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Profile: Epiphileon
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User Name: Epiphileon
Forum Rank: Advanced Member
Occupation: School Bus Driver
Interests: Nature, function, utilization, and potential development of consciousness
Gender: Male
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Joined: Sunday, March 22, 2009
Last Visit: Wednesday, January 23, 2019 4:42:13 AM
Number of Posts: 4,107
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  Last 10 Posts
Topic: Painful Reality or Pleasant Delusion? Alzheimer Treatment
Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 4:31:59 AM
The author of this blog post brings up an important point in general; however, it is the specific application to the treatment of Alzheimer's disease I am most interested in. Alzheimer's is a horrifying disease, my mother died of it which may be why I have more than just a common curiosity about it.

Not all Alzheimer's patients have pleasant delusions, I am in fact rather dubious of this characterization, particularly during the early stages of the disease when one is fully aware that the "I" of mind is slowly disappearing.

I favor the pleasant delusion as described in the article, although if it were currently an option in the U.S., specifically within the V.A. health system, my advanced directive would include criteria for termination.

Although the blogger presents this as a philosophical question I feel it is a relevant cultural issue as, at least in first world countries, the population of the elderly is markedly increasing.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Topic: Why Should a Person Die?
Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 4:21:43 AM
At essence, it is very simple, because evolution would fail without death.
Also, the alternative is considered a curse from a rational perspective.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Topic: Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?
Posted: Sunday, January 20, 2019 9:05:39 AM
Okay well, maybe some more specific comments and questions then.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
One more point which I feel like bringing up. I don't think that you can say that a computer contributes to the manifestation of its nature (by whatever it does, actually). Why? Because, all it does is all that it was made to do by man. It's also fair to say the same about man.

No actually, it is not fair to say that about man because computers do not change their nature, the results of them running a programmed set of instructions do no result in new internal connections, or modifying the signal strength along other pathways, or a myriad of other ways in which the hardware/software of a computer cannot be compared to the wetware/physiology of mentality.

You said in your first reply to me,
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
"Our consciousness is not something we have a control over. It controls us but not the other way around."

I then asked you who, or what was the we, you were referring to. First I would like to reiterate that question. I do not understand this distinction you are making between identity and consciousness, these are usually seen as synonomous when we are speaking of an individual's awareness of self that is.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
Do we have a free will or we don't?

Freewill is an illusion, we do have freedom of choice, but we do not create the choices so it is not freewill. There have been many discussions on here concerning freewill, if you do an advanced google search specific to the domain, http://forum.thefreedictionary.com, you will find many, here is one that went on for some time, Freewill Again

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
I think you underestimate the tricky mechanism incorporated into people's nature. Do you want to say that you understand perfectly how your brain works, how it sends different commands to your limbs, how you make yourself move, act, think? Yes, some things are know, but only partly. Going to the core of all mind'related issues, we realize that we don't even know from which side to approach them.

Oh I by no means underestimate the complexity of the mechanisms of human nature, I have studied them extensively over the last 35 years. From evolutionary, anthropological, neurological, and psychological perspectives. I have a pretty large appreciation for the complexity that contributes to our experience of being, experiencing beings, yet another way of referring to the subject matter.

There is no need to understand the system perfectly in order to understand the reasons for seeing it as a natural and organism produced phenomenon. We can look at the development of the characteristic from both evolutionary and individual developmental perspectives and see how it comes to be as a result of natural processes. Can we explain exactly how it is produced? No, and hence the so-called hard problem but, we can point to specific characteristics of the brain and its operations that support the notion that the brain is producing it.

We have been working out how to approach the problem of consciousness since the early Greeks, to the point that we now have a very rigorous approach that addresses the constitutive characteristics of consciousness, and what kind of processes would be needed to explain them.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
Do you think you could predict how you would act in all situations possible? I don't think so.

No not at all; however, that is not a necessary condition to explain the justification for a naturalistic, monistic explanation of consciousness.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
However, the existence of the hider is not a matter of accepting or not accepting it. It's more a matter of substantiating your point.

I can substantiate my claim of consciousness being a natural result of the history of the universe, and the history of life on Earth. What is your substantiation for the overmind? What is it? Where did it come from? and Why?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Topic: Is Jesus really exist in history?
Posted: Friday, January 18, 2019 4:37:38 AM
Trichakra wrote:
Hi

What is the evidence that Jesus exist in history?


I'm curious what difference it makes whether there was a man named Jesus referred to in the Bible who actually existed?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Topic: Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?
Posted: Wednesday, January 16, 2019 3:23:45 AM
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
Who am I? and What am I? may be seen as two different questions but they are about the same matter. Hence, answering one leads to answering the other and it doesn't really matter which one should be answered first. Especially, it doesn't matter in the light of impossibility of answering either of the two. "What" and "Who" are simply words which are associated with certain notions. I don't think that the answer to the questions "WHO/WHAT AM I" can be put in words. It's beyond that.

I would maintain that they are separate questions as the answer to one is I am a homo sapiens, and the answer to the other is I am Epiphileon. In the investigation of any complex issue, there are many questions that must be asked.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
You find information fascinating and the right way to follow. But information is only a half of the issue. The other part is your ability to receive information. Have you ever been thinking why you know what you know? What can you know at all? Do you think you can get to know more than you can (allowed to)? It's a set-up.


First I would refer you to my signature line that appears at the bottom of all my posts. Yes I have very carefully, and rigorously examined all aspects of my understanding of the nature of knowledge, and have come to the conclusion that for all practical intents and purposes we can obtain knowledge that is reasonably; accurate, reliable, predictive, and representational of the environment within which that knowledge is obtained. This investigation of epistemology has included both the perceived and the perceiver as certainly it must.

I suspect you have a radically different view of the nature of knowledge. Attempting to discuss any aspect of the investigation into consciousness will definitely tax one's epistemology to the limits, and as I have found require periodic reviews of one's conviction concerning the nature of knowledge. Attempting to discuss details of this investigation from radically different epistemological bases would I feel be pointless.

Would you care to explain why you think we can not know things accurately enough to make a science of mind practical?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Topic: Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?
Posted: Tuesday, January 15, 2019 9:38:36 AM
[quote=FounDit]I’ve been thinking about this for a day or so, and in reading the info from the link, had a few thoughts occur as I read. They are listed below.
Damn, this hasn't happened in a long time, I had a detailed reply to this post I'd been working on since the day after you posted it. I had gotten used to Google Chrome not losing post's in process when my computer locked up, this time it didn't, so I'm going to try to synopsize what I said.

I don't agree with Chalmers either; however, most of his argument is not illogical. The problem with it is it is based on a questionable premise, one that I agree with you is not justified.

This is the first section I have some difficulty with. It’s that part that says the zombie “looks happy or anxious precisely as you do.” How would that even be possible? With no consciousness, how would the zombie know what to be happy or anxious about? How would it know how to express something it cannot experience or understand?

I believe philosophical zombies (PZ) are possible, and that for the most part they could not be told apart from conscious people; however, I believe they would become apparent relatively easily with the right questions. I'd like to find someone well versed and convinced of that position to test that notion with.

As far as a PZ showing emotion there is no problem with that the limbic system is among the oldest parts of the human brain. You can piss off an alligator, and have happy and sad dogs.

"As Chalmers explained...If you were approached by me and my doppelgänger, not knowing which was which, not even the most powerful brain scanner in existence could tell us apart."
Again, this seems to be an illogical conclusion. One might well be able to tell a difference as a result of the possibility I mentioned above.

This in my opinion, is a bizarre claim and I have to think the mark of someone so convinced of their own opinion that they are failing to accept contrary evidence. There are mountains of brain scan data that differentiate between conscious and unconscious perception.

"And the fact that one can even imagine this scenario is sufficient to show that consciousness can’t just be made of ordinary physical atoms. So consciousness must, somehow, be something extra – an additional ingredient in nature."
It’s quite easy to imagine the scenario. This is one of the features of consciousness. But we again appear to have an illogical conclusion that consciousness must be something extra. There is no evidence in this scenario that would justify reaching that conclusion.

This is a logical conclusion but based on an invalid premise, i.e. consciousness is nonphysical.

Chalmers knows how wildly improbable his ideas can seem, and takes this in his stride: at philosophy conferences, he is fond of clambering on stage to sing The Zombie Blues, a lament about the miseries of having no consciousness. (“I act like you act / I do what you do / But I don’t know / What it’s like to be you.”) “The conceit is: wouldn’t it be a drag to be a zombie? Consciousness is what makes life worth living, and I don’t even have that: I’ve got the zombie blues.” The song has improved since its debut more than a decade ago, when he used to try to hold a tune. “Now I’ve realised it sounds better if you just shout,” he said.
It seems to me that the real conceit is saying that consciousness makes life worth living. Why then do all the non-conscious living creatures continue to strive to exist if that is true? Why wouldn’t they simply allow themselves to die since they have no consciousness? Why would they struggle to continue to live?

Now here is where his logic fails, you have a supposedly nonconscious person, being conscious of not being conscious.
Consciousness does make life worth living, but worth is not what drives life, life is an evolutionary imperative, if this was not the case there would be many more suicides. There are plenty of people who think life is worthless and yet do not end it, and animals have no sense of worth or worthlessness.

"However hard it feels to accept, we should concede that consciousness is just the physical brain, doing what brains do."
No, we should definitely proceed on that basis, but we do not concede a point that has not been definitely established. On my personal conviction scale, consciousness as a function of the brain is among the highest scoring notions which puts it at a 9, the only 10 being that I know I exist.

Eventually, neuroscience will show that consciousness is just brain states.

After all, our brains evolved to help us solve down-to-earth problems of survival and reproduction;

These statements in bold I could agree with. I think consciousness is just the brain doing what it does. The question is why do we seem to have a better development of it than any other creature? I have some inchoate thoughts on that which needs to be expanded upon.

I would just be careful about "a better", that is a qualitative speciocentric statement. Objectively it would be better to ask why is consciousness more developed in humans?

"The problem is that there seems to be no logical reason to draw the line at dogs, or sparrows or mice or insects, or, for that matter, trees or rocks. Since we don’t know how the brains of mammals create consciousness, we have no grounds for assuming it’s only the brains of mammals that do so – or even that consciousness requires a brain at all."
With this I completely disagree. If a creature cannot communicate its self-awareness, by either sounds or behavior, then I don’t think we can say it is aware of a self within a body. And I can’t envision a rock or a tree as being able to possess a consciousness without a brain to house it.

I don't agree with this assertion either; however, I do not think external communication is a necessary condition for consciousness, it is certainly the only way there would be evidence of it though.


"It is the argument that anything at all could be conscious, providing that the information it contains is sufficiently interconnected and organised. The human brain certainly fits the bill; so do the brains of cats and dogs, though their consciousness probably doesn’t resemble ours. But in principle the same might apply to the internet, or a smartphone, or a thermostat. (The ethical implications are unsettling: might we owe the same care to conscious machines that we bestow on animals?"
No. For the same reasons stated above. With no brain to contain it, and no means to communicate it, I can see no way the internet, smartphone, and thermostat can be said to have a consciousness.
Well for me it would depend on how you defined brain, I do agree that if you had some way of complex information processing without a brain, that the potential for consciousness would exist within that system. What I would argue is absolutely critical is a perception of the world in such a manner that an internal real-time model of that world is created, that which we call awareness. It seems to me that only upon that foundation could you build an awareness of that awareness which is what we call I.


Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Topic: Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?
Posted: Saturday, January 12, 2019 4:58:32 AM
Ivan Fadeev wrote:
The most significant and complicated question which is "Who are we? or Who am I?" seems to fall into the category of "the unreachable".

Actually, that is a significant question; however, the great error has been in thinking it is the first question of identity. The first question is what am I? A thorough and fact-based answer to that question is the only foundation that allows for a reasonably accurate answer to the question of who I am.

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
First step to realize it, is to admit the fact that people are born the way they are born and they can't contribute to their nature.

This statement is problematic, people absolutely do contribute to the manifestation of their nature by the choices they make; however, the choices they make are made by their nature, however, those choices do modify their nature. You see why that statement leads to a paradoxical state?

Ivan Fadeev wrote:
Our consciousness is not something we have a control over. It controls us but not the other way around.

Ask yourself this, who is the "we" you are referring to in this assertion?
Better yet ask again the first question, what is the we you are referring to? You are your consciousness, it is by definition the "I" of mind.

We can explore it, play this game, but the real depth of the matter at hand is hidden from us which makes me think that we are like pawns which are programmed on the genetic level by some "Over-mind". We know too little to understand ourselves, and yet to much, not to be bothered with ourselves. [/quote]
I do not accept that anything is hidden from us. That would require a hider, and there is no rational argument for any type of over-mind. We continue to gain more information leading to the potential for a better understanding of ourselves. The biggest problem is people are either unaware of the information, or unwilling to accept due to their preconceived notions of the nature of humanity.



Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Topic: Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?
Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2019 6:37:48 AM
I found this article to be a very good survey of the current thinking on the issue of explaining the nature of consciousness. It is rather long; however, if you are interested in the topic it is worth the time.
Why Can’t the World’s Greatest Minds Solve the Mystery of Consciousness?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Topic: rebutter
Posted: Monday, January 7, 2019 12:06:52 PM
2. What is done to toast when it is found to be insufficiently buttered.

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?
Topic: Wordable vs Description
Posted: Monday, January 7, 2019 4:31:13 AM
Thank you everyone for your input and research into the various questions I asked, it is much appreciated.

I like a particular connotation of "wordable", it rests in a knowledge of just what kind of black box language codification currently is within the mentality of humans. This has always been a very deep curiosity of mine, what exactly is it that is before words?

Question authority. How do you know, that you know, what you know?

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