Consciousness

Author: janesix ,

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  • janesix
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    what is the origin of consciousness?
  • Goldtop
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    --> @janesix
    The brain, of course.
  • janesix
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    how does the brain produce consciousness?
  • Goldtop
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    --> @janesix
    "Produce" may not be a very good descriptor considering consciousness is a state of a functioning brain, its not really making something.

    Consciousness - the state of being awake and aware of one's surroundings.
      • the awareness or perception of something by a person.

      • the fact of awareness by the mind of itself and the world.
        "consciousness emerges from the operations of the brain"

  • secularmerlin
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    --> @janesix
    Conciousness is not a particularly well defined term. After all a plant undergoes cycles of rest and activity (growth, nutrient processing etc) and it reacts to stimulus giving the impression of being aware of said stimulus but most people would contend that a plant is not conscious. Perhaps we should figure out specifically what we mean by conciousness before we try to determine where it came from.

  • janesix
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    --> @secularmerlin
    I think every living thing is probably conscious to some degree
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @janesix
    I think every living thing is probably conscious to some degree

    Ok but what dies that mean? Just responsive to the environment?
  • Grugore
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    --> @janesix
    Whatever it's origin, scientists have concluded that there is a non material component of being self-aware. 
  • janesix
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    --> @secularmerlin
    I think everything is aware, like we are. They experience life
  • janesix
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    --> @Grugore
    In what way?
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @Grugore
    Whatever it's origin, scientists have concluded that there is a non material component of being self-aware. 

    Citation needed.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @janesix
    So do you just mean being alive or is there more to conciousness than that?
  • janesix
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    --> @secularmerlin
    I just think a living being would have to be "aware " in some degree. not necessarily self awareness, but at least some small bit of awareness, emotions to some degree.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @janesix
    What is the difference between aware and self aware? Do both amount to conciousness?
  • janesix
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    --> @secularmerlin
    a baby doesn't know it is a sepreate being. that comes with experience and time. i don't know if a dog is self-aware. but a monkey might be. 

    are humans the only being with the ability to kno w it has a self? maybe. maybe dolphins do. 
  • secularmerlin
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    Maybe a rock does but it gives no indication that this is the case. Is self awareness necessary to conciousness or only awareness in general?
  • janesix
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    I don't think self awareness is necessary for consciousness.
  • secularmerlin
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    --> @janesix
    Then what is necessary? What quality do concious beings possess that other beings and objects do not?
  • drafterman
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    We have brains

    We have consciousnesses.

    We have consciousnesses that appear to come from brains.

    We have brains that don't appear to produce any form of consciousness.

    I have never seen a consciousness without an associated brain, though.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @drafterman
    I have never seen a consciousness without an associated brain, though.
    Unless all the people you know have 'see-thru' skulls you are assuming the presence of a brain.  Also, the people you know probably have big toes - are you sure that consciousness not reside in big toes?

  • drafterman
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    --> @keithprosser
    Consciousness has been observed in people without big toes. So that eliminates that possibility.

  • janesix
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    --> @secularmerlin
    I don't know.
  • keithprosser
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    --> @janesix
    I would say consciousness arose as a mechanism to modify an entity's responses to be appropriate to external conditions.  Strictly speaking consciousness is not required to do that - a system that invokes a fixed response to a clear external cue would be a great improvement over random behaviour but a system like that would resemble a thermostat rather than consciousness.

    I think full-blown consciousness may have had its roots in a crude 'behaviour switching' system, but what people mean by 'consciousness' usually involves the production of an 'intermediate mental model' of the external world which allows for much more flexibility in response by allowing past experience and even future expectation as well as current conditions to be taken into account in deciding what to do.

    So I suggests consciousness is a way of matching response to stimulus in an extremely powerful and flexible way.  Consciousness works by encoding information about the external word (derived from sense organs) into a 'mental model' of the world, upon which algorithmic operatations can be applied to direct behaviour.

  • secularmerlin
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    --> @janesix
    I don't know is often the honest answer but if we cannot adequately define conciousness I'm not sure how productive any discussion about it can be.
  • janesix
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    --> @keithprosser
    I suggest that everything derives from consciousness, not the other way around