Is self-consciousness hereditary?
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31-05-2011, 10:21 AM (This post was last modified: 31-05-2011 10:44 AM by LeighJones.)
RE: Is self-consciousness hereditary?
(29-05-2011 03:43 AM)pilgrim Wrote:  There is a school of thought that consciousness or more specifically the ability to think and remember is the result of language and that without language there is no thought or memory. They claim as evidence that we remember little or nothing of our experience prior to language acquisition.

Thots?

Doing some Study of language myself (just starting).

Could a person with severe (and global) aphasia (Impaired language(when their language was, in the past, better))(So both broca's and wernike's is wiped out in this hypothetical) not draw pictures of previous events? Language might be important for the development of such things but might language then be like scaffolding? Can be taken off once the building has been completed? Just one alternative.

I don't buy that language is essential for all thought, some abstract thought maybe...

That 'evidence' sounds like baloney. Baby has no language, we have no memories from infancy. Therefore language = essential for thought and memories.

It couldn't possibly be that the processes for memories/thought are also developing =P?
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31-05-2011, 02:21 PM
RE: Is self-consciousness hereditary?
I thought about this yesterday. Some animals don't have language either (or are limited in understanding at least), yet you can still create a temperament in, say, a dog. It can have self confidence or anxiety, aggression or happiness, along with its memory.
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23-02-2012, 05:41 PM
RE: Is self-consciousness hereditary?
This seems very similar to the cases of feral children, this where kids like Tarzan, lost in the wilderness and "raised" by a pack of animals (usually wolves curiously) when found by other people, they didn't have language skills and where very distrustful and nervous, usually they died in a few months or years and never developed language except for a girl who lived several years and learned how to speak a bit. This cases are not very well documented because almost all of them happened in past centuries and aren't many. They had self-awareness though, but they were reduced to a very primitive level and their brains probably never developed completely and never could after living in the jungle. But they're not different than a 1 or 2 years old child, they're like smart monkeys.

In the case of a child locked in a white room, he/she would probably die, in the unlikely case he/she don't, for sure would be very primitive and hard to understand. I can't imagine such a case, is like trying to imagine being blind when I'm not, is not seeing darkness, is not having the notion of sight at all, is really really hard to fathom Confused

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23-02-2012, 08:27 PM
RE: Is self-consciousness hereditary?
We do know that if you don't develop speaking skills by 12 you will loose the ability to learn a langiage. The brain evolves its functions to fit its environment.
Some researchers believe that other social skills are in this too, such as what we consider moral behavoir.

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29-02-2012, 03:53 PM (This post was last modified: 29-02-2012 04:07 PM by bemore.)
RE: Is self-consciousness hereditary?
Hmmmmmmmmm.

Lets say the child/adult had just enough interactions to keep it functioning. As a new born baby it would need human interaction in the form of basic touch....it has been documented that babies that are not picked up will die....it is a very basic need to survive.

So the child has the basics of touch and then when weined from its mother and taught just enough to feed itself it is then left alone in the room. I think thats how your describing the scenario OP???

I think in that time it will obviously move around its surroundings (the room)....it would experience sensations possibly depending on your scenario you have placed it in....basic sensations like cold/hot....rough/smooth....and depending on what you give it as sustenance it will experience different tastes (unless the food you give it is totally bland somehow)

I imagine it will learn to adapt to its surroundings but with the removal of stimuli im not sure if it would last as long as 20 years???? (from a mental perspective).....maybe the routine of its feeding times would keep it going somehow.....the basic need of consumption and thats what I suppose it would live for......its next meal.

I imagine through the experiences that it goes through in its most basic life it would be self aware to some degree.......but wouldnt have the oppurtunity nor the knowledge to express its own self awareness in any way....nor would it have anything else to compare it to (the outside world....other people)

It may possibly just act exactly like a caged animal in a zoo......you know the ones that are not exactly well looked after that repeat the same actions.....like the licking of certain bars......pacing round the same route.

I suppose in doing so you could compare the child/human to an animal.....which then begs the question which I have attempted to broach in one of my threads.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...sciousness

Of what you would classify as "conscious"

Nice thread.

EDIT: I have just found this http://www.tau.ac.il/lifesci/departments...302006.pdf which I am currently reading.....maybe it can give some scope, im not sure ive not gone through it all yet Smile



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29-02-2012, 08:07 PM
RE: Is self-consciousness hereditary?
Quote:The answer is yes. This isn't a philosophical problem. It's simple fact.

The child would quite definitely be self-aware, because he was born with a functioning brain. He is human. Humans are self-aware.

He would quite definitely be socially maladjusted, uneducated, ignorant, and any number of other things, but he would be self-aware.

I totally agree. This isn't a philosophical question in this day and age, because we understand the roots of self-awareness, and we can even test it scientifically (the "mirror test"). While it's absolutely true that newborn babies aren't born self-aware, your thought experiment doesn't prevent a baby from examining itself. Even if it can't see its own face, it still has proprioception and can see its own limbs move... it's a matter of time (a very small amount of it) before the baby gains self-awareness, even if you take away all other stimuli.

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29-02-2012, 08:26 PM
RE: Is self-consciousness hereditary?
(29-05-2011 03:43 AM)pilgrim Wrote:  There is a school of thought that consciousness or more specifically the ability to think and remember is the result of language and that without language there is no thought or memory. They claim as evidence that we remember little or nothing of our experience prior to language acquisition.

Thots?

Language has nothing to do with memory unless you mean social memory. You can actually test this on animals. They don't have to be raised by a mother at all to remember where food might be. They won't be able to relay it (at least effectively) when they come to others, but that's different. (having memory that it... how the memory is stored might be determined a bit by language)

Define thought more precisely? I look at the definitions, but ... well, I might just be a little to tired. No thinking for me right now. Sorry to cut right there. (not that I was really saying anything).

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theist: "See! There is a heaven."
atheist: "So, you consider heaven a joke too?"
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