consciousness or unconsciousness?

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consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 16th, 2017, 10:48 am 

Google has a bad habit of telling me what it wants me to read instead of bringing up what I asked for. Neri says he has another thread here: "Is consciousness memory? Thinking I might find my answer there, I type in the title. All I get is "Is consciousness an illusion?" My question might work there but it isn't what BJ asked in his OP. So, I shall try a new thread, even if we are already overloaded with this topic.

Scientific American, March/April 2017 has an article by Christof Koch in which he tells the story of his and Francis Crick's search for where consciousness resides in the brain. Toward the end, he makes a statement that I wonder about.

"Perhaps reflection, effort and so on are generated by the anterior cortex, although no firm evidence exists yet. The prefrontal cortex might then be involved in unconscious planning, strategizing, forming memory and focusing attention."

My question concerns the last sentence. Are those really "unconscious" acts? How can planning and strategizing be unconscious?
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Braininvat on April 16th, 2017, 2:52 pm 

Are you conscious of how you planned out the left turn onto a side street....or did you just do it "on automatic."

Did you plan out all the words you were going to use in your post, and then consciously form a strategy for placing your fingers in the optimal manner for typing the necessary letters?

How about your last trip to the mailbox? Planning? Strategy?

Conscious planning is just the tip of an unconscious iceberg, especially where routine acts are concerned. Consciousness is what we need when there is change and novelty and developing new skills.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 16th, 2017, 3:11 pm 

Biv, you'll think I'm being obstreperous if I say "yes" to all of those but that's a fact, I think. Still, I understand what you are saying - I think. If I do something I've long since learned how to do out of "blind habit", it is an unconscious act. And that is what he is referring to. With your question, there are parts of those that I don't plan - how to put one foot after another as I walk to mail box. Am I one the right track?

I knew he had to be right. :-) Thank you.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Braininvat on April 16th, 2017, 3:23 pm 

I think you're on the right track. And I bet you no longer devote much conscious planning to retrieving mail, unless it involves a mean dog who hangs out near the mailbox and has to be drawn away by tossing a meatball across the lawn or something like that. Nowadays I just think "mail," and with little conscious thought I take the necessary steps and lo, there is mail in my hand. The conscious part now is "Ack, my wife gets too many catalogs. We should get some of these companies to remove us from their mailing list." :-)
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 16th, 2017, 3:41 pm 

So, it is really a case of "some yes and some no" and Christof Koch - and everyone else probably - puts it in unconsciousness. As you said: "tip of the iceberg. Glad I asked.

P. S. The dogs I talk to. It's the drivers that keep me in consciousness as I walk along.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 17th, 2017, 2:25 am 

Braininvat » Sun Apr 16, 2017 2:52 pm wrote:Are you conscious of how you planned out the left turn onto a side street....or did you just do it "on automatic."

Did you plan out all the words you were going to use in your post, and then consciously form a strategy for placing your fingers in the optimal manner for typing the necessary letters?

How about your last trip to the mailbox? Planning? Strategy?

Conscious planning is just the tip of an unconscious iceberg, especially where routine acts are concerned. Consciousness is what we need when there is change and novelty and developing new skills.


I agree with everything Braininvat has said too vivianmaxine.

The example I use to indicate how a conscious act becomes converted to a habituated, hard-wired subconscious act is that of learning to drive a car with manual ears. What begins as grossly clumsy (and conscious) attempts at eye, hand and foot co-ordination involving, both feet and both hands interacting with a gear-stick, clutch & brake pedals as well as the steering wheel, ALL finish up as subconscious reflex, relatively smooth co-ordinated actions.

In doing the simple left hand turn that Biv mentioned, we are executing a very complex act of eye, feet and hand co-ordination in a manual car quite subconsciously.

And when he describes conscious planning as just being the tip of the iceberg, the following schematic diagram represents to my mind the extent of subconscious processes in the basic functions of our neuro-endocrine systemS that keep our bodies and brains working (primitive), that keep us aware of our environment (sensory/imaging) and in planning and strategizing (rationalisation). In fact, with regard to the latter, IMO, the main time we ever consciously plan or strategise is when we are in official meetings (at any level, commencing with domestics) called expressly to plan, strategise, or problem-solve.

DIAGRAM HUMAN THINKING.jpg
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 17th, 2017, 3:47 am 

The terms get a little confusing here. "Unconscious" thoughts are still part of "consciousness". I think neuro mentioned the differences between certain conscious states, including vegetative and dreaming.

I may scratch my nose without being aware of it, but I know "conscious" activity in the brain caused this. Whether I purposefully scratch my nose or not, the scratching is a conscious act.

An awful lot of questions about consciousness get bogged down and confused with ideas of "authorship", "intention" and "awareness".

note: The OP you mentioned was not mine.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 17th, 2017, 6:33 am 

I would only stipulate one thing. What amount of one's acts is conscious and what amount is unconscious can vary from person to person. We can not say exactly that "this" is always conscious and "this" is always unconscious. What may be unconscious for you, so that you do not even remember doing it, may have taken great thought and care for another person to do.

With that in mind, you might say that means the other person has not yet memorized the act. Not necessarily. Maybe the other person has learned very well that what he is going to do next takes pausing and getting ready. Stepping up on or down off a curb. You may do it automatically and unconsciously. Another person has learned the hard way (by falling) that he needs to stop, get his balance and go easy.

So, Biv's tip of the iceberg gets washed over constantly by the waves of the ocean of thought. Each of us controls our own depth of unconsciousness vs consciousness.

Agreed?
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 17th, 2017, 4:01 pm 

Please answer the following multiple choice questions:

1. What is a “conscious act”?
    A) The awareness of one’s bodily action.
    B) The intentional causing of one’s bodily action.
    C) Both A and B.
    D) None of the above.

2. How does one do (perform) this “conscious act”?
    A) One cannot “do” a conscious act; one can only be ‘aware’ of bodily actions.
    B) One must first “form an intent”; this intent is then the cause of the bodily action.
    C) We just do it, dammit.
    D) None of the above.

3. How does one “form an intent”?
    A) One cannot “form an intent”; one can only 'feel' (be aware of) the feeling/urge (the bodily reaction) of "intention", not 'create' (or form) it!
    B) One must first have the intention to “form an intent”; then the intent is magically formed.
    C) It just happens, dammit.
    D) None of the above.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 17th, 2017, 7:58 pm 

BadgerJelly and OldRasputin, I appreciate the points made in your posts, but I believe that in this case, we may need to stick to the intent of vivianmaxine’s opening post in which she cites Christof Koch’s statement that “The prefrontal cortex might then be involved in unconscious planning, strategizing, forming memory and focusing attention." And then she asks the question – “Are those really "unconscious" acts? How can planning and strategizing be unconscious?

I can’t speak for Braininvat, but I can for myself. Rightly or wrongly I interpreted the word ‘unconscious’ in that context as meaning ‘subconscious’. Obviously, we can’t plan and strategise while we are unconscious as in a medical coma.

I feel that if we get into definitions and meanings of consciousness and unconsciousness, we’ll repeat something that has been attempted umpteen times in this forum with absolutely no consensus being achieved on anything.

So I ask, is it possible to limit the discussion to vivianmaxine’s query itself, while substituting the word ‘subconscious’ for ‘unconscious’ – “How can planning and strategizing be subconscious.”

How do you feel about that vivianmaxine?
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 17th, 2017, 8:38 pm 

vivian maxine wrote:What amount of one's acts is conscious and what amount is unconscious...

doogles wrote:BadgerJelly and OldRasputin, I appreciate the points made in your posts, but I believe that in this case, we may need to stick to the intent of vivianmaxine’s opening post in which she cites Christof Koch’s statement that “The prefrontal cortex might then be involved in unconscious planning, strategizing, forming memory and focusing attention." And then she asks the question – “Are those really "unconscious" acts? How can planning and strategizing be unconscious?

Doogles, to understand what an “unconscious act” is, we need to first understand what is meant by a “conscious act” (...my question!). The point that I am trying to make is that ALL “conscious acts” (including planning/strategizing) are actually “unconscious acts”.

So I certainly don’t appreciate you arrogantly "deeming" my question/comments as not having any value to Vivian's query.

If you are fearful to answer the hard questions as posed by me (and Badger), then you are in the wrong forum. I suggest you look for a forum where all respondents/posters say everything you wish to hear.

If you were brave enough to answer the 3 simple (multiple choice) questions, then what were your answers?
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 17th, 2017, 11:14 pm 

Oo! Ow! I did hit a raw nerve there didn't I. I apologise to you unreservedly Old Rasputin for saying anything in a manner to cause offence. I am old enough and should be sensitive and experienced enough to choose my words more carefully. I obviously failed in this case.

I did not have any problems with your questionnaire per se Old Rasputin. My answers were C,C,C. As I'm answering your questionnaire, I'm mentally picturing each of the millions of entertainers on this planet (singers, jugglers, gymnasts, athletes etc etc) all performing conscious acts.

My concern is that any prior discussions we've had on this forum on consciousness and unconsciousness have gone on forever without reaching any consensus. I would not like to see this thread go the same way. Hence my request that we may attempt to limit this one to subconscious planning and strategizing. But as I said, I think vivianmaxine should have the prime say in that, seeing that she wrote the OP.

Once again, apologies
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 18th, 2017, 1:29 am 

doogles » April 18th, 2017, 7:58 am wrote:BadgerJelly and OldRasputin, I appreciate the points made in your posts, but I believe that in this case, we may need to stick to the intent of vivianmaxine’s opening post in which she cites Christof Koch’s statement that “The prefrontal cortex might then be involved in unconscious planning, strategizing, forming memory and focusing attention." And then she asks the question – “Are those really "unconscious" acts? How can planning and strategizing be unconscious?

I can’t speak for Braininvat, but I can for myself. Rightly or wrongly I interpreted the word ‘unconscious’ in that context as meaning ‘subconscious’. Obviously, we can’t plan and strategise while we are unconscious as in a medical coma.

I feel that if we get into definitions and meanings of consciousness and unconsciousness, we’ll repeat something that has been attempted umpteen times in this forum with absolutely no consensus being achieved on anything.

So I ask, is it possible to limit the discussion to vivianmaxine’s query itself, while substituting the word ‘subconscious’ for ‘unconscious’ – “How can planning and strategizing be subconscious.”

How do you feel about that vivianmaxine?


I was addressing the OP (which is not IMO in the correct forum). I was mainly pointing out the mistake in saying I had written an OP I didn't actually write. I tend to speak up when someone says I wrote something I didn't write.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 18th, 2017, 2:05 am 

I understood what you were saying BadgerJelly. I had no problems with your post at all per se, except that it seemed to me that the next logical response to it was going to go down the old line of defining consciousness/unconsciousness which we've gone down many times before.

The very fact that you've felt it necessary to clarify your position also suggests that my post was badly worded and came out as denigrating. That was never my intention and I apologise to you as well.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 18th, 2017, 2:16 am 

An afterthought. The joke is on myself in this. My concern that this thread could go down the old time-worn path of past consciousness/unconsciousness threads (to no consensus) appears to have been over-ridden by the chance that my own comments on the matter could derail it anyhow. Oh well. As Ned Kelly said before the trapdoor opened "Such is life".
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 18th, 2017, 2:59 am 

I was not pointing out some new definition of the terms. I was trying to point out that the context of the use needs to be made more clearly in many cases.

I have found Neri's thread to be the most useful in dealing with ideas of consciousness. It is not the in the realm of philosophy to define what X means. Philosophy is about looking at the limits of the meanings we have and trying to find holes or extensions.

What viv is asking can be looked at with empirical data. There have been tests that show us when we perform certain acts we create a story for the act, a story of volition, after the event. We can also predetermine an event and act upon future events.

If an event turns out the way we wanted it to, or in some other positive fashion, we quickly claim responsibility. If it goes wrong then we point the finger elsewhere.

What people then tend to do, ironically, is take these pieces of empirical data and apply them to their own thoughts to verify them. If there is an experiment that doesn't fit they usually look for, and find, a flaw with the experiment.

You should know this, and may then ask what am I going on about this for.

Basically there is a metaphysical question in regard to the delineation between conscious and unconscious processes. That question doesn't appear to be addressed in this thread. Instead it is somewhat distracted by other terms such as 'strategy' and 'planning'. It certainly doesn't make sense to say "unconscious planning" and I can only assume Koch was being a little playful with his language. We don't know what is going on in the unconscious. All we can do is view the physiology of the body and relate what we see to there to what happens.

I don't know a lot about Koch. I do know he has dabbled in the area of pan-psychism.

Personally I think it makes sense to view consciousness from multiple positions and stop getting bogged down in some bizarre idea of being able to define it in precisely. Neri look at it from the perspective of 'memory', and here I am guessing Viv is tending to look at 'volition' and consciousness in relation to unconscious "mechanisms". I plan. To me consciousness is required for planning. I am sure Koch explained in the paper what he meant by "unconscious planning". Until I see what he wrote it doesn't make sense for me to guess what he meant.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby doogles on April 18th, 2017, 4:48 am 

BadgerJelly » Tue Apr 18, 2017 2:59 am wrote:I was not pointing out some new definition of the terms. I was trying to point out that the context of the use needs to be made more clearly in many cases.

I have found Neri's thread to be the most useful in dealing with ideas of consciousness. It is not the in the realm of philosophy to define what X means. Philosophy is about looking at the limits of the meanings we have and trying to find holes or extensions.

What viv is asking can be looked at with empirical data. There have been tests that show us when we perform certain acts we create a story for the act, a story of volition, after the event. We can also predetermine an event and act upon future events.

If an event turns out the way we wanted it to, or in some other positive fashion, we quickly claim responsibility. If it goes wrong then we point the finger elsewhere.

What people then tend to do, ironically, is take these pieces of empirical data and apply them to their own thoughts to verify them. If there is an experiment that doesn't fit they usually look for, and find, a flaw with the experiment.

You should know this, and may then ask what am I going on about this for.

Basically there is a metaphysical question in regard to the delineation between conscious and unconscious processes. That question doesn't appear to be addressed in this thread. Instead it is somewhat distracted by other terms such as 'strategy' and 'planning'. It certainly doesn't make sense to say "unconscious planning" and I can only assume Koch was being a little playful with his language. We don't know what is going on in the unconscious. All we can do is view the physiology of the body and relate what we see to there to what happens.

I don't know a lot about Koch. I do know he has dabbled in the area of pan-psychism.

Personally I think it makes sense to view consciousness from multiple positions and stop getting bogged down in some bizarre idea of being able to define it in precisely. Neri look at it from the perspective of 'memory', and here I am guessing Viv is tending to look at 'volition' and consciousness in relation to unconscious "mechanisms". I plan. To me consciousness is required for planning. I am sure Koch explained in the paper what he meant by "unconscious planning". Until I see what he wrote it doesn't make sense for me to guess what he meant.


Thanks BadgerJelly. It sounds as if we are both debating mates again in spite of my unconscious act of phrasing a post in a way that was offensive to others. (I was not conscious that it would be interpreted differently from what I had in mind)

I agree with most of what you've said above. Some of the paragraphs are your own opinion, but that's okay.

One of your phrasings - "It certainly doesn't make sense to say "unconscious planning". may be a chance to get us back on a productive discussion. Like you, I'd question Koch's use of the word 'unconscious'. In the medical sense of the word, we can't plan while in a coma. My suggestion in my contentious posts was that we use the term "subconscious planning".

IF you accept that, the question then becomes one of whether we humans subconsciously plan or strategise?

My opinion is a very strong "Yes". You obviously do not agree BJ when you say "I plan. To me consciousness is required for planning".

I'd like to make a dogmatic statement to the general readership with the deliberate aim of being contentious. If you daydream, then you have the capacity to be a subconscious planner. If you have ever walked into a room with purpose and then forgotten what you went in for, then you are a daydreamer.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby neuro on April 18th, 2017, 7:24 am 

viv,
I don't want to get into this battle, and I will simply refer to your initial question.
Most of our acts are performed in a "autopilot" like manner. These are mostly guided by the external clues. These may imply choices, but not "strategic planning", and they are not handled by the prefrontal cortex. They are mostly handled by the parietal-premotor cortices, use the basal ganglia as the choosing and conciliating system, and they work perfectly even without any conscious concern.
The specific motor (and cognitive) tasks we have learnt to perform can typically be performed without any attention, but again they are not elaborated by the prefrontal cortex. The cerebellum has most of the burden in performing sports, playing an instrument, organizing a sentence according to grammatical and syntactic rules, and repeating a poem that was learnt by heart.

The prefrontal cortex is instead implied in rational choices, judging, prefiguring, imagining and planning to generate complex strategies. It is mostly implied in organizing "autonomous", "endogenous", "creative" behavior, regulated by internal planning rather than by external clues. It even uses a different, specific, premotor area, the supplementary motor area, to design and implement its motor plans (after inhibiting external clue-induced behavior).

These functions of the prefrontal cortex, still, are performed (as all functions of the brain are) mostly without the need of a conscious monitoring. Conscious monitoring is typically elicited whenever something unexpected, novel, difficult, inconsistent, or an error or failure, come about. Even strategic planning goes on below the level of conscious attention for the most part, and it emerges to consciousness when something cannot be accounted for, or when we willingly concentrate our attention on some specific objective, plan, strategy.

The point is that consciousness consists in paying attention.
The brain performs most of its computations without the need of the lighthouse of consciousness to illuminate it.

A quite different question is whether we MAY be conscious of all this, i.e. whether any activities of our brain can be the object of our conscious attention.
The answer is that some activities necessarily imply paying conscious attention; some other can get the focus of attention, but they are not usually monitored by consciousness; and most cerebral activities cannot at all.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 18th, 2017, 8:05 am 

Without reading replies to doogle first, I would say this. I like that word subconscious because it gets to what I was feeling at the start. However, isn't there quite a difference between doing something subconsciously and doing it completely unconsciously? You can tie your shoes subconsciously. You might not remember doing it but you see that you did. I doubt you can tie your shoes unconsciously. Can you willingly - or unwillingly for that matter - perform any act unconsciously?

Just my first reaction.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 18th, 2017, 8:41 am 

I am in the wrong section? Again? I have about given up on finding right sections. Others had put the consciousness/unconsciousness topic here. So I put mine here. I was wrong? Let it rest.

All I wanted to know is can we actually plan and strategize unconsciuosly? I think I know what "unconscious" means and I think I know the answer. But those who know how the brain works far better than I would have more information. At any rate, this bought it:

"It doesn't make any sense to say "unconscious planning". (BJ) Doesn't that answer my question?

Then neuro gives us far more information which I appreciate mightily. I shall apply this to my question and doubtless get an answer. Neuro, thank you for posting that analysis before I give my magazine away, come Thursday. I need to re-read with this in mind.

So, back to doogle's suggestion of changing 'unconscious' to 'subconscious' - as doogles himself said - that just gets us into another thread of defining. My wish and hope is that a driver turning left - or right on red - is fully conscious. But, if not, may he be at least subconscious and not unconscious.

Someone expressed a need to have read the entire article. I agree. In fact, reading the entire paragraph would have helped and I did debate quoting it all. However, it is too long and might have gotten me into copyright infringement.

By the way, didn't we have a president who avoided all kinds of questions by asking for definitions? <G>
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby neuro on April 18th, 2017, 9:28 am 

I have the impression that "unconscioius" and "subconscious" only complicate the issue here.

The point is about "access" and "accessibility".

Most of our brain activity occurs without us being "conscious" of it.
At any moment the brain has enough information to make us aware of where is the second finger of our left hand, both with respect to our body and in the surrounding space.
Still, this only rarely gets the focus of our consciousness. It is accessible information, which however our conscious activity does not actually access, most of the time.

Afterwards, some trace will remain in some circuits of the brain of where my finger was, but if I did not consciously access that information I will not be able to consciously recall the memory of where the finger was.
Exactly as I may not be able to remember tying my shoes (although the fact they are tied suggests that I must have done it...)

Subconscious was a concept introduced by Freud (or anyway given its current meaning by him), to indicate an area of our mind which can in principle be accessed by consciousness but is actively prevented from being accessed (unless you get there through an unpredictable path, such as in dreaming or through free associations from something apparently totally unrelated). At difference with the unconscious, which is totally inaccessible.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Braininvat on April 18th, 2017, 10:07 am 

Very helpful. That is what I meant earlier, that we do not pay attention to certain actions we do rather automatically, but in principle we could certainly make them accessible to consciousness. The common example would be a pianist who keeps messing up a passage or a chord, so she has to stop and focus attention on a particular set of keystrokes to see where the problem is. When the technical problem is resolved, she may return her attention to the more artistic aspects - tempo, "voicing," intonation, and the overall expressive "feel" or "mood" of the piece. Perhaps if we use the word "attention," it will be more neutral and not conjure the problems that "subconscious" or "unconscious" do.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby RoccoR on April 18th, 2017, 10:22 am 

Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?
vivian maxine, et al,

I'm not sure what you mean by being "in the wrong section? Again?" While you can justify this in a number of different ways; certainly here is as good as any number of others.

vivian maxine » April 18th, 2017, 8:41 am wrote:"All I wanted to know is can we actually plan and strategize unconsciuosly?"

(ANSWER)

• Phenomenologically speaking, the idea of planning requires a certain amount of classical Husserlian "experience" in play. That would preclude the unconscious state. (You probably cannot play a whole game of Chess without some consciousness.)

• However, unconscious actions as a matter of reflexes, habits or environmental triggers may be observed depending on the scope and nature of the structures of conscious experience --- as experienced from the first-person point of view. (But you probably can make certain Chess Moves as a counter to an opponents interaction.) Many people have experienced the experience of getting in a car and driving home; only to wake-up to consciousness and discover suddenly they are home, not remembering the drive.

(COMMENT)

Many eminent philosophers see a relationship between "Consciousness" and "Intentionality" (a form of higher order planning).

Salient Awareness, Consciousness, and Intentionality are all inter-related and equally subjects that may be examined under Platonist Philosophical Themes.

Most Respectfully,
R
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 18th, 2017, 10:28 am 

If the unconscious is totally inaccessible, then we cannot plan and strategize unconsciously. Unless ..... where is this accessible information?

neuro wrote:Even strategic planning goes on below the level of conscious attention for the most part, and it emerges to consciousness when something cannot be accounted for, or when we willingly concentrate our attention on some specific objective, plan, strategy.


What is this "level below that of conscious attention"? Is it not what Christof Koch was calling "unconscious"? As with Biv's original post, I understand what you are saying but I feel something is missing. I do not think you can plan from the unconscious. I do see how semi-automatic thinking (my creative term) gets your car around a left turn - usually. This is also why I understand doogles' suggestion of the use of subconscious. Perhaps as a step in between consciousness and unconsciousness? To wit:

{quote="Oxford English dictionary"]Of or pertaining to, existing in, the part of the mind which influences actions, etc., without influencing one's (full) awareness.[/quote]

Am I making too much of this? Or is the question just more than I anticipated? I am an "either/or" person. Either you use the conscious or the unconscious part of the brain - unless there is a step in between - doogles' step. [Forget Freud :-)]

Thank you, again.

Rocco, I'll be back.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby BadgerJelly on April 18th, 2017, 10:31 am 

doogles and all I guess -

It is not that I cannot understand the idea of "unconscious planning", it is that it offers up many possible interpretations. I guess to neuroscientists they easily grasp this idea because they are familiar with the jargon being used.

The way I understand what Koch says (I guess because I have not read the full piece) is that when I decide to go to the door I do not have to "plan" consciously how to get there. I decide to go somewhere and then I go there, I do not plot out my path. If I was planning to cross the desert or take part in a marathon, or sprint, I would pay more attention to my bodily role in this process. In this sense I can understand someone saying that my unconscious plans the path I take when I cross the room.

Biv -

I find a great big problem of dealing with delineations like that though. In some instances it is easier to draw a line between subconscious and unconscious, and other times the blurring of the line helps open us to new possibilities.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby vivian maxine on April 18th, 2017, 11:37 am 

Rocco, Badger had said that, in his opinion, my OP was in the wrong forum. I said "again" because I seem to have terrible luck that way as a certain helpful but frustrated moderator will testify. :-)

As for what we can do and can not do "subconsciously", I have a very hard time imagining turning left or right without total consciousness to what I am doing. I have a hard time imagining making any chess move without full consciousness. As for driving home and not remembering it at all............

Now I know what is going on out there on the U.S. Hwy "race track"! No wonder they don't see the red light or the pedestrian or the accident in front of them! To say nothing of carrying on a heated conversation with a passenger, texting, phoning for a pizza, etc. If I drove home and could not remember making the drive, I would head for ER asap.

All right. Enough of the sarcasm. But it does say what I meant yesterday when I said it is hard to categorize what one person can do "unconsciously" and another cannot. Or should not? What you are saying - and what neuro has said - lead me to understand that we do not have concrete categories of these terms. Partly, it depends on who is doing the thinking. Partly it depends on what neuroscience has proven or disproven. Part depends on how authoritative speakers and writers decide we should define our terms. Part of it just depends on how we read it. I think it was BJ who said he had interpreted Christof Koch's use of "unconscious" as "subjective". So, for him, the question never would have arisen.

I appreciate you post. More for me to ponder there. Thank you.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Old Rasputin on April 18th, 2017, 12:02 pm 

Old Rasputin wrote:1. What is a “conscious act”?
    A) The awareness of one’s bodily action.
    B) The intentional causing of one’s bodily action.
    C) Both A and B.
    D) None of the above.
2. How does one do (perform) this “conscious act”?
    A) One cannot “do” a conscious act; one can only be ‘aware’ of bodily actions.
    B) One must first “form an intent”; this intent is then the cause of the bodily action.
    C) We just do it, dammit.
    D) None of the above.
3. How does one “form an intent”?
    A) One cannot “form an intent”; one can only 'feel' (be aware of) the feeling/urge (the bodily reaction) of "intention", not 'create' (or form) it!
    B) One must first have the intention to “form an intent”; then the intent is magically formed.
    C) It just happens, dammit.
    D) None of the above.

doogles wrote:I did not have any problems with your questionnaire per se Old Rasputin. My answers were C,C,C.

Firstly, this post is essentially about “conscious acts” versus “unconscious acts”. It seems obvious that we need to have a mutual understanding of what is meant by “conscious acts” (and "unconscious acts"). For if we don’t know what we are talking about, then we are just babbling.

Secondly, we all seemingly agree that “conscious acts” include “awareness” of the act. But some of us are also including “intentionality” (by answering C to question 1) into the understanding of “conscious acts”, …but this inclusion raises a big red flag!

doogles wrote:As I'm answering your questionnaire, I'm mentally picturing each of the millions of entertainers on this planet (singers, jugglers, gymnasts, athletes etc etc) all performing conscious acts.

What about all the other “dancing” creatures and other moving things in this universe? Do they also require consciousness to move their bodies about?

1. If I am aware of your body walking across the street to the mailbox, does this mean that I am “consciously causing” your bodily action. --- Y/N?

2. If I am aware of my body walking across the street to the mailbox, does this mean that I am “consciously causing” my bodily action --- Y/N?

Why would 1 be NO whereas you assume 2 to be YES? The only difference is that 2 uses more “sensors” than 1. Sensing is sensing in both cases.

RoccoR wrote:Many eminent philosophers see a relationship between "Consciousness" and "Intentionality"

Again, here is the problem (impossibility!) of “intentionality” (see question 2 and 3) as it relates to “conscious acts”.

"Intentionally or consciously causing" anything is non-sensical (not logically possible). In the spirit of Schopenhauer, (with his "one cannot will/want what one will/wants"), one cannot intend one's intention. Meaning ...we can't form an intention, without the intention to do so in the first place!!!.

"Intentionality" or "forming an intent" is IMPOSSIBLE.

Now if we wish to close our eyes to logic, and believe in fairy tales, then let's stop playing games and be honest about it. Or if you prefer, ...don't let logic get in the way of the story we wish to hear.
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby RoccoR on April 18th, 2017, 12:14 pm 

Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?
vivian maxine, et al,

Alan Alda (World Science Festival 2015) hosted a discussion on "Consciousness: Explored and Explained." And there was a good very recent discussion hosted Nour Foundation (2/27/2017) exploring The Deeper Self: An Expanded View of Consciousness.

vivian maxine » April 18th, 2017, 11:37 am wrote:
All right. Enough of the sarcasm. But it does say what I meant yesterday when I said it is hard to categorize what one person can do "unconsciously" and another cannot. --- More for me to ponder there. Thank you.

(COMMENT)

As you can very well see from the two discussions I posted, that there are a multitude of thoughts on the topic you (by vivian maxine » April 16th, 2017) introduced: "consciousness or unconsciousness" And the insights provided by the more knowledgeable segments of the Academic Community have raised questions as to the source of "consciousness" and the meaning of "unconsciousness." There is a question as to whether "consciousness" is actually associated with the brain, or if it is something else. Not only is there a question both the "consciousness" and the "collective consciousness."

You will get a better view of the of the spectrum which encloses the topic. But in contemporary science, the "unconscious" is more respective to raise the mental state to the point that experience and events are denied to the "self."

Most Respectfully,
R
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby RoccoR on April 18th, 2017, 12:31 pm 

Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?
BadgerJelly, et al,

Again, this is well within the spectra of "consciousness."

BadgerJelly » April 18th, 2017, 10:31 am wrote:doogles and all I guess -

It is not that I cannot understand the idea of "unconscious planning", it is that it offers up many possible interpretations. I guess to neuroscientists they easily grasp this idea because they are familiar with the jargon being used.

(COMMENT)

The neurosciences 'v' psychoanalysis are both valid approaches to the exploration. BUT, trying to study "consciousness" is like to study a "black hole." You cannot see it, but you know it is there and can see its effects.

Most Respectfully,
R
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Re: consciousness or unconsciousness?

Postby Braininvat on April 18th, 2017, 3:18 pm 

A reminder to members just joining the chat today:

Please read all responses to the OP before posting. This saves "reinventing the wheel," i.e. rehashing what others have already said.

Also, your reply should approach the topic as it framed in the OP and not drag in another debate in another thread.

Thanks.
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