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General => Philosophy => Topic started by: billy rubin on May 10, 2022, 04:33:43 PM

Title: consciousness
Post by: billy rubin on May 10, 2022, 04:33:43 PM
what is consciousness?

in my opinion its the main thing that separates life from non life, but i could be persuaded otherwise

 im saying that because i believe consciousness exists on a continuum


i wpuld not be surprised at all to learn that rocks think, probably very slowly and in a simple manner. or stars.

but consciousness is something tbat science is really squirrely about. i dont hear a lot of confidence about understanding it.  what does it mean to be aware, or to be self aware?

i also think its tbe clinging to consciecness that spurs people to worry about an afterlife, in that they dont want to accept the possibility of oblivion. 


Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Icarus on May 11, 2022, 05:12:06 AM
Help me understand what your conception of, or meaning of, consciousness is. 

I stubbed my toe this afternoon and I am conscious of the pain that it has caused. Meanwhile those churchy people, across the street, might be conscious of the fact that my toe injury is a result of Gods will. 

I suspect that we humans are still pretty ignorant about how the world came to be, or why and how the birds and fish and bugs, and bright lights, or starry nights influence our consciousness.

Heady stuff really.

This probably belongs in the philosophy section. 



Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: billy rubin on May 11, 2022, 09:51:09 AM
everything belongs in the philosophy section.
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: billy rubin on May 11, 2022, 10:33:45 AM
to be conscious id the state of being aware, not necessarilly self aware, but of recieving and processing stomuli. so a mouse smelling a lump of peanut butter has conscious ness. as does a brain in a vat that can do nothing but think.

but does a piece oflimestone  have conscuousness? it can dissolve in hydrochloric acid. is that enough to call it processing? if we are chemical creatures, wheres the line to drae?

the noisy churchy people are conscious of gods will, but that V is not exactly what i mean. but tbey have knowledge, so they have the ability to process data tho, so they would be conscious.

this runs into the same questions regarding whether something is alive or not. i dont think i know what jt means to be alive. most definitions are reverse engineered, just taking something we wAnt to call livin g and then listing its characteristics
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Icarus on May 12, 2022, 07:28:00 AM
I am truly appreciative of the opportunity to be exposed to deep thinkers who have the ability to express their thoughts. There are far too few of you out there. We have more than a few on this forum who qualify.

I am desperately trying to hang on to my sensibilities. Age is taking its' toll and I am aware of that reality. It is helpful to associate with others, like HAF people, who are, I believe, a cut above the ordinary.   

 
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: billy rubin on May 12, 2022, 01:07:59 PM
I aRE Not A DEep tHiNKer

i just sit all day and have nothing else to do

age has messed with.my short term memory too, especially with labels. like names of things. its a constant struggle
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Recusant on May 12, 2022, 07:57:59 PM
Quote from: Icarus on May 11, 2022, 05:12:06 AMHelp me understand what your conception of, or meaning of, consciousness is. 

I stubbed my toe this afternoon and I am conscious of the pain that it has caused. Meanwhile those churchy people, across the street, might be conscious of the fact that my toe injury is a result of Gods will. 

I suspect that we humans are still pretty ignorant about how the world came to be, or why and how the birds and fish and bugs, and bright lights, or starry nights influence our consciousness.

Heady stuff really.

This probably belongs in the philosophy section. 

I agree with your perspicacious assessment, Icarus. Following your wise guidance allowed me to test out a basic function (moving a topic) with the updated forum software: All good. Thanks  :thumb:
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: billy rubin on May 12, 2022, 11:32:53 PM
its all one conversatoon, in the end
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Ecurb Noselrub on August 07, 2022, 12:18:07 AM
It can be helpful to distinguish between consciousness and self-consciousness. The latter is possessed by humans and maybe occasionally a few of the higher animals. The former is more widespread and, as you say, on a continuum. At a very basic level attraction between atoms could be said to be a form of rudimentary consciousness. So, in a sense, consciousness at that level is a fundamental part of the universe. As organisms evolve they become more complex, and their consciousness becomes more involved, to the point where self-consciousness arises and we can think/say "I am", or look in a mirror and say "that's me."
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: No one on August 07, 2022, 12:31:32 AM
It's like the far out, groovy notion that I'm tuned in and turned on.
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Magdalena on August 07, 2022, 01:02:46 AM
Quote from: billy rubin on May 11, 2022, 09:51:09 AMeverything belongs in the philosophy section.
;D
How did I miss this?
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Magdalena on August 07, 2022, 01:08:02 AM
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on August 07, 2022, 12:18:07 AM.... As organisms evolve they become more complex, and their consciousness becomes more involved, to the point where self-consciousness arises and we can think/say "I am", or look in a mirror and say "that's me."

Fuck. I am. That's me.
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: billy rubin on August 07, 2022, 01:28:26 AM
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on August 07, 2022, 12:18:07 AMIt can be helpful to distinguish between consciousness and self-consciousness. The latter is possessed by humans and maybe occasionally a few of the higher animals. The former is more widespread and, as you say, on a continuum. At a very basic level attraction between atoms could be said to be a form of rudimentary consciousness. So, in a sense, consciousness at that level is a fundamental part of the universe. As organisms evolve they become more complex, and their consciousness becomes more involved, to the point where self-consciousness arises and we can think/say "I am", or look in a mirror and say "that's me."

yes!!
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Ecurb Noselrub on August 07, 2022, 05:39:52 PM
Quote from: Magdalena on August 07, 2022, 01:08:02 AM
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on August 07, 2022, 12:18:07 AM.... As organisms evolve they become more complex, and their consciousness becomes more involved, to the point where self-consciousness arises and we can think/say "I am", or look in a mirror and say "that's me."

Fuck. I am. That's me.


Inspires a song:

The bear looked into the mirror
The bear looked into the mirror
The bear looked into the mirrorrrrrr,
And whaddaya think he saw?

He saw a bear in the mirror
He saw a bear in the mirror
He saw a bear in the mirrorrrrrr,
And whaddaya think he did?

He smashed the fuckin' mirror
He smashed the fuckin' mirror
He smashed the fuckin' mirror , etc.

His self-consciousness is a little under-developed.

 
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: billy rubin on August 07, 2022, 07:17:43 PM
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on August 07, 2022, 12:18:07 AMIt can be helpful to distinguish between consciousness and self-consciousness. The latter is possessed by humans and maybe occasionally a few of the higher animals. The former is more widespread and, as you say, on a continuum. At a very basic level attraction between atoms could be said to be a form of rudimentary consciousness. So, in a sense, consciousness at that level is a fundamental part of the universe. As organisms evolve they become more complex, and their consciousness becomes more involved, to the point where self-consciousness arises and we can think/say "I am", or look in a mirror and say "that's me."

i want to take this same argument, and apply it to what we call "life."

what is life?

nobody agrees, once you get down to brass tacks. here's as brif a descriptiopn as i can find:

***************************************


Properties of life
Biologists have identified various traits common to all the living organisms we know of. Although nonliving things may show some of these characteristic traits, only living things show all of them.

1. Organization
Living things are highly organized, meaning they contain specialized, coordinated parts. All living organisms are made up of one or more cells, which are considered the fundamental units of life.
Even unicellular organisms are complex! Inside each cell, atoms make up molecules, which make up cell organelles and structures. In multicellular organisms, similar cells form tissues. Tissues, in turn, collaborate to create organs (body structures with a distinct function). Organs work together to form organ systems.
Multicellular organisms—such as humans—are made up of many cells. The cells in multicellular organisms may be specialized to do different jobs and are organized into tissues, such as connective tissue, epithelial tissue, muscle, and nervous tissue. Tissues make up organs, such as the heart or lungs, which carry out specific functions needed by the organism as a whole.
Left: unicellular bacterium, with the exterior of the cell cut away to show the multiple layers of the cell and the DNA in its interior. Center: multicellular tissues in humans. Small drawings of connective tissue, epithelial tissue, muscle tissue, and nervous tissue. Right: diagram of a human upper body, showing one location where epithelial tissue like that shown in the center panel could be found—the lining of the mouth.
Left: unicellular bacterium, with the exterior of the cell cut away to show the multiple layers of the cell and the DNA in its interior. Center: multicellular tissues in humans. Small drawings of connective tissue, epithelial tissue, muscle tissue, and nervous tissue. Right: diagram of a human upper body, showing one location where epithelial tissue like that shown in the center panel could be found—the lining of the mouth.
Image credit: left, modified from "Prokaryote cell by Ali Zifan (CC BY-SA 4.0), modified image is licensed under a CC BY-SA 4.0 license; center, modified from "Four types of tissue" by the National Institutes of Health (public domain); rIght, modified from "PseudostratifiedCiliatedColumnar" by Blausen staff (CC BY 3.0)

2. Metabolism
Life depends on an enormous number of interlocking chemical reactions. These reactions make it possible for organisms to do work—such as moving around or catching prey—as well as growing, reproducing, and maintaining the structure of their bodies. Living things must use energy and consume nutrients to carry out the chemical reactions that sustain life. The sum total of the biochemical reactions occurring in an organism is called its metabolism.
Metabolism can be subdivided into anabolism and catabolism. In anabolism, organisms make complex molecules from simpler ones, while in catabolism, they do the reverse. Anabolic processes typically consume energy, whereas catabolic processes can make stored energy available.

3. Homeostasis
Living organisms regulate their internal environment to maintain the relatively narrow range of conditions needed for cell function. For instance, your body temperature needs to be kept relatively close to 98.6∘^\circ∘degreesF (37∘^\circ∘degreesC). This maintenance of a stable internal environment, even in the face of a changing external environment, is known as homeostasis. [Show example of how homeostasis is maintained.]

4. Growth
Living organisms undergo regulated growth. Individual cells become larger in size, and multicellular organisms accumulate many cells through cell division. You yourself started out as a single cell and now have tens of trillions of cells in your body1^11start superscript, 1, end superscript! Growth depends on anabolic pathways that build large, complex molecules such as proteins and DNA, the genetic material.

5. Reproduction
Living organisms can reproduce themselves to create new organisms. Reproduction can be either asexual, involving a single parent organism, or sexual, requiring two parents. Single-celled organisms, like the dividing bacterium shown in the left panel of the image at right, can reproduce themselves simply by splitting in two!
Left: image of a Salmonella bacterium dividing into two bacteria. Right: image of a sperm and egg meeting in fertilization.
Left: image of a Salmonella bacterium dividing into two bacteria. Right: image of a sperm and egg meeting in fertilization.
Image credit: left, "Salmonella typhimurium" by Janice Carr (public domain); right, "Sperm-egg," (public domain)
In sexual reproduction, two parent organisms produce sperm and egg cells containing half of their genetic information, and these cells fuse to form a new individual with a full genetic set. This process, called fertilization, is illustrated in the image at far right.

6. Response
Living organisms show "irritability," meaning that they respond to stimuli or changes in their environment. For instance, people pull their hand away—fast!—from a flame; many plants turn toward the sun; and unicellular organisms may migrate toward a source of nutrients or away from a noxious chemical. [See a plant respond to touch.]

7. Evolution
Populations of living organisms can undergo evolution, meaning that the genetic makeup of a population may change over time. In some cases, evolution involves natural selection, in which a heritable trait, such as darker fur color or narrower beak shape, lets organisms survive and reproduce better in a particular environment. Over generations, a heritable trait that provides a fitness advantage may become more and more common in a population, making the population better suited to its environment. This process is called adaptation.

***************************************


the problem with ^^^this is that its not a definition, its just a description of the things in our experience that we call "alive." what do we do if an exobiologist discovers something that fits 6 out of the 7? is it not alive because it isnt something that what we already know about?

Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Magdalena on August 07, 2022, 07:23:59 PM
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on August 07, 2022, 05:39:52 PM
Quote from: Magdalena on August 07, 2022, 01:08:02 AM
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on August 07, 2022, 12:18:07 AM.... As organisms evolve they become more complex, and their consciousness becomes more involved, to the point where self-consciousness arises and we can think/say "I am", or look in a mirror and say "that's me."

Fuck. I am. That's me.


Inspires a song:

The bear looked into the mirror
The bear looked into the mirror
The bear looked into the mirrorrrrrr,
And whaddaya think he saw?

He saw a bear in the mirror
He saw a bear in the mirror
He saw a bear in the mirrorrrrrr,
And whaddaya think he did?

He smashed the fuckin' mirror
He smashed the fuckin' mirror
He smashed the fuckin' mirror , etc.

His self-consciousness is a little under-developed.

 
;D
Good one.
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Ecurb Noselrub on August 07, 2022, 07:43:16 PM
Things that we normally consider non-living can grow (crystals), attract each other (atoms/molecules), and exchange properties (chemical displacement reactions). Along the continuum of progression toward that which is indisputably life, these properties of inanimate objects seem to represent an intrinsic part of reality - to progress toward reproduction. If we consider consciousness (in its most rudimentary form) to be a fundamental aspect of the universe, I see no clear reason why we cannot also consider life to be such a fundamental property. Self-consciousness and life seem to be programmed into the nature of reality. Thus spoke EN.
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Asmodean on August 08, 2022, 07:50:20 AM
Quote from: Ecurb Noselrub on August 07, 2022, 07:43:16 PMThings that we normally consider non-living can grow (crystals), attract each other (atoms/molecules), and exchange properties (chemical displacement reactions).
It takes a combination of conditions to be considered life though.

For instance, viruses are not precisely life, but nor are they precisely "dead." From what (admittedly little) I understand, that is due to them needing a host cell in order to "feed" and reproduce.

Crystals do not reproduce - they merely grow, as you point out. A reproducing crystal would need to have an internal (or reliable external, I suppose) mechanism for dethatching parts of the lattice in order for it to grow new crystals. So... A small step on the ladder of life, perhaps. Perhaps not even that.

QuoteAlong the continuum of progression toward that which is indisputably life...
I don't think it's a continuum. I think there are some discrete jumps required, for which some specific conditions have to arise and possibly persist. Of course, this can be proven wrong by the Universe - or our own solar system, for that matter - being filled with life at various stages and dependent on all sorts of weird chemistries. So far, we can assume, but neither observe nor replicate.

QuoteIf we consider consciousness (in its most rudimentary form) to be a fundamental aspect of the universe, I see no clear reason why we cannot also consider life to be such a fundamental property. Self-consciousness and life seem to be programmed into the nature of reality. Thus spoke EN.
An interesting proposal. Personally, I lean towards consciousness being "nothing more" than a process of certain complexity running on biological hardware. The fundamental aspect here is in the multitude of chemical reactions, likely even quantum-level processes required, meaning that the fundamental components of consciousness are not conscious - they only create consciousness through "ordered" interactions on a "massive" scale.
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: billy rubin on August 08, 2022, 01:26:03 PM
Quote from: Asmodean on August 08, 2022, 07:50:20 AMAn interesting proposal. Personally, I lean towards consciousness being "nothing more" than a process of certain complexity running on biological hardware. The fundamental aspect here is in the multitude of chemical reactions, likely even quantum-level processes required, meaning that the fundamental components of consciousness are not conscious - they only create consciousness through "ordered" interactions on a "massive" scale.

the argument here seems the same as for life, to me-- a continuum.

or best 5 out of 6.

fire grows and reproduces. it condists of complex chemical reactions, anf it responds to its environment.
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Asmodean on August 08, 2022, 02:56:03 PM
Quote from: billy rubin on August 08, 2022, 01:26:03 PMfire grows and reproduces. it condists of complex chemical reactions, anf it responds to its environment.
But it doesn't. It spreads, which is a third thing.

Fire itself is an artefact of high-velocity molecules, that achieve their velocity through breaking molecular bonds and sustain said breaking by having high velocity. Fire has no mechanism by which to create new fire, nor does it have any mechanism by which to grow (in the same sense as trees or crystal) It can, however, spread through high velocity molecules bumping into shit.

...Although one has to admit, being able to summon oneself an fire elemental would be really cool. :(

EDIT: The above explanation was kinda' garbage. That's what I get for replying while also attending a meeting. Lemme try for a better one;

Oxidation, which is the kind of reaction commonly associated with fire, cannot grow or reproduce. It doesn't even have to produce fire (You could burn aluminium, for example, in oxygen - or "merely" let it rust)

Rust doesn't grow or reproduce - it spreads as long as there are enough reactive surfaces and enough energy in the system to support continued reaction. The difference in terms, as I use them here, is that "grow" implies structure - "spread" does not.

There. Much better.
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: billy rubin on August 08, 2022, 06:32:57 PM
respiration is also oxidation.

life is one of thoe things we define descriptively, by deciding in advance what is alive, and then looking at its characteristics to produce a definition.

youve pointed out already how that doesnt work in the edges, because viruses reproduce, have DNA, and yet dont satisfy other, more complicated definitions of life.

there really isnt any reason that i know of to draw a line that excludes a virus from the various kingdoms of life. we already use, what, five or six kingdomns to classify biota? why not seven? why not just admit that the distinction between life and non-life is arbitrary?
Title: Re: consciousness
Post by: Icarus on August 13, 2022, 01:10:07 AM
here is a video that is nearly relevant to the current conversation.  Give it a look.

 


I cheerfully confess that I have a fatherly crush on this charming Aussie woman.