MG:
"> Well, again, this is a functional description of *some* 
aspects of
> consciousness with which we are familiar.  I would say that
> consciousness in general does not require does not require a self
> model.  Reflection on the motivation system generates self-awareness I
> think, but other types of reflection don't involve self-awareness."

MP: I think a point to note is that, in so far as consciousness 
is *about* something or other, the something or other is viewed, 
perceived, conceived, constructed, made 'knowable', whatever, 
*from a point of view*. This point of view, which is where I 
'am' in the relevant context, may be just implicit in most 
experiences but is definitely explicit at other times. I think 
this reflects our general predisposition to naive realism which 
is the product of Darwinian evolution; in many if not most of 
the situations in which our early ancestors found themselves it 
was not particularly useful to be aware of the process of 
construction of the experience, in fact the energy and mind 
space necessary to do so would have a very high opportunity 
cost, life threatening in fact. To put it another way: 
self-awareness is a philosophical necessity but a biological 
luxury.

MG:
" > Reflection is the process of reasoning about cognitive 
systems (ie
> cognitive systems recursively calling other cognitive systems).  If
> explanations of cognitive systems cannot be entirely reduced to low
> level physics, then it appears that reflection must involve a new
> definition of causality which cannot be reduced to mere computation.
> Indeed, one could say that reflection IS a form of higher-order
> causality - the higher level processes involved in reasoning about
> cognitive systems and lower-level physics.  Consciousness is of course
> *composed* of computation and physical processes (according to all
> available scientific evidence).  But the *explanations* of
> consciousness are not necessarily completely reducible to these
> things."

MP: I agree that mental reflection IS a form of higher level 
causality. I think though that it is NOT possible to totally 
reduce something to something else yet still retain the original 
reality in its completeness. But 'reduction', vaccinated with 
sufficient doses of 'ceteris paribus', is still enormously 
powerful. It is a central tool of scientific method. The way I 
see it, what we are calling reduction is in fact *synthesis* of 
a representational system which by definition embodies 
abstractions of what are considered to be the relevant essential 
features, usually requiring some mathematical format to obtain 
the maximum leverage.

My acronym for what goes on is "UMSITW" [pronounced 
'um-see-two'] which means Updating Model of Self In The World. I 
am not impressed by assertions that consciousness is sometimes 
not ABOUT anything in particular. I think that the kind of 
experiences being referred to, such as a 'no-mind' state of 
meditation, are what it is like to be the high gain system when, 
after much practice, the brain has been trained to virtually 
cease evoking representations.


Regards

Mark Peaty  CDES
[EMAIL PROTECTED]
http://www.arach.net.au/~mpeaty/

[EMAIL PROTECTED] wrote:
> 
> 
> On May 5, 10:05 pm, Mark Peaty <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
>> MG:
>> 'There is no doubt that the nature of consciousness is closely
>>
>>> associated with time in some way - but exactly how?  The relationship
>>> between time (time flow and also causality) may be far closer than
>>> many realize.  Could consciousness in fact be *identical* to time in
>>> some peculiar sense? '
>> MP: How about: consciousness is simply [ie no more and no less
>> than] the *registration of change* in one's model of
>> self-in-the-world.
>>
>> My understanding, from my [admittedly-] shallow but obsessive
>> and persistent reading of abstracts and articles, is that a
>> reasonable case can be made that  sentience in vertebrates can
>> be correlated to the fact of and extent that the outcome of
>> perception and action does not match expectation. The gist of
>> the mechanism is that every time an 'instruction' to move or
>> change perceptual focus is generated and emitted to muscles
>> and/or adaptable sense organs, a matching emission goes to the
>> cerebellum. There the 'expectation' - the amalgamated result of
>> all previous instances - is evoked in concert with the outcome
>> of the current new instance. Any discrepancies are then
>> available for feedback and feed-forward to modulate the activity
>> and warn of potential problems.
> 
> That sounds like a pretty good description of *how* consciousness
> arises, but it doesn't actually explain *what* consciousness in
> general actually is.
> 
>> The model of self in the world is just a bunch of network
>> activations which embody/describe/denote/are the situational
>> awareness and navigational controls of the entity. For human
>> beings, who can tell themselves and each other stories, the
>> model of self in the world clearly must include much description
>> of social and personal history. For the model of self in the
>> world to exist [and be any use at all] it must entail
>> representations of currently significant features of the world,
>> currently relevant aspects of 'self', and relevant relationships
>> between self and world. The representation of self incorporates
>> recursive self-references and therefore constitutes a process
>> that is present and unique [and to a great extent
>> unpredictable]. There is therefore something which actually
>> exists. The constant updating of this model of self in the world
>> IS the experience we call consciousness or awareness.
> 
> Well, again, this is a functional description of *some* aspects of
> consciousness with which we are familiar.  I would say that
> consciousness in general does not require does not require a self
> model.  Reflection on the motivation system generates self-awareness I
> think, but other types of reflection don't involve self-awareness.
> 
> 
> 
> 
>> What we call time can be seen as the story, or sets of stories,
>> we tell ourselves and each other in order to account for the
>> changes that are occurring and to predict and control what we
>> expect to occur. Calling time a 'dimension' therefore, or a set
>> of dimensions, seems to me to be a rather abstract fudge.
>> Enormously useful of course, we couldn't make social
>> appointments or launch space rockets without 'time', but aren't
>> we just reifying a human construct when we do this?
>>
>> Regards
>>
>> Mark Peaty  CDES
> 
> It all depends on whether high level concepts (concepts at the level
> of functional systems) are completely reducible to explanations in
> terms of low level physics.  If they are (if reductionism is true)
> then indeed, it would appear that the passgae of time has no reality
> (it would be merely a useful human fiction as you point out).  But if
> reductionism is not true (as I suspect), then time could more complex
> than is commonly thought.
> 
> Reflection is the process of reasoning about cognitive systems (ie
> cognitive systems recursively calling other cognitive systems).  If
> explanations of cognitive systems cannot be entirely reduced to low
> level physics, then it appears that reflection must involve a new
> definition of causality which cannot be reduced to mere computation.
> Indeed, one could say that reflection IS a form of higher-order
> causality - the higher level processes involved in reasoning about
> cognitive systems and lower-level physics.  Conciousness is of course
> *composed* of computation and physical processes (according to all
> avaliable scientific evidence).  But the *explanations* of
> consciousness are not neccesserily completely reducible to these
> things.
> 
>> [EMAIL PROTECTED]
>>
>> http://www.arach.net.au/~mpeaty/
>>  <<snipped>>

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