On 12/11/2013 12:56 PM, LizR wrote:
On 11 December 2013 17:34, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:


    On 12/10/2013 7:42 PM, LizR wrote:
    On 11 December 2013 10:24, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
    <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

        On 12/10/2013 11:54 AM, John Clark wrote:
        On Sun, Dec 8, 2013 at 7:33 PM, LizR <lizj...@gmail.com
        <mailto:lizj...@gmail.com>> wrote:

             > One needs a rigorous definition of what consciousness is, to 
start with,


        Examples are usually preferable to definitions.

            > and then a theory that explains all its observed features, and 
makes
            testable predictions.


        But that's the beauty of consciousness theories, we can detect 
consciousness
        only in ourselves so there are no observed features that a consciousness
        theory must explain,

        Actually there are some observed features.  A sharp blow to the head 
can create
        a gap in ones consciousness. Imbibing various substances that can cross 
the
        blood/brain barrier have somewhat predictable effects.  Localized 
electrical
        stimulation of the brain produces repeatable effects, both in 
consciousness and
        somatic.

    If you're assuming there is more to consciousness than the sum of our 
thoughts,
    experiences, memories, etc - then this /may/ be a description of features 
of the
    contents of consciousness, rather than of the thing itself.

    ?? Are you speculating that there are parts of consciousness we're not 
conscious of?


Not exactly. Consciousness has been /defined/ as a "bundle of sensory impressions" - I think this was originally David Hume - but it has also been defined as something else, which I guess would be called the having of those experiences. If one defines consciousness as the sum of one's sense impressions and so on, then the things you mention above affect consciousness; if not, they affect the contents of consciousness, but in the latter case the only way that consciousness itself is affected is that it is either present, or not.

Of course I may be following in the long philosophical tradition of splitting 
hairs here.

OK. That's reifying the set of experiences into a kind of vessel that holds the experiences. That seems like a mistake to me. Didn't Hume also say that however he tried he could not have an experience that had no content?


Brent

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