How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

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How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Thu Dec 20, 2012 10:08 am

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Oh, what a strange magic,
Oh, it's a strange magic.
Got a strange magic.
Got a strange magic.

-ELO


It does not suffice to assert that consciousness and/or subjective experience is "undeniably" produced by the brain. It is disturbing that the assertion is commonly believed without, as Hume put it, "the use of deliberate reason". It seems necessary that the very belief that the physical brain gives rise to consciousness or subjective experience must, in order to justify itself, describe the process of how the brain, composed of something that can exist in the complete absence or nonexistence of consciousness, generates first-person subjective experience using the speculative process in which things exist or come into existence. Critical analysis of how neurons of the cerebral cortex (purportedly the only area of the brain---and body---responsible for the existence of consciousness) are entailed to create conscious experience, in terms of how consciousness might come into existence from a previous nonexistence or how it might appear independent of the type of causality responsible for every other emergent property in the universe, may inadvertently reveal the fatal flaw in the most common assumption about the origin of consciousness.

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Understanding The Nature Of Experience, And The Distinction Between Experience And The Physical

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“It is evident to any one who takes a survey of the objects of human knowledge, that they are either ideas actually imprinted on the senses; or else such as are perceived by attending to the passions and operations of the mind; or lastly, ideas formed by help of memory and imagination- either compounding, dividing, or barely representing those originally perceived in the aforesaid ways. By sight I have the ideas of light and colours, with their several degrees and variations. By touch I perceive hard and soft, heat and cold, motion and resistance, and of all these more and less either as to quantity or degree. Smelling furnishes me with odours; the palate with tastes; and hearing conveys sounds to the mind in all their variety of tone and composition. And as several of these are observed to accompany each other, they come to be marked by one name, and so to be reputed as one thing. Thus, for example a certain colour, taste, smell, figure and consistence having been observed to go together, are accounted one distinct thing, signified by the name apple; other collections of ideas constitute a stone, a tree, a book, and the like sensible things- which as they are pleasing or disagreeable excite the passions of love, hatred, joy, grief, and so forth.

But, besides all that endless variety of ideas or objects of knowledge, there is likewise something which knows or perceives them, and exercises divers operations, as willing, imagining, remembering, about them. This perceiving, active being is what I call mind, spirit, soul, or myself. By which words I do not denote any one of my ideas, but a thing entirely distinct from them, wherein, they exist, or, which is the same thing, whereby they are perceived- for the existence of an idea consists in being perceived.

That neither our thoughts, nor passions, nor ideas formed by the imagination, exist without the mind, is what everybody will allow. And it seems no less evident that the various sensations or ideas imprinted on the sense, however blended or combined together (that is, whatever objects they compose), cannot exist otherwise than in a mind perceiving them.”


[My interjection: Or that “..however blended or combined together….are observed and constantly observed to exist as things perceived by a particular person as reality, as it is actually observed or experienced, is never observed independent a perceiving person (and if a person claims this or that exists when no one perceives it, this is naught but fiction, as the person cannot experience, and thus cannot verify independent of the necessity or use of faith, the existence of this or that in the absence of perception)”[/i]]

-Bishop George Berkeley: A Treatise Concerning The Principles of Human Knowledge (Principles #1-3), 1710

The term ‘experience’ cannot meaningfully be explained as anything other than what we do at all times when not in a state of dreamless sleep (if dreamless sleep exists), and cannot rationally be explained as anything other than the fundamental nature of our existence. A person, in short, is ultimately an experience---or an experience that experiences. What we are, what we are doing now, and what we constantly do is experience: existence as it is observed and experienced appears only in the form of a particular person and that which the person experiences.

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Knowledge of the nature of existence (or at least existence that can be known independent of faith), then, must begin with knowledge of the nature of oneself. Existence is observed to manifest only as a person and that which the person (currently) experiences, thus objects of everyday experience such as tables and cups are upon introspective sensation are discovered to be composed only of one’s experience (of them): when one holds a cup, the “substance” that makes up the cup is not something external to or independent of the self, but is actually nothing more than the experience one feels when holding it.

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“All we can mean, in talking about physical objects (or nonphysical objects, if there are any) is what experiences we would have when dealing with them (italics and paraphrase mine)."

Arthur Danto: Connections to the World.


Objects (or anything known to exist independent of faith in its existence) are known to exist because they have been (sensorially) experienced by a particular person. The fundamental structure of the question of the nature of reality consists of a dual empirical and speculative substance: the observation of objects as they are currently and actually perceived or experienced by a particular person, and the hypothesis of whether or not the objects exist when they are not perceived or experienced. The object that is experienced is inseparable from and is an aspect of oneself, as it manifests only in the form of how it appears and behaves to one's point of view, and it only appears when one is present and attending to it (directly or peripherally). The self-oriented nature of perceived objects, and their appearance only when currently and actually experienced, indicates that the perceived environment---as opposed to the environment when no one perceives it (if it exists) is an aspect of oneself; it is not an aspect or part of the external world, but emanates and originates from the experiencing or perceiving subject as an extended world that “springs from” or emerges from the self.

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The process of perception begins with an object in the real world, termed the distal stimulus or distal object. By means of light, sound or another physical process, the object stimulates the body's sensory organs. These sensory organs transform the input energy into neural activity—a process called transduction. This raw pattern of neural activity is called the proximal stimulus. These neural signals are transmitted to the brain and processed. The resulting mental recreation of the distal stimulus is the percept. Perception is sometimes described as the process of constructing mental representations of distal stimuli using the information available in proximal stimuli.

-Wikipedia: Perception, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perception


(Note: It is not necessary, given the above, that one personally brings into being or controls the self-emanating environment: it suffices only that the perceived environment is part of and emanates from oneself. In Psychophysicalism, the percept is determined and governed by the ever-changing function of the brain; according to Berkeley and other meta- or non-brain theorists, the content of the percept is determined by Something or Someone in the external world.)

The Physical As The Polar Opposite Of Experience:The Concept Of Non-Experience

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Let us examine a little the description that is here given us of matter. It neither acts, nor perceives, nor is perceived; for this is all that is meant by saying it is an inert, senseless, unknown substance; which is a definition entirely made up of negatives, excepting only the relative notion of its standing under or supporting. But then it must be observed that it supports nothing at all, and how nearly this comes to the description of a nonentity I desire may be considered....Now, I would fain know how anything can be present to us, which is neither perceivable by sense nor reflexion, nor capable of producing any idea in our minds, nor is at all extended, nor hath any form, nor exists in any place. The words "to be present," when thus applied, must needs be taken in some abstract and strange meaning, and which I am not able to comprehend.

-Bishop George Berkeley: A Treatise Concerning The Principles of Human Knowledge (Principle #68), 1710


It is remarkable, then, that experience is thought to originate from neurons, themselves believed to be composed of something that is not the experience which they purportedly create (as this “something” is entailed to have the ability to exist in the absence of the consciousness, and consciousness is, it should be remember, experience and an experience; thus something must experience in order for it [consciousness] to exist). Experience, and persons or subjects of experience, are believed to be creations of things that are not experienced nor experiences at all. Given this contradiction in essential nature or the difference between being an experience and not being an experience, it is remarkable that one can be said to “come from” or to derive from the other at all, or that non-experience or the Berkeleyian “unknown, senseless, substance” can take from itself or use itself to produce something that it essentially or substantially is not: the fact or act of experience.

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Experiences exist only as experiences, and as such exist only when experienced. Thus the term 'experience', in order to be meaningfully defined or described, must be described as something experienced, or as an experience. The brain, conversely, is purportedly composed of a material or 'corporeal' substance that can exist in the complete absence or nonexistence of experience. If it can exist in the absence of experience, it is therefore something that is not experience, as experience exists only as an experience, and exists only when currently experienced (in the form of either Berkeleyian sense [sensory perception or emotion] or reflection [memory or thought]), but experience is nevertheless believed with "great assurance and acquiescence" to be created by or derived from something that it [experience] is not.

The "Relationship" Between Neurons And Experience

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Straightforwardly, the central problem with Non-experiential or Non-Mental Psychophysicalism is its dogged insistence that a type of existence be derived from something that it essentially is not. The mythology of the fate of consciousness before and after the existence and function of the cerebral cortex stipulates (absent panpsychism) that consciousness does not exist. The remaining universe or infinity independent of or beyond a functioning cortex, then, has nothing (directly) to do with the existence of consciousness. Thus the remaining universe, and the cortex itself, must consist of a Kantian noumena that is not consciousness at all as experience, in this entailment, does not and cannot exist independent of the function of a cerebral cortex (within the skull of a living animal). The existence of Kantian noumena is a matter of faith, as it is a mythological substance (purportedly) existing independent of consciousness.

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As the cerebral cortex is composed of Kantian noumena, the cortex must conjure subjective consciousness or experience (absent panpsychism) from nothing. The Kantian noumena making up the cortex cannot be used to create experience as it exists in the absence of experience and is thus something that cannot be experienced and something other than experience. In the absence of panpsychism, the only way the (noumenal) cortex can create or generate (phenomenal) consciousness is for it to create consciousness or subjective experience ex nihilo.

It is important then, in the face of assertion that consciousnesss is generated by physical brains, to remember the following logical principles governing the purported "relation" between neurons and experience:

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1. Experiences are nothing but experiences, and are nothing but experienced. If and when experiences exist, they must be experienced by a particular person (human or animal): they cannot meaningfully be said to exist (nor is experience meaningfully defined or described) if they are not experienced (in the form of Berkelian sense or reflection).

2. In Psychophysicalism, subjective experiences are the result of particular functions of cortical neural circuits. If experiences exist only when they are actually experienced, then the absence of an experience is an indication of the (accidental or "programmed") inactivity of the cortical circuit responsible for that experience.

3. Neurons in the cerebral cortex, the only area of the brain responsible for consciousness, do not magically wink out of existence nor instantaneously decompose at the end of a created experience. Thus neurons exist through means and are composed of substances that do not involve nor require the existence of consciousness.

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(Interactionism, however, is a view that states that while the physical gives rise to and influences consciousness, consciousness can in turn influence the physical. Scientists and psychologists, moreover, purport "empirical" grounds for interactionism. The Idealist, however, can overturn the cart of interactionism by the observation that the existence of the physical cannot be demonstrated: the relationship between the physical and experience, or the notion that experience can influence the physical, is ultimately a fiction.)

4. If dreamless sleep exists, cortical neurons can function without producing consciousness. Dreamless sleep, then, is preliminary evidence that cortical neurons are not required to constantly produce experience, and that they continue to exist in the absence of consciousness or experience.
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Regardless, however, of the belief that neurons give rise to or create experience and the purported relation between the physical and experience, the existence of the physical has yet to be demonstrated, and it does not follow that a particular existence could, or should, have anything at all to do with the existence of something it is not. Fictional imagination believed to be truth, then, must take the place of empirical observation and actual experience, in order to save the belief that experience is something that cannot exist without the pre-existence and creative action of something existing before it. Psychophysicalism, nevertheless, if it dares to assert that experience is created by non-experience, should test the hypothesis with human logic and reason concerning how something exists, and how things create or are created.

Methods of Existence, Methods of Creation

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The opponent of Psychophysicalism can amusingly challenge the Psychophysicalist to refuse the cop-out of "I don't know" or the excuse that "we can't know how neurons create experience" (while simultaneously asserting that it is “without doubt” that noumenal neurons, rather than phenomenal ones, create phenomenal consciousness) and linguistically (if not imaginatively) “demonstrate” how noumenal neurons (which purportedly exist in imperceptible form of an imperceptible substance in the external world and are not one and the same things as the phenomenal neurons observed in medical contexts or neuorscientific experiment) can produce phenomenal experience from a previous condition of nonexistence, or an antecedent condition of opposing or unrelated existence. It is worthwhile, for hope of rational or logical explanation of how neurons create or give rise to personal subjective experience (as neurons purportedly responsible for consciousness are cells within a skull and subjective experience is experience of things seemingly outside the skull) (commonly), that the Non-Mental Psychophysicalist, or any Psychophysicalist, "puts one's money where one's mouth is" and not ask that we simply swallow the belief that brains create experience without explaining how the brain goes about doing this. A good starting point, to lend a helpful hand, is the conceptual use of the hypothetical processes in which things might come into existence, and how things are or might be created.
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Physics does not avoid the attempt, with its hypothesis that the origin and substance of physical things reduce to an eternal and indestructible substance comprising everything save consciousness (or erroneously comprising consciousness in unthinking or willfully ignorant interchangeability of experience and [non-experiential] Kantian noumena). Nothing in physical theory emerges from a previous and total nonexistence: everything is ultimately derived from a fundamental quantity called energy---the noumenal entity manifesting as substance, motion, and force that comprises the totality of the external world.

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Energy is an idea that runs through the entire gamut of science, and defines what is meant by physical reality. Everything that exists has energy, and occupies space and evolves in time. All of physical reality can be said to be the manifestation of different forms of energy. Energy is also central to the functioning of human civilization; to reshape nature in accordance with human needs involves the expenditure of energy. Hence, engineering and technology are intimately concerned with the properties of energy which make it amenable for human manipulation and utilization. All of things that exist in nature, as encountered in physics, chemical processes, biological entities and so on, regulate and transform energy from one form into another. Consequently, being familiar with the major forms of energy lays the basis for understanding the underlying substratum of apparently diverse phenomena, and prepares one to understand new and unforeseen forms of energy.

Energy In Physics: Why should we study the concept of Energy? http://www.physics.nus.edu.sg/~phybeb/core/node4.html

When it comes to consciousness (sometimes defined as awareness but that can non-rigidly and globally be defined as experience--in that experience subsumes awareness, which is ultimately nothing but the experience of being aware), this method of causal or substantially derivative (being composed of or derived from a particular substance) explanation fails as, absent David Chalmer's panprotopsychism or panpsychism in general, consciousness is not believed to have always existed and only exists in response to the function of the cerebral cortex.

The material of consciousness or experience, then, is not the same as the material making up the cortex, as experience exists only when experienced and it is believed that experience, under certain conditions, does not exist (inferred when something is no longer experienced). Common explanation of physical existence holds that the stuff making up the cerebral cortex or a neural circuit---that which purportedly exists when consciousness does not---is indestructible: it does not come into nor go out of existence (the Law of Conservation of Energy), and as such remains in existence before, during, and after any experience.

Similarly, when a person dies, he or she ceases to exist as a person. But the dead body does not lapse into nothingness, since the materials of the body continue in other forms of matter or energy. In other words, all sorts of organizational wholes (e.g., biological organisms) do cease to exist only as such when they disintegrate and their parts are scattered. But their parts continue in some form.

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-Adolf Grunbaum: The Pseudo-Problem of Creation in Physical Cosmology

The paradigm is simple: a neural circuit said to be responsible for a particular experience precedes the experience in existence, continues to exist as an electrically active neural circuit during and in the “background” of the beginning, presentation, and end of an experience, and continues existence (albeit absent the electrical activity coinciding with the appearance of the experience) despite the absence of the previous experience. It does not matter if the physical configuration of the circuit changes: the physical substance making up the circuit is conserved as there is no cessation of or brute discontinuities in the existence of the physical.

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If experience (which only exists as someone’s experience and only exists when experienced) must come into existence from a previous nonexistence (as opposed to being eternally existent alongside the physical), then neurology itself is composed of a substance that is not the phenomenal or experiential substance of conscious experience and exists when phenomenal or experiential substance does not.

The Three Ways Things Exist Or Come Into Existence, and the Two Methods By Which Things Are Created

“Another way in which people are tempted to insist on a bounded past involves the commission of a fallacy similar to the one illustrated by my earlier trivial example of motherhood. The reasoning starts out from the claim that such macroscopic objects as the earth, trees, people, mountains, and individual stars are first fully formed as such by causal processes from earlier, more primitive states. Thus such macro-objects each have their own respective beginnings in time in at least the following sense: For each of them, there is a time such that it did not exist in its final form before then, but did exist as of then or since. Incidentally, without additional theory, the correctness of this claim of temporal origin is by no means obvious in regard to all elementary particles, for example, some of which might conceivably have existed in their present form throughout all past time. But let us grant the claim for macro-objects. Since there may well be infintely many of them, it then still does not follow that there must have been a single time such that all such objects whatever in the universe originated at or since that time.”

-Adolf Grunbaum: The Pseudo-Problem of Creation in Physical Cosmology


A Psychophysicalist attempting to explain how neurons create or produce experience should, as stated before, resort to the imaginative or hypothetical (and empirically known) logic of how things exist or come into existence, and the methods by which things are created.[/i]

There are three general ways things exist or come into existence, and two ways by which things are created. The second mode of creation is synonymous to the third condition of existence.

The Three Conditions of Existence

There are three conditions under which a thing exists or comes into existence, the first two existing independent of collocation (the arrangement of pre-existing disparate components or constituents into a macroscopic collective, composite, or whole). The second mode of existence is fiction involving inconceivable process.

1. Eternal existence. That which is eternally existent has existed, following Grunbaum, "throughout all past time" and will endlessly exist throughout all future time. That which is eternal (in this sense) has no beginning nor end of existence, does not acausally wink into existence from a previous nonexistence, does not acausally wink out of existence, and cannot be caused by an external agent, nor by itself, to go out of existence.

2. Intermittent (Non-Collocational) Existence. That which has intermittent but non-collocated existence intermittently exists without transformative causation (collection or combination from pre-existent components or parts) and:

(i) Eternally exists through all past moments in time but inexplicably winks or fades from existence through the action of an external agent or cause, or winks out of existence independent of cause.

(ii) Previously does not exist, but causally or acausally (without collocation) pops into existence and remains eternally existent thereafter, or pops into existence and exists for a short time before causally or acausally fading or winking out of existence.

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-Jim Starlin, Marv Wolfman: Warlock #11: The Strange Death of Adam Warlock, Marvel Comics 1975

3. Collocational Existence. That which collocationally exists is a composite entity or collective formed from the polycentric (or monocentric) organization of pre-existent components or constituents. Cars, mountains, brains, organisms, etc. are ultimately composite entities or collectives of molecules (strong emergence notwithstanding, the presence of the car, mountain, or organism does not mean that the constituent atoms making them up have merges into a continuous mass: each atom continues to exist within the collective and remain separate from all other atoms through interstitial fields of force; thus any new properties seen on a macroscopic scale generally given voice as “strong emergence” is actually a novel weak emergence, explicable only to the novel interaction of the constituent micro-particles rather than a brute disappearance or physical immersion of those particles into each other); molecules are composites or collectives of atoms; atoms are composites or collectives of electrons, up quarks, and down quarks---while electrons and quarks are fundamental particles believed not to be made up of anything smaller.

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Frederick Hayek vigorously disputes the argument from design. Throughout his writings, he makes the distinction “between an order which is brought about by the direction of a central organ...and the formation of an order determined by the regularity of actions toward each other of the elements of a structure” (1967a, p73). The former is a designed order, the later is a “spontaneous order.” Hayek further uses Michael Polanyi's notion of “monocentric” and “polycentric” (ibid.) orders to clarify this distinction: A monocentric order is organized by a directing core, a polycentric order, on the other hand, emerges out of “the relation and mutual adjustments to each other of the elements of which it consists” (ibid.). A polycentric order, in other words, is a “self-organizing” (1984a, p259) system; a system that “dispenses with the necessity of first communicating all the information on which its several elements act to a common centre” (1967a, p74) and operates, instead, through the trial-and-error interaction of many parts.

-Gary T. Dempsey: Hayek's Evolutionary Epistemology, Artificial Intelligence, and the Question of Free Will


The Two Methods of Creation

As stated before, there are two methods by which things are created or imagined to be created. The first method is common to everyday experience and empirically derivative and supportive of the language that describes it. The second possesses “descriptive” language, but its internal process is inexplicable and beyond the bounds of knowledge derived from experience.

Transformative Causation

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“Even for those cases of causation which involve conscious agents or fashioners, the premise does not assert that they ever create anything out of nothing; instead, conscious fashioners merely TRANSFORM PREVIOUSLY EXISTING MATERIALS FROM ONE STATE TO ANOTHER; the baker creates a cake out of flour, milk, butter, etc., and the parents who produce an offspring do so from a sperm, an ovum, and from the food supplied by the mother's body, which in turn comes from the soil, solar energy, etc.

-Adolf Grunbaum: The Pseudo-Problem of Creation in Physical Cosmology[/color]

1. Transformative Causation. The term "creation" typically or commonly entails collocation: the (through accident or deliberate imposition) forced combination and connection of smaller entities and objects into larger, macroscopic wholes. In physical theory, collective or composite entities are formed by forcible interaction between its constituent elements through self-generated force fields (force generating fields in the form of positive pulls or negative pushes) that result in the aggregation of a macro-object (formed from an attractive/repulsive balance between its constituent atoms and the atoms making up the environment surrounding the object: the repellent activity of the negative force, pushes away those atoms not going into the construction of the macro-object, with the repelled atoms forming the air or other objects both micro- and macro-scopic that surround the relevant formation).

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The most common, everyday form of creation is that which Wes Morriston calls Transformative Causation. It is nothing more or less than the creation of something from a pre-existing material (the creation of something using materials that already exist). In physical theory denying the existence of panpsychism, everything with the exception of consciousness is a product of transformative causation.

As Adolf Grünbaum has pointed out, many familiar causes are “transformative” in character. When a person makes something, he makes it out of something. He transforms a pre-existent material into something else (the effect). The carpenter cuts the wood and fits it together so as to make a house, the potter shapes and bakes his clay so as to make a pot, and so on.

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- Morriston, Wes: Creation ex Nihilo and the Big Bang


Creation Ex Nihilo

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2. Creation Ex Nihilo. Creation ex nihilo is, in effect, the polar opposite of transformative causation. It is nothing more than that. It is an inconceivable form of creation in which something that previously did not exist is somehow ‘brought’ into existence or ‘made’ to exist without the material use of anything that previously and currently exists. Like its acausal variant Origination ex nihilo (which entails the coming into existence of something independent of pre-existing agent or cause), creation ex nihilo involves the coming into existence of something in response to a non-collocational action committed by a pre-existing agent.[/i]

Creation independent of derivation from pre-existing substance---in which a material or substance that already exists is rearranged to form a particular object---is explanatorily, conceivably, and procedurally void. One is being told that x causes y to exist without explanation of how y came to exist without the use of the substance making up x or anything else that exists.

For historical reasons, the term "creation" is laden with the notion of a creating agency or cause external to the created objects. In this important respect, this word differs from the neutral term "origination." Moreover, the terms "nothing" or "from nothing" as used in conjunction with "creation" carry the connotation of the traditional theological notion "ex nihilo." As we know from two thousand years of theology, the hypothesis of divine creation does not even envision, let alone specify, an appropriate intermediate causal process that would link the presence of the supposed divine (causal) agency to the effects which are attributed to it.

In physics, there is either an actual specification or at least a quest for the mediating causal dynamics linking presumed causes to their effects. Yet despite the failure of theology to provide just such a dynamical linkage, Newton invoked divine intervention in the belief that it could plug explanatory lacunae which his physics had left unfilled.

In the face of the inherently irremediable dynamical inscrutability of divine causation, the resort to God as creator, ontological observer of matter, or intevener in the course of nature is precisely a deus ex machine that lacks a vital feature of causal explanations in the sciences. The Book of Genesis tells us about the divine word-magic of creating photons by saying "Let there be light." But we aren't even told whether God said it in Hebrew or Aramaic. I, for one, draw a complete explanatory blank when I am told that God created photons. This purported explanation contrasts sharply with, say, the story of the formation of two photons by conversion of the rest-mass of a colliding electron-positron pair. Thus, so far as divine causation goes, we are being told, to all intents and purposes, that an intrinsically elusive, mysterious agency X inscrutably produces the effect.

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- Adolf Grunbaum: Creation As a In Pseudo-Explanation Current Physical Cosmology


Any ‘laws’ governing existence ex nihilo (particularly in magical theory and imagination), in which certain dynamic motions or verbal spells or incantations result in the sudden existence of something that previously did not exist, are (intrinsically) explanatorily and procedurally empty; the human mind can envision no procedure or process whereby a particular entity might be formed without the collocation or transformation of pre-existing material or substance. There is no pre-existing material that can be used to shape the new entity as the very substance making up the entity does not exist before the entity is “created”: the entity must suddenly and inexplicably “come into existence” as nothing that already exists is used to create it. But it is just this absence of antecedence that questions the logic, if not the metaphysical possibility, of the notion that things that do not exist can suddenly gain existence and the belief that something that does not exist can be “made” to exist by something that currently exists.

Without antecedence, there is no predictive logic to the notion that x created y ex nihilo, as y previously did not exist and its substance, despite the fact it is the same as something that previously exists, did not derive from any pre-existing substance. One cannot predict the property or nature of that which “comes into existence” as said property or nature was not pulled from anything that currently exists. There is nothing about the current condition and action of anything currently in existence that plays a role or that can be predicted to account for the nature and disposition of the newly arrived existence. If Santa Claus pops into sudden existence from a previous and total nonexistence, why does Santa emerge rather than Quetzalcoatl? If absurd random chance and the inscrutable process of something simply “existing” (no “creation out of nothing “ but pure and simple “sudden existence from nothing”) is out of the question and something more is involved, what invisible force or process ensures that only Santa, as opposed to Quetzalcoatl, exists? There is no transformation of pre-existent physical energy into amalgamations of different aspects of itself, but a brute addition of existence from previous nonexistence. More importantly, why should electrons flowing from one point to another along a neural membrane result in an experience that is neither an electron nor a neural membrane? How can something that does not exist (something that is truly nonexistent, not existing in potential, pre-dissipated form) be created without the use of pre-existing material or substance?

In attempted imagination of how something comes into existence from previous nonexistence, the object is once unimaginable---with the object suddenly springing into the mind’s eye from a previous moment when there was no imagination of the object. Thus there is a moment in which the object or phenomenon is mentally absent, then a moment in which the object or phenomenon is mentally experienced. But independent transformational causation, the mind’s eye can only yield a momentary transition from sudden absence to sudden presence, as a hypothetical entity generated ex nihilo is not pieced together using pre-existing material or objects in even an imaginary vicinity.

[Of course, one might try to imagine what is going on “beyond existence”, and imagine a misty or lighted space with the soon-to-exist object emerging from imaginary nothingness to form in this imaginary light show or mist before appearing in one’s imagination of the room in which one sensorially sits (or some other place). But here, one merely creates a fictional space within one’s mind and claims it to be or to represent “that which is beyond existence”. The mind can at times form “realities” consisting only of one’s imagination of that “reality”, with the subject believing it represents something beyond one’s consciousness. Without this deliberate or inadvertent illusion, it seems transparent that imagination of something that previously did not exist “coming into” existence would take the form of a mental absence of the object transformed into the sudden appearance of the object in ones mind’s eye.]
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In recent years…some Christian philosophers have suggested that purely scientific and philosophical considerations show that the universe was not made out of anything. William Lane Craig, in particular, has argued that creation ex nihilo is strongly supported by the Big Bang theory of the origin of the universe.
Grünbaum, on the other hand, has forcefully argued that creation ex nihilo does not follow from any reasonable interpretation of the claim that the universe has a cause. Causes of the sort that are acknowledged in everyday experience and in scientific explanations either do not involve conscious agency, or, if they do, they also involve the transformation of some pre-existing material. In neither case do we have the sort of cause envisaged by classical theism. So even if one were to grant the premise that everything (including the beginning of the universe) has a cause, it would not follow that the universe [my interjection: nor anything in the universe, even consciousness] was created ex nihilo.

- Wes Morriston: Creation ex Nihilo and the Big Bang


The notion of creation ex nihilo is highly problematic, for the proponent of this type of creation is forced to ask the audience to simply 'swallow' or accept that a pre-existing object or action can ‘cause’ something that did not exist to come into existence wholly without the use of pre-existent material or substance. It is tempting to assert that it is impossible for things to come into existence from a previous nonexistence, or that it is impossible to create anything without transformative causation--but respecting the epistemic burden of proving a negative, it suffices that given everyday experience and the logic and reason that is instilled from experience, we have no good reason to this type of causation or creation exists, and that there is nothing but pre-existence and transformative interaction between eternally existing substance(s).

The Two Methods of Creation And Their Relation To Belief In Neural Creation Of Consciousness

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The proponent of Non-Mental or Non-Experiential Psychophysicalism (the belief that consciousness or subjective experience is created by and reflects that which is not consciousness nor subjective experience) can perhaps avoid explanatory gaps accompanying the assertion that neurons create subjective experience through reference to the Two Methods (of creation) to determine the method (if a method exists) by which neurons create experience and to determine if, by explaining the arousal of consciousness within neurons through the creative methods, there is any reason to believe that the physical (relevantly in the form of neurons and neural activity) has anything to do with the existence of experience: given that (denying Panpsychism, Phenomenalism, and Idealism) experience did not exist before cerebral cortices, a particular conscious experience does not exist before the actual performance of the function said to give rise to it (if it did, it would be experienced), and the fundamental substance making up cerebral cortices existed, and exists absent performance of a parent neural function, in the complete absence and nonexistence of consciousness.

Creation Ex Nihilo As Explanation For Neural Creation Of Consciousness

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Those denying Panpsychism, or the view that subjective experience does not come into and go out of existence but exists eternally as the fundamental “inner” layer of physical reality, must hold that subjective experience before the appearance of cerebral cortices, upon sufficient dysfunction and destruction of the cortex, or moments before the performance of the relevant neural function that happens to give rise to it simply does not exist. Absent Panpsychism, (or Phenomenalism or Idealism) subjective experience can be said to only exist when it is actually experienced and is something that, unlike the physical (which has neither beginning nor end of existence due to the laws of conservation of energy and thermodynamics) is something that can come into and go out of existence.

Energy can be neither
created nor destroyed, it merely changes form.

-Julius Robert Von Meyer (1841)


Indeed, it is generally taken for granted (particularly in the negative sense in common belief about the nature of death) that neurons of the cerebral cortex, independent of every other physical object in the universe, possess the power of creation ex nihilo. With the exception of the creation of consciousness, every other form of causation in existence involves transformative causation. The cerebral cortex, the only area of the brain responsible for consciousness and thus the only object alone of every other object in the universe (save in theory of non-biological brain-like computers and other brain-like configurations of matter and energy), possesses the power to bring something that previously did not exist into existence without the use of pre-existing material.

Experiences, meanwhile, are not neurons and cannot be mistaken for neurons, as experiences are experiences while neurons are physical objects which (implied from “common knowledge”) can exist in the complete absence or outright nonexistence of experience (i.e during states of dreamless sleep, where neurons are functional and alive but do not produce consciousness).

[Of course, it is ultimately not neurons themselves that are entailed to give rise to consciousness but the function of neurons or the "communication" between neurons, which is ultimately nothing more than a flow of electrons, the raison d’etre of electricity or electric current.]

The Incoherence Of Creation Ex Nihilo As Explanation For Neural Creation Of Consciousness

Though the chain of arguments…were ever so logical, there must arise a strong suspicion, if not an absolute assurance, that it has carried us quite beyond the reach of our faculties, when it leads to conclusions so extraordinary, and so remote from common life and experience. We are got into fairy land, long ere we have reached the last steps of our theory; and there we have no reason to trust our common methods of argument, or to think that our usual analogies and probabilities have any authority. Our line is too short to fathom such abysses.

-David Hume

“Professing themselves to be
wise, they became fools.”

(Romans 1:22)


Following Grunbaum, the notion of creation ex nihilo carries a fundamental defect in the form of the absence of antecedence or antecedent cause, or absence of a pre-existing, substantially-derivative link between a cause and its purported effect (in which the substance making up the effect is derived from the substance making up its cause). If consciousness is created by the cerebral cortex ex nihilo (as it must be if one denies panpsychism, phenomenalism, and idealism), then consciousness must come into existence from previous and total nonexistence. Consciousness cannot, then, be derived from the material making up cortical neurons nor from the kinetic energy in the movement of outer-shell electrons from one atom to another in the membrane and cell bodies of cortical neurons, as objects that can be held to exist in the absence of experience cannot rationally be thought to be one and the same as that which does not exist when a neural circuit does not function, or does not function in consciousness-generating manner. We must be told, and asked to believe, that consciousness comes into existence from a previous nonexistence in response to the motion of a pre-existent but unrelated entity.

At the end of the day, creation ex nihilo as explanation for how cortical neurons give rise to or create conscious experience is incoherent precisely because one who proposes this type of creation, particularly when it comes to consciousness and the belief that consciousness did not always exist, must rely upon the supposition and belief that things that do not exist can come into existence independent of pre-existing material and substance, upon verbal command (God creating light) or through the motion of an existing object or objects that by it/their action somehow causes something that does not exist to exist for no other reason than the performance of the activity (flow of electrons through a neural circuit in the cortex giving rise to subjective experience).

At the end of the day, one can argue that this inscrutable tie between cause and effect (particularly in light of the empirical nature of reality when it comes to the question of the relation between the physical and consciousness) is ultimately “established” not through experiment or common experience but propositional make-believe: fantasy believed to be or to indicate a hidden reality proposed due to an unconscious or deliberate psychological prejudice against (yielding a dogged refusal to accept) the greater simplicity and possible truth of the alternative: that the physical does not exist and has nothing to do with the existence of consciousness.

END PART ONE: CONTINUED IN PART TWO
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby Only_Humean » Thu Dec 20, 2012 2:00 pm

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:It does not suffice to assert that consciousness and/or subjective experience is "undeniably" produced by the brain. It is disturbing that the assertion is commonly believed without, as Hume put it, "the use of deliberate reason". It seems necessary that the very belief that the physical brain gives rise to consciousness or subjective experience must, in order to justify itself, describe the process of how the brain, composed of something that can exist in the complete absence or nonexistence of consciousness, generates first-person subjective experience using the speculative process in which things exist or come into existence.


A short rejoinder, due to time constraints:

Does the fact that we can not only manipulate conscious experience by applying tactile and electromagnetic interventions to the physical brain not put the burden of proof firmly in the court of people who claim that the brain does not produce consciousness? Given that we can let blind people see and deaf people hear, create the illusion of scent and even cause laughter with physical procedures, the most reasonable conclusion seems to be that experience flows from the physical and not vice versa. At least, on the human scale of life.
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby gib » Fri Dec 21, 2012 4:39 am

PH,

Can you give an abridged rendition of this? I don't want to read through all that.
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:15 am

Only_Humean:

Does the fact that we can not only manipulate conscious experience by applying tactile and electromagnetic interventions to the physical brain not put the burden of proof firmly in the court of people who claim that the brain does not produce consciousness? Given that we can let blind people see and deaf people hear, create the illusion of scent and even cause laughter with physical procedures, the most reasonable conclusion seems to be that experience flows from the physical and not vice versa. At least, on the human scale of life.


But the process of tactile and electromagnetic intervention to the physical brain, the illusion of scent or the cause of laughter through physical procedure (my reference [and perhaps yours]: the stimulation of "A.K's" brain in neuro-medical context in the Neuroscience for Kids article: "Laughter and the Brain") are, from our side of the fence, ultimately phenomenal (i.e. they are entirely experiential things composed only or ultimately from experience or our experience of them [Arthur Danto]). What we call 'physical' is actually experiential, or reality in the form of oneself and one's personal experience.

The things that we perceive are actually composed of our experience of them (conceptually evident in the question of whether or not things continue to exist when we no longer personally perceive them). A neuroscientist, preparing to work on the brain of an epileptic patient, experiences only a phenomenal (experiential) brain, phenomenal medical and neuroscientific equipment, a phenomenal patient, etc. etc. He does not experience a brain, medical equipment, or the patient as they are (if these even exist) when no one is perceiving them or if cerebral cortices (the only part of the brain responsible for consciousness) did not exist (and these objects, through some 'miracle' of the laws of physics, somehow meaningless and fortuitously obtained).

Explanation of the Process of Perception holds that there are two aspects of reality (for those who believe that reality has a mental and physical aspect): there is the neuroscientist, the brain upon which he/she prepares to work,the surrounding medical and neuroscientific equipment, etc. as they exist in the complete absence of anyone perceiving them, or how they are if all consciousness in the universe were to instantaneously cease to exist (the neuroscientist would drop to the floor)---and there is the Percept: a subject of experience and how he/she/it perceives and tactically experiences the brain, neuro-equipment, etc.

These two are different things (as the stuff in the absence of a subject of experience is entailed to exist in some non-experiential form in the absence of anyone perceiving them). My thesis is that, on reflection, one finds that the 'physical' is a wholly different existence from the 'mental' and that--aside from magic--the physical cannot create or have anything to do with the existence of the subjective experience as the physical (if it can exist in the complete absence or nonexistence of any and all experience) is not experience and cannot use itself to produce or control something it, itself, is not.

My conclusion, then, following Berkeley (in his way), is that we should dispense with the extra baggage of the physical and admit (if we will) to a homogeneous reality in which the only thing that exists is personal subjective experience on a microscopic (us) and macroscopic or infinite scale.
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Fri Dec 21, 2012 7:16 am

Gib:

PH,

Can you give an abridged rendition of this? I don't want to read through all that.


Sure. See above post.

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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby mr reasonable » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:04 am

The brain creates consciousness by being an environment wherein an immeasurably large number of stimuli and responses take place leading to a set of chemical reactions which then, through physical processes allows us to take in information and then react to it and whatever else or however you want to put it. Then you're conscious.

I mean, if this is an argument that's supposed to lead me to believe that consciousness is a result of something divine, then I think it's a bit dishonest to try and lead me there by refuting that the brain creates consciousness. Basic reasoning tells me that just because not x doesn't mean necessarily y. I'm not saying that's what you're doing but I've seen this kinda thing before.
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:27 am

Smears:

The brain creates consciousness by being an environment wherein an immeasurably large number of stimuli and responses take place leading to a set of chemical reactions which then, through physical processes allows us to take in information and then react to it and whatever else or however you want to put it. Then you're conscious.

I mean, if this is an argument that's supposed to lead me to believe that consciousness is a result of something divine, then I think it's a bit dishonest to try and lead me there by refuting that the brain creates consciousness. Basic reasoning tells me that just because not x doesn't mean necessarily y. I'm not saying that's what you're doing but I've seen this kinda thing before.


But neurons and electrons moving from point A to point B through a neuron or between interconnected neurons does not add up to subjective experience. We're simply being told that it does, but when you do the mental homework, it simply doesn't add up. This becomes even more obvious when you take into account the ontological and substantial difference between experience, which is really nothing more than the actual fact of experiencing, and that which purportedly exists when there are no persons and no experiences about. They are two different things, and the higher-level output, given existence as we actually experience it to exist (or as far as existence concerns us given our true nature) of any so-called source of consciousness is simply nothing more than the current experiences that are currently had. It is odd that experience must depend upon something that is not experience in order to exist. At this level of denial of the fundamental existence of experience, there is only magic in the form of creation ex nihilo or transformational magic, in which that which is not experience at all transforms into actual experience.

In the end, its much simpler to do away with the belief that consciousness, or personal subjective experience, can come about by the activity of something that isn't subjective experience at all (well, the brains that are actually experienced are a part of this consciousness, not that which supposedly still exists when there is no consciousness).

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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby mr reasonable » Fri Dec 21, 2012 9:42 am

The point I'm making is that your line about a--->b not = subjective experiences is kinda iffy. How do you overcome the ass ton of philosophy that says there's no self? How can you get around the possibility that those arrangements of neurons might have so many possible combinations that there aren't ever enough people on earth and by some chance no 2 people have the same arrangement at the same time ever precisely? In the end none of this can be measured to the extent it'd need to be other than to make broad generalizations that either side of the debate could use to cancel out the other's.

Experience exists before the experiencer? Or the objects he encounters do? Bring this down to me man I've done all this before it's just been a long time. My main assertion is that defeating arguments that are spuriously advanced against your view is not the same as creating arguments that can't be defeated by your opponents. In the end the term "consciousness" itself takes any conversation so far away from technical validity, (in most cases) that we all just end up speculating, and when we're all playing that game the reality is that we have equivalent assumptions underneath our seemingly opposing rhetoric which is just kinda of funny I dunno.
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Fri Dec 21, 2012 1:33 pm

Smears:

The point I'm making is that your line about a--->b not = subjective experiences is kinda iffy. How do you overcome the ass ton of philosophy that says there's no self? How can you get around the possibility that those arrangements of neurons might have so many possible combinations that there aren't ever enough people on earth and by some chance no 2 people have the same arrangement at the same time ever precisely? In the end none of this can be measured to the extent it'd need to be other than to make broad generalizations that either side of the debate could use to cancel out the other's.

Experience exists before the experiencer? Or the objects he encounters do? Bring this down to me man I've done all this before it's just been a long time. My main assertion is that defeating arguments that are spuriously advanced against your view is not the same as creating arguments that can't be defeated by your opponents. In the end the term "consciousness" itself takes any conversation so far away from technical validity, (in most cases) that we all just end up speculating, and when we're all playing that game the reality is that we have equivalent assumptions underneath our seemingly opposing rhetoric which is just kinda of funny I dunno.


But the fact (if it is a fact) of a----->b is very crucial to the downfall of what I call: Non-experientially generated psychophysicalism (ergo: that which isn't consciousness or subjective experience at all [if it were it would experience] being said or believed to create or give existence to the very thing that it, itself, is not in the least. That's the fatal flaw. Experience, by nature, experiences. It can do nothing else and it does nothing else. One cannot speak of experience without speaking of experiencing. So in the end we're all talking about experience (experiencing), or something that supposedly exists when there is no experiencing at all (and if this thing can exist when there is no experiencing at all, then it is not experience).

It does not matter that there are 100 billion neurons pumping non-tethered electrons directionally (from dendrite to axon) toward each other at fantastic rates of speed and in ways that make even neuroscientific heads swim. If the neurons and the electrons are all physical, or made up of something that isn't subjective experience at all, then the very statement that they somehow produce subjective experience, something that they are not in the least (as neurons and electrons can exist, as they do during periods of dreamless sleep [if dreamless sleep even exists] without any consciousness or experience about), defies logic and reason.

But...we are experiences and the only thing we do is experience. That is all. Everything that we perceive is perceived because we're standing there to perceive it, and wouldn't be perceived (at least by oneself) if we were not there. Reality, as it actually manifests itself, is just you and what you happen to be thinking, feeling, seeing, etc. at a certain frozen moment in time. This is what Kant was preaching about (in Part Two). What would exist without persons perceiving them? What could be known with certainty (in such a way that faith or speculation is not required to believe it) to exist without someone having perceived it, or standing there to perceive it? The perceived and the perceiver are, in reality (reality that is actually experienced on a constant basis) inseparable. We simply cannot answer the question of what exists in the absence of persons without speculation and make-believe; we certainly can't know that what we're making up is absolutely true, despite the fact that we unwaveringly believe it, as it is something that cannot be experienced.

I charge that it makes sense that we do away with the existence-magic of trying to make experience something that requires something else in order to exist, particularly if that "something else" isn't experience at all. It's magical thinking, once you've done the mental homework, and it defies logic and reason. The existence of experience has yet to be explained (if it can be); it is mind-boggling that we invoke something that is not experience at all to reach in and pull out of itself, like the proverbial rabbit out of the hat, something that it, itself, isnt. How does the thing have, within itself, a completely different type of existence? How can it pull out this existence without this different existence having existed all along?


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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby nameta9 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:14 pm

Cinderella Candy ...


A Universe essentially thinks itself into existence. It has no fundament, no stage or background, all of the relationships within any Universe (which can also be conceived as an Entity Composed of a Subject <-> Object, an Observer <-> External Rules of Engagement (external world), Matter self manipulating itself) can be seen as Self Referential, only a part of the Universe being related to another independent (partially ? or if independent is 0 and dependent is 1 what is 345 or -6.788 ? and all other kinds of projections and abstract extensions and so forth) part of itself, but itself essentially simply talking to itself and such. Talking to itself and creating itself, thinking itself into existence, creating itself from itself, creating self referential Information Relationships that create existence or the illusion of existence and such (hence this is why Science is 100 % wrong and will always be 100 % wrong, Science doesn't exist, only Arbitrary, Pure Invention of the Universe inventing itself just because, for no reason at all exists, all else is making believe that there is some reference system, some absolutes and such). Just like any thought you have creates itself as a reality, just like the thought of the Instant Singularity actually creates it and makes you escape this Universe and enter a new Universe with new laws of physics, just like the thought of the Instant Singularity is the Instant Singularity itself and such (and any imagined reality is trillions of times more real than the reality you perceive with your sense organs, any imagined construction or contraption (in your mind or where ?) is a Universe that is becoming real and popping up into existence by itself, as all is a monlithic slab of pure thought creating itself and inventing itself into existence and such).

A part of the Universe Observing and Interacting with another part of itself, but creating all kinds of arbitrary delimitations within the set of entities it decided to compose itself of, therefore creating an infinite array of possible "Observers" and "External Realities" (like a tree is an Observer and a car tire is the External Reality, or a Star is an Observer (the Star is a modifed Mind, Man Brain type but trillions of times more complex and elaborate, with trillions of new circuits inside of itself, all of the plasma reactions, all the particles interacting between themselves are creating an experience and Mindform and Brain type and such, so far and higher and superior than anything our puny Brain can ever do...) and this letter X written right here (try to find where...) is the External Reality and such).

A Monolithic slab of relationships that exist nowhere, in no time, in no space in no background in no reference system: hence if something appears in no reference system, if something appears NoWhere than anything can appear (even though these words are a very clumsy way of expressing these ideas which are trillions of times higher and more complex and impossible for all you puny humans to comprehend, only ME the ULTRA GOD and ULTRA MIND can understand it, so I win, I am the winner and you are all the loser, I win all, there, I am the winner, all the rest of the Universe is the loser, all items have lost, I am GOD and the winner, I am the BEST, I am the ONLY forever...).

So the Universe, or the Modified Brain or the Processor Experiencing Existence (or consciousness or whatever) is not composed of anything, neither Matter or atoms or logical connections or anything at all: it is simply an arbitrary quirk that appears, relates to itself in any possible way and disappears and such, even though appearing and disappearing imply some kind of stable - absolute background (even if the background is only Logic, but logic is just another Information Relationship, any other kind of relationship and interaction and Experience set and anything at all is possible and so forth, the more far out and abstract and impossible the better, even Non Mathematical and Non Logical Worlds having trillions of properties trillions of times farther from anything we can ever imagine and such...).

Definition of Information Relationship: any sequence of symbols or blocks of text defining it can do since they all are just a one bit explanation, any complex set of bits can always be reduced to just one bit, the logical non contradiction and identity principle; therefore we must project abstractions that escape these straight jackets and prisons and abstract ever more, the more vague and impossible to understand the better: increase the mystery, mystery is fascinating, who needs logic or relationships ? who wants to understand ? Misunderstanding is all there ever will be. Misunderstanding is All in Life. The most important thing in life is to Misunderstand Everything. Misunderstanding and Ignorance is trillions of times superior to knowledge or understanding and such, Make Mistakes, Make Errors, Errors are everything, we need ever more mistakes and errors...kill Science and Kill Knowledge... create a negative Science, create ever more confusion and lies, kill the idea of being correct, kill Science...


APE
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby kuze420 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:19 pm

The thread title should really be called 'How does Consciousness create the Brain???' lol
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby nameta9 » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:24 pm

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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby Only_Humean » Fri Dec 21, 2012 2:29 pm

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:Only_Humean:

Does the fact that we can not only manipulate conscious experience by applying tactile and electromagnetic interventions to the physical brain not put the burden of proof firmly in the court of people who claim that the brain does not produce consciousness? Given that we can let blind people see and deaf people hear, create the illusion of scent and even cause laughter with physical procedures, the most reasonable conclusion seems to be that experience flows from the physical and not vice versa. At least, on the human scale of life.


But the process of tactile and electromagnetic intervention to the physical brain, the illusion of scent or the cause of laughter through physical procedure (my reference [and perhaps yours]: the stimulation of "A.K's" brain in neuro-medical context in the Neuroscience for Kids article: "Laughter and the Brain") are, from our side of the fence, ultimately phenomenal (i.e. they are entirely experiential things composed only or ultimately from experience or our experience of them [Arthur Danto]). What we call 'physical' is actually experiential, or reality in the form of oneself and one's personal experience.


I'm aware of the arguments for idealism, of course. But insofar as it changes anything versus the physicalist model, the physicalist model seems to have the evidential advantage, and insofar as it changes nothing, it's completely irrelevant which model we use at all.

The fact is that through physical manipulations (which, importantly, we don't experience at all but only infer to be happening, such as passing currents through the brain) we can give other people new experiences and give them consciousness of new things. So the theoretical objection that experience can't arise from physical interactions can be dismissed out of hand by the physicalist, as by their own theories they can show it can.
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Fri Dec 21, 2012 10:52 pm

Only_Humean:

I'm aware of the arguments for idealism, of course. But insofar as it changes anything versus the physicalist model, the physicalist model seems to have the evidential advantage, and insofar as it changes nothing, it's completely irrelevant which model we use at all.

The fact is that through physical manipulations (which, importantly, we don't experience at all but only infer to be happening, such as passing currents through the brain) we can give other people new experiences and give them consciousness of new things. So the theoretical objection that experience can't arise from physical interactions can be dismissed out of hand by the physicalist, as by their own theories they can show it can.


The physicalist---unbeknownst to or willingly denied by the physicalist---can only show that experience arises from experience, which is all brains and electric currents are within the percept. All the 'physical' stuff that's supposed to occur is actually only sensory experience. Thus they cannot show that experience arises from physical interactions because the entire tableau is phenomenal, or experiential, in essence.

The process of perception begins with an object in the real world, termed the distal stimulus or distal object. By means of light, sound or another physical process, the object stimulates the body's sensory organs. These sensory organs transform the input energy into neural activity—a process called transduction. This raw pattern of neural activity is called the proximal stimulus. These neural signals are transmitted to the brain and processed. The resulting mental recreation of the distal stimulus is the percept. Perception is sometimes described as the process of constructing mental representations of distal stimuli using the information available in proximal stimuli.

An example would be a person looking at a shoe. The shoe itself is the distal stimulus. When light from the shoe enters a person's eye and stimulates their retina, that stimulation is the proximal stimulus. The image of the shoe reconstructed by the brain of the person is the Percept. Another example would be a telephone ringing. The ringing of the telephone is the distal stimulus. The sound stimulating a person's auditory receptors is the proximal stimulus, and the brain's interpretation of this as the ringing of a telephone is the percept. The different kinds of sensation such as warmth, sound, and taste are called "sensory modalities".

-Wikipedia: Perception, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perception


Thus everything the physicalist thinks is 'physical' and 'not-experience' is actually just the physicalist's experience within the percept. The distal stimulus cannot be perceived, as it is (if it even exists) something that is distinct from and not part of the percept (they are two unrelated, distinct things: one does not exist unless and until neurons in the cerebral cortex are activated; the other does not depend upon the brain to exist and thus is not something that must be continually produced by the cortex).

In the language of psychophysicalism, the percept depends upon some function within the cerebral cortex. Until this happens, there is no percept and no consciousness throughout the process of perception antecedent to stimulation of the cortex at the end of the causal chain (given that we experience all the time unless dreamlessly asleep, taking this ontology for the sake of argument it can be said that stimulation is going on all the time, but nevertheless what we experience is not the same thing as that which purportedly sits in the external world sending signals to the cortex).

One can also take the film Inception as an example. Using the events of the film (despite the fact it is fiction, the principles depicted in the film is the central principle of the relation between consciousness and the external world---art depicting theory of life in a very interesting way) as analogy, the main characters are in a dream within a dream, while their 'physical', real bodies are asleep on a plane embarked toward the US. But if they did not know better, they would think (despite the strangeness of what's going on--plus their ever-spinning totems informing them they are in a dream) that they were actually fighting armed troops on a mountaintop in the snow.

Same thing's going on with the neuroscientist shooting electric currents through a patient's brain granting him/her (verbally reported, as we cannot see the other person's experiences) new and changing experience. The pertinent or common belief (for those who have graduated from Naive Realism) is that there are two layers to reality. The neuroscientist during the experiment or operation perceives what's going on and what he/she is doing from his/her point of view, but before he/she drove to the hospital one was doing and perceiving another thing entirely. Did the hospital, the patient, and the neuromedical equipment exist while the neuroscientist was at home having cocoa and reading the paper? If they do exist, and if the physical is not experience at all (otherwise it would experience or be experienced), then whatever exists when the neuroscientist is not perceiving it is of a substance that cannot be perceived.

My central argument is that everything, to us, is phenomenal, and the percept truly does not need the distal object---regardless of whether or not the distal object is in the form of a shoe or a functioning brain---in order to exist. We cannot know that the mental comes from or is generated by the physical because everything, to us, is only mental in aspect, composed of nothing but our experience. We must have quasi-religious faith that a non-mental analog in the external world mimics what is going on in the phenomenal "Matrix" that is consciousness.

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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby gib » Sat Dec 22, 2012 1:00 am

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:Gib:

PH,

Can you give an abridged rendition of this? I don't want to read through all that.


Sure. See above post.

Best,

J.


Thanks PH,

Very interesting stuff. Idealism through-and-through, right? I also am an idealist. I have my own brand, and if you fancy a look, you can go to http://www.mm-theory.com. If you would just like an executive summary, you can go to http://www.mm-theory.com/execsum/execsum.htm.

In any case, I agree fully with everything you said in your (abridged) post, except for this one thing: matter doesn't exist. I think matter does exist--even in the sense that materialists and scientists conceptualize it--but I think it is one with the phenomenal matter of our experiences. I think matter as the materialist conceives it and matter as the idealist conceives it are two conceptions of the same thing (which actually makes it a third conception--a hybrid of the two if you will). I don't believe in this separate stuff called "matter" that's something different from this other separate stuff called "mind," but rather that mind sometimes becomes matter.
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby Amorphos » Sat Dec 22, 2012 2:25 am

Hi j

Great ELO song there. :)

Going by my version of gib’s ‘projection theory’ [+holographic theory] and by my former debates with you, I feel we should be looking for ‘something else’ from which both the brain and consciousness are manifest continually. That is as projections of that enigmatic something and necessarily NOT projections nor any otherwise manifestations of one another, ~ the brain does not [if I may] manifest consciousness nor vice versa.

Such is my ‘skeleton theory’, you can place universal and individual mind, God the Tao or caugant [the divine infinite] in that place prior to mental and material existence.

Experience can bridge the mental and physical without effort - in a manner of speaking, because ‘it’ has its base beyond such expressed or manifest forms of reality.

So what do you think the projector is?

Consider that QM [wave particle duality etc] takes us beyond spatial locations and objects, as does qualia of mind. We could say that information is at base, yet the mind can experience without knowing. Equally we’d have to ask whence that info initially derives.



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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby Tralix » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:31 am

What the fuck was that all about?

This guy has to be another BW.

How does the brain create consciousness, no one knows, end of story. :)
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby mr reasonable » Sat Dec 22, 2012 9:29 am

I'm with the no one knows crowd on this one. In the end Phenomenal, I believe that equivalent arguments exist for positions on either side of this debate. If we're all using the same evidence, I just think that's kinda where we're at.
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby Amorphos » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:04 pm

Smears wrote:I'm with the no one knows crowd on this one. In the end Phenomenal, I believe that equivalent arguments exist for positions on either side of this debate. If we're all using the same evidence, I just think that's kinda where we're at.


So the inquiry ends? :) Well even with nothing tangible to go by in terms of what consciousness ‘is’, we know it must be utilising and communicating with what we do know!

Neither J nor gib and others possibly wont agree, but lets assume a few things [the beginning of logic, no]…

1. There is a physical world, when we observe it, we don’t observe a physical phenomenon or ‘stuff’ of consciousness’ ~ not directly that is.

2. We can assume that experience is not some manner of wave or particle and other vibrations.

3. We can assume that having at least two parties [for now let us say the material and immaterial], information is contained and shared in both and thus is something which is transcendental to and transmigrates those parties.
So now we have three parties communicating + an experience of that = four parties.
Note; communicating informations are either/or experienced/not experienced, making the experience itself the said forth party.

4. None of these parties self create or are otherwise self manifesting. We can only assume that when any one of them ‘exists’ its existence promotes or necessitates the manifestation of one or more of the other parties. 4b. OR, more likely that all parties are continually ‘present’ in some manner!?

If 4b, then we may assume a fifth party, that of the initial, the potential and the original state or statelessness of all parties. We may further assume it’s a unified essentiality as if like a pool to be drawn from.



I think we have some ways to go before the inquiry ends, no?

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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:24 pm

gib:

Interesting website. IMO, however, your view may come down to a type of 'psychophysical' phenomenalism as opposed to true Idealism. That is, you hold that the brain remains the arbiter of consciousness (or subjective experience) but eschew the notion that the brain is an altogether different existence from experience but is composed of a noumenal substance that is related to it (and as such can support the "water in the maze"---and perhaps transform from the walls of the maze into the water itself and vice versa!).

While I agree that the mind or subjective experience itself is the true nature of being my Idealism, which I believe is the type endorsed by Berkeley himself, is that there is nothing but subjective experience: that there is no 'other' that is not the actual experience of an actual person that is antecedent to persons and actual experiences that somehow represent and symbolize persons and experiences and must exist in order from persons (and experiences) to "come forth" or to express.

The notion that the brain (whatever that brain is composed of) and its purported relation to consciousness, outside of the brain being just the creator or "bring forth"-er of subjective experience is at the end of the day a Representationalism: the brain (or rather the cerebral cortex) and its neural number, synaptic connection (and the mobility or transitoriness of those connections), and electronic motion and variability is purported to "symbolize" (and through this symbolization, to bring forth) the mental or experiential manifestion of these neural symbols. It is the same as to say that when one writes the word: "apple" or speaks it, an actual apple suddenly pops into existence from thin air (or in the pertinent case, an apple is magically formed from letters written or the spoken word).

My view is that the brain has merely an ersatz role in the formation of experience, in the sense that it is a "false" creator that is merely an allegorical manifestion of God's intelligence in the form of a symbolic "double entendre": it allegorically expresses God's intelligence by the nature of its function (its appearance is an absurd abstraction), and it is a God-instilled reductio ad absurdum that, in counter to the belief that it brings forth consciousness or experience (as opposed to experience existing independent of anything having to exist beforehand to ensure it appears), is a "trap" set for reason bent toward the relation which will reveal the incoherence of such a relation (as the brain is an aspect of the perceiver empirically, and an existence independent of the perceiver speculatively, and personal experience as it is actually experienced must either eternally exist before there were such things as brains, must be magically conjured ex nihilo from a previous and total nonexistence, or come forth as a form of transformation from something that is not personal experience but is related substantially to personal experience [hence a form of phenomenalism]).

Ultimately, it seems that the person is the fundamental nature of reality or being, as opposed to a non-person (as the brain is a non-person believed to give rise to or produce persons) that has the power to conjure, transform into, or maintain the existence of a person. Of course, the ultimate generator that persons are not the fundamental reality is the existence of perceived non-person objects, and it is these phenomenal objects that tempt speculation (or make-believe) that these objects have an existence independent of the person. My own view, in the end, is that objects have no independent existence, such that they are extended aspects of the person in the form of some type of "outward perception" that is a part of the person with no relation or origin from something beyond the individual, save another individual that either deliberately or unconsciously "grants" or "shares" one's perception with a sub-dimensional other (if this makes sense).

Like Berkeley, I hold that the external world is actually a Person rather than a space, and that the experiential substance making up this person itself forms internal persons with mental and sensory properties modeled from the properties of the Outer Person, and that the brain, its complexity, and its function is a reductio ad absurdum or at best a false symbol or multiplied internal fable symbolizing the true source of human consciousness, the experiential material of Homo Infinitus ("Infinite Man").

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At the end of the day, however, I agree that anything beyond ourselves and what we are doing right now (particularly in light of Kant's scandal that if someone preached skepticism about the independent existence of objects in the external world their view cannot be defeated, only counter-believed), is, even my view of the external world, a matter of speculation and faith. I think what I have done, and continue to do, is create the simplest view in which the person is the basis of reality from the infinitesimal to the infinite, without need for a non-person device or machine--regardless of what comprises the machine---to create or transform parts of itself into a person or its experience.

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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby anon » Sat Dec 22, 2012 3:25 pm

p_g wrote:How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???
Smears wrote:I'm with the no one knows crowd on this one.

Not me. The brain doesn't create consciousness. The idea of a brain existing prior to its creation of consciousness is absurd. The evolution of brain is simultaneously the evolution of mind. It is one and the same evolution. And if it's one and the same evolution, on what basis do we promote the ontological superiority of the brain to the lowly mind?

Apologies to p_g - the OP is just too much for me to plunge into.
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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Sat Dec 22, 2012 4:14 pm

Amorphos:

Season's Greetings, first off. 8)

Second...

Great ELO song there.


It is. It was my muse whilst constructing the article.

Going by my version of gib’s ‘projection theory’ [+holographic theory] and by my former debates with you, I feel we should be looking for ‘something else’ from which both the brain and consciousness are manifest continually. That is as projections of that enigmatic something and necessarily NOT projections nor any otherwise manifestations of one another, ~ the brain does not [if I may] manifest consciousness nor vice versa.


God, yes. This is what I've been saying all along. But in my view, the brain has no importance save as either an allegorical manifestation of intelligence in the form of experiential manifestation of complexity and cause and effect, or a symbolic reductio ad absurdum that reveals, by the incoherence of the notion that brains can yield or produce experiences, that experience, particularly the person, is the fundamental nature and basis of reality.

Such is my ‘skeleton theory’, you can place universal and individual mind, God the Tao or caugant [the divine infinite] in that place prior to mental and material existence.

Experience can bridge the mental and physical without effort - in a manner of speaking, because ‘it’ has its base beyond such expressed or manifest forms of reality.

So what do you think the projector is?

Consider that QM [wave particle duality etc] takes us beyond spatial locations and objects, as does qualia of mind. We could say that information is at base, yet the mind can experience without knowing. Equally we’d have to ask whence that info initially derives.


For me, the projector is Homo Infinitus ("Infinite Man"), in a simplistic hierarchy and homogeniety in which the specific is a reverberation of the universal. I hold, again, that reality consists of nothing but persons existing within an infinite Person--and that there is no non-person machine or device (re: the brain) that produces or "pumps out" persons and experiences. Personhood, then, is the fundamental nature of reality with the perceived being an absurd (existing for no other reason than it happens to exist the way that it does) extension of the perceiver. The only alternative to this (which I believe you and most everyone else seems to/may/might hold to) is that objects (in a holistic space) precede and grant existence to persons (and their perceptions, which are held to mimic antecedent objects in personal ways). I think the argument for and against specific notions of the nature of existence boils down to these.

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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby Amorphos » Sat Dec 22, 2012 5:03 pm

Seasons greetings to you too sir. :)

>God, yes. This is what I've been saying all along. But in my view, the brain has no importance save as either an allegorical manifestation of intelligence in the form of experiential manifestation of complexity and cause and effect, or a symbolic reductio ad absurdum that reveals, by the incoherence of the notion that brains can yield or produce experiences, that experience, particularly the person, is the fundamental nature and basis of reality.


Interesting. Are you suggesting that brains [even throughout evolution] are the effect, as I’d concur. As per my last post [I hope you get to answer], the major assumptions we make are firstly in the material and using that as base. The lesser assumptions are in the observer, experience and thought [info + experience [where observation and perception etc are kinds of experience].

Any communicating back and forth between parties [again see last post] must be cyclic to some degree, such that even if there is some magnificent intellect behind it all [or if not], it responds perhaps ‘automatically’ [there would be a method and process] to the requirements of life.

>For me, the projector is Homo Infinitus ("Infinite Man"), in a simplistic hierarchy and homogeniety in which the specific is a reverberation of the universal. I hold, again, that reality consists of nothing but persons existing within an infinite Person--and that there is no non-person machine or device (re: the brain) that produces or "pumps out" persons and experiences. Personhood, then, is the fundamental nature of reality with the perceived being an absurd (existing for no other reason than it happens to exist the way that it does) extension of the perceiver. The only alternative to this (which I believe you and most everyone else seems to/may/might hold to) is that objects (in a holistic space) precede and grant existence to persons (and their perceptions, which are held to mimic antecedent objects in personal ways). I think the argument for and against specific notions of the nature of existence boils down to these.


I don’t think objects precede and grant existence to persons or at least to consciousness, rather I believe something of the mind precedes form and info ~ the projection.

‘Infinite man’, not so unlike ‘the divine infinite’ perhaps, then again nor is the Tao or Buddha being and nirvana ~ the experience of that. That is, I can see aspects of them all in the divine infinite, but I’d be amiss if I didn’t ask if we can see them all in the personhood and infinite ‘man‘?
On the other hand there is certainly intellect in communications, at least where they are being experienced. Where they are not then naturally that’s more computation than intellect.

For me, life and death occur at the point of intellect communicating not such a thing occurring. People historically have feared what kind of death they may get, but as I see it, it doesn’t matter if we die in our sleep or are blown to pieces.

I don’t see why we don’t have both consciousness [‘persons’ as you see it] and form, where as per my last post there necessitates differing parties in the equation, and a duality between the material and immaterial ~ even if transcended. This is probably the only point we disagree on beyond the semantics.

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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby phenomenal_graffiti » Sat Dec 22, 2012 6:18 pm

Amorphos:


>God, yes. This is what I've been saying all along. But in my view, the brain has no importance save as either an allegorical manifestation of intelligence in the form of experiential manifestation of complexity and cause and effect, or a symbolic reductio ad absurdum that reveals, by the incoherence of the notion that brains can yield or produce experiences, that experience, particularly the person, is the fundamental nature and basis of reality.


Interesting. Are you suggesting that brains [even throughout evolution] are the effect, as I’d concur. As per my last post [I hope you get to answer], the major assumptions we make are firstly in the material and using that as base. The lesser assumptions are in the observer, experience and thought [info + experience [where observation and perception etc are kinds of experience].

Any communicating back and forth between parties [again see last post] must be cyclic to some degree, such that even if there is some magnificent intellect behind it all [or if not], it responds perhaps ‘automatically’ [there would be a method and process] to the requirements of life.


I do suggest that brains are part of the effect, and have no independent existence from the percept, such that the machine believed to give rise to consciousness or experience is actually a part of that consciousness rather than something standing apart from it and creating it. It's another object within the "Matrix" erroneously believed to be responsible for the "Matrix" itself.

And it is true that the major assumptions are primarily material, using it as base. But observing experience it is odd that we should believe that experience, which is nothing in the end but experiencing, should "come from" or arise or be create from something that isn't experience or experiencing at all. It seems more transparently rational that experience simply comes from just more of itself: this does away with the baggage of deriving experience from non-experience, which is basically my beef with the world.

There is the person and its 'deprivation chamber' dimension or inner world of personal sensory/internal experience. In our knowledge concerning the nature of existence, we at least have that. If you stop there, you have solipsism. Placing one toe over the line of solipsism, as we all (save for solipsists) tend to do, you must consider an external world. And absent a disconnect between the external world and whatever's there and the nature of the person and whatever it experiences, I suppose I must agree with you and say there is definitely a communication going on between them, and that this communication is cyclic. Indeed, in my theology I state the same (although tangentially).

And yes, there is an 'automation' even in God, with absurdism (as God, like us, is existentially absurd---existing as he does for no other reason than that is how he happens to exist) being at the base of everything and this automation in terms of substance and causality between different elements in the substance as a secondary manifestation or aspect of this ground-level absurdity. So, I suppose there is a mechanism governing God and the nature of his mind, even if this mind is infinite.

I don’t think objects precede and grant existence to persons or at least to consciousness, rather I believe something of the mind precedes form and info ~ the projection.

‘Infinite man’, not so unlike ‘the divine infinite’ perhaps, then again nor is the Tao or Buddha being and nirvana ~ the experience of that. That is, I can see aspects of them all in the divine infinite, but I’d be amiss if I didn’t ask if we can see them all in the personhood and infinite ‘man‘?


I think that if there is only a Person and persons, that the divine infinite, however it is named, is ultimately exhausted to, defined by, and necessitates personhood for existence and manifestation (with that which is perceived by the person an aspect of the person, as they are inseparable save through Berkeleyian attempt at conceptual division). Perhaps the divine infinite can be imagined as something that is not a person but that manifests in persons, but any disagreement here is nothing more than a difference of opinion in the underlying nature of reality beyond the person. It's infinite regress.

I don’t see why we don’t have both consciousness [‘persons’ as you see it] and form, where as per my last post there necessitates differing parties in the equation, and a duality between the material and immaterial ~ even if transcended. This is probably the only point we disagree on beyond the semantics.


If Person is the fundamental reality, then form exists within Person, not outside of it. But this does not necessarily encapsule each person in such a way that communication is impossible. The Infinite Man, however, can be thought of as 'form' and 'material', if the perceived is an inextricable part of the perceiver and cannot (absurdly) exist independent of the perceiver as a non-person background infinity. IMO I think there is an existential disconnect between God and man that may tempt belief in a 'non-person outside infinity': our experience as ourselves is centered in visual and tactile (proprioceptive) experience of a body, with a visual, etc. environment surrounding that body. I think that God may have the opposite of that, with no sensation of body, such that there is no sensation of surroundings, thus marking the perspective of an infinite mind. I think that the only 'material' is the stuff of this Person's mind, which is not available for separation and analysis save only conceptually (Berkeley).

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Re: How Does The Brain Create Consciousness???

Postby gib » Sat Dec 22, 2012 7:21 pm

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:Interesting website. IMO, however, your view may come down to a type of 'psychophysical' phenomenalism as opposed to true Idealism. That is, you hold that the brain remains the arbiter of consciousness (or subjective experience) but eschew the notion that the brain is an altogether different existence from experience but is composed of a noumenal substance that is related to it (and as such can support the "water in the maze"---and perhaps transform from the walls of the maze into the water itself and vice versa!).


You must have read up to the Basic Theory (which is impressive in itself). If you read ahead to the Advanced Theory, you'll see how I address this issue you bring up. In the end, I do reduce the "noumenal" brain down to the mind itself, and the material brain down to sensation (like you said). I have a saying: There is not a divide between phenomena and noumena, but one between phenomena and more phenomena.

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:While I agree that the mind or subjective experience itself is the true nature of being my Idealism, which I believe is the type endorsed by Berkeley himself, is that there is nothing but subjective experience: that there is no 'other' that is not the actual experience of an actual person that is antecedent to persons and actual experiences that somehow represent and symbolize persons and experiences and must exist in order from persons (and experiences) to "come forth" or to express.


While that's a very convoluted statement, I think get the gist. You should read this critique of Berkeleian idealism I post once here at ILP:

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176310

In it, I try to argue that the problem with Berkeley's idealism is Cartesianism. I argue that Rene Descartes' theory of mind was a very corrupting idea that plagued the philosophy of mind--through Locke, through Berkeley, through Kant--up until Nietzsche who was the first to see through the Cartesian chimera. Notwithstanding Descartes, I really have no problem with the aforementioned philosophers, but I do think (except for Nietzsche) they were under the Cartesian spell and that corrupted their philosophies of mind. The corruption, which I argue in the post I linked to above, is the idea that mind is somehow separate from reality--that there is (as I try to argue in my website) a realm of real things that aren't necessarily felt, and a realm of things felt that aren't necessarily real. The problem is that this divide should never have been drawn to begin with. There is one realm of things that are necessarily felt and necessarily real.

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:The notion that the brain (whatever that brain is composed of) and its purported relation to consciousness, outside of the brain being just the creator or "bring forth"-er of subjective experience is at the end of the day a Representationalism: the brain (or rather the cerebral cortex) and its neural number, synaptic connection (and the mobility or transitoriness of those connections), and electronic motion and variability is purported to "symbolize" (and through this symbolization, to bring forth) the mental or experiential manifestion of these neural symbols. It is the same as to say that when one writes the word: "apple" or speaks it, an actual apple suddenly pops into existence from thin air (or in the pertinent case, an apple is magically formed from letters written or the spoken word).


I couldn't agree more. In fact, I'd day it work the other way around: it's not the brain that brings forth the mind, but the mind that brings forth the brain. The word "apple" doesn't bring forth actual apples, but actual apple do (or can) bring forth the word "apple" (is in, an apple exists there, I see it, I utter "apple").

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:My view is that the brain has merely an ersatz role in the formation of experience, in the sense that it is a "false" creator that is merely an allegorical manifestion of God's intelligence in the form of a symbolic "double entendre": it allegorically expresses God's intelligence by the nature of its function (its appearance is an absurd abstraction), and it is a God-instilled reductio ad absurdum that, in counter to the belief that it brings forth consciousness or experience (as opposed to experience existing independent of anything having to exist beforehand to ensure it appears), is a "trap" set for reason bent toward the relation which will reveal the incoherence of such a relation (as the brain is an aspect of the perceiver empirically, and an existence independent of the perceiver speculatively, and personal experience as it is actually experienced must either eternally exist before there were such things as brains, must be magically conjured ex nihilo from a previous and total nonexistence, or come forth as a form of transformation from something that is not personal experience but is related substantially to personal experience [hence a form of phenomenalism]).


You really are one for convoluted statements, aren't you? I not even going to pretend to understand this one.

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:Ultimately, it seems that the person is the fundamental nature of reality or being, as opposed to a non-person (as the brain is a non-person believed to give rise to or produce persons) that has the power to conjure, transform into, or maintain the existence of a person. Of course, the ultimate generator that persons are not the fundamental reality is the existence of perceived non-person objects, and it is these phenomenal objects that tempt speculation (or make-believe) that these objects have an existence independent of the person. My own view, in the end, is that objects have no independent existence, such that they are extended aspects of the person in the form of some type of "outward perception" that is a part of the person with no relation or origin from something beyond the individual, save another individual that either deliberately or unconsciously "grants" or "shares" one's perception with a sub-dimensional other (if this makes sense).


It kind of makes sense. I don't think there is a "person" at the center of our mental world--not per se--rather, I think it's all just experience. "Personhood," if we can call it that, is just one of these experiences. It harbers a sense of "in-here-ness" whereas the perception of external objects, which are just another experience, harber a sense of "out-there-ness". These are nothing more than the qualities that these experience bear. Like perceptions of red, blue, and yellow bear the quality of color-ness, pain bears the quality of bad-ness, pleasure bears the quality of good-ness, perceptions of external objects bear the quality of "out-there-ness" (or "over-there-ness" or "in-space-ness", etc.) and the self bears the quality of "in-here-ness". In this contrast in the ways these experiences feel--the difference between out-there-ness and in-here-ness--which makes it difficult to attribute the perception of external objects to the self--they seem to be of totally different realms.

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:Like Berkeley, I hold that the external world is actually a Person rather than a space, and that the experiential substance making up this person itself forms internal persons with mental and sensory properties modeled from the properties of the Outer Person, and that the brain, its complexity, and its function is a reductio ad absurdum or at best a false symbol or multiplied internal fable symbolizing the true source of human consciousness, the experiential material of Homo Infinitus ("Infinite Man").


Again, not going to pretend to understand.

phenomenal_graffiti wrote:At the end of the day, however, I agree that anything beyond ourselves and what we are doing right now (particularly in light of Kant's scandal that if someone preached skepticism about the independent existence of objects in the external world their view cannot be defeated, only counter-believed), is, even my view of the external world, a matter of speculation and faith. I think what I have done, and continue to do, is create the simplest view in which the person is the basis of reality from the infinitesimal to the infinite, without need for a non-person device or machine--regardless of what comprises the machine---to create or transform parts of itself into a person or its experience.


I'm inclined to agree. I'm a little uncomfortable calling this basis a "person"--a "substance" is more like it--but I don't think that matters in the end. I think the only area we might have contentions is how to properly conceptualize this substance--this "mind stuff". I like to keep the "real" in this substance--and I like to do this without having to qualify that this stuff is real but as mental experiences--one should have no problem, in other words, saying that it is real as the thing it is experienced to be. No one experiences the perception of an apple as a "perception"--they experience it as an apple--ergo, that's what it is.
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