• SUPPORT THE SHOW AND ENJOY A PREMIUM PARACAST EXPERIENCE! Welcome to The Paracast+! For a low subscription fee, you will receive access to an ad-free version of The Paracast, the exclusive After The Paracast podcast, featuring color commentary, exclusive interviews, plus show transcripts, the new Paracast+ Video Channel, Classic Episodes and Special Features categories! We now offer lifetime memberships! You can subscribe via this direct link:
    https://www.theparacast.com/plus/

    Subscribe to The Paracast Newsletter!

Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
“Horses less so. mice less so again... and so on?“ What tosh.
“It is at least coherent” and at most ... what? Rather: It is at least daft and at most highly contentious.
The premise lies on the assumption that consciousness comes in units of measure that can be quantified as "more" or "less" complex in terms of experience depending on the complexity of the experiencer. But what is this really saying? It seems to be more of a comment on perceptual and intellectual performance than consciousness.

The only sorts of things that are reasonably safe to include in the set of things bearing consciousness, are those with neuronal structures sufficiently similar to our own. A super complex intelligent computer may have no experience at all of the world or of itself. Consciousness seems to be more dependent on design than complexity ( to me ).
 
Last edited:

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
Please allow me to interject as this was probably something I started. What I said was: "Ultimately there's nothing preventing the existence of both mental and non-mental states within a physicalist model." This is entirely different from making a claim that there are both mental and non-mental states, or that there is proof for either state that would be sufficient for everyone.

However, given that we can define proof as evidence that is sufficient to justify belief in a claim, I personally think there is plenty of proof ( for me ). You and others may have an alternate view. That's okay. It makes the discussion interesting.

Existence may depending on the very engine that generates consciousness and its fictional "mental" and "non-mental" "states" In other words, when we say "state" we have already assumed a basis of that which we are trying to show.
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
The put it bluntly our philosophy of mind is created by our minds...our attempt to explain consciousness to ourselves is based on an already accepted foundation of "unquestioning" which is necessary for our consciousness [to exist? silly word already taken by the very thing we are trying to explain]
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
Quoted from


"It might be important to clarify what I mean by "consciousness," as that word is actually quite ambiguous. Some people use it to mean something quite sophisticated, such as self-awareness or the capacity to reflect on one's own existence. This is something we might be reluctant to ascribe to many nonhuman animals, never mind fundamental particles. But when I use the word consciousness, I simply mean experience: pleasure, pain, visual or auditory experience, et cetera.

Human beings have a very rich and complex experience; horses less so; mice less so again. As we move to simpler and simpler forms of life, we find simpler and simpler forms of experience. Perhaps, at some point, the light switches off, and consciousness disappears. But it's at least coherent to suppose that this continuum of consciousness fading while never quite turning off carries on into inorganic matter, with fundamental particles having almost unimaginably simple forms of experience to reflect their incredibly simple nature. That's what panpsychists believe."
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
"Despite great progress in our scientific understanding of the brain, we still don't have even the beginnings of an explanation of how complex electrochemical signaling is somehow able to give rise to the inner subjective world of colors, sounds, smells and tastes that each of us knows in our own case. There is a deep mystery in understanding how what we know about ourselves from the inside fits together with what science tells us about matter from the outside. "

source: Does Consciousness Pervade the Universe?

And greater progress of understanding the manifold of sensory input both derived from our own un-aided means as well as others (EEG, CAT scans) depending on our own conceptual frameworks (even those "externalized" in machines and sensors) will lead us further away from a satisfiable--i.e. subjectively acceptable--solution. The "deep mystery" stems from a necessary un-satisfiability in self-examination...if such an answer "existed" then we'd have a real lethal text...
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
The premise lies on the assumption that consciousness comes in units of measure that can be quantified as "more" or "less" complex in terms of experience depending on the complexity of the experiencer. But what is this really saying? It seems to be more of a comment on perceptual and intellectual performance than consciousness.

The only sorts of things that are reasonably safe to include in the set of things bearing consciousness, are those with neuronal structures sufficiently similar to our own. A super complex intelligent computer may have no experience at all of the world or of itself. Consciousness seems to be more dependent on design than complexity ( to me ).

Or that the "units of measure" are specially crafted by the generator of the units. I get the "point"

"A comment on..." --> who or what is doing the commenting

Consciousness creates models of interdependent entities...how in the world will IT apply such models to itself?
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Or that the "units of measure" are specially crafted by the generator of the units. I get the "point"

"A comment on..." --> who or what is doing the commenting

Consciousness creates models of interdependent entities...how in the world will IT apply such models to itself?
When you say "IT" are you referring to Information Technology? Is it a serious question? If so: How would you answer it? If you go first, it has the potential to save me a lot of time ⏳
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
When you say "IT" are you referring to Information Technology? Is it a serious question? If so: How would you answer it? If you go first, it has the potential to save me a lot of time ⏳
No...lol...it was just IT...I sometimes capitalize words as a way of emphasizing "their" importance in a sentence or proposition which I construct...much like the way I just added quotes to their (my brain refuses to add quotes here...double quotes would be misleading) in this sentence...which signifies that I am suspicious of that particular element in my sentence but have decided there can be no other meaningful alternative without a huge essay on the word used. IT means "it"...a placeholder of that for which we have singled out but know not what...

To replay with comment


MA: "Consciousness creates models of interdependent entities...how in the world will IT apply such models to itself? "

IT is just _______ which creates models of interdependent entities and decides to include ______ as a member of the model for which ______ has created.

You would do just as well replacing IT with X...or any other symbol. I choose ______.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
No...lol...it was just IT...I sometimes capitalize words as a way of emphasizing "their" importance in a sentence or proposition which I construct...much like the way I just added quotes to their (my brain refuses to add quotes here...double quotes would be misleading) in this sentence...which signifies that I am suspicious of that particular element in my sentence but have decided there can be no other meaningful alternative without a huge essay on the word used. IT means "it"...a placeholder of that for which we have singled out but know not what...

To replay with comment


MA: "Consciousness creates models of interdependent entities...how in the world will IT apply such models to itself? "

IT is just _______ which creates models of interdependent entities and decides to include ______ as a member of the model for which ______ has created.

You would do just as well replacing IT with X...or any other symbol. I choose ______.
The inference in what I would consider to be standard grammar is that because consciousness creates the models, it is consciousness that is assumed to be applying those models to itself. So to be exact,

"IT ( Consciousness ) creates models of interdependent entities. How will IT ( consciousness ) apply such models to itself ( consciousness' self )? "

If that's not it, then further clarification ...
 
Last edited:

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
The inference in what I would consider to be standard grammar is that because consciousness creates the models, it is consciousness that is assumed to be applying those models to itself. So to be exact,

"IT ( Consciousness ) creates models of interdependent entities. How will IT ( consciousness ) apply such models to itself ( consciousness' self )? "

If that's not it, then further clarification ...
A thinks itself conscious as a model of itself constructed as "A"...A forgets it's own assumptions about constructing "A" and begins anew (as if suffering from amnesia)...a model cannot be conscious unless it presents itself as another autonomous entity...deconstruct the word "autonomous" and you will find a snake trying to devour itself into nothingness (which is impossible)....what is impossible in mind is also impossible in physics....we always look into our own models for passing judgement on "existence." Heidegger was very careful using the terms that encompassed "existence"... a derivative of a foundation and therefore a language shared by the very entities that used the term.

Why questions invade our attempt to fully understand the foundation of being that brings about the "why"....I am constantly amused by this final point which is ignored or evaded and sometimes feel like a broken record!

What we are trying to grok is the very foundation of the grokker!

Edit: the very source of our ability to feel itself feel something ....or to think or realize our own thinking... has some very powerful tools which destroy the very foundation of our own thinking-or-realization-of-our-own-ability-to-think...once we place those tools to do the "work" of uncovering what we think is mysterious we find that the "object" (which must be created and animated by what we are examining) is nothing more than an externalized entity which is already assumed.

To put it bluntly, we talk about things that exist in some kind of lego-land framework bringing about something like our own ability to work through the details of the same...but we forget every time we make a statement about our understanding we are unconsciously and unwittingly assuming what we are searching for.... Consciousness cannot "exist" otherwise...to prove this you only have to imagine what it would be like to be an omniscient consciousness.

[spoiler alert...omniscience kills consciousness]
 
Last edited:

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I wrote: "Coherence is in the eye of many beholders," and Randle replied:

That was a cleverly baited hook. Tasty as it looks. I'm not going to bite. Instead I'll just provide that link to the principles of critical thinking ( again ): CriticalThinking.org - Critical Thinking Model 1
No hook or bait. I merely meant to say that this interdisciplinary field of Consciousness Studies consists of researchers and readers coming from very different knowledge bases and operating on different presuppositions, definitions, and approaches to consciousness, and that therefore not all writers and readers of papers and books in Consciousness Studies will see coherence in one another's output.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
A thinks itself conscious as a model of itself constructed as "A"...A forgets it's own assumptions about constructing "A" and begins anew (as if suffering from amnesia)...a model cannot be conscious unless it presents itself as another autonomous entity...deconstruct the word "autonomous" and you will find a snake trying to devour itself into nothingness (which is impossible)....what is impossible in mind is also impossible in physics....we always look into our own models for passing judgement on "existence." Heidegger was very careful using the terms that encompassed "existence"... a derivative of a foundation and therefore a language shared by the very entities that used the term.

Why questions invade our attempt to fully understand the foundation of being that brings about the "why"....I am constantly amused by this final point which is ignored or evaded and sometimes feel like a broken record!

What we are trying to grok is the very foundation of the grokker!

Edit: the very source of our ability to feel itself feel something ....or to think or realize our own thinking... has some very powerful tools which destroy the very foundation of our own thinking-or-realization-of-our-own-ability-to-think...once we place those tools to do the "work" of uncovering what we think is mysterious we find that the "object" (which must be created and animated by what we are examining) is nothing more than an externalized entity which is already assumed.

To put it bluntly, we talk about things that exist in some kind of lego-land framework bringing about something like our own ability to work through the details of the same...but we forget every time we make a statement about our understanding we are unconsciously and unwittingly assuming what we are searching for.... Consciousness cannot "exist" otherwise...to prove this you only have to imagine what it would be like to be an omniscient consciousness.

[spoiler alert...omniscience kills consciousness]
Michael, I've recently read several papers (one by an analytical philosopher and another by a phenomenological philosopher) that concern the problem of 'hyper-reflectivity'. I'll try to locate them again and link them for you in case you can identify with this phenomenon.
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
Michael, I've recently read several papers (one by an analytical philosopher and another by a phenomenological philosopher) that concern the problem of 'hyper-reflectivity'. I'll try to locate them again and link them for you in case you can identify with this phenomenon.
It appears that I need to be schooled. :) If you genuinely think this will help I will spend my entire free time reading....
 

Soupie

Paranormal Adept
Re the ouroboros

2929AC32-D1B9-4E71-9131-1E594502C99C.png
Many want to approach the problem of (phenomenal) consciousness in the way they approach all problems. (I’m not sure we all understand the notion of phenomenal consciousness.) To presuppose that it came from (non-phenomenal) matter.

This is akin to supposing that the model created the model maker. Or that the model maker emerged from the model. Or that the figure created the ground.

Many confuse the model for the model maker. The figure for the ground.

The model maker wants to explain the model maker using its models.

Perceptions, emotions, feelings, and thoughts manifested in consciousness constitute models of world, self, and consciousness but cannot swallow consciousness.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I wrote: "Coherence is in the eye of many beholders," and Randle replied:

No hook or bait. I merely meant to say that this interdisciplinary field of Consciousness Studies consists of researchers and readers coming from very different knowledge bases and operating on different presuppositions, definitions, and approaches to consciousness, and that therefore not all writers and readers of papers and books in Consciousness Studies will see coherence in one another's output.
In that case: In theory, all writers and readers of coherent papers and books in Consciousness Studies should see coherence in one another's output, even if their particular views or perspectives are different. That is the whole point of the exercise. If the point were to write sheer nonsense instead, then we wouldn't get very far. Nevertheless, it doesn't mean that simply because a particular view is internally coherent, that it is true with respect to the question. However, it is reasonable to suggest that a coherent view has a better chance of being true than sheer nonsense.
 
Last edited:

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Re the ouroboros

View attachment 7660
Many want to approach the problem of (phenomenal) consciousness in the way they approach all problems. (I’m not sure we all understand the notion of phenomenal consciousness.) To presuppose that it came from (non-phenomenal) matter.

This is akin to supposing that the model created the model maker. Or that the model maker emerged from the model. Or that the figure created the ground.

Many confuse the model for the model maker. The figure for the ground.

The model maker wants to explain the model maker using its models.

Perceptions, emotions, feelings, and thoughts manifested in consciousness constitute models of world, self, and consciousness but cannot swallow consciousness.
I've just been assuming that "phenomenal consciousness" is a situation in which phenomena ( qualia ) are experienced, as opposed to a situation where phenomena ( qualia ) aren't experienced. That of course begs the question of what constitutes qualia:


Can we really experience a true absence of qualia? The experience of an empty canvas is still an experience of something. Does a person born without sight experience the absence of visual qualia? Is experiencing the absence of something a sort of qualia in and of itself? I don't know the answer. However I would contend that with "phenomenal consciousness", the questions are posed from a phenomenological perspective.
 

Michael Allen

Paranormal Adept
The inference in what I would consider to be standard grammar is that because consciousness creates the models, it is consciousness that is assumed to be applying those models to itself. So to be exact,

"IT ( Consciousness ) creates models of interdependent entities. How will IT ( consciousness ) apply such models to itself ( consciousness' self )? "

If that's not it, then further clarification ...
yes...that's a close enough approximation of what I was getting at; probably more useful in fact...
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
A thinks itself conscious as a model of itself constructed as "A"...A forgets it's own assumptions about constructing "A" and begins anew (as if suffering from amnesia)...a model cannot be conscious unless it presents itself as another autonomous entity...deconstruct the word "autonomous" and you will find a snake trying to devour itself into nothingness (which is impossible)....what is impossible in mind is also impossible in physics....we always look into our own models for passing judgement on "existence." Heidegger was very careful using the terms that encompassed "existence"... a derivative of a foundation and therefore a language shared by the very entities that used the term.

Why questions invade our attempt to fully understand the foundation of being that brings about the "why"....I am constantly amused by this final point which is ignored or evaded and sometimes feel like a broken record!

What we are trying to grok is the very foundation of the grokker!

Edit: the very source of our ability to feel itself feel something ....or to think or realize our own thinking... has some very powerful tools which destroy the very foundation of our own thinking-or-realization-of-our-own-ability-to-think...once we place those tools to do the "work" of uncovering what we think is mysterious we find that the "object" (which must be created and animated by what we are examining) is nothing more than an externalized entity which is already assumed.

To put it bluntly, we talk about things that exist in some kind of lego-land framework bringing about something like our own ability to work through the details of the same...but we forget every time we make a statement about our understanding we are unconsciously and unwittingly assuming what we are searching for.... Consciousness cannot "exist" otherwise...to prove this you only have to imagine what it would be like to be an omniscient consciousness.

[spoiler alert...omniscience kills consciousness]
What you're saying would make sense if it is assumed that all the processes required for experiencing are taking place within the experience itself. However the best evidence suggests that experiencing is something that neither creates itself or consumes itself, at least not directly, so metaphors such as the snake eating itself is not an accurate model of what seems to be the case, and we can therefore discard it ( sorry ).

Rather, it seems to be the case that consciousness occurs when the conditions are right, and those conditions are brought about by the function of specific neural structures, which in turn are dependent on other biological systems, which are in-turn dependent on the environments which sustain them. Eventually we die and are returned to that environment, so from that perspective, there is a cycle, but it's not the same sort of cycle as you are suggesting, where consciousness alone is responsible for everything about itself.
 
Last edited:


Top