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"The Origin of Consciousness..." A Stuctured Book Discussion Options
leonAzul
Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 6:24:57 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:

That was Leon's post FounDit, and I can't comment on this yet, as I am stuck and have only now been able to return to the post that concerns where. I will probably have it up in a while.


Take your time, Epiphelion. I'm not impatient, I just wanted to get these ideas "out there" so we would have something to talk about for the rest of the week.

Looking at the thread as it is, it may have been a mistake to put all those quotes in a single post. Perhaps we should consider editing our replies to address only one at a time, unless there is a specific reason to refer to more than one of them in the same reply. This way we could focus on those points that really require clarification without dragging the whole megillah through the thread. Think
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, November 15, 2011 8:54:37 PM

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Quote:

leonAzul wrote:
FounDit wrote:

This results in requiring language for consciousness.


leonAzul wrote:
This is not a bad paraphrase, yet for the sake of discussion we need to be a little more precise or we shall lose the chain of evidence and inference.

Language is required because it is the stuff of which consciousness creates an analog of reality, similar to the way that ink is required to make a map of the land — or so Jaynes claims.



Is this what Jaynes claims? That language is required because consciousness needs it to create an analog of reality, similar to using ink to make a map?

I was under the impression that Jaynes was saying that language is part and parcel of consciousness; that consciousness couldn't exist without language, and not that language was simply something that consciousness uses.

What am I missing? This seems contradictory.


Ray41
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 1:00:49 AM

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My apologies if I ramble but I am sleeping while most of the posts are made and it is hard to digest all the twists and turns.
This is also not directly addressing the relevant chapter, but, I have never been good at broadside discussion, preferring to make my approach from different angles.Anxious
Posted earlier; ............... (and we need to be able to scroll back further in this forum?????)
"PTSD" usually refers to "post traumatic stress disorder". Whether or not that is what you intended, would you please clarify how that relates to the development of consciousness in human children.

Epi replied;
Yes it does, what I meant is, if we were conscious during the birthing process it would result in a massive case of PTSD.


I knew what "PTSD" stands for, but, I could see no connection with 'consciousness' per se. I presumed it stood for something more 'directly' related to consciousness!
I still cannot see, that even if birth creates PTSD in a baby 'with consciousness', what affect it would have? Some babies just slip out, some are under protracted stress. A baby can suffer other stress just as intense, enough to cause PTSD, but it is not a life sentence? The physical side of PTSD we could refer to as pain. Physical pain registers in the brain just as much[if not more so] than mental/emotional pain. People do recover from PTSD, and a baby who is being properly nurtured, fed, clothed, etc. has nothing else to worry about so we would expect recovery to be rapid. The baby also does not understand what is causing emotional/physical pain so does not stress out to the same intensity. It does not [to me] mean that the baby has no consciousness, just that the level is too low to comprehend what is/has transpired, but later on in its development, when the level of awareness is elevated enough to understand the cause of why/what, then the level of consciousness accelerates.
The only way that I can really explain my thought on this is; in order to grow a plant you need a seed, if we say that the seed is the acquisition of language, where did the seed come from? This sounds a bit disjointed and gives the impression of looking for the origin.Think
Reading the other posts, I am getting a nagging thought that we are born with the consciousness and that language allows us to identify the "I".Anxious

Quote leon:Oh my! Perhaps that explains why we cry so much those first few months.

Crying is the babies way of communicating it's needs. It cries when it is hungry, when it is tired, in pain[rash], dirty nappy, teething, etc. Dare I say its the language between it and the nurturer? Yes, I will stick my head in the noose as we have reared 'lots' of babies [not ours!] and we have been able to identify what is wrong with the baby by it's cryThink


Quote FounDit:
As an aside:
Yes it does, what I meant is, if we were conscious during the birthing process it would result in a massive case of PTSD.
I have long believed the birth event IS a traumatic event in our lives that lays a foundation upon which all else is built, leading to many of the problems in human experience. This would probably make a fascinating topic for another thread.


If we have no level of consciousness at birth, then how can birth cause anything to affect our later lives, unless, there is physical damage?

leon wrote;
While re-reading both the text and your comments, I had some thoughts of my own which I hope you find relevant and helpful.
.
Thank you leon, I am 'pre Jaynes' and my academic opportunities didn't allow me to attend university, but, I would like to be in the same room and have a discussion with him, I think it would be very interesting. Often peoples style of writing is vastly different to how they speak. Cryptic sentences and ambiguity are often used to enhance/elevate the authors status beyond the realms of the average,Eh?
Even as I write this my mind is bursting with questions I would ask him, all, OK but what 'if'?
leonAzul
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 2:55:05 AM

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FounDit wrote:
[quote]
leonAzul wrote:


This is not a bad paraphrase, yet for the sake of discussion we need to be a little more precise or we shall lose the chain of evidence and inference.

Language is required because it is the stuff of which consciousness creates an analog of reality, similar to the way that ink is required to make a map of the land — or so Jaynes claims.



Is this what Jaynes claims? That language is required because consciousness needs it to create an analog of reality, similar to using ink to make a map?

I was under the impression that Jaynes was saying that language is part and parcel of consciousness; that consciousness couldn't exist without language, and not that language was simply something that consciousness uses.

What am I missing? This seems contradictory.


Please take a moment to consider what you have written.

What is missing you is the difference between "to be" and "to require".

There is no contradiction: According to Jaynes consciousness requires language in order to exist. It is you who have asserted that Jaynes has claimed that language is a component — part and parcel — of consciousness.

Please show your work.

Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 5:11:07 AM

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Jaynes wrote:
We are trying to understand consciousness, but what are we
really trying to do when we try to understand anything? Like
children trying to describe nonsense objects, so in trying to
understand a thing we are trying to find a metaphor for that
thing. Not just any metaphor, but one with something more
familiar and easy to our attention. Understanding a thing is to
arrive at a metaphor for that thing by substituting something
more familiar to us. And the feeling of familiarity is the feeling
of understanding.

I think this illustrates one of the problems with Jaynes writing style, I think. Does he really mean to make this answer universal to all knowledge? Or does it only apply to abstract knowledge. If he means it to be universal then I still have found no way I can wrap my head around this statement to understand it from his perspective. For instance if I want to understand the concept of limits in calculus, nowhere that I can think of, will I find a "feeling of familiarity" but, perhaps Jaynes does not consider mathematics a language, since it is non-metaphorical.

But what about when I came to understand the difference between using silicon carbide, or aluminum oxide, for honing the inside diameter of holes in various metals? Whether the metal chips, or tears, does not seem to me, at all metaphorical, nor did I have anything in my previous experience that I could apply to the action of the abrasives, in order to have felt any familiarity with it. I can plainly see Jaynes reasoning, and how he builds this assertion out of what he just developed concerning language and metaphor, but this is the first time I haven't been able to reconcile a major point of his, with my own take on things. I cannot find anyway, that familiarity=understanding. Of course coming to understand something brings about familiarity with that thing, but they are not the same thing. Understanding is an active cognitive process, whereas familiarity function of memory primarily.
Hmmm, okay so according to Jaynes, we create a false familiarity, by using a metaphier we know, to describe something we don't know, fine but description is not understanding,,,,, okay sorry, I'll stop this now. Finally I at least have worked through my initial rejection, far enough that I may proceed at least understanding, if not agreeing with each of Jaynes points. Besides I have come to the conclusion as well that this point is not really critical, or a necessary condition to his argument, right?
And actually my problems with it, may have had a bit to do with the the blasphemy only a social scientist could have said about the interaction of theory and model.
So sometimes thinking about things at 0430 can be useful. ;)
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 9:47:09 AM

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leonAzul wrote:
I have a few questions of my own, and to be honest, FounDit, it's not so much that I think you were wrong in your interpretations, just that you were slightly jumping the gun due to Jaynes presentation. He's been dropping hints like a hussy doing the hanky-panky, to introduce a robust metaphor of my own.

Take this gem, for example:

Jaynes wrote:
//52 (58)
The lexicon of language, then, is a finite set of terms that by
metaphor is able to stretch out over an infinite set of circum-
stances, even to creating new circumstances thereby.
(Could consciousness be such a new creation?)


Wherever did you get the idea that consciousness emerges from recursive lexical metaphor creating "new circumstances"? Think
The same place he gets some of his other amazing assertions, from what some call, "taking himself too seriously", there are a number of places where I think he has become so immersed in his own notions that he failed to pull out to an objective evaluation at times.
What's really odd about this though is the strange echo it represents, albeit distorted, of Edelman's theorie of the physiological basis for consciousness. One of his books on the issue is titled "The Remembered Present." The other thing to keep in mind throughout this book, is that it is the first to actually try and pull consciousness into the realm of scientific inquiry. If a scientific investigation can be likened to development, then this would be a neonatal stage.


So far I have been willing to grant a certain poetic license during illustrative material while Jaynes set the stage for his presentation, but this crucial passage is too redolent of Bloviating Speciosity to pass without comment:

Jaynes wrote:
//50 (56)
This is language moving out synchronically (or without refer-
ence to time) into the space of the world to describe it and
perceive it more and more definitively. But language also moves
in another and more important way, diachronically, or through
time, and behind our experiences on the basis of aptic structures
in our nervous systems to create abstract concepts whose refer-
ents are not observables except in a metaphorical sense. And
these too are generated by metaphor. This is indeed the nub
(knob), heart, pith, kernel, core, marrow, etc. of my argument,
which itself is a metaphor and ‘seen’ only with the mind’s ‘eye’.


Jaynes himself claims that this is a crucial point in his thesis, yet without warning or apology he arbitrarily redefines words with what could only charitably be described as a felonious abuse of language and propriety.
This caused a good few minutes of chuckling, I always thought this was a bizarre paragraph, and and perhaps because of that it has occasionally popped into my head from time to time, the first sentence that is, it always struck me as an extreme stretch of the established definitions, actually it does go beyond stretching.


If this is the sum and substance of his argument, (no it is not, but the "recursive lexical metaphor" aspect is I believe a foundational, and necessary condition to his eventual conclusion) then any hint of equivocation has doomed the defense of his thesis. Given his diligently proactive defense against equivocation through the reasonably well defined terms "aptic", "metaphier", "paraphrand", et al., perhaps this was just a brain fart, and we can wish him a speedy recovery, with a properly articulate and testable formulation of his thesis to come some time later in the book.
A more articulate is a reasonable expectation; however, I wouldn't count on testability, at least in the traditional scientific sense.


Or have I misread this?
Well I wouldn't say misread, not at all, but if you take those words out, and just go for the distinction it may make more sense.
leonAzul
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 7:04:56 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:

This caused a good few minutes of chuckling, I always thought this was a bizarre paragraph, and and perhaps because of that it has occasionally popped into my head from time to time, the first sentence that is, it always struck me as an extreme stretch of the established definitions, actually it does go beyond stretching.

I aim to please. Dancing

Epiphileon wrote:

A more articulate is a reasonable expectation; however, I wouldn't count on testability, at least in the traditional scientific sense.


Despite its publication as a book for general readership, I am of the opinion that Jaynes expects his ideas to be held to the same level of accountability as a peer-reviewed thesis.

The very structure of the book suggests this. He proceeds from what can be observed and uses these observations to eliminate what is non-essential to the concept of consciousness before stating his hypothesis, an application in prose of what Karl Popper would describe as the development of a falsifiable claim.

Jaynes explicitly cites Bohr-Rutherford in his discussion of the relationship between models and theories as if to invite a comparison to this present work.

The general care with which he takes to avoid equivocation also indicates his intention to have his ideas considered as a formal argument, not as an apologia for an axiomatic truth.

Whether bluffing, deluded, or spot on, I sense that Jaynes at the very least has pushed the inquiry away from idle speculation and into a more rigorously evidence-based line of thinking that can finally be called scientific. More than the truth of his conclusions, what interests me his application of methodology. A properly conducted experiment that "fails" yields far more useful information than a sloppy success. Think
Epiphileon
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 7:40:12 PM

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leonAzul wrote:
I sense that Jaynes at the very least has pushed the inquiry away from idle speculation and into a more rigorously evidence-based line of thinking that can finally be called scientific. More than the truth of his conclusions, what interests me his application of methodology. A properly conducted experiment that "fails" yields far more useful information than a sloppy success. Think

I entirely agree with you, on all these points, it is why I have continuously cited the book as a must read for any serious inquirer into the issue. The issue I raised will become clear later.
leonAzul
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 9:51:56 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
I cannot find anyway, that familiarity=understanding. Of course coming to understand something brings about familiarity with that thing, but they are not the same thing. Understanding is an active cognitive process, whereas familiarity function of memory primarily.
Hmmm, okay so according to Jaynes, we create a false familiarity, by using a metaphier we know, to describe something we don't know, fine but description is not understanding,,,,, okay sorry, I'll stop this now. Finally I at least have worked through my initial rejection, far enough that I may proceed at least understanding, if not agreeing with each of Jaynes points. Besides I have come to the conclusion as well that this point is not really critical, or a necessary condition to his argument, right?


That's about how I feel about it, too. Yet I am very glad you brought it up in case it does turn out to be critical to his thesis and we would want to refer back to this point.

Epiphileon wrote:

And actually my problems with it, may have had a bit to do with the the blasphemy only a social scientist could have said about the interaction of theory and model.


There is no arguing taste, yet I thought that bit was quite clever. At the very least it well explains his perspective on it, as well as what we should expect if he ever gets around to actually postulating a theory.
leonAzul
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:16:29 PM

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Ray41 wrote:
Often peoples style of writing is vastly different to how they speak. Cryptic sentences and ambiguity are often used to enhance/elevate the authors status beyond the realms of the average,Eh?


I agree. That is part of why I thought imagining this delivered as a lecture series might take some of the piss out of his pomposity and account for the pace and dramatic style of the discourse.

Ray41 wrote:
Even as I write this my mind is bursting with questions I would ask him, all, OK but what 'if'?


That is a great way to read something critically. More to the point, asking such questions can suggest ways to test Jaynes' claims with their consequences, if not directly.
NancyLee
Posted: Wednesday, November 16, 2011 10:27:18 PM
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Epiphileon wrote:
leonAzul wrote:
*****SNIP*****

If this is the sum and substance of his argument, (no it is not, but the "recursive lexical metaphor" aspect is I believe a foundational, and necessary condition to his eventual conclusion) then any hint of equivocation has doomed the defense of his thesis. Given his diligently proactive defense against equivocation through the reasonably well defined terms "aptic", "metaphier", "paraphrand", et al., perhaps this was just a brain fart, and we can wish him a speedy recovery, with a properly articulate and testable formulation of his thesis to come some time later in the book.
A more articulate is a reasonable expectation; however, I wouldn't count on testability, at least in the traditional scientific sense.

Or have I misread this?
Well I wouldn't say misread, not at all, but if you take those words out, and just go for the distinction it may make more sense.
****SNIP*****

Hi Guys! Please help me a little here. I have been following as well as I can, but I am increasingly confused by some of your vocabulary and referents. I 'feel' that I understand Jaynes discourse much better than I understand yours. I realize that I do not have the background necessary to follow all you discuss, but I would like to follow the thoughts. While you were most interested in the first part of the book, my interest was maintained by the historical references later in the book.

I looked up, as best I could, "recursive lexical metaphor" and below was the result. From the book The Language of Science (page 216) by Halliday and Webster. Didn't help much. Dah??? I am really feeling stupid/inadequate/etc. Please let me know what you were discussing.

Thanks, NancyLee


recursive lexical metaphor
recursive lexical metaphor

Edit: Well, I tried twice but couldn't get the link to work, sorry. Google got me there...
almostfreebird
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 12:04:29 AM
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About metaphor:

Nancy Lee's link

My link

leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 1:10:04 AM

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NancyLee wrote:

Hi Guys! Please help me a little here. I have been following as well as I can, but I am increasingly confused by some of your vocabulary and referents. I 'feel' that I understand Jaynes discourse much better than I understand yours. I realize that I do not have the background necessary to follow all you discuss, but I would like to follow the thoughts. While you were most interested in the first part of the book, my interest was maintained by the historical references later in the book.

I looked up, as best I could, "recursive lexical metaphor" and below was the result. From the book The Language of Science (page 216) by Halliday and Webster. Didn't help much. Dah??? I am really feeling stupid/inadequate/etc. Please let me know what you were discussing.


No reason to feel stupid at all. If I am using vocabulary in a way that is not shared by us all, then by all means call me on it and ask me to clarify.

The old joke runs, "In order to understand recursion, one must first understand recursion". "Recursion" refers to a method of problem solving that involves repetition. Instead of merely repeating a procedure on a series of inputs and then stopping, the process is applied to the results as an input — effectively on itself. This larger process can then be called recursive.

"Lexical" refers to words and language. FYI, there is a more fully elaborated discussion in the context of semiotics here.

I'll assume you are more or less comfortable with what Jaynes has to say about metaphor and that it is my vocabulary that is unclear.

Putting this together, what I meant is that Jaynes has been broadly hinting that consciousness is strongly associated with the process of metaphor through language as it is applied to itself recursively, and that this is the reason FounDit has quite reasonably gotten the impression that consciousness and language are in some sense essential to each other.
NancyLee
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 3:05:45 AM
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Hi!

Thank you very much for your information and explanations. Very interesting! The vocabulary in this area is amazing to me. I have always thought I had a very good vocabulary, but I seem to have missed a great deal in this area! I have requested some of the books mentioned from the library and look forward to reading them. I'll see if I can get comfortable with many of these words and concepts.

I do not tend to read with an intensely critical mind set. Trying to be involved with this structured book review might greatly improve my thinking as I read non-fiction. I hope so.

Thanks again, NancyLee
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 10:55:51 AM

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leonAzul:
You wrote in your response to NanceLee, Quote:

Putting this together, what I meant is that Jaynes has been broadly hinting that consciousness is strongly associated with the process of metaphor through language as it is applied to itself recursively, and that this is the reason FounDit has quite reasonably gotten the impression that consciousness and language are in some sense essential to each other.


Recognizing from other posts that many who visit us here concerning this conversation don't always understand what we're talking about, I attempted to simplify it, both for my own understanding and for others.

However, you misunderstood me. It isn't I who believe that consciousness and language are essential to each other, but Jaynes who believes that.

I believe, and have stated several times, that I believe consciousness (at the least a minimum or primitive level) can and did exist before language.

I believe that language can not exist without consciousness.

I believe that consciousness has to exist while the words in a language are being invented, else language is, again, impossible.

I believe that abstract thought must first be present or else "words" have no possible meaning or understanding to any human who hears them.

I believe that it is this "abstract" thought ability that is the primitive consciousness, the foundational strata that may exist before the "I" of the mind is conceived of or invented.

I am, however, attempting to do as Epi asked, and merely hold the concepts presented by Jaynes in my head, and understand them without being convinced of them.

This is, of course, pure speculation as much as is Jaynes hypothesis, but, to me, is logical and reasonable.





leonAzul
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 5:47:33 PM

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FounDit wrote:
leonAzul:
You wrote in your response to NanceLee, Quote:

Putting this together, what I meant is that Jaynes has been broadly hinting that consciousness is strongly associated with the process of metaphor through language as it is applied to itself recursively, and that this is the reason FounDit has quite reasonably gotten the impression that consciousness and language are in some sense essential to each other.


Recognizing from other posts that many who visit us here concerning this conversation don't always understand what we're talking about, I attempted to simplify it, both for my own understanding and for others.

However, you misunderstood me. It isn't I who believe that consciousness and language are essential to each other, but Jaynes who believes that.


What I have understood is that you have simplified what Jaynes has written. To the extent that Jaynes claims that consciousness and the facility for language are always co-existent, as evident in the case of humankind, you are absolutely correct. This is not a matter of belief, as Jaynes presents it, but rather a matter of trust in the quality of the observations, the inferences drawn from the evidence, and the definition of the scope within which the claim is applicable. {that the scope of the applicability of the model has been properly delimited.}*

What I am pointing out is that in the process of simplification you have removed a key element of Jaynes' thesis, namely his claim that there is a specific relationship between consciousness and language as evidenced by the essential role that the process of metaphor has in a functional consciousness.

Jaynes wrote:

//55 (61)
Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what is called the
real world. It is built up with a vocabulary or lexical field whose
terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical
world.


I shall ask you again: Please show your evidence from the text where Jaynes has written that language is made from consciousness. I do note that Jaynes has several times coyly left the relationship vague and subject to interpretation, yet when it comes to staking a claim, the above cited quote is his unequivocal statement on the matter.

*edited to rephrase the bracketed words for better grammar and clarity
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 7:56:04 PM

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Jaynes wrote:
All of which is reminiscent of
our discussion of the location of consciousness, also a metaphor.
Consciousness is being thought of as a thing, and so like other
things must have a location, which, as we saw earlier, it does not
actually have in the physical sense.


In the first chapter when he brought up the location of consciousness in the head as fallacy, I got around that by assuming he meant that the perception of consciousness as a literal 3 dimensional space in the head is what he meant. With this statement of consciousness being not a thing, I begin to suspect that he is going to end up with consciousness as an emergent property, or and epiphenomenon. Then he makes what appears to be his first direct definitive statement.

Jaynes wrote:
Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what is called the
real world. It is built up with a vocabulary or lexical field whose
terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical
world.


Does anyone else see him missing a step here? Having an analog of the real world, is a characteristic of most of the higher animals' mentality, and wasn't it one of the points of the first chapter that this alone did not constitute consciousness? The initial analog of the real world is built up of processed sensory data, and its self is not a true analog, granted the modifications are evolutionary enhancements; however, within the human mind there is no such thing as the "real world." So if he were to say it as nitpicking accurately as I want to, then it would be something like,
Subjective conscious mind, is an analog of the subjective perceptual world resident in the mind/brain. This does eventually become critical to understanding consciousness; however, is not critical to his argument, noted here for reference.

Jaynes wrote:
Its reality is of the same order as mathematics. It allows
us to shortcut behavioral processes and arrive at more adequate
decisions. Like mathematics, it is an operator rather than a thing
or repository. And it is intimately bound up with volition and
decision.

So here is more of what appears to be statements indicating the non-physicality of consciousness, I'm very curious about how he intends to produce something out of nothing. What's even more interesting is how, if consciousness is on the same order of reality as mathematics how it could produce anything like volition, if that is, within his definition of volition is included the notion of freewill.
If it not in any way a repository of anything, then where and how is, the persistent sense of self maintained?

It should probably be apparent by now that I do not remember what Jaynes eventually says about consciousness, and am on nearly as much of a journey of discovery from this point as the rest of you. I know that some of these questions would not have even dawned on me 25 years ago. Reading Jaynes is part of what made me change my major to behavioral neuroscience, for what he does do most certainly is show that the era for the scientific investigation had opened. For between the lines here in this chapter is the formal refutation of the last major philosophical accusation prohibiting a natural science interpretation of consciousness, the argument that it would require an infinite regression of recognition, and I felt Jaynes' notion of, as Leon puts it, recursive lexical metaphor, accomplished that.

On the other hand currently, I am beginning to strongly suspect that what he is saying about the construction of consciousness is going to remarkably, be metaphorically analogous to Edelman's physiological theory, and if that is so, I will be suitably amazed.
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, November 17, 2011 9:12:02 PM

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leonAzul:

You wrote in answer to my last post:

Jaynes wrote:

//55 (61)
Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what is called the
real world. It is built up with a vocabulary or lexical field whose
terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical
world.

I shall ask you again: Please show your evidence from the text where Jaynes has written that language is made from consciousness. (Emphasis FounDit) I do note that Jaynes has several times coyly left the relationship vague and subject to interpretation, yet when it comes to staking a claim, the above cited quote is his unequivocal statement on the matter.


To see the evidence from the text, one need only look at the above paragraph from Jaynes:

Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what is called the
real world. It (the subjective conscious mind) is built up with a vocabulary

From TFD:
vo·cab·u·lar·y (v-kby-lr)
n. pl. vo·cab·u·lar·ies
1. All the words of a language.
2. The sum of words used by, understood by, or at the command of a particular person or group.
3. A list of words and often phrases, usually arranged alphabetically and defined or translated; a lexicon or glossary.
4. A supply of expressive means; a repertoire of communication

or lexical field whose
terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical
world
.


Vocabulary = language
Language = vocabulary
Consciousness is built up with language/vocabulary
Language/vocabulary is built from consciousness

I don't know how to make it any simpler for you, unless you want me to find a passage in the text that says, "Dear FounDit: Please tell leonAzul that I said, "that language is made from consciousness".
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011 12:37:30 AM

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FounDit wrote:

Consciousness is built up with language/vocabulary
Language/vocabulary is built from consciousness



I don't know how to make it any simpler for you, unless you want me to find a passage in the text that says, "Dear FounDit: Please be advised that the proposition 'Consciousness is built up with vocabulary' is not equivalent to 'Language is built from consciousness' — logically, semantically, lexically, nor evidentially."

Edited to add:

I'll have you know you are causing insomnia with this, but don't feel guilty or anything. Boo hoo!

Please consider the relationship between the following two propositions:

"The levee is built up with sand."
"Sand is built from the levee."
Epiphileon
Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011 9:51:35 AM

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Late edit on last post.

Epiphileon wrote:

It should probably be apparent by now that I do not remember what Jaynes eventually says about consciousness, and am on nearly as much of a journey of discovery from this point as the rest of you. I know that some of these questions would not have even dawned on me 25 years ago. Reading Jaynes is part of what made me change my major to behavioral neuroscience, for what he does do most certainly is show that the era for the scientific investigation had opened. For between the lines here in this chapter is the tacit refutation of the last major philosophical accusation prohibiting a natural science interpretation of consciousness, the argument that it would require an infinite regression of recognition, and I felt Jaynes' notion of, as Leon puts it, recursive lexical metaphor, accomplished that.

Sorry ran out of edit time on the above post, when I read this, this morning I was amazed at the brain glitch that put "formal" in where I meant "tacit".
leonAzul
Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011 11:54:59 AM

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Epiphileon wrote:

Jaynes wrote:
Subjective conscious mind is an analog of what is called the
real world. It is built up with a vocabulary or lexical field whose
terms are all metaphors or analogs of behavior in the physical
world.


Does anyone else see him missing a step here? Having an analog of the real world, is a characteristic of most of the higher animals' mentality, and wasn't it one of the points of the first chapter that this alone did not constitute consciousness?


If Jaynes wants to argue that it is a question of degree rather than kind, I won't reject it out of hand. He had better have some good evidence for it, or at least a good argument for why it would make a good working hypothesis for the purpose of gathering evidence.

Epiphileon wrote:

The initial analog of the real world is built up of processed sensory data, and its self is not a true analog, granted the modifications are evolutionary enhancements; however, within the human mind there is no such thing as the "real world."


As Jaynes presents the concept, it is not necessary for an anolog to be made of the same stuff as what it represents; it only needs to vary in an analogous way to what it represents.

Epiphileon wrote:

So if he were to say it as nitpicking accurately as I want to, then it would be something like,
Subjective conscious mind, is an analog of the subjective perceptual world resident in the mind/brain. This does eventually become critical to understanding consciousness; however, is not critical to his argument, noted here for reference.


The way he has left it open, it seems to me that he is attributing a great deal of flexibility in how or on what it is that consciousness operates. He seems to be hinting that, at different times, it can operate on direct sensory input, recursively on preprocessed perceptions, recalled memory, remembered procedures, established relationships, value systems, and so on. I don't want to be in the position where I am making his case for him, but in that brief illustration of how an analog reverses roles depending on whether it is being generated or applied, he strongly hinted that such is the case for consciousness.

Jaynes wrote:
//59 (65)
Consciousness is the metaphrand
when it is being generated by the paraphrands of our verbal
expressions. But the functioning of consciousness is, as it were,
the return journey. Consciousness becomes the metaphier full of
our past experience, constantly and selectively operating on such
unknowns as future actions, decisions, and partly remembered
pasts, on what we are and yet may be. And it is by the generated
structure of consciousness that we then understand the world.


Please clarify the last part about criticality; I don't follow the distinction between understanding consciousness and his argument.

Epiphileon wrote:

Jaynes wrote:
Its reality is of the same order as mathematics. It allows
us to shortcut behavioral processes and arrive at more adequate
decisions. Like mathematics, it is an operator rather than a thing
or repository. And it is intimately bound up with volition and
decision.

So here is more of what appears to be statements indicating the non-physicality of consciousness, I'm very curious about how he intends to produce something out of nothing. What's even more interesting is how, if consciousness is on the same order of reality as mathematics how it could produce anything like volition, if that is, within his definition of volition is included the notion of freewill.


So far he has only claimed a strong correlation.

Epiphileon wrote:

If it not in any way a repository of anything, then where and how is, the persistent sense of self maintained?


It would not be unreasonable to infer that sense of self is "stored" in memory and operated upon by consciousness. I suspect we haven't heard the last word about locality and spacialization, particularly with regard to sense of self.

Epiphileon wrote:

On the other hand currently, I am beginning to strongly suspect that what he is saying about the construction of consciousness is going to remarkably, be metaphorically analogous to Edelman's physiological theory, and if that is so, I will be suitably amazed.


Would it surprise you to know that recursion and re-entrance are very closely related concepts in Mathematics and Computer Science?

BTW, I haven't read anything by Edelman yet, so I am just working from second hand information, but I now understand your apprehension concerning the use of computers as a model of human thought. There are many pitfalls concerning context and scope, to be sure, but as long as those are kept in mind, so to speak, there is great utility in using such metaphors in the development of simulations and models that can provide guidance for conducting real experiments. Admittedly, though, they are most useful in contrast to, rather than in comparison with, living brains.
FounDit
Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011 7:44:00 PM

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leonAzul wrote:
FounDit wrote:

Consciousness is built up with language/vocabulary
Language/vocabulary is built from consciousness



I don't know how to make it any simpler for you, unless you want me to find a passage in the text that says, "Dear FounDit: Please be advised that the proposition 'Consciousness is built up with vocabulary' is not equivalent to 'Language is built from consciousness' — logically, semantically, lexically, nor evidentially."

Ok. I'll give you that one. I got myself confused trying too hard to say what I wanted to say. See below, however.

Edited to add:

I'll have you know you are causing insomnia with this, but don't feel guilty or anything. Boo hoo!

You too? I thought is was just me! Guilt? Me? Naww. That would imply I'd done something wrong, and I'm never wrong. I'm not always right, but I'm never wrong. Confused occasionally, but correct myself. Shhh

Please consider the relationship between the following two propositions:

"The levee is built up with sand."
"Sand is built from the levee."


This is a nice analogy. It would be nicer and might work if the levee created/invented the sand like consciousness is created by language (I'm going back and forth on this so much, I'm getting confused on which is which).

Ok. Let's try this then.


Jaynes wrote:
//59 (65)
Consciousness is the metaphrand
when it is being generated by the paraphrands of our verbal
expressions.

Consciousness is the thing described (metaphrand...ok?)when it is being generated (constructed, produced, procreated, brought into being) by the paraphrands of our verbal expressions.

This sounds to me like he is saying that consciousness is brought into being (generated) by qualities of our verbal expressions....no?

Remember, I don't agree with it, I'm just saying that it seems to me that Jaynes believes it; that consciousness is dependent on (generated by/created by) language.

I, on the other hand, believe language can not exist without consciousness.

Will we get some sleep tonight? Pray

leonAzul
Posted: Friday, November 18, 2011 8:37:26 PM

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FounDit wrote:


Ok. Let's try this then.


Jaynes wrote:
//59 (65)
Consciousness is the metaphrand
when it is being generated by the paraphrands of our verbal
expressions.

Consciousness is the thing described (metaphrand...ok?)when it is being generated (constructed, produced, procreated, brought into being) by the paraphrands of our verbal expressions.

This sounds to me like he is saying that consciousness is brought into being (generated) by qualities of our verbal expressions....no?


Agreed, it is as if language needs to be available for consciousness to function, but he wants to leave the question open as to whether or not they might be co-emergent. He wants to have his cake and eat it too.

FounDit wrote:


Remember, I don't agree with it, I'm just saying that it seems to me that Jaynes believes it; that consciousness is dependent on (generated by/created by) language.

I, on the other hand, believe language can not exist without consciousness.


Be assured I have my own biases as well, I am just doing my best to acknowledge them and hold them at bay for the sake of discussion. Meanwhile there is enough plausibility for me to play along until he gets around to articulating something more explicitly. The way he likes to drop hints, I suspect it will have something to do with increasing aptitude for language and metaphor supported by "aptic structures" that at some point crosses a threshold of sufficient complexity.

FounDit wrote:


Will we get some sleep tonight? Pray


I for one will rest easier knowing that we are not at complete loggerheads with each other. Dancing
Epiphileon
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2011 5:58:17 AM

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leonAzul wrote:

Epiphileon wrote:

So if he were to say it as nitpicking accurately as I want to, then it would be something like,
Subjective conscious mind, is an analog of the subjective perceptual world resident in the mind/brain. This does eventually become critical to understanding consciousness; however, is not critical to his argument, noted here for reference.


The way he has left it open, it seems to me that he is attributing a great deal of flexibility in how or on what it is that consciousness operates. He seems to be hinting that, at different times, it can operate on direct sensory input, recursively on preprocessed perceptions, recalled memory, remembered procedures, established relationships, value systems, and so on. I don't want to be in the position where I am making his case for him, but in that brief illustration of how an analog reverses roles depending on whether it is being generated or applied, he strongly hinted that such is the case for consciousness.

Please clarify the last part about criticality...

My issue is with the term "real world", subjective conscious mind knows nothing of something called the "real world," it only knows the representation of the real world that is created within the cranial cavity, by the nervous system. Descartes' stick in a pool of water, and the realization that it doesn't actually bend at the interface of air/water, or Mach and his realization that the borders of shadows (Mach Bands)couldn't possibly behave the way they appeared to, are examples of an evolutionary step in consciousness. That is, the realization that it is all in the head, there is no direct interface between subjective conscious mind, and the "real world", its "real world" is a fabrication of the nervous system within the cranial cavity. Subjective conscious mind is at no time aware of raw sensory data, it would not know what it was, on top of that it would be far to slow to incorporate it all into anything meaningful if it did. The occipital cortex, the auditory cortex, ect. these areas are not even available to consciousness, massive amounts, and numerous levels of processing occur, at much quicker processing speeds, before consciousness gets anything, of any type of world, let alone "real", to operate on.
Specifically my issue is that while this may not be critical to the argument he has constructed, it is a non-ignorable, and therefore critical aspect of consciousness, that is an essential understanding, even if not addressed, in any foundational discussion of consciousness.


Epiphileon wrote:

Jaynes wrote:
Its reality is of the same order as mathematics. It allows
us to shortcut behavioral processes and arrive at more adequate
decisions. Like mathematics, it is an operator rather than a thing
or repository. And it is intimately bound up with volition and
decision.

So here is more of what appears to be statements indicating the non-physicality of consciousness, I'm very curious about how he intends to produce something out of nothing. What's even more interesting is how, if consciousness is on the same order of reality as mathematics how it could produce anything like volition, if that is, within his definition of volition is included the notion of freewill.


leonAzul wrote:
So far he has only claimed a strong correlation.

hmm same order of reality? I just can't see this, that would definitely make it non-physical, but even if he is just saying it is strongly correlated, I still don't see it, and of all things to pick, the only non-subjective thing humans know of. If he is trying to say that consciousness is only generated as a function of a system of operations on certain relationships, okay I can hear that but, leave mathematics out of it, the analogy to me is bizarre.
Epiphileon wrote:
If it not in any way a repository of anything, then where and how is, the persistent sense of self maintained?


It would not be unreasonable to infer that sense of self is "stored" in memory and operated upon by consciousness. I suspect we haven't heard the last word about locality and spacialization, particularly with regard to sense of self.
Oh I think it would, but I could be wrong, determining a view on this would be a fascinating discussion though.
Epiphileon wrote:

On the other hand currently, I am beginning to strongly suspect that what he is saying about the construction of consciousness is going to remarkably, be metaphorically analogous to Edelman's physiological theory, and if that is so, I will be suitably amazed.


Would it surprise you to know that recursion and re-entrance are very closely related concepts in Mathematics and Computer Science?
No it wouldn't I spent hours with early fractal programs, lol, in fact I remember having to run my 80286 overnight to generate most of the plots in the very early days of such programs.

BTW, I haven't read anything by Edelman yet, so I am just working from second hand information, but I now understand your apprehension concerning the use of computers as a model of human thought. There are many pitfalls concerning context and scope, to be sure, but as long as those are kept in mind, so to speak, there is great utility in using such metaphors in the development of simulations and models that can provide guidance for conducting real experiments. Admittedly, though, they are most useful in contrast to, rather than in comparison with, living brains.
lol yea at this point I do lean rather strongly towards connectionism, although I have recently been looking into the computational view, and it does have some strong arguments, at this point my feeling is the two will somehow end up being nonexclusive.[/quote]
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2011 6:58:58 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:
leonAzul wrote:


Please clarify the last part about criticality...


My issue is with the term "real world", subjective conscious mind knows nothing of something called the "real world," it only knows the representation of the real world that is created within the cranial cavity, by the nervous system. Descartes' stick in a pool of water, and the realization that it doesn't actually bend at the interface of air/water, or Mach and his realization that the borders of shadows (Mach Bands)couldn't possibly behave the way they appeared to, are examples of an evolutionary step in consciousness. That is, the realization that it is all in the head, there is no direct interface between subjective conscious mind, and the "real world", its "real world" is a fabrication of the nervous system within the cranial cavity. Subjective conscious mind is at no time aware of raw sensory data, it would not know what it was, on top of that it would be far to slow to incorporate it all into anything meaningful if it did. The occipital cortex, the auditory cortex, ect. these areas are not even available to consciousness, massive amounts, and numerous levels of processing occur, at much quicker processing speeds, before consciousness gets anything, of any type of world, let alone "real", to operate on.
Specifically my issue is that while this may not be critical to the argument he has constructed, it is a non-ignorable, and therefore critical aspect of consciousness, that is an essential understanding, even if not addressed, in any foundational discussion of consciousness.


Consider this thought experiment: If I were to record the same event with a camera at the same perspective as my eyeballs, would the stick still appear bent?

{The illusion comes not from a deficiency in the analog created in the brain of an optical event, but rather in the subsequent interpretation of it.}

The illusion comes not from a deficiency in the analog of an optical event recorded in the brain, but rather in the subsequent interpretation of the analog.

edited for clarity

addendum:
Indeed, the process of perception is far more complicated than the reaction on film emulsions, but that doesn't preclude the utility of considering the processes analogous, subject to empirical testing to quantify the granularity, linearity, and signal to noise ratios inherent in the biologically-based analogs.
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2011 7:13:20 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:

Jaynes wrote:
Its reality is of the same order as mathematics. It allows
us to shortcut behavioral processes and arrive at more adequate
decisions. Like mathematics, it is an operator rather than a thing
or repository. And it is intimately bound up with volition and
decision.

So here is more of what appears to be statements indicating the non-physicality of consciousness, I'm very curious about how he intends to produce something out of nothing. What's even more interesting is how, if consciousness is on the same order of reality as mathematics how it could produce anything like volition, if that is, within his definition of volition is included the notion of freewill.


I disagree with this interpretation. It is instead a rather oblique assertion that the scope of discussion in this chapter is the essential characteristics of consciousness and should not be considered a comprehensive discussion of the physical structures that support it. [edited to add: "it" refers to "consciousness", just in case I didn't make that clear. edited twice: Never mind, I'll just rewrite it!]

There is an interesting corollary to this comparison between consciousness and Mathematics. I make note of it here for future reference in consideration of Jaynes' established MO as a teaser.

An interesting characteristic of Mathematics is that it is the only domain in which one can literally prove a theorem. I strongly suspect that Jaynes shall indirectly invoke this as an explanation for the nearly ubiquitous desire for dogmatic proof as an account of the origin of religion. We shall see.
leonAzul
Posted: Saturday, November 19, 2011 7:48:22 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:

Jaynes wrote:
Its reality is of the same order as mathematics. It allows
us to shortcut behavioral processes and arrive at more adequate
decisions. Like mathematics, it is an operator rather than a thing
or repository. And it is intimately bound up with volition and
decision.

So here is more of what appears to be statements indicating the non-physicality of consciousness, I'm very curious about how he intends to produce something out of nothing. What's even more interesting is how, if consciousness is on the same order of reality as mathematics how it could produce anything like volition, if that is, within his definition of volition is included the notion of freewill.

leonAzul wrote:
So far he has only claimed a strong correlation. [clarifying edit: that is, between consciousness and volition]

hmm same order of reality? I just can't see this, that would definitely make it non-physical, but even if he is just saying it is strongly correlated, I still don't see it, and of all things to pick, the only non-subjective thing humans know of. If he is trying to say that consciousness is only generated as a function of a system of operations on certain relationships, okay I can hear that but, leave mathematics out of it, the analogy to me is bizarre.


The analogy is not so bizarre when one considers the following proposition:

Mathematics has evolved as a language to describe and investigate abstract concepts and relationships that can be observed through the empirical methodologies of Geometry and Arithmetic.
Ray41
Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2011 12:01:02 AM

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leon wrote:
Mathematics has evolved as a language to describe and investigate abstract concepts and relationships that can be observed through the empirical methodologies of Geometry and Arithmetic.


As an aside;
Mathematics is language, and as we keep on developing more complex mathematics, so will the further evolution of language be needed to resolve these complexities. More new phrases, words, etc. to describe and understand concepts that where not even contemplated as little as a blink ago!
Every psychologist that I have spoken to in recent times has confirmed that in order for mathematics students to succeed they need language skills, and, that is why speech therapy is becoming an essential service to aid young minds to comprehend this 'language'.
I was talking to a maths teacher only a week ago, and, he also pointed out that 50% of mathematics examinations now involve written answers.
With our brain consisting of hemispheres, each with its own function, then this must be creating further interaction between what what were traditionally, 'compartmentalised' hemispheres, each with its own function.
It was usually accepted that an excellent English student would have a leaning towards English, and, therefore would not be excellent at mathematics, and, vice versa.
It appears that the hemispheres of our brain have been/are merging, and in that context, still evolving.
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2011 12:20:11 AM

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Ray41 wrote:
leon wrote:
Mathematics has evolved as a language to describe and investigate abstract concepts and relationships that can be observed through the empirical methodologies of Geometry and Arithmetic.


As an aside;
Mathematics is language, and as we keep on developing more complex mathematics, so will the further evolution of language be needed to resolve these complexities. More new phrases, words, etc. to describe and understand concepts that where not even contemplated as little as a blink ago!
Every psychologist that I have spoken to in recent times has confirmed that in order for mathematics students to succeed they need language skills, and, that is why speech therapy is becoming an essential service to aid young minds to comprehend this 'language'.
I was talking to a maths teacher only a week ago, and, he also pointed out that 50% of mathematics examinations now involve written answers.
With our brain consisting of hemispheres, each with its own function, then this must be creating further interaction between what what were traditionally, 'compartmentalised' hemispheres, each with its own function.
It was usually accepted that an excellent English student would have a leaning towards English, and, therefore would not be excellent at mathematics, and, vice versa.
It appears that the hemispheres of our brain have been/are merging, and in that context, still evolving.


Excellent observations, Ray41. (As far as I am concerned a well-made observation is as good as any documented source for evidence; the quality of the observations is indeed one reason that sources are trusted in the first place. Think )

As a further aside this brings to mind the historical origins of modern maths. Euclidean Geometry is expressed almost exclusively in plain language and ratios that can be constructed and compared independently of any arbitrary unit of measure. Could this be why analogies are often expressed in the same language as mathematical ratios (A is to B, as C is to D)?
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2011 3:32:40 PM

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Sorry these replies are coming at the 11th hour, I had a nightmare of a system crash yesterday.

leonAzul wrote:
Consider this thought experiment: If I were to record the same event with a camera at the same perspective as my eyeballs, would the stick still appear bent?

Epiphileon wrote:
Yes the stick was not the best illustration as it is a matter of refraction occurring in the nature of the observed phenomenon.

leonAzul wrote:
{The illusion comes not from a deficiency in the analog created in the brain of an optical event, but rather in the subsequent interpretation of it.}

Epiphileon wrote:
This is not at all the case in the example of Mach Bands, the illusion occurs at the level of the retina, at a purely psychophysics level. Visual input from external reality undergoes at least a dozen more transformations to the raw signal of the upsidedown, backwards, out of focus, and shaking, image on the back of the eye, before the first chance of any type of interpretation occurs. Before even it makes its contribution to the amazing virtual reality that is constructed within the mind/brain, which is the actual incredibly accurate, analog of the real world that we conduct ourselves within.
This is the point I am saying is critical, that this entire construct is within the head, yes it is indeed a pretty accurate analog, BUT it is a subjective construct, one that consciousness has absolutely nothing to do with constructing, and that it is this virtual "real world" that is the operating area of the recursive lexical metaphor dynamic.


leonAzul wrote:
addendum:
Indeed, the process of perception is far more complicated than the reaction on film emulsions, but that doesn't preclude the utility of considering the processes analogous, subject to empirical testing to quantify the granularity, linearity, and signal to noise ratios inherent in the biologically-based analogs.


Epiphileon wrote:
Yes and I do not mean to in anyway indicate that the processes are anything but analogous, in some cases even enhanced analogous, Mach Bands are one hell of an adaptation for facilitating edge finding. Certainly they are all subject to empirical testing, that has been the precise business of psychophysics for over a century. The point is that somewhere in 3-4 pounds of gelatinous goo, all this signal somehow creates a this incredibly detailed four dimensional environment in which we live and move.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2011 3:41:56 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:

hmm same order of reality? I just can't see this, that would definitely make it non-physical, but even if he is just saying it is strongly correlated, I still don't see it, and of all things to pick, the only non-subjective thing humans know of. If he is trying to say that consciousness is only generated as a function of a system of operations on certain relationships, okay I can hear that but, leave mathematics out of it, the analogy to me is bizarre.


leonAzul wrote:
The analogy is not so bizarre when one considers the following proposition:

Mathematics has evolved as a language to describe and investigate abstract concepts and relationships that can be observed through the empirical methodologies of Geometry and Arithmetic.

Epiphileon wrote:

I am well aware of the vast power of mathematics; however, it is most definitely a tool, a system employed by thinking entities, it has no sensory system of its own, nor does it have any physical substance, this is why I think the comparison bizarre, as well as the fact that it is non-metaphorical.
BTW quite a while ago I started a thread on mathematics as a language you would not believe the furor that caused.
Another aside, I think that mathematics is discovered not created, at least math below the most esoteric levels.
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2011 7:03:40 PM

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Nov.20-Nov.27
Chapter 2
pages 59.75 thru 66
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2011 7:11:44 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:


Another aside, I think that mathematics is discovered not created, at least math below the most esoteric levels.


The Mother of All Debate Not talking

^..^
Epiphileon
Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2011 7:24:28 PM

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LOL sorry I didn't know.
leonAzul
Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2011 7:27:06 PM

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Epiphileon wrote:

I am well aware of the vast power of mathematics; however, it is most definitely a tool, a system employed by thinking entities, it has no sensory system of its own, nor does it have any physical substance, this is why I think the comparison bizarre, as well as the fact that it is non-metaphorical.
BTW quite a while ago I started a thread on mathematics as a language you would not believe the furor that caused.
Another aside, I think that mathematics is discovered not created, at least math below the most esoteric levels.


I am well aware of the vast power of language; however, it is most definitely a tool, a system employed by thinking entities, it has no sensory system of its own, nor does it have any physical substance…

It is my opinion that Jaynes has suggested that these are the tools with which conscious mind has crafted itself (acting recursively), metaphorically speaking of course.

Casting conscious as a metaphor, an analog, an operator (as in the mathematical set theory term, function), still leaves the materialistic notion of a class of behavior engaged in by some putative "aptic structure".

We shall see how well he supports these veiled assertions.
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