Begin forwarded message:

From: Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Date: December 1, 2008 7:46:58 AM EST
Subject: Re: [evol-psych] Re: Essay: Without Infinite Regress

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.....


On Dec 1, 2008, at 2:04 AM, andy_morleyuk wrote:

--- In [EMAIL PROTECTED], "Robert Karl Stonjek" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
> RKS:
> The problem here is that on the one hand you say the 'we' is
> beyond explanation, and on the other hand you use the 'we'
> to explain your position.

No - I'm simply saying that the people who perceive a problem here
have so far comprehensively failed to define what that problem is
in anything approaching clear and unambiguous terms.

We have a lot of facts at our disposal about how the human brain
(the organ) and the human mind (its cognitive processes) function.
There's still a lot there that we don't know, but there are no great
and puzzling contradictions in that information. These philosophical
so-called problems are merely chimera. I would challenge anyone
to define them in a way that makes sense, as a problem.

What is actually going on here is that homo sapiens is something
of an anomaly, being exceptionally high in intelligence but trapped
in a mammalian body that forces him/ her to accept being anchored
in the very physical, nitty-gritty world of mortality. Conversations
of this sort are just the confused attempts of humans to subjectively
grapple with fact of their own existence.

That's not something that can be or needs to be defined
scientifically. If you want to read about it, I would say that the
most authoritative text is probably *The Hitchhiker's Guide to the
Galaxy* and in particular, that passage that describes the thoughts
of a whale that suddenly materialises, along with a bunch of
flowers, several miles above the surface of some planet or other.

The speculations of that creature on life, the universe and all that
as it plummets to meet the planet's surface pretty much say it all
with regard to this sort of stuff.

Andy Morley

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