasons for the "guess". Perhaps an educated guess would be a good way of saying it.
We are close to agreement here. Consider math: A person can look at a formula and estimate that the answer is 27, then do the math and find out if the guess is correct or close. This is often referred to as solving for an unknown, but it is not an unknown. We know that the answer will be a number; we just do not know which number. Science is very good at this and works well with knowns.

When science makes it's truly stupendous mistakes, it is because an unknown was not acknowledged or accounted for originally. This unknown should have been represented in the first steps, the premises, upon which the original hypothesis was created. Monism v Dualism is a very good example of this. This debate has been raging for 1,000 years and is unresolvable, because both sides assumed their premises. Religion believes in God and assumes that God is responsible for life; science believes in cause and effect, material/physical causes, and assumes that the body produces consciousness. Almost every theory of consciousness is based on one of these assumed premises, which is why they are not valid. I suspect that religion and science are each about half right and half wrong, and it is because of these assumed premises.

Science needs to either stay out of the study of unknowns, develop some respect for philosophy, or learn how to deal with unknowns.
Ginkgo wrote:
Gee wrote:In philosophy, starting out with a guess or theory is a very good way to end up with hogwash. Philosophy deals with unknowns, so a much stricter rule is necessary when creating a premise. Without a strictly defined valid premise based on observation and/or experience, the philosopher will move into the realm of speculation, imagination, fantasy, and self-serving arrogance. One can not study the unknown using the 'scientific method'. That was my point.
It depends on the type of philosophy you are doing. Your example of observation* for creating a premise sounds like propositional logic ,whereas I think you probably mean postulate or axiom. A postulate is usually a defined starting point upon which a philosophical theory theory can be built. When it comes to a postulate no observation or experience is required because the grounding statement is seen to be self-evidently true. But again, it depends on the type of philosophy you are doing.
Oh. So do you mean when it was 'self-evidently true' that the body quit working and therefore stopped producing consciousness, or when it was 'self-evidently true' that the body lost it's soul? Both of these 'self-evident' truths are based on belief and opinion. So which is more self-evidently true -- the opinions of science or religion? The problem with self-evident truth is that we lie; we lie to ourselves, and we lie to each other, and we often do not even know that we are lying. I suspect this is why Descartes said that we should doubt ourselves, as nothing unknown is really self-evident.

Axioms are usually used in math, math being one of philosophy's first gifts to science.

The reason that I think a philosopher should start out with an observation or experience is because observations and experiences are real. It is much preferred to start with something real than to start with imagination, fantasy, idealism, or opinion -- especially when searching for reality.

Then you must be able to strip, from this observation/experience, as much of your own perspectives, assumptions, biases, opinions, imaginings, and self, in order to know it for what it actually is, instead of what you think it is in relation to you. If you can manage to do this, then you have a possibility of developing a valid premise from this observation/experience.

Science validates it's ideas through testing and proof. Philosophy validates it's ideas through strictly defining it's premises. Philosophy works on the beginnings; science works on the endings; when they work together, they do a good job. This is my opinion.

Gee

Gee
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Gee » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:35 am

Blaggard wrote:IF consciousness exists outside of our brains and I hasten to add outside of our bodies because we have two brains. Then there aught to be some evidence for it, mysticism is not a very good argument for existence, saying you personally know it, is like saying you once drank a bottle of whiskey and then woke up the next day, covered in some weird sort of ectoplasm from the spirits finding two more empty bottles than your memory can solve. If you have a good solution to a mystery you should probably probe it with logic, at least if you are not too hungover on your opinions; at least probe it before you pass go and prove it and collect £200.

Evidence will always trump opinion, even if you are covered in sick from your imaginative night.
Blaggard;

You are certainly going to have to do better than the above if you want me to listen. Your statements are full of opinion and nonsense, and so do not impress me.

I agree that evidence trumps opinion. So tell me, in a single sentence, just exactly what do you think consciousness is?

Gee

Blaggard
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Blaggard » Wed Jan 21, 2015 2:39 am

Evidential not opinion.

Gee
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Gee » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:15 am

Blaggard wrote:Evidential not opinion.
I'm having a little trouble following you. So you think that consciousness is the gun, not why it was used? Like in a murder trial?
where is the logic in this?

Gee

Greylorn;

I have your post in the draft area and will work on it. Expect to post tomorrow. I want a funny hat too, but I am not going to pay rent on it.

Gee

Greylorn Ell
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Greylorn Ell » Wed Jan 21, 2015 4:53 am

Blaggard wrote:IF consciousness exists outside of our brains and I hasten to add outside of our bodies because we have two brains. Then there aught to be some evidence for it, mysticism is not a very good argument for existence, saying you personally know it, is like saying you once drank a bottle of whiskey and then woke up the next day, covered in some weird sort of ectoplasm from the spirits finding two more empty bottles than your memory can solve. If you have a good solution to a mystery you should probably probe it with logic, at least if you are not too hungover on your opinions; at least probe it before you pass go and prove it and collect £200.

Evidence will always trump opinion, even if you are covered in sick from your imaginative night.
Blaggard,

You are correct except re: the number of brains we have. Three, and if you count the cortical hemispheres as two distinct brains, then we have four.

Any solution to a "mystery" must be explored not simply with logic, but also from the perspective of evidence. This is a bitch of a job, and I'd not wish it on anyone, particularly when the subject is as wide ranging as the origin of the universe, human consciousness, and human purpose-- if any. Had I been informed of the scope of the job beforehand, I'd have run the other way.

You could do that. For short-term peace of mind I'd recommend running. But I don't believe that running is in your nature, so get used to a lifetime of unwanted discoveries.

I recall back when I was a devout Catholic, and had the opportunity to read anti-Catholic stuff. I declined to do so, because I did not want my beliefs threatened. Upon entering a university I made it a point to avoid exposing my little mind to anti-Catholic teachings, following the advice of my high school teachers. I had enrolled in an "Honors" program, requiring extra scholastic effort, but did not complete the program and obtain the consequent rewards because I refused to take a philosophy course.

From personal experience I know how a well-programmed brain works. It avoids serious engagement with contradictory beliefs. Christians dismiss non-Christians. Atheists dismiss religionists. I was then very much like you seem to be now, certain of my opinions and beliefs and unwilling to waste the time to consider obviously-false alternatives.

My introduction to alternatives came from thermodynamics, the First Law: Energy cannot be created or destroyed. This simple and consistently demonstrated concept showed me that the omnipotent God in whom I then believed could not have created the universe. The eventual conclusion was that such a God does not exist.

I busted my dumb ass trying to spin the scientific fact, and finally realized that I needed to adjust my beliefs/opinions to align with reality. This was such a relief! Religions often make a thing about surrendering to their beliefs, to faith. Tried it, back when. Surrendering to fact and logic is like returning to an intellectual womb.
______________________________

Obviously you are my nemesis, in that you do not believe in any kind of non-material component that might contribute to human consciousness. You've probably not experienced psi events, as I've done. Your core disbelief in the "spiritual" prevents you from exploring such things.

If that assessment is correct, there would be no point in inviting you to explore your beon-level side, for you are no more ready for such a thing than I was, as a student. It will happen, and I hope that I'm around to say either, "Congratulations," or "Told you so," or both.

I've found that reading material outside the box of one's beliefs is a good thing, for everyone. You are sufficiently intelligent to understand "Darwin's Black Box." I'd be curious as to your thoughts on Behe's objective, science-based ideas. Please do not speed-read his book-- give your mind time to absorb its conceptual ideas, then criticize.

I was originally skeptical of my own ideas, formed back when I was a Catholic. My core ideas seemed rational, but conflicted with my back-then beliefs. I spent ten years of study in fields that I would have preferred to ignore, gradually coming to the realization that Beon Theory explained things that neither religion nor science could. It was difficult to move myself from a complacent believer in a well-respected religion that was practiced globally, and offered me the promise of eternal life in exchange for behaving myself, to an isolated conceptual base that embraced no religion and flirted at the distant edges of conventional science and offered me something that I do not want. It is not fun to remain there, alone.

If you ever choose to make a serious investigation of your beliefs, you will come to understand this.

You can start by calculating the probability for a single, small, 900 base-pair human gene coming into existence by random chance. Yes, natural selection is involved, but it cannot operate until the gene and the protein it codes for actually exist. So, we're looking at the front end of the evolutionary process, exactly as Darwin proposed. He did not have the data necessary to such a calculation. I do not know if probability theory was up to the task back then, but lacking the data, no matter. Today we have the requisite data and the mathematical techniques needed to properly interpret them.

Using simple, basic calculations, I found that the probability for the appearance of a single, small, 900 BP gene is 1.4 x 10exp-542. This is a conservative calculation that does not trouble itself with complications, such as, what happens to a gene's start-stop codes when new base-pairs randomly appear within an established gene?

Can you come up with a calculation that is more favorable to Darwinian concepts?

With luck and an open mind on your end of this, you will eventually see that despite your desire to believe in that which you've been taught (been there!), what you've been taught does not answer the core questions that you have chosen to engage on this forum.

So, why are you posting here? To maintain the science-based dogmas? I doubt it. Others can do a better job of that, and they do not need your services. You might be here to take an occasional opportunity to challenge the dogmas that you've been taught. Maybe. Worth considering?

Greylorn

Greylorn Ell
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Greylorn Ell » Wed Jan 21, 2015 5:10 am

Gee wrote:
Blaggard wrote:Evidential not opinion.
I'm having a little trouble following you. So you think that consciousness is the gun, not why it was used? Like in a murder trial?
where is the logic in this?

Gee

Greylorn;

I have your post in the draft area and will work on it. Expect to post tomorrow. I want a funny hat too, but I am not going to pay rent on it.

Gee
You can have a free hat but must cough up the money for shipping and fondling.

Greylorn

Greylorn Ell
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Greylorn Ell » Wed Jan 21, 2015 6:42 am

Gee wrote: So metaphysics is the study of reality? According to Wiki, philosophy is the study of what we can know and how we know it. According to me, philosophy is the study of that which is real and true, and how we can know this. So it looks to me like philosophy is metaphysics, as it is the study of that which is not yet known. Everything after that would fall to some branch of science.
The term metaphysics came about because the guys who organized Aristotle's faulty teachings about physics placed his ideas about what might have led to his faulty physics, after his mistaken ideas about physics. meta means after.

Had his ideas been competently categorized, they would be called "antephysics." Ante means, in Greek, "before."

Philosophy is as confused as its terminology. It does not depend upon logic. It depends upon convincing authority figures who pretend to use logic, much like religions depend upon similar figures who spin concepts from various scriptures. I've found valid logic in the writings of Descartes and Kant, not much elsewhere.

Its metaphysics is just an opportunity to bullshit about the beginnings without taking the trouble to learn any of the "physics" that forms the root of that word. The writings of a philosopher ignorant of physics are merely masturbatory jerk-offs.

All logic, mathematical or intellectual or geometrical, is dependent upon premises. Philosophers have a knack for choosing absurd premises that are convenient to their final opinions, without seriously examining those premises. Their peers are unqualified to do so. Modern philosophy is about as valid as a group of Republicans, or Democrats, or Communists ganging up to produce their opinions. The field is populated by people who think that they can describe actions and consequences within a universe that they are insufficiently competent to comprehend. They do not know physics, and refuse to learn it.
Gee wrote:Axioms are usually used in math, math being one of philosophy's first gifts to science.
Horseshit. Mathematics and philosophy are not related. Don't believe me? Get on the internet and fire up the requirements for a philosophy major at a typical university. How many mathematical prelims do you find?

There will often be a required course in "logic," that in some universities might even be taught by the mathematics department instead of the philosophy department. These are trivial courses that no mathematician would take unless he was an incompetent dipshit looking for easy courses. A 3-credit "logic" course for philosophers is something that a mathematician could test-out for, without preliminary study.

Mathematicians developed math. Philosophers had nothing to do with it, except by pretending that they understood it and found it useful.

Had Aristotle understood mathematics, or even applied his own "logic," he would not have claimed that heavy objects fell faster than light objects. Many millennia after this great philosopher used "logic" to make such a claim, a scientist, Galileo Gallilei, used Aristotelian logic to show that if heavy objects fell faster, wood would sink in water and iron would float.

He then did something that a jackass philosopher would not have considered doing. He tested his logic, taking time to do so and paying the bills for his experiments, himself.
Gee wrote:The reason that I think a philosopher should start out with an observation or experience is because observations and experiences are real. It is much preferred to start with something real than to start with imagination, fantasy, idealism, or opinion -- especially when searching for reality.
You, like other philosophers, seem to believe that your senses are accurate representations of reality.

You do not see objects. You (and everyone else) can only perceive photons that bounce off of objects. We don't actually see the photons. They come into the eye and trigger chemical reactions in the retina, which cause electrochemical signals to travel into the brain, wherein they are divided, subdivided, and transferred into multiple sections of the brain. Somehow the brain translates these electrochemical signals into data that we and other critters interpret as visual information.

You are confusing a bunch of electrochemical reactions within your brain as "reality." Guess again.
Gee wrote: Science validates it's ideas through testing and proof. Philosophy validates it's ideas through strictly defining it's premises. Philosophy works on the beginnings; science works on the endings; when they work together, they do a good job. This is my opinion.
The truth is, IMO, that philosophy has no effing idea what its premises are. It no longer pays attention to the beginnings-- that job has been taken over by speculative science as displayed on the documentary TV channels, full of talking bobble-heads. Philosophy has strayed from its original course, and is merely a channel for bullshit artists to get advanced degrees, so that they can get paid for teaching more bullshit.

Don't believe me? Find one article on Philosophy Now magazine in the last year that seriously addressed ideas about the beginnings. The only job of philosophers is identical to the job of government bureaucrats. It is to create more jobs for philosophers/bureaucrats.

Greylorn

Ginkgo
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Ginkgo » Wed Jan 21, 2015 1:25 pm

Gee wrote:
If you remember, I stated that my last major attack of MS (multiple sclerosis) caused me to lose half of my vocabulary and to start having trouble learning new terms. So some of the below is just me confirming or translating my understanding of terms.
So metaphysics is the study of reality? According to Wiki, philosophy is the study of what we can know and how we know it. According to me, philosophy is the study of that which is real and true, and how we can know this. So it looks to me like philosophy is metaphysics, as it is the study of that which is not yet known. Everything after that would fall to some branch of science.
First of all I hope you are feeling well.

I guess that's about right, although when it comes to philosophy we can also throw in ethics, logic, political philosophy and perhaps a coupe of other disciplines as well.

Sometimes philosophy is very accurate and at other times is is simply wrong. Monism, substance dualism, property dualism, epiphenomenalism supervenience...they all can't be correct.
Gee wrote:
My thought is that life is conscious, as life is our only evidence of consciousness. The difference between life and nonlife is feeling, emotion, thought, and subjectivity. So my thought is that feeling, emotion, thought, and subjectivity all relate to consciousness.

I'll go along with that.
Gee wrote: So ontology is classifying, categorizing, and treeing information?
Pretty much, although I am not sure what "treeing" means.
Gee wrote:
When science makes it's truly stupendous mistakes, it is because an unknown was not acknowledged or accounted for originally. This unknown should have been represented in the first steps, the premises, upon which the original hypothesis was created. Monism v Dualism is a very good example of this.
Monism and dualism are not really scientific theories. One might be able to argue that monism is the basis for science, but that's about as far as it goes. Dualism is definitely not a scientific theory.
Gee wrote: This debate has been raging for 1,000 years and is unresolvable, because both sides assumed their premises. Religion believes in God and assumes that God is responsible for life; science believes in cause and effect, material/physical causes, and assumes that the body produces consciousness. Almost every theory of consciousness is based on one of these assumed premises, which is why they are not valid. I suspect that religion and science are each about half right and half wrong, and it is because of these assumed premises.
Strictly speaking they are not all based on premises. I was referencing this in an earlier post.

I'll give you an example of a postulate or self-evident truth in philosophy that isn't based on a premise. Descartes famous "I think therefore I am". This is regarded as a self-evident truth because if we are asking questions about the nature of existence then there must be something or someone asking the question. Self-evident truth just means that the postulate in not regarded as being in dispute. It is from this base that Descartes built his theory. Because Descartes was a rationalist he constructed his theory without the need for observations or experience. This type of construction is the basis for rationalism.


Gee wrote:
Axioms are usually used in math, math being one of philosophy's first gifts to science.
Axioms and postulates are pretty much the same but in modern mathematics I think axioms are not longer seen to be self-evidently true. As far as I know anyway.
Gee wrote:
The reason that I think a philosopher should start out with an observation or experience is because observations and experiences are real. It is much preferred to start with something real than to start with imagination, fantasy, idealism, or opinion -- especially when searching for reality.
This is pretty much the empirical position in philosophy.
Gee wrote: Then you must be able to strip, from this observation/experience, as much of your own perspectives, assumptions, biases, opinions, imaginings, and self, in order to know it for what it actually is, instead of what you think it is in relation to you. If you can manage to do this, then you have a possibility of developing a valid premise from this observation/experience.
Again this sounds a lot like empiricism
Gee wrote: Science validates it's ideas through testing and proof. Philosophy validates it's ideas through strictly defining it's premises. Philosophy works on the beginnings; science works on the endings; when they work together, they do a good job. This is my opinion.
As I said it pretty much depends on the type of philosophy you are doing. Basically, if you are doing empiricism then you use premises. Rationalism on the other hands uses postulates. There isn't just one philosophical method.

Wyman
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Wyman » Thu Jan 22, 2015 3:25 pm

You, like other philosophers, seem to believe that your senses are accurate representations of reality.

You do not see objects. You (and everyone else) can only perceive photons that bounce off of objects. We don't actually see the photons. They come into the eye and trigger chemical reactions in the retina, which cause electrochemical signals to travel into the brain, wherein they are divided, subdivided, and transferred into multiple sections of the brain. Somehow the brain translates these electrochemical signals into data that we and other critters interpret as visual information.

You are confusing a bunch of electrochemical reactions within your brain as "reality." Guess again.
Is it a legitimate concern for you (I am asking a sincere question here) whether, given the above, knowledge is even possible? Many philosophers, recognizing the disconnect between what we perceive and what may be 'out there,' get stuck on the question 'How is knowledge possible?'

Gee
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Gee » Thu Jan 22, 2015 4:37 pm

Wyman wrote:
Greylorn wrote:You, like other philosophers, seem to believe that your senses are accurate representations of reality.

You are confusing a bunch of electrochemical reactions within your brain as "reality." Guess again.
Is it a legitimate concern for you (I am asking a sincere question here) whether, given the above, knowledge is even possible? Many philosophers, recognizing the disconnect between what we perceive and what may be 'out there,' get stuck on the question 'How is knowledge possible?'
Wyman;

Don't let Greylorn's mental masturbations fool you. He has little respect for people and almost none for philosophy. He does not give two hoots about knowledge and cares little about reality. He just likes to argue.

What if I told Greylorn that I wanted to purchase 1,000 copies of his book, and that I wanted to pay him with a big box of mud? I could argue that the box, just like money, is only a bunch of photons in reality, so there is no difference. Do you think he would trust his "electrochemical reactions" within his brain and turn down the deal? Or would he accept the mud in payment? This is reality.

We are working our way off topic here.

Gee

Wyman
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Wyman » Thu Jan 22, 2015 5:11 pm

Gee, here is a quote from Hawkin's Book the Grand Design. I don't think it is controversial:
We make models in science, but we also make them in everyday life. Model-dependent realism applies not only to scientific models but also to the conscious and subconscious mental models we all create in order to interpret and understand the everyday world. There is no way to remove the observer—us—from our perception of the world, which is created through our sensory processing and through the way we think and reason. Our perception—and hence the observations upon which our theories are based—is not direct, but rather is shaped by a kind of lens, the interpretive structure of our human brains.
And so the raw data sent to the brain are like a badly pixilated picture with a hole in it. Fortunately, the human brain processes that data, combining the input from both eyes, filling in gaps on the assumption that the visual properties of neighboring locations are similar and interpolating. Moreover, it reads a two-dimensional array of data from the retina and creates from it the impression of three-dimensional space. The brain, in other words, builds a mental picture or model. The brain is so good at model building that if people are fitted with glasses that turn the images in their eyes upside down, their brains, after a time, change the model so that they again see things the right way up. If the glasses are then removed, they see the world upside down for a while, then again adapt. This shows that what one means when one says “I see a chair” is merely that one has used the light scattered by the chair to build a mental image or model of the chair. If the model is upside down, with luck one’s brain will correct it before one tries to sit on the chair.
But Greylorn is also wrong in saying that philosophers do not recognize these things. Plato based much of his philosophy on the division between the appearance of the senses and the underlying reality and how to bridge that gap. As did Descartes and Kant, to name two more.

It pertains to the topic at hand in so far as it describes at least one fundamental attribute of consciousness, which is to interpret and synthesize stimuli into a picture of the world which 'works' - i.e. it allows us to distinguish between mud and money and reap the benefits of the latter. If this is 'all' that consciousness is/does (which is a lot), then it is conceivable and probable that some other mechanism besides the brain could perform that same function.

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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Greylorn Ell » Thu Jan 22, 2015 8:58 pm

Wyman wrote:
You, like other philosophers, seem to believe that your senses are accurate representations of reality.

You do not see objects. You (and everyone else) can only perceive photons that bounce off of objects. We don't actually see the photons. They come into the eye and trigger chemical reactions in the retina, which cause electrochemical signals to travel into the brain, wherein they are divided, subdivided, and transferred into multiple sections of the brain. Somehow the brain translates these electrochemical signals into data that we and other critters interpret as visual information.

You are confusing a bunch of electrochemical reactions within your brain as "reality." Guess again.
Is it a legitimate concern for you (I am asking a sincere question here) whether, given the above, knowledge is even possible? Many philosophers, recognizing the disconnect between what we perceive and what may be 'out there,' get stuck on the question 'How is knowledge possible?'
Wyman,

Excellent question, and something I'd not thought about. The short answer is no, and perhaps I should explain that in light of my comment.

I actually operate under the assumption that Beon Theory is valid. It solves many problems that are troublesome in other paradigms; therefore I find it a useful and pragmatic theory.

Way back in Physics 301 I came to realize that all the powerful and effective concepts of that science had been developed via inferences. Despite the vaunted scientific focus on experiments, their interpretation is mostly a matter of inference. Experiments are not necessarily definitive either. Contrary to what physicists promote, a given data set can be interpreted differently under different theories. The history of physics bears truth to this.

Moreover, a considerable amount of evidence to which physics should be paying attention is simply ignored, because it fails to fit current theory.

So what does that have to do with your question? Beon Theory proposes that our universe is pretty much created by entities of limited intelligence who are constrained in all actions by fundamental, natural laws of physics. However, B.T. does not propose that the omnipotent, omniscient God of modern religions exists, or ever existed. Instead, it proposes a natural origin for the creators of our universe.

Beon Theory proposes that the entities who created various components of our universe (except energy, of course, which cannot be created) started life devoid of intelligence, knowledge, and consciousness. It provides a hand-waving description of how they might have gone from absolute unconsciousness to extraordinary knowledge. It would not have been possible without their innate ability to make inferences from limited information.

It is this remarkable ability that gives humans the little bit of intelligence and power that we have. We are continually using inference to make sense of information. Good jokes would not be amusing without this ability, which is not necessarily always available-- perhaps you, like me, have found yourself at the not-getting-it end of a joke?

Understanding requires making sense of information, seeing and interpreting patterns that repeat in space and time. Knowing that my eyes see a focused pattern of electromagnetic waves bounced off the naked body of a beautiful woman does not tell me that the woman does not exist. Knowing that ultimately I'm not even perceiving those waves, but am responding to billions of electrochemical energy transfers between neurons in my brain does not tell me that the e/m waves don't exist.

I know that I exist at some level that has nothing to do with my brain or body; that is the level that I call "beon." Born unconscious and unaware of that existence, my memories track the gradual emergence of consciousness, thanks to the assistance provided by brain and body.

Knowing that my observations of reality are not real merely piques my curiosity to learn, inferentially of course, the core nature of whatever is real.

Ginkgo
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Ginkgo » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:11 pm

Wyman wrote:
But Greylorn is also wrong in saying that philosophers do not recognize these things. Plato based much of his philosophy on the division between the appearance of the senses and the underlying reality and how to bridge that gap. As did Descartes and Kant, to name two more.

As you point out there are a number of different theories of realism. Oddly enough some are not actually theories. Greylorn's reference would be to naive realsm.


Wyman wrote:
It pertains to the topic at hand in so far as it describes at least one fundamental attribute of consciousness, which is to interpret and synthesize stimuli into a picture of the world which 'works' - i.e. it allows us to distinguish between mud and money and reap the benefits of the latter. If this is 'all' that consciousness is/does (which is a lot), then it is conceivable and probable that some other mechanism besides the brain could perform that same function.
Hawking is probably trying to tell us that there are no mind independent categories (Plato). How we reference is determined by the thinker and the types of boundaries we draw. Some boundaries seem to be more fluid than others.

Greylorn Ell
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Re: Proof for Consciousness existing outside our brains

Post by Greylorn Ell » Thu Jan 22, 2015 9:31 pm

Ginkgo wrote: Monism and dualism are not really scientific theories. One might be able to argue that monism is the basis for science, but that's about as far as it goes. Dualism is definitely not a scientific theory.
Aren't terms like "monism" and "dualism" expressions of principles by which a theory might be constructed? In that context, one might question the nature of the principles, and whether they might lead to a scientifically valid construct. If you agree with that, consider this:

Christianity offers a monistic explanation of the beginnings-- one God, creating the universe in acts of will, without any external reason for doing so.

Big Bang theory is likewise monistic-- one "singularity" suddenly exploding, creating all the matter and energy and laws of physics and magical 20-odd essential constants, without any external reason for doing so.

Yet in physics and in life, monistic events do not occur. We live in a cause-effect universe. How then is dualism non-scientific?
Gee wrote: This debate has been raging for 1,000 years and is unresolvable, because both sides assumed their premises. Religion believes in God and assumes that God is responsible for life; science believes in cause and effect, material/physical causes, and assumes that the body produces consciousness. Almost every theory of consciousness is based on one of these assumed premises, which is why they are not valid. I suspect that religion and science are each about half right and half wrong, and it is because of these assumed premises.
With respect to ideas about the beginnings, religion and science are not half-right. They are both completely mistaken.

Greylorn

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