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
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
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
"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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