[ExI] Consciousness as 'brute fact' and meta-skepticism

Kunvar Thaman f20170964 at pilani.bits-pilani.ac.in
Mon Feb 10 01:34:59 UTC 2020

I've always thought of consciousness as this-

Our brains are very good at processing and retrieving patterns. However, we
are getting lots and lots of information from our sensory organs all
the time. For example, even if you stay stationary in a non-changing room,
and fixate your eyes on something, your even perform saccades- they jump
from spot to spot about 3 times per second.

Each of those gives brain different information sequences.This means that
the brain has to filter out lots of information to find what's relevant.

When we're asleep, it's infact even more active as it's filtering out
sounds etc. When we're focussing on a task and in the background there's a
consistent sound, we filter it out, unless it stops, and then notice it
because it stopping is out of the usual- brain had predicted it to go on
and it stopped.

So, what's left after processing the information may be what consciousness


On Mon, Feb 10, 2020, 5:03 AM John Clark via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Sun, Feb 9, 2020 at 12:47 PM Will Steinberg via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> * > I can see someone with absolutely no behavior and assume that they are
>> conscious.  I could also see someone whose brain was totally fucked up and
>> glitching out and still assume they were conscious, even if there is no
>> intelligence involved. *
> Well sure, you are free to use any assumptions you like and most people
> don't hesitate to assume all sorts if things and often don't even realize
> they are using some in their deductions, but a scientist must use extreme
> caution in their use and clearly state any assumptions he employed in
> reaching his conclusion.
>> * > If I see someone getting electrocuted they might not be making
>> intelligent or even volitional behaviors but I sure as hell believe they
>> are consciously experiencing pain (before they die...) *
> Being sure as hell is easy but being correct is not. I freely admit I just
> don't know if a person who dies by electrocution experiences pain or not.
> But there have been cases of powerline workers who accidentally received
> INTENSE electrical shocks but somehow survived, shocks so severe their arms
> had to be amputated due to severe burns, and yet they later report they
> experienced no pain and can't even remember the incident; that might give a
> little weight toward the "no pain" side of the argument, although the
> "report" mentioned was also a form of behavior, either noised made with the
> mouth or squiggles made by the poor man's one remaining hand.
> > *most of the time, I am not making any behaviors, yet I am conscious.*
> For 16 hours a day you just sit and never move your hands or legs or even
> your eyeballs?
> > *Since you insist on talking about someone else's brain being
>> different, why not talk about clones or identical twins.  By your logic
>> then, would it make sense for a clone to believe another clone was
>> conscious? *
> My twin sisters have one more reason to disbelieve in solipsism than I do,
> assuming of course that both of them are not zombies. But my identical twin
> sisters are not really identical, as a kid I could always tell my older
> sisters apart (although most people couldn't). They were different because
> although their DNA recipe is identical their prenatal and postnatal
> environment was not, it was very similar but not identical.
>> * > But what about minute differences in the atomic dust in their
>> brains?  The point is those differences do not matter *
> That sounds like a reasonable working assumption to me, but I can't prove
> it's true and will never be able to do so.
>> *> Brains themselves are clearly associated with consciousness and I can
>> test that out by whacking myself in the head hard enough to pass out.  *
> The ancient Egyptians certainly didn't think the association between
> brains and consciousness was as obvious as you do, they carefully preserved
> every part of the Pharaoh's body EXCEPT for the brain which they just
> discarded as being of no importance. X rays of mummies don't show even the
> hint of a brain. The fifth century BC historian Herodotus said Egyptians "*first
> draw out the parts of the brain through the nostrils with an iron hook, and
> then inject in certain drugs*".
> John K Clark
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