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Thread: Consciousness being non-material

  1. #271
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    I have been reading about noetic memory, autonoetic memory and autonoetic awareness. The latter may or may not be unique to humans. Many animals have memory and use it in the present moment, this is noetic consciousness and we can identify with the feeling of familiarity we experience revisiting a place. Once triggered by present experience we then remember useful details. Humans can also use autonoetic awareness where we can recall detailed memories from the past without triggers from the present and use them to communicate or to predict future experiences.

    It is very hard to establish whether animals which cannot tell us, have this last ability. One example is the octopus faced with a contained box and a tube with turns. After exploring the cl,osed box and some of the tube, she decides to try the tube as an escape route. This might show the octopus has the ability to imagine the future and that the tube might lead to freedom.

    In another experiment birds were shown two snacks, one of grubs and the other seeds. If allowed immediately they will go for the grubs. But if forced to wait a few days they avoid the grubs which have expired by then and go directly to seeds. Maybe this shows the birds remember the grubs but also work out that too long has passed.

    Unfortunately you can devise other ways the octopus and birds could decide their behaviour using noetic memory (reminded by the present expereince) or other senses to decide.

    There is no doubt that the extent of autonoetic awareness in humans vastly exceeds other animals and is a large part of what we lump together as consciousness. We can review a past episodic memory and play with it imaginatively to better our future outcomes. This is clearly a big part of everyday predictive behaviour for us. Sometimes it goes wrong and past experiences cause unnecessary anxiety or erratic behaviour because this memory function is only partly under our control. We can even develop distorted perception of current awareness as well as biases that operate subconsciously for us for better or worse.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  2. #272
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    Show me an appropriate non-material media upon which you could build conscious.
    A postulated 5th force moderating dark matter structures does not count.
    If anything is there, we should be able to measure it.
    We haven't seen hide nor hair of it.

  3. #273
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squink View Post
    Show me an appropriate non-material media upon which you could build conscious.
    I don't understand this question at all. If someone asked the question "is the electromagnetic field non-material?", and someone else said "show me an appropriate non-material media upon which you could build the electromagnetic field", what would that have to do with anything?

  4. #274
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    Quote Originally Posted by Squink View Post
    Show me an appropriate non-material media upon which you could build conscious.
    The only example of full consciousness that we have, is the human brain. We have not found any other kind of either material or non-material substrate for consciousness, either.
    "I'm planning to live forever. So far, that's working perfectly." Steven Wright

  5. #275
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    I thought consciousness was a property that a material object might have but is not an object itself. Like a basketball might have sphericity or an anvil might have heaviness even though there are no objects we call sphericity and heaviness. Consciousness is a property that something might or might not have, not a thing with independent existence. Unfortunately, we use nouns for both objects and properties which can confuse the discussions of them.

  6. #276
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    Yes, that was my point too. I'm always struck how quickly people associate with mysticism any idea that seems suitably strange, and with non-mysticism any idea with which they are suitably familiar. It doesn't seem to matter at all what the idea actually is.

  7. #277
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    I thought consciousness was a property that a material object might have but is not an object itself. Like a basketball might have sphericity or an anvil might have heaviness even though there are no objects we call sphericity and heaviness.
    We should pursue that line of thinking further.

    Those examples lack the self-referential property of consciousness. We are conscious of being conscious. In fact, if we are "conscious of X" , does this happen because we are "conscious of being conscious of X"?

  8. #278
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    Being conscious of my consciousness seems to be another property that I have. I don't see any reason to think that it's some immaterial thing that might exist even if I didn't.

  9. #279
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    Being self conscious may be just having the memory that you were conscious just now and thus the perception of continuity. This is possibly the direct result of the interoceptive model that precedes consciousness. Or it develops with the early realisation of self and other that requires an interoceptive model to use as basis. Otherwise being conscious of being conscious is just tautology.
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

  10. #280
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    Maybe it's that my mental model of my surroundings contains a representation of itself.

  11. #281
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    Unqualified, unquantified works for me. My spell checker doesn't like it, but it's pretty stupid.
    Solfe

  12. #282
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck View Post
    Maybe it's that my mental model of my surroundings contains a representation of itself.
    Well we know that is the experience and knowledge of self starts with the unconscious interoception model which is predictive. In infancy we have to work out the difference between self and other. We start with touch and build that interface . Then we recognise classification of perceived objects including faces. As we begin to understand people we develop, usually, theory of mind. This is a crucial step and must be part of self consciousness, Self Awareness. That is why I believe it is an emergent property of the brain and has no mystical content. However it remains difficult or impossible to test the difference if you believe in a soul that provides some part of consciousness. Or some other mystical explanation. But from what I read and hear, progress in this area is fast, so the scientific story is developing well..
    sicut vis videre esto
    When we realize that patterns don't exist in the universe, they are a template that we hold to the universe to make sense of it, it all makes a lot more sense.
    Originally Posted by Ken G

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