Various philosophical musings
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Yesterday, 07:13 AM
RE: Various philosophical musings
(20-01-2018 09:06 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Consciousness is not separate from the brain. It is one important function of the brain. The brain is modular, not a unity as I think you are implying.

I did not mean to imply unity; I agree it is modular.

Quote:Yes, focus shifts the activation around the brain, as is verified by brain scans of people who are asked to do different tasks.

What is this "focus" that affects what areas of the brain are activated? That's what I can't wrap my head around in your view. As far as I can tell, shifting activity changes the focus of the consciousness and not vice-versa.

Quote:In the invisible gorilla example, the active brain doesn't see the man in the gorilla suit because it's focused on another mental task, even though that task involves looking at the people in the room.

Right, the part of the brain involved in the task is very active and extraneous information coming in via the senses is being filtered out by virtue of it being shunted to less active regions. The consciousness is reflecting the most active parts (which also explains stray thoughts since they are just another part of the brain temporarily raising activity levels above the threshold of what gets noticed).

Quote:Forget dualism. The brain is modular. It has many more than two working parts. I am discussing in general terms how the executive part of the brain works compared, say, to the part that controls our heartbeat, or the part that unconsciously organizes visual information. I would guess the various unconscious activities of the brain far outnumber its conscious activities. Consciousness as I define it is a function of the executive, problem-solving part of the brain.

I forgot dualism years ago but I think I see the "executive" as a level below consciousness and acting essentially as a filter separating what "I" need to be aware of from what "I" can safely ignore. It's just that the "I" is simply a high-level summary of what's going on and not actively controlling anything.

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Yesterday, 11:46 AM (This post was last modified: Yesterday 11:51 AM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Various philosophical musings
(Yesterday 07:13 AM)unfogged Wrote:  
(20-01-2018 09:06 PM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Yes, focus shifts the activation around the brain, as is verified by brain scans of people who are asked to do different tasks.

What is this "focus" that affects what areas of the brain are activated? That's what I can't wrap my head around in your view. As far as I can tell, shifting activity changes the focus of the consciousness and not vice-versa.

I forgot dualism years ago but I think I see the "executive" as a level below consciousness and acting essentially as a filter separating what "I" need to be aware of from what "I" can safely ignore. It's just that the "I" is simply a high-level summary of what's going on and not actively controlling anything.

In the case of researchers asking people to solve certain problems, the shift in focus is on their authority. In other cases, it's our own decision. In neither case does the activation just shift to another module without the control of the executive function. That is, by definition, part of what an executive function does. If it doesn't do that, it's not an executive function.

You talk as if our brains work in the third person. They obviously do not. We are in there operating our brains because they are an essential part of who we actually are. So you can claim again and again that consciousness is passive. I already understand that is your opinion. The question is, What is the reality? Do you have any arguments supporting your position? If not, I will reject it out of hand as a violation of appearances and therefore as a shrugging off of the burden of proof.

You are very close to defining the first person as nonexistent in the material world. Is that really where you want to go? Because that sounds like you are still hung up on rejecting a spiritualistic understanding of the self, which was not what I was discussing.
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Yesterday, 01:30 PM
RE: Various philosophical musings
(Yesterday 11:46 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  You talk as if our brains work in the third person. They obviously do not.

I think what is obvious is misleading in this case.

Quote:We are in there operating our brains because they are an essential part of who we actually are. So you can claim again and again that consciousness is passive. I already understand that is your opinion. The question is, What is the reality? Do you have any arguments supporting your position? If not, I will reject it out of hand as a violation of appearances and therefore as a shrugging off of the burden of proof.

I'm not sure what it really is; I am trying to explain why I reject your position that the emergent property of mind is physical and takes an active role in making decisions and focusing activity in the brain. That means it exists and operates independently from the brain that is generating it and, despite the subjective experience that that is what happens, I can't find anything that could possibly fill that role.

The mind is produced by the physical brain but the only thing we have apart from the physical brain is the pattern of activity that is going on. The mind has to be found in that pattern by the physical brain analyzing and tracking itself. If the mind is not the pattern, what is it? If the mind is the pattern then it can't be making decisions or initiating changes since it is not a thing unto itself.

Free will, consciousness, etc all seem self-evident but whenever I try to see where they could be coming from I end up back at some form of determinism because there is simply nothing there that they could be. I don't claim hard determinism because I can't rule out randomness in the system somewhere but with no evidence for anything that can be making decisions other than brain activity which is following deterministic rules I have no choice except to deny free will until somebody demonstrates some mechanism that would allow for it. the burden of proof has to lie on anybody claiming that we actually can make free choices.

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Yesterday, 01:41 PM
RE: Various philosophical musings
(Yesterday 11:46 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  You talk as if our brains work in the third person. They obviously do not.

I would not say that because I am not proposing a division; our brains ARE us and the emergent mind is integral to the activity in the brain. It's when you say that that emergent property takes independent action to control the brain that is generating it that you introduce a division between the brain and the "I". That is the claim that needs evidence and subjective impression is insufficient without some support. Without that it is no different than the theist who claims that they just know that god acts in their lives because they feel it.

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Yesterday, 01:42 PM
RE: Various philosophical musings
(Yesterday 11:46 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  The mind has to be found in that pattern by the physical brain analyzing and tracking itself. If the mind is not the pattern, what is it? If the mind is the pattern then it can't be making decisions or initiating changes since it is not a thing unto itself.

Be the pattern, Bob, just be the pattern. Smile

(Yesterday 01:30 PM)unfogged Wrote:  Free will, consciousness, etc all seem self-evident but whenever I try to see where they could be coming from I end up back at some form of determinism because there is simply nothing there that they could be. I don't claim hard determinism because I can't rule out randomness in the system somewhere but with no evidence for anything that can be making decisions other than brain activity which is following deterministic rules I have no choice except to deny free will until somebody demonstrates some mechanism that would allow for it. the burden of proof has to lie on anybody claiming that we actually can make free choices.

Somebody's making those probabilistic quantum wave functions collapse, if not us then who? ... Whether we have a choice in that quantum collapse into reality, I admit I do not know. ... Not sure I even care or give a shit. Consider

#sigh
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Yesterday, 03:33 PM (This post was last modified: Yesterday 03:45 PM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Various philosophical musings
(Yesterday 11:46 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  The mind has to be found in that pattern by the physical brain analyzing and tracking itself. If the mind is not the pattern, what is it? If the mind is the pattern then it can't be making decisions or initiating changes since it is not a thing unto itself.

This above quote was from Unfogged too, and not from me. And until he can explain from his materialistic position how we are not really ourselves at all, or how life did not emerge from things into willful beings, then he has no argument for his position. (You would think he doesn't understand either emergentism or evolutionary theory.)
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Yesterday, 03:36 PM (This post was last modified: Yesterday 03:42 PM by Thoreauvian.)
RE: Various philosophical musings
(Yesterday 01:30 PM)unfogged Wrote:  Free will, consciousness, etc all seem self-evident but whenever I try to see where they could be coming from I end up back at some form of determinism because there is simply nothing there that they could be. I don't claim hard determinism because I can't rule out randomness in the system somewhere but with no evidence for anything that can be making decisions other than brain activity which is following deterministic rules I have no choice except to deny free will until somebody demonstrates some mechanism that would allow for it. the burden of proof has to lie on anybody claiming that we actually can make free choices.

You don't understand you have the burden of proof by denying appearances. Determinism is a property, not a law. Properties change with emergentism. That's the whole idea.
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Yesterday, 08:55 PM
RE: Various philosophical musings
(18-01-2018 08:32 AM)Thoreauvian Wrote:  Minds physically exist as properties of brains, and I experience the very real existence of my own mind daily. For goodness sake, my posts are evidence of that existence.

Well, some of them are. Big Grin

Skepticism is not a position; it is an approach to claims.
Science is not a subject, but a method.
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