Sorite’s Paradox Reconsidered: Materialism Defeated
@dalniente, I seriously don’t know what you’re getting at. I was quite drunk last night (finished my first semester of PhD! WOO!) and am still a bit hazy this morning…
When I said “The real weird thing is consciousness is aware of itself” it had nothing to do with any prior discussion, I was simply blurting out what I wanted to say.
Which is still weird, and has occupied my mind for the past 3 days now. (Oh and yes I agree things are qualitative, the color red, although grounded to a physical, quantitative wave-length, is a subjective, qualitative experience – if I were to deny this … I don’t know)
But anyway, am I missing something here? Am I getting lost in circular logic, because this seems incredibly odd to me:
Somehow, consciousness emerges from this brain, this mind, what some seem to believe is due to the entirety of the brain working = voila consciousness. As someone once said: “I don’t think anyone will solve the problem of consciousness in my life time. Its a hard problem.” Some famous Neuroscientist, idk who.
@ijesuschrist, rofl, I don’t know either. I was so tired last night, and my judgment gets really impaired when I’m sleep-deprived. This happened before, I think. You were drunk, and I was exhausted. Not the best recipe for a conversation.
In the end I think we agree. Although the current model currently does not fully explain consciousness, we’re going in the right direction. Disruptions in consciousness have been demonstrated when certain areas of the brain structure are affected.
I think we owe most of our confusion to different meanings of “process.” So, we agree that quantitative things can be processed into qualitative experiences in conscious individuals.
Our brains were going in the same direction, since you went into the second meaning I thought of by mentioning that “the mind is able to contemplate consciousness in its own actions.” There was just a communication error between us, since I should have specified what I meant.
Our brains can “process” or “contemplate” qualitative experiences in a way, but those qualitative experiences are really just an amalgamation of quantitative things that emerge qualitative.
Oh, and congrats!
the pile argument seems a little silly, its semantics, of course what one decides is a pile another might feel differently, its a descriptive term, not meant to relay a specific amount, but a general amount,
everyone views reality differently, everyone uses terms differently, and because everyone is unique in regards to their accumulation of knowledge and experience, everybody puts different meaning to different words in terms of relevance, and even in definition (slang),
I don’t know what this conversation is about anymore, but I think you misinterpreted that paradox.
That paradox has to do with the idea that one grain of sand cannot represent a heap. If you have 1 grain, then 2, then 3, and so on, it would be ridiculous to all at once decide you have a heap at 14,563, but not at 14,562.
At least that is the way it was explained in my philosophy class. It is more a play on language than anything.
There is a reason it is called a paradox lol, unless you think god can create a stone which he himself cannot lift.
@dkman, I don’t think there is a line, so you’re logic is right.
However recognizing one’s self in the mirror doesn’t mean one is not conscious, it just means one cannot recognize one’s self in the mirror! The idea of “self” isn’t always synonymous to consciousness, although we seem to put the two together.
Consciousness is just the ability for us to actually, oddly, experience.
And not remembering your baby moments has probably more to do with memory than consciousness…
It’s a heap and not a heap at the same time. It’s all perception. I personally follow the philosophy of the duality (opposing qualities and “truths” are both true and not true).
My Duality Explanation: http://www.highexistence.com/topic/understanding-the-duality/
@dkman, Sure, modern computers may be incapable of producing qualatative statements. However, human brains are the end result of billions of years of evolution. Computers are are the end result of, at most, a few hundred years. Is it a surprise that our brains can do things that computers cannot? Of course not.
I believe our brains are a lot like computers, the only thing really separating it is emotion. Our brain is just complex chemical reactions of neurons, much like a very advanced circuit, hard drive memory, RAM short term, etc. Like others have said before, qualitative is just a comparison. A computer could potentially take an average of sizes of “a heap of sand” and compare them qualitatively to others. Isn’t our brain doing the exact same thing subconsciously?? You may say you have specific favorite colors or something, but that could be related to emotion. Or potentially we all have the same favorite color, we all just interpret colors differently in our minds and have learned different names for what we believe is each color. For example, my blue looks like your orange, but you have always been taught to call it blue. Qualitative measurements do not really separate us, they are just comparisons to our past that we interpret. If we lived in some place where sand was an extremely rare commodity, then 10 grains of sand may seem like a heap. Who knows where computers could be some day, we are basically giant walking computers.
This is mainly in regards to idea of “consciousness being a byproduct of the brain”. I feel that there is something very important missing from the core of this statement; it detaches existence from the natural world. Essentially what I am trying to say is that we/everything is a manifestation of that natural world, humanity from the earth, earth from the sun, the sun from a massive cloud of dust and gas, that dust and gas from the death of one or probably many super novas or maybe just remnants of the big bang. I find it hard to believe that there was a point in existence where consciousness was not a part of thee equation. In my mind consciousness is a keystone of existence, it just manifests into different forms or rather Life/Being/to Be is experienced at different levels of consciousness. To bring it back to the heap of sand paradox… at what point in development of the human embryo does consciousness start, is there some key cell that forms and then, poof, consciousness? I believe that the brain in its many varying states is simply a means for consciousness to perceive reality/existence in a particular way. The complexity of the human brain merely results in our ability to perceive the world/reality in the way that we do, it seems that it is the complexity of the brain that is so important. This might sound bizarre but I believe consciousness is the underlying force/attraction between everything, the entity that resides between the space of the nucleus and electron cloud if you will.
I mean honestly, what is existence without consciousness? I think that we have a tendency to project human qualities onto everything around us and when those things don’t have similar human characteristics we cast them aside as being primitive or unaware, however these too are from the same origin that led to the creation of our complex molecular makeup.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this… these ideas race through my mind constantly these days. Maybe I’m thinking in some paradox I can’t see outside of?
@marcellesmurdock, “The complexity of the human brain merely results in our ability to perceive the world/reality in the way that we do, it seems that it is the complexity of the brain that is so important. ”
Yeah, thats what I believe. I don’t know where consciousness is, but I know as the brain becomes more complex, we become more conscious. So there is some sort of correlation, some sort of connection.
It could be that the larger the brain, the more ability for the consciousness to communicate and experience things.
At this point I don’t know which is which. Hell maybe, like you said, everything is consciousness, and consciousness is what makes our brains bigger O_O who knows. I don’t.
@ijesuschrist, it has much more to do with how efficient connections in an individual’s brain are.
@dalniente, define efficient.. but yes. I wasn’t being specific. a big brain doesn’t mean much apparently.
@ijesuschrist, human brains have gotten smaller over the last 20,000 (or so) years. To put it simply, we use what we have pretty well. I’ll give you another example: the number of genes humans in general have is much lower than what many people previously thought. Humans have evolved to use them quite effectively (without being greatly detrimental to performance).
I was totally going to make a penis joke.
@dalniente, evolution is pretty interesting. I was pondering how incredible it is the (percieved?) differences are between men and women are, yet it is just one chromosome… but one chromosome can hold a lot of genetic information.
They just sequenced a Gymnosperm genome which was considerably larger than the human genome.
Evolution… no idea. Stop side tracking me damnit!
@dkman, @ijesuschrist, A little insight from Mr.Watts. “We’ve got the idea that ‘No, I’m something IN this body.’ The ego. That’s a joke. The ego is nothing other than the focus of conscious attention. It’s like the radar on a ship. The radar on a ship is a troubleshooter. Is there anything in the way? And conscious attention is a designed function of the brain to scan the environment, like a radar does, and note for any troublemaking changes. But if you identify yourself with your troubleshooter, then naturally you define yourself as being in a perpetual state of anxiety”
@alanwatts, well if I identify myself as this immaterial thing that is spread across all life, I end up in the same boat. Still my consciousness is tied to this body, still I want to maximize pleasure and minimize suffering for this body. The realization of the non-ego self doesn’t do much for the conscious experience of my nerve endings…
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