Begin forwarded message:

From: Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Date: December 1, 2008 4:29:02 PM EST
Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Essay: Without Infinite Regress


But the viewer and the thing viewed is precisely the problem of self-consciousness because the infinite regress problem does not arise unless the thing viewed is the viewer. The error is that there is no viewer of consciousness, no self that stands outside of and views consciousness, the notion of a viewer is just one of many constructs and contents of consciousness. That is the whole point of my post.

So the error of conflating consciousness with self consciousness is in fact the root problem of the supposed infinite regress.

Consciousness of itself is not an infinite regress, because consciousness can only view a cognitive model of consciousness as a content of consciousness, never consciousness itself so no infinite regress is possible.

Your problem may stem from the feeling that there is a watcher which knows it is watching the contents of consciousness pass by. The error is that that sense of a watcher is just another content of consciousness. This sense of self is an evolutionary adaptation which facilitates more efficient interaction with an environment. However in deep meditation, when consciousness itself is most evident due to the diminution of the passing contents of consciousness, the feeling there is a watcher vanishes and only direct experience, antecedent to the distinction of watcher and watched, of experiencer and experienced, remains.

There is no watcher, there is only watching....


On Dec 1, 2008, at 12:13 PM, Robert Karl Stonjek wrote:

Robert, Andy, et al

OK, I've been lurking on this thread but have to jump in here on this infinite regress consciousness question.

There is no infinite regress. Obviously of course, or there could never be a functional consciousness.

The error is quite simple, it is the false assumption that consciousness is self-consciousness, which I've debunked a number of times on this forum.

When one falsely assumes that consciousness is self consciousness, then one is stuck with infinite regress, because there must always be a consciousness of the consciousness ad infinitum.

But the reality is that consciousness is not self-consciousness. The concept of self is simply one of many contents of consciousness, and how that arises during childhood has been recognized since Piaget. Self is a construct of consciousness, one of many.

Consciousness itself is non-recursive, it is analogous to a perfect fluid in which the various contents of consciousness (sensations, thoughts, emotions, thoughts of self etc.) continually arise and pass like ripples in the fluid.

All this is explained clearly in my paper HardProblem.pdf which I've linked here on a number of occasions though no one seems to have taken the trouble to read it...... If they had this thread would never have reared it's illusory head.....

The discussion is not about self consciousness, that is a separate issue. The discussion is about what the essay at the root of this thread is about, which has nothing to do with self consciousness.

The infinite regress I refer to in the essay is the one generated by explanations of the subjective experience of consciousness. The experience is one of a viewer and a view eg I can imagine something with my eyes closed and then describe it. So, what is that all about?

The infinite regress occurs when we realise that there must be a viewer and a thing viewed, but where does that end?

The self and a view of the self is a different issue.


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