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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 13

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Note to Randall . . . can you remove the strike-throughs appearing in the last three lines of my preceding post (last one in Part 12)? Thanks. I can never remember how to do that (nor figure out how it sometimes happens).
There is a formatting toolbar that appears at the top of your editing box. It contains the commands for Bold, Italic, Underscore, and Strikethrough. Just select edit, highlight the section in question, and either add or remove formatting. A neat little trick that helps to remove all sorts of formatting problems is to use the first command on the bar ( Remove Formatting ).
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
[Note: my posting screen does not have active tools so I cannot embed the link . . . Further note: nevertheless the link embedded. What's up with that?
It may be the case that your editing toolbar has been switched off. Look for the little gear icon at the top of your editing box and click on it. Other than that, I don't know how to help unless you can send or post a screenshot of your editing box. It should look something like this:

toolbar-01a.jpg

Have come across a paper that everyone here might find interesting:

"Phenomenology and Artificial Life: Toward a Technological Supplementation of Phenomenological Methodology"
Tom Froese • Shaun Gallagher

Good material. I'm not sure exactly what to do with it, but before doing anything, I might suggest that others not already familiar with Husserl review the attached paper below prior to delving into Frose & Gallagher's Phenomenology & Artificial Life.

The method of Husserl's phenomenology
( Wesensschau [intuition of essences], Epoché, eidetische Variation [eidetic variation] )
by Wolfgang Brauner
 

Attachments

Constance

Paranormal Adept
I did as you suggested and the tool symbols all appeared. I think the gear symbol probably clicked off when I was trying to delete the strike-throughs in the last few lines of my last post in Part 12 (which I couldn't succeed in doing)..

I think you will find the paper I linked to be of interest, based on some of your posts in recent times. I'm reading some papers in AI and Alife right now and will link them tomorrow. I reached these papers in searching for Dreyfus's paper "Intelligence without Representation" but w/o specifiying Dreyfus's name since I'd momentarily forgotten it. Came instead to many links to writing by an MIT Roboticist named Rodney Brooks. Fascinating stuff. My guess is that his work under the heading 'intelligence without representation' might have been inspired by Dreyfus, but I'm not sure. I think you'll like it. Will post links tomorrow.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Thank you for the link to the paper on Husserl's reductions. There are thunderstorms about to reach my area any minute now so I'm going to copy here the links in my accumulating Word document referred to above:

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE, ARTIFICIAL LIFE

"Phenomenology and Artificial Life: Toward a Technological Supplementation of Phenomenological Methodology"
Tom Froese • Shaun Gallagher
https://froese.files.wordpress.com/2010/04/froese-gallagher-10-phenomenology-and-artificial-life.pdf

Brooks, R. A. (1991). Intelligence without representation. Artificial intelligence, 47(1), 139-159. {RESPONDING TO DREYFUS/INSPIRED BY DREYFUS'S PAPER OF THE SAME TITLE??}
http://people.csail.mit.edu/brooks/papers/CMAA-group.pdf

AND SEE RODNEY BROOKS, FLESH AND MACHINES: HOW ROBOTS WILL CHANGE US, Books & Movies

==>Flesh and Machines: How Robots Will Change Us (from the publisher's description with quotation from Brooks}

"Flesh and Machines explores the startlingly reciprocal connection between humans and their technological brethren, and explains how this relationship is bring redefined as humans develop increasingly complex machines. The impetus to build machines that exhibit lifelike behaviors stretches back centuries, but for the last fifteen years much of this work has been done in Rodney Brooks' laboratory at MIT. His goal is not simply to build machines that are like humans but to alter our perception of the potential capabilities of robots. Our current attitude toward intelligent robots, he asserts, is simply a reflection of our own view of ourselves. In Flesh and Machines, Brooks challenges that view by suggesting that human nature can be seen to possess the essential characteristics of a machine. Our instinctive rejection of that idea, he believes, is itself a conditioned response: we have programmed ourselves to believe in our tribal specialness; as proof of our uniqueness. Provocative, persuasive, compelling, and unprecedented, Flesh and Machines presents a vision of our future and our future selves.

The body, this mass of biomolecules, is a machine that acts according to a set of specifiable rules... We are machines, as are our spouses, our children, and our dogs... I believe myself and my children all to be mere machines. But this is not how I treat them. I treat them in a very special way, and I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis. Like a religious scientist, I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs and act on each of them in different circumstances. It is this transcendence between belief systems that I think will be what enables mankind to ultimately accept robots as emotional machines, and thereafter start to empathize with them and attribute free will, respect, and ultimately rights to them... When our robots improve enough, beyond their current limitations, and when we credit humans, then too we will break our mental barrier, our need, our desire, to retain tribal specialness, differentiating ourselves from them."

RODNEY BROOKS WEBSITE: Rodney Brooks Home

SEE THIS ARTICLE BY BROOKS ==> “THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN MATTER AND LIFE” AT: http://people.csail.mit.edu/brooks/papers/nature.pdf
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Another Summary of Where We're At Now
The Neuroscience of Consciousness – with Anil Seth


Anil Seth is a Professor of Cognitive and Computational Neuroscience at the University of Sussex
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
Fair to say it's where Anil Seth is. But thanks for posting it. I listened to the full hour. @Soupie has written here earlier about Seth's ideas and experiments. Perhaps he will want to comment on anything new in this lecture.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Fair to say it's where Anil Seth is. But thanks for posting it.
Seth's approach is primarily neuroscientific, but he also crosses into the realm of philosophy where he mentions Chalmers and Descartes, and he spends some some time discussing how perceptual experience leads to expectation and intention, which are key points in phenomenology. So it's relevant to issues raised by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty. But he does leave out theological approaches, so it's fair to say that he's not on that path. Then again, we're not on that path here either.
I listened to the full hour. @Soupie has written here earlier about Seth's ideas and experiments. Perhaps he will want to comment on anything new in this lecture.
I almost fell asleep listening to it. I posted it more for the sake of anyone who might encounter this thread without having had the benefit of following its full history.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Seth's approach is primarily neuroscientific, but he also crosses into the realm of philosophy where he mentions Chalmers and Descartes, and he spends some some time discussing how perceptual experience leads to expectation and intention, which are key points in phenomenology. So it's relevant to issues raised by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty.
He doesn't "cross into the realm of philosophy" at all. He drops a few names and a few terms [perceptual experience, intention, the hard problem etc.] that he would have had to encounter in the field of neuroscience since some more broadly educated neuroscientists have no doubt critiqued his approach. He's a reductivist who is clueless about most of the interesting questions in Consciousness Studies. As I said in my first response, he doesn't summarize or represent "where we are now," only where he is now.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
What in your opinion are the most interesting questions in Consciousness Studies?
1. What is consciousness?
2. What is the origin of consciousness in the natural world? (Can we find it in physics, or only in life?)
3. How has consciousness developed in the evolution of life on our planet?
4. What do increasing degrees of awareness, protoconsciousness, and consciousness enable in evolving species of life?
5. How does selfhood arise in the evolution of species closely related with our own species?
6. How does conscious experience -- from the prereflective {pre-thetic, pre-conceptual} level to the reflective level -- inform what we think and do in our local world?
7. What has Affective Neuroscience [Panksepp et al] demonstrated to us about the awareness and affectivity biologically embedded in our own nature as in that of animals preceding us in evolution? Thus about influences in our own deep psychology that cannot be understand conceptually but rather emotionally?
8. What is the nature of human subjectivity and intersubjectivity, alike connecting us to our human forebears?
9. What is the origin of behaviors in our species and in our near-predecessors that inform and underwrite the development of mutuality, compassion, and ethics in the philosophy of mind?
10. Others might want to add to this list, and I might as well, but my cat insists on sitting on my keyboard at the moment. ,
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
8. What is the nature of human subjectivity and intersubjectivity, alike connecting us to our human forebears.
  • I'm highly suspect of Christian's view on what constitutes emotions.
  • Christian also seems to use the word "consciousness" a little too loosely for my liking.
  • I did find his explanation of intersubjectivity interesting, though ultimately abstract.
 
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Farlig Gulstein

Skilled Investigator
What in your opinion are the most interesting questions in Consciousness Studies?
1. What is consciousness?
2. What is the origin of consciousness in the natural world? (Can we find it in physics, or only in life?)
3. How has consciousness developed in the evolution of life on our planet?
4. What do increasing degrees of awareness, protoconsciousness, and consciousness enable in evolving species of life?
5. How does selfhood arise in the evolution of species closely related with our own species?
6. How does conscious experience -- from the prereflective {pre-thetic, pre-conceptual} level to the reflective level -- inform what we think and do in our local world?
7. What has Affective Neuroscience [Panksepp et al] demonstrated to us about the awareness and affectivity biologically embedded in our own nature as in that of animals preceding us in evolution? Thus about influences in our own deep psychology that cannot be understand conceptually but rather emotionally?
8. What is the nature of human subjectivity and intersubjectivity, alike connecting us to our human forebears?
9. What is the origin of behaviors in our species and in our near-predecessors that inform and underwrite the development of mutuality, compassion, and ethics in the philosophy of mind?
10. Others might want to add to this list, and I might as well, but my cat insists on sitting on my keyboard at the moment.
Okay, my thought may be included in Constance's list, but golly, you use such big words, with even three or four syllables. . . :)

So, each of us conscious human beings can detect very similar conscious human beings, and we actually communicate quite amazing things about our own conscious landscapes, believing that those other conscious entities will understand and possibly even respond. The only reason we try to communicate is that we know we will be at least 'fairly well' understood by those other conscious human beings.

At the same time, we all can remember and discriminate between ideas that, for example, I myself express, and those other ideas expressed by other conscious beings. I know what I've thought and expressed, and I know what someone else has thought and expressed, and I can tell that what they express is not something that originated in my own mentation.

How/why is the internal apparatus directly associated with our consciousness so well-able to discriminate, classify, catalog and store in memory so much of what is going on around us, including the ability to recognize the thinking processes other conscious beings? I myself -- AND others. We so easily take it for granted.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
  • I'm highly suspect of Christian's view on what constitutes emotions.
  • Christian also seems to use the word "consciousness" a little too loosely for my liking.
  • I did find his explanation of intersubjectivity interesting, though ultimately abstract.
I think this is a splendid interview and I follow everything that Christian de Quincy says in it. As I just now did a quick search for his name to check its spelling, my Microsoft Edge search brought up a link to a Word document in my files concerning de Quincy. {I don't remember producing that doc. but look forward to reading it, and I suspect it might have begun with a discussion of de Quincy here during these last four years.}

I don't remember de Quincy using the word 'emotion', and I'll listen again to see if he does. As Jaak Panksepp has made clear, emotions demonstrated in extant species of our evolutionary forebears develop out of the prior qualities of 'awareness' and 'affectivity'. These qualities are evolved in various degrees over the knowledge we have about the evolution of earthly species as a whole (the whole tree of life as our biologists have studied it), and Maturana and Varela recognized them in single-celled organisms extant for millions of years as expressions of 'autopoiesis'. I think we have to start there to understand the nature of sensed being leading to our own sensed being, so we need to mark developments that include protoconsciousness, pre-reflective [pre-thetic] consciousness, reflective consciousness, and I would add with de Quincy panpsychic consciousness, psychic experience and communication, and the entire complement of psi capacities.

'Subjectivity' and 'intersubjectivity' are foundational capacities of consciousness as recognized in phenomenological investigations of consciousness as we humans experience it. These capacities enable us to recognize both our individual selfhood and our comprehension of the selfhood of others, underwriting our ability to empathize with others (of our own kind and also animals we encounter throughout the planet) and consequentially underwriting our species' ethical and moral philosophies. I like the way de Quincy makes sense of these phenomena within a panpsychist world view. I'll be reading some of his books and also the writings of the second major process philosopher he discussed after talking about Whitehead's process philosophy.

Great link you've provided, Randall. Many thanks.

.
 

Farlig Gulstein

Skilled Investigator
Oops. :(

Let me state clearly Constance, that I hope my attempt at self-deprecation about your list, above, was not mistaken for something else. I sorely realize that so much of what you and a handful of others discuss here in this thread involves highly-technical, agreed-upon, nuanced nomenclature, and I am sorry to say that I have not become familiar with it. So, I am not at all sure if the technical terms in your list correspond to my musings from the peanut gallery. :) That's what I'd intended to say.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Oops. :(

Let me state clearly Constance, that I hope my attempt at self-deprecation about your list, above, was not mistaken for something else. I sorely realize that so much of what you and a handful of others discuss here in this thread involves highly-technical, agreed-upon, nuanced nomenclature, and I am sorry to say that I have not become familiar with it. So, I am not at all sure if the technical terms in your list correspond to my musings from the peanut gallery. :) That's what I'd intended to say.
Hi Farlig. I'm sorry I haven't responded to your posts until tonight. I've been riveted to the protests and reactions to them, especially since Monday. Anyway, I can't see why you should have been concerned about your first post responding to mine. I saw no problem, nor any reason why you should deprecate your own comments. I'll copy your first post here to add one or two thoughts..

Okay, my thought may be included in Constance's list, but golly, you use such big words, with even three or four syllables. . . :)

So, each of us conscious human beings can detect very similar conscious human beings, and we actually communicate quite amazing things about our own conscious landscapes, believing that those other conscious entities will understand and possibly even respond. The only reason we try to communicate is that we know we will be at least 'fairly well' understood by those other conscious human beings.

At the same time, we all can remember and discriminate between ideas that, for example, I myself express, and those other ideas expressed by other conscious beings. I know what I've thought and expressed, and I know what someone else has thought and expressed, and I can tell that what they express is not something that originated in my own mentation.
Yes, most of us generally do know the difference between our own thoughts, ideas, and opinions and those of others with whom we converse and interact. And also likely recognize our own dominant feelings and attitudes, though not always completely. And to varying degrees we are able to empathize with others and also act out of empathy toward them. It is this third ability that produces what de Quincy and the phenomenological philosophers call 'intersubjectivity', a capacity through which we not only feel and act sensitively and respectfully toward other individuals but which we are able to generalize in developing empathy for all others, human and animal. De Quincy goes beyond the phenomenologists in sensing and reasoning about the possible nature of panpsychic empathy at deep levels in nature.

I'm impressed by your third paragraph in its expression of the intricate integration and scope to be found in subjective and intersubjective consciousness:

How/why is the internal apparatus directly associated with our consciousness so well-able to discriminate, classify, catalog and store in memory so much of what is going on around us, including the ability to recognize the thinking processes other conscious beings? I myself -- AND others. We so easily take it for granted.
I would only caution against the use of the phrase "internal apparatus" since it suggests a mechanical/instrumental source in the brain for all that is received and expressed through consciousness. Both de Quincy and the phenomenologists have stood against neurological reductions of consciousness and mind, recognizing that consciousness is embodied, grounded in and responsive to what living beings encounter in their lived environments. So consciousness is embodied, enactive, and embedded in the world. We would not be able to conceive of a world, or the cosmos as a whole, without consciousness.

Further note: it is important in understanding phenomenology and de Quincy's further ontological thought to recognize that consciousness begins in pre-reflective (pre-thetic) experience, prior to the development of reflective consciousness opening to reflection upon itself and on the 'world' in which, and through which, we have our lived experience, our lived being. Also, we continue to be receptive pre-reflectively to innumerable experiences and influences that reach us in ways we do not fully understand. I very much like de Quincy's work on this subject.
 


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