Well, I'm not sure what the point of your response below is but I'll
attempt to reply.
First consciousness, in the ordinary sense, does no processing of
visual information or anything else. That is all done by pre-
conscious mental mechanisms and only the end result is presented to
consciousness as a transient content of consciousness. So that
answers that question which seems to be at the root of your quandary.
I'm glad you at least agree that I've solved the problem (actually
just stated the obvious) of the eye not being able to see itself. But
I assure you, the situation is exactly analogous to that of
consciousness and explains precisely why there is no infinite
regress. Simply put consciousness can't be conscious of itself, it
can only be conscious of some model or idea of itself, precisely
because consciousness is like a mental eye, it is what is doing the
mental seeing, just as the physical eye is doing the physical seeing.
Thus the mental eye of consciousness cannot see itself, it can see
only thought representations of itself. These thoughts about itself
are not consciousness itself, they are representations of it. The
buck stops with both the physical eye and the eye of consciousness
and there can be no infinite regress.
Also you didn't address my counterfactual re the many instances we
are not aware that it is ourself that is being conscious, where there
is no homunculus. Since that feeling can disappear yet consciousness
still remain it is most obviously not essential to the functioning of
consciousness, and is instead a transient mental construct.
And you totally ignored my point that there can be no infinite
regress because if there were consciousness could not function. That
simple fact in itself disproves infinite regress.
And you ignore my well established point that the self is a mental
construct that arises during childhood.
On Dec 1, 2008, at 10:20 PM, Robert Karl Stonjek wrote:
Yes we do have mental models and consciousness does see
(experience) them. That is in fact what I just said. What I said
was that consciousness experiences a mental model of self and a
mental model of consciousness as an object (content) of
consciousness. Consciousness doesn't experience itself - it can't
because it is experience itself. The buck stops there....
The eye cannot see itself. It can see only a model or image (eg. a
reflection or photograph) of itself. That's the easy way to
understand it.... Thus there is no infinite regress of eyes seeing
eyes seeing eyes ad infinitum...
You are telling me there is no problem to solve, and then offer
proof by solving a different problem.
How can consciousness, by your usage of the term above, experience
a visual scene without processing visual information? And if it
does process visual information, do we subjectively 'see' the
processed or unprocessed version?
If a device, like a computer, is to respond to visual information
then we don't have a problem. Visual information is broken up into
salient subsections, perhaps separating out, say, motion, objects,
text and so on. So far, so good. But what if the computer is to
have a conscious experience of vision? What if the computer can
switch off it's camera and imagine what it was seeing? What if it
reports the processed imagery rather than what the camera saw?
The text filter only sees and reads the text, but the computer
reports that it can see the text in context ie it can 'see' the
output of both the object filter and the text filter. Have a look
at some Russian text, or Greek, or any text that you can not read.
That is what text should look like if we only see the visual
imagery of it. But we see words. To see words, the text must
follow a different processing path to the rest of the image seen.
We know this because the text filter can be knocked out separately
from other visual processing. When this happens, the text
previously readable becomes like Greek text even if the individual
can still spell words and even if the individual can still write
them. The words written are simply not recognised - the ink on the
paper is still perfectly visible but the extra processing and
integration of that processed information with the rest of that
visual field does not occur. We know that this reintegration
occurs because the process is relatively easy to trick into error -
adding, subtracting and changing words (a trick well known to
So how is it done? The computer must reintegrate all the filtered
visual information (colours, objects, edges, motions etc) and then
somehow look at it so that it can report having seen the processed
You have simply wandered off into some diatribe about self
reflection which I have repeatedly said is an unrelated issue. It
is not in the essay at the root of this thread and I have
repeatedly tried to point out that you are not addressing the
specific problem which I raised.
Robert Karl Stonjek