Is Consciousness an Illusion?

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

Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 20th, 2017, 9:29 pm 

BadgerJelly wrote:The obvious problem you even highlight yourself here (with the parenthesis) is the "subjective truth". Empiricism being generally associated with the objective rather than the subjective ... that said I can see the vague area you are in here and it is more difficult than it seems to express this to those less willing to approach the context of what you are saying if they adhere to a more strongly defined "empirical" outlook. Those more strongly inclined to the rationalist perspective will probably also point out this problematic term of "subjective truth".

Yes, I understand what you say here. But I relate “subjective truths” to those truths that are reliant upon our ‘subjective’ experiences, …and as you know, the objects of our experiencing are not that certain, nor trustworthy.

Empiricism, or ‘experientially’ derived truths (including science) are contingent upon the 'uncertain' nature of the experiential objects themselves, and therefore are less certain than (deductive) logical truths …which I view as “objective (pre-experiential; a priori) truths”.


Braininvat wrote:If you don't know what I'm asking, I will start to suspect that you've simply not read any of the literature relevant to philosophy of mind.

BIV, no offense intended, and I will just say it bluntly -- “Philosophy of Mind” might as well be “Philosophy of Fairy Godmothers”. Both talk ad nauseum about ‘uncertain’ (fantasy) objects and the implications and speculations thereof. A pure waste of energy. Nothing of ‘certainty’ can be gained from reading fantasy.


Braininvat wrote:Philosophy is not a field in which one can be a rugged individualist and trek across these vast areas all by onesself. JMO

Luckily I am not trying to navigate through the entire field of philosophy. I prefer to avoid the experientially based land mines and booby traps that envelope and consume so many of you that are enamored by such fantasy. I am strictly looking for the path of ‘certainties’; objective truths. Do you have a map for this? If not, then I’m gonna have to trek my own path, all by my onesself.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby NoShips on May 20th, 2017, 10:09 pm 

Old Rasputin » May 21st, 2017, 10:29 am wrote:BIV, no offense intended, and I will just say it bluntly -- “Philosophy of Mind” might as well be “Philosophy of Fairy Godmothers”. Both talk ad nauseum about ‘uncertain’ (fantasy) objects and the implications and speculations thereof. A pure waste of energy. Nothing of ‘certainty’ can be gained from reading fantasy.



Um, if we had already achieved certainty on questions of the mind and its relationship to the brain, why would we need to engage in philosophy (and neuroscience, cognitive science, etc)?

Is it not precisely because we do not enjoy certainty that we investigate?
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on May 21st, 2017, 12:41 am 

OR -

The big problem is working this through though in order to see that one without the other is 'empty' (has no meaning).
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby RoccoR on May 21st, 2017, 7:57 am 

RE: Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?
Old Rasputin, et al,

This is predicated on a logical assumption, based on the knows of today. It assumes that the science and technology of man will someday reach that threshold. This is the dilemma of the Star Trek Transporter(you will like that little video). This thought that someday technology will someday reach that threshold presupposes that everything that there is about you is measurable, record-able, preservable and recoverable. This is necessary for replication.

That, in itself raises question about "free-will" and the exercise of indipendent thought. But we'll leave that for another discussion.

Old Rasputin » May 20th, 2017, 12:34 pm wrote:
RoccoR wrote:What we call a mind is unique to each individual. BUT that piece of me that allows me to write this response to you --- that may trigger an epiphany in you, is individual to me. It is not reproducible.

Because of the complexity, it only seems “not reproducible”. But, if we could identify, capture, and reproduce the specific group of experiences that create this concept of “you”, then we could reproduce another “you” into another experiential body. But of course, technology is not there yet. :-)

Note: There are no "mental states" per se (including “mind”, “consciousness”, “thoughts”, and “me/you/I”). There are only 'experiences' that we associate with these mental states. Even our thoughts are wholly comprised and composed of bits of sensory experiences (held in memory). There is no magical spirit/soul/mind/consciousness/me, there are only the bodily experiences that create these concepts.

Everything that we experience is just an experience!

(COMMENT)

The "mind" and the "brain" are two completely different things.

    • The "brain" does have physical components. The same components of the brain that I use to write this comment, are the same component that you used to write your contributions. Functionally, our "brains" are physically constructed along the same lines. They will be similarly shaped and weigh about the same [with a 100 grams (3.5 oz)]... It is a bio-electrical apparatus.

    • The "mind," that we assume emanates from the brain, is what separates me from the likes of Leonardo da Vinci, Galileo, Isaac Newton, Max Planck, Albert Einstein, Temple Grandin, and Steven Hawking. While they each have a frontal lobe, a parietal lobe, an occipital lobe, a temporal lobe, and cerebellum --- the same as me; I am as different from them as they are from each other. [Leaving the point aside that some my present as a "high-functioning" type of autism spectrum disorder. (Aspberger's are over-represented among top scientists, why?) ]

The "brain" and the "mind" are totally two different things. The first is material with a common structure shared between all of the same species. The "mind" is a non-material thing that presents as an unknown quantity.

It is important to understand that the "mind" has entirely different operators.
Link: Aspergers and Genius

Most Respectfully,
R
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 21st, 2017, 4:00 pm 

RoccoR wrote:The "brain" and the "mind" are totally two different things.

RoccoR, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is no “mind” - It is just a concocted ‘story’; a fairy tale that we ‘religiously’ believe, and has been told (indoctrinated) to us by past generations as an attempt to make sense of our reality. This dualistic entity called “mind”, is absolutely positively logically impossible at least 2 times over. It is no more valid than a fairy godmother with a magical wand.

The belief in the “mind” is not really any different than early cave-man’s belief in the “sun god”. Believing the fairy tale, that the sun was controlled by a sun-god, quelled the nagging question of why the sun does what it does. But both of these “fairy tales” are just phantom solutions, as it only just shifts, and hides the issue/problem (the nagging question) back out of line-of-sight (i.e. it kicks-the-can-down-the-road). Sure, it satisfies most of the cave-men and today’s-men’s need for a solution, just like any religion (or belief in fairy tales) does, …but the nagging question/problem is still there (…it is just hidden out of sight).

Let me start by asking -- how do you know (other than being told/indoctrinated by others) that this “mind” actually exists; what are the tell-tale signs, the symptoms; the indicators? What gives you the clue that this thing actually exists?

In other words, please don’t tell me any ‘hearsay’. Please don’t tell me what you read in the latest “Philosophy of Mind” literature. I don’t want to hear the hearsay from publications/peers/preachers/professors/parents or anyone else but ‘you’, …tell my how YOU directly know this “mind” exists.

Okay, I am going to guess your answer here. -- Umm, is it because you experience thoughts that you feel are ‘unique’ to you?

You say that it is more than that? -- Okay, so is it because you believe that this “mind” is the ‘thinker’ of the thoughts that you experience?

Yes, you say? -- Okay, so then does the existence of “mind” quell the nagging question of ‘who/what’ thinks/creates these thoughts that you experience?

Congratulations your belief in religion (fairy tales) is confirmed. You are in good company. You have reached the same spot/conclusion as Rene Descartes.

But before we continue, let me back up, and share these eloquently relevant words from my very good friend RJG:
RJG wrote:How does one even really know that they have a ‘mind’? I suspect we all have been told that we have one. But, for me, being told is not reason enough to automatically accept as a truth. Other than being told, is there another way to know that we possess a ‘mind’?

Many of us automatically; without direct confirmation, accept as truth, that which is told to us by “trusted sources” (i.e. parents, professors, preachers, etc.). For example, most of us accept as truth, that the earth is spherically shaped, as opposed to being flat. In fact, many of us will mock those people who claim that the earth is flat. But unless we are an astronaut and had the fortune to observe and confirm this spherically shaped earth ourselves directly, then we don’t really know, as we are relying on the “hearsay” of trusted sources to tell us our truths.

One can justify (their acceptance of truth) that the earth is spherical, because of one’s belief that confirmation exists, though indirectly, via the words from the astronaut or pictures from his camera. The certainty of this truth is less certain than via direct confirmation. But what about those things that are seemingly impossible to confirm, such as ‘minds’? Is it possible to directly or indirectly, confirm such a thing?

Who else really knows that I have a ‘mind’, if not me directly? I am the only one that can possibly confirm such a thing. There is no astronaut or any other to confirm this; there is no one able to peer into me to detect and photograph this thing called mind.

If I'm told, by a trusted source, that I possess a marble in my hand should I accept this as truth even if I can't see or feel it? If I actually do possess a marble in my hand, then shouldn't I know this without being told?

Many of us seem to unquestionably accept as true, those things, as told from those whom we trust. But what if those that we unquestionably trust, accept from those that they unquestionably trust? How long is this chain of unquestionable and automatic trust and acceptance? And what if the first person in the chain has erred? Being told, from a trustworthy source, that something (i.e. a "mind") exists just doesn't cut it for me. There has to be something more!

If I actually do possess a mind then shouldn't I know this without being told so? Or is it that, one only knows they have a mind because they have been told so? Is it possible to know that one has a mind without ever being told so? If I lived on a deserted island isolated from all other people (or trusted sources) could I know I possess this thing that others called "mind"?

Others may claim that I have a mind, and I suppose that I could just go along and simply and blindly accept this as truth, but does this really mean that it is? But really, how can they know I have a mind? I am the only one that can possibly know. Certainly, to make such a claim of having a mind means that there 'must' be some indication (other than an outside person telling me so). So what is it, how do I know I have a mind, what is this indicator that tells me, with unquestionable certainty, that I, in fact, possess this thing called a "mind"?

And from this point, we follow with Descartes assertion/answer -- Descartes asserted that the very act of doubting one's own existence was proof of the reality of one's own mind; there must be a thinking entity; a “self”; a “mind”, for there to be a thought.

So RoccoR, you are in good company. You and Rene both believe in a “thinking” entity (res cogitans) called the “mind”. On the surface this conclusion seems very reasonable, but logically, it is seriously flawed.

Firstly, Descartes (and RoccoR, and others) made a huge leap of blind faith. They falsely assumed that because they ‘experienced’ thoughts, that they therefore must ‘also’ be the “thinker” (creator/constructor/author) of these thoughts. This is flawed logic; blind faith; a pure religious belief. There is no causal, nor logical, connection to make the claim between the awareness/experiencing of something to the causing/creating of this something. In effect, Descartes inadvertently (and fallaciously) created a sun-god (“mind”) to think for and control the sun (“body”).

And secondly, even if this (mind/body dualism) were hypothetically possible (which it is not), it would still be logically impossible, as it just kicks the can down the road. As the next logical question would then be:

    If the mind controls the body, then what controls the mind? …oh, okay, the mind has it’s own (dualistic) mind within it. …okay I am so satisfied now. …but wait, what controls the mind within the mind? …oh, okay that mind ‘also’ has a mind within it. Got it. I am now super satisfied, …what’s for lunch?

There is no mind, but instead only a body/brain that experiences stuff, including thoughts. These thoughts are just bodily reactions/experiences; and more specifically, they are composed and comprised of many bits of sensory experiences (emanating from memory).

The "mind" is a grand fairy tale.
Last edited by Old Rasputin on May 21st, 2017, 4:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 21st, 2017, 4:33 pm 

NoShips wrote:Um, if we had already achieved certainty on questions of the mind and its relationship to the brain, why would we need to engage in philosophy (and neuroscience, cognitive science, etc)?

Is it not precisely because we do not enjoy certainty that we investigate?

I suspect most philosophers don’t really want the 'dance' to end.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby NoShips on May 21st, 2017, 6:59 pm 

Old Rasputin » May 22nd, 2017, 5:33 am wrote:
NoShips wrote:Um, if we had already achieved certainty on questions of the mind and its relationship to the brain, why would we need to engage in philosophy (and neuroscience, cognitive science, etc)?

Is it not precisely because we do not enjoy certainty that we investigate?

I suspect most philosophers don’t really want the 'dance' to end.



You're not allowed to suspect. Only those of us with minds do that.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby DragonFly on May 21st, 2017, 7:12 pm 

NoShips » May 21st, 2017, 5:59 pm wrote:You're not allowed to suspect. Only those of us with minds do that.


Only brains suspect. I don't know how some people can do things with the brain out of the picture. Now, what was it that the Oz scarecrow said?
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on May 21st, 2017, 11:12 pm 

Mind is to brain as wet is to liquid.

btw we all know objectivity is inter-subjectivity. The issue you are having is with the language you're using (in very unfamiliar ways) so try to be more clear. As an example of logic I can say "All rabbits are green, therefore if it is not green it is not a rabbit". A logically sound statement but the propositions are not something people will readily take on as "true", yet the statement is logical.

When we talk about "knowing" we "know" as a community. Our views are inter-subjective that objectify the world because it is easier to navigate it that way. My singular subjective thought is part of this objectified world, a world that you are calling 'fantasy' and 'fairy tales', or so it seems?

We could start asking things like "Do I dream of the real world or is what I think of as the real world known to me because of my dreams? Are the dreams more real than the apparent waking moments?

The point being we take seems as they come to us, as they seem to us, as aprt of a community of humans not as unrelated subjective entities.

There are extensive arguments regarding sense datum. Sadly you simply are not familiar enough with what has been written so we can only discuss things so far before you lose track of what is being said. Your subjective view in this area is limited (helpful to me because you're not lumbered with "knowing", but rather freed up to procede down avenues I may have previously missed).
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby TheVat on May 22nd, 2017, 12:19 am 

https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/materialism-eliminative/

This pretty much covers all the arguments for, and critiques of, eliminative materialism, i.e. that mind is merely an illusion, or mythical notion about the internal processes of the brain. (or what the Churchlands, for those of you who actually have read in the field, dubbed "folk psychology") OR probably will refuse to read it, so as to maintain the purity of his homespun theorizing. Some of you will be quite familiar with the phenomenal argument against EM, from past threads here. And, as NoShips archly alluded to in his previous post, OR will not entertain any beliefs about said argument, because he does not have beliefs or intentional states.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 22nd, 2017, 8:58 am 

Braininvat wrote:…OR will not entertain any beliefs about said argument, because he does not have beliefs or intentional states.

BIV, it appears that you continually try to fit me into a strawman box (i.e. “eliminative materialism” in this case) so that you can then shoot an arrow at it. How about shooting an arrow at my ACTUAL WORDS instead? What have I said SPECIFICALLY (please quote the actual words!) that you perceive as flawed reasoning.

Please prove my words wrong, not your strawman’s words.

Thank you.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby TheVat on May 22nd, 2017, 9:30 am 

You didn't read the link, did you? No attempt to prove you wrong is being made. That said, I don't see how someone who denies the reality of mind can entertain any belief about what is on my mind or what intentions I might have. At some point in the future, I can send you a complete map, and log, of all my neuronal firings, which you can then translate/decode, and this should give you a complete account of the processes of my brain. What more will you need, to know my thoughts on this matter? This question is not about a logical proof, it is about casting a light on the premises on which you base your reasoning. And it's about reading the literature, or at least the very tiny sample of it that has been offered, on the question of the illusory nature of "mind."
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 22nd, 2017, 9:38 am 

BIV, yes, I read that link, and I am not in that box. It mis-characterizes my position. I would prefer you attack my actual words.

BIV, (and NoShips), since you are so convinced that this "mind" actually exists, then you should have no problem telling us how you know this (without pointing the finger at some book or article or at some person that told you so).

Please tell us, what are the tell-tale signs, the symptoms; the indicators? What gives you the clue that this thing actually exists? How do you know that it is not a fairy-tale? Please be specific.

...or just continue throwing pot shots at me.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Positor on May 22nd, 2017, 9:59 am 

Old Rasputin » May 19th, 2017, 9:58 pm wrote:The brain does a lot of incredible stuff (more amazing than timing a bat to hit a ball) with all our other bodily parts/organs, but yet we don't call the cause of these actions "consciousness", ...true?

We are only conscious of the ‘content’ within our consciousness. We are not conscious of the brain’s actions that generate this content. We can’t see the going-ons behind the scenes.

Our conscious content is the AFTER-result of neurological processes. We can’t go back-in-time (armed with our newly acquired content) to change the brain’s process to give us a different conscious content in the present moment. It’s already too late! Since we can’t go back in time, we therefore have no conscious control over our conscious content.

What exactly is this "we" that is distinct from neurological processes?

If you are a monist, why not identify "us" with the totality of our brain's activity? That is to say, "we" (i.e. our brain) perform certain actions, of which some remain unconscious and others become conscious after a short delay? We can call the latter "conscious actions" (despite the fact that they were initially unconscious), because we identify "us" with all our brain processes. In other words, conscious actions (including voluntary actions) are ones we become conscious of.

If (as you claim) there is no mind, then "we" must be something other than our "mind". Are we then (a) our brain processes, or (b) only part of our brain processes? If (b), then what part(s)? Our memories, or something else? Such a distinction between "us" and "not-us" seems arbitrary, even dualistic (what mysterious property does the "us" part of our brain have?). It seems more satisfactory to define "us" as all of our brain processes; and then the distinction between what "our brain" does and what "we" do collapses. This allows a compatibilist interpretation of free will (but not, of course, an absolute, "libertarian" interpretation, which I agree is incoherent).
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 22nd, 2017, 10:26 am 

Positor wrote:What exactly is this "we" that is distinct from neurological processes?

“We” is the bodily substrate (body/brain) upon which the (bodily) reactions/experiences occur.

Positor wrote:If you are a monist, why not identify "us" with the totality of our brain's activity? That is to say, "we" (i.e. our brain) perform certain actions, of which some remain unconscious and others become conscious after a short delay? We can call the latter "conscious actions" (despite the fact that they were initially unconscious), because we identify "us" with all our brain processes. In other words, conscious actions (including voluntary actions) are ones we become conscious of.

If we wish to mutually define “conscious actions” as you say, then I have no problem with this, except that, then we would need to redefine “voluntary actions” as non-voluntary actions (unless we want to 'also' redefine the meaning of "voluntary"). In other words, if we are not aware of our actions until AFTER they happen, then “voluntary” is no longer voluntary.

Positor wrote:If (as you claim) there is no mind, then "we" must be something other than our "mind".

Yes. “We” are the experiential “body”.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on May 22nd, 2017, 10:46 am 

OR -

When I hear a loud bang I may jump. I do not do this voluntarily.

When I am hungry I eat. I do this voluntarily.

That is what we all mean by voluntary. There is a distinct difference in these experiences. If you believe they are the same why do they feel so different?
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 22nd, 2017, 11:33 am 

BadgerJelly wrote:When I hear a loud bang I may jump. I do not do this voluntarily. [case #1]

When I am hungry I eat. I do this voluntarily. [case #2]

That is what we all mean by voluntary. There is a distinct difference in these experiences. If you believe they are the same why do they feel so different?

In both cases (and every case) you/we are controlled by ‘urges’.

    In case #1 - you were not aware of your urge(s)
    In case #2 - you were aware of (some of) your urges
Since we don’t control our urges (they control us!), the common notion of “voluntary” seems non-sensical.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby TheVat on May 22nd, 2017, 11:55 am 

A third criticism of eliminative materialism is that it ignores the remarkable success of folk psychology, success that suggests it offers a more accurate account of mental processes than eliminativists appreciate. Apart from the strong intuitive evidence that seems to reveal beliefs and desires, we also enjoy a great deal of success when we use common sense psychology to predict the actions of other people. Many have noted that this high degree of success provides us with something like an inference-to-the-best-explanation argument in favor of common sense psychology and against eliminativism. The best explanation for the success we enjoy in explaining and predicting human and animal behavior is that folk psychology is roughly true, and that there really are beliefs (Kitcher, 1984; Fodor, 1987; Lahav, 1992).


Or to frame this in term of the example of "urges," as a specific example, the fact that we don't all wear diapers, weigh 350 pounds, and punch everyone we don't like is a strong case that the folk psychology account of us as beings that control some of our impulses by a voluntary system is a valid one. We direct our thought process towards useful internal simulations of various outcomes of behavior and then choose ones that seem the best for us. The intuition that we control at least some of our urges is based on an array of successful beliefs about the nature of urges, about confidence in what our minds can do to harness those urges. And our use of the word "we" is a natural linguistic result of having successful psychological theories about the presence of other minds. From an evolutionary standpoint, our survival as social animals seems to rest on the great success of folk psychology.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 22nd, 2017, 12:12 pm 

Braininvat wrote:Or to frame this in term of the example of "urges," as a specific example, the fact that we don't all wear diapers, weigh 350 pounds, and punch everyone we don't like is a strong case that the folk psychology account of us as beings that control some of our impulses by a voluntary system is a valid one.

Can’t we have the urge to restrain ourselves, and not to punch someone? Can’t we have the urge to be polite, and courteous? Or are urges only limited to bad behavior?

Braininvat wrote:We direct our thought process towards useful internal simulations of various outcomes of behavior and then choose ones that seem the best for us.

How do we do this “directing” and “choosing” if we don’t know what we directed or chose, until AFTER we felt the urge to do such?

Braininvat wrote:The intuition that we control at least some of our urges is based on an array of successful beliefs about the nature of urges, about confidence in what our minds can do to harness those urges.

Can you give us an example of “controlling an urge”? -- Do we first need the urge to control an urge?
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby DragonFly on May 22nd, 2017, 2:58 pm 

'We' as only the brain and its extensions/connections to the rest of the body become aware of some results after the fact of their production/analysis, which awareness would be the brain's own chosen/evolved representation of an event, which perhaps gets remembered best in that unified form.

If something other than the brain did something then it would have to have its own separate mechanism for doing so, needlessly duplicating the evolutionarily expensive brain.

Many areas of the brain probably vie for attention, some of them rather simpleton suggestions, and then other or higher areas of the brain decide these cases soon or eventually, we calling this 'mind' as a shorthand notation though it is ever of the brain's doing..
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on May 22nd, 2017, 3:05 pm 

Old Rasputin » May 22nd, 2017, 11:33 pm wrote:
BadgerJelly wrote:When I hear a loud bang I may jump. I do not do this voluntarily. [case #1]

When I am hungry I eat. I do this voluntarily. [case #2]

That is what we all mean by voluntary. There is a distinct difference in these experiences. If you believe they are the same why do they feel so different?

In both cases (and every case) you/we are controlled by ‘urges’.

    In case #1 - you were not aware of your urge(s)
    In case #2 - you were aware of (some of) your urges
Since we don’t control our urges (they control us!), the common notion of “voluntary” seems non-sensical.


Nice side-step ... not letting you get away with this so easily though. You didn't answer my question.

If you believe they are the are same why do they feel different?
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 22nd, 2017, 5:26 pm 

BadgerJelly wrote:If you believe they are the same why do they feel different?

They “feel” different because you were ‘aware’ in one case and not in the other. And being ‘aware’ of one’s urges/action “feels” like being in ‘control’ of one’s urges/action.

Why? Because we have been ‘conditioned’ (programmed/brainwashed/indoctrinated) to believe that the ‘effect’ is the ‘cause’. We have been indoctrinated to believe that our awareness of X is the cause of X.

Sidenote: It is impossible for us humans to ever experience a 'cause', which means we can never knowingly (experiencingly) 'cause' anything. As experiential beings, we are only privy to the 'effects', and never to the 'causes' themselves.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby TheVat on May 22nd, 2017, 6:07 pm 

If we have been brainwashed into a belief that we are active agents, then how did you manage to choose to reject that belief? And, if you also reject any reality to mental states like belief, then what valid basis do you for asserting an opposing belief?

Do you realize what you are giving up? If you are not eliminating mind, you are effectively reducing it to a set of chemical processes in neurons that are notably incapable of explaining the phenomenal, the qualia, the "what it is like to be" statements. Can Mary in the white room, in Frank Jackson's famous thought experiment, know what it is like to see the color red if she has never seen colors? Can a description of neuronal firings and optic inputs and light wavelengths tell her what red looks like? Will she study all the physical descriptions and brain maps and then fully understand what is meant by "red?"

If you answer No, then you have acknowledged qualia and the irreducible aspect of a mental state. Of a conscious process. Of a belief - " For the first time, I understand what red really means!" Without a real belief, you are a P-Zed (a philosophical zombie - see Chalmers) who is simply exhibiting an external verbal behavior that simulates the seeing of red. How do you know that you are not a P-Zed? Follow your intuitive mind on this, if you dare. :-)
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 22nd, 2017, 7:58 pm 

Braininvat wrote:If we have been brainwashed into a belief that we are active agents, then how did you manage to choose to reject that belief?

I didn’t. I didn’t choose my beliefs, nor did I choose to reject any. I can’t choose anything! Choosing is impossible.


Braininvat wrote:And, if you also reject any reality to mental states like belief, then what valid basis do you for asserting an opposing belief?

I don’t reject beliefs. I believe that we believe.


Braininvat wrote:If you are not eliminating mind, you are effectively reducing it to a set of chemical processes in neurons that are notably incapable of explaining the phenomenal, the qualia, the "what it is like to be" statements.

Firstly, I DO eliminate “mind”. I FULLY reject it! As I likewise reject the almighty “sun-god” that supposedly controls the sun. The mind and the sun-god are just religious beliefs; concocted stories to help the common man make sense of reality. That is all there is to it; the “mind” is just a religious fairy-tale; it is folklore.

Secondly, I DON'T reject experiences, nor subjective experiences, nor it’s content; qualia. We don’t need to interject a thing called "mind" to be able to experience. The 'body' (brain) can experience just fine all by itself, without the need of a fictitious middle-man!


Braininvat wrote:Can Mary in the white room, in Frank Jackson's famous thought experiment, know what it is like to see the color red if she has never seen colors?

No, of course not.


Braininvat wrote:Can a description of neuronal firings and optic inputs and light wavelengths tell her what red looks like? Will she study all the physical descriptions and brain maps and then fully understand what is meant by "red?"

I agree, I think not.


Braininvat wrote:If you answer No, then you have acknowledged qualia and the irreducible aspect of a mental state.

Huh? Qualia, I’m okay with. But how did you get this “irreducible aspect of a mental state”? Certainly “redness” can be reduced to simple sensory experiences (the detection of light waves), …right? And then the “subjectiveness” (personalness/uniqueness) of this experience, and the subsequent knowing that red is red, is in the subsequent experiences of ‘recognition’, made possible by memory, ...true?

There are NO "mental states" per se, but instead, there are only 'experiences' that we associate as mental states.

So why the seemingly desperate need to interject a middle-man (called “mind”) to tell the body what he experiences? And if this is so, then who tells the middle-man what he experiences? Seriously, can't you see the logical impossibility of interjecting a middle-man (aka "mind")???
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on May 22nd, 2017, 10:19 pm 

OR -

I think someone already pointed this about logic but may as well highlight it too.

Deductive logic relies on premises. The premises are not put under question in deductive logic. Meaning in deductive logic there is no unerring 'truth' only a 'truth' that requires the premise to be taken for granted. Ergo to say something is deductively true is not some unopposable truth.

Example:

All rabbits are green. If it is not green it is not a rabbit.

The above is a deductive TRUTH. Now to say it is true to our reality and experience of rabbits is a completely different circumstance to which I think we can all say that NO it is not true to our experience of rabbits, therefore the premises of the deduction above are not true to our experience, therefore the deductive truth (the rationale) is not unquestionable when held up to the light of actual experience.

Rationalism relies on Empiricism, just as Empiricism relies on Rationalism. The way I see it, the common mistake can be to take a hard line of belief in one position over the other.

This black and white view you don't seem to have expressed in what you've been saying. You say the subjective is 'truth', yet you also deny the subjective because you deny consciousness. You've kind of reversed the meaning of "subjective" and "objective" to fit your need and used it in the opposite way to fit other needs. It is here I feel you should delve into more intricate language and be more clinical and careful in how you express yourself. Your reply above at top of this page:

Yes, I understand what you say here. But I relate “subjective truths” to those truths that are reliant upon our ‘subjective’ experiences, …and as you know, the objects of our experiencing are not that certain, nor trustworthy.

Empiricism, or ‘experientially’ derived truths (including science) are contingent upon the 'uncertain' nature of the experiential objects themselves, and therefore are less certain than (deductive) logical truths …which I view as “objective (pre-experiential; a priori) truths”.


I hope you can see the problem I have here with how you've presented yourself (note I am not here to agree nor disagree merely point towards what you've written and where more depth and clarity would help the reader understand and offer you new avenues to expand upon). Our subjective experience (experience) relies on our objectification of The World. Of course what we use to determine truths are defined as true in themselves (see green rabbits above). What we try and do is to reconcile our, as you call them, "subjective", logical truths with the experience of The World. I see an apple like object and another beside it and I say "there are two apples" and we can all agree that there are two apples if we all experience the same two objects that we recognize as apples. This is not to say these apples are identical unlike if we use the "pure" rationale of 1+1=2, because here the "1" is always the same one, where in experience the "apple" is an agreed term of communal experience to express what we see.

As a little aside to this a small girl who had never seen a horse before pointed to the horse and said "big dog", to which her mother replies, "No dear, that is a horse not a dog." We can see here that given the terms of speech available to the small girl that to call a horse a "big dog" is a very rational thing to do. This little aside hopefully will be of use to you.

I like that you use a new term and say "urge". Such small changes in your expression help us to get a better idea of what you mean. I would equate this with something myself, but I would say every experience possesses emotional content, all actions (regardless of causation) are emotionally framed.

I will think this over a little more and see how I can reconcile 'emotion' with 'urge'.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby TheVat on May 23rd, 2017, 9:29 am 

OR, you seem to be assuming that anyone who refers to mind is referencing a non physical object, and is a substance dualist.

None of my posts, or links, are dualist. Or construe mind as a "middle man." Mind is used by monists to refer to higher brain processes that generate beliefs, intent, desire, etc.

You have simply replaced the term " mind " of folk psychology (you need to be familiar with the Churchlands to understand that term), with the term "experience," so as to dismiss any of the psychology of active agency.

And you missed several points, notably:

Me: "If we have been brainwashed into a belief that we are active agents, then how did you manage to choose to reject that belief?"

You reply,

"I didn’t. I didn’t choose my beliefs, nor did I choose to reject any. I can’t choose anything! Choosing is impossible."

The key to my point was your term "brainwashing." If we are all brainwashed, how would we ever reject beliefs? If choosing is impossible, then no one can do anything but passively accept their conditioning. Which would make your apparent choice to reject your conditioning a logical contradiction in your theory.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby Old Rasputin on May 23rd, 2017, 11:02 am 

Braininvat wrote:None of my posts, or links, are dualist. Or construe mind as a "middle man."

Okay, great, it looks like we agree on something!

Braininvat wrote:Mind is used by monists to refer to higher [unconscious] brain processes that generate beliefs, intent, desire, etc.

Well, I agree that the word “mind” can be used as short hand notation for the unconscious processes that generate the stuff that we feel. But note the missing keyword “unconscious”, (that I added, in [red], to your above statement).

Those monist that interpret “mind” this way, are taking a word that has a ‘common’ (folk psychology) meaning of a ‘conscious entity’, now, into a word meaning ‘unconscious processes’.

So can you see all the confusion this causes (and also the opportunities for philosophical sleight-of-hands)? For example:
    - Is the mind conscious, or nonconscious?
    - Is the mind part of the brain or separate?
Even very smart people like RoccoR get confused -- “The "brain" and the "mind" are totally two different things.” --- RoccoR

I propose we ‘kill’ this highly misleading word ("mind"). And for those monist that wish to say “unconscious brain processes”, then I propose they just say “unconscious brain processes”. The (word) “mind” is now dead, and confusion is gone! Nice.

Braininvat wrote:The key to my point was your term "brainwashing." If we are all brainwashed, how would we ever reject beliefs? If choosing is impossible, then no one can do anything but passively accept their conditioning.

Correct.

Braininvat wrote:Which would make your apparent choice to reject your conditioning a logical contradiction in your theory.

Incorrect.

An “apparent choice” is not a choice, and therefore does not pose a logical contradiction to my so-called theory. In other words, I have no choice, to reject, or to not reject, ANYTHING. It is what it is.

******

BadgerJelly wrote:Deductive logic relies on premises. The premises are not put under question in deductive logic. Meaning in deductive logic there is no unerring 'truth' only a 'truth' that requires the premise to be taken for granted. Ergo to say something is deductively true is not some unopposable truth.

Correct. The premises must be true for the logic to be sound. That is why it is important, to people like me, that wish to know the 'real' truths, that we must start with a starting premise that is absolute and undeniably true, and then logically (via deduction) build up and construct the true tree of knowledge from this starting 'seed'.

This was also Descartes method of achieving 'true knowledge', except that his starting premise did not go back far enough, and did not meet the level of certainty required. His starting premise was flawed, and his resulting knowledge (dualism) was likewise flawed.
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Re: Is Consciousness an Illusion?

Postby BadgerJelly on May 23rd, 2017, 1:08 pm 

OR -

The thing is you are also expressing dualistic throw-offs from his work (as have many and this is because the whole idea was actually reinforced by scientific objectivity). To be fair you've touched on this too and it may very well be a case of your use of terminology that is holding you/us back from grasping what the heart of the problem is.

I am going to start another thread elsewhere that brings this area under more scrutiny. It makes sense to do so given it is Husserl (who I know a bit about) and ties into issues about Kant, Hume, Locke and Decartes.
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