What is CTD?

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

Re: What is CTD?

Postby BadgerJelly on October 18th, 2017, 10:46 pm 

Dave C -

Nice little story :)

Such things, are of course, reproduced experimentally for blind-sight and split brain patients.

RJG -

I would also like to ask how I can think about next week? Am I merely "observing" my bodily processing imagining the future passively? Am I just some kind of inert/paralysed homunculi? If so then what are all these thoughts doing? Where have they come from? Where are they going? How is it I ask these questions making neurons fire and changing my future view of the world? What makes you think you can convince us if you know you cannot? Simply reverting to your assertion of sensible data taking time to process is not going to help your case.

Well, I don’t know about the “steam venting into the void”. I am merely logically asserting that two contradictory items cannot co-exist. “Conscious causation” is not possible if "CTD exists" (and vice versa). These are mutually exclusive.


Why are they mutually exclusive? Either you are saying consciousness is basically "steam venting into the void" or you're not. If not then you admit to some degree of conscious causality. The degree to which we consciously effect our future is the major question for me in this regard.

You are not explaining anything just guessing. You are not even backing up your claim with any kind of reasoning or evidence.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby bangstrom on October 19th, 2017, 2:37 am 

RJG » October 18th, 2017, 7:22 am wrote:
So let me try to show the "obvious" from our own conscious perspective. For example, if CTD is 5 full seconds, then this means that the next 5 seconds of our life has already been determined; it has already happened (in reality; real-time), it just hasn't (consciously) 'played out' yet.

This is true.

RJG » October 18th, 2017, 7:22 am wrote:
Everything that we are going to experience, (including our doing, saying, feeling, thinking, sensing) in the next (and continuing) 5 seconds, has already been set in motion, and has already 'played out' in reality. We can't "consciously do" or experience anything other than what our bodies have already done.

This is true for motion but not for feeling, thinking and sensing. These latter things are part of our conscious now time since they do not come from the outside. Motion has a time delay because a signal has to travel from our brain to our muscles to initiate a motion.
We can’t control the motions our bodies have already done but we can control the motions they have not yet done after a brief time delay. If we have an extreme time delay of 5 seconds for a signal from the brain to effect a motor stimulus, we can’t change the next 5 seconds but a signal from our brain now can begin a motion at the start of second 6 so we can consciously control future events.

A good way to learn the limitations of our CTD is to play the children’s game “Simon Says.” The game plays with your CTD and the frustration of the game comes when you find yourself moving even after your brain has said, ‘Don’t move.’
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby bangstrom on October 19th, 2017, 4:11 am 

RJG » October 17th, 2017, 6:54 pm wrote:
Bang, I’m still trying to decipher your equation -- What is TD, TD (in), and TD (out)? And how does TD differ from CTD?

Shouldn't it be:
A = (a happening in) physical reality
B = A + CTD = the consciousness-of-A
CTD = .5 seconds

Conscious causation (aka "free-will") is therefore non-sensical.


A is the time of a happening in physical reality.

TD is a time delay. This is normally the time it takes a sensory impulse from the outside to reach our brain but it works both ways. There is also a time delay for an out-going sensory impulse from the brain to reach its destination.

C is the non-zero processing time it takes the brain to consciously make sense of an incoming signal or to form an outgoing signal. C can be insignificantly small or considerably long depending upon the circumstances.

TD (in) is the time delay of an incoming signal.

TD (out) is the time delay of an outgoing signal. A signal from the eye to the brain TD (in) is likely to be shorter than a TD (out) to a muscle group mainly because of the distances involved.

CTD is the time it takes the brain to consciously process an incoming sensory signal. The Conscious Time Delay.

A+CTD can be represented as B but that would be an added abstraction that I think is best left out.

CTD =0.5 seconds is roughly the human time it takes to become consciously aware of an incoming sensory signal. This is why it is said we live about a half second in the past.


We can consciously cause changes in future events despite the CTD because the TD (out) does not change the real time now events of A (how could it? They have already happened) but it does change the events of A that are yet to happen.

I wish I could say this means that we have free will but I am just saying that CTD does not rule out the possibility of free will because we can consciously alter future events.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby mitchellmckain on October 19th, 2017, 5:28 am 

Dave_C » October 18th, 2017, 8:47 pm wrote:
Epiphenomenalism is a problem (logical dilemma) we have to address.
Stanford U of Phil calls this "self-stultification". The key here is the concept that epiphenomenalism requires the phenomena in question to be acausal.
The most powerful reason for rejecting epiphenomenalism is the view that it is incompatible with knowledge of our own minds — and thus, incompatible with knowing that epiphenomenalism is true.

... (i) knowledge of one's mental events requires that these events cause one's knowledge, but (ii) epiphenomenalism denies physical effects of mental events. So, either we cannot know our own mental events, or our knowledge of them cannot be what is causing the plainly physical event of our saying something about our mental events. Thus, suppose S is an epiphenomenalist, and that S utters “I am in terrible pain.” S is committed to the view that the pain does not cause the utterance. But then, it seems, S would be making the same utterance whether or not a pain were occurring. If this is so, then S's testimonies about S's own pains are worthless — both to us and to S. They cannot be taken to represent any knowledge about pains on S's part (if S's epiphenomenalist view is true). In fact, on an epiphenomenalist view, all the arguments for epiphenomenalism and rebuttals to counterarguments we have reviewed might be given even if we were all zombies — i.e., even if we were all possessed of physical causes of our utterances and completely devoid of any mental life whatsoever.



Yes. An epi-phenomenal relationship between mind and body is unreasonable. In fact, Descarte dualism between mind and body is not credible. Physicalism (both mind and body part of the same system of natural law) is the only relationship which fits the evidence. This doesn't mean there is no distinction between the mind and body or between mind and brain. The two concepts are quite distinct and there are numerous reasons (e.g. distinct needs and inheritance) to support an some kind of effective dualism between them.

A spirit (or nonphysical aspect to our existence), if you believe in such a thing, is quite a different matter. In that case, the facts strongly suggest a epi-phenomenal relationship (i.e. where the physical effects the spiritual only). This is because no evidence has been found for anything nonphysical affecting the operation of the body or mind. There certainly is no non-physical puppet-master operating the body. A spiritual affect on the physical cannot be completely ruled out, but the facts would require this to be very subtle -- such as hiding in quantum indeterminacy (which would make it random). Of course, many would take this as a good reason not to credit the existence of any spirit.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on October 20th, 2017, 5:00 pm 

Dave, just to clarify and be clear, when I say CTD, I am referring to the ‘totality’ of all the individual sequential processes/events involved in the ‘conscious realization’ of an event happening in reality. This begins with Transmission Delays from an object/event/happening in reality to a corresponding bodily reaction (aka “experience”), and then to Translation Delays which convert these bodily reactions (experiences) into usable signals that the brain can understand, and then finally to Recognition Delay, which is the time it takes to match these signal patterns to corresponding memory patterns so as to “know” what one experiences. If there are other processes that you know of, involved in getting from this point A to this point B, then the CTD value would increase accordingly.

Quick Definitions:
Experiences -- are non-conscious ‘bodily reactions’.
Consciousness -- is the ‘recognition’ of (bodily) experiences, made possible by memory; aka “conscious experiences”.
Recognition -- is the bodily experience that converts (non-conscious) experiences into conscious experiences; consciousness; recognition is our means of “knowing”.

Note: Virtually every entity in this universe seemingly experience bodily reactions (including billiard balls!), and subsequently auto-reacts accordingly. But not every entity can “know” (recognize) they experience. The ones that “know” are the ones that are considered “conscious” subjects.


Dave_C wrote:
RJG wrote:If CTD (of ‘any’ amount) exists, then “conscious causation” does not.
I disagree the conclusion follows the observation.

Hopefully one of my statements below will help change your “disagreeing” to “agreeing” to the impossibility of “conscious causation”.

1- If CTD exists, then consciousness FOLLOWS X. If Conscious Causation exists, then consciousness must PRECEDE X. One is not possible if the other is true. These are mutually exclusive.

2- If CTD exists, then ‘everything’ one is conscious of, has ALREADY HAPPENED. If it has already happened, then it has already been caused. If it has already been caused, then it is too late to ‘cause’ it.

3- If CTD exists, then EVERYTHING one is conscious of, has already happened. If 'everything’ means ‘everything’, then there is ‘nothing’ left to cause.

4- If CTD exists, then consciousness is an after-’effect’. Effects are experiences, not causers.

5- Causation can NEVER be experienced. If it were, it would be an ‘experience’. It is not ever possible to experience a non-experience. Knowing (consciously experiencing) true ‘causation’ is impossible. Conscious entities can only experience ‘experiences’, not causers. Causation is only presumed to exist.

6- Conscious beings (entities) are ‘experiential’ beings, and thereby have no means to ‘cause’ anything. ”Conscious causation” itself, is not logically possible.


Dave_C wrote:Epiphenomenalism is a problem (logical dilemma) we have to address.
Stanford U of Phil calls this "self-stultification". The key here is the concept that epiphenomenalism requires the phenomena in question to be acausal.

Not so. Consciousness is just another bodily experience. It is the experience of ‘recognition’, made possible by memory. The brain/memory interaction activity (firing synapses?) responsible for the experience of ‘recognition’ is likewise responsible for ‘consciousness’. Recognition is the body’s means of converting non-conscious bodily experiences, into ‘conscious experiences’; “consciousness”. It is recognition that brings “life” to consciousness.


Dave_C wrote:The most powerful reason for rejecting epiphenomenalism is the view that it is incompatible with knowledge of our own minds — and thus, incompatible with knowing that epiphenomenalism is true.

... (i) knowledge of one's mental events requires that these events cause one's knowledge…

Knowing my thoughts does 'not' mean that my thoughts caused my knowing. My “knowing” was caused by ‘recognition’ (of past memories/experiences).

Also, the ‘experiencing’ of mental events (e.g. thoughts) is one thing, and the ‘content’ of these thoughts are another. Knowledge is contained in the ‘content’ of the thought, not in the ‘experiencing’ of the thought.


Dave_C wrote:So, either we cannot know our own mental events…

False. We can know (recognize, be conscious of) our own mental events, but not until AFTER they exist/happen.


Dave_C wrote:...or our knowledge of them cannot be what is causing the plainly physical event of our saying something about our mental events.

True. The ‘knowing’ (recognition) of our mental events has no causative force upon our bodily actions.

We don’t know of our mental events (aka bodily reactions) until AFTER they exist/happen. And likewise, we don’t ‘know’ of our bodily actions (“the plainly physical event of our saying something”) until AFTER we ‘recognize’ our mouth opening and saying something.


Dave_C wrote:Thus, suppose S is an epiphenomenalist, and that S utters “I am in terrible pain.” S is committed to the view that the pain does not cause the utterance.

True. An epiphenomenalist would say it was ‘not’ the “knowing” of this pain that caused his utterance, it was an “urge” (a bodily reaction) in response to an underlying bodily reaction.


Dave_C wrote:But then, it seems, S would be making the same utterance whether or not a pain were occurring.

Why so? The ‘conscious recognition’ of pain, is just an ‘effect’; a symptom/indicator of a bodily reaction, not it’s ‘causer’!


Dave_C wrote:One way phenomenal consciousness might be causative is for it to 'program' our neurons to react in a certain way. There's a lot of support for this type of reasoning.

Interesting stuff, and I at one time believed this to be true, but now no longer. My new reasoning is 1) that there is never any “new” material gathered from consciousness, that could then be used to self-program ourselves (via in-situ programmer), and 2) since every conscious thought/experience consists of stuff that already exists in my memory/brain/body, then these are nothing more than ‘recordings of old material’ (past experiences), and finally 3) consciousness does not seemingly have an ‘output’ function, all conscious experiences are ‘inputs’ (effects), and are happenings TO me and not FROM me. No one can know my conscious experiences.


BadgerJelly wrote:I would also like to ask how I can think about next week? Am I merely "observing" my bodily processing imagining the future passively? Am I just some kind of inert/paralysed homunculi? If so then what are all these thoughts doing? Where have they come from? Where are they going? How is it I ask these questions making neurons fire and changing my future view of the world? What makes you think you can convince us if you know you cannot? Simply reverting to your assertion of sensible data taking time to process is not going to help your case.

First of all, we only know what we know, whatever we experience is what we experience. Experiencing is ‘passive’ and 'one-way'. This should be our default starting position of acceptance, for this is all we truly know with certainty. Claiming that we can cause/author/create/construct the very thoughts or experiences that we then experience, (when we cannot experience causation of any type), seems 'not' to be the correct starting point. This seems akin to claiming that ‘flying pigs’ exist, and stating this as our starting default position, and demanding others to prove it wrong.


BadgerJelly wrote:
RJG wrote:I am merely logically asserting that two contradictory items cannot co-exist. “Conscious causation” is not possible if "CTD exists" (and vice versa). These are mutually exclusive.

Why are they mutually exclusive? Either you are saying consciousness is basically "steam venting into the void" or you're not. If not then you admit to some degree of conscious causality. The degree to which we consciously effect our future is the major question for me in this regard.

You are not explaining anything just guessing. You are not even backing up your claim with any kind of reasoning or evidence.

See my explanatory response to Dave C above.


bangstrom wrote:
RJG wrote:So let me try to show the "obvious" from our own conscious perspective. For example, if CTD is 5 full seconds, then this means that the next 5 seconds of our life has already been determined; it has already happened (in reality; real-time), it just hasn't (consciously) 'played out' yet.

Everything that we are going to experience, (including our doing, saying, feeling, thinking, sensing) in the next (and continuing) 5 seconds, has already been set in motion, and has already 'played out' in reality. We can't "consciously do" or experience anything other than what our bodies have already done.

This is true for motion but not for feeling, thinking and sensing.

Not so. ALL conscious processes consume time. “Instantaneous” processes are not possible.


bangstrom wrote:If we have an extreme time delay of 5 seconds for a signal from the brain to effect a motor stimulus, we can’t change the next 5 seconds but a signal from our brain now can begin a motion at the start of second 6 so we can consciously control future events.

Not so. There is never a 6 second. A 5 second conscious time lag is ‘continuous’, and moves along with real-time, but only shifted 5 seconds. It is never possible to “catch up” to reality.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby mitchellmckain on October 20th, 2017, 8:02 pm 

RJG » October 20th, 2017, 4:00 pm wrote:
Dave_C wrote:
RJG wrote:If CTD (of ‘any’ amount) exists, then “conscious causation” does not.
I disagree the conclusion follows the observation.

Hopefully one of my statements below will help change your “disagreeing” to “agreeing” to the impossibility of “conscious causation”.

1- If CTD exists, then consciousness FOLLOWS X. If Conscious Causation exists, then consciousness must PRECEDE X. One is not possible if the other is true. These are mutually exclusive.

2- If CTD exists, then ‘everything’ one is conscious of, has ALREADY HAPPENED. If it has already happened, then it has already been caused. If it has already been caused, then it is too late to ‘cause’ it.

The mistake here is in treating consciousness as a singular instantaneous event. It is nothing of the kind. Consciousness is a continuing process. Consciousness, therefore, both precedes and follows x. Furthermore, a lot of how we react to events is a function of self-programming. Take walking, riding a bicycle, or even driving a car. After they get programmed in (i.e after we learn how) very little of this is done in a deliberative manner. We operate on automatic. BUT the programming process is not automatic, obviously. That is a conscious deliberative thing. Because of this we cannot take measurements showing such things happening without conscious deliberation to mean that free will does not exist. All this shows is that it is not your naive picture of instantaneous conscious control.

RJG » October 20th, 2017, 4:00 pm wrote:3- If CTD exists, then EVERYTHING one is conscious of, has already happened. If 'everything’ means ‘everything’, then there is ‘nothing’ left to cause.

Non sequitur. Where are you getting this nothing left to cause from? Our future actions are clearly open to causation. The fact that we decide these actions based on a consciousness of reality which is a tenth of a second old has no bearing on this whatsoever.

RJG » October 20th, 2017, 4:00 pm wrote:4- If CTD exists, then consciousness is an after-’effect’. Effects are experiences, not causers.

It is only after what has already happened, but it is before what has not happened yet. JEESH, how can you not know that cause and effect is a never ending chain even in a deterministic world view. Each effect is a cause of another effect. But since science has ruled out physical determinism, we know that the world is not just closed causal chains but there is a constant introduction of first causes in these events where there are no hidden variables to determine their outcome.

RJG » October 20th, 2017, 4:00 pm wrote:5- Causation can NEVER be experienced. If it were, it would be an ‘experience’. It is not ever possible to experience a non-experience. Knowing (consciously experiencing) true ‘causation’ is impossible. Conscious entities can only experience ‘experiences’, not causers. Causation is only presumed to exist.

And yet we experience causation all the time because we do not buy into your nonsensical idea of instantaneous causation only. Decision and the awareness of effect are separated in time -- so what?

RJG » October 20th, 2017, 4:00 pm wrote:6- Conscious beings (entities) are ‘experiential’ beings, and thereby have no means to ‘cause’ anything. ”Conscious causation” itself, is not logically possible.

Such is the willful blindness of ideology, which refuses to see what is right in front of us all the time. Gosh, this sounds a lot like the talk of a deranged serial killer -- saying how the killing just happens as a foreordained event. I have little doubt that this habit of denial is very much at the root of many such problems. It must be very liberating (in a Nietzsche serial killer fashion) to believe that you have no responsibility for your own actions.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby bangstrom on October 21st, 2017, 7:26 pm 

RJG » October 20th, 2017, 4:00 pm wrote:

1- If CTD exists, then consciousness FOLLOWS X. If Conscious Causation exists, then consciousness must PRECEDE X. One is not possible if the other is true. These are mutually exclusive.


But X and X are separated by an interval of time. Look at it from the other direction, if Conscious Causation exists then consciousness must PRECEDE X which means that CTD is not possible . These are mutually exclusive. The error in this thinking is that X is the same in both cases.

There is one X that PRECEDES consciousness and one that FOLLOWS consciousness so X (first) and X (second) are not the same. Time does not stop and wait while we experience a CTD.

As you correctly stated, “ALL conscious processes consume time. “Instantaneous” processes are not possible.” Therefore, the reality you represent as X before CTD is not the same as reality X after CTD because there is an interval of time between them. This should not be hard to understand.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby BadgerJelly on October 22nd, 2017, 9:07 am 

RJG -

Nothing you've written meets up to my expectations of a clearly defined argument. Some of the semantics you use are too confusing to follow.

If you look more closely at your definitions and how you've arranged them you say "Causation doesn't exist." among other confused things.

See here:

Causation can NEVER be experienced. If it were, it would be an ‘experience’. It is not ever possible to experience a non-experience. Knowing (consciously experiencing) true ‘causation’ is impossible. Conscious entities can only experience ‘experiences’, not causers. Causation is only presumed to exist.


The first line means one of two possible things according to your very own definitions:

Quick Definitions:
Experiences -- are non-conscious ‘bodily reactions’.
Consciousness -- is the ‘recognition’ of (bodily) experiences, made possible by memory; aka “conscious experiences”.
Recognition -- is the bodily experience that converts (non-conscious) experiences into conscious experiences; consciousness; recognition is our means of “knowing”.


So if we take "Causation can NEVER be experienced." then you either mean "Causation cannot be bodily felt (by your definition of "Experiences", or you mean "Causation cannot be consciously known." which begs the question of what it is we are talking about when we say "Causation"?

After that the whole things gets so semantically absurd I stopped reading having been exposed to this kind of imprecision from you before.

It seems quite clear to me that you're either holding back what you actually know about this subject or you simply have no idea what you're talking about.

I don't think I have anything more to add. I don't think you've made much progress in how you describe your thoughts and may even have gotten worse.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on October 22nd, 2017, 4:35 pm 

bangstrom wrote:If we have an extreme time delay of 5 seconds for a signal from the brain to effect a motor stimulus, we can’t change the next 5 seconds but a signal from our brain now can begin a motion at the start of second 6 so we can consciously control future events.

Not so. It is never possible to “catch up” to reality. It is similar, and as futile, as chasing your own shadow.

RJG wrote:If CTD exists, then consciousness FOLLOWS X. If Conscious Causation exists, then consciousness must PRECEDE X. One is not possible if the other is true. These are mutually exclusive.

bangstrom wrote:But X and X are separated by an interval of time. Look at it from the other direction, if Conscious Causation exists then consciousness must PRECEDE X which means that CTD is not possible . These are mutually exclusive. The error in this thinking is that X is the same in both cases.

Bang, this X is the SAME in both cases. This X is the point in reality (real-time). If there were a 'different X', then we would call it Y (or some other variable).

If we become conscious of this X AFTER it exists/happens then CTD exists. If we become conscious of this (same) X BEFORE it exists/happens, then Conscious Causation is possible.

If CTD exists, then Conscious Causation does not.
If Conscious Causation exists, then CTD does not.

Since it is not possible to be conscious-of-X PRIOR to the existence of X, then CTD exists, and Conscious Causation does not.


BadgerJelly wrote:Nothing you've written meets up to my expectations of a clearly defined argument.

Just to be clear, and no offense, but I don’t necessary write to meet ‘your’ expectations.

BadgerJelly wrote:If you look more closely at your definitions and how you've arranged them you say "Causation doesn't exist.”

Not so. Causation (presumably) exists. But "conscious causation" does NOT exist, as it is a logical contradiction.

RJG wrote:Causation can NEVER be experienced. If it were, it would be an ‘experience’. It is not ever possible to experience a non-experience. Knowing (consciously experiencing) true ‘causation’ is impossible. Conscious entities can only experience ‘experiences’, not causers. Causation is only presumed to exist.

RJG wrote:Quick Definitions:
Experiences -- are non-conscious ‘bodily reactions’.
Consciousness -- is the ‘recognition’ of (bodily) experiences, made possible by memory; aka “conscious experiences”.
Recognition -- is the bodily experience that converts (non-conscious) experiences into conscious experiences; consciousness; recognition is our means of “knowing”.

BadgerJelly wrote:So if we take "Causation can NEVER be experienced." then you either mean "Causation cannot be bodily felt (by your definition of "Experiences")...

Yes, correct. We can only experience 'experiences' (effects).

BadgerJelly wrote:...or you mean "Causation cannot be consciously known." which begs the question of what it is we are talking about when we say "Causation"?

Not so. Much like the concept/thought of “flying pigs”, - “causation” can be consciously known, but its existence can only be presumed. It is the ‘thought/concept’ that is “known”, not the “flying pig” itself.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby bangstrom on October 22nd, 2017, 6:44 pm 

RJG » October 22nd, 2017, 3:35 pm wrote:
If CTD exists, then consciousness FOLLOWS X. If Conscious Causation exists, then consciousness must PRECEDE X. One is not possible if the other is true. These are mutually exclusive.

Conscious Causation FOLLOWS X but PRECEDES X’ where X’ is the original X after an interval of time. How can you say the X before observation is the same as the X after a time delay for observation and response? As Heraclitus said, “We can never cross the same river twice.” The river we crossed first moves on before we can cross it again.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on October 23rd, 2017, 2:44 pm 

bangstrom wrote:Conscious Causation FOLLOWS X but PRECEDES X’ where X’ is the original X after an interval of time. How can you say the X before observation is the same as the X after a time delay for observation and response? As Heraclitus said, “We can never cross the same river twice.” The river we crossed first moves on before we can cross it again.

Bang, you seem to be talking about the time delay between sequential events in reality. CTD is NOT this time delay!

CTD is the time delay between X, and the conscious realization of X.
X always comes BEFORE the conscious realization of X, ...not AFTER it.
X and the conscious realization of X, are TWO separate things.

When one paints a picture of a tree, is the picture the ‘real’ tree? No, the picture is just a ‘representation’ of the tree. Is the picture-of-the-tree the same thing as the tree itself? No, these are TWO separate things.

When one consciously sees a tree, is the conscious picture in their head the ‘real’ tree? No, the picture is just a ‘mental representation’ of this tree. Is this consciousness-of-this-tree the same thing as the tree itself? No, these are TWO separate things.

CTD is the amount of time it takes to ‘paint’ this (mental) picture!

**********

We humans do not have the ability to view the “here and now”, as consciousness only gives us a view of the ‘past’. If CTD is true, then reality ‘leads’ consciousness (or consciousness lags reality). This means that our future actions have already ‘played out’ in reality (in real-time), ...we just don’t know it yet!

So, it is the happenings in ‘reality’, that are actually "calling-the-shots", and moving our bodies around as it pleases. Consciousness is the "slow-poke", lagging behind, in its ‘delayed’ view of our moving-about in reality.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby DragonFly on October 23rd, 2017, 3:34 pm 

RJG » October 23rd, 2017, 1:44 pm wrote:We humans do not have the ability to view the “here and now”, as consciousness only gives us a view of the ‘past’. If CTD is true, then reality ‘leads’ consciousness (or consciousness lags reality). This means that our future actions have already ‘played out’ in reality (in real-time), ...we just don’t know it yet!

So, it is the happenings in ‘reality’, that are actually "calling-the-shots", and moving our bodies around as it pleases. Consciousness is the "slow-poke", lagging behind, in its ‘delayed’ view of our moving-about in reality.


And the situation gets worse. Galen Strawson indicates in the post referred to below that we were never repsonsible for how we are.

See: http://www.sciencechatforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=55&t=32054&p=327598&hilit=galen+strawson#p327598

So now 'free will' falls in two ways. The serial killer and all of us too did what we had to do. Now and then some random input may have altered the course, if this can happen, but this is worse, not better, for some of what we have to do most likely goes toward survival.

Yes, it's a big shock to our sensibilities. What are some ideas/myths/lore that it does away with?
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby bangstrom on October 23rd, 2017, 4:14 pm 

RJG » October 23rd, 2017, 1:44 pm wrote:
Bang, you seem to be talking about the time delay between sequential events in reality. CTD is NOT this time delay!

CTD is one delay and sequential events outside our conscious awareness is another but they run parallel on the same clock.The World does not stop and wait for our awareness to make it ‘real’ in our minds. There is one reality X before our awareness and another reality X' after our awareness and a future reality X'' that we can consciously change.

RJG » October 23rd, 2017, 1:44 pm wrote:CTD is the time delay between X, and the conscious realization of X.
X always comes BEFORE the conscious realization of X, ...not AFTER it.
X and the conscious realization of X, are TWO separate things.

When one paints a picture of a tree, is the picture the ‘real’ tree? No, the picture is just a ‘representation’ of the tree. Is the picture-of-the-tree the same thing as the tree itself? No, these are TWO separate things.

When one consciously sees a tree, is the conscious picture in their head the ‘real’ tree? No, the picture is just a ‘mental representation’ of this tree. Is this consciousness-of-this-tree the same thing as the tree itself? No, these are TWO separate things.

CTD is the amount of time it takes to ‘paint’ this (mental) picture!

**********

We humans do not have the ability to view the “here and now”, as consciousness only gives us a view of the ‘past’. If CTD is true, then reality ‘leads’ consciousness (or consciousness lags reality). This means that our future actions have already ‘played out’ in reality (in real-time), ...we just don’t know it yet!

So, it is the happenings in ‘reality’, that are actually "calling-the-shots", and moving our bodies around as it pleases. Consciousness is the "slow-poke", lagging behind, in its ‘delayed’ view of our moving-about in reality.

There is a brief bit of time that plays out as we become aware of past events but time continues on and this is where our conscious actions can redirect future events. We have a delayed view of reality and a delayed reaction time but that does not mean we can not alter our future. This does not decide the question of whether our actions are deterministic or free-will but, either way, our conscious actions do alter future events.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on October 23rd, 2017, 4:31 pm 

bangstrom wrote:There is a brief bit of time that plays out as we become aware of past events but time continues on and this is where our conscious actions can redirect future events. We have a delayed view of reality and a delayed reaction time but that does not mean we can not alter our future. This does not decide the question of whether our actions are deterministic or free-will but, either way, our conscious actions do alter future events.

What “conscious actions”???

Everything that you are conscious of, are of ‘past’ events -- the “action” has already been done!
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby bangstrom on October 23rd, 2017, 6:14 pm 

RJG » October 23rd, 2017, 3:31 pm wrote:
bangstrom wrote:There is a brief bit of time that plays out as we become aware of past events but time continues on and this is where our conscious actions can redirect future events. We have a delayed view of reality and a delayed reaction time but that does not mean we can not alter our future. This does not decide the question of whether our actions are deterministic or free-will but, either way, our conscious actions do alter future events.

What “conscious actions”???

Everything that you are conscious of, are of ‘past’ events -- the “action” has already been done!

We may be conscious of only past events but our conscious awareness exists in the now and motions initiated in our now- in response to past events- affect events in the future. It may not be possible to go back in time and alter the past but this does not prevent us from altering the future.
Our actions formulated in the present play forward- not backward.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby Positor on October 23rd, 2017, 7:39 pm 

I basically agree with RJG. Here is how I see it:

We can distinguish the following:

D1: The occurrence of a decision (by determinism, quantum mechanics or a combination of the two).
A1: The bodily action resulting from that decision.
D2: The awareness of the decision.
A2: The awareness of the action.

There is a delay between D1 and A1.
There is a delay between D1 and D2.
There is a delay between A1 and A2.

Depending on the relative lengths of the delays, the chronological order is either:
D1 - A1 - D2 - A2
or
D1 - D2 - A1 - A2

The crucial point in relation to the question of free will is the delay between D1 and D2. By the time we become aware of a decision, it has already been made by our brain/body. Our conscious mind has no say in the decision, so we cannot 'freely will' it.

Even if one tries a more subtle approach by saying that a decision is made over a short interval rather than instantaneously, the problem still arises. There will be a delay between the beginning of the decision process and the awareness of that beginning; a delay between the end of the decision process and the awareness of that end; a delay between the initiation of the resulting action and the awareness of that initiation; and so on.

With regard to bangstrom's objection, it is true that a present decision is causally effective in relation to a future action (A1); but what is causally effective is the non-conscious decision itself (D1), never the awareness of that decision (D2).

Apart from the problem of delay, there is also the thorny issue of downward causation, which has been discussed elsewhere.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby Braininvat on October 23rd, 2017, 8:04 pm 

Maybe wrong, but it looks to me like people are talking past each other, with one side focused on a physicalist epistemological argument and the other countering with a phenomenological argument. For the former, the time delay poses a serious problem for free will. For the latter, the introspective awareness of one's decision process (and that future actions may flow from that process) has a more primary authority. For the phenomenologist, purely REACTIVE consciousness is not the whole of the mind -- the phenomenal aspect allows for a mind that may not be responding to external input, but is directing an inner process that is bent on making a decision. This phenomenal aspect is seen, in this perspective, as not reducible to neuronal firings and interactions. The mind, as a whole, has potential as a causal agent. Whether or not it is truly causal (and instantiated by a downward causation or "holon" in the physical brain) would remain an open question in phenomenology, since it seeks to know the mind "from the inside."

This is not insist that phenomenology must lead to free will. One could certainly conceive of an introspective process in which a person studies their own decisions and choices and concludes that they could never have done otherwise, could never have reached a different intentional state. It would all depend on what criteria you set for freedom. But the physical world, if ruled by the principle of locality, would tend to collide with the phenomenal world when you believe in your mind that there is, in you, an acausal or extra-causal aspect.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby bangstrom on October 23rd, 2017, 10:34 pm 

Positor » October 23rd, 2017, 6:39 pm wrote:I basically agree with RJG. Here is how I see it:


I agree with all but one point your analysis but it is my impression that RJG is saying something a bit different in that we can’t consciously change the future because we can’t change the past and our decision to react is already a part of that immutable past so what is done is done without conscious action on our part. That sounds like your scenario D1-D2-A1-A2 and RJG can correct me if I have the wrong impression.

I see that scenario as the exception rather than the norm which would be your scenario D1-A1-D2-A2 where we have “D2: The awareness of the decision” prior to the action itself and prior to “A2:The awareness of the action.” We usually have multiple choices arising from the subconscious and time to make a conscious decision that will affect our future.

The one point I question is your description of D1 as, “the occurrence of a decision (by determinism, quantum mechanics or a combination of the two.” I would add free will to the list of possible “by’s.”

I have a hard time viewing the world as anything but deterministic but I suspect there is a loop-hole in uncertainty that allows for free will.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby BadgerJelly on October 23rd, 2017, 11:04 pm 

Biv -

No one seems to be bothered about anatomy either.

Generally speaking the cerebral hemispheres inhibit the spontaneous nature of the more "primitive" brain (It ain't simple, so hence the parenthesis.) We don't walk around the same room all day exploring because we have memories to stop us from doing so. If we had no memories we'd be effectively exploring the same ground over and over.

So we have a number of needs vying for each other (mostly from hypothalamus) which wish to be satiated. Thirst, hunger, sexual desire, warmth, comfort, etc.,. Consciousness acts between memory and bodily needs. Consciousness is dependent upon the inputs and "ruled" by them if you so wish to view it that way.

bangstrom -

Determinism does not refute free-will. In the dimensions we live in, and with our knowledge of mathematics, determinism on a reductionist basis breaks down at certain limits.

I would recommend reading something about chaos.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on October 24th, 2017, 3:32 pm 

Positor wrote:D1: The occurrence of a decision (by determinism, quantum mechanics or a combination of the two).
A1: The bodily action resulting from that decision.
D2: The awareness of the decision.
A2: The awareness of the action.

There is a delay between D1 and A1.
There is a delay between D1 and D2.
There is a delay between A1 and A2.

Depending on the relative lengths of the delays, the chronological order is either:
D1 - A1 - D2 - A2
or
D1 - D2 - A1 - A2

The crucial point in relation to the question of free will is the delay between D1 and D2. By the time we become aware of a decision, it has already been made by our brain/body. Our conscious mind has no say in the decision, so we cannot 'freely will' it.

Hi Positor, you are spot on with the ‘chronological impossibility’ of “conscious causation” (aka free-will), but I see the lead-up explanation from another angle:

1. In actuality, D1 and D2 do not exist. D1 is just the body’s natural auto-reaction to an applied stimuli. In other words, there are no actual “decisions” made, but instead just “bodily reactions” occuring. D2 only exists as one’s speculative ‘justification’ of A2.

    D1: [=A1]
    A1: A bodily action/reaction
    A2: The awareness of A1
    D2: [one's justification of A2]

    There is a delay between A1 and A2.
    There is a delay between A2 and D2.

    The chronological order is:
    A1 - A2 - [D2]

2. The “crucial point” is the delay between A1 and A2 (...not D1 and D2), as this establishes the ‘chronological relationship’ (the before-and-after) of the 'action' itself to the 'consciousness-of-the-action'.

3. If conscious ‘causation’ is to occur, then it must occur BEFORE the action, but since consciousness (awareness) [A2] occurs AFTER the action [A1], then consciousness cannot be the cause of the action; hence “conscious causation” is not logically possible.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on October 24th, 2017, 6:20 pm 

Consciousness cannot 'cause’ something that has already happened.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby Braininvat on October 24th, 2017, 7:32 pm 

But a mind, in a state of introspective reflection, can form and execute a plan for an action that will happen in the future. That's the phenomenological issue that you ignore repeatedly.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on October 24th, 2017, 9:26 pm 

Braininvat wrote:But a mind, in a state of introspective reflection, can form and execute a plan for an action that will happen in the future.

But doesn’t this imply that this introspective mind is also 'conscious'? …and thereby suffers from the same logical contradiction/dilemma as the non-introspective mind?

Braininvat wrote:That's the phenomenological issue that you ignore repeatedly.

Yes, I ignore it because it seemingly only kicks the problem down the road, and out of line-of-sight. I don't see how it resolves the logical contradiction.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby BadgerJelly on October 24th, 2017, 10:44 pm 

RJG -

If you turn your back on the car accelerating toward you you'll get run down and splattered across the road.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on October 24th, 2017, 10:51 pm 

Thanks Badger, I'll try to remember that. :-)
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby Positor on October 24th, 2017, 11:55 pm 

Braininvat » October 25th, 2017, 12:32 am wrote:But a mind, in a state of introspective reflection, can form and execute a plan for an action that will happen in the future. That's the phenomenological issue that you ignore repeatedly.

But I would argue that the formation (my D1) and execution (my A1) of the plan correspond to brain states (or brain/body states) of which we acquire awareness (my D2 and A2 respectively) after a short interval. D1 is therefore the true cause of the action; D2 is only an epiphenomenon.

With regard to RJG's reply, I would argue that D2 comes before A2. We have the phenomenological experience of (seemingly) making a decision, followed a split second later by the experience of performing an action. (This does not, of course, apply to automatic habitual actions or reflex actions. In those cases, there is no 'D2' at all - no experience of making a free decision. In the case of reflex actions, such as withdrawing one's hand from a hot object, there is awareness of a stimulus and an action, but no awareness of a 'decision' as such.)
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby BadgerJelly on October 25th, 2017, 2:23 am 

Next people will be telling me that I cannot imagine what a dragon looks like, smells like and sounds like, on the grounds that I've never actually physically experienced a dragon.

Positor -

"decision" meaning what? I make decisions and it seems you prefer to say I experience something happening that is preordained to which I apply my experience and frame as my decision. The difference is merely semantic.

If we are going to start using parse that involves talking about "decisions of decisions of decisions" then there is little hope we'll get anywhere. We do have certain inbuilt survival mechanisms that we cannot overwhelm consciously. We are also capable of consciously overriding some of them to some degree. If my body is primed to withdraw my hand from a fire and I can consciously, with intention, thrust my hand into a fire what does that mean? By RJG's "logic" it means that my primary survival functions are overridden by themselves OR they are overridden with conscious intent.

To all -

I don't think there can be any argument that says consciousness is utterly severed from unconscious processes anymore than it can be said that unconscious processes are utterly severed from consciousness.

It looks to me like we're stuck arguing over whether gravity causes rain to fall or the composition of the water itself causes rain to fall. The irony is the difference is illusionary, although it is a very useful illusion to have in order to delineate between different phenomenal experiences of one complete irreducible event.

Mostly we work upon states of efficiency and relative pay-off. I am not directly aware of anything much that is going on around me, my attention is very limited and most of my sensible experience is filled in based on patterns set out through conscious experience (which has always been directed by innate survival functions.) Consciousness is part of a refined exploratory system if you only wish to look at it in a reductionist manner. At best you could perhaps say we willing choose the mistakes we make in spite of our primary unconscious drives and because of them. Risk has pay-offs, but taking is a risk is obviously dangerous. The whole reason the human species has been so successful is because we can consciously, meaningfully, explore and interact with the environment whilst our more 'primitive' bodily functions are carried out doing the really complex stuff like walking, keeping the heart pumping, and such things. If we are pushed to any large degree to a point where our lives are being drastically threatened then the more 'primitive' system will break out from the shackles of conscious action and we'll be roused to attend to the object of threat and even become more of a passenger to reactions of our nervous systems ability to save itself. If we've managed to consciously reason and feed information (inhibit) the 'primitive' happening to X or Y degree, we'll be able to stave off potentially more threatening circumstances that the 'primitive" part of our brains cannot foresee, and thus take the immediate threat over a less obvious future fatal threat.

Consciously we are actively imagining the future and making up stories for the present situation that comes to us through sensibility. I am quite willing to accept that consciously our conscious choices are limited in effect (and generally do view consciousness as being such.) My honest view is that my imagination, and thoughts, have a culminating effect upon future actions based on how they influence patterned responses. Quite obviously if I notice that a pattern does fit the problem then I cannot do much about this immediately. I can however set into action a means to test and refine the pattern so it can cope better with such a future reoccurrence of the problem, or something of its like.

And before RJG, or yourself, jumps in I am well aware of the "I" involved in the previous paragraph. A lot of the confusion arises around the item of authorship. Often we are prone to assume authorship over actions we don't think about. If the outcome is beneficial we claim authorship, if not we deny responsibility. This in itself is something extremely curious and what I would say is part and parcel of the amazing use of consciousness. We can attend to and prime positive outcomes. We recognize them after the matter of fact and enforce them so they are likely to happen again.

As an analogy think of your average day. Maybe you have about five minutes to yourself to sit back and think about things rather than read a book, play a game or worry about friends, family or work. This small gap is how I view consciousness. Consciousness is that small gap where we can draw a breath whilst the vast complexity of our full human form resides in the day-to-day business of keeping things from falling into disarray. Conscious choices are dangerous for the whole organism, but they are also invaluable. The more consciousness digresses from the "will" of the organism as a whole the more things will collapse in on themselves.

I don't SEEM to make a decision. I make a decision. A ball rolling down a hill is inert. Living organisms are not inert, they interact with the environment actively (which as an analogy would mean they can "move uphill".)
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