What "Is" Consciousness?

Discussion of consciousness: what it is, what it isn't, Jaynes's ideas vs. other theorists, consciousness and language, studies of cognition in non-human species, etc.
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diogenes
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What "Is" Consciousness?

Post by diogenes » Sun Feb 27, 2005 10:23 pm

I'll dare to start this topic. Here's a short, one-page, description:

www.xenodochy.org/philosophy/consciousness.html
Last edited by diogenes on Mon Feb 28, 2005 11:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Ralph E. Kenyon, Jr.
http://www.xenodochy.org/ralph.html
It's not that seeing is believing, believing is seeing,
and we're much better at believing than we are at seeing.

Soupdragon
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Post by Soupdragon » Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:38 pm

Interesting links. I like the mirror analogies.

I tend to think that the Bicameral Mind offered a better balance between self (left) and the external world (right). In other words we felt a more profound conection with the world around us, and were less self-obsessed rather than necessarily less self-aware. Perhaps being more aware of our environment might actually make us more self-aware, as a result of feeling more important in some connected sense.

Perhaps some bicameral civilisations went too far the other way, with the worship of 'gods' taking precedence to some detrimental degree.

godmemes
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Post by godmemes » Tue Jan 02, 2007 1:22 am

In regard to the model of consciousness (see the first link) offered for consideration by diogenes, I see a problem:

If it were true that consciousness was a function of each hemisphere of the brain monitoring the other hemisphere through the corpus callosum, it follows that patients who have had the corpus callosum severed surgically should lose the capacity for consciousness.

Although Jaynes never specifically states that such "split-brain" patients retain the capacity for consciousness, I think that he WOULD have mentioned it if they did not. In fact, it takes rather elaborate experiments to find the mental deficits of split-brain patients. I think that somebody would have noticed and reported a loss of the capacity for consciousness in such patients, considering how extensively they have been studied, if such a deficit existed. I have read some of the "split-brain" literature (some of Gazzaniga's writings, for instance) and I am not aware of any such report. Therefore, I respectfully suggest that the model of consciousness presented by Mr. Kenyon (diogenes) is incorrect.
Mark Zima

My blog (essays+forum) site is godmemes.com

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Post by Moderator » Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:38 am

Yes split brain patients are indeed still conscious. What seems to happen is a sort of "dual consciousness" for a period of time after the operation, with each hemisphere acting somewhat independently, but with the actions of the right hemisphere feeling to the patient something like an alien presence acting in their body.

Those interested in a good discussion of split brain patients might enjoy Of Two Minds: The Revolutionary Science of Dual-Brain Psychology by Fredric Schiffer (which also goes on to apply the concepts to therapy).

pigeonsailor
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this might interest you, if it hasn't already

Post by pigeonsailor » Thu Aug 02, 2007 2:17 pm

http://www.amazon.com/Am-Strange-Loop-D ... 0465030785

It's sort of a cutesily written book but the basic ideas are interesting. This is the Hofstadter of Godel Escher Bach fame...

Memento Mori
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Re: What "Is" Consciousness?

Post by Memento Mori » Wed Apr 15, 2009 10:27 am

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Last edited by Memento Mori on Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Memento Mori
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Re: What "Is" Consciousness?

Post by Memento Mori » Sat Jul 25, 2009 10:29 pm

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sentrydogman
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Re: What "Is" Consciousness?

Post by sentrydogman » Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:10 am

OK OK, but none of this high sounding talk explains how this "conciousness" is "created" by the coming together of a conglomeration
of cellular material. It's nothing more that a BLOB, so HOW did this BLOB become so sophisticated ? Super GOO ? :mrgreen:
Last edited by sentrydogman on Sat Jun 04, 2011 8:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: What "Is" Consciousness?

Post by Moderator » Tue Jun 07, 2011 3:06 pm

It sounds like you have not yet read Jaynes's book...

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