I join your "liking":
self awareness is a good name for something I questioned to be well
identified, or not. So is consciousness, life, and lots of terms we 'like'
to use as if we knew what we are talking about. ('Numbers' included).
I did not oppose most of Anna's position, (in ~20 words ea.) yet she
responded in ~300 including argumentation against terms I try to avoid in a
reasonable discussion (soul etc.) which only adds to the chatter.
(Sorry Anna, your style is natural and reasonable, I just try to get briefer
(alas only 'try'). Please excuse my harsh reply, I am too old to be more
polite, you can call me an old grouch).
Colin, you use 'science' and 'scientist' in one sentence: they are not
related - we have to identify OUR science as to think applying the 'recent'
paradigm beyond 'materialistic?' empirical evidences only, as the
(conventional) old 'science' limited itself, while the word 'scientist'
usually refers to acclaimed reductionists with tenure/awards. I always frown
when called a 'scientist'. I pretend to be a common-sensically thinking
person with an open mind (as long as it stays open) - since I gave up on my
technical polymer science R&D and started to 'think' (whatever that means).
I consider the pair 'science - scientist' not closer in meaning than e.g.
the pair of 'conscious - unconscious'. Or: 'life' and 'live' ('alive' may be
I tried to get closer to the 'self' in self-aware, where, however the great
mystery is still the 'aware' - the mentally active part. The obscure field
of 'relation(al)' may be a clue.
I suppose animals with lower mentality, even plants are self-aware - all at
the level of their relational limitations - in which sense our capabilities
are based on more (and more complex?) *mentality* (as we call it: with *
tools* of higher-level fractal *neuronal - relations*).
Just tell us your version of the 'self' - I may say "hurray". I consider it
in *YOUR* image of my (your?) mini-solipsistic *totality* of the *perceived
reality:* how some items may develop closer relational closeness (=self
feeling) in the total interconnection. That would be a unit of a 'self' as I
think. Person or not.
(Please remember: I hold the comp-related picture a human artifact with the
mentioned and questioned terms before the human thinking-addition.)
On Sun, Dec 14, 2008 at 10:16 PM, Colin Hales
> A. Wolf wrote:
> "..*some subjective experience of personhood or* "being" *that we all
> 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'.
> Yes, absolutely. Hence the use of the word "presumably". The fact that
> people seem to share an experience we can't directly measure is interesting.
> The evidence of mankind's obsession with the experience of consciousness
> comes from the amount of philosophical discussion (like this) that exists in
> literature, both scientific and recreational.
> Experience is an undefined mental marvel and conscious?
> What I'm referring to is the fact that so many people believe in a "soul",
> that we experience consciousness in a way where we feel like we are the
> author of our own destiny, that we experience life as though we are
> travelling through time and making decisions. The idea of "me" has a static
> implication that persists throughout our lives even as we grow and evolve.
> It serves both social and self-preservationist functions, certainly, but the
> phenomenon also causes a lot of discussion. Something about these
> experiences is remarkable enough that mankind has authored a great deal of
> text on it, and it forms the foundation of much of our mythology and
> understanding of self.
> So the conscious experience I'm referring to is the commonality of the
> experience of self-awareness as reported (orally and in writing) by human
> beings...in particular the fact that most people are fully convinced that
> their experiences are unique and an accurate reflection of the nature of
> time, that they must either persist forever in some ephemeral form or else
> the Universe ceases to be from their point of view when they die, those
> sorts of things.
> 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." - ???
> What I meant here is this:
> It's not necessarily surprising that people would write a lot of things
> about the soul, even if the soul does not exist in the same sense we
> experience it. It's quite possible, scientifically speaking, that the
> behavior of "write and talk a great deal about the experience of 'being' and
> how magical it is" is a natural consequence of any self-aware system. A
> common marker of self-awareness might be illogically rejecting the truth of
> one's own automation.
> Interesting point.
> Consider a state of science (scientist behaviour) where
> a) consciousness = the ultimate source of final clinching scientific
> evidence = measurement
> b) science tries to use (a) to explain consciousness and fails constantly
> (2000+ years)
> c) still fails to let consciousness be evidence of whatever it is that
> actually generates it
> (c) is a kind of denial of the form you identify.
> Therefore you have proved that scientists are self-aware (= conscious)
> i.e. only people able to make this kind of self-referential mistake
> (demonstrating this kind of illogical rejection of a self-referential claim)
> can be conscious.
> An ability to deny self-awareness as a marker of self awareness. You can
> use this as a logical bootstrap to sort things out.
> I like it!
> colin hales
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