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  #61  
Old Jun 25th 2011, 05:30 PM
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Default Re: Consciousness

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Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
No, I think it's just the idea that all other creatures might be autonoma (Philosophical Zombies). You can detect their actions, but not their experiencial perceptions.



I should have said "I don't see how there's anyway to really know about [the consciousness of] anything...".

Science is fine for exploring what's perceivable, but I don't see how we can perceive other people's perceptions without making the sort of assumption I laid out a few posts back.

For example:
I put my hand in the fire. Three things happen:
1) I feel pain as a qualatative experience.
2) I say "ouch".
3) I pull my hand away.

Someone else puts their hand in the fire:
1) I hear them say "ouch"
2) I see them pull their hand away.
3)...but I can't actually perceive whether or not they felt any pain or simply behaved automatically as a senseless response to stimuli.

I assume that, beacuse they appear similar to me and behave similar to me (which I can observe), that they must also experience feelings similar to my own (which I can't observe). But it's just an assumption. I don't see any logical reason that physical processes of nerves firing and muscles moving must be accompanied by a qualatative experience. I notice that they are (usually) in my case; I assume they must be in other similar cases as well.
I think a qualitative response would look different on a brain scan than would a reflexive reaction alone. I'm sure of it. We really can see it.

I guess that's where I began wondering if there was such a big difference between conscious thought and mere reflex.
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  #62  
Old Jun 25th 2011, 07:05 PM
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Default Re: Consciousness

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I think a qualitative response would look different on a brain scan than would a reflexive reaction alone. I'm sure of it. We really can see it.
But we can see what? We can see some activity in a certain part of the brain. But I think that puts us back where we started. Consider a modified example:

Quote:
I put my hand in the fire. Four things happen:
1) I feel pain as a qualatative experience.
2) I say "ouch".
3) I pull my hand away.
4) The signals in my brain assume pattern X.

Someone else puts their hand in the fire:
1) I hear them say "ouch"
2) I see them pull their hand away.
3) The signals in their brain assume pattern X.
4)...but I can't actually perceive whether or not they felt any pain or simply behaved automatically as a senseless response to stimuli.
I can see material stuff happening in someone else's brain, and I know that when that same material stuff happens in my brain it generally coincides when a particular qualitative experience. But I can't actually perceive their qualitative experience; I just assume that, since I have one, they must have one as well.
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  #63  
Old Jun 25th 2011, 09:09 PM
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Default Re: Consciousness

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Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
But we can see what? We can see some activity in a certain part of the brain. But I think that puts us back where we started. Consider a modified example:



I can see material stuff happening in someone else's brain, and I know that when that same material stuff happens in my brain it generally coincides when a particular qualitative experience. But I can't actually perceive their qualitative experience; I just assume that, since I have one, they must have one as well.
We can see a difference where one exists. We can also determine the difference between a pattern created by a reflex and a pattern created by anything that is more than just reflex.

Here's another way to think about it: if our brain patterns are identical when thinking about pain (for instance), and this is a quality of consciousness, then don't both brains possess that quality of consciousness? Sure they do.

We could not say this was all there is to consciousness but the more we define consciousness, the more we can distinguish what is and is not conscious.
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  #64  
Old Jun 25th 2011, 09:34 PM
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Default Re: Consciousness

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We can see a difference where one exists. We can also determine the difference between a pattern created by a reflex and a pattern created by anything that is more than just reflex.
I suppose that depends on what you mean by "more than just a reflex." Is any response to stimuli more than just a (potentially very complex) reflex?

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Originally Posted by JHC View Post
Here's another way to think about it: if our brain patterns are identical when thinking about pain (for instance), and this is a quality of consciousness, then don't both brains possess that quality of consciousness? Sure they do.
hmm. "thinking about" strikes me as too complex a concept here.
But to go from "our brain patterns are the same" to "we must be having the same qualitative experience" is a logical leap. It assumes that things which are the same in the ways we can check must also be the same in ways we can't check. And, to be clear, that's a fine and generally useful assumption. But it's still just an assumption.
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  #65  
Old Jun 25th 2011, 09:56 PM
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Default Re: Consciousness

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Originally Posted by dilettante View Post
I suppose that depends on what you mean by "more than just a reflex." Is any response to stimuli more than just a (potentially very complex) reflex?



hmm. "thinking about" strikes me as too complex a concept here.
But to go from "our brain patterns are the same" to "we must be having the same qualitative experience" is a logical leap. It assumes that things which are the same in the ways we can check must also be the same in ways we can't check. And, to be clear, that's a fine and generally useful assumption. But it's still just an assumption.
Of course. Like the laws of physics - just an assumption.
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