What is Consciousness?

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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chaz wyman
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by chaz wyman »

Izzywizzy wrote:well ameobas do..to cervany..have freewill so do our cells apparently..this is to the letter science saying it
Sciences is predicated on the necessity of cause and effect; that all actions are necessarily determined by the interaction of matter in motion. It is no more viable to attribute free-will to a brain cell than it is to an ameba, or the trigger of a gun.
Izzywizzy
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by Izzywizzy »

maybe Chaz could tell us all why ameoba`s just know to change their direction when confronted by obstacles:P
evangelicalhumanist
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by evangelicalhumanist »

Izzywizzy wrote:maybe Chaz could tell us all why ameoba`s just know to change their direction when confronted by obstacles:P
Why not? Billiard balls do the same thing, and nobody (so far!) is arguing that they are conscious. Whole worlds respond in predictable ways to gravitation from other bodies. A moving amoeba, unable to continue in the direction it has so far been moving (which is rarely a straight line, anyway) is just as likely to simply randomly change direction.

There's way too much written in this thread for me to read it all now (especially as I'm sitting in my local enjoying a pint or two). Still, this idea of the amoeba suggests something to me about consciousness. The amoeba, and the billiard ball and the planet, are able to detect and in some fashion respond to obstacles or forces without (we presume) being "conscious." But neither the amoeba, ball or planet are possessed of complex central nervous systems with all of the feedback loops available that higher life-forms enjoy. (And I would argue, by the way, that many of those life-forms are conscious in the same general way that we are.)

Which brings me to what I think consciousness just might be. As with the amoeba, able to detect and respond to an obstacle or an irritant, we are able to do the same. BUT, WE CAN GO ONE FURTHER! We can detect and respond to our own awareness. And that, it seems to me, might just be what consciousness is.
Izzywizzy
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by Izzywizzy »

EH um.. billiard balls don`t have memory, science say`s ameoba`s do

please try to address this not misdirect it.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1 ... gence.html
Dimebag
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by Dimebag »

Consciousness allows the detection of a novel situation AND the ability to respond in a manner which is not predetermined and automatic. This is awareness. If an amoeba can detect a threat, and respond by selecting an action which is not an automatic response then there is a chance it is aware. The amoeba needs some kind of sense, most likely touch.

What's does free will free you from? If the mind exists in a completely deterministic sense, then it's actions are determined by it's interaction with itself and the environment. To not respond in ways driven by the environment is a non productive response, therefore the concept of free will is non productive. Free will would only free you from the most appropriate response to a situation, leading to completely irrational, nonsensical behaviour.
chaz wyman
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by chaz wyman »

Amoeba "know" what to do exactly the same way that a billiard ball "knows".
They are part of the natural world and cannot escape the necessity of cause and effect.
"Know" is an anthropomorphisation.
Amoebas respond. The idea that they detect, consider, and then choose is not verifyable, in fact its ridiculous.
When adrenalin increases in the bloodstream, the heart responds by increasing its rate. Is it reasonable to say that the heart, a far more complex piece of matter than an amoeba, somehow makes a choice to respond.
So where is the Amoeba making this choice? And what makes this 'choice' in any sense free? Either it can learn from its previous experience or it has free-will, not both.

Let's say it uses its pseudopodia to envelop some matter. The matter turns out not to be useful food. It it is not poisoned and dies, it may have the ability to respond in a selective way to the next time it encounters this same matter. Next time it does not envelop the matter: it has learned not to do that. This looks like a choice, but the choice is automatic, a direct response or lack of it. If it has a free-will then what? Can it reject the learning? Is it being capricious, random or is this free-will in any way useful or evident?
Learning to do otherwise is the very essence of a deterministic Universe. Free-will is the rejection of the possibility of learning.
When I make a choice I make it from my experience and a whole complex of other determined factors, such that it is only reasonable to assume that given the same set of circumstances I would make the same choice again.
What sort of a world would it be if we were able to act in spite of those factors?
Free-will is the ability to be stuck like a donkey never being able to decide which pile of hay to eat because they are equally distant. Free-will is timeless indecision, with nothing from which to make a useful or learned choice.
chaz wyman
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by chaz wyman »

Dimebag wrote:Consciousness allows the detection of a novel situation AND the ability to respond in a manner which is not predetermined and automatic.


Norman Bacrac, "Epiphenomenalism", Philosophy Now, Issue 81 Nov/Oct 2010, p10ff

Neuroscience says otherwise. Consciousness is an epiphenomenon, which observes the choices made by the determining factors within the neural network.
If you really think this then please say HOW consciousness is able to affect material change, and please state why you think consciousness is not itself determined by our experience.



This is awareness.

What is that?

If an amoeba can detect a threat, and respond by selecting an action which is not an automatic response then there is a chance it is aware. The amoeba needs some kind of sense, most likely touch.

Why do you think it 'detects'. maybe it just responds. Where does it do this selection?
"Touch" requires nerves. Amoebas have no nerves.


What's does free will free you from? If the mind exists in a completely deterministic sense, then it's actions are determined by it's interaction with itself and the environment. To not respond in ways driven by the environment is a non productive response, therefore the concept of free will is non productive. Free will would only free you from the most appropriate response to a situation, leading to completely irrational, nonsensical behaviour.

I'm not too sure where you are going with this.
chaz wyman
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by chaz wyman »

Izzywizzy wrote:EH um.. billiard balls don`t have memory, science say`s ameoba`s do

please try to address this not misdirect it.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn1 ... gence.html
Interesting. I don't think this is new. We have know for some time that Amoebas can learn. They seem to have a limited ability to store "information" and respond to circumstances differently.
That seem to be the essence of the difference between balls and life; the mechanism to do differently.
But this says nothing about free-will. The Amoeba represents an organising principle of nature that collects a range of automated responses. Evolution happens by selecting those responses that result in successful reproduction. The special thing about Amoebas is that they are able to pass on DIRECTLY all those things "learned" to the next generation. SO the modifications to its response network act directly on the selective process. Any automated responses that result in the failure of the Amoeba will not be passed to the next generation.
No wonder Amoebas are one of the most successful species of all time.

Why do you think this has anything to do with free-will?
Dimebag
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by Dimebag »

chaz wyman wrote:
Dimebag wrote:Consciousness allows the detection of a novel situation AND the ability to respond in a manner which is not predetermined and automatic.


Norman Bacrac, "Epiphenomenalism", Philosophy Now, Issue 81 Nov/Oct 2010, p10ff

Neuroscience says otherwise. Consciousness is an epiphenomenon, which observes the choices made by the determining factors within the neural network.
If you really think this then please say HOW consciousness is able to affect material change, and please state why you think consciousness is not itself determined by our experience.



I should rephrase my statement slightly, Consciousness is present during the detection of a novel situation, and during selection of a response which is not predetermined and automatic. I reject the idea of the mind being anything more than the state of the brain, Consciousness doesn't interact with the mind in the same way that speed doesn't interact with the owner of it. It is a property of the system it is part of, IMO. My point was that for us to respond in a way which is not predetermined, consciousness must typically be present, not that it allows a form of free will, which in my final paragraph I explained, makes no sense.

This is awareness.

What is that?

It is focus of the majority of the resources of the brain on a specific aspect, either of the external environment, or a thought/idea under scrutiny.


If an amoeba can detect a threat, and respond by selecting an action which is not an automatic response then there is a chance it is aware. The amoeba needs some kind of sense, most likely touch.

Why do you think it 'detects'. maybe it just responds. Where does it do this selection?
"Touch" requires nerves. Amoebas have no nerves.


That was my point, the amoeba has no more ability to choose non automated response than a leaf has choice to move WRT the wind. Since there is no nervous system, there can be no detection. Obviously I am not completely explaining my thoughts, I am showing my laziness in posting.... I apologise, sometimes I think people can interpret meaning from a less explanatory post. I should know better as I hate when others do this and fail to completely explain their stance.

What's does free will free you from? If the mind exists in a completely deterministic sense, then it's actions are determined by it's interaction with itself and the environment. To not respond in ways driven by the environment is a non productive response, therefore the concept of free will is non productive. Free will would only free you from the most appropriate response to a situation, leading to completely irrational, nonsensical behaviour.

I'm not too sure where you are going with this.

As I said earlier, I was explaining the pointlessness of having free will, and how it can not aid an organism in selecting appropriate responses WRT its external environment. I think we have basically the same stance, and I apologise again if I failed to completely explain my stance. I see no benefit to having free will, and I see no evidence to support the stance that we, or any other organism possess it, as it is a completely useless and counter-intuitive concept, and is typically invoked in response to the idea of personal and moral responsibility.

Izzywizzy
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by Izzywizzy »

neither chaz or dimebag have shown me to my satisfaction, anything new and certainly they haven`t counteracted my argument thus far..in fact their collaborative waffle isn`t evidence. I mean the fact that dimebag cannot see that ameobas make choices is his problem not sciences..i don`t really care what chaz or dimebag think to be honest.. i just follow the science
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Arising_uk
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by Arising_uk »

Where are you following it to? That we have the memories of amoebas?
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Notvacka
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by Notvacka »

The fact that a person, an amoeba or a billard ball appears to make a choice, does not imply that there was actullay any other choice to make than the one that was indeed made. There is no observable difference between predetermination and postdetermination. If the past is determined, so is the future, because it too will become the past, just like the past was indeed the future. The only thing that ever changes in the four-dimensional space-time is our point of view. :)
chaz wyman
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by chaz wyman »

Dimebag wrote:
chaz wyman wrote:
Dimebag wrote:Consciousness allows the detection of a novel situation AND the ability to respond in a manner which is not predetermined and automatic.


Norman Bacrac, "Epiphenomenalism", Philosophy Now, Issue 81 Nov/Oct 2010, p10ff

Neuroscience says otherwise. Consciousness is an epiphenomenon, which observes the choices made by the determining factors within the neural network.
If you really think this then please say HOW consciousness is able to affect material change, and please state why you think consciousness is not itself determined by our experience.



I should rephrase my statement slightly, Consciousness is present during the detection of a novel situation, and during selection of a response which is not predetermined and automatic.



Determinism is not PREdeterminism, consciousness is not a special case of novel situations

I reject the idea of the mind being anything more than the state of the brain, Consciousness doesn't interact with the mind in the same way that speed doesn't interact with the owner of it. It is a property of the system it is part of, IMO. My point was that for us to respond in a way which is not predetermined, consciousness must typically be present, not that it allows a form of free will, which in my final paragraph I explained, makes no sense.

I disagree. If an apple hits a billiard ball, this is a novel situation. Neither the ball or the apple need consciousness to "know" what to do next, they just do it. And I can't see any reason why this is not also the case with the brain,


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This is awareness.

What is that?

It is focus of the majority of the resources of the brain on a specific aspect, either of the external environment, or a thought/idea under scrutiny.


If an amoeba can detect a threat, and respond by selecting an action which is not an automatic response then there is a chance it is aware. The amoeba needs some kind of sense, most likely touch.

Why do you think it 'detects'. maybe it just responds. Where does it do this selection?
"Touch" requires nerves. Amoebas have no nerves.


That was my point, the amoeba has no more ability to choose non automated response than a leaf has choice to move WRT the wind. Since there is no nervous system, there can be no detection. Obviously I am not completely explaining my thoughts, I am showing my laziness in posting.... I apologise, sometimes I think people can interpret meaning from a less explanatory post. I should know better as I hate when others do this and fail to completely explain their stance.

What's does free will free you from? If the mind exists in a completely deterministic sense, then it's actions are determined by it's interaction with itself and the environment. To not respond in ways driven by the environment is a non productive response, therefore the concept of free will is non productive. Free will would only free you from the most appropriate response to a situation, leading to completely irrational, nonsensical behaviour.

I'm not too sure where you are going with this.

As I said earlier, I was explaining the pointlessness of having free will, and how it can not aid an organism in selecting appropriate responses WRT its external environment. I think we have basically the same stance, and I apologise again if I failed to completely explain my stance. I see no benefit to having free will, and I see no evidence to support the stance that we, or any other organism possess it, as it is a completely useless and counter-intuitive concept, and is typically invoked in response to the idea of personal and moral responsibility.

chaz wyman
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by chaz wyman »

Izzywizzy wrote:neither chaz or dimebag have shown me to my satisfaction, anything new and certainly they haven`t counteracted my argument thus far..in fact their collaborative waffle isn`t evidence. I mean the fact that dimebag cannot see that ameobas make choices is his problem not sciences..i don`t really care what chaz or dimebag think to be honest.. i just follow the science
Sorry you are not 'satisfied', we are not trying to appeal to you.
Izzywizzy
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Re: What is Consciousness?

Post by Izzywizzy »

You don`t need to apoligise to me Chaz you just need to start addressing what I actually wrote and linked to and not what you want to blow your hot air at
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