Dear Anna,
I think this is the first time I reflect to your post and I found them
reasonable,  well informed. You wrote:
"..*some subjective experience of personhood or* "being" *that we all share*,
and each of us presumably experiences *something* like that."

I emphasize the 'something': who knows if we experience (share?) the same
feeling? The words we use to describe it are not more relevant than
describing 'red'.

"If we're scientists" -  a loose cannon. "We" are thinking (list) past the
restrictions of the general, conventional (reductionist) science - limits.
Your questioning of the term conscious experience is very valid and loaded.
Experience is an undefined mental marvel and conscious? I tried to think
about it as:
responding to information and keeping it AS: *EXPERIENCE* (ha ha). Of course
redundancy can be eased by including motoric (muscle) experience, like e.g.
 ("stored" (?)  motional (no 'e' missing) memory) or genetic inclination
but that leads me to the question "function? what is it?" Maybe a relational
togetherness, if someone does not know WHAT to call energy that may drive a
function (action). (I don't).
All that pertains to my earlier expressions of the above 'response to
information', the basis for 'conscious' behavior.

A 'computer' (what kind of? the embryonic simpleton of a pre-programed
digital machine
as we know it?) to "...spit out a bunch of
symbols related to the experience" of self- awareness itself." - ???
Not beyond the domain fed-in as - and algorithmized as the digital-based
'program' -
unless we talk about Bruno's universal (or: comp?)  machine (what may be a
pius wish).
Our present contraptions do not 'create'.
We don't know a lot but speak much more.

Also: "our precious consciousness could be a mere illusion"? I do not
denigrat the term, not like 'delusion, allusion, or collusion. It is very
common to put into the Ccness term whatever one's theory requires and there
is no reached concensus. I called it a process, *acknowledgement of and
response to info*, in the most generalized aspect I could muster.
Then again see my above words on the terms. Information is meant as
appercipiated difference, but all in the comfort of accepting 'action' as a
reality (without a driving 'energy' not yet satisfactorily defined. (reality
- who's?)

Did I confuse the issues? OK, then I did well. The terms we use are
historically 'baggaged' and not clear. They *are* confusing/ed.
If someone wants to clarify them that makes the text 'too technical'.
 My problem. If it is not yours as well, you are lucky and I congratulate.
In your previous, mostly appreciable post below you wrote (and I quote, -
allow me please to interject):
>>..."as scientists they realize that the definitions we use do not define
We have access only to parts of 'reality' - IF in a naive view (what I
share) we indeed believe in such. Whatever 'we' formulate *OUR* reality
(in our *personalized mini-solipsism - individual *
for everyone (our personal *perceived reality).*
>>Definitions of words and concepts are merely tools for describing things
to one another in a consistent manner.  Real truth
stems from examining the relationships between observable phenomena,
by using operational definitions rather than essentialistic ones...<<
Real truth is a myth. Observable phenomena are accessed up to our actual
capabilities - by limitations of the existing epistemic level, i.e. the
cognitive inventory at the time of the observation. Similarly our
'understanding' (i.e. explanation) is at the same level.
One more word: *SELF *(conscious?) It may be just another 'relation' among
constituents we call a 'group', 'person', 'item' or whatever, to make them
'interrelated' in a manner beyond our understanding for now. I am looking
into a speculative possibility to such formlations as a basis for the
(reductionistic) topical or functional 'model', within which conventional
science works (appreciably) - if I can find natural reasons for our human
ways in sci. etc. thinking. So the 'self'-pertinent relations may represent
a more efficient connectivity in (the unidentified) processes we speak
Sorry, this idea is not even underdeveloped.
I can use any help.

Best regards

John M

On Sun, Dec 14, 2008 at 1:35 AM, A. Wolf <> wrote:

> I apologize if I seemed rude or accusatory...I'm just expressing an idea.
> Words are very useful, but systematic measurements are better for certain
> things, because the Universe seems to allow us to repeat them.
> Issues involving the mind are intrinsically harder to tackle.  Human
> dialogue over the millenia suggests there's

some subjective experience of
personhood or "being" that we all share, and each of us presumably
experiences something like that.

>  But we have no way to quantify or measure
> the conscious experience itself.  We're left feeling like there's something
> missing from what we can measure.
> If we're scientists, what we should really be asking is this: why do people
> say all the things they do about conscious experience?  It doesn't seem too
> strange to think that a computer program which has some meta-cognitive
> ability and self-awareness might, as part of the natural output of its
> program, spit out a bunch of symbols related to the "experience" of
> self-awareness itself.  Science doesn't suggest there must be anything more
> to what we are than this kind of output.
> We don't like the idea that our precious consciousness could be a mere
> illusion, because our sense of self is something we cling to with the
> fervor
> of evolutionary self-preservation.  If Everett's is true, you could even
> think about a person as only existing for the barest instant: one single,
> static state, frozen in time, in an infinite mathematical sea of other
> states (well, not really, but roughly).  All the experience of travelling
> forward through time could be just an illusion produced by our own memory
> and meta-cognitive ability.  In a sense, we'd cease to be every instant no
> less surely than if we'd just died.
> So I guess the underlying philosophical question is, what does it mean to
> be
> a conscious person?  Socially it's useful to think of a person as the
> history of that person's memories, but I don't know if there's a useful way
> to think about it scientifically.  Even as I type this, there's no way for
> me to demonstrate that I exist for more than an instant, and I doubt there
> ever will be.
> As you read this last sentence, please enjoy your first and last moment of
> existence.  ;)  Oh, and happy holidays.
> Anna
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Kim Jones" <>
> To: <>
> Sent: Sunday, December 14, 2008 1:04 AM
> Subject: Re: KIM 1 (was: Lost and not lost 1)
> >
> > Blame me if you want...
> >
> > I'm just trying to see whether the exposition can be made with a good
> > deal less number-spinning
> >
> > Truth is, most people - given the choice - would probably prefer to
> > avoid language pretty much all together -
> > for the dangers you so aptly characterise
> >
> > Language is a bag of utter corruption and manipulation, anyway. I
> > apologise for forcing the issue
> >
> > Given that some of us do better at understanding words than numbers,
> > yes, we may be stuck with a few semantic issues.
> >
> > Personally, I just want to understand. If I get a bit fractal, it's
> > because of those rotten semantics which need constant attention. I
> > agree that any kind of definition of what 'life' would only be a work
> > in progress
> >
> > I find the concept of real truth a bit dodgy, actually
> >
> > always only trying to 'see' what the other 'sees'
> >
> > Hence the questions - not attacking questions; requests for more
> > information to fill out perception
> >
> > The result is something that is less arcane and more day to day. Why
> > should all beautiful knowledge live in an ivory tower? I want to know
> > how this whole thing actually impacts on my life.
> >
> > Actually, my preference would be to avoid words and numbers and do it
> > via music. But, I guess that's back to numbers.
> >
> > cheers,
> >
> > Kim
> >
> >
> >
> > On 14/12/2008, at 1:30 PM, A. Wolf wrote:
> >
> >>
> >> One of the reasons I rarely post to this list is that many people here
> >> seem trapped in an eternal series of meaningless essentialistic
> >> debates.  Nothing objective or conclusive ever comes from
> >> essentialistic arguments where people bicker over what some word or
> >> concept "really means".
> >>
> >> Science used to suffer from this.  About 120 years ago, biologists
> >> used to argue about the meaning of "life".  Were viruses alive?  Were
> >> sperm alive?  What they could or could not consider "alive" was really
> >> important to the old-school biologists, and there was endless debate
> >> between them.  (People on both sides of the abortion issue still make
> >> these kinds of empty arguments.)
> >>
> >> But today, biologists don't care what "life" means.  They accept an
> >> arbitrary definition for "life" because they're scientists, and as
> >> scientists they realize that the definitions we use do not define
> >> reality.  Definitions of words and concepts are merely tools for
> >> describing things to one another in a consistent manner.  Real truth
> >> stems from examining the relationships between observable phenomena,
> >> by using operational definitions rather than essentialistic ones.
> >> Anything less than this is semantics.
> >>
> >> Anna
> >>
> >> >
> >
> >
> > >
> >

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