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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 13

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
And no it doesn't have to do with "interactionism".
Well, there we go. We've identified part of the problem already.
Go do what God has for you to do, maybe we'll see you later.
Interesting. God is an anagram for "dog".
"How" is an anagram for "who".
You started the sentence with "Go do" which contains, God, do, and Godo ( reminiscent of Godot ), as in waiting for Godot ( which has nothing to do with "God"). Or does it? See why I get so little else accomplished :p .

Waiting For Godot


Brilliant, but between my ADD and the time,
I fell asleep after 15 mins.
 
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smcder

Paranormal Adept
It seems to me that a considerable complex of neural nets need to have been interconnected to evoke consciousness and then enable it to be sustained and to function. Barr's metaphor of the 'global workspace' suggests what I'm trying to get at. So that organisms farther back in the evolution of species would experience some kind of protoconsciousness but not the kind of consciousness we recognize in the 'higher' animals and ourselves. But that doesn't mean that the neurons are conscious, or that even individual neural nets are conscious. Nor imo is the brain conscious. The structures enable but do not constitute consciousness.

Your reference to "forming memories, modeling and directing attention, and counterfactual thinking/planning" gets at how I've been thinking about the phrase "representational necessity." I haven't read the whole of that paper yet so I cannot interpret the phrase in the precise sense the author intended. But it stands to reason that representations enter into consciousness in the learning process for our species and many animals. Experience is presentational, not 're- presentational'. The conscious animal initially comes up against an environing world of phenomenal appearances not predictable or understandable, but gradually becomes familiar with that environment, accustomed to it as it becomes predictable. In that learning experience, the animal forms mental representations of those things and other animals, events, weather, whatever, that recur in its experience, and thus is not continually surprised by what it encounters. For me the phrase 'representational necessity' expresses how representations are formed out of directly experienced phenomena that increasing knit together the context of the animal's world. My 2 cents.
For clarity, the snippet above:
smcder said:
Some other ideas for why certain neural process are conscious have to do with forming memories, modeling and directing attention, and counterfactual thinking/planning.
is @Soupie text, not mine.

But...yes...btw I am enjoying the book "The Presence of Nature" that you linked above.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
Clearly they have not heard of the great uprising of 1978 ...

It's actually fascinating...especially the connection with micro-rhyzomes.
 

marduk

quelling chaos since 2352BC
Did you read the whole paper?
It doesn't matter. The logic seems unassailable to me:

1. Our brains are physical systems that respond to physical events.
2. Cognition and consciousness are hard to explain, but both go away when the brain goes away.
3. Physicality doesn't cease to exist when we stop looking at something, or stop being conscious. Wheeler & co like to wax poetic about consciousness altering the whole universe when it's observed, and it might - but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. This is easy to prove: our planet has a geologic record that's mostly consistent from far before humans ever existed - in fact before life itself existed. Therefore, we didn't 'will' the whole universe into existence just by becoming conscious.
4. Consciousness doesn't seem to alter quantum events at all. Measurement does. You can have a computer or sensor measure something, and it alters accordingly (like the wave/photon delayed choice experiment). When that measurement is done by something conscious (like us) it happens the same way: Measurement in quantum mechanics - Wikipedia
5. Just because consciousness is a hard problem doesn't mean it isn't a physical process. There is no explanation driving it out of being a physical process except that it's unexplained as a physical process. Inventing new universes where the problem is solved by the definition of those universes doesn't actually answer anything, because now you need a tie between that non-physical universe and ours that isn't measurable by anything except our brains.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
It doesn't matter. The logic seems unassailable to me:

1. Our brains are physical systems that respond to physical events.
2. Cognition and consciousness are hard to explain, but both go away when the brain goes away.
3. Physicality doesn't cease to exist when we stop looking at something, or stop being conscious. Wheeler & co like to wax poetic about consciousness altering the whole universe when it's observed, and it might - but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. This is easy to prove: our planet has a geologic record that's mostly consistent from far before humans ever existed - in fact before life itself existed. Therefore, we didn't 'will' the whole universe into existence just by becoming conscious.
4. Consciousness doesn't seem to alter quantum events at all. Measurement does. You can have a computer or sensor measure something, and it alters accordingly (like the wave/photon delayed choice experiment). When that measurement is done by something conscious (like us) it happens the same way: Measurement in quantum mechanics - Wikipedia
5. Just because consciousness is a hard problem doesn't mean it isn't a physical process. There is no explanation driving it out of being a physical process except that it's unexplained as a physical process. Inventing new universes where the problem is solved by the definition of those universes doesn't actually answer anything, because now you need a tie between that non-physical universe and ours that isn't measurable by anything except our brains.
He's not saying it isn't a physical process.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
OK, I misunderstood. What's he saying?
I think you should read the paper. But this is taking up a lot of time and technically, it can be answered from the sentence itself:

"True, the assumed fact that some physical event-structures are identical with phenomenality means ex hypothesi that the physical does not cause the qualitative nature of experience."

What is the causal relationship in an identity?
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
It doesn't matter. The logic seems unassailable to me:

1. Our brains are physical systems that respond to physical events.
2. Cognition and consciousness are hard to explain, but both go away when the brain goes away.
3. Physicality doesn't cease to exist when we stop looking at something, or stop being conscious. Wheeler & co like to wax poetic about consciousness altering the whole universe when it's observed, and it might - but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist. This is easy to prove: our planet has a geologic record that's mostly consistent from far before humans ever existed - in fact before life itself existed. Therefore, we didn't 'will' the whole universe into existence just by becoming conscious.
4. Consciousness doesn't seem to alter quantum events at all. Measurement does. You can have a computer or sensor measure something, and it alters accordingly (like the wave/photon delayed choice experiment). When that measurement is done by something conscious (like us) it happens the same way: Measurement in quantum mechanics - Wikipedia
5. Just because consciousness is a hard problem doesn't mean it isn't a physical process. There is no explanation driving it out of being a physical process except that it's unexplained as a physical process. Inventing new universes where the problem is solved by the definition of those universes doesn't actually answer anything, because now you need a tie between that non-physical universe and ours that isn't measurable by anything except our brains.
I completely agree, but you need to be careful with @smcder as his posts aren't always what you might be tempted to assume they are. That's why I only quoted that one small section and didn't mean in any way for it to apply to the rest. Just focused on that issue in isolation.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
I completely agree, but you need to be careful with @smcder as his posts aren't always what you might be tempted to assume they are. That's why I only quoted that one small section and didn't mean in any way for it to apply to the rest. Just focused on that issue in isolation.
Or you can read the attached paper. I didn't think the sentence was problematic.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
He's not saying it isn't a physical process.
Or you can read the attached paper. I didn't think the sentence was problematic.
The paper we're working from might be too lengthy and too complex {presuming a broad familiarity with all the developments in Consciousness Studies over the last 30+ years} to enable clear understanding of the core issues we're interested in. The Conscious Entities blog and its comments may provide a more accessible text for us to work from. The blog discusses the following paper [providing links to both a summary and to the entire paper]:

"Chasing the Rainbow: The Non-conscious Nature of Being"
David A. Oakley1,2* and Peter W. Halligan2 at Chasing the Rainbow: The Non-conscious Nature of Being

Here is an extract:

  • “… Ultimately by removing what we see as the mistaken attribution of executive control and agency to “conscious experience,” we hope to avoid the necessity of characterizing cognitive/psychological processes in terms of the traditional binary distinction of “conscious” vs. “unconscious.” With this in mind, we favor the use of “psychological,” as the more neutral term in relation to this distinction, in preference to “cognitive.” Similarly, we use the term “non-conscious” in preference to “unconscious,” to reflect our view that all psychological processing and processes, including those forming what we call the personal narrative, occur outside “conscious experience.” Seen in such a light, a major aspect of the “hard problem of consciousness” (the problem of trying to explain how phenomenal experiences can influence physical processes in the brain) can be avoided in that the “experience of consciousness” (personal awareness) we argue can be seen to be a real, but passive emergent property of psychological processing and not some executive process capable of animating and directing our mental states. . . .”
I think we might be able to clarify some of the issues we're discussing currently by taking 20 minutes to read the Conscious Entities blog and comments [too few this time] at this link:

Phenomenal Epiphenomenalism

Or perhaps we should read the paper discussed in the blog, likely more accessible than the one we've been referring to.
 
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USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Or you can read the attached paper. I didn't think the sentence was problematic.
I may just do that later today. But at the same time, @marduk's point on the physicality of consciousness should not be overlooked simply because it represents a point of view of one of our forum participants, rather than being specific to the paper in question. It is a recurring theme, and worthy of bearing in mind whenever the subject comes up, if not just tp compare the views.
 
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smcder

Paranormal Adept
I may just do that later today. But at the same time, @marduk's point on the physicality of consciousness should not be overlooked simply because it represents a point of view of one of our forum participants, rather than being specific to the paper in question. It is a recurring theme, and worthy of bearing in mind whenever the subject comes up, if not just tp compare the views.
AFTER you do your home repairs. I don't want the roof falling in on you while reading that paper.

It's not being overlooked. The author of the paper also thinks consciousness is physical.

What is more relevant to @marduk points is the SEP section I posted:


You may be aware of these arguments, but it's worth a look to see.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
I may just do that later today. But at the same time, @marduk's point on the physicality of consciousness should not be overlooked simply because it represents a point of view of one of our forum participants, rather than being specific to the paper in question. It is a recurring theme, and worthy of bearing in mind whenever the subject comes up, if not just tp compare the views.
.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
NOTE ( for everyone ): It would be helpful if when referring to papers, if they are not freely downloadable without a membership, to an attach a copy to your post instead of just posting a link. This would be much appreciated. I prefer to read the PDF offline, and I have a million memberships already, Academia's "Download with Google feature doesn't work ( for me ) , and I don't use Facebook.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
NOTE ( for everyone ): It would be helpful if when referring to papers, if they are not freely downloadable without a membership, to an attach a copy to your post instead of just posting a link. This would be much appreciated. I prefer to read the PDF offline, and I have a million memberships already, Academia's "Download with Google feature doesn't work ( for me ) , and I don't use Facebook.
I don't know if that's allowed? The only membership I have is Academia.edu. It was free and probably still is.
 

USI Calgary

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
I don't know if that's allowed? The only membership I have is Academia.edu. It was free and probably still is.
The paper will usually say whether or not it's okay to post elsewhere. Unless it specifically says it can't be posted elsewhere, or the terms are spelled out by copyright, then being an educational paper, it can probably be reproduced for educational purposes ( which I would say this covers ). Anyway, if I felt there was some serious copyright violation, I'd just delete as as a moderator anyway.
 

smcder

Paranormal Adept
The paper will usually say whether or not it's okay to post elsewhere. Unless it specifically says it can't be posted elsewhere, or the terms are spelled out by copyright, then being an educational paper, it can probably be reproduced for educational purposes ( which I would say this covers ). Anyway, if I felt there was some serious copyright violation, I'd just delete as as a moderator.
Those repairs aren't going to do themselves. ;-)
 
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