Definition of phenomenal consciousness

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

Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby BadgerJelly on October 11th, 2020, 4:27 am 

The above probably doesn’t make much sense so I’ll try again ...

If everything is a shade of ‘blue’ no ‘blue’ exists. The ubiquitous nature of phenomenon as such suffuses them with a Realness. Maybe we would call certain parts of the experience as ‘blue’ but the whole would merely be ‘sight’ not the ‘experience of blue tones’ as blue would fail to have meaning in such circumstances.

The thrust if the point here is that variety and difference are necessary for experience. We do not experience something that doesn’t ‘alter’ other than by relation to something that does. The ephemeral nature of experience is such that whether or not it is not massively important in regards to the ‘what and where’ of some hidden attractor - hence the point of the phenomenological position so as to not pretend we’re more in tune than we have any serious right to say.

There is the scientific investigation into the biological mechanisms that coexist alongside/entwined with the ‘experience’ of being (consciousness ‘felt’ by me or you). I don’t really see what some ‘definition’ of ‘phenomenal consciousness’ is meant to do other than outline some proposed consciousness of consciousness as a concept of consciousness in relation to consciousness.

Looking into what ‘constitutes’ consciousness is to regard consciousness as an ‘item’ rather than as a phenomenon utterly distanced from some temporal schemata. Has anyone stopped to ask what it is in their head they mean when they say ‘consciousness’ and ‘phenomenon,’ let alone some abstract amalgam of ‘phenomenal consciousness’?

Hidden Attractors are, to my mind, the most obvious contributors to the hard problem of consciousness ... but there is nothing much we can do about that! The rest is about untangling the use of spoken language from the experience - one is far richer and one is far more obscure. Safety lies in the banal AND breaking up the banal exterior releases a richer brew to reduce to another flavour of banality.

I’m sure enough of one thing. The ‘solution’ - or clarity - of the problems addressed here won’t budge with verbal exchanges unless those verbal exchanges forcibly shake others free from banal worded thought. If you happen not to be able to visualise you can at least appreciate that ‘between’ the words you think/utter lies a far less explored level of being.

It is certainly fascinating to discuss a book cover if it is all we have to hand that allows for a degree of universal debate. The thirst to measure is an addiction not necessarily of much use in every given situation of life. The principle of ‘measure’ is embedded in ‘valuation’ anyway. It is just one colour though. Value exists through difference ONLY. If a tree is one metre tall and another is 2 metres tall they are not DIFFERENT because of arbitrary metres. They are DIFFERENT because they are noticeably SIMILAR, not because of some ‘part’ we call ‘height’ or ‘colour’.

Phenomenal Consciousness is a term that says something akin to Memorable Memories ... it’s silly.

Perhaps the question should be ‘Do we need a definition of Phenomenal Consciousness?’. If there is a response to that question and it goes something like because of X, Y and Z then my follow up question would be why on earth anyone is bothering to define ‘Phenomenal Consciousness’ and putting aside X, Y and Z?

Pedantry is the mainstay of philosophical musings, but it is also quite often believed to be insightful ... this isn’t the case in my experience. Pedantry can often do little more than construct a box from the inside out. The result being the persin can forget about the box and even end up denying there is a box.

Happy musings to you all. ‘Consciousness’ is no more mysterious than the term ‘and’ ... one we use all the time and ignore due to its banal nature ... perhaps the nose on our face needs greater respect?
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby BadgerJelly on October 11th, 2020, 5:09 am 

Nice Random from my daily comic intake:

https://existentialcomics.com/comic/67
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby T. Burbank on October 13th, 2020, 7:12 am 

neuro » October 9th, 2020, 9:48 pm wrote:Well, it is my impression that the only wrong doing here is to use the word consciousness. Because it is misleading.
Because if we talk about the scientific inexplicability of feeling pain (or hunger) it should be clear that we are talking about that!
Introducing a "p-consciousness" story... makes people think we are talking about some complex psychological phenomenon related to the extremely complex functions of consciousness....


There seems to be a major difference between two types of experience that we call conscious, such as for instance 1) the thoughts going on in my mind as I try to figure out how to explain myself intelligibly here, and 2) the pain in my index finger as I press my thumbnail into it at the same time.

While we term both of these experiences “conscious,” they can seem to be independent of each other, and even experienced by different subjects. “I” am the one experiencing my thoughts, obviously. But “I” am merely aware of the pain in my finger, and don’t seem to be its experiencer. The pain is out “there,” a couple of feet distant from where “I” am inside this thick skull. The tip of my finger does hurt, but “I” am safely removed from that experience and don’t feel a thing.

Yet we call both experiences, equally, “conscious.” The reason may I guess be because we see that they have something very special in common, like nothing else we know of – the fact that we obviously do experience them, while they yet also obviously have no physical substance. And we assume that the only way that this can be true of any object of our experience is if the subject of that experience is our mind.

(Unconcerned that the only way we know of any of the things in our experience that we call “physical” in contrast, and thus view as thankfully rock solidly real … is through our consciousness of them).

It can cause complications to term both of these experiences “conscious,” however, because the question then arises of who or what is conscious of them. “I” again am the one that is conscious of my thoughts, but what is it that is conscious of (i.e. feels) the pain in my finger? I don’t think we can say that my finger is conscious of its pain, but if not then… ?

Looking at Chalmers’ list of the various kinds of p-conscious experience in the OP, I guess that “conscious thought,” “mental imagery,” and “the sense of self” are probably those that “I” experience directly. The rest – visual, auditory and tactile sensations, pain, hunger, feelings of hot and cold, emotions, etc. – seem to be things that “I” merely know of, at second hand as it were, while their first-hand experiencer (assuming that there is just one for all of them) remains anonymous.

Or at least that’s how it seems to me, when I try break down my own conscious experience to understand it. Don’t remember having heard much about this distinction, though, but haven’t read much in this area either. It has to be an important consideration in any attempt to analyze consciousness, I would think. Unless I’m misinterpreting what's going on, of course....
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 13th, 2020, 10:35 am 

they yet also obviously have no physical substance


Of course they do, it's your nerves sending messages to your brain. It's a material phenomenon. Then your thought says 'Ow' because it recognises pain, because it knows what pain is. That is also a material phenomenon. This is not mysterious!

You're dividing the body from the brain with its thoughts but you're a unitary entity; you function as one thing, not two or several.

The question is, not what's happening there, but how is it you're aware of it at all? What is the 'light' that makes all this possible?

You're doing the right thing, observing yourself, using yourself as the example, but go further. Don't go off to Chalmers or some other supposed authority, they don't know either, I can promise you that. See if you can find out yourself why this should be.

The answer, and there is an answer, may be unknown. It may be something, an energy, a light, beyond all our senses and thoughts. Are you prepared for that, to look beyond the sensate consciousness which we are?

And how will you do that? The 'you' is the consciousness that experiences all this but it's not the light which is not sensate. And there is such a light but the mind can never find it.

I know this is awkward but it's true. So the mind, which is thinking, must be quiet to see something other than itself otherwise it may project its own answers, which are not the answer.

Don't say 'How am I to still the mind?'. You can't still it. The very effort to still it is the action of yourself, eager to find the answer. So there can't be any motive to discover, no hidden desire to experience something.

When the mind is silent of itself then what is not of the mind is there. That's the only way. You are the barrier, the thing that's in the way, and the only thing which will make that go away is to realise it.

But you're not used to this kind of thing. Probably all your studies and so on have been based on thinking, logical and otherwise. Then someone says the mind can't find it. That's the problem.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby BadgerJelly on October 13th, 2020, 10:54 am 

Burbank -

It can cause complications to term both of these experiences “conscious,” however, because the question then arises of who or what is conscious of them.


We may just as well ask about the ‘where’ and ‘when’. That is probably why language does too much work in covering up the gist of consciousness. Precision with a certain concept/idea is always inclined to fall into different, and confusing, categories of interest.

The question of consciousness is both a philosophical and scientific one. Parsing between them is a problem - especially when there is a common heuristic employed that too often insists on delineating between ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ rather than working to eliminate their use when discussing the phenomenon of consciousness.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby T. Burbank on October 14th, 2020, 4:57 am 

Charon -

We’ve had this conversation before, no need to do it again. You say the feeling of pain has physical substance because it’s caused by “your nerves sending messages to your brain.” And I say “Cool, then can you please tell me 1) how much the feeling of pain weighs, and 2) how much space it takes up, if it has physical substance?” After which things don’t improve. In the words of the great Chalmers:

“We have reached a brute clash of intuitions of a sort that is common in the discussion of deep philosophical questions. Explicit argument can help us to isolate and characterize the clash, but not to resolve it.” (The Conscious Mind, p. 167)

charon » October 14th, 2020, 12:35 am wrote:You're doing the right thing, observing yourself, using yourself as the example...


In other words, taking a phenomenological approach. Yes, I think that is the right approach. Or at least “a” right approach; there could be others. The obvious advantage is that I am dealing with things that I can know with certainty to be true (at least in theory).

Don't go off to Chalmers or some other supposed authority, they don't know either, I can promise you that.


I don’t “go off” to anyone, but I am interested in what other people have to say sometimes, if they’re sincere, intelligent and informed. Because I find that I can learn from them. And why should I be willing to give you a hearing, but not Dr. Chalmers? Good book, by the way – The Conscious Mind. He put a lot of thought into it, a lot of hard work....

But beyond that, what is this wondrous thing that you “can promise [me]” that “they don’t know”? I’m not looking for the secret to life here, I was just posting an observation that seemed relevant to a remark by neuro – about a distinction that I see between two different varieties (or aspects, or whatever the right word is) of conscious experience. In case it might register with anyone.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby Dave_C on October 14th, 2020, 7:19 am 

Hi Burbank,
T. Burbank » October 13th, 2020, 6:12 am wrote:Looking at Chalmers’ list of the various kinds of p-conscious experience in the OP, I guess that “conscious thought,” “mental imagery,” and “the sense of self” are probably those that “I” experience directly. The rest – visual, auditory and tactile sensations, pain, hunger, feelings of hot and cold, emotions, etc. – seem to be things that “I” merely know of, at second hand as it were, while their first-hand experiencer (assuming that there is just one for all of them) remains anonymous.

Agreed, there are distinctions Chalmers makes between different subjective experiences - tactile experiences as you point out versus experiences such as love or hatred, jealousy, surprise, etc... These experiences are all subjective and they occur during our present experiences. We can remember how something felt in the past and we might conjure up that sensation again as we think of it. We can imagine how something might feel in the future and we might conjure up that sensation again as we think of it. But we only have those experiences 'right now' so to speak. These subjective experiences are phenomena, meaning they are something that happens in a time and place. So I'd suggest these phenomena are all things we experience 'now'. Perhaps your point is that we often don't fully understand our feelings. We might feel something and wonder what that feeling is. "Is that lust or love?" for example. But these feelings, regardless of our ability to compare them to other experiences we've had or to experiences people have put a name on, are still phenomena which aren't explained by pointing to chemical and other physical interactions and therefore are a hard problem.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 14th, 2020, 8:22 am 

Burbank -

1) how much the feeling of pain weighs, and 2) how much space it takes up, if it has physical substance?”


The air around me as I speak is full of all kinds of signals - radio, TV, police, aircraft, peoples' cell phones... god knows what and how much or how many.

Are you telling me that none of this is material? Are you saying it's something metaphysical or supernatural? What are you talking about!

The obvious advantage is that I am dealing with things that I can know with certainty to be true (at least in theory).


Absolutely, but not 'in theory'. When it rains or you feel hungry you don't call it theoretical, it's plain and factual.

What is not plain and factual isn't the stuff in front of us, it's the stuff we invent, believe in, assume, and so on. The wise person knows the difference, the confused mind just gets confused :-)

what is this wondrous thing that you “can promise [me]” that “they don’t know”?


I've told you already, although I've had to be somewhat metaphorical. 'Light' isn't daylight or the electric light. I'm trying to point to what enables us to be aware of the sensate consciousness. You're not addressing that.

The brain is a physical organ. It's a lump of matter with all sorts of signals and impulses going on. But then so is a computer, it's the same thing. But a computer doesn't know what it's doing, it's just a machine. We, on the other hand, do know. That's the difference, and the difference is colossal.

How do I know they don't know? Because they've said so. They've admitted they don't know.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby Dave_C on October 14th, 2020, 9:07 am 

Hi Charon,
charon » October 14th, 2020, 7:22 am wrote:Burbank -

1) how much the feeling of pain weighs, and 2) how much space it takes up, if it has physical substance?”


The air around me as I speak is full of all kinds of signals - radio, TV, police, aircraft, peoples' cell phones... god knows what and how much or how many.

Are you telling me that none of this is material? Are you saying it's something metaphysical or supernatural? What are you talking about!

You're missing the point. Radio waves are clearly material. We all can measure the same waves, they are objectively observable.

What about the noise you hear when a tree falls? Is there a crashing, booming noise that echoes through the forest, the one you hear? Or are there only pressure fluctuations in the air? Can we distinguish the difference between the pressure waves in the air and the actual noise we hear?

The brain creates colors because of neurons that activate in the eye when a certain wavelength of light impinges on it. Similarly, the brain creates noise when neurons activate in the ear when they vibrate at a certain frequency due to air pressure fluctuations.

The objectively observable 'stuff' that we can all agree on is distinct and very different than the subjective experience of it. They may go hand in hand, but one is objectively observable and the other is not. Our brains create these experiences which are very different than the actual objectively observable phenomena. Those colors on billboards don't have any of the properties that we experience nor do the air waves in the air contain any of the properties we experience. The brain must interpret those and it creates the representation we experience such as the color or noise.

If you asked any neuroscientist worth his salt to explain to you why that happens, why a color appears in our brains, why that specific color, why that specific noise of a tree falling, they would tell you we have no idea how we can even come close to explaining why we should experience it instead of nothing at all. There is no obvious avenue we can go down to explain why we should experience something instead of nothing. If that's not clear, don't get frustrated. Most people don't get it either. It's hard enough to understand the problem, impossible so far to provide any scientific explanation (ie: the "hard problem"), and much harder yet to explain without violating known physical laws.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby T. Burbank on October 14th, 2020, 9:14 am 

Badger -

BadgerJelly » October 14th, 2020, 12:54 am wrote:We may just as well ask about the ‘where’ and ‘when’. That is probably why language does too much work in covering up the gist of consciousness. Precision with a certain concept/idea is always inclined to fall into different, and confusing, categories of interest.

Well, I don’t think questions of ‘where’ or ‘when’ relate to my issue, which is the subject(s) experiencing the conscious phenomena. Agree that language is a flawed tool for communication, of course. All I expect is that despite their clumsiness my words might hopefully lead a listener in a direction in which he can intuit close to what I mean.

The question of consciousness is both a philosophical and scientific one. Parsing between them is a problem - especially when there is a common heuristic employed that too often insists on delineating between ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’ rather than working to eliminate their use when discussing the phenomenon of consciousness.

Who says that we have to eliminate subjective and objective when discussing consciousness? Can’t we just recognize that, okay sure, there is a unified whole, but it can often be discussed profitably in terms of its individual parts as well?

I think the distinction that I was trying to make in my post, between what I think are two plainly different “species” (if you will) of consciousness, sort of depends for clarity on explanation in terms of subjects and objects. Not that I seem to have made it clear even so….
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 14th, 2020, 11:29 am 

Dave -

Radio waves are clearly material.


Of course, but Burbank is apparently saying that the feeling of pain, for example, isn't. I'm saying any neurological signal and the recognition of that signal as 'pain' is all a material process. I don't see what else it can be unless he's positing something supernatural.

What about the noise you hear when a tree falls?


Oh, no, not that one again!

Can we distinguish the difference between the pressure waves in the air and the actual noise we hear?


Yes, if the pressure wave is powerful enough. You feel it as well as hear the crashing of the tree. Any big explosion is like that.

The objectively observable 'stuff' that we can all agree on is distinct and very different than the subjective experience of it.


Is it? To observe/feel/smell/taste it, etc, IS the subjective experience. If there was no recognition of the event it wouldn't be experienced at all. The ear/eye or other sense organs pick up the sensation and the recognition of it is the reaction of thought from the past. It's a unitary process. It's the way we work, the way we're made. I don't see the problem with this.

The objectively observable 'stuff' that we can all agree on is distinct and very different than the subjective experience of it. They may go hand in hand, but one is objectively observable and the other is not.


You're saying the tree falling is observable - quite correct - but the experience of it - the sensations and the recognition of them for what they are - isn't observable. Of course it is.

You can observe or know when you feel any sensation, like heat or cold, and you can see the recognition taking place too - if you're observant enough inwardly.

If you asked any neuroscientist worth his salt to explain to you why that happens, why a color appears in our brains, why that specific color, why that specific noise of a tree falling, they would tell you we have no idea how we can even come close to explaining why we should experience it instead of nothing at all.


Then the neuroscientist doesn't understand his subject, obviously.

A colour impinges on the mind/brain and, because we've seen it before, we say 'red' or 'green'. Or, if we don't know what it is, we say 'I don't know'. Again, what's the issue here? I see no problem at all. It's what we are, it's how we operate.

We have physical senses and they operate. We also depend on recognition, which is memory, otherwise we couldn't get around at all. Animals do the same, they remember and recognise, which is called experience. What's the difficulty with this?

There is no obvious avenue we can go down to explain why we should experience something instead of nothing.


I've just told you why. Life would be impossible without it. Nature has provided us with a means of getting around. It's given us arms, legs, and a brain that knows what's going on. Most of the time, anyway :-)

If that's not clear, don't get frustrated. Most people don't get it either. It's hard enough to understand the problem, impossible so far to provide any scientific explanation (ie: the "hard problem"), and much harder yet to explain without violating known physical laws.


Frustrated, moi?

What physical laws are being violated, seeing that's just how we're all made? If you find yourself violating physical laws when you're trying to explain it then the explanation is wrong, isn't it?
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 14th, 2020, 12:07 pm 

...

What color is this?

Image

You hesitated, right? If it was just an ordinary red or green the reaction's so quick and so familiar you'd barely be aware of it. But with this, you'll go 'Well, it's a mixture, isn't it?'.

Don't tell me you can't see your brain operating!
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby Dave_C on October 14th, 2020, 12:31 pm 

Hi Charon,
Does the paint on a fire truck for example, have that property of "red" that you see? Is it literally the color that you see?
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby TheVat on October 14th, 2020, 12:48 pm 

The whole "raw feels" thing is so difficult for many people - and I don't mean that in a condescending way at all, plenty of great minds seem to founder on the hard, pointy, reddish-with-patches-of-mossy-green rocks of qualia. I've wondered if there's a really simple entry-level essay on qualia and the hard problem of consciousness that someone could link to.

Maybe Frank Jackson, with his gift for clarity, can help here? Here he discusses how a physicalist account of vision will ultimately fail to explain our experience of colors, i.e. that something will be left out.

https://rintintin.colorado.edu/~vancecd ... ackson.pdf
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 14th, 2020, 1:33 pm 

Dave_C » October 14th, 2020, 5:31 pm wrote:Hi Charon,
Does the paint on a fire truck for example, have that property of "red" that you see? Is it literally the color that you see?


Dave, you're playing with optics. Is red really red? Is water actually wet? It's meaningless. You're really ducking the subject.

I'd say yes, it's really red. Otherwise it wouldn't look red. Simple. And it would also look like paint too. Oh, this is just a game.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 14th, 2020, 1:38 pm 

TheVat » October 14th, 2020, 5:48 pm wrote:The whole "raw feels" thing is so difficult for many people - and I don't mean that in a condescending way at all, plenty of great minds seem to founder on the hard, pointy, reddish-with-patches-of-mossy-green rocks of qualia. I've wondered if there's a really simple entry-level essay on qualia and the hard problem of consciousness that someone could link to.

Maybe Frank Jackson, with his gift for clarity, can help here? Here he discusses how a physicalist account of vision will ultimately fail to explain our experience of colors, i.e. that something will be left out.

https://rintintin.colorado.edu/~vancecd ... ackson.pdf


Vat, no one is simply answering what I'm saying. There's no response to it, no refutation, counter argument, or explanation, they're just posting more stuff that bolsters their ideas, repetitively. Forgive me saying it but it's not thinking.

See, all this isn't in books, it's in us, it's what we're all doing, living. We should look at that, but we don't.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby Dave_C on October 14th, 2020, 3:48 pm 

Hi Charon,
That wasn't a trick question. To contribute to discussions like this around consciousness, you'll need to grasp at least a few basics. First one is that no, fire trucks and red paint are not actually red. They don't have that property we experience as being red. The paint reflects a given wavelength of light (or absorbs others) and that light enters your eye, but it doesn't carry with it that property of red that we experience. The brain creates that color or property. It isn't out there in the world, it's inside our brain. Similarly, the sound we hear isn't out there in the world, it's created by our brain. What's out there in the world are pressure fluctuations in the air.

Consider all your other sensations such as hot/cold, smells and tastes, etc... There is no hot or cold, no smells, no flavors. Those experiences are all created by our brain, they are not out there in the world. They are not properties of fires or limburger cheese, they are created by our brain when our senses detect something. There are neurons in our skin that fire depending on a temperature but that neuron firing needs to go into the brain and processed somehow to be experienced as heat. Similarly for flavor or smell, there are molecules that interact with neurons in our nose and on our tongue that fire and the brain then creates that experience of flavor or smell.

Nothing you experience is a property out there in the world. Everything you experience is created by your brain. The experiences we have may correlate with a property out there in the world like the wavelength of light, the pressure pulsations in air, molecules that land inside our nose, etc... but those wavelengths, pressures, molecules, do not posses the properties you experience.

Hope that helps.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 14th, 2020, 6:48 pm 

That wasn't a trick question


You're on your own planet, Dave, I never thought it was. That's the second time you've put thoughts in my mind.

To contribute to discussions like this around consciousness, you'll need to grasp at least a few basics


If you continue patronising me you'll never hear the end of it.

First one is that no, fire trucks and red paint are not actually red.


I know, hence the 'water not being wet' remark by me.

I know the rest of it and you're not including what I said. Which I won't repeat because you can't fix thick.

You still haven't answered my question.

(Which question was that he's asking himself...)
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 14th, 2020, 6:56 pm 

Oh, well, as he's a bit slow (he might not even have realised there's a post above this one), I'll repeat the question.

(ie: the "hard problem"), and much harder yet to explain without violating known physical laws.


Question:


'What physical laws are being violated, seeing that's just how we're all made? If you find yourself violating physical laws when you're trying to explain it then the explanation is wrong, isn't it?'


Hope that helps.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby T. Burbank on October 16th, 2020, 1:59 am 

Dave_C » October 14th, 2020, 9:19 pm wrote:Agreed, there are distinctions Chalmers makes between different subjective experiences - tactile experiences as you point out versus experiences such as love or hatred, jealousy, surprise, etc... These experiences are all subjective and they occur during our present experiences.

Dave -

Yes, there are distinctions that we can make at many different levels. Sensory experiences seem to have commonalities that emotional experiences don’t share. And at the most fundamental level, of course, the different sensory experiences for example are all distinct from each other. Naturally, since there are different sense organs involved.

But what I want to say is that some of these subjective experiences seem to have different subjects compared to others. In other words, the "parts of the mind" that experience them seem to differ. And while this seems obvious to me when I look closely, I don’t know if I’ve ever heard it discussed. (Which may of course mean that I’m looking at things wrong, yes, but I can’t see how).

Anyway, I’ll try to say more on this in a couple days. Something just came up so I’ve to go….
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby BadgerJelly on October 16th, 2020, 7:53 am 

TheVat » October 15th, 2020, 12:48 am wrote:The whole "raw feels" thing is so difficult for many people - and I don't mean that in a condescending way at all, plenty of great minds seem to founder on the hard, pointy, reddish-with-patches-of-mossy-green rocks of qualia. I've wondered if there's a really simple entry-level essay on qualia and the hard problem of consciousness that someone could link to.

Maybe Frank Jackson, with his gift for clarity, can help here? Here he discusses how a physicalist account of vision will ultimately fail to explain our experience of colors, i.e. that something will be left out.

https://rintintin.colorado.edu/~vancecd ... ackson.pdf


For a bit more breadth and depth :

https://watermark.silverchair.com/pq32- ... CbF-zj9Qo0

I especially enjoy Part IV :)
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby TheVat on October 16th, 2020, 8:14 pm 

Thanks, I'm having a bit of trouble getting it to open. Will try to go in through a main page and get at it.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby BadgerJelly on October 17th, 2020, 12:22 am 

TheVat » October 17th, 2020, 8:14 am wrote:Thanks, I'm having a bit of trouble getting it to open. Will try to go in through a main page and get at it.


Yeah, I got at it through this site (under ‘most cited’) : https://academic.oup.com/pq
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 17th, 2020, 8:04 am 

I've read it. Where do these people come from?

He keeps repeating that qualia - internal physical/psychological sensations - have no reactions on the external physical world, and hence on survival.

What a lot of rot. If I taste something bitterly foul I spit it out. It makes a mess whatever I do with it. Others may recoil... and so on.

Are these people sane? Everything is a whole, the external and the internal. It all works as one.

I think I give up.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby TheVat on October 17th, 2020, 10:24 am 

A being without qualia can just as readily register a food as bitter and spit it out. Hence, the concept of a p-zed, which has been discussed and linked on repeatedly here. A purely physicalist account can show how a neural network can, say, identify toxic alkaloids in a food, and initiate a rejecting behavior. There is nothing that requires a "felt" or subjective aspect. There is nothing that demonstrates qualia is more than an epiphenomenon. Or what reason we should have these epiphenomena occurring.

Understanding this topic involves mastering the terminology, because terms used in the philosophy of mind have very particular meanings.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 17th, 2020, 10:37 am 

TheVat » October 17th, 2020, 3:24 pm wrote:A being without qualia can just as readily register a food as bitter and spit it out. Hence, the concept of a p-zed, which has been discussed and linked on repeatedly here. A purely physicalist account can show how a neural network can, say, identify toxic alkaloids in a food, and initiate a rejecting behavior.


What beings without qualia? Do they exist? I mean beings we'd normally expect to have qualia, of course. Mosquitoes don't count :-)

(And not zombies, p-l-e-a-s-e)
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby TheVat on October 17th, 2020, 4:29 pm 

The p-zed is a philosophic thought experiment used to illuminate the issues, not a troupe of actual zombies shambling around the countryside. I'm not able, atm, to write at length on p-zeds, but the concept was linked early in this thread IIRC. What's important is that the p-zed is logically possible, not that there actually are such things.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 17th, 2020, 7:17 pm 

The p-zed is a philosophic thought experiment


I know.

used to illuminate the issues


And obviously concocted so it does illuminate the issues :-)

What's important is that the p-zed is logically possible


So are lots of things that don't actually exist.

Sorry, Vat, I'm not trying to be difficult but, as you know, my thing is to understand reality we have to remain with what is real. And one supposes that it is actual reality we're trying to fathom otherwise what are we doing?
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby TheVat on October 18th, 2020, 10:37 am 

Understanding why a p-zed is not real, via unlocking the mystery of how a physical event (say, neurons firing) produces a subjective feeling, could help to understand the reality of conscious beings.
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Re: Definition of phenomenal consciousness

Postby charon on October 18th, 2020, 12:54 pm 

Vat -

I don't just go in blind to this stuff, you know. I've read the articles, the academic philosophical sites, I've watched the You Tube videos about zombies and qualia. I was just looking at Dan Dennett and Chalmers this morning... I'm aware of more than you think. I wouldn't normally say it either but we're on page 8 now. And nowhere, naturally.

The problem is that it's philosophical, which is basically an academic discipline. I can't help being what I am and therefore thinking as I do. Why, you may ask, do I hang around a philosophy forum? Because it deals with issues like consciousness. But my advantage is I can look at it all with a touch of the Emperor's Clothes.

I can tell you, they're making a great problem out of very little. There's not much mystery to subjective experience, it's a combination of sensory input and the psychological process. I've tried to say all that several times now and not a single person has either agreed or disagreed, the posts are simply ignored.

How consciousness works isn't such a mystery. The only thing which is a mystery, if one likes to use that word, is what makes it all possible. But I'm the only one who's brought that up. No one so far has pointed to the simple fact that our consciousness didn't make itself. It's a machine that functions, that's all. But it's something else that gives life to it.

A bird is just a physical, biological organism but that's not what puts life in the bird. And it's the same with us. Which is why they can't answer the question, not even Chalmers.
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