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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 12


Constance

Paranormal Adept
I bring up the example of Phainopepla here because I was just discussing this species on my facebook page. Among the characteristic behaviors of phainopepla that are relevant, imo, to consciousness as involving unconscious and perhaps subconscious memory are these, quoted from one of the sources I'd read today concerning phainopepla.


"The Phainopepla, when pursued by predators or handled by humans, mimics the calls of other birds; imitations of at least 13 species have been recorded."

"The Phainopepla exhibits strikingly different behaviors in its two habitats. In the desert, it is territorial, actively defending nesting and foraging sites, while in the woodlands it is colonial, with as many as four nesting pairs sharing one large tree."


"So," I asked "is the Phainopepla a bird of two minds or many? Or a vivid example of the immense, deep, and interconnected Well and Web of lived consciousness itself as it is produced, expressed, heard, and otherwise sensed within the shared and unified phenomenon of the germination, variegation, and proliferation of life as we find it on our planet?
 

Erno86

Paranormal Maven
I called a radio talk show that had two mind reading guests. And I ask them --- Since I'm a participant in the sport of hunting, how do I prevent big game animals from telepathically sensing my presence in the outdoors. One of the guests responded...and told me I should think of swirling colors in my mind.

I was just wondering if could do the same kind of mind trick if I ever had a Close Encounter of the Third Kind? Say...if I was physically hiding from close by sentient ET's where they couldn't visually see, track or smell me.

Thanks...

Erno
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
...
"So," I asked "is the Phainopepla a bird of two minds or many? Or a vivid example of the immense, deep, and interconnected Well and Web of lived consciousness itself as it is produced, expressed, heard, and otherwise sensed within the shared and unified phenomenon of the germination, variegation, and proliferation of life as we find it on our planet?
Maybe it's neither. Maybe it's just an evolutionary adaptation that has proven beneficial for survival like the way a chameleon changes colors.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Maybe it's neither. Maybe it's just an evolutionary adaptation that has proven beneficial for survival like the way a chameleon changes colors.
So all behavioral phenomena just happen as 'evolutionary adaptations' without involving our and other animals' awareness, self-awareness, emotionality, and mentality?
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
So all behavioral phenomena just happen as 'evolutionary adaptations' without involving our and other animals' awareness, self-awareness, emotionality, and mentality?
In other words, our behavior and that of animals close to us in evolution is automatic and mechanical rather than arising in intentions provoked by changing circumstances? Effectively we are all automata or zombies?

Just asking.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Here's another rambling and repetitive discourse by Galen Strawson newly posted at academia:

"Galen Strawson just uploaded "A hundred years of consciousness Isaiah Berlin Lecture, Wolfson College, Oxford, May 25, 2017."

View Paper"

If anyone can sort out the reasoning Strawson utters again here, would you lay it out for me? Thanks.

ps, I think that Strawson is intrigued by consciousness but cannot yet account for it to himself or thus to his readers. At least not to me -- why I ask for others' help.
 
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Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
Here's another rambling and repetitive discourse by Galen Strawson newly posted at academia:

"Galen Strawson just uploaded "A hundred years of consciousness Isaiah Berlin Lecture, Wolfson College, Oxford, May 25, 2017."

View Paper"

If anyone can sort out the reasoning Strawson utters again here, would you lay it out for me? Thanks.

ps, I think that Strawson is intrigued by consciousness but cannot yet account for it to himself or thus to his readers. At least not to me -- why I ask for others' help.
I am not sure what you need laying out.
The article can be abbreviated to the following: "Eliminatisvism is silly". It is a philosophical rant to the gallery.

I have read this in his previous writing:
"I'll take materialism (or physicalism) to be the view that everything that concretely exists is wholly physical. Full stop."
An odd definition: physicalism is the view that everything that physically exists is physical. Equally, everything that does not physically exist is not physical. Perhaps I misunderstand what he means by 'concretely'... And "wholly".
And why the "Full stop"? It is odd that the main takeaway I got from his father on reading some of my work was to 'take away the emotion' from my writing. Alas, I fear he never read his son's work and suggested G do the same. Clarity hides behind the cloud of emotion.

Again he uses 'concretely': "Naturalism, unsurprisingly, states that everything that concretely exists is entirely natural: nothing supernatural or otherwise non-natural exists."
The wording is the same but for the use of 'naturalism' rather than 'physicalism'. And Naturalism doesn't state. Clearly, G states that naturalism states that...

Interestingly, imho, I have recently argued why physicalism is an eliminativism ideology... just thought I's throw that one among the pigeons.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I am not sure what you need laying out.
The article can be abbreviated to the following: "Eliminativism is silly". It is a philosophical rant to the gallery.
Thanks for replying, @Pharoah. I think that Strawson is not only intrigued but deeply vexed by consciousness and frustrated because he cannot yet find a satisfactory way to account for its origin and 'nature' as 'physical'. What I'd like to see him lay out is a coherent explanation of the 'physicality' of consciousness rather than merely insisting again and again that 'consciousness is physical, full stop', as you go on to point out:

I have read this in his previous writing:
"I'll take materialism (or physicalism) to be the view that everything that concretely exists is wholly physical. Full stop." An odd definition: physicalism is the view that everything that physically exists is physical. Equally, everything that does not physically exist is not physical. Perhaps I misunderstand what he means by 'concretely'... And "wholly".
I don't think Strawson himself actually understands, and can justify [prove out] what he means by 'concretely' and 'wholly', so what can we hope to learn from him? He seems to me to rely on Russell as if Russell wholly overcame Descartes' extensive meditations, ruminations, and doubts. Strawson writes, clearly enough, on about page 10:

"Russell made the key observation in 1927: "we do not know enough of the intrinsic character of events outside us to say whether it does or does not differ from that of 'mental events' whose nature we do know (Russell, 1927b, p. 221). He never wavered from this point, and constantly stressed that any remotely plausible theory of the nature of reality had to suppose an absolutely fundamental continuity between our own mental events, whose nature we do know, and all other events in reality (see e.g. Russell, 1927a, pp. 6, 216, 263-264). In 1948 he noted that physics simply cannot tell us whether the physical world is, or is not, different in intrinsic character from the world of mind (Russell, 1948, p. 240).18 In 1950 he remarked that "we know nothing about the intrinsic quality of physical events except when these are mental events that we directly experience" (Russell, 1950, p. 153)."

Well and good, and, imo, enough said. I haven't finished slogging through Strawson's Isaiah Berlin lecture to see if he takes us beyond Russell's statement of the essential problem, but I'll persist despite my impatience with his squirrely style, pretending to have a grip on the problem when in fact he knows that we have as yet no answers to it. Do you think he actually makes progress beyond what Russell recognized?

Interestingly, imho, I have recently argued why physicalism is an eliminativism ideology... just thought I'd throw that one among the pigeons.
I'd like to read your argument. Would you link it for me? Thanks.
 

Pharoah

Paranormal Adept
Thanks for replying, @Pharoah. I think that Strawson is not only intrigued but deeply vexed by consciousness and frustrated because he cannot yet find a satisfactory way to account for its origin and 'nature' as 'physical'. What I'd like to see him lay out is a coherent explanation of the 'physicality' of consciousness rather than merely insisting again and again that 'consciousness is physical, full stop', as you go on to point out:



I don't think Strawson himself actually understands, and can justify [prove out] what he means by 'concretely' and 'wholly', so what can we hope to learn from him? He seems to me to rely on Russell as if Russell wholly overcame Descartes' extensive meditations, ruminations, and doubts. Strawson writes, clearly enough, on about page 10:

"Russell made the key observation in 1927: "we do not know enough of the intrinsic character of events outside us to say whether it does or does not differ from that of 'mental events' whose nature we do know (Russell, 1927b, p. 221). He never wavered from this point, and constantly stressed that any remotely plausible theory of the nature of reality had to suppose an absolutely fundamental continuity between our own mental events, whose nature we do know, and all other events in reality (see e.g. Russell, 1927a, pp. 6, 216, 263-264). In 1948 he noted that physics simply cannot tell us whether the physical world is, or is not, different in intrinsic character from the world of mind (Russell, 1948, p. 240).18 In 1950 he remarked that "we know nothing about the intrinsic quality of physical events except when these are mental events that we directly experience" (Russell, 1950, p. 153)."

Well and good, and, imo, enough said. I haven't finished slogging through Strawson's Isaiah Berlin lecture to see if he takes us beyond Russell's statement of the essential problem, but I'll persist despite my impatience with his squirrely style, pretending to have a grip on the problem when in fact he knows that we have as yet no answers to it. Do you think he actually makes progress beyond what Russell recognized?
I'd like to read your argument. Would you link it for me? Thanks.
You misunderstood me when I said I had presented and argument that physicalism is a eliminativism ideology. I have merely hinted in recent comments:
that physicalism is tied to all we understand as 'physical'... the physical is interpreted and understood in terms of the existence of generalities as they interact and make reality what it is... the individuality of one's own being is not catered for by generalities. Therefore Physicalism is a doctrine that denies the individuality of one's own being in its modelling of reality. It eliminates being in its explanatory picture. It eliminates so effectively that very few have even noticed.
That is about as clear as I can make it atm...
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Thanks, @Pharoah. Still trying to see why 'physicalism' as applied to consciousness and mind is not an eliminativist ideology, or why you would be reluctant to argue that it is. I follow and agree with the statements you present following the colon in line 2. I would still like to read your recent writing on this subject, whether now or later as you would prefer.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
So you think we should stop inquiring about how awareness, consciousness, and mind emerge in being? Why are we having this conversation?
I don't recall making any suggestion that we should stop inquiring about how awareness, consciousness, and mind emerge in being. I do recall suggesting that perhaps the sort of behavior we see in some species is the result of reflexive or instinctive evolutionary adaptation rather than some sort of conscious invention carried out against the backdrop of of consciousness. In other words, such behavior may lead us to erroneously conclude that there's more is going on than actually is because we humans like to anthropomorphize. On researching where those boundaries are, my personal opinion is that it's quite fascinating.

 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I don't recall making any suggestion that we should stop inquiring about how awareness, consciousness, and mind emerge in being. I do recall suggesting that perhaps the sort of behavior we see in some species is the result of reflexive or instinctive evolutionary adaptation rather than some sort of conscious invention carried out against the backdrop of of consciousness. In other words, such behavior may lead us to erroneously conclude that there's more is going on than actually is because we humans like to anthropomorphize. On researching where those boundaries are, my personal opinion is that it's quite fascinating.
Glad you think so. For me this is the most fascinating subject we have taken up here in pursuing the breadth and depth of the interdisciplinary field of Consciousness Studies as developed over the last thirty years. Here is a paper by Max Velmans that we might begin with in collectively discussing the emergence of protoconscious awareness, consciousness, and mind in and with life over eons of evolution:

Evolution of consciousness
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member

Constance

Paranormal Adept
From another part of the forest, research such as the following, reported in this new entry (a book chapter) at academia.edu, is significant for our attempt to understand the interrelation of biological, neurological, and psychological factors affecting 'consciousness' and 'perception'. Since this paper addresses questions raised previously by @Burnt State relative to perceptions of 'ufos', I hope he might return to this thread and comment on the paper:

"Beyond ‘Salience’ and ‘Affordance’: Understanding Anomalous Experiences of Significant Possibilities"
Matthew Ratcliffe and Matthew R. Broome


Extract: ". . . As all of this illustrates, salience is not just a matter of experiencing what is
actually present. Things appear salient in the light of (a) what was anticipated prior to their arrival and/or (b) what is now anticipated from them. Experience is thus permeated with the anticipation, fulfilment, and negation of significant, variably determinate possibilities. 7
Consequently, things appear salient in a range of different ways. In cases of aberrant
salience, there is a further distinction to be drawn between experiencing something as salient in a way that is aberrant and experiencing it as aberrant. For example, there is a difference between experiencing the sofa in one’s lounge as menacing and experiencing it as strangely menacing (given a mismatch between that entity’s physical properties and the kinds of significant possibilities it points to). A further question thus arises concerning the source and type of normativity at stake when we refer to salience as ‘aberrant’. Is it a biological, epistemic, and/or phenomenological ‘ought’?

[7 It is arguable that a phenomenological account of the manner in which experience incorporates anticipation is complemented in various ways by recent work on ‘predictive coding’ and ‘predictive processing’, work that has also been related to the topic of aberrant salience and dopamine dysregulation in psychosis. See Ratcliffe (2017, Chapter 6) for a discussion.]

One might answer ‘all three’, but they do not always go together. For instance, a non-localized experience of everything being somehow not right may well be biologically ‘normal’ or even ‘functional’ under certain conditions. Regardless of the source of normativity, there are further distinctions to be drawn between different kinds of deviation from a norm. Something’s appearing salient when it should not differs from its appearing salient when it should, but not in the way that it should and from its not appearing salient when it should do (according to one or another criterion). In the latter case, an absence of salience may itself be salient.

Another important variable to consider is whether an experience is modality-specific and which modality or modalities it involves. As noted earlier, we might think of salience as principally perceptual in nature – it is a matter of how our surroundings appear to us and how various things relate to our concerns and potential activities. But it is arguably much broader than that. The weak point in an argument might equally be described as ‘salient’, as might some feature of an imagined situation or remembered event. Furthermore, it is not simply the case that we experience something as ‘perceived’, ‘imagined’, ‘thought’, or ‘remembered’ and, in conjunction with this, experience it as salient in one or another way. The kinds of salience attached to an experience also contribute to our sense of its being one and not another type of experience – an experience of perceiving, anticipating, remembering, imagining, or thinking. To explain further, it seems reasonable to maintain that the hallmark of perceptual experience is a sense of ‘presence’ (e.g. Noë, 2004). Thus, when we have a perceptual experience of a tree, that experience is not exhausted by its sensory-perceptual content. In addition, we experience the tree as here, now . It is this ‘here, now’ that constitutes our sense of the experience as unambiguously perceptual in nature. However, objects of perception sometimes look strangely unfamiliar, not quite there, somehow unreal, to the point where it no longer feels like an unambiguously perceptual experience. Erosion of the sense that one is having a perceptual experience is attributable -- at least in part -- to aberrant salience. A perceived entity that does not offer the usual range of specifically perceptual possibilities can appear ‘salient’ in lacking them. It ‘stands out’ insofar as it looks somehow more like an imagined or remembered entity – not fully ‘there’. Conversely, salient possibilities more usually associated with perception could adhere to the contents of memory or imagination. The sense that one is imagining or remembering, rather than perceiving, can thus be eroded (Ratcliffe, 2017). For instance, suppose that you cannot help imagining having done p and feel intense guilt every time you do imagine having done p . The kind of significance attaching to p is likely to diminish, to some degree, your sense of merely imagining rather than remembering p.

Hence salience is integral to the phenomenological constitution of intentionality, to our grasp of the distinctions between what is currently the case, what was the case, what is not and never was the case, and what might be the case. For that reason, it is not sufficient to refer to
‘aberrant salience’ within one or another modality. Associated disturbances of intentionality should also be acknowledged. Kapur (2003) takes delusions to be beliefs that are
‘highly improbable’. However, given that wide-ranging salience disruption can erode one’s grasp of the distinction between what is and what is not the case and -- with this -- the
way in which one believes, it should be added that these ‘beliefs’ are different in kind from more typical forms of believing.
[8 An appreciation of how salience dysregulation can impact on the structure of belief may also help to clarify the relationship between aberrant salience and delusion – how exactly the former disposes one towards the latter.]
. . . ."


Beyond 'Salience' and 'Affordance': Understanding Anomalous Experiences of Significant Possibilities
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Excellent paper. What is it that you find the most interesting? The strong points? The weak points?
Randall, I find all of Panksepp's research and discoveries, and those of his colleagues in the new discipline of Affective Neuroscience, to be not only interesting but persuasive as I've been arguing here for several years. You might have been absent at the times we discussed linked papers by Panksepp and others and perhaps the search function will bring those threads up for you. What do you find to be 'weak points' in the linked presentation of affective
neuroscience
findings as presented in this symposium introduction? Note that Panksepp has published numerous papers and a book concerning the development and applications of this discipline, all accessible via google and perhaps in the search page I linked a few posts back.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Randall, I find all of Panksepp's research and discoveries, and those of his colleagues in the new discipline of Affective Neuroscience, to be not only interesting but persuasive as I've been arguing here for several years. You might have been absent at the times we discussed linked papers by Panksepp and others and perhaps the search function will bring those threads up for you. What do you find to be 'weak points' in the linked presentation of affective
neuroscience
findings as presented in this symposium introduction? Note that Panksepp has published numerous papers and a book concerning the development and applications of this discipline, all accessible via google and perhaps in the search page I linked a few posts back.
Yes I've encountered Panksepp before, but I don't follow him on a regular basis. I tend to think he makes assumptions that although seemingly accurate from our anthropocentric perspective, may not be the case. For example attributing human-like emotions to other animals when we don't know that other animals actually feel emotions anything even remotely like we do. But that's beside the point. I was more interested in what your thinking about his work is most interesting and persuasive to you than providing comments myself. Here's a TED talk featuring Panksepp making a lot of the kinds of assumptions I'm talking about.

 

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