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Consciousness and the Paranormal — Part 13

Farlig Gulstein

Paranormal Maven
Again, I would contend that the example of an eyesight test clearly illustrates how such things as photons, optics, electricity, biochemistry, and neuroscience are all directly related to the subjective experience of eyesight, and that we understand these relationships well enough to create conditions ( such as lenses ) which can directly influence that subjective experience in predicable ways.

Therefore, logically, it seems to me that we have a pretty good idea of how ( how - in a general sense ) these things are related, and we can apply the same reasoning to all our other senses as well. Now perhaps there will be a few people who deny or dodge the science on these examples, so there might not be a "consensus", but I'm pretty sure from our past conversations that you are definitely smart enough to see the truth in what I'm saying.
So there is a correlation.

But as far as causation, what do you do with dreams?

I sleep with my head covered with pillows, sheets and covers. Not too many photons hitting my retina. Yet on many occasions I have amazing full reality and some weird full-color "shows" with people and places, animals and things like trucks and aircraft that sometimes include even aural and tactile sensations. Sometimes I am in situations that require a moral choice. So, surely the dream-state is in some real way one aspect of a person's consciousness that does not depend on sensory inputs from eyes, ears or tactile senses, and if so that seems, logically, to make it harder to argue in that direction.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
So there is a correlation.

But as far as causation, what do you do with dreams?

I sleep with my head covered with pillows, sheets and covers. Not too many photons hitting my retina. Yet on many occasions I have amazing full reality and some weird full-color "shows" with people and places, animals and things like trucks and aircraft that sometimes include even aural and tactile sensations. Sometimes I am in situations that require a moral choice. So, surely the dream-state is in some real way one aspect of a person's consciousness that does not depend on sensory inputs from eyes, ears or tactile senses, and if so that seems, logically, to make it harder to argue in that direction.
Good one. That's why I always like your questions Gulstein ( Is that like Gull-steen" Or is it like Gull-stine, like rhymes with shine? Or is it like "Gool-Steen or Stein?

I suppose we might say the same thing for sensory deprivation tanks. Here's one article:


From what I've read in the past, the same portions of the brain that are activated during the conscious experience of eyesight are also active during dream states, and can be measured with EM sensors. So the irresistible conclusion is that once again, measurable brain activity is directly related to the conscious experience. When such correlations are consistent in every single case, the weight for causality increases. With neuroscience, the correlations are so consistent ( virtually 100% ) that there's no reasonable claim to be made that the brain isn't causal.

That being said, exactly how the the mechanisms within the brain are engaged to produce dreams, is beyond my knowledge. However from what I've been able to gather, it has to do with a series of structures called the thalamocortical loop, and activation happens as a natural part of the biochemistry that takes place when we go to sleep.

None of this explains the existence of the dream experience in the first place ( The Hard Problem of Consciousness ), but nothing explains the fundamental existence of anything else either, which is why I keep saying the HPC isn't a valid "problem" in the sense that it can be "solved". I often refer back to a statement @smcder made a long time ago, which is that it's more like a koan: 🔗 A good video here: 🔗

Not referring to anyone here specifically, it seems many others have either not attained this understanding, or have rejected it out of hand ( without providing adequate counterpoint to invalidate it ). In some cases they have reformulated the HPC to suit their own explanations. Maybe this might pass with some philosophers. I don't know. We've been trying to get David Chalmers on as a guest for about a year, but he's been busy finishing his latest book.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
From what I've read in the past, the same portions of the brain that are activated during the conscious experience of eyesight are also active during dream states, and can be measured with EM sensors. So the irresistible conclusion is that once again, measurable brain activity is directly related to the conscious experience. When such correlations are consistent in every single case, the weight for causality increases. With neuroscience, the correlations are so consistent ( virtually 100% ) that there's no reasonable claim to be made that the brain isn't causal.
'Related' is an overly general and baggy term, as @Soupie has observed. You wrote in response that you wanted to leave it to others to express your ideas in words. But that, you should understand, is your own task if you want to enter into the complex discourse involved in distinguishing mind from brain.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
'Related' is an overly general and baggy term, as @Soupie has observed. You wrote in response that you wanted to leave it to others to express your ideas in words. But that, you should understand, is your own task if you want to enter into the complex discourse involved in distinguishing mind from brain.
Actually, it was Soupie who asked how the brain and consciousness are related. Also, simply applying judgements without including reasons doesn't count for much. I would contend that mapping the relationships between the conscious experience and that which it is correlated with, can and has produced a wealth of information that is very useful.

Again, just mapping the relationships between optics and the experience of eyesight has allowed millions ( maybe billions ) of people to see clearer and function almost normally. That is not insignificant ( no matter how dismissive anyone might be of its importance ).
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
For Randall. Here is the link to my downloaded copy of the paper you requested. I can't locate the forum device you told me to use. Maybe you can copy the download here from my link [link doesn't work]:
Does this work for you? If not, why not make the necessary changes in your computer to enable you to access the many papers I and others link here from academia.edu?

ps, registering at academia.edu is free and makes available to you without charge a vast array of research publications on consciousness.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Does this work for you?
Beautifully. Thank you.
If not, why not make the necessary changes in your computer to enable you to access the many papers I and others link here from academia.edu?

ps, registering at academia.edu is free and makes available to you without charge a vast array of research publications on consciousness.
I don't like membership requirements in general just to access information, but will put-up with them if I really need the content and it cannot be accessed any other way, or it seems fair and doesn't require me to change the privacy settings on my browser every time I need to access it.

The paper you attached opened immediately as soon as I clicked it without leaving the forum. That is much more convenient for participants here than putting them through two or three more clicks that take them off the forum, let alone then having them need to sign-up and change their browser settings. It's just a courtesy. I do it whenever I can. You certainly don't have to if you don't want to. But it's much appreciated. Thanks again.
 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
For general reference here from:

NEUROPHENOMENOLOGY
A Methodological Remedy for the Hard Problem
By Francisco J. Varela, 🔗

1602376689061.png

Where does Emergentism fit into the above picture?

 
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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
This part sounds very promising:

"On the whole, my claim is that neurophenomenology is a natural solution that can allow us to move beyond the hard problem in the study of consciousness. It has little to do with some theoretical or conceptual extra ingredient, to use Chalmers expression. Instead, it acknowledges a realm of practical ignorance that can be remedied. It is also clear that like all solutions in science which radically reframe an outstanding problem rather than trying to solve it within its original setting it has a revolutionary potential, a point to which I shall turn at the end of this article. In other words, instead of finding extra ingredients to account for how consciousness emerges from matter and brain, my proposal reframes the question to that of finding meaningful bridges between two irreducible phenomenal domains. In this specific sense neurophenomenology is a potential solution to the hard problem by casting in an entirely different light on what hard means."
NEUROPHENOMENOLOGY
A Methodological Remedy for the Hard Problem
By Francisco J. Varela, 🔗
 

Farlig Gulstein

Paranormal Maven
So the irresistible conclusion is that once again, measurable brain activity is directly related to the conscious experience.
As far as I know, everyone agrees that there is a relationship between between brain activity and conscious experience. But that is pretty far from saying brain activity is the direct cause of conscience experience.
That being said, exactly how the the mechanisms within the brain are engaged to produce dreams, is beyond my knowledge.
I would say that there is an awful lot more related to subjective consciousness that is beyond anyone's knowledge, which, therefore, requires quite a bit of reserve when conjecturing about it.
'Related' is an overly general and baggy term, as @Soupie has observed. You wrote in response that you wanted to leave it to others to express your ideas in words. But that, you should understand, is your own task if you want to enter into the complex discourse involved in distinguishing mind from brain.
Bingo. I've suggested to you before Randall, that you put in the time and effort to produce tight, well-argued papers about issues you find compelling. But yeah, one has to learn to do footnotes.
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
As far as I know, everyone agrees that there is a relationship between between brain activity and conscious experience. But that is pretty far from saying brain activity is the direct cause of conscience experience.
When you consider the standards by which we attribute causes and effects, it's not so far far as you suggest to say that brain function is the cause for consciousness. For starters, all causes and effects are 100% correlative, and in science, when something is directly correlative in all cases where it is tested, it is not simply dismissed as sheer coincidence.

Therefore the adage "correlation doesn't imply causation" is actually false. More correctly, correlation doesn't equal causation. So it is as much a logical fallacy to conclude that because causation hasn't been proven, that the correlation is being caused by something else. In fact, when correlations under controlled circumstances are the same 100% of the time, there is a very strong scientific argument for causation. The following paper covers this debate in some further detail and should be required reading for anyone wanting to take sides on this particular issue.

Cognitive Neuroscience and Causal Inference: Implications for Psychiatry

I would say that there is an awful lot more related to subjective consciousness that is beyond anyone's knowledge, which, therefore, requires quite a bit of reserve when conjecturing about it.
One might argue the counterpoint that although we don't know everything, we know enough to make a working hypothesis and from the extensive scientific testing that has been done, draw a reasonable conclusion. It's certainly better than relying on some mystical religious explanation, but maybe that's just my bias in favor of scientific evidence.
Bingo. I've suggested to you before Randall, that you put in the time and effort to produce tight, well-argued papers about issues you find compelling. But yeah, one has to learn to do footnotes.
Or one can take the time to follow links or plug some of the relevant terms into a search engine. This is a casual forum, not a PhD dissertation. I'm not doing everyone's homework for them or spelling it all out in MLA. Besides that, the absence of citations doesn't mean content isn't true or reasonable. When reasonable arguments are made on evidence that is self-evident and/or logically coherent, they are just as valid, or possibly even more valid than someone else's text, regardless of credentials or notoriety.
 
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Soupie

Paranormal Adept
If anything is woo-land, it's to assume that at some point in the chain above, causality just stops someplace inside the brain and has no effect on the wearers perception of color, and instead some mystical thing, for no apparent cause or reason, just intervenes and magically produces it.
No one is suggesting a mystical thing happens in the chain.

I believe the mind and brain do have a relationship but that’s it’s not a causal relationship.

the mbp asks how the mind and brain are related.

the hp asks how the brain causes the mind.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
No one is suggesting a mystical thing happens in the chain.

I believe the mind and brain do have a relationship but that’s it’s not a causal relationship.

the mbp asks how the mind and brain are related.

the hp asks how the brain causes the mind.
One little revision to suggest, for the last item: "the hp asks how the brain could produce consciousness and mind." :)
 

Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
One little revision to suggest, for the last item: "the hp asks how the brain could produce consciousness and mind." :)
There can be no non-trivial answer to this question, and whatever non-trivial answer there may be ( if one exists ) is beyond our grasp. Hence New Mysterianism. From this perspective, anyone who thinks they've got a non-trivial answer, only proves they don't understand the question. But if trivial answers are acceptable, then: The brain could produce consciousness by functioning normally.
 
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Constance

Paranormal Adept
There can be no non-trivial answer to this question, and whatever non-trivial answer there may be ( if one exists ) is beyond our grasp. Hence New Mysterianism. From this perspective, anyone who thinks they've got a non-trivial answer, only proves they don't understand the question. But if trivial answers are acceptable, then: The brain could produce consciousness by functioning normally.
Save yourself from this silliness, Randall. Colin McGinn, who coined the term 'New Mysterianism', might have articulated some grounds for his opting out of the philosophical and scientific effort to build insights into consciousness, but I don't think you have done so. Read this paper to see the outlines of the continuing interdisciplinary effort:

https://www.academia.edu/19686132/The_Intersubjective_Turn?email_work_card=view-paper
 

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Randall

J. Randall Murphy
Staff member
Save yourself from this silliness, Randall. Colin McGinn, who coined the term 'New Mysterianism', might have articulated some grounds for his opting out of the philosophical and scientific effort to build insights into consciousness, but I don't think you have done so. Read this paper to see the outlines of the continuing interdisciplinary effort:

https://www.academia.edu/19686132/The_Intersubjective_Turn?email_work_card=view-paper
Maybe some other time. Not bothering with downloads off Academia.
 

Constance

Paranormal Adept
Progress on the body-mind problem and the hard problem of consciousness:

📄 "Sensorimotor Intentionality: The origins of intentionality in prospective agent action" by Jonathan Delafield-Butt

Efficient prospective motor control, evident in human activity from birth, reveals an adaptive intentionality of a primary, pre-reflective, and pre-conceptual nature that we identify here as sensorimotor intentionality. We identify a structural continuity between the emergence of this earliest form of prospective movement and the structure of mental states as intentional or content-directed in more advanced forms. We base our proposal on motor control studies, from foetal observations through infancy. These studies reveal movements are guided by anticipations of future effects, even from before birth. This implies that these movements, even if they are simple and discrete, are the actions of an intentional agent. We develop this notion to present a theory of the developing organisation of a core feature of cognition as embodied agent action, from early single actions with proximal prospectivity to the complex serial ordering of actions into projects to reach distal goals. We claim the prospective structural continuity from early and simple actions to later complex projects of serially-ordered actions confirms the existence of an ontogenetically primary form of content–directedness that is a driver for learning and development. Its implications for understanding autism are discussed.

2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

https://www.academia.edu/5019190/Se...ctive_agent_action?email_work_card=view-paper

file:///C:/Users/Owner/Downloads/Sensorimotor_Intentionality_The_origins.pdf
 

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