On 5/21/2011 4:04 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 20 May 2011, at 19:44, meekerdb wrote:

On 5/20/2011 3:54 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

On 18 May 2011, at 18:54, meekerdb wrote:

On 5/18/2011 9:21 AM, Stephen Paul King wrote:
Hi Brent,
Interesting! If we follow this idea, that memory is not necessary for consciousness, then consciousness does not require a persistent structure to supervene upon. No?

I don't see how that follows.

Me too. Consciousness requires logically the entire arithmetical reality, for example (with mechanism). Without 2+2=4, there is no consciousness, nor computation, nor matter.

"Require" in what sense: logical, nomological,...? We know that a blow to the head can interrupt consciousness

We don't know that. With comp nothing interrupt consciousness.

I have experienced it, a gap in my consciousness. Of course you may say it is only a gap in my memory of consciousness, but a loss of memory can be induced in by drugs that do not cause one to be unresponsive at the time which is not remembered. This tells me that being unconscious is more that just not remembering.

and erase memories.

That can indeed happens locally and relatively. And that can give the feeling of having been unconscious.


But consciousness is a matter of having feelings. Why credit feelings of being conscious but not those of having been uncouscious.

But those are always extrapolations.

Almost everything we think about the world is extrapolations.

The feeling of being conscious in the present is undoubtable. The feeling of being unconscious in the present is contradictory.

But the feeling of having been unconscious is not. And it works nicely as an explanation of why I'm lying on the ground looking up a stranger who is saying, "Are you all right?" and I don't remember how I got there.

This goes back to the question of the role of memories and whether memory is essential to consciousness. You may hypothesize that nothing interrupts consciousness,

I think it is a consequence of mechanism. This is something already defended by Descartes. With some training I think it is not so difficult to realize that we are conscious in all the phases of sleep, but we forget it very easily.

I wasn't thinking of sleep. I've been anesthetized and I've been knocked unconscious. Of course you can claim that I was really conscious, just paralyzed and unresponsive and I've just forgotten it, but that seems like a stretch. Or that my consciousness is continuous in a 1st person sense - although this seems contrary to all those who take OMs to be discrete.

or make it true by a definition that denies physical (3rd person) time.

Why? Only absolute 3rd person time is denied. But this is common among physicists too, and almost obvious in the mechanist frame.

One could claim that while I was unconscious that no (3p) time passed - contrary to the reports of everyone else. That's not what physicist claim when they deny absolute time.


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