Consciousness

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Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 11:20 am
Is consciousness really just an emergent property of neuron's and their associated molecules? Is it an emergent property of a large group of neuron's in the brain? Or is it unexplainable by neuron's alone and require some sort of breakthrough in science concerning quantum physical properties in neuron's that would more easily explain consciousness?
 
Holiday20310401
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 11:30 am
@quandary,
Consciousness would be emergent yes. It might have something to do with neuronal complexity, but that complexity would be emergent on a grander system in which ultimately consciousness would emerge from that.
 
quandary
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 02:04 pm
@Holiday20310401,
So then you would say consciousness is an emergent property of the emergent property of the totality of neuronal connections and complexities?
 
Joe
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 03:02 pm
@quandary,
The most basic, Neuro, descriptions taken from an emergent way

1) the basal ganglia which incrementally adjusts choice behaviors using environmental
feedback about the consequences of our actions,

(2) the hippocampus which supports learning in other brain regions through the creation of
new stimulus representations (and, hence, new similarity
relationships) that reflect important statistical regularities in the
environment,

(3) the medial septum which works in a feedback-loop with
the hippocampus, using novelty-detection to alter the rate at which
stimulus representations are updated through experience,

(4) the frontal lobes which provide for selective attention and executive
control of learning and memory.


I believe the frontal lobes are what is mostly linked in IQ tests. Anyways,

paramecium do not have complex neural networks yet they are conscious-like. Single cell organism. It finds food, it find mates (sex).

My friends often point out to me that the synapse is not so simple. after that Im lost, but the neuron on and off switch, is important to consider.
 
Lord Lucan
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 03:34 pm
@quandary,
Surely when we talk about what we mean by "consciousness", we don't usually use neurological vocabulary. We don't say "A few ganglia fired and I became aware I was no longer sleeping". Instead, we say "I awoke" to describe that particular familiar state of consciousness.

There may well turn out to be be physiological correlates of aspects of consciousness but surely, the physiology isn't what consciousness is. That isn't at all what we mean when we use the term "consciousness".:sarcastic:
 
quandary
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 04:26 pm
@Lord Lucan,
Lord Lucan;39477 wrote:
Surely when we talk about what we mean by "consciousness", we don't usually use neurological vocabulary. We don't say "A few ganglia fired and I became aware I was no longer sleeping". Instead, we say "I awoke" to describe that particular familiar state of consciousness.

There may well turn out to be be physiological correlates of aspects of consciousness but surely, the physiology isn't what consciousness is. That isn't at all what we mean when we use the term "consciousness".:sarcastic:


Well hang on here and let me see if I understand you correctly?

If I am waking up. I will not say the physiological process behind my waking up. I will describe it as it is to me consciously: 'waking'.

I think this obfuscates how we are trying to explain consciousness. Think of something like water, or the solidity of a stone. These things are liquid or solid simply due to the behavior of a given set of molecules. These molecules will behave a certain way, and as an emergent property of the behavior of these molecules we will have: solidity, liquidity, etc. These are emergent properties of the behavior of these molecules. The same could be for nerve cells and neurons; that their behavior can cause consciousness as an emergent property.

However, to eschew any notion of my being tendentious, there in lies a problem of qualia. How is possible for the objectivity of all of this to create something that is entirely subjective? :detective:

Hopefully I make sense maybe I've misunderstood my resources and am wrong?
 
Joe
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 05:30 pm
@Lord Lucan,
Lord Lucan wrote:
Surely when we talk about what we mean by "consciousness", we don't usually use neurological vocabulary. We don't say "A few ganglia fired and I became aware I was no longer sleeping". Instead, we say "I awoke" to describe that particular familiar state of consciousness.

There may well turn out to be be physiological correlates of aspects of consciousness but surely, the physiology isn't what consciousness is. That isn't at all what we mean when we use the term "consciousness".:sarcastic:


I totally agree with you, but Its just another step for me, a hard one at that, to use science as a tool for questions. Questions no matter their indirect source, can only further my thinking.
 
quandary
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 05:46 pm
@Joe,
Joe;39472 wrote:
Anyways, paramecium do not have complex neural networks yet they are conscious-like. Single cell organism. It finds food, it find mates (sex)..


I guess the most fundamental need now would be what you define as conscious. Beyond this, the lessened degree of consciousness in paramecium could be directly proportional to the lessened degree of neural networks in them? Not necessarily my opinion but I'm just guessing at what someone else who advocates it might say.
 
Joe
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 06:30 pm
@quandary,
quandary wrote:
I guess the most fundamental need now would be what you define as conscious. Beyond this, the lessened degree of consciousness in paramecium could be directly proportional to the lessened degree of neural networks in them? Not necessarily my opinion but I'm just guessing at what someone else who advocates it might say.



I think your misunderstanding the information. First, They dont know if a paramecium actually has consciousness, it just has characteristics of it. Its just something to look at. I hold nothing of this in some solid fact of consciousness. As for what use any of this has, alot of curiosity into defining consciousness is being looked into with quantum rules. Which I know absolutely zilch about. But it seems that What they're looking at in this field could help explain possibilities.

Otherwise, Im still coming from a Philosophers and spiritualist perspective.

ommmmmmmm...........
 
quandary
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 06:43 pm
@Joe,
Joe;39498 wrote:
As for what use any of this has, alot of curiosity into defining consciousness is being looked into with quantum rules. Which I know absolutely zilch about.


There is one definition that I know of. Whether it's any good or not I don't know, but seems logical enough:

" consciousness refers to those states of sentience and awareness that typically begin when we awake from dreamless sleep and continue till we go to sleep again, or fall into a coma or die or otherwise become unconscious."

-Searle
 
Joe
 
Reply Wed 24 Dec, 2008 07:02 pm
@quandary,
quandary wrote:
There is one definition that I know of. Whether it's any good or not I don't know, but seems logical enough:

" consciousness refers to those states of sentience and awareness that typically begin when we awake from dreamless sleep and continue till we go to sleep again, or fall into a coma or die or otherwise become unconscious."

-Searle


yeh that seems like a good take on it. my friend is educating me on the theory's in this video. All i can say is that he is a very patient man.

But check out this vid. it is very interesting if your into learning this stuff.

YouTube - Quantum Consciousness, Quantum Mind STUART HAMEROFF (P.2)

sorry the audio is off a bit, i know that is annoying.
 
quandary
 
Reply Thu 25 Dec, 2008 11:25 pm
@Joe,
I've seen that. I believe it's from the movie "What in the Bleep Do We Know".

I'm sorry I have a hard time stomaching down their whole idea of the ability to actualize your thoughts and changing reality to fit your 'thinking'. Maybe it's true, but it seems a little too sketchy being that they hide behind the facade of lacuna's in quantum physics.

I think these are the same people who are behind "The Secret". I'm not saying it's wrong, I'm just saying it's too crazy to believe as is right now.
 
xris
 
Reply Fri 26 Dec, 2008 06:26 am
@Joe,
Joe wrote:
yeh that seems like a good take on it. my friend is educating me on the theory's in this video. All i can say is that he is a very patient man.

But check out this vid. it is very interesting if your into learning this stuff.

YouTube - Quantum Consciousness, Quantum Mind STUART HAMEROFF (P.2)

sorry the audio is off a bit, i know that is annoying.
It appears that we could have the same consciousness but we can only select the information that is relative to us.A closed circuit within a larger circuit..Every electron could carry its neighbours past and future history ..It makes the individuals "i" more possible if the information is stored or is not the "i" but the "us"..or if it can communicate faster than light WOW what would that infer...Much too much to believe in this QM world..
 
Whoever
 
Reply Sat 27 Dec, 2008 06:09 am
@quandary,
quandary wrote:
There is one definition that I know of. Whether it's any good or not I don't know, but seems logical enough:

" consciousness refers to those states of sentience and awareness that typically begin when we awake from dreamless sleep and continue till we go to sleep again, or fall into a coma or die or otherwise become unconscious."

-Searle

To me this is not so much a definition as a description of how we usually use the word 'consciousness'. It is an arguable description since some would say that consciousness does not cease when we are in a dreamless sleep.
 
quandary
 
Reply Sun 28 Dec, 2008 02:39 am
@Whoever,
Whoever;39788 wrote:
To me this is not so much a definition as a description of how we usually use the word 'consciousness'. It is an arguable description since some would say that consciousness does not cease when we are in a dreamless sleep.


What are you aware of in a dreamless sleep? What are you conscious of in a dreamless sleep? Maybe consciousness becomes latent for some time but you would describe that as unconscious wouldn't you? :listening:
 
Whoever
 
Reply Sun 28 Dec, 2008 06:16 am
@quandary,
It seems unconscious to me. But things are not always as they seem. A Buddhist would argue that consciousness does not cease when we are asleep. Searle's definition applied to golf would say that golf refers to those states of activity that typically begin when we tee off and continue until we're back in the clubhouse.
 
quandary
 
Reply Sun 28 Dec, 2008 07:26 pm
@Whoever,
Whoever;39907 wrote:
It seems unconscious to me. But things are not always as they seem. A Buddhist would argue that consciousness does not cease when we are asleep. Searle's definition applied to golf would say that golf refers to those states of activity that typically begin when we tee off and continue until we're back in the clubhouse.


That seems to be true as well however, I'd have a hard time arguing with a Buddhist because it seems their argument would rely on a substratum of spirituality and religious beliefs rather than science (or at least a scientific means of proof. Searle advocates removing dualism from consciousness.) I don't see anything wrong with that definition of golf? the term "activity" seems slightly too ambiguous: typically people will talk while playing golf, however this isn't playing golf. You are engaged in a game of golf while your activity (conversing) is something totally independent from golf. Searle expresses quite clearly with sentience and awareness and these terms seem to have removed a certain sort of 'vagueness' that your definition has.

I don't see this as THE definition, simply A logical definition (not necessarily scientific or authoritative) of what we are talking about when we use the term: consciousness.

I dunno I could be wrong though? I don't know much about buddhism, but I have worked on a golf course and once again, aside from that one term, it seem's actually quite right.:perplexed:
 
Whoever
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 06:20 am
@quandary,
In consciousness studies a common definition is 'what it is like.' It is this 'what it is like' that distinguishes consciousness from all other phenomena. It might also be called awareness or experience. The idea is that consciousness is present in a thing if there is something it is like to be that thing. This originates with Thomas Nagel, who in a famous article asks what it is like to be a bat.
 
quandary
 
Reply Tue 30 Dec, 2008 01:47 pm
@Whoever,
Whoever;40139 wrote:
In consciousness studies a common definition is 'what it is like.' It is this 'what it is like' that distinguishes consciousness from all other phenomena. It might also be called awareness or experience. The idea is that consciousness is present in a thing if there is something it is like to be that thing. This originates with Thomas Nagel, who in a famous article asks what it is like to be a bat.


That sounds to me like an accurate definition of it as well, however it also feels like a thought experiment delimiting consciousness' whereabouts. I don't have a problem with that and I don't feel like it contradicts or opposes Searle's. Like I said before: I feel it is a logical enough definition as it explains what we mean (or the meaning of) the word consciousness when we use it.:a-ok:
 
Whoever
 
Reply Mon 22 Jun, 2009 06:03 am
@quandary,
I'd like to disgree with you about Buddhism. You say you don't like arguing with Buddhists because it seems 'their argument would rely on a substratum of spirituality and religious beliefs rather than science (or at least a scientific means of proof).' This is a common view, but you'll find yourself arguing with a lot of Buddhists on this point whether you like it or not.

The Dalai Lama, who is aware of the issues, and aware of Popper's views (and met him), characterises Buddhism as a science of mind. It is a religion, a science, a practice and a metaphysical scheme, and may be approached from any of these directions. If you don't like the religion, try the metaphysics. In metaphysics it is possible to demonstrate the truth of its Middle Way doctrine, as Bradley and Nagarjuna have shown. Indeed, it is the only metaphysical position that cannot be refuted in the dialectic, and as such the only cosmological doctrine that is reasonable. No substratum of religious beliefs is necessary to establish this.

Consciousness studies as it is at present might be seen as a communal attempt to falsify Buddhist doctrine regarding consciousness, and it isn't going very well. David Chalmers is one of the very few prominent names who seem prepared to face the issues head on, and he ends with a view just one small step from the Buddha's. But even Dennett, the foremost muddler of issues in the field, comes close with his dismissal of the self as a work of fiction and his rejection of dualism. Unfortunately these people seem convinced that Buddhism, more generally mysticism, is dependent on religious beliefs that cannot be assesssed, and therefore don't bother to find out what it is. Please don't fall into this trap.
 
 

 
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