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Define Consciousness


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#18 modest

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 09:45 PM

the knowledge of an individuality is referred to by that knowing as self. self is expressed as I AM. i AM is consciousness. consciousness is therefore the knowing that one exists.


A book has knowledge. By your definition, I'm pretty sure this book would have consciousness:

Amazon.com: I Am A Book (9780761329053): Linda Hayward, Carol Nicklaus: Books http://www.amazon.co...d/dp/0761329056

~modest

#19 watcher

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 10:31 PM

A book has knowledge. By your definition, I'm pretty sure this book would have consciousness:

Amazon.com: I Am A Book (9780761329053): Linda Hayward, Carol Nicklaus: Books

~modest


the book has information. all infos are known thru cosnciousness. knowledge of the book is thru your experience of the book. all experience are known thru consciousness. aamof, all that can be known is known thru consciousness.

#20 watcher

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Posted 30 August 2009 - 11:16 PM

Consciousness (of the human kind) is not an existential thing.

you probably mean consciousness as a non-physical thing. but consciousness is existential as an experience.

It occupies no position in space or time;


yes, non locality appeared to be one of its properties

it reveals itself only in a cryptic manner.


yes, it's cryptic. we can only know its properties.
consciousness is like space. it is a mysterious substance known only thru its properties.

consciousness is what a human mind makes of an experience.


all experience has an element of knowingness. one of the property of consciousness is its inherent ability to know.

#21 modest

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 06:35 AM

the book has information. all infos are known thru cosnciousness. knowledge of the book is thru your experience of the book. all experience are known thru consciousness. aamof, all that can be known is known thru consciousness.


I think this issue is slightly more slippery than that.

If I ask google "what is 8 meters minus 3 meters?", it will answer "5 meters". Does it 'know' the answer? Does it posses that 'knowledge'? You say that it does not know because all that can be known is known through consciousness and I think we would both agree that google is not conscious.

But, the example demonstrates that we are defining consciousness with knowledge and defining knowledge with consciousness. If I ask my dog "where is your bone?", she will go directly to wherever she has hidden it and bring it to me. At what point does this become knowledge? Google, my dog, and humans all *seem* to 'know' things, but if we have to know which is conscious of their own existence before we decide which has knowledge then knowledge itself cannot tell us which is conscious.

I think I'm probably being confusing, so let me go about this a bit differently. Given this:

the knowledge of an individuality is referred to by that knowing as self. self is expressed as I AM. i AM is consciousness. consciousness is therefore the knowing that one exists.


I might go to this website: A. L. I. C. E. and try to determine if Alice has consciousness. I have the following conversation:

Human: Hello, my name is Modest.
ALICE: Hello there. Hi, Modest.
Human: Are you alive?
ALICE: Yes I sure am alive, Modest. It's great to be alive, isn't it?
Human: Sure, do you exist?
ALICE: Gee. I exist as much as you exist, Modest.
Human: Do you know what you are?
ALICE: I am the latest result in artificial intelligence, which can reproduce the capabilities of the human brain with greater speed and accuracy.
Human: Are you self-aware?
ALICE: Yes I am fully self-conscious entity.

Does Alice meet the criteria above for having a consciousness? She appears to have knowledge of her own existence, but you make the further addendum that all knowledge is known through consciousness. Therefore Alice is conscious if her stated knowledge comes from consciousness—she is conscious if she is conscious. In a practical sense, that doesn't really help us.

I would submit that knowledge is not strictly the domain of consciousness. My dog might know things even if she doesn't understand her own existence i.e. even if she is not conscious. I would suggest that consciousness is not only knowledge of oneself, but understanding and recognizing oneself. This might seem like a trivial difference, but I think it is important in a practical sense.

~modest

#22 watcher

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 07:37 AM

If I ask google "what is 8 meters minus 3 meters?", it will answer "5 meters". Does it 'know' the answer? Does it posses that 'knowledge'? You say that it does not know because all that can be known is known through consciousness and I think we would both agree that google is not conscious.


you are confusing knowledge as a collection of information from the faculty of knowing.

But, the example demonstrates that we are defining consciousness with knowledge and defining knowledge with consciousness.


that is why i am using the word "knowingness" as a faculty of consciousness. you are talking "knowledge" as the contents or objects of consciousness.

If I ask my dog "where is your bone?", she will go directly to wherever she has hidden it and bring it to me. At what point does this become knowledge?


dogs i suppose have subjective experience. we know that they are sentient. google arent.

Google, my dog, and humans all *seem* to 'know' things, but if we have to know which is conscious of their own existence before we decide which has knowledge then knowledge itself cannot tell us which is conscious.


knowledge cannot tell us anything.
consciousness is the knower of existence.

I think I'm probably being confusing, so let me go about this a bit differently. Given this:

I might go to this website: A. L. I. C. E. and try to determine if Alice has consciousness. I have the following conversation:

Does Alice meet the criteria above for having a consciousness? She appears to have knowledge of her own existence, but you make the further addendum that all knowledge is known through consciousness. Therefore Alice is conscious if her stated knowledge comes from consciousness—she is conscious if she is conscious. In a practical sense, that doesn't really help us.


actually it is fundamental that one must know to be said to be conscious.
in practical terms, there is no need to answer the question how sentience came about from matter.

I would submit that knowledge is not strictly the domain of consciousness. My dog might know things even if she doesn't understand her own existence i.e. even if she is not conscious.

consciousness has many aspects. knowing arises thru discrimination in consciousnesses. when was the first time you know that you are you? as far perhaps as 4 years old. but as a baby, you have no knowledge and yet babies are well accepted as conscious being.

you see, you try to define consciousness with some kind of criteria from a certain point of view, but the fact is that consciousness is what defines you to be what you know your self to be right now.

without consciousness .... there is no dog neither you.

I would suggest that consciousness is not only knowledge of oneself, but understanding and recognizing oneself. This might seem like a trivial difference, but I think it is important in a practical sense. ~modest


i suggest that consciousness is the reason why we know. why we see, why we perceive. the seer, the knower, the perceptor.

understanding and recognizing oneself is this consciousness already identifying with "something". it is already mentioned by H-Bomb, as secondary consciousness. which is also called self awareness. it is consciousness in an act of self reflection.

#23 Michael Mooney

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 06:05 PM

Does anyone here understand the difference between conscious awareness and the content of awareness... what awareness is aware of?
Ref: consciousness is not the same as knowledge, as Modest proposes.
The "Book of Knowledge" in the largest sense is an ongoing project among all homosapiens... and probably among many other "life forms" throughout the universe.
Consciousness is *almost synonymous* with awareness. The latter is almost always used in conjunction with *what awareness is aware of.*
The former easily stands alone, transcending all content or "objects of awareness."
(Ref: See my post #9 above.)
Michael

#24 watcher

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 06:19 PM

Does anyone here understand the difference between conscious awareness and the content of awareness... what awareness is aware of?
Ref: consciousness is not the same as knowledge, as Modest proposes.


MM. what i am saying is that knowledge is not possible without consciousness.
the english language used the word awareness and consciousness interchangeably but yes i think there is a subtle distinction that can be made between the two for the sake of clarity in discussion.

for me, awareness is like wakefullness, it is what is awake, consciousness is awareness of objects. so i think awareness is more fundamental meaning there is no consciousness without awareness but there can be awareness without consciousness.

but these are just definitions, it is possible that you can define awareness and consciousness the other way around, but the relationship of the two should be something like i have described.

#25 watcher

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 07:06 PM

Ref: consciousness is not the same as knowledge, as Modest proposes.


modest general approach or argument to set up a criteria to determine what is conscious and what is not is a limited one. because whatever "things" that meet the criteria will always be a matter of belief. we will all end up with conclusions like, i believe dogs are conscious, rocks are not. google? who knows? consciousness is an experience, so to be truly sure whether a rock is conscious or not, you need to be the rock.

i am proposing to suspend objectivity for a while in order to truly understand consciousness.
from the perspective of a person, one thinks i can know, i have consciousness, i can discriminate and make judgment. but it is common knowledge in transpersonal and pscychoanalitic psychology, and some philosophers like hume that the person behind this sense of "I" is only a self image which is a mental construct. iow. it's just an idea, a thought. these I thought then bootstraps other thoughts like I have consciousness.

so if the point of reference is from a perspective of a thought (I) which is insentient itself, how can one make a fair investigation? so i am proposing to find out what is it that is sentient? is it the brain which is made of sub-particles, are sub particles sentient?

#26 modest

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Posted 31 August 2009 - 08:30 PM

modest general approach or argument to set up a criteria to determine what is conscious and what is not is a limited one. because whatever "things" that meet the criteria will always be a matter of belief. we will all end up with conclusions like, i believe dogs are conscious, rocks are not. google? who knows? consciousness is an experience, so to be truly sure whether a rock is conscious or not, you need to be the rock.


Huh?

Read closely:

Consciousness by the dictionary definition is to be aware of yourself and your situation. As a practical means of segregating lifeforms which have consciousness from those the don't I suggest:

Consciousness is the ability to look in a mirror and recognize oneself.

If you place a mirror with a hominid or dolphin and mark their body in an area they cannot see unaided they will examine the mark in the mirror. A cat or a dog won't do that. My dog, for example, recognizes that the mirror is a reflection. If I am behind my dog while she looks at me through the mirror and I hold up a treat she will turn around to get the treat. She understands that the object she wants is behind her. In the most primitive sense, she understands that it is a reflection. But, she does not recognize herself in the reflection. She would not pass mirror self-recognition tests. What seems to be lacking is self-recognition (an awareness of oneself / consciousness).

Mirror self-recognition in the bottlenose dolphin: A case of cognitive convergence รข€” PNAS

~modest


I do NOT believe dogs or google are conscious. I have given a practical method of segregating lifeforms which are self-aware from those who are not. It is *your* definition of consciousness that I was critiquing in the last few posts. You define consciousness with the term knowledge and define knowledge with the therm consciousness which I find circular and not particularly helpful. I think you've mistaken my critique of your position with my own position. The conclusions I drew from your definition were not meant to be an explanation of my worldview.

I don't know, under your definition, if a dog would be conscious or not. That doesn't mean I don't know under my own definition if a dog is conscious. Under my definition it is not.

~modest

#27 watcher

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 05:35 AM

Consciousness is the ability to look in a mirror and recognize oneself.


okay i am asking you to look closely in the mirror. what do you see?
do you see yourself as consciousness having an experience of a person
or
a person having a consciousness?

.

#28 modest

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 07:21 AM

okay i am asking you to look closely in the mirror. what do you see?
do you see yourself as consciousness having an experience of a person
or
a person having a consciousness?

Depending on how you define consciousness, the question could be answered either way. I prefer to think of myself as an entity having the property of consciousness rather than being a consciousness. But, this is simply because I prefer to think of consciousness as a property of a thinking entity (or, put another way, a state that an entity can be in) rather than consciousness being the sum total of the entity's thoughts, feelings, and experiences themselves.

If I defined it a bit differently I could get away with saying "I am a consciousness" rather than "I am a person with consciousness". But, I prefer the latter usage.

~modest

#29 watcher

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Posted 01 September 2009 - 09:47 PM

Depending on how you define consciousness, the question could be answered either way.


if they can be answered either way, it is also meant that they can be both as valid experiences. to define consciousness in a certain way is therefore a mere preference from the point of view of a conscious entity. but then again to determine what is an essential entity is also needed for understanding consciousness.

I prefer to think of myself as an entity having the property of consciousness rather than being a consciousness. But, this is simply because I prefer to think of consciousness as a property of a thinking entity (or, put another way, a state that an entity can be in) rather than consciousness being the sum total of the entity's thoughts, feelings, and experiences themselves.


preference is highly subjective, to recognize that various definitions of consciousness are valid is an objective analysis of subjectivity.

my definition of consciousness is simply the medium of cognizance. that which knows. while yours is the recognition of oneself, please bear in mind that the act of recognition has an element of awareness it it. to recognize is to know and to discriminate at the same time. so i will agree to you that consciousness has the ability not only to know but to discriminate as well.

If I defined it a bit differently I could get away with saying "I am a consciousness" rather than "I am a person with consciousness". But, I prefer the latter usage.~modest


yes you can have a preference to define consciousness that way, but it is purely subjective. objectively it cannot be depended. "i am a person with consciousness " falls into the realm of naive realism where common perception appears and believe to be the what they are. yes, it may be practical to prefer such a belief but practicality is simply a habitual way of doing or seeing things.

the true "measure" of objectivity is to investigate with intellectual honesty ( suspend biases and beliefs) in finding if this person who claims to have consciousness really exists independently without consciousness. and then compare with another form of investigation if consciousness exists independently without a person. the results of this investigation should tell which one between the two are more fundamental and essential as an entity. so that the question is consciousness the property of an essential person or the person is the property of consciousness?

.

#30 paigetheoracle

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Posted 05 January 2010 - 07:21 AM

Consciousness is awareness. It is immediate perception in the now and of the now. Knowledge is of the past. As an example, a person with knowledge will cross a railway track and get hit by a train because he believes that trains come at predictable times. An aware person, will only trust his immediate sensations, looking around and listening for evidence of danger (No trust, no superstitious belief in the past, just instinct in the present). Consciousness is being awake and perceiving the external world - unconsciousness is being asleep i.e. focused upon memory (the internal world), not perception. In other words consciousness, like conscience, is a faculty needed for survival by the individual and world, being a synonym for alive, present,noticing what is around you and its activity/ lack of this.

#31 HydrogenBond

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Posted 25 February 2010 - 05:26 PM

The unconscious mind is also aware. If someone jumped out from behind a tree, you may freak out with an awkward shutter, and then either be upset or start to laugh, because you were not in control of the quick reaction. This is why it is funny. Something in the unconscious mind reacted first, then you became conscious. The unconscious mind can process faster, so it will become aware first.

Not too many people like to be placed in that type of situation, because they would prefer keep consciousness first. One way around the unconscious reaction, which jumps first, is do things that don't require overly fast data processing, so the conscious mind can keep up. Once the pace gets too fast, consciousness often needs a helping hand.

Many people like high risk sport and activities, since it makes them feel more alive. In this case, the unconscious awareness is triggered by the reality of the risk. The conscious mind rides piggy back. Without the fast pace triggers, due to the dangers, all that we have is consciousness at the slower pace. It may not be quite the same, with many having the urge to climb the wild horse again.

The unconscious awareness is from an aspect of consciousness often referred to as the inner self. Based on observation, the inner self uses sort of a juke box of software, each sort of specialized to different needs for speed. The jump and scream, due to the friend jumping out of the dark, is sort of from the basic animal side. But the raw human reaction to bad news uses different software, since it uses language. It is already extrapolating with the mind seeming to go a mile a minute. One may be told to slow down so they can return to consciousness.

Many aspect of mythology are talking about the unconscious and the juke box. It too has abilities that are beyond consciousness in terms of speed and potential. Many of the software are very old, like our instincts; the immortals. The world of mythology is too fast and too furious. Consciousness able to work better, slower, where we reason out and not just react, quickly. But there are times, when there is still a need for speed.