On 23 Apr 2013, at 22:02, meekerdb wrote:

On 4/23/2013 12:27 AM, Russell Standish wrote:
On Mon, Apr 22, 2013 at 01:02:59PM -0400, John Clark wrote:
On Mon, Apr 22, 2013 , Russell Standish <li...@hpcoders.com.au> wrote:

If so and consciousness is a all or nothing matter and is not on a
continuum then you should vividly remember the very instant you went to
sleep last night. Do you?

Why? I don't remember every waking moment when I'm fully alert either.
But you have fallen asleep many many thousands of times, in all your life
have you EVERY remembered the exact instant you've passed from
consciousness to unconsciousness? I think you don't remember it because
there is no such instant, it's a continuum.
The last time I had general anaesthetic, I remember the count of the
anaesthetist up to 4, but not any number higher than that. I would
presume he would have continued counting, until he was sure I was
unconscious, though.

If someone stood next to my bed counting while I was trying to go to
sleep, though, I would probably strangle them!

Are you really trying to make
the case that consciousness is a all or nothing matter that is so simple it can be completely described with just one bit of information, on or off?

Yes. I don't see how it could be otherwise.
It seems to me that consciousness admits of degrees. When I'm asleep I'm conscious, but in a different way so that I'm less aware of perceptions. And the transition from waking to sleeping isn't sharp. And there are different modes of consciousness. I can reflect on being conscious, but I don't think that many animals can do that.


The fact that there are degrees of consciousness, and actually a large variety of possible conscious states, is not an argument that consciousness is not "existing or not existing". Again we can compare with the Mandelbrot set, or with complex set of natural numbers. Despite you are in or out, in many case it can be difficult to decide. The M set has a mathematically clear inside and outside, but its border is very complex.

Bruno




Brent

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