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Name one physical characteristic or attribute your consciousness has.

Inertia, when measured in relation to the direction of its focus.

And with enough time and motivation, I could calculate for you the precise moment when you lost mine.

 

Live long and prosper.

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No, I'm expressing what Rand was very aware of. The physical is not all there is. Reality is all there is the way it is, and it includes the physical, and all its attributes, as well a life, which is not a physical attribute, and that which differentiates the mere physical from living organisms, as well as consciousness, which differentiates conscious organisms (animals) from the merely physical and living (such as plants) and the volitional consciousness (man) which differentiates human beings from all other animals.

Life, consciousness, and the human mind are not physical attributes, and cannot be produced by any physical organization or action, but are perfectly natural attributes of reality. No behavior of the physical will produce life, life is the attribute that transforms the merely physical into a living organism. No physical organization will produce consciousness, consciousness is the attribute that transforms an organism from a merely living one to an animal. No arrangement of living protoplasm will produce consciousness or the human mind, only the attribute of volition, the necessity and ability to choose all one's behavior that is the human mind, volition, intellect, and reason, produces the human form of consciousness. Life, consciousness, and volitional consciousness are perfectly natural attributes of reality--they just don't happen to be physical attributes.

 

Why do you think reality is limited to physical attributes? Are you not aware of the fact that your own consciousness is not physical? What color is it? What does it weigh? What is its temperature? Name one physical characteristic or attribute your consciousness has. You cannot, because it has none. It is real, it is perfectly natural, but it is not physcial and has no physical attributes.

 

You talk of color and temperature being physical properties... perhaps it is more valid to say they are properties of physical things.

Is it invalid to take consciousness as a property of a physical thing?

 

Collections of molecules exhibit heat, oranges reflect orange light, some natural systems of hydocarbons in a sufficiently complex and appropriate arrangement (brains) exhibit consciousness...

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I like the sight analogy. You can not see your seeing , the experience of sight is not observable by the seer. Introspection does not give us a perception of awareness , it focuses on the products , mental contents of awareness. We can not perceive our own awareness , but we are cognizant of the fact that we are aware.

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You talk of color and temperature being physical properties... perhaps it is more valid to say they are properties of physical things.

Yes, that's right. Everything is whatever its properties are are. Physical things are physical things because their properties are physical ones (which does not mean the properties physical, but the properties pertaining to the physical

"Is it invalid to take consciousness as a property of a physical thing?"

Well I thinks so, and Rand thought so. My point is that consciousness does not have any physical properties, cannot be demonstrated by any physical means (i.e. any scientific means). Consciousness is metaphysically an aspect of the natural world, as natural as the physical, but life, is not itself physical and as life cannot exist without the physical, consciousness cannot exist without life.

"Collections of molecules exhibit heat, oranges reflect orange light, some natural systems of hydocarbons in a sufficiently complex and appropriate arrangement (brains) exhibit consciousness..."

The first two are true, but nothing "exhibits" consciousness. Exhibit means it can be made available to direct perception. You can observe heat by means of a physical instrument like a thermometer, you see the color light oranges reflect, but it is not possible to observe consciousness directly or by means of any instrument, because it has no property available to any physical means of detection.

That's my view and some of my reason for it.

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We can not perceive our own awareness , but we are cognizant of the fact that we are aware.

Yes exactly. We know we are conscious, because we are.

 

Here's a thought. If we weren't conscious, we wouldn't worry about it.

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Regi,

 

What evidence would be required to change your position?

 

I'm elaborating as and edit:

 

What I'm getting at is that neurologists can pin-point certain cognitive deficiencies to traumas and/or damaged brain regions.  Some people cannot recognize faces, some cannot speak a word that they read, but none the less can point to the object the word represents.  Some people are color blind, some are blind or deaf.  Some cannot experience pain, etc.  We have blind spots due to nerve junctions in the eye.

 

If conscious were not tied to the physical - per my understanding of your argument - then would any of the above exist?

Edited by New Buddha

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 Because we see with something physical, we cannot see it.  We would need some inner sight to see it.

Precisely.

Man is blind because he has eyes- and mindless because of their direction.  Ultimately the entire thing hinges on his baseless assertion that no human being can be aware of being aware of anything, under any circumstances whatsoever.

He literally means that while I see my computer screen, and I know that I see it, those facts are completely unrelated because I cannot see myself seeing my computer.

 

It wouldn't be worth mentioning except for his sustained attempt to pass it off as Rand's idea.

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Regi,

 

What evidence would be required to change your position?

 

I'm elaborating as and edit:

 

What I'm getting at is that neurologists can pin-point certain cognitive deficiencies to traumas and/or damaged brain regions.  Some people cannot recognize faces, some cannot speak a word that they read, but none the less can point to the object the word represents.  Some people are color blind, some are blind or deaf.  Some cannot experience pain, etc.  We have blind spots due to nerve junctions in the eye.

 

If conscious were not tied to the physical - per my understanding of your argument - then would any of the above exist?

Oh, consciousness is tied to the physical. The physical is all that we can directly perceive, that is, be directly conscious of.

I'd be willing to accept evidence so long as it were correct evidence. I am very much convince of my view on this, but if it could be demonstrated that consciousness could somehow be produced by the behavior of the physical, well then it would be. Only a fool would reject valid evidence.

Your examples, however, are not evidence of what you suppose, I think. Human perception is always contextual, that is, what we are able to perceive is existence in its total metaphysical context. The so-called bent-stick illusion is an example. If out perception of a stick half-emerged in water and a stick lying on dry ground looked the same, that would be a perceptual mistake, because a stick in water and a stick on the ground are not the same metaphysical situation. If perception did not exactly and perfectly perceive things in their total metaphysical context, we could never learn much from it, such as the fact that the interface between air and water refracts light. If we saw white paper the same way when illuminated by the sun and when illuminated by a red light, that would be a perceptual failure to perceive things in their total metaphysical context. Fortunately, perception never makes that mistake.

You can easily see this principle would apply to all that is involved in perception, including the entire physical state of the perceiver and neurological system.

Cognitive problems due to neurological and physical brain damage are slightly different. Memory is only perception of perceptual material stored by the physical brain, and brain damage, or brain deterioration (like the various forms of dementia) will certainly affect memory and other cognitive functions. Those are not really, or not wholly perception, however.

There is no doubt in my mind that the neurological system, which includes all parts of the nervous system and brain are the means by which, at the physiological level, what we perceive is made available to consciousness, and anything that affects that system must affect our perceptions (again because they are part of the total metaphysical context of our perception). If we lie on an arm long enough, the decrease in circulation will make that hand and arm numb, and anything we feel with our hand that has been numbed will not be the same as it will feel when the circulation has been restored. How things feel when our hand is numb is not an illusion, or incorrect perception,it is exactly how things ought to feel with a numb hand. The physiological context is different. If things felt the same to a numb hand and a normal hand, that would be a deception. We can only be conscious of what is, as it actually is, and if what we are concsious of is by means of a physically diseased system, the results of that will be what we perceive.

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It wouldn't be worth mentioning except for his sustained attempt to pass it off as Rand's idea.

Since it is Rand that wrote all of the following, just exactly whose ideas do you suppose they are.

 

The following are Rand quotes from Post #70, where the entire quotes are provided for the context.

"Man's consciousness is not material."

"Man is a being endowed with consciousness—an attribute which matter does not possess. His consciousness is the free, nonmaterial element in him."

"Man is an entity of mind and body, an indivisible union of two elements: of consciousness and matter. Matter is that which one perceives, consciousness is that which perceives it."

Here are a couple more Rand quotes:

[The Journals of Ayn Rand, "13 - Notes While Writing: 1947-1952, February 15, 1947"]

"And above all, above absolutely all, he must not lose the commitment to reason—because if he does, everything crashes. If he does, he is a screaming pain in the midst of terror and chaos. His essence, as a being, is his consciousness—not his body, because the body without consciousness is just inanimate matter. Whether he has a soul or is a material being with the attribute of consciousness, in either case his distinctive, essential attribute is consciousness, not matter. And his consciousness is his reason. When he renounces that, he has renounced himself, his essence, his nature—and the result can be nothing but horror and self-destruction."

[The Journals of Ayn Rand, "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech, Mind and Body"]

"Your consciousness is that which you know—and are alone to know. ... It is that indivisible unit where knowledge and being are one, it is your "I," it is the self which distinguishes you from all else in the universe. No consciousness can perceive another consciousness, only the results of its actions in material form, since only matter is an object of perception, and consciousness is the subject, perceivable by its nature only to itself. To perceive the consciousness, the "I," of another would mean to become that other "I"--a contradiction in terms; to speak of souls perceiving one another is a denial of your "I," of perception, of consciousness, of matter. The 'T' is the irreducible unit of life.

"Just as life is the integrating element which organizes matter into a living cell, the element which distinguishes an organism from the unstructured mass of inorganic matter—so consciousness, an attribute of life, directs the actions of the organism to use, to shape, to realign matter for the purpose of maintaining its existence.

"That which you call your soul or spirit is your consciousness, the life-keeper of your body. Your body is a machine, your consciousness—your mind—is its driver."

 

You may not like what she wrote, or agree with it, but that's what she wrote.

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"Oh, consciousness is tied to the physical....."

 

Tied to, but not physical itself?

 

I have no idea where you are headed with this.  You are going to hold on to your idea (not even really a hypothesis) no matter what anyone says.  I asked what evidence would be required to change you mind and you replied "correct evidence".  How does one reply to this?  It would have better if you just said "I don't know".

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Yes, that's right. Everything is whatever its properties are are. Physical things are physical things because their properties are physical ones (which does not mean the properties physical, but the properties pertaining to the physical

"Is it invalid to take consciousness as a property of a physical thing?"

Well I thinks so, and Rand thought so. My point is that consciousness does not have any physical properties, cannot be demonstrated by any physical means (i.e. any scientific means). Consciousness is metaphysically an aspect of the natural world, as natural as the physical, but life, is not itself physical and as life cannot exist without the physical, consciousness cannot exist without life.

"Collections of molecules exhibit heat, oranges reflect orange light, some natural systems of hydocarbons in a sufficiently complex and appropriate arrangement (brains) exhibit consciousness..."

The first two are true, but nothing "exhibits" consciousness. Exhibit means it can be made available to direct perception. You can observe heat by means of a physical instrument like a thermometer, you see the color light oranges reflect, but it is not possible to observe consciousness directly or by means of any instrument, because it has no property available to any physical means of detection.

That's my view and some of my reason for it.

With all due respect, then, you should stop typing responses on the keyboard connected to your computer, which is incidentally connected to the internet. It exhibits the means, available to direct perception, and via a chain of logical inferences - indicating a conscious being is trying to articulate something there. While I can't experience your experience of consciousness, I do experience what I experience of consciousness and contrasting that with the number of rocks, rivers and solar systems that post here, derive that you consider your argument to have merit. Keep in mind, consciousness is an axiom. Any attempt to try and show that nothing "exhibits" consciousness, relies on consciousness to do so. What's that tune again? Confirmation via denial? Or was it reaffirmation via denial? Denial is, after all, an action of consciousness.

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There is no evidence since he has removed conciouness from sense perception.  Because we see with something physical, we cannot see it.  We would need some inner sight to see it.

Who are you talking about.

 

Perception is the only consciousness we have. It is absolutely reliable and all we know is based on what we directly perceive and the fact that we perceive it.

 

It is obvious you do not understand the Objectivist view of concsiouness, It is definitly not "sense" perception.

 

"When we speak of 'direct perception' or 'direct awareness,' we mean the perceptual level. Percepts, not sensation, are the given, the self-evident. The knowledge of sensations as components of percepts is not direct, it is acquired by man much later; it is a scientific, conceptual discovery." [Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivism Epistemology, Page 5]

 

Our whole means of being aware of the world is by means of the physiological neurological system. That is entirely physical. No one denies that. It is the end result, the actual concsiousness that is not physical.

Edited by Regi F.

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"Oh, consciousness is tied to the physical....."

 

Tied to, but not physical itself?

 

I have no idea where you are headed with this.  You are going to hold on to your idea (not even really a hypothesis) no matter what anyone says.  I asked what evidence would be required to change you mind and you replied "correct evidence".  How does one reply to this?  It would have better if you just said "I don't know".

I described what I thought direct evidence would be. Sorry if that does not satisfy you. Guess we'll just have to agree to disagree. I do not know any other way to deal with others except by reason. If the ability of either of us is inadequate to the task, we'll just have to let it go.

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"....consciousness is the subject, perceivable by its nature only to itself".

 

The self can perceive it's own consciousness.

Rand eventually revised that to call it, "introspection," rather than perception, because she was aware that one did not really perceive their own perception. Rand was human and made mistakes like all of us. Unlike most of us, she admited it when she became aware of it.

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Considering the other aspects considered, that - being the whole point - seems a little delimited in this context.

It is delimited because you chose to use the word "experience" instead of "perceive." What does it mean to experience something, in terms of consciousness, since the only consciousness we have is perception. You only have your own perception, that is your experience, but you don't perceive your own perception, you don't experience your own experience, (which logically leads ot an endless regress of experiencing your own experience of your own experience of your own experience....). You just have the experience.

 

If you have followed this, I would be happy to expand the limits.

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"....the only consciousness we have is perception"

 

You have used this phrase several times, and it will get you exactly nowhere on this site because, to Objectivist,  there is: 1) sensation(s)  2) percepts (not perception!) and 3) concepts.

 

A mature individual cannot "perceive" reality directly.  We understand and think conceptually.  You clearly do not understand the distinctions that Rand makes, and thus misinterpret her.

Edited by New Buddha

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It is delimited because you chose to use the word "experience" instead of "perceive." What does it mean to experience something, in terms of consciousness, since the only consciousness we have is perception. You only have your own perception, that is your experience, but you don't perceive your own perception, you don't experience your own experience, (which logically leads ot an endless regress of experiencing your own experience of your own experience of your own experience....). You just have the experience.

 

If you have followed this, I would be happy to expand the limits.

That's simple. You just need to infer this from your own experience. To delimit it to your own experience is not a process of inferring what you can acquire from that said experience.  Perception is the material from which you have to derive your conclusions. To perceive, is to perceive something. I perceive other human beings. I perceive entities other than just human beings. Those entities have qualities that I perceive,  Other human beings also perceive those qualities of the something, that I perceive. Again, to deny this is an act of consciousness. Denial is an act of consciousness. The axiom of consciousness is implicit in every act of consciousness. To suggest that I "just have the experience" is to deny (an act of consciousness) that I am conscious of whatever experience I am experiencing.

 

You are more than welcome to "try" to expand the limits.

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Who are you talking about.

 

Perception is the only consciousness we have. It is absolutely reliable and all we know is based on what we directly perceive and the fact that we perceive it.

 

It is obvious you do not understand the Objectivist view of concsiouness, It is definitly not "sense" perception.

 

"When we speak of 'direct perception' or 'direct awareness,' we mean the perceptual level. Percepts, not sensation, are the given, the self-evident. The knowledge of sensations as components of percepts is not direct, it is acquired by man much later; it is a scientific, conceptual discovery." [Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivism Epistemology, Page 5]

 

Our whole means of being aware of the world is by means of the physiological neurological system. That is entirely physical. No one denies that. It is the end result, the actual concsiousness that is not physical.

 

I'm discussing the end game of the construct you've developed .  I'm not intresting into getting into another conciousness invalidates identity debate again.  Besides, sNerd is better qualified for this sort of thing.  I was just helping out HD. 

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"....the only consciousness we have is perception"

 

You have used this phrase several times, and it will get you exactly nowhere on this site because, to Objectivist,  there is: 1) sensation(s)  2) percepts (not perception!) and 3) concepts.

 

A mature individual cannot "perceive" reality directly.  We understand and think conceptually.  You clearly do not understand the distinctions that Rand makes, and thus misinterpret her.

 

I won't interpret anything. I'll let Rand speak for herself:

 

Rand used the word "percepts" about 65 times in all she ever wrote that we know of. She almost always referred to the concept of consciousness as "perceiving" or "perception." I have no idea what your prejudice against the word perception is, when it is the word that Rand used to identify human consciousness.

[introduction to Objectivist Epistemology '4. Concepts of Consciousness']

"Consciousness is the faculty of awareness—the faculty of perceiving that which exists."

[Atlas Shrugged, "Part Three / Chapter VII" "This Is John Galt Speaking"]

"Existence exists—and the act of grasping that statement implies two corollary axioms: that something exists which one perceives and that one exists possessing consciousness, consciousness being the faculty of perceiving that which exists."

[The Journals of Ayn Rand' "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech,"

"Mind and Body"]

"Man is an entity of mind and body, an indivisible union of two elements: of consciousness and matter. Matter is that which one perceives, consciousness is that which perceives it; your fundamental act of perception is an indivisible whole consisting of both."

It is Rand who says. "consciousness is the faculty of perceiving," not me.

As for sensations, she clearly stated we are not conscious of them.

[Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, "1. Cognition and Measurement", pg. 5]

"Although, chronologically, man's consciousness develops in three stags; the stage of sensation, the perceptual, the conceptual--epistemologically, the base of all of man's knowledge is the perceptual stage.

"Sensations, as such are not retained in man's memory, nor is man able to experience a pure isolated sensation. ...

"A percept is a group of sensations automatically retained and integrated by the brain of a living organism. It is in the form of percepts that man grasps the evidence of his senses and apprehends reality. When we speak of 'direct perception' or 'direct awareness,' we mean the perceptual level. Percepts, not sensations, are the given, the self-evident. The knowledge of sensations as components of percepts is not direct, it is acquired by man much later: it is a scientific, conceptual discovery."

Though she did speak of a, "conceptual level of consciousness," she had to mean consciousness of concepts by means of the perceivable part of concepts, words. You cannot perceive (be conscious of) concepts directly, which is why a concept must have a perceivable word to be complete: as she said in the continuation of the following reference, "as far as concept-formation is concerned, the word is the result of the process. ... I meant exactly what I said: [a word is necessary] to complete the process,".

[Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, "The Role of Words," pg. 153]

"I have stated that words are perceptual symbols which stand for these products of mental integrations [concepts].

"...Why did I say 'perceptual?' Because words are available to us either visually or auditorially. They are given to us in sensory, perceptual form. And by means of grasping them, on the perceptual level, we are able to operate with concepts as single mental units. ... 'table' as a sound or visual image is on the perceptual level. Mentally, it stands for the particular integration of concretes which we haved called 'table.'

"so the word is not the concept, but the word is the auditory or visual symbol which stands for a concept. And a concept is a mental entity; it cannot be perceived perceptually. That's the role played by words."

So words are the part of concepts that we can directly perceive, and since, as Rand said, "consciousness is the faculty of perceiving," it is by perceiving words that we are consciousn of concepts.

 

Read the passages in the original yourself, so you get them in their total context.

Edited by Regi F.

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Consider A.

 

A, it is claimed is not physical.

 

Furthermore A is not a property of something physical.

 

Finally A is not observable, i.e. it is not something anyone can be conscious of.

 

 

I think it is clear such a thing as A, when formulated as above, must be supernatural.  If A is NOT supernatural, what is the distinction between purported properties, attributes, natures of things which are supernatural (and hence invalid) and this A which is natural? 

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That's simple. You just need to infer this from your own experience. To delimit it to your own experience is not a process of inferring what you can acquire from that said experience.  Perception is the material from which you have to derive your conclusions. To perceive, is to perceive something. I perceive other human beings. I perceive entities other than just human beings. Those entities have qualities that I perceive,  Other human beings also perceive those qualities of the something, that I perceive. Again, to deny this is an act of consciousness. Denial is an act of consciousness. The axiom of consciousness is implicit in every act of consciousness. To suggest that I "just have the experience" is to deny (an act of consciousness) that I am conscious of whatever experience I am experiencing.

 

You are more than welcome to "try" to expand the limits.

I think we are talking about two different things. We are certainly conscious or our own conscious acts, our choices, feeling, thoughts, etc. What I mean is just as we cannot consciously perceive anyone's else's consciousness:

 

[The Journals of Ayn Rand, "14 - Notes While Writing Galt's Speech"

"Mind and Body"]

"No consciousness can perceive another consciousness, only the results of its actions in material form, since only matter is an object of perception..."

 

... we cannot perceive out own concsious, for the same reason, because it is not a physical object of perception. We are conscious of what we are consciously doing, but we cannot perceive that consciousness as a thing, because it has none of the qualities of the physical that can be perceived. I don't think this is at all arcane.

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