Perception and Consciousness

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

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Wyman
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Perception and Consciousness

Post by Wyman » Wed Feb 13, 2019 12:43 am

Would anyone like to have a discussion about that part of consciousness we call 'perception'?

I believe that perception is an activity and that we are much more like an artist creating our conscious experience than we are mere receivers of our conscious experience. This is contrary to, among others, David Hume and the British Empiricists. Hume characterized perceptions as 'impressions' that were stamped upon the mind. Plato also once used the metaphor of a clay tablet in describing perception, with percepts stamped upon the tablet. Both philosophers therefore believed that we are passive in the process of perception.

I disagree with such a characterization of perception. I think that the brain takes raw data and actively creates a model or picture of that data. And often, the brain creates the same or similar models with significantly different inputs of data. The activity of perception is like all our activities - learned when young until most of it becomes rote and habituated. Take walking - as toddlers, we struggle to even control our large muscle groups in the legs. Only after much trial and error do we stand and then eventually walk. Eventually, we cease to think about our legs at all when we walk. We say 'I am going to walk to the store' and not 'I am going to move my leg muscles thus and so.'

Perception is no different. We first learn to see shapes and colors. Then faces and other recognizable physical objects. After a while, the brain and eyes automatically supply the shapes and colors and even more complex visual representations by habit. We think that shapes and colors are 'given' or 'stamped' upon us. But they are merely subconsciously perceived by the brain while our conscious perception focuses elsewhere - on the new, the different, the fast moving, etc..

We do not say that our muscle movements while walking are somehow 'given' to us by outside forces. We say that the movements are done subconsciously. And so with perception - just because much of perception seems to come to us involuntarily (whether we like it or not), this does not mean that these aspects of perception are stamped upon us.

Impenitent
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Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Impenitent » Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:48 am

I think you are on to something, but the perceptions themselves are not manipulated, rather the descriptions we give to said perception via language, distort it... first privately as defined by oneself and secondly, when communicated publicly... then nuanced distortions begin as the public description is adjusted through retelling and redefining...

when one creates an image in the imagination, one is not perceiving directly (as an apparent external event) but one may have an apparent feeling of something which is perceived... seeing it in your mind is not the same as seeing it in your eye, nor is seeing it as described...

and some muscle movements are very trained... ask a martial artist or other athlete...

-Imp

Wyman
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Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:21 pm

Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Wyman » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:51 am

Impenitent wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:48 am
I think you are on to something, but the perceptions themselves are not manipulated, rather the descriptions we give to said perception via language, distort it... first privately as defined by oneself and secondly, when communicated publicly... then nuanced distortions begin as the public description is adjusted through retelling and redefining...

when one creates an image in the imagination, one is not perceiving directly (as an apparent external event) but one may have an apparent feeling of something which is perceived... seeing it in your mind is not the same as seeing it in your eye, nor is seeing it as described...

and some muscle movements are very trained... ask a martial artist or other athlete...

-Imp
I think the perceptions themselves are manipulated or, rather, created. The descriptions and redefining and retelling condition the brain to present slightly (or perhaps more than slightly) different representations. Just like the artist - his paintings will change throughout his life because of training but also because of societal influences. So much of perception is done subconsciously that if feels as if there is first a picture 'given' to us and then the distortions you speak of. I think that consciousness perhaps consists of a sufficient amount of subconscious activity (a sufficient degree of aptitude). We create perceptions so quickly, automatically and subconsciously that it feels as if we are looking at a picture stamped upon us. Lower forms of life are not so proficient and things are represented as they happen.

Impenitent
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Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Impenitent » Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:02 am

the comparison of the perception as something manipulated would require access to a "pure" perception...

-Imp

Wyman
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Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Wyman » Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:06 am

Impenitent wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:02 am
the comparison of the perception as something manipulated would require access to a "pure" perception...

-Imp
Not sure what you mean by 'pure perception.' As opposed to what?

Impenitent
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Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Impenitent » Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:22 am

Wyman wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:06 am
Impenitent wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:02 am
the comparison of the perception as something manipulated would require access to a "pure" perception...

-Imp
Not sure what you mean by 'pure perception.' As opposed to what?
the one you judge as manipulated...

-Imp

Walker
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Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Walker » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:22 pm

Impenitent wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:48 am
when one creates an image in the imagination, one is not perceiving directly (as an apparent external event) but one may have an apparent feeling of something which is perceived... seeing it in your mind is not the same as seeing it in your eye, nor is seeing it as described...
-Imp
Visions are different. They are not constructed and do not change during examination. They appear complete and whole in the mind as an external event. They can be examined in detail with the mind’s eye while the other five senses are disconnected from awareness. They are more vivid and detailed than what the eye sense perceives due to slight differences from eye-vision, as a vision is a direct experience rather than eye-vision recalled. They are different from dreams in that they correlate with reality. If such visions are constructed by mind then the construction is without conscious awareness or intent, and could very well be the result of a still and thoughtless receiver/mind processing with the visual cortex, the first reconnected input from any of the 5 senses. Like all experiences, visions fade once they have passed.

Impenitent
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Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Impenitent » Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:40 am

Walker wrote:
Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:22 pm
Impenitent wrote:
Wed Feb 13, 2019 1:48 am
when one creates an image in the imagination, one is not perceiving directly (as an apparent external event) but one may have an apparent feeling of something which is perceived... seeing it in your mind is not the same as seeing it in your eye, nor is seeing it as described...
-Imp
Visions are different. They are not constructed and do not change during examination. They appear complete and whole in the mind as an external event. They can be examined in detail with the mind’s eye while the other five senses are disconnected from awareness. They are more vivid and detailed than what the eye sense perceives due to slight differences from eye-vision, as a vision is a direct experience rather than eye-vision recalled. They are different from dreams in that they correlate with reality. If such visions are constructed by mind then the construction is without conscious awareness or intent, and could very well be the result of a still and thoughtless receiver/mind processing with the visual cortex, the first reconnected input from any of the 5 senses. Like all experiences, visions fade once they have passed.
not constructed... visions brought about by psychedelic substances? visions brought about by insanity? are they exclusively mental events?

-Imp

Walker
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Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Walker » Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:23 pm

Impenitent wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:40 am
not constructed... visions brought about by psychedelic substances? visions brought about by insanity? are they exclusively mental events?

-Imp
Visions brought about in a trance state of consciousness caused by formal meditation practice.
Elaborations available only on request.

I don't know about that other stuff.

Impenitent
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Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Impenitent » Tue Feb 19, 2019 4:36 pm

Walker wrote:
Tue Feb 19, 2019 1:23 pm
Impenitent wrote:
Mon Feb 18, 2019 12:40 am
not constructed... visions brought about by psychedelic substances? visions brought about by insanity? are they exclusively mental events?

-Imp
Visions brought about in a trance state of consciousness caused by formal meditation practice.
Elaborations available only on request.

I don't know about that other stuff.
you are still constructing the image

-Imp

Walker
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Joined: Thu Nov 05, 2015 12:00 am

Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Walker » Tue Feb 19, 2019 8:10 pm

If anything, it's a deconstruction. No thoughts.

A vision can appear with the first stimulation of mind after mind has been stilled, in place of thought as the first stimulation. This happens during formal, shamatha meditation practice in which thoughts are systematically stopped over a period of time. Afterwards, the first mental stimulation, which is unidentified by awareness because it’s emerging from a thoughtless state, triggers the visual cortex into a vision. Quite often the vision is of the physical surroundings, or of physical surroundings elsewhere. This is a trance state.

The baseline is not all thought (which constructs), but rather no thought (no mind). A vision occurs within a thoughtless state of perception and is seen by the mind and not the eyes.

Thus, two possibilities explain visions:

- One, the vision is choicelessly constructed from memory, and the hyper-reality (unwavering steadiness) of the vision is caused by the absence of thoughts, since the vision is the only mental activity going on at that time, for however long the vision lasts.

- Two: the vision is real-time input to mind via third-eye perception caused by thoughtless awareness, which is emerging from a meditative state of thoughtless non-awareness.

Impenitent
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Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Impenitent » Wed Feb 20, 2019 3:38 pm

consciously constructing the platform for dreaming without sleep...

-Imp

Walker
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Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Walker » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:22 pm

You already mentioned that opinion in response to decades of empirical observation and analysis that has also considered that opinion. :)

Wyman
Posts: 968
Joined: Sat Jan 04, 2014 2:21 pm

Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Wyman » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:13 pm

Impenitent wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:22 am
Wyman wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:06 am
Impenitent wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 1:02 am
the comparison of the perception as something manipulated would require access to a "pure" perception...

-Imp
Not sure what you mean by 'pure perception.' As opposed to what?
the one you judge as manipulated...

-Imp
There need not be a proto-percept as something prior to and distinct from the percept, if that is what you mean. I think that that model has caused a lot of confusion in philosophy actually. I think of it more as like a digital camera, with changes happening in real time, not as additions or corrections imposed upon a proto-percept.

If you marked with a marker upon the lens, that would be like manipulating your 'pure perception.' If you waved your hand in front of the camera, that would be a change deriving from the origins of the percept - pre-percept.

The distinction between photons outside the body (or pre-retina) as opposed to electrical impulses in the visual cortex is somewhat arbitrary. A better distinction in describing perception comes between the percept and everything prior to it. Exactly what a percept is is the 'hard' problem of consciousness. But we do know that there are no percepts when we look inside the brain, including proto-percepts being manipulated.

Impenitent
Posts: 2394
Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 2:04 pm

Re: Perception and Consciousness

Post by Impenitent » Wed Feb 20, 2019 11:37 pm

Wyman wrote:
Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:13 pm
Impenitent wrote:
Fri Feb 15, 2019 1:22 am
Wyman wrote:
Thu Feb 14, 2019 3:06 am


Not sure what you mean by 'pure perception.' As opposed to what?
the one you judge as manipulated...

-Imp
There need not be a proto-percept as something prior to and distinct from the percept, if that is what you mean. I think that that model has caused a lot of confusion in philosophy actually. I think of it more as like a digital camera, with changes happening in real time, not as additions or corrections imposed upon a proto-percept.

If you marked with a marker upon the lens, that would be like manipulating your 'pure perception.' If you waved your hand in front of the camera, that would be a change deriving from the origins of the percept - pre-percept.

The distinction between photons outside the body (or pre-retina) as opposed to electrical impulses in the visual cortex is somewhat arbitrary. A better distinction in describing perception comes between the percept and everything prior to it. Exactly what a percept is is the 'hard' problem of consciousness. But we do know that there are no percepts when we look inside the brain, including proto-percepts being manipulated.
no thing in itself from which the impression arises?

not distinct from the observer? true, the brain in vats theory still holds...

the perception of the thing is still unique and apart from the thing in itself...

immediate perception is always fleeting...

distorting the instrument of perception is a private event and reduces further perception for the individual ... which would be the entirety of the private event...

no event could be experienced communally, yet that which the blind man doesn't see is not necessarily unseen by others... each observation is unique and the thing in itself remains unperceived... covering your eyes does not give you the same perception as the blind man...

-Imp

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