more consciousness stuff to argue about

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more consciousness stuff to argue about

Post by Metacrock » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:03 am ... -of-matter

Paul King, Computational Neuroscientist, Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience
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As far as which is "most likely," the scientific evidence is on the side of consciousness being an emergent property.

Here are the reasons:1.No method has ever been devised or even proposed that could test for or measure consciousness as a "fundamental property of matter." You don't see physicists trying to detect this property in particle accelerators. The idea is pure ontological speculation.
2.Meanwhile, we do know that the awake brain is conscious, whereas the asleep (or dead) brain is not. (Asleep here refers to "dreamless sleep".) So there is already good reason to believe that consciousness results from something going on in the brain.
3.The brain is neurally almost equally active during dreamless sleep as when awake. In fact it has been shown that sensory brain areas still receive and process sensory information such as sound when sleeping or under general anesthesia. And yet there is no consciousness. So consciousness requires not just brain activity, but a special kind of brain activity.
4.The change in conscious state, including dreaming, dreamless sleep, and general anesthesia, can be observed in the brain wave oscillation patterns measured via EEG. The EEG measures wide-spread synchronized neural activity. So whatever consciousness is, it seems to relate to certain types of global neural activity patterns in the brain.

What, then, about the complaint that the emergent property theory is a non-explanation?

Well, that is partially true. The emergent property view is a category of model and not a specific explanation. It's like saying that weather is an emergent property of air and water molecules undergoing temperature change. Or that investment bubbles are an emergent property of the stock market. That's nice, but it doesn't really explain hurricanes or market crashes. As they say at the end of every science report, "more research is needed."
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Re: more consciousness stuff to argue about

Post by Jim B. » Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:38 pm

As they said, it's not an explanation. Not only that, it's difficult to even conceive of how it could be an explanation, barring a conceptual revolution. It's different from any other kind of emergence that we know of -- it seems 'magical' and ad hoc; it's being called up just to 'solve' this one problem. It seems far more magical and mysterious than pan or proto-theories. That's not to say that the brain or other things with similar enough functions aren't necessary to enable the kind of consciousness we have. Just like a tv set is necessary for my tv show to appear. When I turn the set off, the show is gone. If I never saw a tv set before and I came across one, I'd naturally assume that the show is emerging from the box.

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Re: more consciousness stuff to argue about

Post by Superfund » Tue Sep 15, 2015 12:45 am

I find it interesting that anesthetics, apparantley works at quantum level that is not understood. ... failed.pdf

This from David B Hart;
"there is scarcely a field in the higher sciences today that does not make use of the concept of "information," however it may subordinate the "form" in that term to the purely physical realm. And information is notoriously difficult to separate logically into that which is caused and that which causes, or into real and merely apparent purposes. In fact, it is positively impossible to do so from the perspective of modern scientific method, because that method precludes "emergent" properties in the hard sense-properties, that is, that are in any sense discontinuous from the properties of the prior causes from which they arise. Anything, in principle, should be reducible, by a series of geometrical steps, to the physical attributes of its ingredients. Information can be combined in new configurations, perhaps, but it cannot be conjured into being as something magically supervenient upon that process. And this conceptual inseparability of causative and resultant information holds good no less in the realm of modern physics than in that of chemistry or biology. It is worth considering, for example, at least as a thought experiment, whether either the metaphysical remains of mechanistic thinking or something more like Aristotelian understanding of the relation between form and matter-or between actuality and potentiality-provides us with a self evidently more coherent way of portraying to ourselves the relation between the incommensurable worlds of phenomenal objects and of quantum events. Is is certainly not the science involved, in any event, that demands that we prefer one model to the other. Quantum reality rarely invites us to think in classically mechanistic categories, but it offers no very spirited resistance to any analogies we might care to draw between quantum indeterminacy and the indeterminate "prime matter" of the older metaphysics (just such an analogy was proposed by Heisenberg, in fact)."

Seem to me an interesting 'thought experiment' to consider information, consciousness and quantum reality. (sorry at work/rushed.)

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