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Author: xebec Three stars, 500 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 25063  
Subject: Re: Consciousness and its relationship to Evolut Date: 6/6/2001 5:54 PM
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I would very much like to understand what you are talking about. I am sincere in my attempt and hope you can answer some questions. Please don't think I am being a smart aleck or anything ...


Conciousness is not a thing, but a function of the brain, in the same way that the circulation of blood is not a thing, but a property of the vasculature and heart.

OK. Consciousness is a function: "the proper work, normal action or use, purpose". I would guess 'normal action' to be the best choice.

I am confused by saying the circulation of the blood is a property of the heart, although calling it 'the proper work' seems pretty good. 'Funtion' to me suggests process, while property has a more static connotation.

It is thus neither an object, nor a non-material entity, but a property which an object posesses.

OK, more like a property. So consciousness does not have a real, separate existence. It is "a quality or power" belonging to something.
I can't see why it is 'a normal action' any more. And calling circulation "a quality or power" doesn't seem right.

In this view point, the "problem" of qualia is not an insurmountable puzzle for conciousness, but simply a description of part of the concious state.

First 'conscious state'. Is that different from 'consciousness'? I would guess that a 'conscious state' refers to a situation where an object possess the property of consciousness. But this can't be right because a situation can't have parts. But I am not sure that a property ("a quality or power can have parts either.

And this description. A description is an "account that gives a picture in words." I don't understand how a qualia could be a description. And to what is it a description. To the consciousness which possesses the qualia? A description of a part to the whole?

The major difference between conciousness and all other visceral functions is that we view (erroneously) a combination of language and entirely subjective states to discuss the visceral function, forgetting that language and subjective states are the visceral function.

We are viewing a combination of language (the qualia?) and entirely subjective states to discuss a visceral function. How does one combine language (speech?) and subjective states? And when we view this combination we are making a mistake. Is it a mistake to view it, or is it OK to view it, but we view it incorrectly? Or is the mistake that we have forgotten something while we are engaged in the viewing. Or is it the visceral function that has forgotten something as it views itself? (This last seems to be something that almost makes sense to me.)

It is a cognitive trap that is subtle and elusive.

What is the 'it' here?

In brief, the only sensible neurobiological approach to conciousness is NOT that it is a manifestation of an event or a thing: it is first and foremost a subjective state.

Consciousness in not a manifestion, OK, we know it is either a function or a property. But now it is a state (of what, the brain). State here means "a particular condition"? If the brain is in another state, is it not conscious (sure, when we are asleep!) But it is a subjective state. But subjective means "existing in the mind". So, I guess it is not a state of the brain, but a state of the mind. Frankly, I think we are going to have to describe consciousness without recourse to the notion of subjective it we are going to make progress.

But that is a surprisingly subtle and tricky point: it is a subjective state in an organ that appears to have as its function the generation of particular subjective states, in the same way that blood circulation is a phenomenon in an organ whose function seems to be the maintenance of a particular pattern of circulation.

A subjective state in an organ. A state existing in the mind of an organ? Moreover the function of this organ (is this function consciousness) is to generate subjective states. Consiousness generates states in the mind? Didn't you say consciousness was a state existing in the mind.

. Now, conciousness is a subjective state of a material brain of some sort (that's our definition).

OK. Consciousness is a state of mind of a brain. Got it. Here is the problem I'm having. Where does this 'mind' come from? I think we are going to have to pin this down before we can talk about any particular state of mind.

And in any case if you define consciousness as something which requires a material brain then your conclusions follow trivially.

Seems to me only a very naive person would accept the notion of ID as scientific evidence of Divine intervention.

In that case, what is ID scientific evidence for? Aliens? Yes there are people who believe this.

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