Emergence of self

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

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nonenone
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by nonenone » Tue Feb 10, 2015 10:05 pm

@Ginkgo

I actully mean that it seems to me that it is the way that we got "self" through the evolution. So basically if computers (powerfull enough ones) are artificially subjected to this process, they can get "self" too.

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Rilx
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by Rilx » Sun Feb 15, 2015 9:30 pm

nonenone wrote:for example take these sentences:

1- I saw the boy.
2- Robot saw the boy.
3- the mechanical device saw the boy.

from my experience, i would say that in all three cases you unintentionally will assign some kind of "self" to I, robot and mechanical device. that is because "seeing" needs to be performed by something which has "self".

so i am not particularly seeking what is the meaning of "understating". i assume that when we use some certain verbs (understand, see, feel,...) we presume that they are performed by an object that has "self".

based on that, i assumed that due to survival issue a concept will emerge which is called "self" and when we (as machines) will detect that concept in an object we say that that objects "thinks" "sees" "feels", not "mechanically processes". so the understating, in my view, is as secondary issue. "self" is the prior item.
Hi nonenone,

In my opinion, "self" emerges from entity's relations to the external world. Primary relations concern the entity's physical limits ("body"), thus recognizing its physical existence and identity in the world.

By "understanding" something you relate yourself to that something; e.g. should you flee it, fight it, eat it or mate with it? When you understand something you derive its meaning from the said relations. Actually, "self" is those relations; there exist nothing else to whom they could or needed to be represented.

So "self" emerges - characteristically, not absolutely - from relations between your genotypical body ("nature") and your individual experiences of the world ("nurture"). Consequently it is far from a logical and coherent system. And accordingly, brain in a vat and corresponding machines will never be conscious.

My viewpoint is that consciousness begins to emerge in animals with their ability to move (= change their location) deliberately and behave on purpose. Memory and sense(s) which don't force reactive behavior became also necessary. We learn how to behave in different situations; we learn how to anticipate them; and we even learn how to create them.

Ginkgo
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by Ginkgo » Mon Feb 16, 2015 9:02 am

Wyman wrote:
My description was backwards - the brain 'takes' an image from the retina and works on it. Is this model correct (for discussion purposes, not technically correct science, but consistent with science): The visual field - what we see here and now - is a picture created/manufactured or taken and transformed by the brain/eye and then, if we choose, observed by a different part of the brain.

In other words, can perception be divided into two parts (and be consistent with current science):

1) subconsciously processed picture - i.e. what we see in the present as the retinal image is worked on by various parts of the brain
2) analysis of that picture by the 'conscious' part of the brain


"If we choose, observed by a different part of the brain" It is the idea of "observed" that is the problem. There is nothing that we can determine that does the observing. The science tells us that consciousness is disunified.

http://www.wikipedia/wiki/Cartesian_theater
Wyman wrote:
I'm familiar with the Meditations. But there lies the problem (not the Meditations, but how the higher functions relate to the lower).

I read the first 120 pages of Prinz's book (terrible cover, by the way) and I'm looking forward to the second half where it looks like he gets into the philosophical implications, if any, of his theory.

Here's my problem. I agree that the stimuli goes from the retina to a 'lower' level part of the brain for processing. This is what I have always thought of as the 'subconscious' or 'unconscious' part of perception. At some point, 'consciousness happens.' I also call this 'experience' or 'perception.' Prinz is very interested in finding the physical 'place' in the brain where consciousness occurs. For theory of knowledge, I think philosophers are interested not so much in discovering the location of consciousness in the brain, but the metaphorical 'location' of conscious perception in the hierarchy (if there is one) of thought. However, since Prinz places different 'levels' of of thought in different places in the brain, both inquiries amount to the same thing. (Aside: what if all the areas of the brain with differing functions were just jumbled up in a mishmash? Then, there would still be different levels of processing, just not different physical 'places' - one could easily imagine such a scenario, couldn't they?)

Anyway, Prinz places 'conscious awareness' -perception - at the 'intermediate' level of processing. That is, after pixelated images become 2 1/2 dimension images. I think this is about right. But I was looking for him to relate the higher level processing to that intermediate level and haven't found it yet. That is the difficult part, it seems to me, and that is what relates to the above problem of 'observing' the perception.

The higher functions - object oriented, 3d, abstraction, etc. - must interact with perception in some way. Descartes' model of an inner eye was a description of that interaction. Now, Prinz says that 'attention' is also a necessary condition for consciousness, along with the intermediately processed picture. I have no reason to disagree, especially as he characterizes 'attention' as the opening up of the perception to 'working memory.' To me, however it is characterized (no one wants to be caught dead advocating for the
Cartesian model), placing the percept in an area of the brain to be 'worked on' by the higher level functions while held there by something called 'attention' - is basically vindicating the Cartesian model. The fact that the 'mind's eye' is just a physical part of the brain doesn't really change the model - it's just not the pineal gland.

But I read the first part quickly. Let me know your thoughts on what I have right and what I have wrong.

Sorry Wyman, I forgot to respond.

I think you analogy with Descartes is an interesting one. I guess the difference is that when Descartes talks about an 'interfacing' of mind and consciousness he is really talking about two difference substances. On the other hand, Prinz takes a scientific approach to the problem and sees this 'interface' as physical process occurring within working memory.

So I guess I can appreciate your analogy. Somewhat a different perspective.
Last edited by Ginkgo on Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:23 am, edited 2 times in total.

Ginkgo
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by Ginkgo » Mon Feb 16, 2015 10:21 am

Rilx wrote:
In my opinion, "self" emerges from entity's relations to the external world. Primary relations concern the entity's physical limits ("body"), thus recognizing its physical existence and identity in the world.

By "understanding" something you relate yourself to that something; e.g. should you flee it, fight it, eat it or mate with it? When you understand something you derive its meaning from the said relations. Actually, "self" is those relations; there exist nothing else to whom they could or needed to be represented.

So "self" emerges - characteristically, not absolutely - from relations between your genotypical body ("nature") and your individual experiences of the world ("nurture"). Consequently it is far from a logical and coherent system. And accordingly, brain in a vat and corresponding machines will never be conscious.

My viewpoint is that consciousness begins to emerge in animals with their ability to move (= change their location) deliberately and behave on purpose. Memory and sense(s) which don't force reactive behavior became also necessary. We learn how to behave in different situations; we learn how to anticipate them; and we even learn how to create them.
I think embodied cognition is important for the emergence of the self, but it might be a little more involved. No doubt you have been following my discussion with Wyman and Prinze's theory.

We live in a world where we are continually bombarded with sensory data, and as you point out there is a need on the part of all animals with the capacity to move to recognize objects using sensory information. Comes in handy if we are trying to avoid predators. If we take humans for example we have the capacity to create abstract categories that represent particular objects in the world. A predator viewed from the front should also be viewed as a predator from the side. In other words, a predator should still retain its identity regardless of our perspective. In this instance, abstraction is equal to recognition.

I see Prinz's explanation as being somewhat Platonic. If I get up from the dining room table and move to the lounge I might trip over the coffee table. There is some sort of 'table-ness' that allows me to recognize that both objects are tables. Ii is this "passing through" intermediate levels of awareness that allows me to view the world from a particular perspective...the emergence of the self.

Wyman
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by Wyman » Tue Feb 17, 2015 3:38 pm

Ginkgo wrote:
Sorry Wyman, I forgot to respond.

I think you analogy with Descartes is an interesting one. I guess the difference is that when Descartes talks about an 'interfacing' of mind and consciousness he is really talking about two difference substances. On the other hand, Prinz takes a scientific approach to the problem and sees this 'interface' as physical process occurring within working memory.

So I guess I can appreciate your analogy. Somewhat a different perspective.
Well, I think Descartes' interface would be between mind and corporeal nature (body), rather than mind and consciousness. That is why I see this talk of consciousness as a separate thing from the physical self as going back to Descartes. I take it, however, as an epistemological division, not a metaphysical one.

I have been reading Donald Davidson lately and he argued for abandoning the distinction (epistemological) between conceptual scheme and the outside world - the model whereby the incoming data from the senses is somehow 'organized' or 'categorized' by the brain, consciousness, mind or whatever you want to call it. This would be to throw away the last vestiges of modern philosophy from Descartes to the present. Rorty agreed with him - the difference is, Davidson believed his argument answered the skeptics' questions (the ones involved with consciousness and qualia as intervening things or categories) whereas Rorty thinks he showed the questions just don't make any sense, so they should stop asking them.

I have a hard time buying it, as they deny that propositions are true based on a comparison to the world - which although they deny it continuously, still sounds like idealism to me.

Ginkgo
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by Ginkgo » Wed Feb 18, 2015 10:23 pm

Wyman wrote:
Well, I think Descartes' interface would be between mind and corporeal nature (body), rather than mind and consciousness. That is why I see this talk of consciousness as a separate thing from the physical self as going back to Descartes. I take it, however, as an epistemological division, not a metaphysical one.
Thanks for picking up on that error.
Wyman wrote:
I have been reading Donald Davidson lately and he argued for abandoning the distinction (epistemological) between conceptual scheme and the outside world - the model whereby the incoming data from the senses is somehow 'organized' or 'categorized' by the brain, consciousness, mind or whatever you want to call it. This would be to throw away the last vestiges of modern philosophy from Descartes to the present. Rorty agreed with him - the difference is, Davidson believed his argument answered the skeptics' questions (the ones involved with consciousness and qualia as intervening things or categories) whereas Rorty thinks he showed the questions just don't make any sense, so they should stop asking them.

I have a hard time buying it, as they deny that propositions are true based on a comparison to the world - which although they deny it continuously, still sounds like idealism to me.
For me, Davidson is really talking about suprvenience. However, I am not sure I would call it idealism. Supervenience tells us that all events are actually physical events.

nonenone
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by nonenone » Thu Feb 19, 2015 6:49 am

Rilx wrote: Hi nonenone,

In my opinion, "self" emerges from entity's relations to the external world. Primary relations concern the entity's physical limits ("body"), thus recognizing its physical existence and identity in the world.

By "understanding" something you relate yourself to that something; e.g. should you flee it, fight it, eat it or mate with it? When you understand something you derive its meaning from the said relations. Actually, "self" is those relations; there exist nothing else to whom they could or needed to be represented.

So "self" emerges - characteristically, not absolutely - from relations between your genotypical body ("nature") and your individual experiences of the world ("nurture"). Consequently it is far from a logical and coherent system. And accordingly, brain in a vat and corresponding machines will never be conscious.

My viewpoint is that consciousness begins to emerge in animals with their ability to move (= change their location) deliberately and behave on purpose. Memory and sense(s) which don't force reactive behavior became also necessary. We learn how to behave in different situations; we learn how to anticipate them; and we even learn how to create them.
I don't agree. In my experience people can observe a mental object which they call self. It is an object with certain properties, which may include some relations. But as far as i realize, it is a mental object. When we say "I see the boy", I is a reference to that object.

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Rilx
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by Rilx » Thu Feb 19, 2015 11:40 am

nonenone wrote:I don't agree. In my experience people can observe a mental object which they call self. It is an object with certain properties, which may include some relations. But as far as i realize, it is a mental object. When we say "I see the boy", I is a reference to that object.
I'm sorry if I've misunderstood you, but many of your posts seemed to me that you were searching for a "conscious understander", by which I interpreted "self" as a defined property in an animal or a machine. Now you say that by "self" you mean a self-referential property in self-conscious entities. Self-reference is possible only in entities having symbolic languages which make self-reference possible. Other animals may be conscious and understand their position as "selves" but only humans have symbolic languages. Machines are another matter, they are what they are defined to be.

Or do you define "self" some other way I haven't understood?

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Rilx
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by Rilx » Thu Feb 19, 2015 10:41 pm

Ginkgo wrote:I think embodied cognition is important for the emergence of the self, but it might be a little more involved. No doubt you have been following my discussion with Wyman and Prinze's theory.

We live in a world where we are continually bombarded with sensory data, and as you point out there is a need on the part of all animals with the capacity to move to recognize objects using sensory information. Comes in handy if we are trying to avoid predators. If we take humans for example we have the capacity to create abstract categories that represent particular objects in the world. A predator viewed from the front should also be viewed as a predator from the side. In other words, a predator should still retain its identity regardless of our perspective. In this instance, abstraction is equal to recognition.

I see Prinz's explanation as being somewhat Platonic. If I get up from the dining room table and move to the lounge I might trip over the coffee table. There is some sort of 'table-ness' that allows me to recognize that both objects are tables. Ii is this "passing through" intermediate levels of awareness that allows me to view the world from a particular perspective...the emergence of the self.
I read what I easily found about Prinz's theory and I don't see it contradictory with my thoughts in the case of "self". I don't know how Prinz has defined "self" though.

I see that Prinz is searching neural correlates for his hierarchical levels and for consciousness too. That's where my ideas differ; I see the neural network ("brains") as a platform of representations while consciousness is due to their contents ("mind"). This viewpoint means that the structures of neural and mental processes don't need to conform to each other. Hierarchies in neural processes don't necessarily mean mental hierarchies. Especially I mean Prinz's levels of representations.

I thought of making a summary how my ideas and hypotheses differ from Prinz's, but seems that it would need too much work in basics. It's better to discuss them in appropriate contexts. Or maybe I should write a book. ;)

Still a couple of details:

In my hypothesis Prinz's "intermediate level representations" correspond representations whose content is characterized by 1 temporal and 3 spatial dimensions. Actually they are what Kant called "phenomena".

And a quote I can agree completely with Prinz:
"Consciousness makes information available for decisions about what to do, and it exists for that purpose ..."

nonenone
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by nonenone » Fri Feb 20, 2015 6:48 am

Rilx wrote: I'm sorry if I've misunderstood you, but many of your posts seemed to me that you were searching for a "conscious understander", by which I interpreted "self" as a defined property in an animal or a machine. Now you say that by "self" you mean a self-referential property in self-conscious entities. Self-reference is possible only in entities having symbolic languages which make self-reference possible. Other animals may be conscious and understand their position as "selves" but only humans have symbolic languages. Machines are another matter, they are what they are defined to be.

Or do you define "self" some other way I haven't understood?
Consider a robot. When its sensors detect some data of an external object, let's say a cat, data is processed by robot's computer (its brain) and computer concludes that this is a cat. Then automatically assigns some properties to the object which had been previously defined for cats. Based on those properties, robot reacts to the external object. So for robot, there is a representation of the external cat in which some properties have been embedded.

Self must be pretty like that expect that : 1. External reference of self must, some how, be related to robot itself. 2. Properties of the self are more sophisticated than other objects.

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Re: Emergence of self

Post by jackles » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:38 am

Yes you got the robotics bit and the computer bit for the brain spot on. But both are inside another dimension which does not move its call consciousness.

Wyman
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by Wyman » Fri Feb 20, 2015 2:56 pm

nonenone wrote:
Rilx wrote: I'm sorry if I've misunderstood you, but many of your posts seemed to me that you were searching for a "conscious understander", by which I interpreted "self" as a defined property in an animal or a machine. Now you say that by "self" you mean a self-referential property in self-conscious entities. Self-reference is possible only in entities having symbolic languages which make self-reference possible. Other animals may be conscious and understand their position as "selves" but only humans have symbolic languages. Machines are another matter, they are what they are defined to be.

Or do you define "self" some other way I haven't understood?
Consider a robot. When its sensors detect some data of an external object, let's say a cat, data is processed by robot's computer (its brain) and computer concludes that this is a cat. Then automatically assigns some properties to the object which had been previously defined for cats. Based on those properties, robot reacts to the external object. So for robot, there is a representation of the external cat in which some properties have been embedded.

Self must be pretty like that expect that : 1. External reference of self must, some how, be related to robot itself. 2. Properties of the self are more sophisticated than other objects.
I don't know quite where 1 & 2 come from; but the 'self' perceives the self just like it perceives the cat - as a physical object with such and such properties. End of story.

Some people get stuck with the seeming paradox of 'well then, who is it that perceives the self(as physical object)?' - a seeming infinite regress ensues until one remembers that we have no such scruples when it comes to looking in mirrors.

nonenone
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Re: Emergence of self

Post by nonenone » Fri Feb 20, 2015 3:15 pm

Wyman wrote: I don't know quite where 1 & 2 come from; but the 'self' perceives the self just like it perceives the cat - as a physical object with such and such properties. End of story.

Some people get stuck with the seeming paradox of 'well then, who is it that perceives the self(as physical object)?' - a seeming infinite regress ensues until one remembers that we have no such scruples when it comes to looking in mirrors.
1 comes from the fact that robot's sensor must have some data for building physical related aspects of the self, for example its relative position in the external world.
2 comes from things like what i described as loop and you just described as infinite regression. Properties of the self, i guess, are somehow complicated, which allows the processing system to avoid such loops when dealing with the it.

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Re: Emergence of self

Post by Ginkgo » Fri Feb 20, 2015 9:23 pm

Ginkgo wrote:
Avoiding the loop is the bit that is the non-computational aspect. In this respect it is something that a computer cannot achieve. Not at the moment anyway.
I couldn't think of an example of the non-computational and its relation to Godel's incompleteness. This is going back a number of posts. However, the Lucas-Penrose Argument may help provide an example.

Like the human mind a computer can work in an algorithmic fashion.

3 x 2 6, in exactly the same way as ,2 x 3 = If we see enough examples of multiplication we begin to realize there is a reciprocal relationship going on. We can work out 1234 x 2345 = As humans, we intuitively recognize that 2345 x 1234 will give us exactly same answer. We don't have to do the new calculation.

Unless we programme this general rule into a computer it will never come to this type of realization.

The argument is that while a computer can mimic some aspects of human consciousness, it can never achieve consciousness because there are some aspects of consciousness that are non-computational.

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Re: Emergence of self

Post by Ginkgo » Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:16 pm

double post
Last edited by Ginkgo on Fri Feb 20, 2015 10:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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