An argument against materialism

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

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RCSaunders
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Re: An argument against materialism

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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

Perception

The Nature of the Mind
Dimebag
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Re: An argument against materialism

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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

Perception

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.
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RCSaunders
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Re: An argument against materialism

Post by RCSaunders »

Dimebag wrote: Sun Sep 06, 2020 12:10 am
RCSaunders wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 8:21 pm
Dimebag wrote: Fri Sep 04, 2020 11:54 am
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

Perception

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.
I cannot say I disagree with what you are saying, if I understand it. Perhaps you are including more in the concept of consciousness than I do. I regard consciousness as awareness only, and the same for all higher animals, including human beings. The difference being in how they react to that conscious awareness, and of course they are aware of their own actions as well. In that sense, you can say they behave consciously, but I would not say the consciousness is instrumental in that behavior. If you think it is, we'll just not agree on that, but It's probably not that important.
PeteJ
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Re: An argument against materialism

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I hardly think an entity with no awareness would bother trying to survive, and with no consciousness they'd have no means to do so.

It may be important to consider the distinctions between awareness, consciousness and intentional consciousness.
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Re: An argument against materialism

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PeteJ wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:25 pm I hardly think an entity with no awareness would bother trying to survive, and with no consciousness they'd have no means to do so.

It may be important to consider the distinctions between awareness, consciousness and intentional consciousness.
You've obviously not heard of viruses and bacteria
PeteJ
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Re: An argument against materialism

Post by PeteJ »

Sculptor wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:27 pm You've obviously not heard of viruses and bacteria
Do you really think they try to survive? It's possible, but it's not a view endorsed in the sciences.
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Re: An argument against materialism

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PeteJ wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 12:59 pm
Sculptor wrote: Tue Sep 15, 2020 12:27 pm You've obviously not heard of viruses and bacteria
Do you really think they try to survive? It's possible, but it's not a view endorsed in the sciences.
Yet they do, everything they do is about their survival.
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Re: An argument against materialism

Post by PeteJ »

Sculptor wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:32 pm Yet they do, everything they do is about their survival.
Yes. but you're suggesting they know they're doing it and do it on purpose.

I was speaking of creatures who deliberately try to survive. I think I made this clear.

Of course, you may be right about viruses but you don't this, so best to stick to human beings, antelopes and elephants and the like. .
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Re: An argument against materialism

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PeteJ wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:18 pm
Sculptor wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 8:32 pm Yet they do, everything they do is about their survival.
Yes. but you're suggesting they know they're doing it and do it on purpose.

I was speaking of creatures who deliberately try to survive. I think I made this clear.
Then you are saying nothing, since there is only one animals that you can say for sure "tries" to survive, since you can only assume that a creature capable of articulating such a complex concept can be said to know that they are doing that.
PeteJ
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Re: An argument against materialism

Post by PeteJ »

Sculptor wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:40 pm Then you are saying nothing, since there is only one animals that you can say for sure "tries" to survive, since you can only assume that a creature capable of articulating such a complex concept can be said to know that they are doing that.
Is this really what you think? How unexpected. First viruses have the will to survive and now elephants don't.

Why not just read my original comment. There was never any need for this discussion of viruses and elephants.

As for the idea that animals don't try to survive, I think I'd rather ignore it.
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Re: An argument against materialism

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PeteJ wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 10:24 pm
Sculptor wrote: Wed Sep 16, 2020 9:40 pm Then you are saying nothing, since there is only one animals that you can say for sure "tries" to survive, since you can only assume that a creature capable of articulating such a complex concept can be said to know that they are doing that.
Is this really what you think? How unexpected. First viruses have the will to survive and now elephants don't.
I do not think you are capable of characterising ANY thing as having a "will" to live.

Why not just read my original comment. There was never any need for this discussion of viruses and elephants.
I did not bring up any elephants. Maybe that was the elephant in the room?

As for the idea that animals don't try to survive, I think I'd rather ignore it.
Since you are fully trying to link "TRYING" to surviving via consciousness, you have to establish that an animal has the concept of "survival" which is dubious
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Re: An argument against materialism

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[quote=bahman post_id=467262 time=1597929046 user_id=12593]
All particles in the universe are interacting with each other. This means that we have one process. Materialism claims that consciousness is the result of process in matter. Therefore there should be one consciousness. There are more than one consciousness. Therefore materialism is false.
[/quote]

All patterns within the universe are subsets. Consciousness is a pattern that happens in complex brains, not in the universe as a whole. Even if that was a thing, and there's no reason to believe so, it wouldn't be anything like the mind-bound version we experience and would need a new word.
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Re: An argument against materialism

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Advocate wrote: Wed Sep 23, 2020 3:37 am All patterns within the universe are subsets. Consciousness is a pattern that happens in complex brains, not in the universe as a whole. Even if that was a thing, and there's no reason to believe so, it wouldn't be anything like the mind-bound version we experience and would need a new word.
DO the subsets interacting with each other?
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Re: An argument against materialism

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[quote=bahman post_id=473026 time=1600949668 user_id=12593]
[quote=Advocate post_id=472818 time=1600828623 user_id=15238]
All patterns within the universe are subsets. Consciousness is a pattern that happens in complex brains, not in the universe as a whole. Even if that was a thing, and there's no reason to believe so, it wouldn't be anything like the mind-bound version we experience and would need a new word.
[/quote]
DO the subsets interacting with each other?
[/quote]

"Overlapping attributes of position in space-time" seems to describe interaction rather well. Some do. I haven't thought that but out so there might be a better definition, but that one is sufficient?
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bahman
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Re: An argument against materialism

Post by bahman »

Advocate wrote: Thu Sep 24, 2020 5:21 pm "Overlapping attributes of position in space-time" seems to describe interaction rather well. Some do. I haven't thought that but out so there might be a better definition, but that one is sufficient?
Well, if you have interaction between subsets then you have one system.
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