On 5/27/2013 6:55 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
On Mon, May 27, 2013 at 05:44:57PM -0700, meekerdb wrote:
On 5/27/2013 5:08 PM, Russell Standish wrote:
On Mon, May 27, 2013 at 04:53:56PM -0700, meekerdb wrote:
I don't think consciousness is an all-or-nothing property.  You have
to ask "Consciousness of what?"  There's consciousness of
surroundings: sound, photons, temperature, chemical
concentrations....  There's consciousness of internal states.
Consciousness of sex.  Consciousness of one's location.
Consciousness of one's status in a tribe.  I think human-like
consciousness requires language of some kind.

I would be happy with consciousness of surroundings. It seems to be
the most basic of all the ones you mention there.
It is pretty basic, but I'd say consciousness of some internal
states is more basic and occurred early in the evolution of life.
Even a cell must know when to divide.

Why does that require consciousness? I'm not conscious of my body
repairing itself, or dogesting food.

But that's a large class and is not all-or-nothing either.  We're
conscious of light and it's phase relations which form images, but
we don't see the polarization.  And we don't see very much of the
spectrum.  We don't detect magnetic fields and our detection of
chemicals in the air is almost non-existent compared to dogs.

You appear to be confusing sensory capability with consciousness. A
thermostat is capable of sensing temperature, but I doubt it is
conscious of the temperature.

Why not?  It acts on the temperature.

Consciousness is an experiential quality. We are either conscious when
we experience something (called qualia), or we're not conscious at all.

That seems to me just substituting one word "experience" for another "conscious" and doesn't tell us anything. The thermostat experiences temperature.

Still seems all or nothing to me. People who claim consciousness comes
in different types, or comes in shades of grey, seem to be talking
about completely different things than the usual meaning of the term.

I think the usual meaning refers to humans inner narration (which depends on language) and the association of values to that narration. What do you think "the usual meaning" is?


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