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A new look at Self-Consciousness (Question reality)

Led Zeppelin

Active Member
So far the best theory I have ever heard on discerning levels of consciousness goes something like this;
Plants (and probably insects) are alive. They have a body, but do not experience pain or pleasure. They have no soul.
Animals (like cats and dogs) have a body and can experience pain or pleasure because they have a soul. A soul is not a physical, Neither is pain. A soul is what allows us to experience non-physical things. Much of the brain used as an interface between the soul and the body.
People have a body soul and spirit. Spirit what is what allows us to make moral determinations and live a just life. We dont seek out and arrest cats and dogs for fighting with each other or put fish in jail for eating other fish because we understand that it would be absurd to do so.


sorry i my have edited my above post before you posted. not sure.

just interest to know you thoughts. its not a common for people to attempt to explain these thing. So I appreciate it.
 
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So far the best theory I have ever heard on discerning levels of consciousness goes something like this;
Plants (and probably insects) are alive. They have a body, but do not experience pain or pleasure. They have no soul.
Animals (like cats and dogs) have a body and can experience pain or pleasure because they have a soul. A soul is not a physical, Neither is pain. A soul is what allows us to experience non-physical things. Much of the brain used as an interface between the soul and the body.
People have a body soul and spirit. Spirit what is what allows us to make moral determinations and live a just life. We dont seek out and arrest cats and dogs for fighting with each other or put fish in jail for eating other fish because we understand that it would be absurd to do so.


sorry i my have edited my above post before you posted. not sure.

just interest to know you thoughts. its not a common for people to attempt to explain these thing. So I appreciate it.
What do you mean by soul? let me grant you this for a moment. If one cant experience pain or pleasure surly doesn't mean they have no soul. What about some one who was once healthy and could experience things, but lost there senses (a complete vegetative state) No brain activity, would this person not have a soul?

I'm not sure a soul has anything to do with consciousness. Even in the way you are using it.
 

Led Zeppelin

Active Member
What do you mean by soul?

What allows us to experience certain non physical things.

If one cant experience pain or pleasure surly doesn't mean they have no soul. What about some one who was once healthy and could experience things, but lost there senses (a complete vegetative state) No brain activity, would this person not have a soul?

Yes I agree with you. This person would still have a soul. He is just injured or perhaps sedated in some way.
 
What allows us to experience certain non physical things.
Yes I agree with you. This person would still have a soul. He is just injured or perhaps sedated in some way.
I'm not sure a soul has anything to do with consciousness.

I believe what allows us to experience non-physical things are thought and belief, take for example a hallucination. You believe to experience what ever the hallucination is, based on being unaware of hallucinating. One can be extremely dehydrated in the desert and hallucinate there is water, and attempt to drink it in believing it was actually there.

The same thing applies to a nightmare, you are not really in danger but you are really scared though, because of a belief what you are experiencing is real. I don't think that takes a soul, just thought, belief and the right conditions.

This however is not to say a soul isn't real, I have no way to prove that or disprove.
 
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Led Zeppelin

Active Member
I believe what allows us to experience non-physical things are thought and belief, take for example a hallucination. You believe to experience what ever the hallucination is, based on being unaware of hallucinating. One can be extremely dehydrated in the desert and hallucinate there is water, and attempt to drink it in believing it was actually there.

The same thing applies to a nightmare, you are not really in danger but you are really scared though, because of a belief what you are experiencing is real. I don't think that takes a soul, just thought, belief and the right conditions.

Well I think you have done a good job in explaining a way to think about something that can be difficult to think about. I think with this particular subject it is not often attempted. And to do it all without pushing any obvious political agenda is even more rare these days. Well done! Thank you!

Do you think there is a limiting factor in a living organisms ability to obtain self-consicousness? For sake of argument lets say that fish are not self conscious. Can we teach a fish to be self conscious? Sorry if this sounds like a stupid question, I just cant think of a better example at the moment.
 
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Do you think there is a limiting factor in a living organisms ability to obtain self-consciousness?
Limiting factors I believe are intelligence level, thought and belief. And how some species have evolved to attain a much higher level of these. I think part of this has to do with language and reflective thought. Using thoughts you could explain to others , experiences that you have had and you do this with language. For example maybe you broke your arm when you were 8, you may recall the experience and reflect on that. Well the next question is, does everything that has thought, aware that it is thinking.
Can we teach a fish to be self conscious?
self-aware:
I believe to be self aware one must be first aware of their own physical body.
If you look at your own hand how do you know that is your hand? What could you do to possible convince yourself that it is a part of your body? You could move it, and be aware that you are moving it. Is this enough to confirm.
Then one must be aware of the characteristics of self, that is personality- your physical body is a vessel but not a personality. Your personality is in that shell of a head.

As far as training any thing to be self-aware, I am not sure that is something you train.

I don't think you could train something to be self-conscious either.

That would require the animal to understand the meaning of the sleep, to be awake, and to dream. This would also require the fish to understand language, and be able to reflect thoughts about what they are learning. This goes for any animal.
 

he_who_is_nobody

Well-Known Member
Would you agree that self is personality?

Yes.

When refer to intelligence and you say " Once that develops, awareness of the world and self follows" Does this not imply intelligence leads to self identification/personality?

I see the confusion now. I blame this on my sloppy use of language. I am saying that intelligence is a necessary factor for self-awareness, but things can be intelligent without being self-aware. Intelligence does not necessarily lead to self-awareness, but intelligence is needed to have self-awareness.

What I mean is, does intelligence alone lead to self/personality or does it require something else? Could that something else be ( Thought and Belief)?

It requires more. That more seems to be a theory of mind.

Others are forced to reject that terminological framework as a result of its inevitable consequences. On pains of coherency alone, the taxonomy you've put into practice leads to concluding that only self-aware creatures are conscious. Whereas others grant consciousness to any and all creatures that are capable of becoming and/or being aware of something. That approach seems to be far more amenable to terms of evolutionary progression than the one you've used here.

Can you explain this a bit more?

Few who were assumed to be in a vegetative state were actually aware in extremely rare cases according to studies.

Citation needed.
 

creativesoul

Active Member
Awake is to not be not asleep, to be asleep is to be unconscious or not awake.

1.) To be awake is to not be asleep.
2.) To be conscious is to not be asleep.
3.) To be conscious is to not be unconscious.
4.) To be asleep is to not be awake.
5.) To be asleep is to be unconscious.
6.) To be unconscious is to not be conscious.
7.) Consciousness is being awake, and unconsciousness is not being awake and/or being asleep.
8.) The meaning of both dichotomies (being awake/being asleep & being conscious/being unconscious) depends entirely upon both sides of each.
9.) Being awake and being asleep are two sides of the same coin.
10.) Being conscious and being unconscious are two sides of the same coin.
11.) Creatures that are awake are capable of being asleep.
12.) Creatures that are awake are capable of being unconscious.
13.) Conscious creatures are capable of being asleep.
14.) Conscious creatures are capable of being unconscious.
15.) Creatures that are asleep are capable of being awake.
16.) Creatures that are asleep are capable of being conscious.
17.) Unconscious creatures are capable of being awake.
18.) Unconscious creatures are capable of being conscious.

The substitution exercise directly above reveals problems. 5, 17, and 18 are false on their face, yet they necessarily follow from what you've written(the bit in the quote at the top of this post). The definitions you've employed lead to falsehoods. The sheer quantity of unconscious creatures that are capable of neither sleeping nor being conscious stand as relevant and more than adequate evidence to reject both of those consequences. Given that both necessarily follow from what you've proposed, we've also arrived at sufficient reason to reject the definitions you've put forth.
 
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creativesoul

Active Member
Can you explain this a bit more?

Others are forced to reject that terminological framework as a result of its inevitable consequences. On pains of coherency alone, the taxonomy you've put into practice leads to concluding that only self-aware creatures are conscious. Whereas others grant consciousness to any and all creatures that are capable of becoming and/or being aware of something. That approach seems to be far more amenable to terms of evolutionary progression than the one you've used here.

Sure. Which parts? I mean, there's quite a bit packed up in there. Help me out with some clear questions.
 

he_who_is_nobody

Well-Known Member
Sure. Which parts? I mean, there's quite a bit packed up in there. Help me out with some clear questions.

Would you mind unpacking it? Or, at the very least, provide some further readings. I do not know if you read the sources I provided earlier in this discussion or not, but I am interested in this topic.
 
1.) To be awake is to not be asleep.
2.) To be conscious is to not be asleep.
3.) To be conscious is to not be unconscious.
4.) To be asleep is to not be awake.
5.) To be asleep is to be unconscious.
6.) To be unconscious is to not be conscious.
7.) Consciousness is being awake, and unconsciousness is not being awake and/or being asleep.
I should correct my self here in saying, " Although being asleep is a form of unconsciousness, not every thing that is unconscious is sleeping. "
I still Stand by 1,2,3,4,5, and part of 6
6.) should be " Consciousness is being awake, and unconsciousness is not being awake, but does not mean that something that is unconscious is asleep. Rocks are not Awake/Conscious but they are also not asleep, then again they are not alive, so they cant be unconscious either because both require life. Hmm I will have to rethink about unconsciousness, great response to an obvious false claim. Thank you!
 

creativesoul

Active Member
Would you mind unpacking it? Or, at the very least, provide some further readings. I do not know if you read the sources I provided earlier in this discussion or not, but I am interested in this topic.

There is no general consensus on the topic. As an admin said earlier, it is an ill-defined concept that is not very well understood as a result. Consciousness has many different renditions, so to speak, each with its own underlying conceptual scheme. What is needed is a bare minimum criterion for what counts as consciousness that is capable of growing in its complexity over sufficient time and/or mutation of biological machinery. It seems fairly clear to me that they are all based upon either monism or dualism(of many varieties). Neither framework is capable of taking proper account of meaningful experience. All meaningful experience counts as consciousness.

Unfortunately, that's far too complex a situation to shed sufficient light upon, for I simply do not have the time to give it just due. However, that spade drives deep down into the heart of the matter at hand. I mean, that's thesis worthy subject matter.

Roughly put...

If consciousness is a product of evolutionary progression, and we lean heavily upon the principles and tenets of methodological naturalism, then consciousness is the kind of thing that had to have begun its existence, so to speak, in the simplest possible form and progressively became more and more complex such that it is what we say about ourselves and creatures enough like us(which amounts to satisfying our own minimum criterion). Thus, if we claim that consciousness is equivalent to self-awareness, then it only follows that only self-aware creatures have conscious experiences(are conscious/have consciousness).

Seems to me that self-awareness is the most complex kind of consciousness, if we are talking about what our own self-awareness consists of and/or is existentially dependent upon. There are varying degrees of that as well depending upon which part of oneself they are aware of, so it's a difficult notion to put into terms that are amenable to evolutionary progression, but knowing about ourselves helps us to be able to begin analysis. On my view, to be conscious is to be aware of something. That requires something to become aware of, something to become aware, and a means for doing so.



Daniel Dennet has multiple writings that highlight the physical aspects of consciousness. His paper Quining Qualia is the most persuasive piece of writing that I have come across concerning the purported private subjective inexplicable aspects so often mentioned by many. One by one, he deconstructs and disassembles those ideas, and in doing so, shows how there's nothing at all private in our human conscious experiences.

Nagel's What is it like to be a bat skirts the subject too.

Chomsky has some interesting YouTube videos as well.
 

creativesoul

Active Member
I should correct my self here in saying, " Although being asleep is a form of unconsciousness, not every thing that is unconscious is sleeping. "
I still Stand by 1,2,3,4,5, and part of 6
6.) should be " Consciousness is being awake, and unconsciousness is not being awake, but does not mean that something that is unconscious is asleep. Rocks are not Awake/Conscious but they are also not asleep, then again they are not alive, so they cant be unconscious either because both require life. Hmm I will have to rethink about unconsciousness, great response to an obvious false claim. Thank you!
All I've put forth is that while all sleeping creatures are rightfully called "unconscious", not all cases of being unconscious are cases of sleeping creatures. So, there is no equivalency between sleeping and being unconscious. Thus, the analogy between those two dichotomies fails. Better to put it in different terms.
 

creativesoul

Active Member
It requires more. That more seems to be a theory of mind.
All theories of mind that rest their laurels upon dualism are inherently incapable of taking *proper* account of meaning. To be clear, by *proper*, I mean an account of meaning that adequately explains the simple core of all meaningful things. The account must include the simplest forms of meaningful experience such that it is capable of adequately explaining simple autonomous emergence, but also must include a richness of potential such that our own current daily meaningful experiences, as well as all meaningful experiences in the historical meantime, are adequately taken into account as well. The terminological framework must be simple but rich enough in potential to explain the evolutionary progression of meaningful experience. How it begins and how it grows in complexity in such a way that all meaningful experience is accounted for.

That's the task in a nutshell.
 

creativesoul

Active Member
All theories of mind that rest their laurels upon dualism are inherently incapable of taking *proper* account of meaning. To be clear, by *proper*, I mean an account of meaning that adequately explains the simple core of all meaningful things. The account must include the simplest forms of meaningful experience such that it is capable of adequately explaining simple autonomous emergence, but also must include a richness of potential such that our own current daily meaningful experiences, as well as all meaningful experiences in the historical meantime, are adequately taken into account as well. The terminological framework must be simple but rich enough in potential to explain the evolutionary progression of meaningful experience. How it begins and how it grows in complexity in such a way that all meaningful experience is accounted for.

That's the task in a nutshell.

All cases of conscious experience are meaningful to the creature having the experience.
 
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