RCSaunders wrote: ↑Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:21 pm
Dimebag wrote: ↑Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:54 am
RCSaunders wrote: ↑Thu Sep 03, 2020 6:26 pm
Consciousness is only awareness.......is totally passive.
This I’m not so sure of. The sensory component of consciousness seems directly tied to action, almost to the point that actions use the feedback from the senses to drive them. Seems active to me. Now, the idea that “I” am in there controlling those actions by “looking” at the senses is flawed and illusory, really I am created as an idea. The body responds to the senses, mediated by layers of past experiences which guide action to more appropriate outcomes, I.e. learning.
Maybe that sensory information doesn’t need to be conscious to drive those actions, once they are permenantly laid down as second nature, but until they are, consciousness is there to mediate between the motor cortex and the senses, helping determine the best course of action based on desired actions, consciousness is actively involved in a feedback process from perception to the motor cortex, because novel behaviours need to be directed via the “universal serial bus” known as consciousness, and only after those actions are laid out and the appropriate sensory stimulus to look out for are cued up in the program can the process happen offline.
That is not what I mean by consciousness. I think it is necessary to distinguish between consciousness, which human beings share with all the higher animals, and that unique conscious attribute of mind which only human being have. You do not have to share my view. I've explained mine in three articles here on Philosophy Now:
The Nature of Consciousness
The Nature of the Mind
I have briefly gone through your articles there, they are quite good and I need more time to have an in-depth look at them. When I speak of consciousness, I am referring to the facet of experience which allows everything we know to go on “in the light” so to speak, with a sense of knowing. The reason I took exception to your use of the word passive in regards to consciousness was, because it obviously serves a purpose, and in that sense is not epiphenomenal. Evolution would not have wasted valuable resources in our brains ensuring every single one of us has this special property unless it served a useful purpose.
Now that’s not to say that consciousness is the causeless source of all thoughts, actions, etc. I see it as an essential link in a causal chain of the brain which allows the results of consciousness to have such important effects to our organism. In that sense, it is both passive and active. It coalesces the sensory information, and transmits it to important areas of the brain which can utilise the information for producing more adaptive actions, which also allows those separate areas to continue to work together in the future, this is essentially learning. Once those areas have learned to communicate their information without the help of this universal information network called consciousness, it lets go of the reigns.
This also explains why, when consciousness interrupts an already learned process, it is anti productive to the process and produces errors, because it interferes with the already well honed process. So consciousness is a faculty, which the brain “uses” for the purpose of learning and reacting to novelty. Some things, such as problem solving and many higher faculties of reasoning require this novelty throughout the process, therefore consciousness plays a key role in these functions. They can’t be handled unconsciously.
But the key point is, consciousness doesn’t actually “do” anything, it is the medium through which everything takes place. Consciousness to producing actions is like water is to waves. It is the medium through which they occur. Neither active nor passive, it is like space is to matter.