Worthwhile docu touching on the issues we've been looking at: Horizon - The Secret You http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HfuVrQhykE some notes:
Mirror self awareness test - I think it shows how intellectual consciousness gained but naive perception lost. The younger toddler's interaction with the mirror image prefigures the conceit of intellect to conflate image with reality. The baby intuitively relates to the image as a separate visual phenomena, and not as a reflection of himself. The second child has developed the more intellectual level of awareness which equates seeing and believing - she has learned how to read the text of her visual presentation through mirrors, but has likely forever sacrificed her native solipsistic orientation for the useful tyranny of self-image. Tennis playing - Proves that we have to already know what we're looking for to determine whether something is alive. If we had no technology to scan the brain, we could not guess whether or not a coma patient was conscious. Likewise, if we make something that acts like we expect a person to act (like a movie of a person), we can't be sure that it is conscious because there is no first hand account to act as a beginning control for any experiment. Out of body goggles - Demonstrates to me that sensorimotivive input (semantic sense) is instrumental in creating awareness of the self as a whole - biochemistry is not the only determinant. Interpretation is not hardwired into neurons, it is a consensus of different sense- making regions of the psyche running through the brain but originating both within the self and beyond the boundaries of the body. 'Concept neurons' - Neuronal firings correlate to the sense that things make, rather than the mechanics of stimulation alone. I think it's premature to assume that single neurons have no awareness or that our consciousness is not an entangled accumulation of that awareness, but he's right about needing many neurons for *us* to experience *our* consciousness. The Jennifer Anniston neuron I think shows the misguided nature of the reductionist approach. We should realize that our experience is made up of millions of micro-experiences which we would not recognize, but which our own experience arises from. It's different from a mechanism which pumps signals into a CPU, it's the polar opposite - it's more like the low level holes in a grille which act as an aperture for the sense connection between high level subject and high level object. TMS sequence - shows different areas of the brain activated while awake, not while asleep, showing that *our* consciousness is not specific to the behaviors of individual neurons (neurons don't sleep) but rather it is the integration of the sense that the system is making as a whole. Final module - in these kinds of experiments, where one kind of brain activity is recorded in advance of the conscious subject's awareness of making a simple left-or-right decision in a laboratory setting, we are meant to accept that we are the last to know about our own choices. I agree with the scientist in the video that this tells us how decision is a process that unfolds through the brain - hitting different areas at different times. I don't, however, assume that is specific kind of test tells us about 'free will' in general, or it's origin in pure biochemistry. It may very well originate in sensorimotive awareness beneath the level of our cortical cognition, but that doesn't mean that the decisions are being made based upon a biochemical agenda. Instead, I think that they are being made on a semantic basis which overlaps (and underlaps) the conscious cognitive reasoning. It should be kept in mind that this particular test is about repetitive, simple motor reflex tasks with no cognitive dimension, so it is not surprising that the cognitive areas of the brain should be informed late in the process. The same would be the case with a knee reflex. It's a decision that is already beginning to form before the last test response is completed. Part of us may know how many left v right we are going to do several seconds before we actually execute that intention, so that what is recorded in the brain scan is not the initial intention, but the reflexive rhythm from which intentionality arises in a monotonously repetitive test like this. -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To unsubscribe from this group, send email to everything-list+unsubscr...@googlegroups.com. For more options, visit this group at http://groups.google.com/group/everything-list?hl=en.