Behavior and consciousness

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Behavior and consciousness

Postby Graeme M on April 6th, 2016, 7:47 am 

Hello all. I joined this forum some time ago and then forgot all about it. I rediscovered it while cleaning out old emails. Coincidentally I came across a statement today that I need some clarification of, but I'm not sure just which forum board is the best place for it so I'll start here.

In the preface to his book "The Conscious Brain", Jesse Prinz states:

"If consciousness could be inferred from behavior, it would be obvious that [squirrels] experience the world around them. But, famously, no such inference is possible. Consciousness cannot be read off of behavior."

What exactly does this mean? I don't have the science or philosophy background to evaluate that claim, but it seems strange to me to suggest that in humans we have evidence for consciousness that is NOT behavioral.
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby neuro on April 7th, 2016, 4:51 am 

Consciousness is a slippery term that can be used to mean a number of different things.

Objective measurements of consciousness can be devised based on a simple definition of consciousness such as "a subject is conscious of a stimulus if the latter produces any kind of behavioral effect in the subject". Notice however that subliminal stimuli can be devised such that they influence the subject's reactions but the latter is not aware of the stimuli (i.e. they did not "consciously" perceive them).

Thus, the attempt at "objectively" detecting consciousness clearly is not optimal or faultless.

The point is that in common language by "consciousness" we do not simply mean any capability of being influenced, in one's behavior, by external factors (this is a too extensive definition which would include any kind of machine as well), but rather the capability of producing an internal experience of the external events (and even an internal experience of internal, mental and emotional, events). Human consciousness, in addition, implies the capability of forming an internal consistent and diachronic image of reality and a unitary, consistent and diachronic image of the self, a kind of internal story of one's life.

As we possess language, we easily believe another human possesses consciousness because they can tell us about their internal experiences and, if we tend to trust people, we may assume they are telling the truth (i.e. they have a consciousness).

In the absence of language, it might be more difficult to accept that consciousness is present in another entity: so there is quite a lot of debate about the presence and degree, kind or extent of consciousness in animals, from primates down to invertebrates.

One noticeable aspect is that the mirror neuron system in our brain and the emotional circuitry lead us to look at other people's behavior by a neural process of "embodied simulation" that lets us guess other people's emotions and the objective of their actions. This is thought to lead us to build an internal "theory of mind" (TOM), i.e. a view that the other person should have a mind like ours and be guided in their behavior by similar affects, desires, criteria and strategies. Obviously, attributing a mind implies we also attribute a consciousness.

The most curious aspect of our capability of "understanding" and empathically sharing other subjects' emotions (and therefore including them in our TOM) is that our proficiency in doing this parallels the similarity between the subject and ourselves: experimental evidence indicates that we are more proficient with people of our own ethnic origin and race, less so with others, and much less so with primates, or even dogs, pigeons, frogs, worms, insects, or machines.
(the last item was put there only provocatively, just to suggest that we may be prejudiced in not liking to attribute consciousness to a machine: this is an act I should apologise for :°)
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Graeme M on April 8th, 2016, 6:12 pm 

Thanks for this Neuro. I think I see what you are saying. You are right about the definitional problem, at least so far as I am concerned. I can never quite work out what people mean by 'consciousness' as it seems to depend on the context. I have read a little and given some thought to the subject but in the absence of any serious study I feel I am somewhat uncertain of just what this consciousness thing is!

Nonetheless, in this case I think Prinz is referring to perceptual awareness, although quite what that means is open to interpretation too. But my take is that here he means what is referred to as qualia - that is, that perception has a qualitative character.

Prinz suggests that if his squirrels behave in all ways as though they are conscious, he nonetheless cannot accept their being conscious. Thus no matter how much their behaviours coincide with his experience (that is, they respond to stimuli in ways like his own), it is not sufficient evidence for consciousness. Presumably by this logic, verbal reports are not evidence either, though as you suggest they may entice us to the belief that another is conscious.

Prinz prefers instead that we have a functional account of how consciousness arises and then we can evaluate whether another is conscious. However, this appears to constrain us such that we cannot accept consciousness in another until we have examined their functional components. And that raises the question of whether consciousness can only occur in functional arrangements that coincide with our own (machines spring to mind here).

It seems to me that if consciousness serves to mediate behavior, then can we not infer consciousness from behavior? That some behaviors in certain conditions might also arise through unconscious processes simply suggests a common substrate of processing, which seems reasonable in a mechanical and evolutionary sense.
Put another way, a functional explanation might illuminate the physical correlates for consciousness but isn't behavior the only way in which we can actually read consciousness? If we could reduce qualia to a physical mechanism, it seems hardly useful without an effect. That is, a mechanism that produces qualia in the absence of aught else seems a rather unlikely mechanism, especially when considered in an evolutionary sense

Qualia of themselves seem to me hardly constitutive of anything at all without behavioral affect. I "feel" pain, or I "see" blue. But how does this help us evaluate consciousness? When I am conscious, I seem to be aware of the qualities of perception, yet these serve only to elicit behaviors. If I feel pain, I can choose (or so it seems, let's leave free will out of this for now) to act. Even if I don't act, that is itself a choice and a behavioral response. Upon awareness of perceptual input, I have to do something. The only time I do not is when I am not actually conscious of it.

Yes, there are experiments that show behavioral responses to consciously undetected stimulus, but these are contrived to separate the mechanisms for the purposes of study. That consciousness and response might come apart with sufficient cause is hardly grounds for denying the ubiquity of everyday experience. We are organic, not digital.

It seems to me that in everyday use, consciousness serves to provide awareness which serves to facilitate behavior. In any case, these examples of unconscious detection still result in a behavioral response, so clearly perceptual processing delivers on its mechanical promise.

All of which for me leads to conclude that while a functional description might be a useful thing in an explanatory sense, should not behavioral responses in toto provide our strongest evidence for consciousness? If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, why should I not agree that it is a duck? Or that a squirrel is conscious?
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Graeme M on April 8th, 2016, 6:21 pm 

Gee, on rereading that I see I've used way too many words to say something simple. All I mean is, if consciousness informs behavior (what else can it do), then why can't behavior inform us of consciousness? All the qualia in the world mean nothing if they don't DO something.

Describing qualia functionally may explain HOW it happens, but that it happens can only rest on behavior, surely?
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby TheVat on April 8th, 2016, 7:57 pm 

"Conversations on Consciousness," ed. by Susan Blackmore, is your best friend when navigating this field of study.

All the major players are interviewed.
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Graeme M on April 9th, 2016, 5:25 am 

Great tip Braininvat. It's only $3 as an ebook too, which makes it VERY attractive! :)
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby parsoff on June 5th, 2016, 3:38 am 

Graeme M » April 6th, 2016, 1:47 pm wrote:Hello all. I joined this forum some time ago and then forgot all about it. I rediscovered it while cleaning out old emails. Coincidentally I came across a statement today that I need some clarification of, but I'm not sure just which forum board is the best place for it so I'll start here.

In the preface to his book "The Conscious Brain", Jesse Prinz states:

"If consciousness could be inferred from behavior, it would be obvious that [squirrels] experience the world around them. But, famously, no such inference is possible. Consciousness cannot be read off of behavior."

What exactly does this mean? I don't have the science or philosophy background to evaluate that claim, but it seems strange to me to suggest that in humans we have evidence for consciousness that is NOT behavioral.

this does mean the human is thinking, searching if there is maybe such thing as consciousness
the human that tries to understand it's own life from examples from other lives in nature

if a human truly wants to understand life from other lives in nature
then a human can focus on the most nearby natural branch
the chimpansee life is the most nearby life for a human
as our DNA is 98% chimpansee similar

so the human behavior is most linked to where the human naturally came from
so that is found

back to the thesis
"If consciousness could be inferred from behavior, it would be obvious that [squirrels] experience the world around them. But, famously, no such inference is possible. Consciousness cannot be read off of behavior."

i do not think that consciousness exists
what i think is that just the human body exists
what you are born with

to find inside the human body a thing called consciousness ???
where then?
how does it look like?

is there a human that first discovered this consciousness?
what date was this consciousness discovered by that human?

you need to keep asking question

if there was a first human that discovered consciousness then you could 'google it', like they say in these times

wikipedia:
-In the year 378 bc Mr or Ms X had discovered the human has a conscious

even if a human claimed it discovered something as a conscious
would you believe it?

you need to keep questioning and keep thinking
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Inchworm on June 18th, 2016, 11:05 am 

Researches on consciousness show that a subject decides to move before he is conscious of that decision ( Dennett), so we may start the inquiry with accepting the possibility that consciousness is only a secondary effect of the brain. I've been working on that idea using my theory on mass as a reference, and I came to the conclusion that consciousness might just be the perception of a temporary change in the frequency of the neuron pulses, a change that can come from the outside, but also from the inside of the brain as when we turn things over in our head for instance. The changes from our environment come from us not being able to control it completely, thus from hazard being part of our life, so what about the changes that happen in our brain? Are they also subject to hazard? And if so, what to think of a brain that often takes its intuitions for granted?
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby parsoff on June 18th, 2016, 2:55 pm 

Inchworm » June 18th, 2016, 5:05 pm wrote:Researches on consciousness show that a subject decides to move before he is conscious of that decision ( Dennett), so we may start the inquiry with accepting the possibility that consciousness is only a secondary effect of the brain. I've been working on that idea using my theory on mass as a reference, and I came to the conclusion that consciousness might just be the perception of a temporary change in the frequency of the neuron pulses, a change that can come from the outside, but also from the inside of the brain as when we turn things over in our head for instance. The changes from our environment come from us not being able to control it completely, thus from hazard being part of our life, so what about the changes that happen in our brain? Are they also subject to hazard? And if so, what to think of a brain that often takes its intuitions for granted?


Interesting questions.

What stays important in our environment i the food chain that gives survival chances, changes in the natural environment is never in our control as life can only be part of cycle of life that find a space in the goldy lock zone where it could grow.

The brain of a human grown in size by the invention of fire. The food is cooked, like meat, proteins are digested faster and less bite force is needed.
This changed the anatomy after being repeated many times.

I think somewhere a human can understand that like the brains growth of a human is part of a micro process world.
You can think in micro beginning from the bacterial life. This is how life started on the Earth.

How does one looks at the brain then?

because i am one person i can look at the brain may way

if i can understand the last big change that happened from a brain that was not walking but in the trees living, that is enough to place the human brain that i have now that is walking and not living in the trees.

This last brain change is then everything that change in the hardware of the evolution for a human life as life in the universe did not change. During this hole change of the last process of the brain the Earth never stopped turning.
The Earth was turning long before animals were on land.

And the next person can have his/her look at the brain.
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Inchworm on June 20th, 2016, 11:39 am 

Parsoff wrote:The brain of a human grown in size by the invention of fire. The food is cooked, like meat, proteins are digested faster and less bite force is needed.
This changed the anatomy after being repeated many times.
If you mean that repetition can change a specie, I do not agree with you, but if you mean than random mutations can, then I do.
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Inchworm on June 22nd, 2016, 1:41 pm 

For those who think that I am right about biological mutations, let me extrapolate them to the mind once again.

Can you imagine that your mind is actually producing intellectual mutations in case one of them might help you to evolve intellectually?
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby parsoff on June 23rd, 2016, 7:36 am 

no i can not
how can a mind produce something

as people say 'it is all in your mind'
the mind that is not made of materials
and so can not produce something inside evolution
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Inchworm on June 23rd, 2016, 8:19 am 

It's only a way of speaking Parsoff. What I meant is that ideas would suffer intellectual mutations for the same reason a specie does: in case it would help us adapt to unknown situations. But I'm not sure you agree with the theory of evolution, do you?
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby parsoff on June 23rd, 2016, 9:01 am 

i agree with the theory of evolution

now i think ..
let's say a specie is on land and from the mind it makes a choice to scratch a layer on a hill where it get's salt or vitamins from then it is from the mind

your question is then if the mind could produce mutations that evolve intellectually
if evolution is more rough then intellect is more fine, sophisticated
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Inchworm on June 23rd, 2016, 12:23 pm 

The main difference would be in the frequency of the mutations, and in the speed of the changes. Species face slow environment changes, and the mutations they suffer account for that kind of change. Mind has to think fast to account for the fast changes around us, so it has to suffer more frequent mutations to account for them. As for biological mutations, progressing randomly doesn't work all the time, but when it does, it is very efficient. It's like winning the jackpot. I think this is the way mind develops new ideas, and that idea is incidentally very different from what we already think, so I think that I had it by chance. We think that reasoning can change others' ideas for instance, which would be completely wrong if I am right. If you ever change your mind about that, you will only make me win the jackpot! :0)
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Athena on June 24th, 2016, 11:17 am 

neuro » April 7th, 2016, 2:51 am wrote:Consciousness is a slippery term that can be used to mean a number of different things.

Objective measurements of consciousness can be devised based on a simple definition of consciousness such as "a subject is conscious of a stimulus if the latter produces any kind of behavioral effect in the subject". Notice however that subliminal stimuli can be devised such that they influence the subject's reactions but the latter is not aware of the stimuli (i.e. they did not "consciously" perceive them).

Thus, the attempt at "objectively" detecting consciousness clearly is not optimal or faultless.

The point is that in common language by "consciousness" we do not simply mean any capability of being influenced, in one's behavior, by external factors (this is a too extensive definition which would include any kind of machine as well), but rather the capability of producing an internal experience of the external events (and even an internal experience of internal, mental and emotional, events). Human consciousness, in addition, implies the capability of forming an internal consistent and diachronic image of reality and a unitary, consistent and diachronic image of the self, a kind of internal story of one's life.

As we possess language, we easily believe another human possesses consciousness because they can tell us about their internal experiences and, if we tend to trust people, we may assume they are telling the truth (i.e. they have a consciousness).

In the absence of language, it might be more difficult to accept that consciousness is present in another entity: so there is quite a lot of debate about the presence and degree, kind or extent of consciousness in animals, from primates down to invertebrates.

One noticeable aspect is that the mirror neuron system in our brain and the emotional circuitry lead us to look at other people's behavior by a neural process of "embodied simulation" that lets us guess other people's emotions and the objective of their actions. This is thought to lead us to build an internal "theory of mind" (TOM), i.e. a view that the other person should have a mind like ours and be guided in their behavior by similar affects, desires, criteria and strategies. Obviously, attributing a mind implies we also attribute a consciousness.

The most curious aspect of our capability of "understanding" and empathically sharing other subjects' emotions (and therefore including them in our TOM) is that our proficiency in doing this parallels the similarity between the subject and ourselves: experimental evidence indicates that we are more proficient with people of our own ethnic origin and race, less so with others, and much less so with primates, or even dogs, pigeons, frogs, worms, insects, or machines.
(the last item was put there only provocatively, just to suggest that we may be prejudiced in not liking to attribute consciousness to a machine: this is an act I should apologise for :°)


Many years ago I read a study on traumatized children and it was asked how preverbal children handle trauma. I believe I know because I was traumatized when I was preverbal and later regressed while in therapy to the moment in time. I would say preverbal children and possibly animals are conscious of feelings and associate the feeling with the cause of the feeling. So a crow who that had a bad experience with a human will give a warning cry whenever that human is in sight, and the crows who receive this message of threat will pass it on to other crows. However, what the preverbal child and animals can not do is use words to understand an experience.

Yesterday I met a young woman who had a drowning experience as a child, and this is a mind body memory for her. When she attempts to enter a body of water her body responds with intense terror and she is aware of that, and aware that the response is inappropriate. Her husband is helping her decondition her response to pools of water, by going with her into small, safe pools of water. She is conscience of her extreme danger in the past, and is now conscious of or her conditioned response being inappropriate in the present. This is a step in consciousness that may require language?

We use the word conscious to mean aware of what is happening and I would say animals and preverbal children are conscious. A crow can hear the warning cry of another crow and I assume choose between fight of flight? Alpha male chimps choose to fight while lesser chimps choose to flee. But we can take this consciousness to the next level by using words to think about our feelings and responses and the social implications of our choices. All social animals have this social awareness, but not all the concepts humans have, so they don't stay in bad relationships and won't sit in a classroom for 5 hours. With language, we can have concepts such as joking, liberty, dignity and without language, there can be no such concepts. So I would say animals have consciousness but humans have greater consciousness because they have language and can attach concepts such as morality to their fear and sex urges. More so than other animals, a human can choose to act contrary to feelings. However, getting a small child to understand studying math can lead to a much better life than his poorly educated parents can give him, is a challenge.

And I might add, in our later years our awareness/consciousness transforms again, and we have a greater sense of meaning than we can have at age 30, but loose the ability to assimilate facts with the ease of the small child or young adult.
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Athena on June 24th, 2016, 11:42 am 

Inchworm » June 23rd, 2016, 10:23 am wrote:The main difference would be in the frequency of the mutations, and in the speed of the changes. Species face slow environment changes, and the mutations they suffer account for that kind of change. Mind has to think fast to account for the fast changes around us, so it has to suffer more frequent mutations to account for them. As for biological mutations, progressing randomly doesn't work all the time, but when it does, it is very efficient. It's like winning the jackpot. I think this is the way mind develops new ideas, and that idea is incidentally very different from what we already think, so I think that I had it by chance. We think that reasoning can change others' ideas for instance, which would be completely wrong if I am right. If you ever change your mind about that, you will only make me win the jackpot! :0)


Reasoning can change what we hold to be true and I have no idea what this would have to do with winning a jackpot?

We have fast thinking and slow thinking abilities and both are very important. The young are better at fast thinking, and older people who develop slow thinking, such as the contemplation of concepts and philosophizing, are better at slow thinking.

Here is an explanation of fast and slow thinking that should go with our understanding of consciousness.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PirFrDVRBo4
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Inchworm on June 24th, 2016, 12:14 pm 

To me reasoning cannot change an idea, it can only confirm it, and it does so even if the idea is wrong. A french maxim resumes what I think about reason: "The reason of the strongest is always the best one." On the forums, nobody succeeds to convince the others that he is right, and it is not because he is wrong, but because only chance can change anything. This is the case for species, and I think it is also the case for ideas. In this sense, if an idea is presented often, it has more chances to be adopted, so if you think twice like in slow thinking for instance, you have more chances to fall on a profitable combination of ideas, or to have an intuition that works.
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Athena on June 24th, 2016, 3:28 pm 

What?! The reasoning of Hitler and those involved with the extermination of Jews was the best reasoning?

Exactly what is it that gives anyone strength? Are you speaking of personal character or social organization or beliefs? Alexander the Great was strong because he was born to power, and his followers believed he was the son of a god. Religion is a great factor in strength or the lack of it. Europeans who believed God sent the Mongols to punish them for their sins, lacked the strength essential to self-defense. While culturally women have lacked the features of strength that are typically male features of strength, different from female strengths, until recently, with a few exceptions. It is pretty amazing how culture can affect human development!

I can not imagine anyone with enough IQ to be interested in science, not giving in to better reasoning when enough facts are brought forward. Democracy would be unthinkable without the belief that we can be ruled by reason.

I don't think maths and sciences are a matter of chance but rather the result of an accumulation of proven reasoning, and when new information disproves previously held truths it is impossible to prevent a change in reasoning. For this reason, there is no way we can think as people did 6000 years ago, or even 200 years ago. We can not unthink what is in our heads. Our consciousness is radically changed from the past and we can never go back. Consciousness being symbiotic with our brain and knowledge.
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby parsoff on June 25th, 2016, 8:51 am 

Inchworm » June 24th, 2016, 6:14 pm wrote:To me reasoning cannot change an idea, it can only confirm it, and it does so even if the idea is wrong. A french maxim resumes what I think about reason: "The reason of the strongest is always the best one." On the forums, nobody succeeds to convince the others that he is right, and it is not because he is wrong, but because only chance can change anything. This is the case for species, and I think it is also the case for ideas. In this sense, if an idea is presented often, it has more chances to be adopted, so if you think twice like in slow thinking for instance, you have more chances to fall on a profitable combination of ideas, or to have an intuition that works.

is an idea leading to be the strongest as the reason confirms it as the strongest is the best one
the strongest is the desired life there is nothing wrong with it
then all want the best to live long
that is all good thinking to be healthy, strong, live long like a natural guide inside life
confirming that is then at the end of life when you are old where the reason of the strongest is the best

that is what i make of 'the reason of the strongest is always the best one' placing it in a natural perspective
because life is always situating in nature/cosmic laws and is natural
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Inchworm on June 26th, 2016, 11:09 am 

Athena » June 24th, 2016, 3:28 pm wrote:What?! The reasoning of Hitler and those involved with the extermination of Jews was the best reasoning?
It was an old reasoning, and a lot of german people believed it was right, so it strengthened the belief. Reason tends to strengthen old beliefs, not to develop new ones. Reason is about finding ways to link old ideas together even if they are completely different. If you want to change an idea, you have to click the random button in your brain. No reason can predict what has never happened before. It is circular to think that reason knows best. No reason can lead to new discoveries for instance, it takes time and chance, so no reason can tell either if a new idea is good or not, it has to be tested on reality. Einstein did not need reason to develop his ideas, he needed imagination, and before testing them on reality, he couldn't know they would work.

Exactly what is it that gives anyone strength? Are you speaking of personal character or social organization or beliefs?
I think that preserving the ego is the real reason for individuals, and that ego is the expression of our automatisms, so when you belong to a group, the real reason for the group is the preservation of the group, which is the added ego of each individual, but which also adds to the expression the individual egos. It is easy to accelerate an atom, but is is less easy to accelerate the same atom if it belongs to a car for instance. To me, our egos obviously resist to change the same way atoms do.

While culturally women have lacked the features of strength that are typically male features of strength, different from female strengths, until recently, with a few exceptions. It is pretty amazing how culture can affect human development!
I agree with you on that one, and I even believe that women are going to be the future of humanity for a while, because I think that their instinct is not about protecting territory, thus about making war, but about building links, thus about making peace.

I can not imagine anyone with enough IQ to be interested in science, not giving in to better reasoning when enough facts are brought forward. Democracy would be unthinkable without the belief that we can be ruled by reason.
Democracy is a rule, and rules serve to avoid reasoning. Have you ever tried to reason a policeman o a judge?

I don't think maths and sciences are a matter of chance but rather the result of an accumulation of proven reasoning, and when new information disproves previously held truths it is impossible to prevent a change in reasoning.
Maths is only a language, it serves to conserve or to exchange information, so it can be as wrong as words.

For this reason, there is no way we can think as people did 6000 years ago, or even 200 years ago. We can not unthink what is in our heads. Our consciousness is radically changed from the past and we can never go back. Consciousness being symbiotic with our brain and knowledge.
To me, consciousness is about perceiving change, and change is unpredictable by definition, so it is about randomness or hazard or chance or whatever you call what is really happening, and that our automatisms cannot account subconsciously for. When we close our eyes and imagine something, we are perceiving a change that occurs randomly to our ideas. When our eyes are opened and we see what is happening instead of concentrating on what we have in mind, we are attracted by a change in our environment. It is impossible to concentrate on something that doesn't change, the mind gets used to it, and it rapidly accounts for it subconsciously while developing a new automatism or using an old one.
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Athena on June 30th, 2016, 12:05 pm 

Parsoff, basically I think you made a good argument. However, I see a few things differently. That might in part be because of an age difference. Old age can be as purgatory to old people, in that they can start remembering things from their past that they do not think about when they are young. Memories we really wish would go away, instead of them popping up again and again, tormenting us with the wrongs we have done. It seems when we are young we are too distracted by life to do this. I need to find time for an elderly man who is going into hospice care and see if I can help him come to peace with his thoughts. I am old, and when I was young, I worked with elderly people and so I know this problem of troubling thoughts comes with our lives being in our past, and therefore our focus is on that past. The challenge in our later years is finding peace with our lives. It would be great if we got bored with some thoughts, instead of feeling tormented by them.

Hum, how to speak of democracy and stay on topic? Religion holds people's consciousness in the past. Democracy promotes change and changed consciousness. And yes, I attempt to reason with police and judges, and everyone else. Trails are a process of reasoning.

Now education for technology has dramatically changed our reasoning and our justice system! I really wish the young understood how liberal education results in very different reasoning, and what this has to do with our justice and being a democracy, but that is kind of like trying to get an Eskimo to understand life in Hawaii. Words do not convey an adequate sense of meaning unless you speaking of a thing. Life is not a thing, it is as experience and is known through experience. Words can not adequately convey an experience. The young can not experience the past and therefore, can not have an adequate of understanding of it. When speaking of democracy, what we have after over 50 years of education for technology, is different from the past experience of democracy coming out of liberal education. I think this explains why we disagree.

I really like some of your explanations, such as the difference between moving a single atom, to moving an atom that is part of a car. People are not like that though. Huh, this is hair splitting and delightfully challenging. We are not like robots with easily changed programs. A teenager running with peers may have very different reasoning from the reasoning of parents, and many years later may enjoy or regret choices made. This involves not just the processing of information, but also feelings, and relationships and feelings about those relationships, and information, ah, our consciousness is not equal to a computer program. The groups we belong to in a lifetime change, and some of these groups can be important to our ego 30 years later and some not important at all. So yes, we are like atoms and atoms attached to cars, and no we are not. Research has shown the biggest reason for people dropping out of college, is feeling like one does not belong. What is that all about?
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Re: Behavior and consciousness

Postby Inchworm on June 30th, 2016, 4:51 pm 

Hi Athena,

I guess you took me for Parsoff. I'm 70 in two weeks, how old are you? I'm still taking care of my mom who is 92, I'm at her place half of the time, so I know what you mean by old tormenting thoughts, though she uses to accuse others instead of herself. Maybe you could try that for a change! :0)

You believe in reason as a cause for intelligence, and I believe that reason is only a side effect of intelligence. To me, imagination gives a new random sense to an old idea, and then this idea tries to defend its existence while calling it reasoning. There is no way an idea can defend itself without being tested with experiments, and ideas about society cannot be tested this way because society changes too fast, so it is useless to defend them the way we actually do, and it is also useless to feel bad about old decisions that went bad. Life is a trial and error process, and as long as we are still alive, the trial is still available.
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