Author Topic: Consciousness and thoughts  (Read 13771 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

February 23, 2016, 02:04:03 PM
Reply #15

ActionOfAll

  • A Veritas Regular

  • Offline
  • **

  • 82
  • Karma:
    0
    • View Profile
Rayn: I already qualified my citation of Kant, as I am relying on Will Durant's sub 100 page exposition on the ideas of a man who wrote thousands of pages. Moreover, I don't even have the book anymore, so I'm relying purely on memory.

The goal which should be shared is to reduce the ambiguity as much as possible, and if not, don't talk about it.

You're not the only academic on this forum. I'm presenting at a conference in a few months... I'm the last one to suggest or support the disregarding of science - it's my field!

February 23, 2016, 02:29:58 PM
Reply #16

Mind_Bender

  • Posts By Osmosis

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 1135
  • Karma:
    89
  • Personal Text
    Deus ex Machina
    • View Profile
Actually it isn't an appeal to authority, because I'm not claiming that what Kant says must be true. I was merely suggesting an alternative, whereas you were implying that we should accept the neurologist's assertions simply because they are a neurologist. Of course, being an expert makes an idea put forth by said expert more credible than a non-expert's assertions, but by itself it is insufficient (especially with a subject so disputed even within the neuroscientific community).

Neurologists spend their lifetimes in a laboratory studying the brain-consciousness connection, where philosophers simply philosophize about it, so yeah, I think it is appropriate to accept studies done by current scientists not long dead philosophers.

Also, your usage of sound is again incorrect, because your reasoning isn't valid. The conclusion that thoughts "stem" from the brain is not substantiated by correlational evidence. This evidence could equally suggest that the brain and the subjective experience of thoughts both arise as different extensions of some other "thing".

The term is used in the correct context because I am referring to the neurologists thorough and sensible studies of the human brain. Your disagreement with me has nothing to do with the usage of the term but with your disagreement.

Look back at the first set of quotes - thoughts arise because of three points of knowledge that emerge from the brains processing power. Our subjective views come from our thoughts about things, and once again, thoughts come from the three points of knowledge that come from the brains processing.

Honestly, I really don't now, but the neurological perspective makes the most sense to me. Consciousness is debated the world over by spiritual masters and scientific geniuses the world over and neither of us are going to accept the other's argument. And debates derail threads, which is lame.  :)
"Spirit is in a state of grace forever.
Your reality is only spirit.
Therefore you are in a state of grace forever."

"As relfections of the Source, we are little gods."

"...part of me doesn't want to believe that auto-eroticism while crushing on a doodle (sigil) could manifest a check in the mail box, but hey, it did."

"Everybody laughs the same language."

February 23, 2016, 03:17:31 PM
Reply #17

ActionOfAll

  • A Veritas Regular

  • Offline
  • **

  • 82
  • Karma:
    0
    • View Profile
There are plenty of currently-alive philosophers of mind and brain.

Moreover, the neuroscience field is heavily divided in terms of what the experts believe, which is why the reliance on their comments alone is insufficient; your conclusion would rely almost entirely (if not entirely) on whichever expert you chose to listen to that day.

Also, the term is not actually used in the correct context as I said, because once again, your conclusion does not follow from your premises...

" Look back at the first set of quotes - thoughts arise because of three points of knowledge that emerge from the brains processing power. Our subjective views come from our thoughts about things, and once again, thoughts come from the three points of knowledge that come from the brains processing."

Wow, that logic is just one big question begging Lol!

1. The brain has 3 points of knowledge
2. These three points of knowledge create thought
3. That the brain has 3 points of knowledge which create thought IS itself a thought
4. Therefore the thought comes from the brain because the brain creates 3 points of knowledge which creates thought

the conclusion is just the premises re-stated.

February 23, 2016, 07:13:02 PM
Reply #18

Steve

  • Posts By Osmosis

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 3685
  • Karma:
    139
    • View Profile
Quote from: ActionOfAll
The notion that thoughts come from the brain is not definite or factual, as you two make it out to be. To say thoughts come from the brain is to suppose a causal link, yet then you cite mere correlational evidence. Furthermore, examine it in this way: What is a thought? Let's define it as non-physical experience.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsjDnYxJ0bo From 2011.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/mind-reading-brain-reconstruct-face_n_5049255.html From 2014. Great strides :)

You cited stuff from the 1960s. That's outdated and outmatched by modern research that can definitively provide a direct re-creation of human thoughts (they re-created visual thoughts for the time being, as that's probably the easiest to portray; I mean, after all, how do you portray a re-creation of the "thought" of a cat without the visuals?) :)

~Steve
« Last Edit: February 23, 2016, 07:29:09 PM by Steve »
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 24, 2016, 06:23:35 AM
Reply #19

ActionOfAll

  • A Veritas Regular

  • Offline
  • **

  • 82
  • Karma:
    0
    • View Profile
Quote from: ActionOfAll
The notion that thoughts come from the brain is not definite or factual, as you two make it out to be. To say thoughts come from the brain is to suppose a causal link, yet then you cite mere correlational evidence. Furthermore, examine it in this way: What is a thought? Let's define it as non-physical experience.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nsjDnYxJ0bo From 2011.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/01/mind-reading-brain-reconstruct-face_n_5049255.html From 2014. Great strides :)

You cited stuff from the 1960s. That's outdated and outmatched by modern research that can definitively provide a direct re-creation of human thoughts (they re-created visual thoughts for the time being, as that's probably the easiest to portray; I mean, after all, how do you portray a re-creation of the "thought" of a cat without the visuals?) :)

~Steve

Once again, correlational evidence... I've seen that study (the actual study, not the pop-sci report of it ). The brain obviously has activities which correlate to subjective reports. Therefore, if someone has a person think of a large array of images, mapping these correlates. They can have the person think of an unknown image, and, using the previously stored correlates, construct a very accurate guess. This is in no way causation, and it's disappointing that it has been interpreted that way...

Rayn:

The empirical data can be interpreted via whichever dialectic that scientist operates within. Empirical data does in fact mean two different things to two different scientists. Of course there is convergence as the body of available data grows... But when scientists themselves begin to make metaphysical claims about their discoveries (which they do, even in the sense that they take positivism for granted) they are blurring the lines between philosophy and science. The claims about the nature of reality collected via third-person experimentation (empirical data) are ontological (obviously). The difference is that the typical scientist will take for granted such ontological beliefs, rather than critically examining them.

In so far as scientists make claims about what their empirical data means about reality, they are making metaphysical claims. This is what happens when discussions of consciousness occur. As such, the authority should be an expert in philosophy of science, not a scientist. A philosopher of science would examine, in a second-order fashion, the ways in which the scientist comes to know, and the ways in which these support (or not) ontological claims. A scientist operates within their respective dialectic (usually positivist), whereas the philosopher examines it.

The layperson may have the tendency to drift towards the conceptual, but the conceptual is not necessarily the philosophical. The philosophical requires the appreciation and command of a meta-methodology, which is a skill that requires the habitual learning of particular methods of analysis and formulas, as well as the development of a large body of knowledge, and finally, development of meta-cognitive habits in day-to-day thinking.

February 24, 2016, 08:06:25 AM
Reply #20

Steve

  • Posts By Osmosis

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 3685
  • Karma:
    139
    • View Profile
Quote from: ActionOfAll
Once again, correlational evidence... I've seen that study (the actual study, not the pop-sci report of it ). The brain obviously has activities which correlate to subjective reports. Therefore, if someone has a person think of a large array of images, mapping these correlates. They can have the person think of an unknown image, and, using the previously stored correlates, construct a very accurate guess. This is in no way causation, and it's disappointing that it has been interpreted that way...
On the other hand, what's the evidence, not the philosophy, that says otherwise? After all, 1) the scientific advancements are still underway, and 2) causation is a subset of correlation (that has to be proven to a higher standard than correlation. In other words, what is seen as correlation now could turn into causation with more experiments and evidence).

Good reasoning would have us use less absurd rationale when trying to consider and explain things that haven't been proven yet. We currently have definitive evidence that shows we can see into the "minds" of people using purely physical instrumentation and methodologies. Ignoring that while trying to postulate an entire new set of physics, an entire new force, an entire new level of reality, or an entire new universe to try and explain how "mental stuff" is distinct from the brain... all of that is way overboard compared to what's necessary. Recognizing the very real and very simple possibility that the "mind" is just the complex actualization of the neural network of the brain, is far more rationale and reasonable (and far more likely).

I understand that a lot of metaphysical systems like to portray their stuff as being metaphysical, in other words outside the physical laws, but those concept are for ease of understanding rather than proper relation to the real world, and science has no reason to accept them at face value, especially when science can show that phenomenon do exist within the normal physical realm. For those abilities and phenomenon that haven't been shown to exist within the physical realm yet, those are still viewed by metaphysicalists as being metaphysical, but one day, with better experiments and stronger evidence, it might yet be proven that they are all purely and completely within the physical domain.

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 24, 2016, 11:13:11 AM
Reply #21

ActionOfAll

  • A Veritas Regular

  • Offline
  • **

  • 82
  • Karma:
    0
    • View Profile
Rayn, it's laughable that you don't see the mind-brain problem as ontological. It's also laughable that you don't see it as a problem of causation.

You submit that anesthesia disrupts consciousness. This implies a causal connection, where the neurological-signaling changes which take place in the brain are causally responsible for the loss of consciousness. You also, in the same response, deny any problem of causality. Yet there is a problem, because the first person experience of consciousness is fundamentally a different type of phenomenon than the neural signals. The neural signals are empirical, whereas the first person consciousness experience is not. From a behavioral-functional perspective, there would be no explanatory problem, because the person under anesthesia stops behaving (an empirical observation) and neural signals are also blocked (an empirical observation).

However, to submit that an empirical phenomenon is the cause of a characteristically non-empirical phenomenon, without also supplying us with any sort of explanation to bridge this causal gap, is to simply suggest that a miracle occurs. So here comes the question, Rayn: are you submitting, as the qualified scientist that you are, that it's simply by some miracle that the signaling interruptions caused by anesthesia are responsible for loss of first person consciousness?

February 26, 2016, 03:02:12 PM
Reply #22

Steve

  • Posts By Osmosis

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 3685
  • Karma:
    139
    • View Profile
Rayn
Quote from: Steve
causation is a subset of correlation (that has to be proven to a higher standard than correlation. In other words, what is seen as correlation now could turn into causation with more experiments and evidence).
Quote from: Rayn
Both of you are wrong... A correlation is pretty much a relationship, and a relationship, in that sense, is a function where there is some sort of variable difference unless you get something that is constant where something increases or decreases as a function of something.
Actually, what I said is not wrong, Rayn.

All causations are correlations that have one additional piece of information; the linking mechanism. If you have a causation, and then remove the knowledge of the linking mechanism, you still tend to have a strong positive correlation. You cannot have a causality without a correlation, and all information found in the correlation of that same causality is also found in the causality itself, ergo causality is a subset of a correlation. Squares and rectangles.

I do agree that causality is not the important thing in this topic, of whether the mind is distinct from the brain and how it is distinct from the brain, however. After all, it doesn't matter when the scientists can literally subvert the entire topic by simply reading a person's brain and showing that thoughts exist within the brain, where we still have no evidence that a mind supposedly exists apart from the brain.

Quote from: Rayn
Yes, like one day we'll find out fairies make flowers bloom, the moon is really made of cheese, and that Jesus Christ was at Wood Stock. Here is the thing, though, within an unbounded probability domain, these things could be true inductively; however, the chances are so infinitesimal prima facie that we can practically ignore the possibility abductively. In other words, by virtue of it possibly being true can you not reject something that as a measurable likelihood, for if you do this, you pretty much state that everything in science can be treated arbitrarily, which it is not.
Wow, and here I thought after a few days you'd have realized how stupid that was and removed it. Oh well. For ease of reference, let me quote what I said that prompted your response:
Quote from: Steve
For those abilities and phenomenon that haven't been shown to exist within the physical realm yet, those are still viewed by metaphysicalists as being metaphysical, but one day, with better experiments and stronger evidence, it might yet be proven that they are all purely and completely within the physical domain.
There's really nothing wrong with what I said that should draw such a poor reference to fairies making flowers bloom; in fact, that's the exact kind of superstitious nonsense that science originally sprang up to kill. And science has done a good job doing so purely within the physical domain. Doesn't mean that the whole world is necessarily physical, but the so-called evidence that psi might be non-physical (primarily, I assume, your beliefs regarding ITCC?) aren't necessarily what they seem either; in other words, your apt for inferencing might be, instead, jumping to unwarranted conclusions (do you know what the difference between "an inference" and "jumping to a conclusion" is? It's whether you still hold open the doors of other possibilities, or whether you decide to prematurely close them in favour of your favoured belief).


ActionofAll
As I said above to Rayn, I don't think the causality is what matters here. We have people who've definitively looked into the brain activity of humans, and reproduced the thoughts that were found there. Certainly, they've only reproduced the simpler kinds of "sensory thoughts", and even then only for one of the senses for now, and not the more complex types of conceptual thoughts that people can have, but once again there isn't any evidence suggesting that we have a mind as distinct from a brain. But since you're talking a Philosophical slant on this rather than an Empirical Evidence slant, I'll respond mostly from that direction.

Mind-as-distinct-from-brain.
This is what you're proposing in order to argue that thoughts might emerge initially from the mind and then become represented in the brain. So far no evidence of such, yet still it is proposed as a thing to ponder over, since ancient times. It's a nice mental exercise, but we would be remiss to not mention the other possible view (than the one already mentioned).

You seem to take a top-down ideology, where the mind/consciousness exists first and it then somehow communicates itself to the brain. Hence the analogy someone else made about radio waves; if the consciousness is the radio antenna that produces the waves, and the brain is the radio in your car that picks up the radio waves and play them, then turning off the radio in the car merely seems to stop the radio waves in the air that were produced by the radio antenna. This is one way to look at it... except where would the mind or consciousness reside? An entirely new level of reality? At Tom and Dot's Diner in Milwaukee? What's it been doing the whole billions of years that existed prior to your physical body existing, or did it only come into existence at about the same time as your body? Is your physical body only picking up a tiny fraction of a much grander consciousness? What exactly causes this previously disconnected consciousness to attach itself to your physical body such that it would want to communicate via your brain? There's a lot of unanswered questions regarding the consciousness-first side of mind-as-distinct-from-brain ideologies, and as such adhering to the concept, rather than merely contemplating or debating it, would almost appear more as an exercise in Religion than in Philosophy.

The bottom-up ideology would be more where science comes in. Science holds, for instance, that all life on earth used to be incredibly simplistic single celled organisms, and that it grew more complex from there; that complexity grew from simplicity. We have many simple things still in the world today, and then we have a few extra-ordinarily complex things in the world such as brains. From studying other brains and the mental capabilities of other creatures, we can pretty definitively show a correlation between brain complexity and intellectual capacity. Now, to be sure, even simple brains from tiny organisms that are limited in the number of neural pathways that could be produced, can still produce some amazingly intelligent workings; bees and ants and their societies, for instance. However, even from this point of view, the mind-as-distinct-from-brain has never been shown to exist, but if a person were to continue pondering the idea anyway, the brain-first-then-mind ideology would be something like the brain creating an "aura"-like presence that we could call the mind, in much the same way that electrons create an electromagnetic field. The benefit of this way of looking at it is that it can still fit with the scientific understandings that we have so far found in neurology.

Now, back to the thing you said about "characteristically non-empirical phenomenon": this isn't necessarily true. The human brain is incredibly complex, as someone pointed out the number of potential neural pathways and whatnot, and there's a lot of different aspects that go into the human brain, to the point where neurologists are still learning a lot each year; remember that the neurological field(s) is still in it's child stages, and as it progresses more and more it will discover more and more information and reveal the truths behind more and more mysteries. And consciousness is certainly a mystery; as I said before with the psi abilities, it might end up being that consciousness exists outside the physical domain, but we still have so much left to test and search out that it's far to early to definitively say such a thing, especially when the possibility of the consciousness being seated very firmly within the brain is still a very solid possibility.

~Steve
« Last Edit: February 26, 2016, 03:12:21 PM by Steve »
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 26, 2016, 05:42:15 PM
Reply #23

ActionOfAll

  • A Veritas Regular

  • Offline
  • **

  • 82
  • Karma:
    0
    • View Profile
I haven't read Steve's post yet because frankly I'm too tired, but Rayn, I really appreciated that explanation and I appreciate you pointing out that implicit assumption in my reasoning.

That's why I love these debates; they keep me in check!

February 27, 2016, 01:32:03 AM
Reply #24

Steve

  • Posts By Osmosis

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 3685
  • Karma:
    139
    • View Profile
Ah shit. I put it backwards from the beginning. Correlations would be subsets of causation.

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 27, 2016, 08:38:14 AM
Reply #25

ActionOfAll

  • A Veritas Regular

  • Offline
  • **

  • 82
  • Karma:
    0
    • View Profile
Rayn, what would you recommend as a good resource to learn more about the philosophy of causality? Perhaps a non-mathematicians resource to becoming adequately acquainted with causality, thermodynamics, and statistical analysis in general?

This is not my area of study. Preferably something more advanced than a source for laymen, but not something for the advanced scholar who is an expert in that particular field.

Thanks.

February 28, 2016, 07:52:59 AM
Reply #26

Steve

  • Posts By Osmosis

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 3685
  • Karma:
    139
    • View Profile
Causations have the following elements -> {two things being related, modify one thing and measure a modification in the other thing, linking mechanism} <- Correlations have the italicized elements.

[EDIT]
Ergo, we can rewrite it as such: Causation -> {Correlation, linking mechanism}

Unless you can provide an example of an essential element found in correlation that isn't found in causation? To be clear on this, I'm not asking for several paragraphs of your understanding of the subject. I'm asking for a property of correlation; nice and simple, shouldn't take more than 20 words.
[/EDIT]

~Steve
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 08:20:00 AM by Steve »
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 28, 2016, 02:35:18 PM
Reply #27

Steve

  • Posts By Osmosis

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 3685
  • Karma:
    139
    • View Profile
That's more than 20 words and didn't satisfy my requirements. I'm ignoring it.

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 28, 2016, 03:17:47 PM
Reply #28

Steve

  • Posts By Osmosis

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 3685
  • Karma:
    139
    • View Profile
Quote
but it is pretty much consensual within academia that correlations do not mean causality
If you think that's what I was proposing, then you're once again straw manning it. Never did I say that correlations imply causation.

And since we're on things that the other does that we find annoying, I find it annoying that you have never once acknowledged when you were wrong about anything, not even a simple thing. Instead, you either drop it entirely, or you ignore it for a post or two and them turn around and act like you were right about it the whole time even to the point of offering condescending messages about how I was wrong the whole time.

The reason for the 20 words or less is because it's not that hard of an argument. If you can't do it in 20 words or less, then maybe try linking a resource. After all, I don't exactly trust you at your word when you say something is true, because of the above.

Here, here's your post summed up in 20 words or less:
Correlation has intervals. Causation doesn't. Correlation can't be a subset of causation.
12 words.

As for "linking mechanism" having no lexical meaning, then try causal mechanism? http://www-personal.umd.umich.edu/~delittle/Encyclopedia%20entries/Causal%20mechanisms.htm Did you even try to understand what I said, or are you just too hopped up on your own ego and desire to prove others wrong to bother trying to understand what they have to say?

~Steve
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?

February 28, 2016, 06:39:47 PM
Reply #29

Steve

  • Posts By Osmosis

  • Offline
  • *****

  • 3685
  • Karma:
    139
    • View Profile
Quote
This means correlations are implied by causality.
Yes, that one I meant to say from the beginning. I accidentally said it the other way around, and then corrected myself. So I am not saying that correlations imply causality, but I will say that causation implies correlation, because it kind of has to. How do you have a causation effect, where influencing one thing literally affects something else directly, and say that there's no correlation between them, where correlation is the observation that influencing one thing somehow affects another thing?

Quote
It is only lexical, in terms of that link, in Hume's paradigm, but that is not what is being discussed, so giving me that link does nothing to support your stance.
You don't get to tell me what I'm discussing. If I'm discussing causation in terms of there being a causation/linking mechanism then that's what I'm discussing. You get to tell me what you are discussing. But if you're going to jump in on my conversation and tell me I'm wrong about something, then you need to acknowledge that you're not in control of what definitions I'm using, nor of what overall topic I'm discussing it from. We've been over this time and time again.

Quote
Why do you think people are still trying to figure it out?
Because they're trying to get more accurate than is needed to have a discussion about causality at a certain level. Just like with, oh, I dunno, gravity? At a basic level we all know what gravity generally is, but then some people decide they want to get to know it at a more technically precise level. It doesn't mean that the basic level is wrong, just that it could be more accurate.

At a certain level of discussion, causality is not rocket science. I can distinctly say that a wrecking ball hitting a wall is the cause of the wall crumbling, and that's a clear example of causality at that level of discussion. Then people want to get more technical and be like "well, it's the combination of the mass and the velocity of the ball, and the transfer of energy upon impact, where a greater amount of energy is transferred than the wall can withstand, etc" and then others want to get even more technical and be like "well, speaking of energy and impacts, what we're really looking at is the 'impact' of molecules against one another, so we need to look at the interactions of atoms and electromagnetic forces and whatnot", and then someone else comes along and is like "yeah.. but... what put the wrecking ball up there in the first place? I mean, it's kind of the operator of machine that caused the ball to smash into the wall, so we have to say that he's involved in it too since the ball wouldn't do that all on its own without someone else first acting upon it" etc etc.

Quote
That is actually not true. I actually know off the top of my head a thread where I told you I was wrong and you were right. It was the discussion about the Spanish translitteration of the Tettragrammaton.
Oh, wow. I was wrong again. You did manage to acknowledge you were wrong once. Was that only a year and 3 months ago? Time sure flies. Of course, that's when you were dealing with kobok instead of me, but whatever.

Quote
But, really, this conversation has hit its end.
This conversation hit its end a long time ago. You just didn't seem to see it.

EDIT:
Oh, but I guess I also have to add that you did indeed send me a link. And... it's pretty much the same concept in different words. Interpretation for words, subset for numbers, whatever. It's not the words I'm using that you should be fretting over, but the concepts being discussed. If you know I'm using the "wrong word for your mathematical lexicon" but you understand the concept I'm trying to talk about none-the-less, then maybe don't make a big deal out of words and definitions that are found in mathematics when I'm not talking in terms of mathematics?

~Steve
« Last Edit: February 28, 2016, 06:47:46 PM by Steve »
Mastery does not occur when you've performed a feat once or twice. Instead, it comes after years of training, when you realize that you no longer notice when you're performing a feat which used to require so much effort. Even walking takes years of training for a human: why not everything else?