I also equally regret your seemingly unwillingness to discuss it all.
That is an amazing assessment of this situation. Remember, this is my
thread. I created the rather labor-intensive opening post, and so, as is the usual rule of forums, it is I who decides overall what is to be discussed.
I wanted to talk about one topic: if we are able to completely stop thinking and imagining, how can Dennett's model of consciousness (as, for instance, discussed in his book Consciousness Explained) be true?
Dennett's concepts should be quite relevant to this philosophy section "Philosophy of the Mind," since Dennett is a major figure in the debate of if consciousness is purely physical, or if consciousness is "something more."
Do you know that there are a great many practitioners in meditation that can completely stop their minds from thinking and imagining? I myself, in fact, am one of them having practiced meditation for over 35 years, at least an hour per day (as I did this morning).
I specifically chose the Buddha to interact with Daniel Dennett because he is the world's most famous meditator, so it should have been obvious how I was trying to dispute Dennett's model, and in what way I wanted the forum discussion to proceed.
I tried twice to get you to participate as I designed the thread, and each time, as you did again with this post, you responded by ignoring my entire thread theme to substitute your own views.
There may be the possiblity (and I can only guess, having not actually met and talked with you in person) that you may have missed the essence of science somewhere along the way--a fair number of people do, and at times, some scientists are even to blame for creating such misconceptions in the mind's eye of the public at large.
How did I know you were going to try the old trick of characterizing me as lacking in science knowledge. I've run into it at every single science debate I've participated in where I've challenged some cherished scientism belief. "Why sure, that's why you don't agree with the physicalist model . . . you are just too darn ignert!!!" It couldn't possibly be that I fully understand both science and the neuronal model, and still disagree.
I really dislike comparing degrees, so I'll just say I am well educated in science and history, and that I have been privileged to lead a life of study and contemplation for decades. I can also say with all sincerity I love (and practice) science. I love cooking too . . . does that mean I should assume all events of life must revolve around eating?
The way you've behave so far reminds me of those religious guys who come to my door wanting to reveal the "truth" to me using the Bible. I always tell them I don't think the Bible is the "truth." To convince me I'm wrong, they start quoting the Bible!
You can't hijack threads to preach the science interpretation of consciousness while ignoring the main thread question, incorrectly insisting the neuronal model a "fact," acting like you have the "truth," and implying that if someone doesn't agree with your beliefs then they just don't know any better.
I kind of doubt, richrf, that Dennett is actually saying that, however, if he were, he'd be doing so only for some sort of explanatory power, and not because that is what the evidence out there leads us to conclude. Selfhood is generally projected as a singularity...even in cases of personality disorder.
What Richrf says is right on target, Dennett quite specifically attributes "self" to a lot of dumb homunculi. If you aren't going to bother to understand the functionalist and Buddhist models, how are you going to intelligently participate in a discussion about them?
Science, put most basically in its original and pure sense, is to know of, or about, a matter.
Not quite. Science is about studying physicalness
in a very specific way.
When I see the flame burning the wood in the BBQ pit, and understand why (and there's no real reason to reduce it beyond any practical level) and how it's happening, that's science. When I reach to get that roasting chicken leg, and feel the pain of the heat, and see the hair on my wrist bend and twist in the scorch, and understand that event, it is science. When I savor that fine homemade beer, and understand how the sugar made that fine intoxication drink work, it is science.
If you think that is science, then you don't understand as much as you pretend. Science is an epistemology that hypothesizes
reality is some way, and then attempts to observe
reality behaving as hypothesized. It an investigative discipline, it is not a set of understandings or beliefs about reality. A person can be an atheist or a theist and practice science . . . or of any other persuasion.
When I view that rising full moon, over the distant hill top as I enjoy that moment, and understand that the moon itself is not really rising, but rather that the earth is turning, it is science.
We understand how the moon behaves because of what we've discovered using science.
However, how do we learn about the enjoyment aspect? Some people enjoy life far more than others, and they don't need science for that. Understanding the universe's mechanics is one thing, learning to enjoy, love, appreciate, be at peace inside . . . they are based on learning something entirely different. But if you want to make yourself a computer going around reducing everything mechanics, be my guest.
To observe, learn, and come to know, is science. Therefore, when you claim that there is a way of knowing which is not science, you are making a claim that is quite empty when it comes to hard evidence to support any reason for a claim to know.
Do you know what scientism is? It is the belief that only
science reveals knowledge. In case you are unfamiliar with the term "scientism":
I trust science 100% to reveal the secrets of physicalness. After a few hundred years of science, it has never revealed anything about the universe that isn't physical. Scientism proponents assume that because all they find through science is physicalness, then physicalness is all there is. Is that a proper conclusion?
If you only use your eyes to experience the world, should you assume because all you discover are visual images that reality is only visual images? Or that because you can't hear anything with your eyes there is no such thing as sound? Just as the eyes only produce vision, science only produces physical knowledge, and so if all you do is science, all you are going to discover is physicalness. However, that doesn't mean there aren't other ways to know, and that there aren't non-physical things to discover.
The logic problem with scientism was summed up nicely in the Skeptics Dictionary: "Scientism, in the strong sense, is the self-annihilating view that only scientific claims are meaningful, which is not a scientific claim and hence, if true, not meaningful. Thus, scientism is either false or meaningless." scientism - The Skeptic's Dictionary - Skepdic.com
Personally I think scientism belief (that only science reveals truth) is on par with blind religious belief . . . neither beliefs are proven true, it's just that scientism believers' delusions are smarter than the religious' delusions.
My fellow poster, LWSleeth, it cannot be denied that you have started talking about the brain. And now, as you have made it clear that you wish to talk about the brain by means of some process of knowing without relying on science (as described above, you see), then I can only marvel at how that might be done--since you will probably have to use your brain to do so, and to use your brain will automatically entail the application of science (just as, actually, epistemological classed discussions on the brain all have to do).
Did you read my opening post? I most certainly did not "start" by talking about the brain; I specifically focused on the mind and asked that participants avoid the big question of if the brain does or does not create consciousness. If you want to believe the brain creates consciousness, you can answer my question; if you don't believe the brain creates consciousness, you can still answer my question.
The question I ask begins with the existence of a mind, regardless of what creates it! So what reason do we have for opening up an entirely separate discussion on the trueness of the neuronal model?
Dennett claims the sense people report of being an observer of their mental phenomena is an illusion created by incessant mental activity. That observer aspect is often how people define consciousness, and since there is no suitable physical explanation for it (as Chalmers and others have argued), Dennett is specifically trying to come up with a model that is physicalistic, and to do that he needs to eliminate that "observer" aspect.
The Buddha was able to achieve perfect peace, a perfectly still mind. Of course it becomes active when speaking or thinking, but in between mental activity one can achieve a remarkably still mind.
I brought brain into the discussion to say that by "still mind" I didn't mean we wouldn't detect brain waves in the mental stillness of someone like the Buddha. Brain waves persist, even when people are in comas. So my point was strictly stillness from the absence of thinking and imagining (which was also what Dennett cited), not brain wave stillness.
That issue is only relevant in this discussion to Dennett's attempt to eliminate the "observer" aspect of consciousness models. So once again I repeat, how can Dennett's model be correct if there are those of us who can stop thinking and imagining for periods of time, yet who still report the experience of an observer being present in conscious experience?
If you want to answer the question I specifically asked, please do. If you want to talk about how great the neuronal model is, start your own thread.
Any concepts that you do have regarding the brain, will thus have to be an element of science, and will have to be tested (which has been, and is being done)
Bring in all the science you please . . . just stick to the problem I've outlined (Dennett's model of consciousness explaining the "observer" aspect). I honestly don't see why much science is needed to answer that question however.
If a person can stop thinking and the sense of an observer persists, then either there really is a central observer in consciousness, or Dennett's model needs to be adjusted. If it's "adjustment" you choose, then of course it must fit the facts and science may be needed after all.[/SIZE]
---------- Post added at 10:42 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:25 AM ----------
[QUOTE=richrf;67650] As for Mr. Dennett, from what I gather, he is saying the the Self is created by a lot of Little Selves cooperating with each other. OK, if that is the way he wants to look at it. He says nothing about where these little selves come from, and what initiated their interaction. [/QUOTE]
[SIZE="3"]My understanding is that Dennett believes the brain just thinks on its own, the way a computer will keep computing with the right program and information to compute. Our senses give us constant information, so that's not a problem, plus the mind creates its own information too.
The bottom line is, Dennett's model says all that thinking and imagining creates the illusion that there is a single observer at the core of consciousness that controls what we do. In reality, he says, there is no central observer/controller, but rather choices are a culmination of mental activity that proceeds toward optimal outcomes. It is all automatic, it is wholly unconscious (the lots of little selves are the individual mental activiities, which themselves are unconscious). Basically, Dennett finds a way to portray us as Kripke's and Chalmer's zombies. Zombies (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
So I asked if the mind could be made to stop thinking, and the observer/controller still was present (as successful meditators report), then is there any way Dennett's model can be correct?[/SIZE]