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  #1  
Old 2010-09-23, 19:11
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What am I now ?
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Old 2010-09-23, 20:15
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Thanks for doing that.
Did I make you sad?

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What am I now ?
That is a question for the ages.
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  #3  
Old 2010-09-24, 17:00
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Polaris:
A meatbag, an animal, a mammal, a primate - an erect ape with less hair and with a kilogram or two of neuron packed jelly in your head that just happens to have one of it's parts (which so happens to be the one responsible for deductive reasoning) three times bigger then the next thing among land mammals, conscious control over your vocal tract, breathing apparatus and facial muscles that allows you to jabber away. You also have an evolved memory and deductive skills that give you a sense of passage of time and a perspective that gives you a partly false sense of freedom of choice, which (the choice) in reality is mostly governed by hormones, neuro-transmitters interacting and past experience.

DJ it's not a question for the "ages" it's a question for a biology textbook.
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Old 2010-09-24, 18:16
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DJ it's not a question for the "ages" it's a question for a biology textbook.
I find it more of a metacognitive question.
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Old 2010-09-24, 19:06
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Bah, humbug.
How can the brain be "meta-cognitive" if cognition is one of it's main functions... apart from regulating the body and generating abstractions. The squishy jelly in your head that eats up 20 watts of electricity doesn't really have anything 'meta" about it because it's workings and functions are a direct result of the processes that go about inside it. You might have an urge to say it's something greater then the sum of it's parts, but it'd be amazingly daft to for instance, to wonder about a car rolling down the road when it was specifically designed to perform that function.
Evolution shaped the brain in a way that preferred the brains that where better able at understanding and finally manipulating their surroundings, there, solved, cognition and awareness of ones surroundings are a basic function of the brain, done.

I don't like adding the word "meta" to everything, as it doesn't do anything, apart from being a lousy try to add mysticism or a "deeper layer" to an issue that has nothing mystic about it.

It's a biological question, maybe a neurological one, definitely doesn't have anything philosophical about it. In my view anyway, I know there's people who think it's an actual puzzle why are they aware rather then not (which is a lousy try at sticking an idea of a soul somewhere in there - when it's not at all needed) - and that seems to me like missing the point of the function of the brain.

Let's have a split from this! I like this discussion!
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Old 2010-09-24, 19:43
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Let's have a split from this! I like this discussion!
But I didn't get my badge!
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Old 2010-09-24, 19:47
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(...)definitely doesn't have anything philosophical about it.
Why?
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Old 2010-09-24, 19:47
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A "meatbag" ? KotOR is indeed a great game !

Where do you stick the concioussness ?
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Old 2010-09-24, 20:41
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Odysseus in a metaphysical sense.

Polaris and where do you stick a program on a FAT drive? Thing's fragmented all over the place! Doesn't mean it's not physically there.

Besides, it's a function, not an entity as such - you are your brain, some of the functions of your brain are awareness of it's surroundings and a sense of self (of the development of which we see steps in nature - other animals).


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But I didn't get my badge!
Infractions are just a click away!
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Old 2010-09-24, 20:56
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Lol @ all this.

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  #11  
Old 2010-09-24, 21:15
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Infractions are just a click away!
If it means that I will get yellow/red/orange/purple/rainbow/disco ball icons every time I post (maybe somewhere near the postcount, or member title), I'm all in favor of it.

Should I start flaming someone? Do you have a preference?
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Old 2010-09-24, 21:32
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Bah, humbug.
How can the brain be "meta-cognitive" if cognition is one of it's main functions... apart from regulating the body and generating abstractions. The squishy jelly in your head that eats up 20 watts of electricity doesn't really have anything 'meta" about it because it's workings and functions are a direct result of the processes that go about inside it. You might have an urge to say it's something greater then the sum of it's parts, but it'd be amazingly daft to for instance, to wonder about a car rolling down the road when it was specifically designed to perform that function.
Evolution shaped the brain in a way that preferred the brains that where better able at understanding and finally manipulating their surroundings, there, solved, cognition and awareness of ones surroundings are a basic function of the brain, done.

I don't like adding the word "meta" to everything, as it doesn't do anything, apart from being a lousy try to add mysticism or a "deeper layer" to an issue that has nothing mystic about it.

It's a biological question, maybe a neurological one, definitely doesn't have anything philosophical about it. In my view anyway, I know there's people who think it's an actual puzzle why are they aware rather then not (which is a lousy try at sticking an idea of a soul somewhere in there - when it's not at all needed) - and that seems to me like missing the point of the function of the brain.

Let's have a split from this! I like this discussion!
The human brain can think about itself think, which seems a legit use of the word "meta" to me. (in the same way we use the term "meta-study")

I do agree meta is overused in general, however.
--
Also, you dont need at all to wonder about a soul to wonder about why we are self-aware. It doesn't take self-awareness to do any of the functions necessary for reproduction or evolution. The body being aware of its environment and its place in it is a necessity, but being aware of its own thinking is not.
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Old 2010-09-24, 21:41
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What does "meta" means ?
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Old 2010-09-25, 01:43
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Darkflame, to be social an organism needs to have a sense of self to be able to find others like it. It needs a point of reference. Imagine if you didn't have that and spent time trying to socialize with predators, trees and bushes... doesn't seem like a viable survival strategy... I think it's a pretty basic social function actually - to be able to differentiate between "me" and "them" and "us".

Polaris:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dicti...1&t=1285368172

Usually means something that is above and beyond something.
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Old 2010-09-25, 19:13
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Q's like: What am I? Who am I? and so on...they are not answered in a biology textbook. Those books can give us some perspective yes. If the answer was what you been looking for...good for you.

The brain might be the perceived throne of consciousness. But the brain can't generate it. Consciousness is only emergent in the interactions with both itself and other structures.
From the flow of blood till the gravety that shaped our bodys. From every dream and traumatic event, music, food, sex and air and weird ideas. -and so on.

When we start understanding our suroundings/situations we talk about it like we grasp them with our brains. But it's more so the other way around, or perhaps somewhere inbetween.

You can try go around it with some naive realism or maybe ignore the structural relations that need to be in place for a brain to even "be". Or just admit the iseu of thinking about the brain in this context is metaphysical per defenition. Even dry analytics can't exist without the "real" unforgiving mess from which they arise.

I am not to sure if what i wrote here makes sense lol. Might be some big flaw with this reasoning. I am a layman. :P
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Old 2010-09-25, 19:42
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What you mean by "grasping" things is generating abstractions - dogs do that, so do other animals - the simple act of not pooping on the sidewalk/street requires an abstract of what a sidewalk/street/lawn is - otherwise you'd only teach them to not poop on that precise spot. The brain is in fact an abstraction generator. There is even a robotics team that taught a robot to differentiate between different objects based on their purpose and abstract properties.

"what/who am I" is easily answered in a textbook in a general context, if you're looking for a narrower view then psychology/neurology is your bet. The question of "why am I here" is only harder if you believe you have a purpose other then existence itself (which I think is a grand purpose enough), so far however we haven't discovered or stumbled upon any shred of proof or evidence suggesting that that question's answer can lie anywhere beyond physics, chemistry, biology, geology even which all explain it in their respective fields.

There is nothing naive in being a realist, in fact it's the exact opposite of unfounded and naive wishful thinking expressed in the language of metaphysics.
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Old 2010-09-25, 20:19
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What you mean by "grasping" things is generating abstractions - dogs do that, so do other animals - the simple act of not pooping on the sidewalk/street requires an abstract of what a sidewalk/street/lawn is - otherwise you'd only teach them to not poop on that precise spot. The brain is in fact an abstraction generator. There is even a robotics team that taught a robot to differentiate between different objects based on their purpose and abstract properties.

"what/who am I" is easily answered in a textbook in a general context, if you're looking for a narrower view then psychology/neurology is your bet. The question of "why am I here" is only harder if you believe you have a purpose other then existence itself (which I think is a grand purpose enough), so far however we haven't discovered or stumbled upon any shred of proof or evidence suggesting that that question's answer can lie anywhere beyond physics, chemistry, biology, geology even which all explain it in their respective fields.

There is nothing naive in being a realist, in fact it's the exact opposite of unfounded and naive wishful thinking expressed in the language of metaphysics.

"Naive realism" is not calling realism naive, it's just the name of a form of realism. Where the common perception is taken for "the real". Pretending that things are just what we perceive them to be. And also taking away the observer as a active factor. (or something among those lines)

"The brain is in fact an abstraction generator."
I think thats almost the case. But what I mean to say was that consciousness -and also these abstractions- rises from the interaction not the brain itself. The birthplace is the interaction: not the brain.
Thats also what i mean by mess...who and what we are is shaped by our "being in the world".

Even though the understanding of these fields are not complete. I am not talking about things beyond physics, chemistry, biology, geology and all that. Just trying to make clear that the mind, consciousness and/or self are endlessly bigger (or just totally something else) then the brain...for the exact reason that its born from the interactions.

Or something. :P
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Old 2010-09-25, 21:18
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Calling it "naive" and "pretending" is silly as we are very much aware of our limitations. We have developed various tools to perceive reality that go beyond our five senses. We also invented the scientific method and the peer review process to diminish the human factor as much as is possible. And as for observation itself changing the observed that only works on the subatomic level. Observing a bear from a km away through a scope has absolutely no effect on the bear. One might even argue that because sight is not instantaneous and light needs time to travel, then you cannot change anything through observation alone as you are observing the past.

And the brain, It's a computer, it creates abstract ideas - idealized data about objects, and stores them as information in the memory - as a mixture of analogue and digital signal (both 1's and 0's and signal intensity count). Therefore anything created by the brain has to be stored there.

"Shaped by our being in the world" is pretty obvious - as the data has an outside source and is indeed stored and analysed. That's why we have memory. Doesn't really mean anything though, the fact it's not a closed system is pretty much obvious. I doubt a brain locked in a box without any external stimuli could be called conscious. and here I might agree with you that it's the interactions that spark conscious thought, I disagree however about the role of the brain - as it is it's ability to spark consciousness, it being the plane for it to grow that plays a pivotal role here.
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Old 2010-09-25, 22:25
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Calling it "naive" and "pretending" is silly as we are very much aware of our limitations. We have developed various tools to perceive reality that go beyond our five senses. We also invented the scientific method and the peer review process to diminish the human factor as much as is possible. And as for observation itself changing the observed that only works on the subatomic level. Observing a bear from a km away through a scope has absolutely no effect on the bear. One might even argue that because sight is not instantaneous and light needs time to travel, then you cannot change anything through observation alone as you are observing the past.

And the brain, It's a computer, it creates abstract ideas - idealized data about objects, and stores them as information in the memory - as a mixture of analogue and digital signal (both 1's and 0's and signal intensity count). Therefore anything created by the brain has to be stored there.

"Shaped by our being in the world" is pretty obvious - as the data has an outside source and is indeed stored and analysed. That's why we have memory. Doesn't really mean anything though, the fact it's not a closed system is pretty much obvious. I doubt a brain locked in a box without any external stimuli could be called conscious. and here I might agree with you that it's the interactions that spark conscious thought, I disagree however about the role of the brain - as it is it's ability to spark consciousness, it being the plane for it to grow that plays a pivotal role here.
Frist, I am all for the the scientific method. :P

Like I said "naive realism" is just the term for one stream within realism. It isn't a comment on realism in general. That I used "pretending" is only cause i look down on the practise of "Naive Realism". There are other forms too. It's also not opposing a false ideas of quantum meganics, it's just stupid as a whole. :P

I think the idea of a brain is a artificial given. It's verry handy to use that term in some fields. It makes clear what part we mean. But we are the ones that outlined it as some system. Almost, or totally, suggesting it is some kind of autonomous operating part. While it is, like you said, obviously all interlinked.

If you talk of human consciousness there is, indeed, a clear role for what we call the brain...(hey, we own one) but unlike you I don't think this is pivotal. -had to look that up- It's crucial yes, but can't function without all the rest. So the rest is crucial aswell when it comes down to generating human consciousness.

Basically i am still pointing out that we -with good reason- are the ones that pull up these walls between brain and not brain. And also emphasizing the notion that its the interaction itself that is the actual "throne" of consciousness. This is pivotal. ( :P )

"Observing a bear from a km away through a scope has absolutely no effect on the bear. "
I can come up with examples where it does effect the bear. Like we see the bear from that distance and go and kill it...for starters.
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Old 2010-09-25, 23:52
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That's not really observation any more. That means just looking at things without any interaction whatsoever (eg. not scaring the bear with a flare from the lense of our binoculars). A bear might be a bad example - let's say you're spotting tree's from a distance - and observe only. Interaction and observation - in the macro world are not the same and can be done without the other.

On the other I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Obviously consciousness is there because of the influx of information to the brain, obviously it arises because of the interaction, but nevertheless it exists in the brain, and the brain provides the medium and the means for it to arise. I'm not sure you'd get far in the study of consciousness by observing what people are looking at in the park - other then learning of some of their habits.
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Old 2010-09-26, 01:03
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That's not really observation any more. That means just looking at things without any interaction whatsoever (eg. not scaring the bear with a flare from the lense of our binoculars). A bear might be a bad example - let's say you're spotting tree's from a distance - and observe only. Interaction and observation - in the macro world are not the same and can be done without the other.

On the other I guess we'll have to agree to disagree. Obviously consciousness is there because of the influx of information to the brain, obviously it arises because of the interaction, but nevertheless it exists in the brain, and the brain provides the medium and the means for it to arise. I'm not sure you'd get far in the study of consciousness by observing what people are looking at in the park - other then learning of some of their habits.
"Just looking"/observation is interaction in itself alright. Even if we cant make clear what impact it has. It's meaningfull buisness. Can be described on all kinds of levels. I even would claim "just looking" doesnt exist. Pure observation is a purely theoretical position.
The study in the park is not a good demonstration of my point or on how it fails.
And yeah if we agree to disagree that makes "who we are" much more complex and less onesided then a meatbag with brains right?
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Old 2010-09-26, 01:25
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Describe to me this then, let's say you're looking through the telescope at a distant galaxy, let's say, 10 billion light years away. Most of the stars you're looking at probably don't exist at this point, and the galaxy is in a totally different position, further away, if it exists still at all.

What effect, on that galaxy, can your observation have? Observation is capturing light bouncing from an object, whether it hits your retina or miss it has absolutely no effect on the object. When the light hits your eye, you are seeing an image of the past - of a state of the object it was in in the past. Unless you've invented a way to travel back in time I say your argument is gone. Now if you're the one shining the light at the object object in question you should first check if it's not in any way sensitive to light or will that change the result - and most often then not it has no effect. But I'm talking here about an idealized situation.

No, it just makes us meatbags with slightly differently scrambled brains. No one says anything about copies here, or that all brains generate the same consciousness, or denied that it's rise is influenced by external stimuli - different in each case! Or denied we are fairly complex beings - by our own measure at least. Even genes play a major role in the persons personality. Nothing of that contradicts us being animals with a neo-cortex three times larger then that of the chimp.
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Old 2010-09-26, 01:38
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Describe to me this then, let's say you're looking through the telescope at a distant galaxy, let's say, 10 billion light years away. Most of the stars you're looking at probably don't exist at this point, and the galaxy is in a totally different position, further away, if it exists still at all.

What effect, on that galaxy, can your observation have? Observation is capturing light bouncing from an object, whether it hits your retina or miss it has absolutely no effect on the object. When the light hits your eye, you are seeing an image of the past - of a state of the object it was in in the past. Unless you've invented a way to travel back in time I say your argument is gone. Now if you're the one shining the light at the object object in question you should first check if it's not in any way sensitive to light or will that change the result - and most often then not it has no effect. But I'm talking here about an idealized situation.

No, it just makes us meatbags with slightly differently scrambled brains. No one says anything about copies here, or that all brains generate the same consciousness, or denied that it's rise is influenced by external stimuli - different in each case! Even genes play a major role in the persons personality.
So yeah agreeing on genes and nothing being the same.

I would not know how and if that would have any effect on those stars. As you said the object isnt even there. However I do know it has effect on consciousness itself. Same with weird ideas or dreams, relating to abstractions and what not. It does leave a imprint.

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