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/lit/ Literature

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Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:13:25 No.6569090

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has anyone else ever read a ton about consciousness and then suddenly found the whole 'mystery' of it to be radically less intriguing or inexplicable?

I studied Cognitive Science during undergrad, took classes with Douglas Hofstadter, and read about every book on consciousness I could get my hands on. After making up my mind about Chalmers' claims about dualism, I now see that we have a fair sort of grasp on what consciousness might be.

Essentially, the brain is a piece of physical matter that has the capacity to be in a seemingly incalculable number of states that are highly different from one another, and it is a highly integrated complex system. Subjective experience (consciousness) is just 'what it is to be like' that physical system in its different states. There is a 'what it is to be like' a thermostat that is on or off, but its 'consciousness' could never be as rich as ours, as we have such a huge repertoire of possible brain states that are highly complex and unique from one another.

Sure we could work out all the math and describe consciousness down to the smallest detail, i.e. 'what are the necessary and sufficient conditions for consciousness arising out of physical matter'. That is a whole nother animal that will take decades. However, what I'm saying is that we now have a pretty good idea of what consciousness is, and where it comes from (brain function). Studying consciousness obviously makes it seem a much less mysterious thing, further short of a grand mystery. Now it seems more just eerie and fragile, Weird. However it has also added a new found appreciation for the experience of perception and subjectivity.

this isn't incredibly well written but you get the point. please critique, discuss, question, add, attack, etc.

does anyone agree or know what I mean? disagree?

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:27:50 No.6569117
I agree that things are only ever "interesting" while they are seemingly incomprehensible. This was the last interesting question. I hope that it frees up more great minds to focus on what is most important today.

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:28:46 No.6569118



Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:30:17 No.6569123
i don't know shit about anything so could you elaborate on the thermostat bit?

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:31:19 No.6569127
>Cognitive Science

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:34:44 No.6569135
In Future of the Mind by michio kaku he sort of has a similar idea to what your talking about. His model of concsiousness goes like this. Take a plant, a plant has "feedback loops", it can take sensory inputs (temperature and a few others) and then respond. Mice have more feedback loops than a plant, and thus can have more responses to stimuli, etc etc to humans. It's all part of a continuous scale. I liked this model of consciousness because it sort of bypasses this very human tendency to create false dichotomies. it's like trying to catagorize animals by species and shit, it's ultimately futile because thats just not how it works, almost everything in nature happens in degrees on a spectrum, so i liked kaku's model of consciousness because if this aspect of it. Sounds similar to your idea, OP

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:37:15 No.6569142
One thing I'd like to add is that I still find questions such as "why am I me and not you?" I.e. "why do I perceive the world with my mind and not with yours?" to be somewhat compelling, however they are more metaphysical and seem to have less to do with the _nature_ of consciousness.

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:40:33 No.6569150
Reminder that Thomism allows for just this sort of model of consciousness when it speaks of humans as a union of body and soul. One cannot separate the body from the soul- both are required to be a complete human being.

It's only Descartes' foolishness that leads people to believe that consciousness has to be separate from the brain. Descartes is wrong about nearly everything.

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:43:05 No.6569159
if you could make a shortlist for books about consciousness, which ones would you choose?

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:44:05 No.6569163
this post is too full of redundancy and assumption

>Subjective experience (consciousness) is just 'what it is to be like' that physical system in its different states.

demonstrate that any subjective experience is somehow related to a 'physical system'

I guess that would require you thinking about what a system is and what it has to do with an experience

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:44:09 No.6569164
The soul of an ax is to cut.

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:45:31 No.6569170
>One cannot separate the body from the soul- both are required to be a complete human being.

Wrong. Do other animals have souls, too, in your hilariously limited view?

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:45:52 No.6569172

>Thomism allows for

worst kind of thinking, pure ideology, etc

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:46:31 No.6569176
Define "consciousness".

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:47:31 No.6569177
If the words "soul" and "consciousness" are interchangeable, then other animals do have souls.

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:49:05 No.6569184

how do you know? have you been an animal?

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:51:10 No.6569188
Zizek wishes he were half as smart as Aquinas.

Anonymous 2015-05-21 05:57:58 No.6569214
"Soul" is the prettiest fiction of our species.

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