Animals & Consciousness

Recommend, review, and discuss science related books that you have read, movies/tv programs you've watched, or Podcasts you listen to.

Animals & Consciousness

Postby vivian maxine on December 16th, 2016, 7:07 am 

Serpent, have you read Stanislaus DeHaene's "Consciousness and the Brain"? There is a section in there that I think might interest you. The last Chapter, chapter 7. Start at the part headed up "Conscious Animals?" and go almost to the end of the chapter. In the paperback edition, it is pages 244 through 253. His comments about animals and self-introspection had me thinking. I can see a lot of dispute coming from his ideas but they are thought-provoking, nevertheless.

If you are interested in his tests on babies and what he thinks he and his wife found is also of interest, although I truly wonder about some of that - especially his thoughts as to when consciousness starts in an infant. As he himself says, it all wants a lot more testing but worth some thinking.
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby Serpent on December 16th, 2016, 9:07 pm 

I almost didn't open this thread because the title had led me into some controversy in the past. I may look pugnacious, but I really have a hard time defending views that are not hard science-based. Still, soft science may be coming into its own, wot?
Thank you, I'll look for that book.
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby vivian maxine on December 17th, 2016, 7:54 am 

Serpent » December 16th, 2016, 8:07 pm wrote:I almost didn't open this thread because the title had led me into some controversy in the past. I may look pugnacious, but I really have a hard time defending views that are not hard science-based. Still, soft science may be coming into its own, wot?
Thank you, I'll look for that book.


I have not heard anyone's opinion of DeHaene's work, although I'd surely like to. Many of his experiments are over my head and a bit tiring to read as he goes on and on. But the results he gets, I understand. Sometimes I know what to make of them - sometimes not. Especially not his section on babies in the last chapter.

I'll leave it there and let you enjoy. I'd be interested in what you think, if you have time. Send it by Rudolph and no one will argue with you.
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby Serpent on December 17th, 2016, 10:51 am 

Here is a synopsis and review, which explains the theory fairly well, but doesn't go into the experimentation.
However, you might like to see other articles at this site http://quantum-mind.co.uk/dehaenes-consciousness-brain/ There is another article on adult and infant brains but it's very short. http://quantum-mind.co.uk/difference-adult-infant-minds/

Nothing wrong with his credentials or his scientific approach, afaics.
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby vivian maxine on December 17th, 2016, 11:16 am 

Serpent » December 17th, 2016, 9:51 am wrote:Here is a synopsis and review, which explains the theory fairly well, but doesn't go into the experimentation.
However, you might like to see other articles at this site http://quantum-mind.co.uk/dehaenes-consciousness-brain/ There is another article on adult and infant brains but it's very short. http://quantum-mind.co.uk/difference-adult-infant-minds/

Nothing wrong with his credentials or his scientific approach, afaics.


Thank you. I'll check out both. One thing DeHaene does - as does Michio Kaku - is point out his opponents' criticisms of his theories and what they think instead. I like this in a practitioner - the willingness to let the reader see all sides of an issue.
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby Serpent on December 17th, 2016, 1:21 pm 

I'll try to get to the library tomorrow. Been snowed in - I mean, seriously dumped-on for three days and nights with barely a pause. Haven't been able to replenish sadly depleted supplies of beer and chocolate, and even lost tv and internet signal for hours at a time.

Trapped indoors with a rag-tag army of cats... Well, see, it's also been very cold at night, and even though I made a well-insulated shelter for the strays in our storage shed, my SO is a big marshmallow and let them in the house.
Almost certainly from the farm south of us, the source of half a dozen refugees we've taken in over the past two decades. It's a restricted, though not entirely closed gene pool. These new ones are three litter-mates 2 are brothers and I'm desperately hoping the third one is male too, but haven't been close enough to find out. They are a worthwhile subject of study in animal psychology.
They're 7-8 months old, started coming around in October, when they were much smaller - stunted, probably, from malnutrition. After we began feeding them, they grew very fast. At least, the first two - we never saw the third one till much later, because he kept a very low profile.
R2 is huge, playful, pushy and a glutton for affection: he pretty much tamed himself.
D2 is solid and compact, curious, a little bit shy and deferential to the old the cats: I had to coax him.
[Provisionally] C3 is still semi-wild; runs away at the slightest movement, but is not so stupid that he doesn't ask to come in.
Now, if cats hadn't got similar brains to ours, how could they have such different personalities? How could they be so diverse in the way they process the very same information in the very same environment, facing the very same challenges?
I devise little intelligence tests, but of course, it's not always easy, or even possible, to tell whether a cat fails to solve a problem because he can't understand it or because he doesn't care.
Here is one I'm sure about. They all want the high-end kibble i save for treats. I throw one pellet a time, but several in quick succession. Both R2 and D2 love chasing them. The first couple of times we played this game, they both chased every piece. After a while, a pattern developed. R2 runs after and tries to catch every one; D2 knows his brother is faster and doesn't even try for the farther ones, but turns around an waits for the next projectile, which he intercepts before R2 can turn and come back.
R2's style is generally full-steam ahead; D2's is generally wait-and-watch.
(The third is still hiding under the water tank. I expect he's a bit stupid, as well as timid. )
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby vivian maxine on December 17th, 2016, 1:36 pm 

And, in conclusion, as soon as you find a food they really like and you lay in a good supply of that food, they will announce that they despise that stuff and "where's my dinner". Of course, it takes strays a bit longer but feed them long enough and they'll learn.

My friend in Texas is on an un-farmed farm where the strays gather. They stay outside. She sits out on the steps and waits to see if any will approach. Some do; some never do. But they eat well. She calls them "the girls". Doesn't really know which is which as she doesn't get to handle many.

I still remember Mr Gray who came to spend 48 hours with me last January. He now has a good home. Think I posted about him sleeping with a bulldog. Great friends, they are.

Snow is lovely but please keep it up there. Build a snow Santa. :-)
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby vivian maxine on December 17th, 2016, 1:52 pm 

Serpent » December 17th, 2016, 9:51 am wrote:Here is a synopsis and review, which explains the theory fairly well, but doesn't go into the experimentation.
However, you might like to see other articles at this site http://quantum-mind.co.uk/dehaenes-consciousness-brain/ There is another article on adult and infant brains but it's very short. http://quantum-mind.co.uk/difference-adult-infant-minds/

Nothing wrong with his credentials or his scientific approach, afaics.


serpent, why is it called "quantum" mind? What is the distinction of "quantum"?

Somewhere just recently, I read of quantum as meaning bouncing around and changing, all in a disorganized fashion. That isn't what I thought quantum means but then I couldn't really explain what quantum does that is so different.

I am not wanting an explanation of quantum here. Just wondering why the mind is called "quantum". Sounds strange.
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby Serpent on December 17th, 2016, 2:50 pm 

I thought that's just the name of the magazine, but it's an actual thing. I mean, theory. From the home page of the site
the concept of consciousness as a fundamental property in terms of biology and fundamental physics. This concept tends to be loosely Consciousness described as quantum consciousness or sometimes quantum mind.

(It's translated, so has lapses in English) The idea is that consciousness can't be described or explained wholly in terms of classical mechanics - like, it's a whole new entity, or an entity operating on the next level up from everything that's known about the physical brain. Apparently, it has a lot of opposition in scientific circles, and that's most likely the reason Dehaene put in the arguments and counter-arguments.

Me, I don't mix in. More accurately, I'm far too ignorant to take sides.
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby vivian maxine on December 17th, 2016, 3:52 pm 

Or the next level down. Nevermind. I get it. What doesn't fit into normal physics / classical mechanics, we'll put elsewhere - quantum mechanics.

Now watch some genius comes and tell me I'm all wet. (True today) Fine if he/she will explain it better.

I never did go back and dig it out again but my feeling was that he was having two levels of consciousness and (my thought) attaching Mind to Self-Introspection. I must go back and find why I thought that. Could be I mis-read. It was just a feeling I got.
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby Serpent on December 17th, 2016, 4:06 pm 

Here is another proponent who apparently has an acceptable pedigree.
I suspect the opposition comes from the fact that, since it sounds outlandish, it's attracted some lunatic-fringe adherents and been hijacked by the mystics. I have no idea to what degree the original idea is mystical. Could be a whole crock; could be the next wave.

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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby vivian maxine on December 17th, 2016, 4:24 pm 

Thank you. I just checked Dehaene's index and "quantum mind" is not listed. I will not say he doesn't talk about it anywhere but it didn't make the index. The index does list "quantum mechanics" and "quantum computing". I'll work on this tonight.

Now for your UTube. Hope I can understand him. Many of those are hard to follow.
Last edited by vivian maxine on December 17th, 2016, 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby Serpent on December 17th, 2016, 4:26 pm 

It's got subtitles,
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Re: Animals & Consciousness

Postby vivian maxine on December 17th, 2016, 4:41 pm 

Serpent » December 17th, 2016, 3:26 pm wrote:It's got subtitles,


So I found out. I'd like to see all of that on one page. Wouldn't you? Thanks again. TTYL
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