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Tags consciousness , materialism , subjectivity

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Old 10th February 2008, 04:39 PM   #601
articulett
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
Well, ketamine is a dissociative anaesthetic and it's ludicrously safe! They give it to 6 week old babies who need operations. Don't know much about the others. If you check the MAPS website there's probably a definition for hallucinogens somewhere.

There are researchers who believe MDMA (Ecstasy) is ready for Phase III clinical trials (given to lots of people) to treat PTSD.

Nick
That reminds me that I've heard that ketamine has shown very promising results in jump starting someone out of an intractable depression.

As a materialist, the question is, what is it doing in the brain and is there a way to enhance the effect or decrease negative effects.
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Old 10th February 2008, 04:40 PM   #602
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Originally Posted by Ichneumonwasp View Post
I think Mercutio would answer this by saying that it is a complex of behaviors and that we must look at not only the body but also the environment.
Consciousness is behaviour, yes; and to observe that behaviour we normally look at outward signs (the body) and also at what is stimulating that consciousness (the environment).

But if you confuse the easily visible signs of consciousness with the process of consciousness, then, um, you're confused. After all, we can also just shove a bunch of electrodes into your brain. It's just that this is considered impolite.

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It is certainly the case that many of the higher functions that we label 'consciousness' depend critically on language and language makes no sense as private property -- we are part of a larger language community.
First of all, language does make sense as a private property; you are confusing shared language with language in general. I can make my own language, and as long as it has meaning to me, it's a real language.

Second, we seem to be getting further and further away from a definition of what consciousness is. What are these higher functions that depend critically on language, and why are they labeled "consciousness"?

Consciousness is being aware and self-aware. What else is needed?

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So, consciousness, in that sense depends on many variables that cannot all be localized to any individual brain, or brain function.
You might as well say that breathing cannot be localised to any individual respiratory system, that digestion cannot be localised to any individual digestive tract.
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Old 10th February 2008, 04:43 PM   #603
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
The World is the vessel into which all the unwanted aspects of the self are hurled, and God the vessel into which we put all the things that our existing worldview can't explain.
God of the Gaps?

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Thus the nature of The World and the nature of God are dictated by the individual's concept of selfhood.
Erm?

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God and The World are the ego's stooges who constantly clear up after him. Change your version of selfhood and you change the nature of god and the world. The 3 have an inter-defining relationship.
God is the Three Stooges? Now there's a theology that should win some adherents!
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Old 10th February 2008, 04:47 PM   #604
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Why should I define it? You're the one wittering on about things you are unable or unwilling to define.
How many other apriori denials of the, shall we say, "undefined things" does your position make?

If you wish to play, define consciousness. Where does it begin in the animal kingdom? What about plants? Viruses? Prions? ???

You seem to like to witter about it.
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Old 10th February 2008, 04:48 PM   #605
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post

Consciousness is brain function.
Moreover, consciousness requires input from sensory organs to "program" it... in many ways a computer is like a brain. The brain in a vat straw man doesn't have input...

The brain grows and evolves much like the internet... it's an emergent phenomenon and self is the processor--the interpreter--the narrator.

I have yet to see a good argument for any sort of consciousness absent a living material brain and so all such entities are impossibilities per my understanding-- delusions. All it would take to prove me wrong is evidence to the contrary. But despite eons of such beliefs and semantics, there is no evidence that such things are other than delusions and misperceptions of the brain.
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Old 10th February 2008, 04:49 PM   #606
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Double post.

Last edited by martillo; 10th February 2008 at 04:52 PM.
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Old 10th February 2008, 05:00 PM   #607
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
Moreover, consciousness requires input from sensory organs to "program" it... in many ways a computer is like a brain. The brain in a vat straw man doesn't have input...
Actually, iirc, in the original 'brain in a vat' scenario the brain was receiving inputs (electrical stimuli, I assume) to trick the brain into believing that it was experiencing the world.
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Old 10th February 2008, 05:34 PM   #608
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Originally Posted by martillo View Post
How many other apriori denials of the, shall we say, "undefined things" does your position make?
Again, this is meaningless. If they're undefined, they're undefined. They can't be denied, because they're undefined. They can be ignored.

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If you wish to play, define consciousness.
I have done, in this very thread.

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Where does it begin in the animal kingdom?
Insects are certainly conscious. That's no surprise; the bee, for example, has on the order of a million neurons in its tiny brain. Orders of magnitude more complex than the circuit I described.

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What about plants?
Probably not, though I'd have to examine more closely the mechanisms by which certain plants respond to their environments. Things like venus flytraps - do they have something that corresponds to memory, and a feedback loop that would form the basis of self-awareness? I don't think so, but I could be wrong.

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Viruses? Prions? ???
No, since they only do anything at all as part of a larger system.

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You seem to like to witter about it.
I did not bring the subject up. That was you. I asked you to clarify your statement; you refused. And yet you have repeatedly raised the same meaningless claim.
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Old 10th February 2008, 06:03 PM   #609
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Originally Posted by Mobyseven View Post
Actually, iirc, in the original 'brain in a vat' scenario the brain was receiving inputs (electrical stimuli, I assume) to trick the brain into believing that it was experiencing the world.
Oh... cool... that's like when they do brain surgery and they electrically stimulate various areas to see the sensations it produces...
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Old 10th February 2008, 06:20 PM   #610
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Consciousness is brain function.
Look, I'm a neurologist, and even I'm not that dogmatic about it.

Brain function does not happen in a vacuum.
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Old 10th February 2008, 06:23 PM   #611
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
Moreover, consciousness requires input from sensory organs to "program" it... in many ways a computer is like a brain. The brain in a vat straw man doesn't have input...

The brain grows and evolves much like the internet... it's an emergent phenomenon and self is the processor--the interpreter--the narrator.

I have yet to see a good argument for any sort of consciousness absent a living material brain and so all such entities are impossibilities per my understanding-- delusions. All it would take to prove me wrong is evidence to the contrary. But despite eons of such beliefs and semantics, there is no evidence that such things are other than delusions and misperceptions of the brain.
I could be completely misreading him, but I don't think BDZ is arguing for consciousness absent a material brain, only that the whole process is much more complex. I would agree with that. But there is nothing woo and nothing non-physical involved.
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Old 10th February 2008, 06:51 PM   #612
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Originally Posted by Ichneumonwasp View Post
Look, I'm a neurologist
Cool.
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and even I'm not that dogmatic about it.
That's fine too.

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Brain function does not happen in a vacuum.
No, it doesn't.

Yes, perception is significant, yes, we commonly observe the effects of consciousness by reference to things other than the firing of neurons. Yes, we use language do describe consciousness and to communicate with others.

But those things aren't consciousness. Consciousness is awareness and self-awareness. That's brain function.

You might as well say that digestion doesn't happen in a vacuum, that we have to consider food as part of the system. Well, yeah, but food is an input to the digestive process. The process is what it is.
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Old 10th February 2008, 06:59 PM   #613
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Originally Posted by Ichneumonwasp View Post
I could be completely misreading him, but I don't think BDZ is arguing for consciousness absent a material brain, only that the whole process is much more complex. I would agree with that.
BDZ is very averse to making straightforward statements - as I said, he's been more forthcoming in this thread than I've ever seen before. And as you say, it's still hard to work out what he is actually arguing.

But when you say "the whole process is much more complex" - what whole process is more complex than what?

Upthread I described a circuit that is conscious in every way that matters: It can perceive, it can act, it can remember, it can reflect on its memories, it can reflect on its thoughts, and it can make decisions based on any combinations of those factors.

That circuit requires on the order of a hundred transistors. Perhaps twenty or so neurons would be required to do the same thing.

When you say the whole process is much more complex - presumably referring specifically to human consciousness here - well, yes, human consciousness is complex, but it's still just a big, messy, unreliable version of that little circuit. Consciousness is not inherently complex.

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But there is nothing woo and nothing non-physical involved.
Absolutely.
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Old 10th February 2008, 07:24 PM   #614
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Originally Posted by Ichneumonwasp View Post
I could be completely misreading him, but I don't think BDZ is arguing for consciousness absent a material brain, only that the whole process is much more complex. I would agree with that. But there is nothing woo and nothing non-physical involved.
And why does he think materialism is woo and how exactly is his philosophy different.

Yes, it's complex... but our inability to recreate it does not mean that materialism is wrong and that some other as yet heretofore unmentioned explanation is better or more useful or more right. The stomach digests... Legs give rise to walking... the brain creates consciousness--some of which are aware; much of which is autonomous...

Materialism explains the ideomotor effect for example... what alternative is there? If BDZ keep calling materialism woo, he must have some reason and some better fitting explanation, no? Or is he like a creationist calling evolution woo?
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Old 10th February 2008, 08:44 PM   #615
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Materialism is an assumption. So is determinism. Science is a methodology that strives, with the assistance of these assumptions, to understand how things work.
Consciousness (Cogito, ergo sum) is a private event that cannot presently be explained in any manner by science, let alone by amateur philosophists.
To study humans and others scientifically, we need to focus on behavior. Empirical reliable data.
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Old 10th February 2008, 09:05 PM   #616
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Originally Posted by Jeff Corey View Post
Materialism is an assumption. So is determinism. Science is a methodology that strives, with the assistance of these assumptions, to understand how things work.
Consciousness (Cogito, ergo sum) is a private event that cannot presently be explained in any manner by science, let alone by amateur philosophists.
To study humans and others scientifically, we need to focus on behavior. Empirical reliable data.
Have you ever seen any other method produce any useful benefit?
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Old 10th February 2008, 09:12 PM   #617
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Originally Posted by JoeEllison View Post

Pretend that two car dealers call me up, wanting to sell me a car. The first dealer claims that he's got a car that can get 40 miles to the gallon, and he wants me to try it out. The other dealer tells me that he's got a car that runs on water, and he wants me to believe him. The first dealer offers to drive a loaner to my house, and let me drive it over the weekend, pop the hood, take it to a mechanic to have it looked at, whatever I want. The other dealer wants to discuss my preconceived notions about how cars work, and how I should open my mind to new possibilities. The first dealer shows up with the car and a catalog of options and prices. The second dealer shows up with a DVD about how wonderful the world would be if it ran on water power instead of fossil fuels.

Now, which car do I choose, and why?

(Be careful, the answer might not be as obvious as you think.)
I noticed that none of the woosters wanted to deal with this.

Have you all noticed that none of them want to deal with anything practical, ever? I assume, based on all previous evidence, that their own ideas are as practical as the time spend examining their own belly buttons.
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Old 10th February 2008, 09:16 PM   #618
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Originally Posted by Jeff Corey View Post
Materialism is an assumption.
No, it is a conclusion
Quote:
So is determinism.
No, it is a conclusion
Quote:
Science is a methodology that strives, with the assistance of these assumptions, to understand how things work.
How many times must I correct this misapprehension before people will go and read some of the philosophy of science?

Science does not require the assumption of materialism. It does not require the assumption of determinism. Empiricism is not Materialism and vice versa.
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Consciousness (Cogito, ergo sum) is a private event that cannot presently be explained in any manner by science, let alone by amateur philosophists.
Cogito ergo sum was demolished centuries ago.
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To study humans and others scientifically, we need to focus on behavior. Empirical reliable data.
As I have often pointed out, there is no reason why you cannot study consciousness from a standpoint of reliable empirical data.
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Old 10th February 2008, 09:31 PM   #619
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
No, it is a conclusion

No, it is a conclusion

How many times must I correct this misapprehension before people will go and read some of the philosophy of science?

Science does not require the assumption of materialism. It does not require the assumption of determinism. Empiricism is not Materialism and vice versa.

Cogito ergo sum was demolished centuries ago.

As I have often pointed out, there is no reason why you cannot study consciousness from a standpoint of reliable empirical data.
Now, from where I'm sitting, it is acceptable to call materialism an assumption. It doesn't make a good goddamned bit of difference, because assumption or not, materialism WORKS. None of the competing arguments do anything whatsoever. They have never cured a diseased, or built anything of lasting value, or solved a single practical problem that humankind has faced.
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Old 10th February 2008, 09:46 PM   #620
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Originally Posted by JoeEllison View Post
Now, from where I'm sitting, it is acceptable to call materialism an assumption. It doesn't make a good goddamned bit of difference, because assumption or not, materialism WORKS. None of the competing arguments do anything whatsoever. They have never cured a diseased, or built anything of lasting value, or solved a single practical problem that humankind has faced.
If it is acceptable to call materialism an assumption then why did you need anything after your first sentence?

If it is an assumption it needs no justification. But you included 5 good justifications. I could supply many more.

Like I said, it is not an assumption, it is a conclusion. Science does not need the Materialism as a starting point, science relies on pure Empiricism.

But at the end of the day Materialism is the only conclusion that makes any sense.
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Old 10th February 2008, 10:05 PM   #621
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
If it is acceptable to call materialism an assumption then why did you need anything after your first sentence?

If it is an assumption it needs no justification. But you included 5 good justifications. I could supply many more.

Like I said, it is not an assumption, it is a conclusion. Science does not need the Materialism as a starting point, science relies on pure Empiricism.

But at the end of the day Materialism is the only conclusion that makes any sense.


That's my other big point: is doesn't matter what you call it, if it works. I'm all about the practicality, as I hope has been made clear in this thread. Materialism works. Whatever you want to call it, however you want to attack it, it gets the job done.

As soon as the woosters find something that works as well, and also does something new and interesting and "nifty," you let me know. Until then, I'll keep on dismissing it as childish fairy tales and delusion.
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Old 11th February 2008, 01:26 AM   #622
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Originally Posted by Nick227
Whilst the belief persists that there could exist some point of observation from which to make an objective statement about the nature of reality people will going on trying to make such a thing, and argue with other positions. Once you have seen that it is just the same thing arguing about its own nature with itself, it does get harder to really summon up much enthusiasm for this endeavour.
Well, as I have pointed out, thatís your opinion. The claim about absolute truth is not very interesting in the sense that it cannot be known for anything else than that it IS (reality is). We donít know what it is in and of itself, but we can know how it feels to be, how stuff behaves and how stuff relates to each other. To know what we know requires a fairly exact set of observations and rigid method for analyzing them, and finally a meaningful translation which put them together in a picture about how stuff works. You might not find that enthusiastic while other do. Those who do, tend to think that itís better to strive for such a process thatís replicable for everyone, i.e. it shouldnít matter who does that; the process should speak for itself, as much as possible.

On another note: what you have seen or experienced, is mostly meaningful for you. Thereís nothing that proves other than that your experiences of non-duality only took place in your brain, whatever it is you became convinced about. Thatís the bottom line. Whatever I have experienced, thereís no reason to think itís anything other than an experience the same, within the confinements of my brain. For self therapeutic purposes some might need to project those experiences as something universal or as a ďdeeper truthĒ (to make it into an everyday world view). We all do that, albeit to what degree remains in fluctuation. It is obvious, however, that such claims arenít necessarily true outside your own corporal experience of being, although thereís always that possibility too, of course. Obviously you can then claim that thereís nothing outside, everything is inside Ė thatís the important insight which becomes so obvious Ė but that doesnít change anything, we donít really know that, and itís even safe to assume youíre only settled for solipsism here.
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Old 11th February 2008, 05:39 AM   #623
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
That reminds me that I've heard that ketamine has shown very promising results in jump starting someone out of an intractable depression.

As a materialist, the question is, what is it doing in the brain and is there a way to enhance the effect or decrease negative effects.
Ketamine is indeed an interesting drug. If I recall its principle known site of activity in the brain are the NMDA receptors, which it blocks (antagonist). Some of the slightly more "out there" scientific researchers have associated it with so-called "near death experiences," which could give some insights into its apparent ability to integrate repressed psychological material.

Many years ago I met Dr Karl Jansen, who's almost certainly the foremost scientific authority on ketamine worldwide. He's written some interesting stuff about the drug.

Nick
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Old 11th February 2008, 05:46 AM   #624
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Erm?
Once you're aware that personal identity is not set in stone, but actually notional, the relationship between "you" and "other stuff" become clearer. "Other stuff" you can experience becomes "the world." "Other stuff" you can't but somehow figure must be out there becomes "God."

Human beings do of course have an extensive primate ancestry so many aspects of the experience of personal identity might be considered generic and inherited.


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God is the Three Stooges? Now there's a theology that should win some adherents!
Most spiritual systems get Triune at some point, usually near the beginning bit. It is all dependent on the notion of selfhood and the two other prime categories the human mind seems wont to create to accompany selfhood.

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Old 11th February 2008, 06:04 AM   #625
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Originally Posted by lupus_in_fabula View Post
Well, as I have pointed out, that’s your opinion. The claim about absolute truth is not very interesting in the sense that it cannot be known for anything else than that it IS (reality is). We don’t know what it is in and of itself, but we can know how it feels to be, how stuff behaves and how stuff relates to each other. To know what we know requires a fairly exact set of observations and rigid method for analyzing them, and finally a meaningful translation which put them together in a picture about how stuff works. You might not find that enthusiastic while other do. Those who do, tend to think that it’s better to strive for such a process that’s replicable for everyone, i.e. it shouldn’t matter who does that; the process should speak for itself, as much as possible.

On another note: what you have seen or experienced, is mostly meaningful for you. There’s nothing that proves other than that your experiences of non-duality only took place in your brain, whatever it is you became convinced about. That’s the bottom line. Whatever I have experienced, there’s no reason to think it’s anything other than an experience the same, within the confinements of my brain. For self therapeutic purposes some might need to project those experiences as something universal or as a “deeper truth” (to make it into an everyday world view). We all do that, albeit to what degree remains in fluctuation. It is obvious, however, that such claims aren’t necessarily true outside your own corporal experience of being, although there’s always that possibility too, of course. Obviously you can then claim that there’s nothing outside, everything is inside – that’s the important insight which becomes so obvious – but that doesn’t change anything, we don’t really know that, and it’s even safe to assume you’re only settled for solipsism here.
Once you have seen what it is, for any meaningful length of time, it's bloody hard to go back to objectivity to the degree that you could believe that it's possible to formulate meaningful statements about the nature of reality. It's patently *********** obvious, to be honest, that this can't be done, once you start to grasp the reality of non-dualism.

Of course, if you are in some way addicted to trying to understand the world objectively, and experience a deep need to continue the research, debate, and endless argument with others then this above will inevitably be a highly confrontational statement. If this is so you may comfort yourself with the knowledge that it's "just my opinion."

"That's just your opinion" (actually means - I don't like the look of this!)

Other popular "get-out clauses," escape routes, and general back doors for internet discussion groups include -
- demanding to know the precise definition of either pretty much every word, or one particularly hard-to-define word (actually means - I don't like where this is going!)
- introducing some mind-blowingly complex concept of at best only tangential relevance to the discussion at hand (actually means - I don't like the look of this!)
- or my personal favourite option "well it's all just arising anyway, who's to know?" (actually means - I don't like the look of this!)

Nick
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:15 AM   #626
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
What I am saying is....there's no hard evidence for the concept "I." It is assumed. When you talk about materialism, or objectivity, as giving the best we know about the world, you overlook that the most basic concept that it is based on is assumed. It cannot be hard proven. The tower of materialism is founded upon an unexamined assumption.

This is what I'm saying. If you don't believe me....then look for yourself.

Nick
This is your straw tower, science is based upon isotropy and isolation of factors (reductionism).
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:16 AM   #627
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
Consciousness is behaviour, yes; and to observe that behaviour we normally look at outward signs (the body) and also at what is stimulating that consciousness (the environment).

But if you confuse the easily visible signs of consciousness with the process of consciousness, then, um, you're confused. After all, we can also just shove a bunch of electrodes into your brain. It's just that this is considered impolite.
That's why I try not to confuse the two. When we use the word consciousness we typically refer to a kind of private behavior, most of which is not readily open to scrutiny by others. Why this has become somehow mysterious is beyond me. I know people play with the various meanings of the word 'objective' and argue that science is 'objective' so it cannot deal with the 'sujective'; but that is just word play and not worthy of serious thought. But you know that already.

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First of all, language does make sense as a private property; you are confusing shared language with language in general. I can make my own language, and as long as it has meaning to me, it's a real language.

Second, we seem to be getting further and further away from a definition of what consciousness is. What are these higher functions that depend critically on language, and why are they labeled "consciousness"?

Consciousness is being aware and self-aware. What else is needed?
As to the private language issue, we do not create private languages de novo. We learn a language within a language community; language really only makes sense in that sort of context, since its function is communication. While we can create a private language after the fact, that is just a curiosity; that sort of thing does not serve the function of language. Private means of notation are ususally only markers, not full languages anyway (they don't generally follow full semantic/syntactic rules the way native human languages do). I think language is best viewed as an interaction between people. Meaning derives from that shared community.

As to the issue of how this relates to consciousness, well that depends on how consciousness is defined. There is a sense in which we are not aware (or at least fully aware) of things we cannot name or deal with linguistically (we almost define the external expression of 'being conscious' of some idea based on one's ability to communicate it; Billy cannot say what it is he is thinking, well that's because he isn't really aware of what is in his mind). But, from a neuro perspective, we use the word consciousness to refer to several different things -- which is all part of the problem. That word just doesn't mean one thing, and this allows folks to switch definitions around and pretend that there is something mysterious at play.

There is being awake. That is one level of consciousness and there are gradations within it ranging from coma to stupor to lethargy to fully awake. And there is a whole host of other mental functions allied to this -- and this includes the 'will' with situations like akinetic mutism throwing a wrench into our whole way of viewing wake/alert/aware issues.

Then there is awareness, which when examined gets really messy.

Then there are what we call the contents of consciousness, including language, concentration, executive functions, memory, etc.

It's all very messy. Then Thomas Nagel comes in and decides that what really matters is the feeling of what happens, which is a whole other issue.


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You might as well say that breathing cannot be localised to any individual respiratory system, that digestion cannot be localised to any individual digestive tract.
Yes. Digestion and breathing are behaviors that depend critically on environmental influence. We speak of digestion as occurring in the gut, but it cannot occur in the gut without outside influence -- food. The same is true of perception. While the brain is capable of creating its own perceptions -- hallucinations -- it depends critically on outside influences in the first place to create categories of thought. And perceptions themselves are interactions between receptors and environment.

I know that we all speak of the brain as 'the locus' of consciousness, but this is only short-hand. I think that is what BDZ was trying to say -- to remind us that the brain isn't all there is to the equation. It isn't that big a deal, so I think he was overly harsh in his criticism of you. If he means something else, then I disagree with him.

People who look at this from a philosophical perspective -- particularly from a monistic viewpoint -- see the entire environment as one, and they are often not willing to give any special merit to the individual. I think that is all he was trying to say.

And, yes, when it comes to such discussions, I agree that this is overly pedantic.
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:19 AM   #628
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
And the hard evidence is....? I seem to have missed that bit.

Nick

What evidence is there that experiences are not limited to individual neural networks. I have four more pages to go, you haven't answered the question yet.
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:29 AM   #629
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
It isn't! Materialism is best because it has the most possibility to show you your limitations. All philosophies, all beliefs are just arising through the mechanism of identification, so you might as well choose the one that can rein you in.

Yes, I've read the neuroscientists are currently somewhere around the amygdala, looking at how it can differentiate person from person. Generally, I think body image and related phenomena are tracked to the somatosensory cortex. Someone wrote a book recently about how empathy arises as amygdalic function diffuses. I read it's popular because empathy and its occasional end product self-sacrifice are a major hassle for the neurobiologists.
They are? Citations and evidence?
Quote:

Personally, I figure the "I" is an artifact of libidinal drive, the need for emotions to be truly felt and thoughts acted upon.
Oh my, I hope this is neofreudian twaddle.
Quote:
When you work with people who are repressing a lot of feeling, you have to crank them up so they can really allow themselves to feel. You have to restrict their sleep or something, you need to drive them a bit crazy so they can start to let go. They need to fully identify with feelings. When they've done that they can let go of the identification.
Ah the infamous psychobabble. How would that work exactly? Just because you say so, sound more like some wierd cult indoctrination. Please don't become a counselor. Sort of existentialism yuck.
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The thoughts arise the same, to the same environmental stimuli, but they more pass through the brain unacted upon. Once there's awareness of the thought and where acting upon it leads, it can more just pass through. Behaviour changes

Nick

Duh, there are stimuli and consequences, behaviorism tends to focus on both.
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:30 AM   #630
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Originally Posted by articulett View Post
And why does he think materialism is woo and how exactly is his philosophy different.

Yes, it's complex... but our inability to recreate it does not mean that materialism is wrong and that some other as yet heretofore unmentioned explanation is better or more useful or more right. The stomach digests... Legs give rise to walking... the brain creates consciousness--some of which are aware; much of which is autonomous...

Materialism explains the ideomotor effect for example... what alternative is there? If BDZ keep calling materialism woo, he must have some reason and some better fitting explanation, no? Or is he like a creationist calling evolution woo?

I'm not sure why he would call it 'woo' other than from the perspective that he is trying to think more globally. From what I can tell many people -- martillo seems to be one -- assume that anyone self-identifying as a materialist thinks they know what 'matter' is. I don't think any of us know what 'matter' is. For the most part we all seem to identify materialism with scientific enquiry and don't particularly care what ultimate reality looks like. We are more concerned with the realities right in front of our faces, like how do we explain consciousness naturalistically. Science is really just pragmatism writ large. Basic ontology is beyond it and beyond us. I don't know why we keep having these same conversations.

What differs in his philosophy? I should let him answer himself, but my guess is that he is looking at it from a Buddhist perspective -- from the whole system of the universe, where the individual is non-existent. I don't think there is a difference in kind, only in the perspective one takes.

I think the conflict arises when some folks are interested in the nitty-gritty details of how the brain-environment interaction does it (creates consciousness) and others want to consider it from a more global perspective. You are all probably saying the same thing, but at different levels, none being more 'deep' than the others (despite anyone's protests to the contrary).
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:38 AM   #631
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
Yeah, this is why they're so good for OCD, obsessive-compulsive disorder. The chaos must break up the ritualised patterns in the brain. Either that or they connect you to a deeper place. I think they're called entheogens, btw. Coming to a pharmacy near you soon.

Nick
Excuse me?

Research , data and citations?

Are you sure it is the psychoactive component or the serotonin casscade?

What the Fred are you talking about?
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:39 AM   #632
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
What evidence is there that experiences are not limited to individual neural networks. I have four more pages to go, you haven't answered the question yet.
I'm talking about the experience of personal identity, of identification, of thoughts developing the sensation of "my-ness" - developing a mechanism by which they can be acted upon. This is a different thing from labelling.

Nick
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:43 AM   #633
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Originally Posted by JoeEllison View Post
Please... don't do that.

If there was not laughter the tao would not be as it is.

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Old 11th February 2008, 06:45 AM   #634
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
They are? Citations and evidence?
Well, I'm a subscriber to SciAm's MIND magazine and I read it in there last month. If you check online I'm sure you can find it, december edition. The book's called The Neuroscience of Fair Play.

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Oh my, I hope this is neofreudian twaddle.
Well, you can call it dopaminergic if you don't like psychiatry. Amounts to the same.

Quote:
Ah the infamous psychobabble. How would that work exactly? Just because you say so, sound more like some wierd cult indoctrination. Please don't become a counselor. Sort of existentialism yuck.
I always find it interesting that if I mention therapy or feelings on the JREF then I get accused of psychobabble.

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Duh, there are stimuli and consequences, behaviorism tends to focus on both.
How does behaviourism explain the phenomenon of identification? I'm interested.

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Old 11th February 2008, 06:49 AM   #635
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
Excuse me?

Research , data and citations?

Are you sure it is the psychoactive component or the serotonin casscade?

What the Fred are you talking about?
Hi David,

I cited you papers earlier in this thread. Magic mushrooms contain psilocybin, so it's those ones. I don't know the mechanism of action, or know if it's been discovered yet. BTW, as an aside, it's not necessary to know a drug's mechanism of action to have it developed.

Nick
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:53 AM   #636
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
Hi Articulett,

I'm saying that objectivity has an assumption at its foundation, the assumption of the limited observer. That this limited observer only exists notionally can be demonstrated, subjectively, through self-examination or, objectively, through noting the absence of any hard evidence for the existence of any personal "I." In trying to create a meaningful relationship in one's mind between objectivity and subjectivity I would consider this to be a useful point to grasp.

I don't use the c word much, but to answer your question I guess it could well be that consciousness arises from the brain, but then the brain is only experienced as an entity arising in consciousness. So it's a bit chicken and egg to me.

Nick
Ah good old Berkley.

Science: isotropy and reductionism.
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:57 AM   #637
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Originally Posted by Nick227 View Post
Well, I'm not trying to do that. I'm pointing out that the core of the experience "I" seems to be entirely notional.

Nick
The illusion of the self does not refute science or materialism.
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Old 11th February 2008, 06:58 AM   #638
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Originally Posted by Bodhi Dharma Zen View Post
Lets see:

"Horse Power is the sum total of all engine processes, the subroutine that handles gas, the subroutine that handles air, the subroutine that handles ignition etc when taken as a whole is Horse Power."

"Computation is the sum total of all computer processes, the subroutine that handles bits, the subroutine that handles heath, the subroutine that handles sums etc when taken as a whole is computation."

I hope it is clear now
Sorry but no - could you answer the question using the words like 'brain', 'mind', 'consciousness' for example? Otherwise I might think you were being obtuse because you can't answer the question. I'll start for you:

Consciousness isn't the sum total of all brain processes because...
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Old 11th February 2008, 07:40 AM   #639
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Originally Posted by Dancing David View Post
The illusion of the self does not refute science or materialism.
Well, it potentially refutes objectivity, depending on how you choose to view it. Depending on how you view science and materialism, and depending on how you view the world, it may or may not be considered to refute one or both. I appreciate that this isn't a very satisfactory answer!

The experience of objectivity happens, as does the experience of personal selfhood. It rather depends if you consider anything that is experienced to be a priori valid simply through the fact of it being experienced.

It's a similar situation with determinism. If the universe is entirely deterministic then there is no free will. However, there clearly is the experience of free will. Thus, in like manner, if one is a determinist one has the option to say that any experience of free will is illusory, or that the experience of free will is genuine, but that it results because of erroneous mental processing or similar. (Actually, if one is a determinist then one doesn't really have options!)

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Old 11th February 2008, 08:47 AM   #640
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Originally Posted by Robin View Post
If it is acceptable to call materialism an assumption then why did you need anything after your first sentence?

If it is an assumption it needs no justification. But you included 5 good justifications. I could supply many more.
The philosophical position of materialism allows one to examine things under a specific worldview which you defined elsewhere as:

Materialism :
Axiom 1: Any event that is not deterministic is necessarily arbitrary.
Axiom 2: Any mental entity is a functional composite of non-mental entities.
First Corollary: If the above is true, then Idealism, Dualism, libertarian free-will and God are all impossible concepts.

What has changed the "if"? Interpretations of events, including epistemic science, based on those axioms don't prove them.

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Like I said, it is not an assumption, it is a conclusion. Science does not need the Materialism as a starting point, science relies on pure Empiricism.

But at the end of the day Materialism is the only conclusion that makes any sense.
So no, Materialism is not a conclusion, but remains a belief system.
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