My own theory of consciousness

Transcended Multiverse

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#1
Edit: Let me post a brief version of my theory that gets my point across clearly. Imagine looking at the brain from the outside. You would be the outside observer. From this perspective, you would see all the physical processes in the brain in terms of neurons, synapses, etc. But if I were to bring this outside observer closer and closer into the brain until the observer becomes the physical processes themselves, then what we have here is an inside observer.

From this perspective, we are no longer looking at the physical processes of the brain in terms of physical attributes (neurons, etc.), but from a whole new perspective. One of subjective experience. This inside observer would be the self. So if we look at the brain and we find inside observer information in the brain, then we will know that the self is there and we would, therefore, also have subjective experience.

The hard problem of consciousness would then disappear. The reason why there is the hard problem in the first place is because we are asking ourselves how the brain produces subjective experience, but from the outside observer perspective which is the wrong perspective.

Therefore, all that physical stuff and subjective experience are actually the same thing, but the outside observer would see it as physical stuff while the inside observer would see it as experience. Take note that this theory of mine supports the scientific materialistic model of the brain. I hope this model is not true because I wish to live on in an eternal blissful afterlife.

I just worry that scientific materialism might be true though. So I have tried to come up with a materialistic based theory of consciousness in the hopes that I would not be able to come up with one. But I have managed to come up with one and I hope it is not true.
 
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#8
Transcended Multiverse,

Now tthat I have got over my initial trepidation at addressing more than one universe at the same time, I'd like to thank you for shifting into a straight discussion about the issue that interests you. This site is for skeptics, as well as those who believe the physical reality can't be the full picture, but it is always nice if people talk simply and directly.

Unfortunately I don't think this is much of a theory - regardless of whose theory it is.

For example, suppose I produced a computer that spoke through its speaker and said, "I am really conscious, and I am having a wonderful time - my only fear is that someone might come along and switch me off!". Maybe it would have been programmed to waffle on like that for half an hour!

Couldn't you apply the same logic and decide that the computer was also conscious? Looked at from the outside all you could see would be computer circuits manipulating computer bits (1 and 0), but since it says it is experiencing stuff, it must have an interior life.

If you gained this idea from conventional scientific 'explanations' of consciousness (and I am sure you did), doesn't that make you realise that they are scraping the barrel for explanations? A big part of the reason why I am here, and why I believe consciousness can't be explained physically, is that I have followed these physical explanations for some time, and they never go anywhere. There was a theory that consciousness was 40 Hz oscillations in the EEG (I think that is what is known as a category error), then there was the theory that the brain consists of separate modules, and when they shared information on something analogous to a blackboard, consciousness would arrive, then there is Integrated Information Theory (IIT), which tells us that consciousness arises when a certain function of the information contained in the brain is optimised!

Logically I might as well explain consciousness as something that naturally emerges when squishy tissue is perfused with blood! The problem is that if you want to explain something - anything - you have to start with the thing you want to explain. If you want a physical explanation of X, then X has to be describable physically. If you want an explanation of how your physical computer presents information on the screen, that explanation would be long and tortuous, but it would start by explaining that the screen emits light from tiny regions each of which form a light-emitting diode (or some other technology) based on 1's and 0'2 sent down the cable from the computer, and so on and so on.

Physical explanations apply to physical phenomena, but consciousness doesn't seem to be a physical phenomenon at heart. Of course, you might argue that when we experience certain emotions - love, fear, sexual excitement etc. - these are signalled by certain chemicals (hormones or neurotransmitter substances) - but how much does that explain - these chemicals simply bind to receptors, so an explanation of fear in terms of cortisol (say) it is like explaining a TV set in terms of the operation of the wall switch!

David
 

Transcended Multiverse

Bizarre, Transcended, and Omnipotent
Member
#9
Transcended Multiverse,

Now tthat I have got over my initial trepidation at addressing more than one universe at the same time, I'd like to thank you for shifting into a straight discussion about the issue that interests you. This site is for skeptics, as well as those who believe the physical reality can't be the full picture, but it is always nice if people talk simply and directly.

Unfortunately I don't think this is much of a theory - regardless of whose theory it is.

For example, suppose I produced a computer that spoke through its speaker and said, "I am really conscious, and I am having a wonderful time - my only fear is that someone might come along and switch me off!". Maybe it would have been programmed to waffle on like that for half an hour!

Couldn't you apply the same logic and decide that the computer was also conscious? Looked at from the outside all you could see would be computer circuits manipulating computer bits (1 and 0), but since it says it is experiencing stuff, it must have an interior life.

If you gained this idea from conventional scientific 'explanations' of consciousness (and I am sure you did), doesn't that make you realise that they are scraping the barrel for explanations? A big part of the reason why I am here, and why I believe consciousness can't be explained physically, is that I have followed these physical explanations for some time, and they never go anywhere. There was a theory that consciousness was 40 Hz oscillations in the EEG (I think that is what is known as a category error), then there was the theory that the brain consists of separate modules, and when they shared information on something analogous to a blackboard, consciousness would arrive, then there is Integrated Information Theory (IIT), which tells us that consciousness arises when a certain function of the information contained in the brain is optimised!

Logically I might as well explain consciousness as something that naturally emerges when squishy tissue is perfused with blood! The problem is that if you want to explain something - anything - you have to start with the thing you want to explain. If you want a physical explanation of X, then X has to be describable physically. If you want an explanation of how your physical computer presents information on the screen, that explanation would be long and tortuous, but it would start by explaining that the screen emits light from tiny regions each of which form a light-emitting diode (or some other technology) based on 1's and 0'2 sent down the cable from the computer, and so on and so on.

Physical explanations apply to physical phenomena, but consciousness doesn't seem to be a physical phenomenon at heart. Of course, you might argue that when we experience certain emotions - love, fear, sexual excitement etc. - these are signalled by certain chemicals (hormones or neurotransmitter substances) - but how much does that explain - these chemicals simply bind to receptors, so an explanation of fear in terms of cortisol (say) it is like explaining a TV set in terms of the operation of the wall switch!

David
Let me post a brief version of my theory that gets my point across clearly. Imagine looking at the brain from the outside. You would be the outside observer. From this perspective, you would see all the physical processes in the brain in terms of neurons, synapses, etc. But if I were to bring this outside observer closer and closer into the brain until the observer becomes the physical processes themselves, then what we have here is an inside observer.

From this perspective, we are no longer looking at the physical processes of the brain in terms of physical attributes (neurons, etc.), but from a whole new perspective. One of subjective experience. This inside observer would be the self. So if we look at the brain and we find inside observer information in the brain, then we will know that the self is there and we would, therefore, also have subjective experience.

The hard problem of consciousness would then disappear. The reason why there is the hard problem in the first place is because we are asking ourselves how the brain produces subjective experience, but from the outside observer perspective which is the wrong perspective. Take note that this theory of mine supports the scientific materialistic model of the brain. I hope this model is not true because I wish to live on in an eternal blissful afterlife.

I just worry that scientific materialism might be true though. So I have tried to come up with a materialistic based theory of consciousness in the hopes that I would not be able to come up with one. But I have managed to come up with one and I hope it is not true.
 
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#10
I just worry that scientific materialism might be true though.
There is everything right and nothing wrong with eliminating a variable and examining a system for its processes at one level of abstraction. Material processes are holistic and inclusive. They form a level of abstraction unto themselves. Unfortunately, Material Science does not have units of measure for information in systems.

If we add back-in information and logical relations (a different level of abstraction from physicality) then reality can be more fully evaluated. If a computer isn't working - the material sciences can fully determine the electrical/electronic problem. But if it is a software issue - not so much. A software developer is needed and she will attack the problem at the correct level of abstraction.

Scientific materialism as a complete system of analysis is a silly "left-over" from prior myths. It is based on the myth of the magic of matter to have and hold causes, like blood holds the life property. It has been 50 to 75 years since the information science break-throughs that established DNA and communication theory. Soon the cult of materialism will die-off.
 
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Transcended Multiverse

Bizarre, Transcended, and Omnipotent
Member
#11
There is everything right and nothing wrong with eliminating a variable and examining a system for its processes at one level of abstraction. Material processes are holistic and inclusive. They form a level of abstraction unto themselves. Unfortunately, Material Science does not have units of measure for information in systems.

If we add back-in information and logical relations (a different level of abstraction from physicality) then reality can be more fully evaluated. If a computer isn't working - the material sciences can fully determine the electrical/electronic problem. But if it is a software issue - not so much. A software developer is needed and she will attack the problem at the correct level of abstraction.

Scientific materialism as a complete system of analysis is a silly "left-over" from prior myths. It is based on the myth of the magic of matter to have and hold causes, like blood holds the life property. It has been 50 to 75 years since the information science break-throughs that established DNA and communication theory. Soon the cult of materialism will die-off.
I'm not sure, but are you saying that you are someone who thinks the soul, paranormal, and afterlife are real then? You said materialism is a cult that will die off, so from what I can gather from that, wouldn't you be someone who believes in the soul, paranormal, and the afterlife?
 
#12
I'm not sure, but are you saying that you are someone who thinks the soul, paranormal, and afterlife are real then? You said materialism is a cult that will die off, so from what I can gather from that, wouldn't you be someone who believes in the soul, paranormal, and the afterlife?
Thanks for asking this old pragmatist. I think there is warranted belief that minds can continue to process information after brains stop functioning. There is strong data behind this fact.

But more important, is that there is a scientific method to parse the data. By using information science in parallel with Materials Science and Physics we can model the process where living things understand their environments. With respect to the current state of the Philosophy of Science and its view of consciousness - the issue is how living things UNDERSTAND anything at all.
 

Transcended Multiverse

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Member
#13
Thanks for asking this old pragmatist. I think there is warranted belief that minds can continue to process information after brains stop functioning. There is strong data behind this fact.

But more important, is that there is a scientific method to parse the data. By using information science in parallel with Materials Science and Physics we can model the process where living things understand their environments. With respect to the current state of the Philosophy of Science and its view of consciousness - the issue is how living things UNDERSTAND anything at all.
Now I am a newbie when asking this question, but aren't information science and materialistic science just two ways of looking at the same thing? The software on a computer still all comes down to the functioning of the hardware. If you don't have the hardware, then the software should no longer exist. In that same sense, once the physical brain itself (the hardware) dies off, then shouldn't the software (consciousness) die off as well?
 
#14
Now I am a newbie when asking this question, but aren't information science and materialistic science just two ways of looking at the same thing? The software on a computer still all comes down to the functioning of the hardware. If you don't have the hardware, then the software should no longer exist. In that same sense, once the physical brain itself (the hardware) dies off, then shouldn't the software (consciousness) die off as well?
When your computer fries electronically or your software gets corrupted - did the program vanish from the CD ROM that it came from? Did it vanish from the developer's notes and back-ups?

A physical object exists in a single place and time. A copy of the object is not made of the same molecules.

An information object exists wherever and whenever it can change probabilities. A copy of the object can be (and must be) the exact same structured information.
 

Transcended Multiverse

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#15
When your computer fries electronically or your software gets corrupted - did the program vanish from the CD ROM that it came from? Did it vanish from the developer's notes and back-ups?

A physical object exists in a single place and time. A copy of the object is not made of the same molecules.

An information object exists wherever and whenever it can change probabilities. A copy of the object can be (and must be) the exact same structured information.
You say that subjective experience is based on information science and not materialistic science alone. But what if the self alone is not an experience at all? What if it is merely just information inside the brain that isn't an experience, but is the very foundation for which all subjective experience can be had? Going back to my theory of consciousness, you need the inside observer to have subjective experience. But if you take out all subjective experience and leave only the inside observer, then wouldn't the inside observer (the self) not be any experience at all? If this is true, then I think my theory could still be viable since there would be no hard problem applying to the self. But if the self alone is an experience, then that still leaves the hard problem open because it is still asking the question of how the brain produces this experience of self.
 
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#16
You say that subjective experience is based on information science and not materialistic science alone. But what if the self alone is not an experience at all? What if it is merely just information inside the brain that isn't an experience, but is the very foundation for which all subjective experience can be had?
The problem is, this is just playing with words. Take whatever bits of information, neurons, hormones, and then tell me how that collection of physical stuff has any experience.

We aren't here to stop you being materialistic - we will just explain the problem with that point of view. I don't really care if you decide to be a materialist!

David
 

Transcended Multiverse

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#17
The problem is, this is just playing with words. Take whatever bits of information, neurons, hormones, and then tell me how that collection of physical stuff has any experience.

We aren't here to stop you being materialistic - we will just explain the problem with that point of view. I don't really care if you decide to be a materialist!

David
I am neither a materialist nor a dualist. I am just coming up with a materialistic based theory of consciousness to see if it works or not. But you seem to have taken that quoted portion of my post out of context of the theory I have presented since you are still asking that question. I clearly did explain how all that collection of physical stuff would give rise to experience. You might have missed the theory I recently edited into my opening post which gives a better and more clear explanation.

I explain that all that physical stuff and subjective experience are actually the same thing, but the outside observer would see it as physical stuff while the inside observer would see it as experience.
 
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#18
I am neither a materialist nor a dualist. I am just coming up with a materialistic based theory of consciousness to see if it works or not. But you seem to have taken that quoted portion of my post out of context of the theory I have presented since you are still asking that question. I clearly did explain how all that collection of physical stuff would give rise to experience. You might have missed the theory I recently edited into my opening post which gives a better and more clear explanation.

I explain that all that physical stuff and subjective experience are actually the same thing, but the outside observer would see it as physical stuff while the inside observer would see it as experience.
Your theory doesn't explain in any way how subjective experience would arise from the physical. You don't explain what an "internal observer" might be or how it would work; you assert that it just is. That isn't a good theory, nor one that makes any more sense than the next one. It also doesn't accomodate a large amount of the evidence that Stephen referenced that at least warrants peoples' belief that there is more to it than the physical.
 

Transcended Multiverse

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#19
Your theory doesn't explain in any way how subjective experience would arise from the physical. You don't explain what an "internal observer" might be or how it would work; you assert that it just is. That isn't a good theory, nor one that makes any more sense than the next one. It also doesn't accomodate a large amount of the evidence that Stephen referenced that at least warrants peoples' belief that there is more to it than the physical.
Neuroscience would already answer this question of an internal observer. Does neuroscience say that there is this internal observer information inside the brain? If so, then that would explain subjective experience. The internal observer does not need to be an experience--it can just simply be information which would be the very foundation for all experience.
 
#20
Neuroscience would already answer this question of an internal observer. Does neuroscience say that there is this internal observer information inside the brain? If so, then that would explain subjective experience. The internal observer does not need to be an experience--it can just simply be information which would be the very foundation for all experience.
No, neuroscience doesn't say any such thing. That's what I'm saying. You don't know what such an "internal observer" would be or how it would operate, let alone how that would just produce subjectivity.
 
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