david chalmers; 'consciousness comes in layers', …does it?

david chalmers; ‘consciousness comes in layers’, …does it?

At first I thought this was simple…


This is a quote of what he says on the you-tube video [I may have remembered some of it slightly wrong];

“first there is primary consciousness, then if I stop and reflect, I can be conscious of my consciousness. Now we have consciousness ‘within’ consciousness, if I go back and do that again I can be conscious of my consciousness being conscious of my consciousness, so we have consciousness within consciousness and potentially that can extend to infinity”.

On the video he is holding up a screen with an image of him holding up a screen etc.

Are we missing a simple and fundamental thing here, ~ there is;

a. conscious of.
b. conscious being.

In the first instance he is conscious of himself holding a screen [primary consciousness], he is ‘being conscious’ in that instance. Then he stops and reflects, his ‘being consciousness’ has moved on down the road - so to speak, and now he is conscious of the previous state of ‘being conscious’.

Does his ‘being conscious’ state, occur in both layers and multiple layers of that. Is there consciousness within the observation being made e.g. on the screen showing himself on the screen.

When we visualise that as within the mind’s eye, then the screen and its images and levels of that are in the conscious eye. Surely then we now do have layers of consciousness?

I tend to see myself [the experiencer] in a detached manner, so for me an observation created by my brain is no different to an image on a TV screen. Yet I am experiencing that image in my mind, and indeed I don’t think there is an image on the TV screen ~ as it has not the qualia of colour and perception, it simply displays light that we interpret as the image.

So are my observations a part of my consciousness and within that of the experiencer, or is that which is experienced different to the experiencer, and is the previously experienced experience still a part of the experience being experienced currently?
Perhaps there is no difference, the perception of one experience as related in time to a previously experienced experience, is still in the now experience, the observed and the observer are simply different perspectives of the same thing.
…until that thing passes from the minds eye.

still one layer though surely? …one thing, one minds eye. just with multiple perceptions.

Perhaps this adds something…

There are perceptions, observations and experiencers, all are probably variations of the one kind of thing [or are one thing]. ‘When they look upon themselves there are no others, when they don’t there are only others’.

It seems that beyond perspectives there are ‘others’? there are non-mental objects and informations out there ~ other things, the observed.

From here;

Conscious of is theory laden. This is something that is mediated, like I hear a sound and am conscious of the truck blowing its horn. But Conscious being contains the theory-laden. Conscious being can exist without being conscious of, but conscious of can’t exist without conscious being. Now Conscious of can lead to an infinite regress, but conscious being doesn’t equate to an infinite request. Berkeley dealt with part of this with immediate experience and mediated experience.

isn’t there a limit concerning how many mental objects the mind can carry at any one time? Something like 7 directly in the minds eye, though many more via memory connections ~ some people can remember an entire pack of cards for example.

So one may only be ‘conscious of’ a very limited amount.

Is it right to think of such objects as layers of consciousness? or as what the consciousness percieves.

In the minds eye and in any instance of that, are we not seeing a collage of images as one, thereupon we designate distinct images from within that perceptually. Hence there is always a single ‘conscious being’.

It seems like the ‘eye’ of perception can be entire, or focused, maybe focused two or three times or on 2-3 things at once. Yet that duality of perception is not entire, there doesn’t seem to be exact distinct perceptions and perceptive objects, its as if all perceptions are joined at the hip - so to speak. I’d say there is only a single focus [thing of perception] but that can see in the plural.

There appears to be three aspects of mind; you look at an object and there is conscious being, then that is observing the object, then that is also observing the landscape [the whole image]. To me that’s a single act!

One may flick between tasks or primary objects held in the mind, whilst having other processes going on in the background. The primary objects are a little like a film scrolling by, one may be loosing the focus on the current object, as the perception moves to the next, whilst also having the older historical object [that came before the current] equally phasing out of mind.

You are conscious of those three times or whatever, but you are conscious. But these things are, supposedly, within consciousness. Now consciousness seems to focus on some of these things in consciousness. For example, pick up a where’s waldo book. You are having conscious experiences, but you focus on some of those things and those things you focus on become distinct, i.e. separate them from other things in conscious experience. You focus some attention on them, and become “conscious of” them.

Lets say that the sphere of mind is conscious, and ‘within’ that, conscious objects are. Its as if your two eyes can turn sideways and see each other, yet they are both connected to the consciousness. One is the others object, so now we put the image of an external object in between them, and you get duel perspectives.
your eyes don’t do that, your mind does.

Sight, perception, observation etc, are all kinds of awareness.
In being aware of a thing, or experiencing it, that thing becomes part of that experience or awareness. Perhaps this is how we know things, ~ by making them part of our constitution if only for a short while.

Right, so at this point we are in the process of making a perception distinct; if you look at a cup it was a part of the landscape [defocused], now it becomes somewhat distinct [focussed].

Point is; when I move my focus away from the cup and onto another object, the cup is now part of the landscape and that part of my consciousness, but has not its own consciousness ~ its own layer. The same thing is going on at all times, consciousness is not dividing itself up in such a way as to produce layers. There is only ever one consciousness doing many tasks.


When you speak of the information sandwich, its much more advanced than Berkleys synopsis.

You do not have direct control over the imagination, it happens for you, and your aware of two less than abstract processes on either side of it operating differently simultaniously.

I am about 90 percent certain what part of the brain your based in consciously. I need you to look around in this internalized image of your mind, and tell me if you can spot a seeming paradox of a part of you seeing that same said part of you, without quite knowing how your seeing this paradox. Its a neurological feedbackloop in the find, but only a small percentage of the population experiences it consciously.

Thank you!

Hmm yes I’d agree in part, the experiencer gets info coming in to its mental sphere [which fades rather than has exact edges] from the brain/senses. Yet I think the experiencer can compose info and can also ask questions, something like the user with his keyboard connected to the computer [although for us that’s all within the mind to some degree].

I mostly only know the mind as I experience it rather than how it is in the brain. I had thought that consciousness appears or centralises in the areas of most activity, as that’s what experiments seem to show us.

Like the eye of perception seeing itself? As the function of the perception is most like an eye even when it is hearing or feeling a given thing, then naturally it can see itself. that’s what it is, it’s a seeing thing, like a camera with a mirror as well as a lens. it’s the thing that sees, so naturally it can see itself seeing.

I don’t see perception as neurological [and I am not being pedantic in that ~ finding holes! :slight_smile: ], more informed by that. …not just informed but the neurons are also the instrument, the experiencer/perceiver is the user of the camera and what it delivers.

I am unsure what the image derived of the camera is though, colour is perceptual, the camera only delivers the information about that image rather than the actual composed image that we see. I don’t know if the mind creates colour of if like consciousness colour simply ‘occurs’ under certain conditions!

Some animals ~ like dogs, see in black and white apparently, so why don’t its mind produce a colour image ~ if it is mind which creates it?

Maybe rather than there being something which is ‘mind’ or consciousness, there is actually something else, which may become these things and can become colour and any qualia, also ‘energy’ [whatever that is] and forces etc. there seems to be a formable putty that can be the colour image and that which perceives it ~ oh and indeed the thing which perceives the perciever.

Perhaps what we have is the ‘philosophers stone’ [or the ‘philosophical space’ as I often call it] at work; it begins with fire and brimstone [the big bang] and ends with mind and the colour image!

…its an ongoing thing.


99% now

Spot-on! :wink: