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Consciousness
#26

Consciousness
(11-03-2019, 09:55 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(11-02-2019, 11:11 AM)Dom Wrote:
(11-02-2019, 11:06 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: More complex consciousness evolved from more simple consciousness .... and there's no reason to think that the simplest forms of consciousness developed from total non-consciousness when total non-consciousness is something that (a) we have no evidence of even existing  (b) we can't even distinguish from the simplest forms of consciousness from our third-person perspective.

So you think a rock might be conscious? That would explain the pet rock phenomenon.  Smile

No, I don't think a rock might be conscious.

Just because each player in a team of football players is conscious doesn't mean that the football team itself is conscious. It's not as if a rock is actually a separate entity .... everything is just part of the universe and what we see as a rock is just a perceptual construct. What our brains perceive to be reality is obviously a gross simplification in order to more easily make sense of the world. We didn't have to evolve to see reality as it actually is ... obviously. We only have to see what is relevant to our reproduction and survival. Who knows what reality is like outside of our perceptions ... but quantum mechanics is already an example of how bizarre reality can be when it isn't relevant to our survival or reproduction.

And, besides, "not relevant to us" and "bizarre" is kind of related.

That is why I am so interested in how animals of various types and even plants perceive the world. I am pretty sure it's not the same as ours.
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#27

Consciousness
(11-03-2019, 10:03 PM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote:
(11-02-2019, 12:35 PM)Alan V Wrote: Every morning within just a couple hours, I am unconscious in deep sleep, partially conscious in dreaming, then fully conscious when awake.

It's not possible to have evidence of 100% non-consciousness when ALL evidence requires consciousness. Something has to be evident to someone in order for it to be evident.

Furthermore .... brain activity is even shown in coma patients. And just because you don't remember something doesn't mean it didn't happen to you.

And obviously OTHER people don't have to be conscious of something in order for the consciousness to be there. Hell, other parts of your brain could be conscious and what you see as 'you' isn't necessarily the totality of it. Are you familar with split brain patients?

Scientists who study sleep and dreaming match subjective reports with objectively measured stages of sleep.  These reports are recorded immediately after waking the subjects from such stages, so the natural amnesia of sleep can be overcome.  Such reports differ between REM sleep and non-REM sleep, but if you know of subjective reports of actual conscious content during deep sleep (stage 3), please let me know.  Absence of evidence can be taken as evidence of absence in normally conscious individuals.

Brain activity alone is not evidence of conscious activity, since much of what the brain does is non-conscious.

One of the books I reviewed above discussed the studies of split brain patients.  In fact the author of the book, Michael Gazzanina, is famous chiefly for such studies.  Here's the section:

Quote:4) The discovery that epileptics who had their corpus callosum cut, severing the connections between the brain’s hemispheres to prevent seizures, clearly demonstrated they had two independent minds subsequently, but sharing the same emotions and motivations from the mid-brain.  These minds did not share information as before, however, and therefore were distinctly different than they were in combination.

Gazzanina and Roger Sperry studied such split-brain patients together.  From such studies, Sperry concluded that conscious experience is a property of brain activity which is:
1) nonreductive (it can’t be broken down into its parts),
2) dynamic (it changes in response to neural activity),
3) and emergent (it is more than the sum of the processes that produce it).
He also concluded “it could not exist apart from the brain.”
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#28

Consciousness
(11-01-2019, 04:32 PM)Alan V Wrote: @DLJ

I promised you a summary of a book I was reading, but thought I would post it in a new string rather than continuing in the free will discussion.

This is a short summary of points from the book Rethinking Consciousness: A Scientific Theory of Subjective Experience by S. A. Graziano, a professor of neuroscience at Princeton University.  The professor calls his hypothesis the “attention schema theory.”

...

6) My critique:

I personally think philosopher John Searle already convincingly argued against the idea that consciousness is nothing but a concomitant of information processing with his Chinese Room thought experiment.  Graziano takes the metaphysical interpretation of consciousness as a biologically-based over-simplification rather than as a culturally-based misinterpretation of the subjective experiences of consciousness.  He failed to understand how subjective experiences bootstrapped evolutionarily important responses in living creatures, and therefore failed to appreciate how life was necessary for their existence.

I very much appreciate the write up.  

Seems like an update to the one I read: Consciousness and the Social Brain from 2013.  Although, from the summary you've provided there doesn't seem to be much added except for the 'futurology' part at the end. 

The earlier book was also "best when it is providing miscellaneous information from neuroscience." although (confession-time) this is not of much interest to me personally as my focus is this bit...

Quote:the need to understand others’ covert attention in social groupings, and includes the abilities to interpret focus, cues, knowledge, body language, facial expressions, words, and so on.

... because this is the part that is impaired for people like me (Autists) in particular, cues, body language and facial expressions.  

I agree that the (Dennett's) Intentional Stance is "descriptive rather than explanatory" which is why I'm focusing on one of Dennett's other two stances - The Design Stance - to provide explanations for Autistic people. 
(the third stance - The Physical Stance - is where the neuroscience is more relevant).

Incidentally, talking of Dennett, I think that his debunking of the Chinese Room is one of the better debunkings although there are others. Check out Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking pp319-329.

Once again, thank you very much for going to the effort of writing that up. 

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#29

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 03:14 AM)Alan V Wrote: Scientists who study sleep and dreaming match subjective reports with objectively measured stages of sleep.  These reports are recorded immediately after waking the subjects from such stages, so the natural amnesia of sleep can be overcome.  Such reports differ between REM sleep and non-REM sleep, but if you know of subjective reports of actual conscious content during deep sleep (stage 3), please let me know.  Absence of evidence can be taken as evidence of absence in normally conscious individuals.


We're not talking about "normal consciousness". Obviously, we can't have evidence of extremely low-level NON-normal consciousness because nobody is able to report it. The point is that nobody ever can have evidence of total non-consciousness .... people just report absences of objective measurements of normal human consciousness .... and obviously normal human consciousness is not what we're looking for in the first place if the entire claim is that consciousness is more fundamental than that due to there never being any evidence of anything but consciousness. The whole idea of there being evidence without it being evident to somebody is incoherent. All scientists are ultimately measuring is their own experience of the world because all anybody can ever know is their experience of the world. All tools, including mathematics, require a conscious subject. We don't have any evidence of anything besides consciousness so the fact that consciousness becomes greatly reduced or we no longer have any evidence that normal human consciousness is present at all .... doesn't mean that we've found evidence of total non-consciousness of any sort. We canlt have evidence of that .... no being in the universe can have evidence of that! It's logically impossible to have evidence of something without it being evident to somebody. Evidence requires consciousness so science doesn't help whatsoever. Nobody can find total non-consciousness ... people just assume that it doesn't exist ... despite the fact that consciousness of some sort is literally the only thing that there is ever evidence of. So the burden of proof has been completely reversed based on not only totally nothing but on a total impossibility.

Quote:Brain activity alone is not evidence of conscious activity, since much of what the brain does is non-conscious.

What we refer to as "non-conscious" is just that which we don't have a normal conscious awareness of and doesn't show the normal signs within the brain.

This doesn't even ADDRESS a more fundamental sort of consciousness. Scientists can't possibly have evidence of total non-consciousness of any sort within the brain ... all they're doing is looking for normal signs ... it's all they can look for! Nobody can have evidence of non-consciousness because literally the only thing anybody ever has evidence of is consciousness. It doesn't matter whether you remember your dreams, it doesn't matter if you're in a coma, it doesn't matter what scientists measure in the brain .... you can't know whether there are still any conscious subjects within the brain merely by objective measurements or memory. There could be a fucking trillion conscious subjects in the brain and nobody would ever know if they're only looking for what they already bloody know anyway. Obviously, consciousness isn't interesting if you redefine it to mean whatever you already understand from a objective point of view (which misses the point entirely). But consciousness is simply subjective experience ... and subjective experience is the only known thing to exist! And I'm not talking about idealism. It's not as if reality disappears when people stop perceiving it. Obviously not if all the things that you think of as "out there" are also made from consciousness as well. The whole point is that mind and matter may as well be the same damn thing when the totality of reality that we are aware of always involves.... well, awareness.

Quote:One of the books I reviewed above discussed the studies of split brain patients.  In fact the author of the book, Michael Gazzanina, is famous chiefly for such studies.  Here's the section:

Quote:4) The discovery that epileptics who had their corpus callosum cut, severing the connections between the brain’s hemispheres to prevent seizures, clearly demonstrated they had two independent minds subsequently, but sharing the same emotions and motivations from the mid-brain.  These minds did not share information as before, however, and therefore were distinctly different than they were in combination.

Gazzanina and Roger Sperry studied such split-brain patients together.  From such studies, Sperry concluded that conscious experience is a property of brain activity which is:
1) nonreductive (it can’t be broken down into its parts),
2) dynamic (it changes in response to neural activity),
3) and emergent (it is more than the sum of the processes that produce it).
He also concluded “it could not exist apart from the brain.”

So you know about split brain patients but you msised the point, then. The point is that just because you're not conscious of something doesn't mean that consciousness isn't still residing in the same brain that you reside in.

There is no way anybody can get around the fact that it's simply impossible to have evidence of a total absence of subjective experience of any sort whatsoever. Evidence itself presupposes it. 'Objective measurements' of consciousness don't mean shit when we're talking about its actual existence or non-existence. All you can do is categorize it and say "This is what we're calling human consciousness" and "This is what we're calling human unconsciousness" ... which completely dodges the point that you can't just define subjective experience out of existence when it's the only thing you or any being in the universe can ever know. Ultimately, consciousness can't be touched by science.

It's not that you need science to study whether something is conscious or not ... it's the other way around ... you need consciousness to study something scientifically.

I mean, take a dead person. A totally stone dead person. All we can do is look and their organs and not notice any activity .... and use science to confirm it ... and we can use our eyes to see that they're clearly not 'conscious' as we would normally understand it. But that doesn't mean shit and the 'objective' tests are no better. All it means is that a lump of matter that used to be a human being doesn't appear to have any human-level consiousness.... the person isn't a subject. It DOESN'T mean that we've found evidence of a total absence of subjective experience within the matter itself. All we know is that lump of something we have subjective experience of has changed its level of consciousness .... we haven't experienced any total erasure of consciousness .... we can't experience that. Nobody and nothing can ... by definition.

I'm not saying that people who are dead are still conscious in some way, by the way. Just like how I don't think that rocks are conscious. I'm not saying that everything is a conscious subject ... I'm saying that all matter is consciousness-involving, as far as we know, because we have no evidence of anything else. Obviously when a body dies and their memories are erased then the consciousness involved is not going to be that person. I'm just saying that we have absolutely zero evidence that it just disappears into thin air and absolutely no reason to believe that there's any total absence of consciousness anywhere.

It's rather like how just because you can get a stick of dynamite and blow something up doesn't mean you've actually destroyed the matter involved. Same thing with consciousness. Just because you can't detect any signs of consciousness doesn't mean it's disappeared into thin air.

There's no evidence that matter can be created or destroyed ... and there's no evidence that consciousness can be created or destroyed .... and the evidence of matter and the evidence of the consciousness of matter appear to be identical .... and there's absolutely no reason to believe that they're two separate things.

And, again, I'm not talking about our human experience of consciousness ... I'm talking about the fact that no being in the universe can have evidence of anything other than consciousness/subjective experience of some sort by definition .... so let's stop pretending that we've found other things out there when we can't possibly do that even in principle ... let alone in practice.

Russell put it well:

"We know nothing about the intrinsic quality of physical events except when these are mental events that we directly experience." - Bertrand Russell
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#30

Consciousness
So, in conclusion ....

What's the explanation of human consciousness? It evolved.

What's the explanation of a dog's consciousness? It evolved.

Same with other animals ... simple explanation. They all just experience the world differently.

But where did consciousness come from in the first place? At what point did it come into existence during the evolutionary process?

The answer: There's no reason to think it came from anywhere! No reason to assume that absolute non-consciousness has ever existed. The burden of proof is on those who claim that there's anything other than consciousness of some sort in the universe ... and it's quite a burden indeed, to put it mildly, considering the fact that it's impossible by definition, to have any sort of evidence, scientific or otherwise, of anything besides consciousness/subjective experience of some sort. Pointing out changes in the human brain isn't evidence of non-consciousness ... it's just evidence of solipsism and egocentrism (and of missing the point entirely). Consciousness isn't necessarily just about us and the human brain. Mind and matter always shows up in exactly the same place. It's not just all we know, it's not just all we can know ... it's all any being in the universe can ever know even in principle.
My Argument Against Free Will Wrote:(1) Ultimately, to control your actions you have to originate your original nature.

(2) But you can't originate your original nature—it's already there.

(3) So, ultimately, you can't control your actions.
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#31

Consciousness
Evie,

I don't know how you can assert that your position is obvious and that other positions are nonsense if scientists are not on your side. You are arguing from philosophy, not science. Science goes by probabilities, not by the idealized but impossible "certainties" of philosophy.

If you want to philosophize about the scientific observations, great. That's what this discussion was intended for. But you are in no position to foreclose on the conversation based on your own philosophical positions.

My position is that the very fact that consciousness changes with damage to brain structures, with drugs and alcohol use, and with alterations of brain chemistry and activation, all show that consciousness can indeed be created or destroyed. Again, you are arguing philosophically for an interpretation of observations which has no common-sense scientific support.

You are thinking of consciousness as a primal substance rather than as a process of living brains, and I see no evidence to support that position.
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#32

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 02:43 PM)Alan V Wrote: You are thinking of consciousness as a primal substance rather than as a process of living brains, and I see no evidence to support that position.

Living cognitive mechanisms. You have no evidence that this is limited to brains, because our science has not as yet discovered other cognitive mechanisms, albeit their results are clearly observable.
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#33

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 02:43 PM)Alan V Wrote: You are thinking of consciousness as a primal substance rather than as a process of living brains, and I see no evidence to support that position.

That would be a negative argument, which, by itself, given what we don't know about consciousness, is not particularly compelling. I'm not a fan, but every piece of evidence and argument for consciousness being a material and distributed phenomena can be accommodated by an adept advocate of the alternative. The materialist position only seems better evidenced if you ignore the arguments for the alternatives, and basing one's views on ignorance, if it is that, is not particularly strong. With few exceptions, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.
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#34

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 04:29 PM)Dānu Wrote:
(11-04-2019, 02:43 PM)Alan V Wrote: You are thinking of consciousness as a primal substance rather than as a process of living brains, and I see no evidence to support that position.

That would be a negative argument, which, by itself, given what we don't know about consciousness, is not particularly compelling.  I'm not a fan, but every piece of evidence and argument for consciousness being a material and distributed phenomena can be accommodated by an adept advocate of the alternative.  The materialist position only seems better evidenced if you ignore the arguments for the alternatives, and basing one's views on ignorance, if it is that, is not particularly strong.  With few exceptions, absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

On what science, then, could the idea of consciousness as a primal substance -- distinct from the material world -- be based?  What I was saying was that I do not find Evie's philosophical arguments about consciousness persuasive because they are not economical.  If they are not economical, they are not warranted as far as I can see.
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#35

Consciousness
(11-02-2019, 11:06 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: More complex consciousness evolved from more simple consciousness ....

Agreed, at least to this point.


(11-02-2019, 11:06 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: and there's no reason to think that the simplest forms of consciousness developed from total non-consciousness..

I'd prefer to say consciousness emerged from the cognitive function of biological beings.


(11-02-2019, 11:06 AM)EvieTheAvocado Wrote: ..when total non-consciousness is something that (a) we have no evidence of even existing  (b) we can't even distinguish from the simplest forms of consciousness from our third-person perspective.

This makes it seem that you question whether the origins of life could have emerged from inorganic matter without the assistance of some form of pre-existing consciousness.  I don't think this is something you actually mean.  But if indeed biology emerges from the chemical properties of inorganic matter,  and consciousness emerges from the cognitive function of biological organisms, why not say that life emerged from inorganic matter?  Do you really think it would require guidance?
"Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. 
F. D.
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#36

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 04:22 PM)Dom Wrote:
(11-04-2019, 02:43 PM)Alan V Wrote: You are thinking of consciousness as a primal substance rather than as a process of living brains, and I see no evidence to support that position.

Living cognitive mechanisms. You have no evidence that this is limited to brains, because our science has not as yet discovered other cognitive mechanisms, albeit their results are clearly observable.

Again, I was trying to be conservative.  We know consciousness is experienced by animals with brains, since we are such animals ourselves.  We know from science the various brain systems which underlie different kinds of subjective experiences.  And we can make reasonable extrapolations to other animals based on their similar brain anatomy and various outward signs of subjective experiences which are similar to our own.

But yes, I think the question about plants is fascinating.  I'm just unsure as to how to approach it in any meaningful way.

The article I linked to in post #19 above suggested that the apparent intelligence of plants might be more like the swarm behavior of birds and insects, because plants have no nervous systems to unite their behaviors otherwise.  Plants therefore seem to have specialized in chemical reactions to environmental stimuli rather than consciousness.  Per the article, plants are much more advanced chemically and therefore display adaptive strategies which seem to mimic the effectiveness of consciousness in animal species. Here are a few more quotes from the article:

Quote:https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2013/...gent-plant

Most definitions of intelligence fall into one of two categories. The first is worded so that intelligence requires a brain; the definition refers to intrinsic mental qualities such as reason, judgment, and abstract thought. The second category, less brain-bound and metaphysical, stresses behavior, defining intelligence as the ability to respond in optimal ways to the challenges presented by one’s environment and circumstances. Not surprisingly, the plant neurobiologists jump into this second camp.

...

Perhaps the most troublesome and troubling word of all in thinking about plants is “consciousness.” If consciousness is defined as inward awareness of oneself experiencing reality—“the feeling of what happens,” in the words of the neuroscientist Antonio Damasio—then we can (probably) safely conclude that plants don’t possess it. But if we define the term simply as the state of being awake and aware of one’s environment—“online,” as the neuroscientists say—then plants may qualify as conscious beings, at least according to Mancuso and Baluška. “The bean knows exactly what is in the environment around it,” Mancuso said. “We don’t know how. But this is one of the features of consciousness: You know your position in the world. A stone does not.”
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#37

Consciousness
Wouldn't awareness of self be a requirement for self preservation?
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#38

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 06:24 PM)Mark Wrote: This makes it seem that you question whether the origins of life could have emerged from inorganic matter without the assistance of some form of pre-existing consciousness.  I don't think this is something you actually mean.  But if indeed biology emerges from the chemical properties of inorganic matter,  and consciousness emerges from the cognitive function of biological organisms, why not say that life emerged from inorganic matter?  Do you really think it would require guidance?

Evie likely won't, but I agree with you that his perspective is possibly teleological.  It almost sounds like pantheism to me.  This may go with his determinism, which implies that the evolution of life and consciousness was based on the underlying physics and the nature of primal substances which can't be created or destroyed.  If one of those substances is consciousness, how far from a God-concept is that really?
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#39

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 06:40 PM)Dom Wrote: Wouldn't awareness of self be a requirement for self preservation?

Not necessarily, since selves evolved first and the awareness of those selves developed later.  Self-awareness might be a better evolutionary strategy, certainly, but that's not quite the same thing.  It would depend on the circumstances whether self-awareness became a necessity.  Self-awareness was necessary for predators and social creatures.  So I guess we would have to figure out a case where self-awareness might be necessary for plants to survive in certain circumstances.  

One of the other points from the article is that many plants can survive up to 90% of their mass being eaten.  This ability was evolved because they had roots in the earth and couldn't escape such threats.  That makes it sound, to me at least, like plants developed a different survival strategy other than self-awareness.
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#40

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 06:56 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(11-04-2019, 06:40 PM)Dom Wrote: Wouldn't awareness of self be a requirement for self preservation?

Not necessarily, since selves evolved first and the awareness of those selves developed later.  Self-awareness might be a better evolutionary strategy, certainly, but that's not quite the same thing.  It would depend on the circumstances whether self-awareness became a necessity.  Self-awareness was necessary for predators and social creatures.  So I guess we would have to figure out a case where self-awareness might be necessary for plants to survive in certain circumstances.  

One of the other points from the article is that many plants can survive up to 90% of their mass being eaten.  This ability was evolved because they had roots in the earth and couldn't escape such threats.  That makes it sound, to me at least, like plants developed a different survival strategy other than self-awareness.

No way are these things mutually exclusive. And there are also many plants who would not survive this.

You don't think prey has to be aware of self in order to save self?
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#41

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 07:10 PM)Dom Wrote:
(11-04-2019, 06:56 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(11-04-2019, 06:40 PM)Dom Wrote: Wouldn't awareness of self be a requirement for self preservation?

Not necessarily, since selves evolved first and the awareness of those selves developed later.  Self-awareness might be a better evolutionary strategy, certainly, but that's not quite the same thing.  It would depend on the circumstances whether self-awareness became a necessity.  Self-awareness was necessary for predators and social creatures.  So I guess we would have to figure out a case where self-awareness might be necessary for plants to survive in certain circumstances.  

One of the other points from the article is that many plants can survive up to 90% of their mass being eaten.  This ability was evolved because they had roots in the earth and couldn't escape such threats.  That makes it sound, to me at least, like plants developed a different survival strategy other than self-awareness.

No way are these things mutually exclusive. And there are also many plants who would not survive this.

You don't think prey has to be aware of self in order to save self?

No

 Are ants aware of self? What  about fish? The krill which whales eat?  Most birds?   All that is necessary for survival is an instinctive reaction to threat., imo


"And there are also many plants who would not survive this."  Perhaps that is because they have less danger of being eaten  to that degree
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#42

Consciousness
(11-05-2019, 12:26 AM)grympy Wrote:
(11-04-2019, 07:10 PM)Dom Wrote:
(11-04-2019, 06:56 PM)Alan V Wrote: Not necessarily, since selves evolved first and the awareness of those selves developed later.  Self-awareness might be a better evolutionary strategy, certainly, but that's not quite the same thing.  It would depend on the circumstances whether self-awareness became a necessity.  Self-awareness was necessary for predators and social creatures.  So I guess we would have to figure out a case where self-awareness might be necessary for plants to survive in certain circumstances.  

One of the other points from the article is that many plants can survive up to 90% of their mass being eaten.  This ability was evolved because they had roots in the earth and couldn't escape such threats.  That makes it sound, to me at least, like plants developed a different survival strategy other than self-awareness.

No way are these things mutually exclusive. And there are also many plants who would not survive this.

You don't think prey has to be aware of self in order to save self?

No

 Are ants aware of self? What  about fish? The krill which whales eat?  Most birds?   All that is necessary for survival is an instinctive reaction to threat., imo


"And there are also many plants who would not survive this."  Perhaps that is because they have less danger of being eaten  to that degree

Re: the plants, either that or they are annuals who die at the end of their season anyway. And probably there are others, plant life is incredibly diverse. 

Re. the animals - how do you know? You just assume or believe that, there is no proper research into that. Research money goes mainly into curing things like cancer, advanced technology and space.
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#43

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 06:40 PM)Dom Wrote: Wouldn't awareness of self be a requirement for self preservation?


It would, I think, where others were also engaging in hypotheticals.  What would I do in that situation?  From there a sense of self and enduring sense of identity could follow.
"Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. 
F. D.
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#44

Consciousness
(11-04-2019, 07:10 PM)Dom Wrote:
(11-04-2019, 06:56 PM)Alan V Wrote:
(11-04-2019, 06:40 PM)Dom Wrote: Wouldn't awareness of self be a requirement for self preservation?

Not necessarily, since selves evolved first and the awareness of those selves developed later.  Self-awareness might be a better evolutionary strategy, certainly, but that's not quite the same thing.  It would depend on the circumstances whether self-awareness became a necessity.  Self-awareness was necessary for predators and social creatures.  So I guess we would have to figure out a case where self-awareness might be necessary for plants to survive in certain circumstances.  

One of the other points from the article is that many plants can survive up to 90% of their mass being eaten.  This ability was evolved because they had roots in the earth and couldn't escape such threats.  That makes it sound, to me at least, like plants developed a different survival strategy other than self-awareness.

No way are these things mutually exclusive. And there are also many plants who would not survive this.

You don't think prey has to be aware of self in order to save self?

No, self awareness isn't necessary.  Any response which is beneficial for survival that is inheritable will do.

Also plants do engage in a number of activities which look like cooperation, according to the Botany of Desire, like emitting something other plants can detect to allow them to undergo chemical transformations which will protect them against something that wants to eat them.  But personally I don't think that even counts as cognition, let alone consciousness.  It seems more like responding involuntarily to a chemical trigger.
"Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. 
F. D.
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#45

Consciousness
(11-05-2019, 02:33 AM)Mark Wrote: No, self awareness isn't necessary.  Any response which is beneficial for survival that is inheritable will do.

Also plants do engage in a number of activities which look like cooperation, according to the Botany of Desire, like emitting something other plants can detect to allow them to undergo chemical transformations which will protect them against something that wants to eat them.  But personally I don't think that even counts as cognition, let alone consciousness.  It seems more like responding involuntarily to a chemical trigger.

Yes, subjective experiences are not required for either mechanical or chemical processes to operate successfully.  And only very stereotyped subjective experiences are required to trigger reflexes and instincts -- perhaps cues devoid of consciously interpreted meanings, which would only require attention rather than awareness.

The rather extreme self-consciousness we humans possess may yet prove to be a bad adaptive strategy.  We are a young species and only time will tell.  We are still a kind of evolutionary experiment.

We should also remember that what counts in evolution is not the survival of the individual, but the survival and proliferation of the genes even if the individual is sacrificed in the process.  This may yet prove to be a reason why the adaptive strategy of highly-developed consciousness will fail as an evolutionary experiment.  Humans may refuse to be self-sacrificing in the necessary numbers when circumstances call for it.
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#46

Consciousness
(11-05-2019, 02:59 AM)Alan V Wrote:
(11-05-2019, 02:33 AM)Mark Wrote: No, self awareness isn't necessary.  Any response which is beneficial for survival that is inheritable will do.

Also plants do engage in a number of activities which look like cooperation, according to the Botany of Desire, like emitting something other plants can detect to allow them to undergo chemical transformations which will protect them against something that wants to eat them.  But personally I don't think that even counts as cognition, let alone consciousness.  It seems more like responding involuntarily to a chemical trigger.

Yes, subjective experiences are not required for either mechanical or chemical processes to operate successfully.  And only very stereotyped subjective experiences are required to trigger reflexes and instincts -- perhaps cues devoid of consciously interpreted meanings, which would only require attention rather than awareness.

The rather extreme self-consciousness we humans possess may yet prove to be a bad adaptive strategy.  We are a young species and only time will tell.  We are still a kind of evolutionary experiment.

We should also remember that what counts in evolution is not the survival of the individual, but the survival and proliferation of the genes even if the individual is sacrificed in the process.  This may yet prove to be a reason why the adaptive strategy of highly-developed consciousness will fail as an evolutionary experiment.  Humans may refuse to be self-sacrificing in the necessary numbers when circumstances call for it.

I've always thought the only thing that could have driven our extreme consciousness would be the demands of surviving in competition with one another.  Even self awareness would most likely evolve for the sake of allowing us to anticipate the intentions of others by way of knowing ourselves.  Of course, I don't just mean the ability to recognize one's image in a reflective surface.  I mean know oneself in the sense of knowing ones own motivations and tendencies.  Seemingly it is only strategic considerations in competition with each other which would warrant the extent of our development of consciousness.
"Talk nonsense, but talk your own nonsense, and I'll kiss you for it. To go wrong in one's own way is better than to go right in someone else's. 
F. D.
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#47

Consciousness
(11-05-2019, 12:45 AM)Dom Wrote:
(11-05-2019, 12:26 AM)grympy Wrote:
(11-04-2019, 07:10 PM)Dom Wrote: No way are these things mutually exclusive. And there are also many plants who would not survive this.

You don't think prey has to be aware of self in order to save self?

No

 Are ants aware of self? What  about fish? The krill which whales eat?  Most birds?   All that is necessary for survival is an instinctive reaction to threat., imo


"And there are also many plants who would not survive this."  Perhaps that is because they have less danger of being eaten  to that degree

Re: the plants, either that or they are annuals who die at the end of their season anyway. And probably there are others, plant life is incredibly diverse. 

Re. the animals - how do you know? You just assume or believe that, there is no proper research into that. Research money goes mainly into curing things like cancer, advanced technology and space.
 
How do I know? I take that position as current  scientific consensus as far as I know. What may be discovered is speculation, not argument . I require evidence to accept that animals I have mentioned are self aware
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#48

Consciousness
Searle argued nothing "convincingly". There are mountains of problems with his Chinese Room, and many serious problems with it, which 
have been discussed in many places. 
https://www.iep.utm.edu/chineser/
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#49

Consciousness
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hormonal_sentience
Quote:Hormonal sentience, first described by Robert A. Freitas Jr., describes the information processing rate in plants, which are mostly based on hormones instead of neurons like in all major animals (except sponges). Plants can to some degree communicate with each other and there are even examples of one-way-communication with animals.
...
First I told my imaginary friend about Jesus, then I told Jesus about my imaginary friend.
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#50

Consciousness
(11-05-2019, 03:52 AM)Bucky Ball Wrote: Searle argued nothing "convincingly". There are mountains of problems with his Chinese Room, and many serious problems with it, which have been discussed in many places. 
https://www.iep.utm.edu/chineser/

Here is a quote from your article:

Quote:Debate over the Chinese room thought experiment - while generating considerable heat - has proven inconclusive.

This is what you mean when you say that "Searle argued nothing 'convincingly'."

I have no doubt at all that machines can think, i.e. process information and derive answers. The article you link argues about that point as far as I can tell.

What I said was "I personally think philosopher John Searle already convincingly argued against the idea that consciousness is nothing but a concomitant of information processing with his Chinese Room thought experiment." Bolding added.

In other words, I think Searle was right that machines will never need subjective states (consciousness, qualia) to think. Searle's Chinese Room thought experiment never claimed the room couldn't process Chinese accurately.

Other perfectly qualified people undoubtedly disagree, and in fact this whole discussion started with a summary of book from just such a person. I also added a book report from an expert who seems to agree with Searle. I was trying to indicate that this is one of the major points of controversy in consciousness studies.
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