Do copies of you = you...from a physical determinism POV

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MRC_Hans
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Post by MRC_Hans »

I can confirm the anesthesia observation, although it is a long time ago. There is simply a period missing. That is also what people who have been in coma for long periods usually report when (if) they recover: They have a hard time realizing that time has passed.

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Post by MRC_Hans »

On the subject at hand: I find it easier to grasp if I, for a moment, disregard the physical form. Basically "I" am information. In the hypothetical teleporter, the physical form is scanned for all its information (presumably, the process is destructive), and the information is transferred. This transferred information is "me". At the receiving end, the information is read into physical form, because that is the only way "I" can continue to function. But "I" do not disappear in the meantime, and "I" do not die and a copy takes over, because "I" am my information.

Now, if an exact copy was made of the information and used to configure two physical forms, then at the time (call it t) of the duplication, they would both be "me". There would be two exactly identical sets of information in physical form at time t. On time t+1, where the unit is whatever time unit it takes for even the most minute change to happen in a physical form, the copies would no longer be identical, because their sets of information would start to diverge, as they collected slightly different information. They would now be clones. They would be two very similar, but different, individuals.

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Post by Stimpson J. Cat »

Ian,
I was simply raising the point that what may or may not be naturally possible has absolutely nothing to do with the thought experiment involving creating duplicates. Since Tez erroneously thinks otherwise, I just thought that it might be appropriate to point this out. What's your problem here? Perhaps you share his misunderstanding??
That is simply your opinion. The thought experiment raises many issues, both philosophical and scientific. The fact that you only happen to be interested in a specific subset of those issues, for which Tez's comments are not relevant, does not mean that nobody else is interested in these other issues that it raises. On the contrary, clearly some of us are interested in these other issues, and I really don't think we need your permission to discuss them. If they are not interesting to you, then simply do not address them.
If it is conceptually possible to have an exact duplicate (and this is what materialism/epiphenomenalism entails), then they can be no persistent self. This is seriously outrageously counter-intuitive.
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Stimp
And yet, this appears to be the case.
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On the contrary, it certainly does not appear to be the case.
It doesn't? Have you ever been under full anesthesia? You are the one who is always harping about how people's personal experiences should be accepted as evidence for your beliefs. What about my personal experience of lack of persistence of self? Does that not count or something? And apparently this is a pretty common thing. Are personal anecdotes only acceptable when they support your views?

Not to mention the huge amount of scientific evidence indicating that there is no persistence of consciousness. Of course, you can dismiss all the scientific evidence with your standard metaphysical ad-hoc rationalizations, but that does not change the fact that, as I said, it appears to be the case that there is no persistent self.


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Post by Interesting Ian »

Stimpson J. Cat wrote:Ian,
I was simply raising the point that what may or may not be naturally possible has absolutely nothing to do with the thought experiment involving creating duplicates. Since Tez erroneously thinks otherwise, I just thought that it might be appropriate to point this out. What's your problem here? Perhaps you share his misunderstanding??
That is simply your opinion.
I'm stating what is the case. The fact that we cannot actually duplicate someone with arbitrarily high precision is neither here nor there. How could it possibly have any relevance to the questions raised by the thought experiment? Only stupid people will fail to understand this.
The thought experiment raises many issues, both philosophical and scientific. The fact that you only happen to be interested in a specific subset of those issues, for which Tez's comments are not relevant,
I'm sorry? So what was the purpose of his comment?? I was well aware that QM entails that the original copy is destroyed. But that's simply not interesting.


does not mean that nobody else is interested in these other issues that it raises. On the contrary, clearly some of us are interested in these other issues,
{shrugs} Well you might be, but his comment was a non-sequitur.

If it is conceptually possible to have an exact duplicate (and this is what materialism/epiphenomenalism entails), then they can be no persistent self. This is seriously outrageously counter-intuitive.
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Stimp
And yet, this appears to be the case.
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On the contrary, it certainly does not appear to be the case.
It doesn't? Have you ever been under full anesthesia? You are the one who is always harping about how people's personal experiences should be accepted as evidence for your beliefs. What about my personal experience of lack of persistence of self? Does that not count or something? And apparently this is a pretty common thing. Are personal anecdotes only acceptable when they support your views?
I agree that this experience, or more accurately non-experience, is more congenial to the notion that the brain generates consciousness.

Not to mention the huge amount of scientific evidence indicating that there is no persistence of consciousness.
What's this persistence of consciousness you're talking about?? I was talking about persistence of the self. There is no persistence of the self under materialism, but clearly there is persistence of consciousness. Not forevermore of course because consciousness ceases to exist at death, but in your normal waking life there is. Doesn't seem to me you've understood what I said.

Of course, you can dismiss all the scientific evidence with your standard metaphysical ad-hoc rationalizations, but that does not change the fact that, as I said, it appears to be the case that there is no persistent self.
Now you're reverting back to self. I know of no scientific evidence which suggests there is no persistent self. You can only claim that if you equate the self with mind states. But by doing this you are simply begging the question. Obviously a materialist would equate any "self" with ones mind states, and therefore science, and indeed our experiences!, confirm there is no persistent self. However, a person who believes in a substantial self or soul would not equate their self with their mind states. To elaborate; ones mind states might change so that, for example, one gets more emotional when drunk etc, but that's not because the self has literally changed, but rather because one and the same self simply feels differently.
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Post by Stimpson J. Cat »

Ian,
I'm stating what is the case. The fact that we cannot actually duplicate someone with arbitrarily high precision is neither here nor there. How could it possibly have any relevance to the questions raised by the thought experiment? Only stupid people will fail to understand this.
The question of whether or not it is possible, and what would be involved in the process if it is, are questions raised by the thought experiment. The fact that they are not questions which you happen to be interested in, is what is "neither here nor there". If I recall, the starter of this thread simply asked for people's thoughts on the matter. What makes you think that you can dictate which specific aspects of this teleportation idea are, and are not, appropriate for discussion?
The thought experiment raises many issues, both philosophical and scientific. The fact that you only happen to be interested in a specific subset of those issues, for which Tez's comments are not relevant,
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I'm sorry? So what was the purpose of his comment?? I was well aware that QM entails that the original copy is destroyed. But that's simply not interesting.
So it's all about you, huh? Only the aspects that you find interesting should be discussed? Anything which you are already aware of should not be posted, since it might bore you? Get over yourself!
does not mean that nobody else is interested in these other issues that it raises. On the contrary, clearly some of us are interested in these other issues,
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{shrugs} Well you might be, but his comment was a non-sequitur .
It was not a non-sequitur. You are so self-centered that you do not even recognize that Tez was responding to people who clearly indicated that they were interested in this aspect of it.
I agree that this experience, or more accurately non -experience, is more congenial to the notion that the brain generates consciousness.
How noble of you.
What's this persistence of consciousness you're talking about?? I was talking about persistence of the self . There is no persistence of the self under materialism, but clearly there is persistence of consciousness. Not forevermore of course because consciousness ceases to exist at death, but in your normal waking life there is. Doesn't seem to me you've understood what I said.
Stop with the word games, Ian. The point is that there clearly is not a persistence of self. The very definition of what "self" is, rules out the possibility of the self existing without being aware that it exists. This means that my complete lack of any kind of experience during my anesthesia flatly contradicts the idea of persistence of self. The unescapable fact is that physical manipulation of my brain (through the use of chemicals) caused my "self" to temporarily cease to exist. This is 100% incompatible with the notion that the self exists independently of the brain. My self was not just cut off from sensory input, nor was it somehow free to roam around independent of my body, as your NDE fantasies suggest. It simply did not exist.
Of course, you can dismiss all the scientific evidence with your standard metaphysical ad-hoc rationalizations, but that does not change the fact that, as I said, it appears to be the case that there is no persistent self.
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Now you're reverting back to self. I know of no scientific evidence which suggests there is no persistent self.
Science does not make reference to the term "self", because that term has never been defined in a sufficiently rigorous way for it to do so. The term is only defined in a vague and intuitive way. That is why I specifically used the term "consciousness" rather than "self", when discussing the scientific evidence. The scientific evidence indicates that our very conception of "self" is not an accurate representation of reality.
You can only claim that if you equate the self with mind states. But by doing this you are simply begging the question. Obviously a materialist would equate any "self" with ones mind states, and therefore science, and indeed our experiences!, confirm there is no persistent self. However, a person who believes in a substantial self or soul would not equate their self with their mind states. To elaborate; ones mind states might change so that, for example, one gets more emotional when drunk etc, but that's not because the self has literally changed, but rather because one and the same self simply feels differently.
Then I have no idea what you mean by "self". My conception of "self" is my mind. I have no idea what your conception of it is, or how you can imagine the self existing without mind states. What, exactly, do you claim persisted while I was under anesthesia? And if it was not aware of its own existence, and did not have any physical existence either, then in what meaningful sense can you claim that it existed during that period of time?


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Post by Interesting Ian »

Stimpson J. Cat wrote:Ian,
I'm stating what is the case. The fact that we cannot actually duplicate someone with arbitrarily high precision is neither here nor there. How could it possibly have any relevance to the questions raised by the thought experiment? Only stupid people will fail to understand this.
The question of whether or not it is possible, and what would be involved in the process if it is, are questions raised by the thought experiment. The fact that they are not questions which you happen to be interested in, is what is "neither here nor there". If I recall, the starter of this thread simply asked for people's thoughts on the matter. What makes you think that you can dictate which specific aspects of this teleportation idea are, and are not, appropriate for discussion?
It was implied by Tez that the thought experiment whereby a duplicate is created is a non-issue since it seems that it is naturally impossible to create a precise duplicate. As I have explained, this is incorrect.

What's this persistence of consciousness you're talking about?? I was talking about persistence of the self . There is no persistence of the self under materialism, but clearly there is persistence of consciousness. Not forevermore of course because consciousness ceases to exist at death, but in your normal waking life there is. Doesn't seem to me you've understood what I said.
Stop with the word games, Ian.
Huh?? :o Word games?? You think that consciousness and the self connote the very same meaning?? If so I really do not see any purpose to further discussion on this issue :roll:


The point is that there clearly is not a persistence of self. The very definition of what "self" is, rules out the possibility of the self existing without being aware that it exists.
What definition might this be?

This means that my complete lack of any kind of experience during my anesthesia flatly contradicts the idea of persistence of self.
It certainly does not contradict persistence of self during our second by second waking lives! This is what we are discussing, not that the self persists forevermore :roll:
The unescapable fact is that physical manipulation of my brain (through the use of chemicals) caused my "self" to temporarily cease to exist.
No, the very most you can say is that your awareness of self was temporarily held in abeyance. And of course it could be the case that you did have experiences but simply forgot.

BTW I'm surprised that you've suddenly decided that anecdotes not only provide evidence for a thesis, but provide proof! :shock:

This is 100% incompatible with the notion that the self exists independently of the brain. My self was not just cut off from sensory input, nor was it somehow free to roam around independent of my body, as your NDE fantasies suggest. It simply did not exist.
In my model of the self there are many aspects to the self which we cannot access whilst the self is channelled through the brain. The whole of our subconscious for example. All of our memories etc. The brain limits the self so that we normally do not have awareness of the subconscious and the vast majority of our memories. But these memories etc are not actually lost, just temporarily not accessible whilst the brain is in a certain characteristic state. It is certainly not inconceivable that the totality of our awareness can be held temporarily in abeyance when the brain is in a certain state.

Of course, you can dismiss all the scientific evidence with your standard metaphysical ad-hoc rationalizations, but that does not change the fact that, as I said, it appears to be the case that there is no persistent self.
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Now you're reverting back to self. I know of no scientific evidence which suggests there is no persistent self.
Science does not make reference to the term "self", because that term has never been defined in a sufficiently rigorous way for it to do so.
Yes that's right. And this rather contradicts your assertion that there is scientific evidence against the notion of a persisting self. If the self is undefined and is nothing physical, then how can science provide evidence against it?? :roll:

The term is only defined in a vague and intuitive way. That is why I specifically used the term "consciousness" rather than "self", when discussing the scientific evidence. The scientific evidence indicates that our very conception of "self" is not an accurate representation of reality.
Then tell me what scientific evidence contradicts my notion of the self. How long must I wait before you answer me??

You can only claim that if you equate the self with mind states. But by doing this you are simply begging the question. Obviously a materialist would equate any "self" with ones mind states, and therefore science, and indeed our experiences!, confirm there is no persistent self. However, a person who believes in a substantial self or soul would not equate their self with their mind states. To elaborate; ones mind states might change so that, for example, one gets more emotional when drunk etc, but that's not because the self has literally changed, but rather because one and the same self simply feels differently.
Then I have no idea what you mean by "self". My conception of "self" is my mind. I have no idea what your conception of it is, or how you can imagine the self existing without mind states.
Yes I know. Basically I'm using the commonsensical notion of selfhood. The self is the "I". It is the subject of experiences (not the experiences themselves). And I didn't say it necessarily can exist without mind states (although it might). I said it's not one and the same thing as mind states.


What, exactly, do you claim persisted while I was under anesthesia? And if it was not aware of its own existence, and did not have any physical existence either, then in what meaningful sense can you claim that it existed during that period of time?
You're equating the self with a continuous stream of conscious experiences. But the self is not one and the same thing as its conscious experiences, rather it has conscious experiences. You're simply identifying the self with mind states again. This is the materialist hypothesis. So yet again you simply beg the question. Naughty naughty!

At the very most your unconscious period would simply mean that the self does not have a continuous stream of conscious experiences. So what? And remember you might have had experiences but simply forgot.

I have another question about this anesthesia episode of yours. Were you aware of time having passed? If you were how can you say you were in non-existence? If you weren't, then your self didn't cease to exist for a time then come back into existence. Rather your existence was continuous just as if you suddenly travelled to the future in some time travel device.
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Post by voidx »

Interesting Ian wrote: In my model of the self there are many aspects to the self which we cannot access whilst the self is channelled through the brain. The whole of our subconscious for example. All of our memories etc. The brain limits the self so that we normally do not have awareness of the subconscious and the vast majority of our memories. But these memories etc are not actually lost, just temporarily not accessible whilst the brain is in a certain characteristic state. It is certainly not inconceivable that the totality of our awareness can be held temporarily in abeyance when the brain is in a certain state.
You say they are inaccesible when the brain is in a certain characteristic state. This then implies that given the proper characteristic brain state, these memories would be accessible. It is also certainly not inconceivable that awareness is not conveyed by the brain, when the brain is in certain states. Tit for Tat.
Yes I know. Basically I'm using the commonsensical notion of selfhood. The self is the "I". It is the subject of experiences (not the experiences themselves). And I didn't say it necessarily can exist without mind states (although it might). I said it's not one and the same thing as mind states.
Why is it necessary for there to be a subject for experiences? Do not experiences happen regardless? Apples don't taste "delicious" for our benefit. If we were not around to eat apples, that would then preclude them from containing the attritibutes necessary to trigger "deliciousness"? If I'm getting Dennett right you are still holding onto this old fashioned concept of the cartesian theatre on some level. That being that "you", or "I", or the "self" is the audience, is the subject for which experiences have their purpose. The self, is sitting in the cartesian theatre, waiting for mind states and the brain to send it the represented experiences for its benefit. If the mind states and the brain can reproduce these experiences for some "self" then one wonders why they would bother at all. If they can reproduce the experience, why don't they just simply experience it themselves and act upon it. Cutting out the dead weight of the "self", at least as you define it as something wholly seperate from mind and brain states.
In the famous words of Dougall Maguire, "Whose that Ted?"
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Post by Stimpson J. Cat »

Ian,
It was implied by Tez that the thought experiment whereby a duplicate is created is a non-issue since it seems that it is naturally impossible to create a precise duplicate. As I have explained, this is incorrect.
No, there are other issues involved, which were brought up (such as the issue of which duplicate should be considered "me", or whether they both should), to which Tez's comments are directly relevant. You really should try to pay better attention to what people are saying.
Huh?? Word games?? You think that consciousness and the self connote the very same meaning?? If so I really do not see any purpose to further discussion on this issue
So let me get this straight... You don't consider the "self" to be an aspect of consciousness? What on Earth do you think it is? You are the one who brought up the "self", and asserted that it is persistent. What the Hell are you talking about???
The point is that there clearly is not a persistence of self. The very definition of what "self" is, rules out the possibility of the self existing without being aware that it exists.
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What definition might this be?
Good question. I assumed that by the "self", you were referring to whatever it is that has the experience of being me. If you think that the self can exist without experiencing, then I have not got the foggiest idea what you think it is, or what relevance you think it has to this thought experiment. Perhaps you should provide your definition, since you are the one who brought it up?
It certainly does not contradict persistence of self during our second by second waking lives! This is what we are discussing, not that the self persists forevermore
As I said before, what it contradicts is your notion that the self has any sort of existence independent of brain processes. Turn off the brain processes, and the self ceases to exist.
The unescapable fact is that physical manipulation of my brain (through the use of chemicals) caused my "self" to temporarily cease to exist .
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No, the very most you can say is that your awareness of self was temporarily held in abeyance.
I do not know of any definition of "self" for which it is even meaningful to say that it can exist without being aware of its existence. As I asked before, what is this "self" that you are claiming exists when I am under anesthesia? and in what sense can you claim it exists if it experiences nothing, interacts with nothing, and indeed does nothing? How does it differ from nothing at all?
And of course it could be the case that you did have experiences but simply forgot.
Of course, but the scientific evidence clearly indicates that this is not the case.
BTW I'm surprised that you've suddenly decided that anecdotes not only provide evidence for a thesis, but provide proof!
I refuse to believe that you could possibly be this stupid. You know perfectly well that I do not consider intuition and personal anecdotes to be reliable evidence. Not even my own. I do not base any of my beliefs on these experiences. My beliefs are based on the scientific evidence. My point is that it is inconsistent and hypocritical for you to constantly whine about how we should accept anecdotes and intuition as evidence for your beliefs, and then turn around and simply dismiss any intuitive or anecdotal evidence that contradicts your beliefs.

We are all quite aware that the scientific view of consciousness, the mind, the self, etc..., is in many ways counter-intuitive. We also are all quite aware that there is a virtually limitless supply of anecdotal "evidence" that conflicts with the scientific view of the mind. These things pose no problem to materialists, because we know perfectly well that intuition and anecdotal evidence are simply not reliable sources of information about the way things actually are.

Similarly, the huge amount of scientific evidence against your own view of the mind, poses no problem for you, because you reject the validity of scientific epistemology itself. You instead seem to believe that intuition and anecdotal evidence are reliable sources of information about the way things actually are. The point I have been making here, which you seem to have completely missed, is that our intuition often contradicts itself. The only rational conclusion that can be drawn is that, regardless of whether or not scientific epistemology is valid, intuition simply is not reliable.
In my model of the self there are many aspects to the self which we cannot access whilst the self is channelled through the brain. The whole of our subconscious for example. All of our memories etc. The brain limits the self so that we normally do not have awareness of the subconscious and the vast majority of our memories. But these memories etc are not actually lost, just temporarily not accessible whilst the brain is in a certain characteristic state. It is certainly not inconceivable that the totality of our awareness can be held temporarily in abeyance when the brain is in a certain state.
Of course, you can always invent ad-hoc explanations to make your model fit the evidence. But there are so many problems with this idea that I hardly even know where to begin. For starters, what possible reason could you have for inventing this "self"? You have defined it in such a way that the only time it can ever actually do anything that the brain could not do on its own, is when it is disconnected from the brain. And when this is the case, it has no ability to interact with the world. How does a person remember what his self did when his brain was inactive? This should be impossible, since by your own claim, once the self is reconnected to the brain, it is again constrained by the brain. Anything you remember when you are connected to your brain, is a memory physically stored in the brain. So how do these non-physical memories get in there?

It is complete nonsense, Ian. It is nothing more than a desperate attempt to reconcile your irrational belief in a soul, with the observable fact that everything about your mind that you conceptually think of as you, is completely determined by physical processes in your brain.
Science does not make reference to the term "self", because that term has never been defined in a sufficiently rigorous way for it to do so.
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Yes that's right. And this rather contradicts your assertion that there is scientific evidence against the notion of a persisting self. If the self is undefined and is nothing physical, then how can science provide evidence against it??
I really wish you would pay attention, Ian. I never said there was scientific evidence against the notion of a persisting self. I said that there is scientific evidence that our intuitive conceptions of the "self" do not accurately represent what is really going on, and that there is scientific evidence against the persistence of consciousness. The various aspects of the mind which we conceptually think of as our "selves", are all brain processes, and are not persistent.
The term is only defined in a vague and intuitive way. That is why I specifically used the term "consciousness" rather than "self", when discussing the scientific evidence. The scientific evidence indicates that our very conception of "self" is not an accurate representation of reality.
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Then tell me what scientific evidence contradicts my notion of the self. How long must I wait before you answer me??
I already did answer you. The problem is that you are making no attempt to understand what I am saying. All you are doing is taking each statement I make completely out of context, and responding to them as though I were saying whatever it is that you think I should be saying, based on your incredibly naive preconceptions of materialism.
Then I have no idea what you mean by "self". My conception of "self" is my mind. I have no idea what your conception of it is, or how you can imagine the self existing without mind states.
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Yes I know. Basically I'm using the commonsensical notion of selfhood. The self is the "I". It is the subject of experiences (not the experiences themselves). And I didn't say it necessarily can exist without mind states (although it might). I said it's not one and the same thing as mind states.
Hello? Are you even reading what you are saying? That is what I just said. The self is what experiences being me. Now tell me, Ian. If I am under anesthesia, and therefore experiencing nothing, then in what sense does my "self" still exist? In order for it to still exist while not experiencing anything, it must have more properties than just being the subject of my experiences. For a materialist, this is no problem, because the brain is the self. My brain is what experiences being me. And even when it is not experiencing anything, it still physically exists. But for you to claim that the non-physical self exists even when experiencing nothing, you must assign it some properties other than just being what experiences being me. It must be more than that. So what is it? What does the self do when it is not experiencing anything? In what sense does it exist at all when it is not experiencing anything?

In order for you to claim something exists, you must be able to say what the difference between it existing and not existing is. So if you are going to claim that my "self" did, in fact, exist while I was under anesthesia, then you need to explain how this situation differed from what it would have been if my "self" had not existed during that period. What is the difference? How do these two possible scenarios differ from each other?
What, exactly, do you claim persisted while I was under anesthesia? And if it was not aware of its own existence, and did not have any physical existence either, then in what meaningful sense can you claim that it existed during that period of time?
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You're equating the self with a continuous stream of conscious experiences. But the self is not one and the same thing as its conscious experiences, rather it has conscious experiences. You're simply identifying the self with mind states again.
No I am not. As I have explained twice now, I am identifying the self as being what has experiences, just as you are. Please at least try to pay attention to what I am saying.
This is the materialist hypothesis. So yet again you simply beg the question. Naughty naughty!
Are you high? This is most certainly not the materialist hypothesis. The materialist hypothesis is that what has the experiences is the brain. My brain existed while I was under anesthesia. It just was not experiencing anything during that period. Materialism has no problem with this. It is the idealistic notion that consciousness has some sort of existence independent of the brain, that has a problem with this. The only way to reconcile idealism with the fact that people do not have experiences when their brains are not functioning, is to arbitrarily declare that they do, in fact, have experiences during this period of time, and just don't remember it after words. If this is not an example of ad-hoc reasoning, I don't know what is.
At the very most your unconscious period would simply mean that the self does not have a continuous stream of conscious experiences. So what?
Again, in what sense can you say that a self exists if it is not experiencing anything? What other properties are you claiming the self has, and what reason do you have to assert that these other properties exist?
And remember you might have had experiences but simply forgot.
But I didn't, and that is a scientific fact. Your idea that brains are not stored in the brain, simply is not consistent with reality.
I have another question about this anesthesia episode of yours. Were you aware of time having passed? If you were how can you say you were in non-existence? If you weren't, then your self didn't cease to exist for a time then come back into existence. Rather your existence was continuous just as if you suddenly travelled to the future in some time travel device.
There was no sense of time having passed, but there was a definite sense of discontinuity. I am sorry that my experience does not conform to your false dilemma.


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Post by Interesting Ian »

voidx wrote:
Interesting Ian wrote: In my model of the self there are many aspects to the self which we cannot access whilst the self is channelled through the brain. The whole of our subconscious for example. All of our memories etc. The brain limits the self so that we normally do not have awareness of the subconscious and the vast majority of our memories. But these memories etc are not actually lost, just temporarily not accessible whilst the brain is in a certain characteristic state. It is certainly not inconceivable that the totality of our awareness can be held temporarily in abeyance when the brain is in a certain state.
You say they are inaccesible when the brain is in a certain characteristic state. This then implies that given the proper characteristic brain state, these memories would be accessible.
Yup.


It is also certainly not inconceivable that awareness is not conveyed by the brain, when the brain is in certain states. Tit for Tat.
I'm not sure what you're saying here.

Yes I know. Basically I'm using the commonsensical notion of selfhood. The self is the "I". It is the subject of experiences (not the experiences themselves). And I didn't say it necessarily can exist without mind states (although it might). I said it's not one and the same thing as mind states.
Why is it necessary for there to be a subject for experiences? Do not experiences happen regardless?
It is really peculiar to suggest experiences exist without any experiencers. Can there really be experiences, such as anger, without someone actually being angry??

Apples don't taste "delicious" for our benefit.
Would they taste delicious without a subject who actually experiences the taste??

If we were not around to eat apples, that would then preclude them from containing the attritibutes necessary to trigger "deliciousness"? If I'm getting Dennett right you are still holding onto this old fashioned concept of the cartesian theatre on some level.
I really think that philosophy should not be subject to fashion. It may not be fashionable to believe in a self, but that don't make it any less crazy. Yup, I believe in a persistent substantial self. A self who is the author of experiences. Otherwise how can we say that "I" have certain experiences, and you have certain other experiences?? *I* have experiences. I am not identical to those experiences. Thus, for example, I am not identical to the experience of redness, rather *I* experience redness, and maybe music at the same time etc. We are drawn irresistibly to the notion of a real enduring self.
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Post by Interesting Ian »

Stimpson J. Cat wrote:Ian,
It was implied by Tez that the thought experiment whereby a duplicate is created is a non-issue since it seems that it is naturally impossible to create a precise duplicate. As I have explained, this is incorrect.
No, there are other issues involved, which were brought up (such as the issue of which duplicate should be considered "me", or whether they both should), to which Tez's comments are directly relevant. You really should try to pay better attention to what people are saying.
Then we simply disagree with what Tez's point was. Only he can enlighten us.
Huh?? Word games?? You think that consciousness and the self connote the very same meaning?? If so I really do not see any purpose to further discussion on this issue
So let me get this straight... You don't consider the "self" to be an aspect of consciousness?
Of course not, it's quite the converse. Namely consciousness is an aspect of the self.

What on Earth do you think it is? You are the one who brought up the "self", and asserted that it is persistent. What the Hell are you talking about???
The self is what a person is. It is the *I*, the subject of experiences.
The point is that there clearly is not a persistence of self. The very definition of what "self" is, rules out the possibility of the self existing without being aware that it exists.
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What definition might this be?
Good question. I assumed that by the "self", you were referring to whatever it is that has the experience of being me.
Experience oneself??? :? What does that feel like? Clearly we do not experience ourselves all the time.

If you think that the self can exist without experiencing, then I have not got the foggiest idea what you think it is, or what relevance you think it has to this thought experiment. Perhaps you should provide your definition, since you are the one who brought it up?
I don't know. I don't know what you mean by experiences. If a person is sensorily isolated, and "empties" his mind, would you therefore say s/he has ceased to exist?? :?

And of course it could be the case that you did have experiences but simply forgot.
Of course, but the scientific evidence clearly indicates that this is not the case.
Huh??? Scientific evidence?? :shock: What scientific evidence might this be then??
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Post by Interesting Ian »

Ian
BTW I'm surprised that you've suddenly decided that anecdotes not only provide evidence for a thesis, but provide proof!
I refuse to believe that you could possibly be this stupid. You know perfectly well that I do not consider intuition and personal anecdotes to be reliable evidence. Not even my own. I do not base any of my beliefs on these experiences. My beliefs are based on the scientific evidence. My point is that it is inconsistent and hypocritical for you to constantly whine about how we should accept anecdotes and intuition as evidence for your beliefs, and then turn around and simply dismiss any intuitive or anecdotal evidence that contradicts your beliefs.
But I don't dismiss your anecdotal evidence. I've already stated that experiencing nothing whilst you were under anesthesia is more congenial to the hypothesis that brain is the source of consciousness. I should point out though that many people do not remember their dreams, and even vehemently deny they've had any. The same goes for NDEs. There is evidence to suggest that people do not remember their NDEs. So how do we know you had no experiences whatsoever?? I should also report that out of body experiences are often reported during anesthesia.


We are all quite aware that the scientific view of consciousness, the mind, the self, etc..., is in many ways counter-intuitive.
It aint scientific. It's your personal philosophy.

We also are all quite aware that there is a virtually limitless supply of anecdotal "evidence" that conflicts with the scientific view of the mind. These things pose no problem to materialists, because we know perfectly well that intuition and anecdotal evidence are simply not reliable sources of information about the way things actually are.
It depends on many factors. How widespread the reports are, how consistent they are with each other etc.

I am not aware of any particularly compelling evidence which favours your hypothesis over mine. I am aware of lots of compelling evidence that favours my hypothesis and appears prima facie to be incompatible with yours.



Similarly, the huge amount of scientific evidence against your own view of the mind, poses no problem for you, because you reject the validity of scientific epistemology itself.
Of the self, not mind. As I say, I am not aware of any of this evidence. Why do you refuse to let me know what it is??
voidx
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Post by voidx »

Interesting Ian wrote: I'm not sure what you're saying here.
You said the following:
Interesting Ian wrote: It is certainly not inconceivable that the totality of our awareness can be held temporarily in abeyance when the brain is in a certain state.
I gather from that, that you assume the self holds awareness in abeyance during certain brain states. I'm simply pointing out that the brain itself could fail to recognize its own awareness during certain brain states, making this seperate immaterial self redundant.
It is really peculiar to suggest experiences exist without any experiencers. Can there really be experiences, such as anger, without someone actually being angry??
Ok I worded that badly. Obviously someone has to be angry. The triggers for experiences can exist without the experiencer. I'd argue that your own body, individual parts of your own brain are triggers for experience, but alone are not the experiencer. That is the amalgamation of the brain. I guess my contention is that the brain in entirety is the experiencer it constructs a timeline of events and experiences based on external triggers, which include individual areas of the brain and the body and other physical objects. I just haven't seen a very strong reason for moving this concept of the experiencer out of the brain. You feel it must be taken out of the brain, to some "other" place where it can be experienced by the self. I don't see why this is necessary. If the brain creates a re-presenting of what was presented to it by the various individual parts of the brain and other physical inputs, then why would it need to send this to some none brain-area in order to be experienced by the self. What stops the "self" from residing in the brain?
voidx wrote: Apples don't taste "delicious" for our benefit.
Would they taste delicious without a subject who actually experiences the taste??
I would argue all the triggers for taste so far as the apple is concerned would be there. Whether that taste for whatever reason is thought to be "delicious" or "gross" would depend on the experiencer. The experiencer in turn would rely on other triggers specific to itself, that being its physical taste buds, individual areas of the brain, memories, all of which in totality of the brain, create the experiencer.
I really think that philosophy should not be subject to fashion. It may not be fashionable to believe in a self, but that don't make it any less crazy. Yup, I believe in a persistent substantial self. A self who is the author of experiences. Otherwise how can we say that "I" have certain experiences, and you have certain other experiences?? *I* have experiences. I am not identical to those experiences. Thus, for example, I am not identical to the experience of redness, rather *I* experience redness, and maybe music at the same time etc. We are drawn irresistibly to the notion of a real enduring self.
Its how you perceive that self that I was trying to get at. You see the self as something independant, sitting atop the brain and brain states. Watching on a screen all the experiences that the brain displays for it, yet cannot comprehend. Where I see the self as an inextricable totality of the entire brain.

Here's an anology. Say the brain is like a division of a company, made up of different departments. The triggers for the taste of an apple come in through the mouth department, so the whole division, if necessary gets to work on this new work project. Each area doing its own work and requesting or sending information to other departments as is necessary. At any given point in time you can stick in a probe and the relevant departments will produce a report as to what they think of the apple at that point in time. The report instantly is modified after that as the division as a whole is still working on the project. If you stick the probe in several moments later, the report will be different from before. Now at some point the division will reach some form of conclusion about the apple taken in by the mouth department and can do several things in response. It can send out releases, in the form of saying "Mmmm this apple is delicious", or saying, "mmmm" in response, or smiling in response, or it can merely file away the current report in memory that the apple was "delicious". However that report is not set in concrete because the memory section has a way of losing portions of the report, or in an effort to remember what they were saying exactly intentionally or unintentially makes revisions to the report stored in memory. Despite all this, the division is self-reliant. It can operate solely on its own with no apparent detriment because the division as a whole operates as the "self". Now you would go and put a CEO on top of this division. He contributes nothing, but merely demands reports on current progress' and then parrots them. He gets a report that states, "The apple is delicious sir" and he says, "Ahhh yes delicious, excellent work, now please send out a release saying "mmmmm". However, work goes on fine without him, change the CEO or fire him completely and it really doesn't seem to change anything. Its common I think to envision all the departments always running into a large boardroom to continually draw out everything that's going on for the CEO, but it seems redundant and unnecessary.

I'm now going to shut up because I think I've rambled on enough to confuse you sufficiently :)
In the famous words of Dougall Maguire, "Whose that Ted?"
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Post by Interesting Ian »

In my model of the self there are many aspects to the self which we cannot access whilst the self is channelled through the brain. The whole of our subconscious for example. All of our memories etc. The brain limits the self so that we normally do not have awareness of the subconscious and the vast majority of our memories. But these memories etc are not actually lost, just temporarily not accessible whilst the brain is in a certain characteristic state. It is certainly not inconceivable that the totality of our awareness can be held temporarily in abeyance when the brain is in a certain state.
Of course, you can always invent ad-hoc explanations to make your model fit the evidence. But there are so many problems with this idea that I hardly even know where to begin. For starters, what possible reason could you have for inventing this "self"?
Basically because it's crazy to believe in experiences existing in abstraction from any experiencers.

You have defined it in such a way that the only time it can ever actually do anything that the brain could not do on its own, is when it is disconnected from the brain.
Nonsense. You forget I believe in free will. I hold the self can initiate physical events.


And when this is the case, it has no ability to interact with the world. How does a person remember what his self did when his brain was inactive? This should be impossible, since by your own claim, once the self is reconnected to the brain, it is again constrained by the brain.
I've said before the self is "filtered" by the brain. I have never claimed the self is causally inefficacious. You know I believe in free will.


Anything you remember when you are connected to your brain, is a memory physically stored in the brain. So how do these non-physical memories get in there?
I do not understand how memories can be physically stored. How can a conscious event be physically stored? It is nonsensical.
Science does not make reference to the term "self", because that term has never been defined in a sufficiently rigorous way for it to do so.
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Yes that's right. And this rather contradicts your assertion that there is scientific evidence against the notion of a persisting self. If the self is undefined and is nothing physical, then how can science provide evidence against it??
I really wish you would pay attention, Ian. I never said there was scientific evidence against the notion of a persisting self.
First of all there was this exchange:


Ian
If it is conceptually possible to have an exact duplicate (and this is what materialism/epiphenomenalism entails), then they can be no persistent self. This is seriously outrageously counter-intuitive.


Stimp
And yet, this appears to be the case.


Later on you talk about scientific evidence saying there is no persistence of consciousness. In the next post you said that consciousness and self have identical meanings. So therefore I rather think that you did! :shock:


I said that there is scientific evidence that our intuitive conceptions of the "self" do not accurately represent what is really going on, and that there is scientific evidence against the persistence of consciousness.
And you said that you understand persistence of consciousness to mean persistence of the self :roll:
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Post by Interesting Ian »

The term is only defined in a vague and intuitive way. That is why I specifically used the term "consciousness" rather than "self", when discussing the scientific evidence. The scientific evidence indicates that our very conception of "self" is not an accurate representation of reality.
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Then tell me what scientific evidence contradicts my notion of the self. How long must I wait before you answer me??
I already did answer you.
Where?? I cannot recall seeing it. Please quote it again.
Then I have no idea what you mean by "self". My conception of "self" is my mind. I have no idea what your conception of it is, or how you can imagine the self existing without mind states.
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Yes I know. Basically I'm using the commonsensical notion of selfhood. The self is the "I". It is the subject of experiences (not the experiences themselves). And I didn't say it necessarily can exist without mind states (although it might). I said it's not one and the same thing as mind states.
Hello? Are you even reading what you are saying? That is what I just said.
Huh??? You most certainly definitely did not! Are you daft??

The self is what experiences being me.
Experiences being you?? :?


In order for you to claim something exists, you must be able to say what the difference between it existing and not existing is.
No, you are the one making the claim here. You are saying the self doesn't exist during anesthesia. The only evidence you have offered so far is that you cannot recollect anything during this state. It is still not clear to me that the self needs to persistently continually experience before existing. In sensory isolation and emptying our minds of all thoughts, have we therefore ceased to exist?? All you're doing is applying this logical positivist criteria to existence.

What, exactly, do you claim persisted while I was under anesthesia? And if it was not aware of its own existence, and did not have any physical existence either, then in what meaningful sense can you claim that it existed during that period of time?
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You're equating the self with a continuous stream of conscious experiences. But the self is not one and the same thing as its conscious experiences, rather it has conscious experiences. You're simply identifying the self with mind states again.
No I am not. As I have explained twice now, I am identifying the self as being what has experiences, just as you are. Please at least try to pay attention to what I am saying.
Right, so if the self and its experiences are 2 different things, it is not therefore inherently absurd to suppose the self existing in abstraction from any experiences?? Unless you're saying the self is ontologically dependent on experiences rather than vice versa??
This is the materialist hypothesis. So yet again you simply beg the question. Naughty naughty!
Are you high? This is most certainly not the materialist hypothesis. The materialist hypothesis is that what has the experiences is the brain.
Surely not. It must be the function the brain performs surely??
My brain existed while I was under anesthesia. It just was not experiencing anything during that period. Materialism has no problem with this. It is the idealistic notion that consciousness has some sort of existence independent of the brain, that has a problem with this.
And out of body experiences during anesthesia are compatible with the idealist notion (indeed arguably it is what those who advocate a substantial self might expect).
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Post by loki »

{Walks into room, spots Ian..."Shit"!...turns and leaves quietly}
Refuse To Be Denied
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Post by Stimpson J. Cat »

Ian,
So let me get this straight... You don't consider the "self" to be an aspect of consciousness?
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Of course not, it's quite the converse. Namely consciousness is an aspect of the self.
Oh please. What kind of semantic dancing is this? You are just playing around with words. The point is that when we talk about consciousness, our sense of self is one of the things we are talking about.
Good question. I assumed that by the "self", you were referring to whatever it is that has the experience of being me.
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Experience oneself??? What does that feel like? Clearly we do not experience ourselves all the time.
Read what I said, Ian. The experience of being me. The self is what experiences. It is the part of me that has my experiences. It is the experiencer. I really don't see how I could be any more clear than this...
If you think that the self can exist without experiencing, then I have not got the foggiest idea what you think it is, or what relevance you think it has to this thought experiment. Perhaps you should provide your definition, since you are the one who brought it up?
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I don't know. I don't know what you mean by experiences. If a person is sensorily isolated, and "empties" his mind, would you therefore say s/he has ceased to exist??
No, I would say that he is not conscious. Remember that I do not believe in some disembodied non-physical "self" that experiences things for us. I believe that the brain is what experiences things. But if you are right, and there is some disembodied non-physical self that experiences things for us, then I have no idea what the difference between this self "existing", but not experiencing anything, and it not existing at all, would be. You need to explain what other characteristics this "self" of yours supposedly has, other than the characteristic of experiencing things. Otherwise it is nothing more than incoherent gibberish for you to talk about it persisting after death, or during deep anesthesia.
And of course it could be the case that you did have experiences but simply forgot.
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Of course, but the scientific evidence clearly indicates that this is not the case.
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Huh??? Scientific evidence?? What scientific evidence might this be then??
The scientific evidence clearly showing that memories are physically stored in the brain. It is nonsense to talk about remembering when your brain is not active, unless you postulate some other agency, such as the self, also being capable of storing memories. But this would require some mechanism for this self to convey that information to the brain for processing, and there is very strong scientific evidence that no such mechanism exists.

The bottom line is that your notion of the brain acting as some sort of "filter" between the self and the body, simply is not consistent with our scientific understanding of what the brain actually does. The brain does think. It does remember things. It does learn. It is self-aware. Not only is there no need to introduce a ghost in the machine, there is no room for the ghost, because the machine is already doing most (if not all) of the things that you are claiming the ghost does.

This is exactly why epiphenomenalism was invented. People who, unlike you, are not completely clueless about modern neuroscience, recognize that things like perception, thought, memory, and even intuition, are all physical brain processes. The only thing left that is even remotely controversial is so-called "phenomenal consciousness". Your position, which is essentially just supernatural spiritualism in a funny hat, is simply not consistent with what we know about how the world works. There is no ghost in the machine magically interacting with the brain.
But I don't dismiss your anecdotal evidence. I've already stated that experiencing nothing whilst you were under anesthesia is more congenial to the hypothesis that brain is the source of consciousness. I should point out though that many people do not remember their dreams, and even vehemently deny they've had any. The same goes for NDEs. There is evidence to suggest that people do not remember their NDEs. So how do we know you had no experiences whatsoever?? I should also report that out of body experiences are often reported during anesthesia.
As I said before, the only logical conclusion that can be reached is that such intuitive and anecdotal evidence is clearly unreliable, and cannot be accepted as supporting evidence for anything. The whole reason I brought this up is because it clearly demonstrates that even if you completely reject science, it is a simple observable fact that intuition and personal subjective interpretations of experiences are not reliable sources of information.

You don't dismiss my anecdotal evidence? Well, you should. I do.
We are all quite aware that the scientific view of consciousness, the mind, the self, etc..., is in many ways counter-intuitive.
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It aint scientific. It's your personal philosophy.
You don't have the slightest idea what you are talking about. Your willful ignorance of an entire field of scientific research, and your dogmatic insistence that it does not exist, is not going to make it go away.
We also are all quite aware that there is a virtually limitless supply of anecdotal "evidence" that conflicts with the scientific view of the mind. These things pose no problem to materialists, because we know perfectly well that intuition and anecdotal evidence are simply not reliable sources of information about the way things actually are.
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It depends on many factors. How widespread the reports are, how consistent they are with each other etc.

I am not aware of any particularly compelling evidence which favours your hypothesis over mine. I am aware of lots of compelling evidence that favours my hypothesis and appears prima facie to be incompatible with yours.
Complete drivel. Your criteria for deciding whether or not anecdotal evidence should be accepted or not is completely subjective, and of no practical value whatsoever. Only somebody who is completely ignorant of basic human psychology and sociology, would think that factors like how widespread anecdotal reports are, and how consistent they are with each other, has any bearing on whether or not they are reliable.
Similarly, the huge amount of scientific evidence against your own view of the mind, poses no problem for you, because you reject the validity of scientific epistemology itself.
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Of the self, not mind. As I say, I am not aware of any of this evidence. Why do you refuse to let me know what it is??
This would be funny if it were not so pathetic. I have not refused to tell you what it is. You have refused to even so much as look at the evidence, because your dogmatic view of the world assures you that no scientific research could ever, even in principle, tell us anything about the mind.
Of course, you can always invent ad-hoc explanations to make your model fit the evidence. But there are so many problems with this idea that I hardly even know where to begin. For starters, what possible reason could you have for inventing this "self"?
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Basically because it's crazy to believe in experiences existing in abstraction from any experiencers.
Why does this require a disembodied non-physical self? Why can't the brain be the experiencer? Because you find it counter-intuitive?
You have defined it in such a way that the only time it can ever actually do anything that the brain could not do on its own, is when it is disconnected from the brain.
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Nonsense. You forget I believe in free will. I hold the self can initiate physical events.
Then present your evidence. The moment you declare that the self physically interacts with the brain, you are making a claim which is subject to scientific investigation. Why is there no evidence of any outside influences interacting with the brain? Why is there no evidence of any mechanism by which, even in principle, such interactions could occur? And what possible justification could there be for claiming that these physical effects are present, when there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever for them.

Your intuitive belief that free-will requires some sort of supernatural intervention, does not constitute a justification for claiming the existence of something which defies all known natural laws.
Anything you remember when you are connected to your brain, is a memory physically stored in the brain. So how do these non-physical memories get in there?
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I do not understand how memories can be physically stored. How can a conscious event be physically stored? It is nonsensical.
What I don't understand is why somebody who clearly knows nothing about what the brain is capable of, or how it works, would so adamantly insist that he knows that some set of phenomena are not brain processes. You clearly know nothing about what the brain is capable of, yet you are absolutely convinced that it is not capable of being a self-aware, conscious being.
I really wish you would pay attention, Ian. I never said there was scientific evidence against the notion of a persisting self.
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First of all there was this exchange:

Ian
If it is conceptually possible to have an exact duplicate (and this is what materialism/epiphenomenalism entails), then they can be no persistent self. This is seriously outrageously counter-intuitive.

Stimp
And yet, this appears to be the case.

Later on you talk about scientific evidence saying there is no persistence of consciousness. In the next post you said that consciousness and self have identical meanings. So therefore I rather think that you did!
Again, Ian, the scientific evidence indicates that the notion of an independently existing "self", does not accurately represent reality. There is no scientific evidence against the persistence of such a self, for exactly the same reason that there is no scientific evidence that Unicorn horns are not hollow. You are talking about something that simply does not exist.
I said that there is scientific evidence that our intuitive conceptions of the "self" do not accurately represent what is really going on, and that there is scientific evidence against the persistence of consciousness.
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And you said that you understand persistence of consciousness to mean persistence of the self
No, I did not. On the contrary, I specifically explained that while the term "consciousness" is well-defined scientifically to refer to things like thought, perception, memory, etc..., the term "self" is not coherently defined, but is instead a vague intuitive conception which does not accurately represent anything real.
Then tell me what scientific evidence contradicts my notion of the self. How long must I wait before you answer me??
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I already did answer you.
It's called neuroscience, Ian. If you can't be bothered to learn anything about it, don't expect me to waste my time explaining it in detail to you here. I, and others, have repeatedly cited examples of such scientific evidence, and given you links and references to where you could learn more about it. Each time you simply dismiss it as being irrelevant (based on your preconception that such research could not possibly have anything to do with consciousness), without ever bothering to learn enough about it to realize why your preconceptions are wrong. Your entire philosophical worldview is safely shielded behind an impenetrable wall of willful ignorance.
The self is what experiences being me.
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Experiences being you??
You can't seriously be confused by that, can you? I have experiences. My sense of self is my conceptualization of what is having those experiences. Are you seriously having trouble with this concept, or are you just being deliberately obtuse?
In order for you to claim something exists, you must be able to say what the difference between it existing and not existing is.
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No, you are the one making the claim here. You are saying the self doesn't exist during anesthesia.
Wrong. I don't think that any non-physical disembodied self exists at all. I am saying that if you want to claim that such a thing does exist, and that furthermore it exists even when I am not experiencing anything, then you need to explain what that means. What is it? What are its properties? So far, the only property you have assigned to it is the property of being what experiences things. Until such time as you stipulate what its other properties are, claiming that it exists when it does not have the property of experiencing things, does not mean anything.
The only evidence you have offered so far is that you cannot recollect anything during this state. It is still not clear to me that the self needs to persistently continually experience before existing. In sensory isolation and emptying our minds of all thoughts, have we therefore ceased to exist?? All you're doing is applying this logical positivist criteria to existence.
I have not claimed proof, I have claimed that your claim is meaningless. If you cannot tell me what properties the self has, besides the property of experiencing things, then you cannot meaningfully say that it exists when it is not experiencing anything.

My entire point here is that your notion of the self is hopelessly incoherent. It is not even wrong. It is not well-enough defined to be right or wrong. It is just incoherent nonsense.
No I am not. As I have explained twice now, I am identifying the self as being what has experiences, just as you are. Please at least try to pay attention to what I am saying.
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Right, so if the self and its experiences are 2 different things, it is not therefore inherently absurd to suppose the self existing in abstraction from any experiences?? Unless you're saying the self is ontologically dependent on experiences rather than vice versa??
I am not claiming that the self is, or is not, ontologically dependent on experiences, or that it can, or can not, exist in abstraction from them. What I am saying is that if you want to claim that there is some disembodied non-physical self that exists, even when it is not experiencing anything, then you need to explain what its properties are. So far the only property you have assigned to it, is the property of being what experiences things. What other properties does it have, if any? If you cannot assign any other properties to it, then it is completely meaningless to talk about persistence of self.
Are you high? This is most certainly not the materialist hypothesis. The materialist hypothesis is that what has the experiences is the brain.
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Surely not. It must be the function the brain performs surely??
What? Experiences are functions the brain performs. That is what it means to say that the brain is having experiences. You seem to think that materialists also believe in a ghost in the machine, and just believe that it is some sort of manifestation, or epiphenomenon of brain processes. This is not true. Materialists do not believe in any sort of ghost in the machine. The machine is all there is.
My brain existed while I was under anesthesia. It just was not experiencing anything during that period. Materialism has no problem with this. It is the idealistic notion that consciousness has some sort of existence independent of the brain, that has a problem with this.
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And out of body experiences during anesthesia are compatible with the idealist notion (indeed arguably it is what those who advocate a substantial self might expect).
They are also compatible with materialism, since there is absolutely no reliable evidence that they are, in fact, actually "out of body". Such anecdotes are not evidence of anything. Show conclusive reliable evidence that any of these so-called "out of body" experiences actually occurred while the brain was not functioning, and maybe you will have something.

Until then, you are just taking unreliable data, and fitting it to your pre-conceived untestable hypothesis. There is no evidence to support your beliefs. No logical reason to think they are true, and substantial scientific evidence indicating that they are not. Your position is completely and utterly irrational.


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Post by Interesting Ian »

I don't intend responding to all this complete idiocy. Let's just concentrate on the nitty gritty.

Stimpson J. Cat wrote:

II
And of course it could be the case that you did have experiences but simply forgot.
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Of course, but the scientific evidence clearly indicates that this is not the case.
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Huh??? Scientific evidence?? What scientific evidence might this be then??
The scientific evidence clearly showing that memories are physically stored in the brain.
Utterly impossible. It is vacuous to state that something non-physical can be stored anywhere. It is not possible that there could be any such scientific evidence. There never could be any evidence in principle.

It is nonsense to talk about remembering when your brain is not active, unless you postulate some other agency, such as the self, also being capable of storing memories.
The self doesn't store memories. Memories are an intrinsic aspect of the self. But certainly on remembering the brain would be active. Or are you saying the brain needs to be active at the time of the remembered event?? If so then how would you justify this thesis?

But this would require some mechanism for this self to convey that information to the brain for processing,
Memories are not information. Information is what the physical world is. Nor do I understand why there needs to be a mechanism. Why do non-physical existents require a mechanism??

and there is very strong scientific evidence that no such mechanism exists.

The bottom line is that your notion of the brain acting as some sort of "filter" between the self and the body, simply is not consistent with our scientific understanding of what the brain actually does.
Could you give some specific examples of scientific understanding which is at tension with transmission theory??

If you're unable to, then I'm afraid I'm going to have to conclude that you're talking out of your arse.

The brain does think. It does remember things.
Logically impossible I'm afraid. Say it as much as you like, it ain't gonna change cold facts.
It does learn. It is self-aware. Not only is there no need to introduce a ghost in the machine, there is no room for the ghost, because the machine is already doing most (if not all) of the things that you are claiming the ghost does.

This is exactly why epiphenomenalism was invented. People who, unlike you, are not completely clueless about modern neuroscience, recognize that things like perception, thought, memory, and even intuition, are all physical brain processes.
The epiphenomenalists are talking about the neural correlates of these things.


OK, I'll leave it at that. I asked you what the scientific evidence is that we do not have any experiences under anaesthesia, and you have failed to respond. Moreover, any such alleged "scientific evidence" must be flawed since people often have out of body experiences under anaesthesia.

How do you account for this?? Is there brain activity when one is under anaesthesia?? What about a coma and on the threshold of death?? Does the scientific evidence have it that there are no experiences on the threshold of death?? If so do you agree that such "evidence" is flawed since people have NDEs??

Please answer my questions just this once.

Thanks.
Darat
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:00 pm

Post by Darat »

Interesting Ian wrote:...snip...
Stimpy

The brain does think. It does remember things.
Logically impossible I'm afraid. Say it as much as you like, it ain't gonna change cold facts.
Can you provide the "logically impossible" logic?
Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
Posts: 365
Joined: Sun Jun 06, 2004 12:20 pm

Post by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos »

Ian wrote:Nor do I understand why there needs to be a mechanism. Why do non-physical existents require a mechanism??
And that, my friends, pretty much sums up two years of discussion. When you toss all the complicated stuff into the bucket that doesn't require a mechanism, you can explain anything. None of that pesky logic to worry about, either. Why do scientists labor on so intensively when there is such a simple just-so explanation?

I got dem ol' ipse dixit blues.

~~ Paul
Darat
Posts: 135
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2004 9:00 pm

Post by Darat »

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos wrote:
Ian wrote:Nor do I understand why there needs to be a mechanism. Why do non-physical existents require a mechanism??
And that, my friends, pretty much sums up two years of discussion.

…snip…

~~ Paul
Is it only two years? Seems much longer to me. :)

Sadly it seems I am required to do some work and use reason and evidence before I can even begin to think I “know" something unfortunately, unlike others, I was not lucky enough to be born knowing the “answer” to life, the universe and everything.