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Any Arguments by which to Conclude that Consciousness Is a Product of Brains?

Discussion in 'General Debates' started by Nous, Feb 22, 2017.

  1. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    The clumsy Latin phrase cum hoc ergo propter hoc ("with this, therefore because of this") denotes the fallacy of inferring causation from correlation. I am unsure if such fallacious reasoning is the primary method by which people infer that something in brains produces consciousness. In any case, there is no need to bother with that kind of argument here.

    It would seem that one really needs to be able to argue that the properties of brain components or processes logically give rise to mental phenomena (self-consciousness, free will, beliefs, etc.). But it also seems that we already know that they don't--e.g., there is just no amount or complexity of neuronal electrical activity that logically produces mental phenomena.

    So what are any arguments that something in the brain produces consciousness?

    Is there any logical or empirical reason to dispute that consciousness is a fundamental phenomenon (like energy)?
     
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  2. bobhikes

    bobhikes AntiRepublican
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    Logically you need to define consciousness. As far as I know there is no scientific definition. It is usually defined through psychology. Our consciousness is unique to each of us. No one can experience our consciousness. Logically after defining it you need to prove it exists. Scientifically I don't believe consciousness has been proven to exist. Deterministic beliefs seem to be the rage in the scientific community and if determinism is true consciousness is a fallacy.

    To answer the question if Consciousness exists then no there is no logical or empirical reason to dispute consciousness is a fundamental phenomenon but that is a big if.
     
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  3. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I had an e.e.g. tested on my pet rock, but it was flat-lined. Musta died.
     
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  4. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    BTW, does a plant have consciousness? According to a recent article in Scientific American, there's evidence that it does.
     
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  5. Jaiket

    Jaiket Well-Known Member
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    Hi.

    The most compelling case (to me) is that changes in the brain consistently go with (I won't yet say cause) changes in the mind. There are claims that electrodes stimulating certain parts of the brain will result in the same experience every time. I can dig up literature and construct a syllogism if neccessary but I'd rather know what you make of the idea that zapping the brain reliably produces experience.
     
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  6. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    I'd say that a creature referring to “scientifically proving” the existence of something has adequately established the existence of consciousness.

    Pondering the question of whether consciousness exists can only be done if consciousness does exist.

    Most every human who can speak reports having beliefs and intentions, reports having engaged or planning to engage in willful actions; reports knowing something to be true; speaks of an “I”. How does one account for this universal experience (or these universal experiences) except as a product of consciousness? If people are deluded about--have false beliefs about--having beliefs, intentions, willful actions, awareness and knowledge of things and the self, then such delusions still just prove the existence of consciousness.

    Lots of scientists during the past century have denied the thesis of determinism. My impression is that most physicists of the past century do not accept the thesis of determinism.

    Moreover, I don't recall any scientist or philosopher claiming that the thesis of determinism implies that “consciousness is a fallacy”.

    What does the phrase "consciousness is a fallacy" even mean? "Fallacy" means:

    1. a deceptive, misleading, or false notion, belief, etc.:
    That the world is flat was at one time a popular fallacy.
    2. a misleading or unsound argument.
    3. deceptive, misleading, or false nature; erroneousness.
    4. Logic. any of various types of erroneous reasoning that render arguments logically unsound.​

    the definition of fallacy

    All of these definitions of "fallacy" imply the existence of a faculty that can be deceived, have a false belief, engage in erroneous reasoning, etc.
     
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  7. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    You musta forgot the punchline.
     
  8. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    What is the evidence by which one can conclude that plants have consciousness?
     
  9. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    What do you argue other than that something about “electrodes stimulating certain parts of the brain” causes this experience? By saying “will result in the same experience every time,” you are saying that the experience is an effect of the electrode stimulation of “certain parts of the brain,” no?

    If I were able to go back in time and show my laptop to someone back in the 1930s, plug the battery in, turn the laptop on and take him for a cruise around the internet, then take the battery out so that it all died, then plug the battery back in, get online again, he could utilize the principles of cum hoc ergo propter hoc and conclude that the battery produces the internet. Is your argument going to be different than that?

    I know of no properties possessed by electricity ("zapping") or biological cells such as neurons that can logically produce intentions, beliefs, awareness and self-awareness, free will, etc. Do you?
     
  10. idav

    idav Being
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    There is nothing to suggest that the mental comes from anything other than the brain. This can be debunked as soon as someone can show that the mind acts more as a fine tuned transceiver without needing some sort of "material" connection or stimuli. To suggest consciousness is fundamental suggests that rocks and other animals are as conscious as humans which I don't think is the case. My view about it is that it's interaction that is fundamental and mental activities simply exploit complex interactions. Consciousness requires real time memory and streaming that needs something similar to what computers do, but a thousand times more powerful.
     
  11. Kilgore Trout

    Kilgore Trout Misanthropic Humanist

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    I'm pretty sure only the aliens know for sure. I'll ask them the next time they're probing me.
     
  12. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    Some of the evidence by which to deduce that consciousness is not a product of brains is cited in the 3 OPs here: Do Realistic Interpretations of NDEs Imply Violation of the Laws of Physics?

    Define "material," explain what sort of experiment you are speaking of? (BTW, I am of the Popper camp in holding that scientific experiments do not verify but falsify.)

    False. Open a general philosophy book. You won't find that claim by anyone espousing idealism, panpsychism/panexperientialism, Cartesian metaphysics, or any other metaphysical thesis that holds consciousness to be a fundamental phenomenon.

    Interactions between what and what?

    What do you mean by "streaming"?

    Are you saying that an object that has more energy than our current digital computers have would produce consciousness, intentions, beliefs, awareness, self-awareness, free will, etc? State that deduction.
     
  13. idav

    idav Being
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    How can someone have a memory of something without having some physical interaction at some point?

    More power doesn't create consiousness. What I mean by streaming memory is the ability to remember long periods of time events. That doesn't result from anything other than a brain otherwise all animals would have the same amount of memory capabilities. Suffice it to say, remembering yesterday isn't default. I think experiencing "now" is tied with memory, that there really isn't a now, there is only a memory of what just passed.
     
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  14. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    Little electrical-type impulses that have been measured, but they are not uniform from one species of plant to another.

    Indeed, if we think about it, plants have to "decide" when to grow, which direction to grow, when to flower, and when to go dormant. IOW, they must in some way be able to measure outside environmental factors to determine what to do next.

    That's the gist of it.
     
  15. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    Has any scientist actually concluded that "little electrical type impulses" in plants constitutes evidence that plants are conscious?

    Can we conclude that my computer is conscious since it has real electrical impulses in it?
     
  16. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    Define "physical".

    Then explain how a "physical interaction" implies having a memory.

    This is called a straw man argument. No one here has said or implied that "animals would have the same amount of memory capabilities" (same as what?) if consciousness is a fundamental phenomenon.

    So in trying to make an argument that consciousness (intentions, beliefs, awareness, self-awareness, free will) is a product of brains, begin with a proposition that you can show to be a true fact. (You will be able to link to the evidence demonstrating it to be a true fact.) Then proceed with your deduction, like this:

    P1: [. . .]
    P2: [. . .]
    C: [. . . ]
     
  17. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    If it measures the environment in some way and reacts as such, that would constitute "conscious" in my book. However, if one uses a different definition of "conscious", then maybe not.

    Your computer really doesn't measure anything entirely on its own.
     
  18. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    It musta gone over your head. :p
     
  19. Nous

    Nous Well-Known Member
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    So a thermostat is conscious in your book.
     
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  20. metis

    metis aged ecumenical anthropologist

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    I'm not going to play your silly games, so go troll elsewhere. This is supposed to be a discussion on science that should be adult.
     
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