On 29 May 2013, at 20:12, meekerdb wrote:

On 5/29/2013 12:38 AM, Bruno Marchal wrote:

I don't see the analogy. I don't think consciousness can be negative, or even that it can be measured by one dimension. "All- or-nothing" would be a function that is either 1 or 0.

The point is more that it is > 0, or 0.

If you can be conscious of red and green, then I'd say you are more conscious than someone who is red/green colorblind (albeit by a tiny amount).

That is about consciousness' content. Not on being or not conscious.

In order to have beliefs about arithmetic requires that you be conscious of numbers and have a language in which to express axioms and propositions. I doubt that simpler animals have this and so have different consciousness than humans.

Most plausibly. But this again is about the content, and the character of consciousness, not the existence or not on some consciousness.

You seem to regard consciousness as a kind of magic vessel which exists even when it is empty. I think John Mikes is right when he says it is a process. When a process isn't doing anything it doesn't exist.

To be sure, I don't use this in the usual reasoning, but I have to say that I am more and more open that there is something like that, indeed. But I agree that consciousness is related to a process, in part (if not comp would be meaningless). It just appears that such a process is very basic, that it is emulated by (many) arithmetical relations, and that it is also related to arithmetical truth (which is not emulable by any machine, but machine are confronted to it). Consciousness per se is not just a process: it is a first person mental state relating some process with truth. What I say is that such process can be kept very minimal.

I don't venture to say less consciousness because I think of it as multi-dimensional and an animal may have some other aspect of consciousness that we lack.

Sure. Bats have plausibly some richer qualia associated to sound than humans. But what we discuss is that consciousness is either present or not. Then it can take many different shapes, and even intensity, up to the altered state of consciousness. Cotard syndrom is also interesting. People having it believe that they are dead, and some argue that they are not conscious, but in fact what happen is that they lack the ability to put any meaning on their consciousness.

"Put meaning on consciousness"? That makes no sense to me. They are obviously conscious of some things. If they were unconscious they couldn't respond.

There is a possibility that we can access a state where we are conscious only of one thing, that we are conscious. It *is* part of the unbelievable (G* minus G).

It shows that consciousness seems independent of the ability to interpret the consciousness content. Many pathological states of consciousness exist, but none makes me feel like if consciousness was not something (rich and variated) or nothing. You refer to the content of consciousness, not consciousness itself.

But you seem to contend that there can be consciousness without content - which I find absurd.

There is always a content, but it looks like we can limit it to one thing: "being conscious". This is coherent with Descartes and mechanism. Consciousness is the fixed point of the doubt, notably.



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