Does the brain really "cause" consciousness?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by Magical Realist, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. curious45 Registered Member

    I was going to open a new topic, but this one is close enough, and rather large.

    As a psychology and philosophy major, as well as an avid student of neuroscience, this problem is one I am very aware of.

    In philosophy, it comes fundamentally down to what is called "the hard problem of conciousness". Although, personally i feel conciousness is a bit loaded, ambigous a term for general use in such a debate. Its lost its meaning more than the observation of a wave collapse has in physics.

    So lets start instead by using some other terms, simpler and easier to define. "Subjective experience", "Qualia", and "Awareness". These terms a clearer, in the context.

    Now the hard problem of conciousness, from the assumed physicalist neuroscience point of veiw runs like this. We can describe how information is received, transformed or processed, in some detail, in terms of the brain. We can explain visual perception, in quite great detail, spatial-temporal perception, memory, attention, language, even imagination and reasoning.

    What we cant explain is why we have "a subjective experience" of these things, when all that is occuring physically, is comparable to an advanced parallel processing robots cpu - the storage, processing, and transfer of information. It really is a huge mystery to psychology, and while there are many theories, like all "emergent" theories of conciousness, their reasoning really sounds more like "magical thinking" than anything coherent.

    This is subject is also succiently summed, in philosophy, in the thought experiment of the "philosophical zombie".

    Another might be to consider can a computer be subjectively aware? The problem with the typical thinking, of awareness as "an emergent" property, is that this is more like a convienient placeholder than anything produced by critical reasoning. We have no idea what features of a system might produce such "emergence", nor does that in itself give any real explaination of the phenomena. Its basically, as I said, magical thinking.

    No arrangement of connected calculators or abacuses, would in the typical physicalists perception produce awareness. Particle level interactions produce constant exchange of information, and transformation, sometimes reasonably complex but we do not consider them aware. Our dna can perform calculations, store and transform data, but we do not consider this aware. Plants (and more so higher ones), store, transfer and process information, but few consider them aware.

    If we have a robot or computer, that can act like a human, perhaps hold a conversation, or show facial expressions, we do not consider this aware. Us robotics made a "spider" robot using a combination of heuristics and neural style parallel processors, that literally learnt how to walk and navigate its enviroment. Aware?

    The problems of the physicalist emergent veiw should be obvious to anyone who gives it thought. A coherent emergence theory would require some specific rationale for the type of informational system, as well as a mechanical justification for why that gives rise to a subjective experience. To be actual science, it would also need not just to be a beleif system, but be experimentally verified.

    Interestingly, it would seem like panpsychism, or panexperientalism is actually the far more elegant solution - everything is aware, all information exchanges are awareness, or experience. Its a fundamental property of the universe, and thus, neatly is indivisible and requires no mechanical explaination. In terms of our particular complexity, and configuration, the intricacy of our particular interactions, informationally, allows for a particularly rich form of this experience, one that is centered internally to some large degree, and connected with "identity" and memory.

    Of course, while it can be very deftly argued, and in such a way that the very few criticism actually sound quite lame, its hard to prove, in fact probably impossible to prove. I cannot prove the others reading this have a subjective experience, I only know my own. I only guess that they do, based on their behavioural similarity to me (which brings us back to philosophical zombies).

    However, I cannot stress how much of an unfounded, unproven, and probably illogical assumption this is, on behalf of the brain-mind hypothesis, to place awareness, or subjective experience, as some kind of mystical property, or emergent property of what is well understood to be a highly refined information processing machinary. I guess I am fortunate enough to have studied philosophy, computers, and psychology, as well as given it alot of thought.

    I would not argue everyone should adopt a panpsychism or panexperiental POV, although to me thats logically elegant, and in fact philosophically makes some sense (can something really be considered to exist independant of any observation ever?).

    However I would argue for everyone to consider the flaws in logic of various proposed emergent property theories, especially just the general assumption that "its in the brain somewhere". The brain is just a processor and a memory bank. The nerves and brain cells are just like elegant wires. Its electrochemical, its very complex, it uses neural networks, and parallel processing - its far more advanced that a computer, but the concepts are not entirely dissimilar. If you want to describe how subjective awareness can arise or exist in a brain, you should be able to do the same with some theoretically advanced computer.

    And any such theory that I am aware, involved "magical thinking", lacks logical structure, seems conceptually invalid, and is basically a kind of a priori assumption, which seems transparently emotionally motivated to preserve both a sense of everyday comprehension, and a particular beleif system.

    In reality the great mysteries of the universe remain unsolved to mainstream thinking - why is there anything, what is the true nature of that everything, what is conciousness and does life or the universe have a "purpose" (well I would phrase it as "impetus" or "imperitive" because purpose requires an object, or output, whereas the universe is self-contained).

    It might seem convenient to the modern individual to regard all these things solved by modern physics, neuropsychology etc, but really they are not at all. The universe stares at us like an open unknowable black hole horizon, as it ever has. All we have collected, is a bunch of "matters of fact", essentially, surface details, that do not cut into the heart of the questions we really want to answer.

    And that of course explains our sci-fi obsession with aliens, artifical life, robots, the paranormal as well as with science, physics, spirituality, philosophy, really alot of what we do. We stare across that "veil" of the at least currently unknown and we want in it, to understand ourselves, our place.

    Okay, back to the topic. Aldous huxleys idea of the brain as a valve, or filter is an interesting tangent, on the topic. It has some considerable blanks, and people interpret it different ways, but its another interesting angle. I personally dont favour it as a solution to the hard problem. It might be less "magical" that the emergent property physicalism suggestion, but it still introduces a load of unknowns. Leave that stuff to mysticism and spirituality, i think, and try and keep at least our immediate experience, in some form of simpler model.

    TLDR: "Hard problem of conciousness" - "why do we have a subjective experience?" Its a real thing. Major problem, philosophically, logically, and scientifically.

    Probably harder for neuroscientists and psychologists to address than it is for physicists to address the big bang, dark matter, or quantum gravity, and much less money and effort is being spent on it. Seems quite doubtful to me that any level of brain study will truely reveal the nature of the solution either.

    We should not assume awareness, or subjective experience, is a product of the informational system of the brain - we have no evidence to suggest thats true, and no logical or structural model where that makes coherent sense. It may be, but we have no model where that idea makes sense, nor any proof that it is true. Ive given it quite some thought, and I think probably the idea of a physical structure giving rise to "subjective experience", on some informational system level, seems at least conceptually and initially, logically incoherent.

    Make of this mystery what you will, but this particular logical rabbit hole goes pretty deep.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
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  3. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    What should we have, if not a "subjective experience"? How would it feel? How would you know the difference?
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  5. curious45 Registered Member

    Nothing. You would feel nothing, if you had no subjective experience. You would just process information, store it, transfer it, and "act", but your subjective experience would not exist. Your existance would be how people currently veiw/imagine the existance of a rock, or a computer or robot (not that this is nessasarily accurate)

    Googling philosphical zombies, might help you understand the hard problem.

    I can understand and expect people who encounter these idea to at first be confused.

    Our subjective experience is totally primary to our existance, and no one ever brings it up directly when talking about the brain (or really ever), because its kinda the elephant in the room, instead they actually imply that subjective experience is explained entirely by informational systems (which it isnt, unless you assume all information is awareness)

    A crude more personal way to put it is - why do "you" see out of "your" eyes? Why do you perceive pain as a sensation thats unpleasent, pleasure as a shivery thrill or contentment, or the colour blue as a colour. Philosophers call this qualia, because one beings qualia, cannot be truely conveyed to another, language can only approximate it.

    Brain scientists and psychologists have no explaination for it - they only know how the information for it gets in there, not why it becomes or is experienced as a "subjective experience", "qualia", or "awareness".

    They can address the "soft problems". They can't even begin to address the hard problem of conciousness.

    Really though, I think the philosophical zombies thought experiment gets you thinking about it nicely. Its pretty simple, and clear. As does thinking about computers vs brains, but thats a fair bit more complex as a topic.

    Another interesting thought experiment on the topic is a paper called "what is it like to be a bat", which helps explain the idea of qualia, or subjective experience. Bit of a side topic though, that one.

    Now I know about it, this is SO obviously an issue with informational/emergent models of mind/brain, but the language of neuropsychology tends to dodge around it neatly (I am not sure they do this conciously, but one is often given the impression the hard problem is being addressed, when its not at all, based on the language), the experience is so intensely primary to being alive, and people rarely bring it up, so for a lot of people the whole issue goes unnoticed.

    And it really shouldn't - its the biggest stumbling block in the mind-brain hypothesis, the largest problem for philosophy and psychology.

    And possibly the most important unsolved mystery of the universe (where things come from may or may not matter, what things are made of, may or may not be immediately important - but what WE actually are is fundamentally important).

    It also looks to be a fundamental problem not just with the brain-mind hypothesis, but with physicalism/materialism in general. I am not proposing a dualist solution either, because in my mind, thats just shifting the same logical problems somewhere else, but regardless, it is kinda a gaping hole.
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2013
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  7. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Welcome to Sciforums. Nice discussion in this post 526 & 524 also.
    Look back at my old posts. I have discused P-zombies and Nadar´s "What is it like to be a bat," the Churchland´s computational POV, etc.

    But most importantly I have offered a solution to most of the experience / qualia problem. I call it the "Real Time Simulation," (RTS).

    I agree with standard deconstruction of the stimuli into "characteristics" (shape, color, motion, etc) and point out (as others have) that these are processed in different parts of the brain and never come back together in the same neural tissue, YET we have a unified experience of the world. I make the "crackpot" claim that the standard cognitive claim that "experience emerges" after many stages of neural processing (computational transforms) is nonsense - just "hand waving."

    My RTS may be wrong, but at least it is a real explanation, not just hand waving, built on many neurological facts and known behaviors (Visual dreams with eyes closed, Phantom limbs, Unilateral neglect, the 50Hz correlations of neural activity, the P300 signal being strongest over parietal brain, and many more.) plus some historical facts the RTS explains too (Why our weaker, smaller brained ancestor killed off all other humanoids and "exploded" out of Africa ~50K years ago)

    Here is a link to my essay, which is condensed from a paper published back in ~1994. In link, I focus on and explain how the RTS makes it possible that genuine free will, GFW, need not confict with the physical POV about causes of neural discharges. Despite this, I tend to doubt GFW exists.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 21, 2013
  8. wellwisher Banned Banned

    Consciousness is easier than you think, if you know the cause and effect. The reason for consciousness, as defined in this topic, is we have two centers of consciousness. Like two eyes, two centers allows us to see stereo-optically, in 3-D. The stereo-perception team (two) becomes more than the sum of its parts, with the extra referred to as consciousness.

    Computers can reason, memorize, talk, listen and compare, etc. But computers are not considered conscious. So it follows, if we (humans) go about life and reason, memorize, talk, listen and compare, this is not considered consciousness, since all these can be done by computer, who are not considered conscious, with these activities.

    Here is the logic for two centers. We have two sides of the brain. The left brain is differential and the right brain is integral. The left looks at the details while the right looks for integrated trends. We are conscious of only one side at a time. Although the other side is unconscious, it is still active. This generates the stereo-vision; team extra. The two POV approach the same data differently, although they are in phase, the output is different.

    The philosophy of science restricts investigation to the outside of the brain. This is so others can see the same thing for verification. But this dual center consciousness requires that you do science from the inside of the brain, so you can see the stereo-optics in action; the L&R team adds the depth.
  9. gmilam Valued Senior Member

    I understand what you're saying, but to me it's kind of like the anthropic priciple... you know, if things were different, they'd be different. This is the only experience I know, so I can't really say how I'd be different if things were different.

    'Cuz they're connected to my brain?

    Good question. Could be because pain is usually a bad thing, so evolution "teaches" us to avoid it by making it, well... painful.

    How else should we interpret different frequencies of light?
  10. elte Valued Senior Member


    One way to put it is that consciousness is a characteristic of the brain. During the process of evolution, this characteristic of certain life forms has been able to continue through success. Mammals possess it, so judging by its commonness, it has been pretty effective within environments on earth for the past 50 million years, or more (Birds and, probably the dinosaurs before them, also appear to have utilized this brain characteristic). This conclusion is where what I've learned leads me, and is my 2 cents.
  11. curious45 Registered Member

    Billy T, I am not sure your idea actually explains subjective awareness. We can create a simulation, or model on a computer. The simulation still requires a subjective awareness "component", for it to become an actual experience, otherwise its just mathematically modelling.

    I dont think your theory is really that disputed actually, within psychology. We do model 3-dimensional space, the properties of objects and much of the visual feild, from how I understand it.

    However, your one claim about reaction speed etc - well neurons/nerves are pretty fast, and they all run in parallel, which makes the brain very fast. It also operates predictively, where for example, with a thrown object, or a moving hand, the brain predicts the expected path. So in that sense, we also model gravity, inertia, momentum, mass, shape, texture - and this compensates for any small delay.

    Maybe I have your theory wrong, as I have read it, but this while more complex, seems similar to the one of emergence theories within psychology. (In fact, I have heard a formulation of this within psychology, that because a "subjective experience" is modelled, it is experienced - but if this was true, any experience modelled would be experienced, and it still does not offer itself into why or how really IMO)

    The problem is all solved very neatly if we simply equate interaction, information itself with subjective awareness, and then regard the brain as a very dense cluster of such, especially connecting conceptual identity, and various forms of memory and association, to create a self via complex and dense information. Ie we make subjective experience, basic, fundamental, indivisible, like say, a string in string theory.

    But classic materialists or physicalists will hate this tidy solution, because it would be that awareness is fundamental, a form of panexperientalism - it implies everything information exchanging has some primitive form of experience. And that is too much like some kind of spirituality for physicalists to handle, in terms of their a priori beleifs. Its worth noting however, that this does not require dualism, an afterlife, of any those abstracted non-physical constructs, it merely redefines physicality as fundamentally experiential.

    Of course, subjective experience, qualia is by defination ATM unmeasurable, so its wholly conceivable we will never be able to test any of this. Then again we might, as if its fundamental, perhaps it might have measurable consequences, and even be mathematically describable.

    Of course everyone being as they are, in their beleif, no one is questioning this gaping hole in our world model. People either assume some kind of soul, or they assume the brain, neither of which actually offer explaination.
  12. curious45 Registered Member

    Wellwisher, this is the sort of handwaving that goes on in psychology all the time, with people claiming that awareness arrives from some sort of specific compartmentalisation, processing, or "patterning". I discussed in my posts above, exactly why that not does not explain the phenomena.

    These and most explainations given are called "emergance", that in a sufficiently complex system, subjective experience emerges. But these theories do not explain why, or what emergerges, offering essentially no insight.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  13. curious45 Registered Member

    Well, yes, except it challenges common assumptions, in the brain-mind hypothesis, and even withing physicalism/materialism (at least as currently formulated).

    Thats why philosophers call it qualia.

    Well know, that explains where you get the information from. It does not explain why theres a subjective experience of that information. The brain mind hypothesis, and in fact psychology in general does this all the time. It lexically confounds the source or processing of information with the actual subjective experience - where the subjective experience itself is totally mysterious. The information transfer, reception, processing, that part is well understood. Its not the same as having a subjective experience of that information.

    Attraction and aversion can exist as informational abstracts in a computer program. Do computers have a subjective experience of that information? Is it even nessasary to perceive these phenomena as pain or pleasure in order to react the exact same way?
  14. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    Panpsychism is no more in evidence than any other proposed source of consciousness, so I fail to see a distinction that would lend weight to this particular argument over others.
  15. curious45 Registered Member

    No there is absolutely no evidence. But the logical argument for it (I beleive its listed on wiki, under either the hard problem, or panpsychism), is pretty logically elegant, as is the notion that experience is fundamental and irreducable.

    You see, by making it basic, it no longer requires explaination

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    If it is a universal phenomena, and irreducable, then it cannot nor needs to be explained.

    It removes the complex and arbitrary notion of emergance, and also removes the explainatory requirement for the "structure" of awareness, because its fundamental.

    There are definately logical elegances to this solution, but there is absolutely no evidence for anything in the hard problem of conciousness.

    Its more or less defined as untestable, although its possible there is some way around this, it may be strictly unmeasuable, unquantifiable. For example, if we make an "aware" computer, how will we know its not just acting like its aware, but actually is. I cannot even know for a fact, that other humans are subjectively aware, I just assume they are. Thats well expressed in the philosophical zombies thought experiment.

    Again, I am not interested in converting people to a beleif in panexperientialism at all, I just find it logically elegant, as a solution, personally. It's my pet ATM.

    The more important thing I would draw peoples attention to, is just the very nature of existence of the hard problem, and why its such a big deal.
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2013
  16. Baldeee Valued Senior Member

    Yet logical arguments are only as valid as the truth of their premises.
    Since the premises required for such can not be evidenced, they can not be considered valid, regardless of any perceived elegance of the logic.
    And as for elegant logic, one might as well claim that there is a creator and that "God did it" is thus an elegant logical conclusion, for all the value that it has.

    Effectively it just sweeps items not currently understood under the carpet of "basic" rather than the more rational concept of emergence (rational in that it does not require anything additional at the fundamental level but builds from what is already there).

    It's an interesting idea, though.
  17. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member

    You are making the exact same appeal to unevinced logic that those in this thread, and others, have made about a supposedly reducible though unknowable emergence. If you were looking for the greatest unevinced parsimony then you would conclude that everything is consciousness, not merely having a mental aspect. Then you do not have to try to reconcile the physical and mental, since the physical becomes merely an illusion of the mental. This also sidesteps the problem of the physical developing the illusory and an illusory consciousness casting doubt on the reality of anything experienced solely through that consciousness.

    You really only have two options. Science, which necessitates a practical acceptance of the physical (without any real ontological judgment or unevinced assumptions), or logical parsimony, which must assume an a priori ontology that answers more questions than it raises (i.e. does not leave the interaction of dualism in question).
  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Panpsychism is correct: I just heard my chair softly say: "Stop farting on me."
  19. curious45 Registered Member

    Its late so my answer is a bit crappy. But hopefully I am understood in my reply.

    Nothing is truely evinced here.

    For me theres is nothing logical at all in emergence (It makes no sense to me, nor offers any explaination), and IMO its not the same as the alternatives like panexperientalism, or indeed what you suggest, because it postulates a property than has no fundamental basis, yet cannot be described adequately by informational systems or physicality itself. It turns its head away from the logic of the problem in my view.

    Perhaps your right about everything being mind a neat solution as well. Its a slightly more of a radical position, scientifically speaking, and so metaphysical it may never be examinable, but I guess it should be another potential option, being that is also experience at a fundamental level.

    Ive thought about it, and thought about, and to me, the scientific a proiri beleif just seems like totally magical thinking.

    If science was more agnostic, id be more interested in the where science might lead on this matter. But its generally not. People who question the mainstream veiw here are considered fringe etc.

    Having studied the brain intensively, and heard a lot of different emergence theories, pondered the philosophy, and thought deeply on the matter - I just doubt there is any emergence model that would be compelling or logical. Seems to be a basically irrational idea to me.

    Although I tend to agree, if you attack this from the philosophical angle, your better leaving dualism or anything of the ilk out of it. It has the same issues as physicalism (as you are still proposing a structure for subjective experience, with magical properties, without ascribing any basic reality to the property or thing itself) - and its way more complication than one needs to explain the phenomena.

    Nothing logical or elegant about that its riddled with holes! Even christian philosophers like st augustine were perplexed by the notion of creation by a God. At least there are models of scientific creation where its either probablistic, or its "turtles all the way down".

    See I just don't find emergence rational at all myself. I find it obtuse toward the phenomenon of subjective experience, a bit avoidant, and pretty nonsensical and arbitrary.

    Admitedly thinking of subjective awareness as potentially basic may seem like a cheat, but its one that actually works logically - and it may actually be true (why not?)

    I mean, lets say space-time is absolute, fundamental. Or the speed of light as a speed limit? Or zero point energy as fundamental? The forces? Energy? Quantum feilds? Is it a cheat to call something like these fundamental, if thats what it is? If thats the deepest we can understand it, and its from there indivisible, irreducible?

    Of course its unevidenced, but I still think its a rational position to consider as an option.

    After all, its a very strange mysterious novel property/phenomena - subjective awareness, thats not really explainable in terms of other known phenomena, and it seems perhaps to be indivisible, irreducible.

    Why wouldn't you consider these sorts of possibilities as a potential explaination?

    I am happy to be wrong or right. I have given it some thought, but I am always happy to eat my hat if I am wrong. Benefits of having no particular agenda...

    But I really don't see how subjective experience could be explained with physical structure, and informational complexity alone. I can't make any logical or conceptual sense out of that idea.

    I actually struggle to see how anyone does, logically (I can imagine why they would do this, on the basis of beleif however)

    Sorry for my rough communication, its late

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    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  20. curious45 Registered Member

    In fact even if emergence was correct, we'd be forced to admit ambiguity over what has subjective experience or doesn't.

    There are lots of potentially very complex informational systems in the universe, some of which we don't consider even to be living. The internet is very complex. Some robots are quite complex, we have built neural network robots and also part rat brain robots. The sun is quite informationally complex. Information exists on the quantum level, and in particle exchanges. Plants have informational exchange too, albiet seemingly simpler than animals.

    Exactly what form of informational complexity are we artibrarily deciding has the correct features?

    With people and animals, we rely on behaviour and information, to infer or guess things have a subjective experience a priori.

    If something lacked tangible or relatable qualities of this sort, we would never know if it was subjectively aware or not via these presumptions.

    Ultimately all we know about the subject, is that we have it.

    So on the basis of emergence theories, we are still equally ambigious about what might possess such subjective experience or not. Even a sophisticated theory of this sort, could lead to the classification of all sorts of unusual things as aware, on the basis that all that is required is certain informational system characteristics.
  21. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I agree with most of this, but note the RTS is creating "me" and giving "me" my qualia. I.e. in deep sleep "I" don´t exist. I am only information, not a body as most believe they are. That is quite different from conventional POV that experiences "emerge" AFTER many stages (not parallel processing) of neural transforms. The "RT" in RTS is for "Real Time" not delayed perception that "emerges" AFTER many synaptic stages as postulated by the accepted cognitive scienctist´s POV.

    The shortest chain of transforms known (at least 20 years ago when I was more active) that resulted in any form of perception was at least 6 stages in a sheep. Quite possibly the sheep still had no real perception - more like a "reflex process" but in the brain that could be observed with mico -electrodes. I.e. its brain could generate different indwelling micro electrode signals when sheep was shown a dog´s image instead of a wolf´s image. More common in humans is at least 10 stages - I.e. minimum delay just within the brain to make any discrimination detectable implies at least 10 fast steps of neuron to neuron excitations. I forget/ am not sure/ what the noise cancellation recording technique used is called, but think the proper term is "evoked potentials."

    As you probably know from reading my essay, but for benefit of those who have not, I use quotation marks around I, me, my, etc. when I want to make clear that I am referring to my psychological self, which IMO is only information created as small part of the RTS (sort of a subroutine), and has nothing to do with my physical body.. My body is much like a computer with environmental sensors, but just like one made of transistors etc. it does not have any qualia. Only "I" do. At times these experiences / qualia can be pure fabrications, but usually they (these experience / qualia) do relate to things that take place by environmental interactions with my body. (Pin stick pain. etc.) Evolutionary selection has made that the case. (Except when "I´m" dreaming and don´t actually make my body act - such as: try to fly off top of tall building as I only dreamed* of doing.)

    I especially agree with that. - It is exactly what my RTS is stating BUT in complete disagreement with the accepted cognitive scientist´s POV that these experiences, qualia and understanding of the world "emerge" AFTER many stages of neural computations (sensory data transforms) to give us our experiences, qualia, and perceptions (understanding of the sensed world.)

    Thanks for reading the long essay and your comments.

    * No one knows for sure why we sleep. I think it is in part so we can dream, without the physical or logical constraints limiting us when we are awake. I.e. in dreams we can "think outside of the box." Often when I have been thinking about a problem in the evening and making no progress, the next morning when I wake fully up, I have a new approach to the problem or even a solution that "just pops into my head" (conscious mind)** I.e. evolution has selected for dreams.

    ** Really much of what goes on there (but not algebraic calculations, or other manipulation of symbols etc.) was worked out and made prior to me being consciously aware of it*** with parallel processing and then told my serial consciousness. My conscious mind is ignorant of all this parallel processing, and when I chose which movie to see, flavor of icecream to eat, etc. I think, in my ignorance, that my conscious mind made the choice.

    ***Certainly all speech is as spoonerisms**** show. I never had any instruction in Brazil´s Portugese. - I just picked it up like a child does but very much more poorly. When I reply to someone or comment, I have no idea what words I will say, until I hear them. I.e. I do not translate from English to speak. My sentences are construced (as are yours) before "I" am aware of them.

    **** Spoonerism were important in showing that the Behaviorist were wrong with their view of stimulus and responce. I.e. If part of a word that should be near end of a sentence is replacing part of a word at the start of the sentence, that is evidence of mental planning taking place, which just made an error.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 23, 2013
  22. Syne Sine qua non Valued Senior Member


    Until we have a verified theory of quantum gravity, classical physics is emergent from quantum physics in the same way you characterize as "magical thinking". So it seems you are making an argument from incredulity, demonstrated by your "nothing is truly evinced". Even your argument, that consciousness is irreducible, relies on the emergence of the display of what we recognize as conscious behavior. We cannot isolate consciousness from the complex systems it is displayed through, so at least the ability to display consciousness is emergent from the physical system.

    Actually, your "informational exchange" is only semantically different from emergence, as emergence is where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, mostly due to interactions. You cannot have "informational exchange" without "interaction".
  23. curious45 Registered Member

    Billy T, I dont really have much to comment on with your response, but I am impressed by your understanding of unconcious versus concious, an awareness that most even psychology educated people do not really seem to get. You clearly have some mental self-insight and give things thought

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    Your thoughts are interesting to read.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2013

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