I would like to ask for all of your understanding, please, in my not being able to get back here in a more proper timeliness . . . my bad ! :deflated:
apologize ! (the Fall/Winter semester is yet in its early weeks, the uni fesitval next week [my seminar students'll have an outdoor booth selling burritos], and my graduating students need advice with their theses [the school year finishes at the end of this semester; Feb])
Now there are a number of points which have been raised (more in the tone of objections to the position I (yes, but others too)
have been putting forth) which I most certainly intend to deal with at some length, and in some detail, and thus demonstrate more than fair enough cause for setting the objections aside. I ask, as I have in the OP, and as has been touched by reference towards in a few spots (Hermes' #36
) that we all maintain this good skill of making the effort, that I by far mostly see here on this thread so far, to develop our thoughts and questions as fully as possible, to strive for clarity and conscientiousness in reading, understanding, and cognizing, as well as in our presenting--even if that means a slow thread!!
Good job !!
I would like to now (as mentioned in the OP) bring in some posts (maybe 3, and one at a time to prevent automerge) which will deal more closely with the understanding of 'consciousness
' as a defined thing, so that I can hopefully better relate that to some issues being put on the table--as jeeprs' posts dealing with brain affecting brain (as in essence, it much more thinkably turns out to be). I will do my best to keep up, yet may not be as fully participating as I can, until after the third week of October.
It far more clearly presents itself as being true that in describing consciousness, we have to include the element of 'having knowledge of, and being aware of our own existence (and of objects and events internally) and the existence of others and objects and events outside ourselves.' We thus have an internal perspective, and an external one--this latter being a matter of the observer's perspective.
Jumping a little, we will find that the most productive-in-outcome line of inquiry will be that of looking from the observer's perspective. The down-to-earth reason for that
, is that to understand consciousness we must be able to relate with the third party of the same (since it only goes without speaking that we have many actors in the world, of, firstly (but most obviously not only) our own spieces).
We will look for wakefulness. In doing so we'll first catagorize slow wave sleep (SWS) as an opposite of a full 'alert and awake' state (state of consciousness). REM sleep presents no trouble because it too is a state of consciousness; but simply a lower saturation (or intensity) of the fuller state of consciousness. We look for objective signs like, being able to open eyes upon request, muscular tone compatible with movements against gravity, and a characteristic awake EEG pattern. Another thing that we'll have to keep in mind, is that while consciousness will require wakefulness, wakefulness does not guarantee consciousness. (vegetative states (VS), epileptic automatisms, and akinetic mutism will be discussed later in the thread)
Next, we will look for background emotions. This is not considered to be the primary emotions (fear, anager, sadness, happines, etc.) or social emotions (embarressment, guilt, compassion, etc.) but that of expressed configurations of body movement (overall posture, range of motion of limbs relative to the trunk, spatial profile of limb movements, etc.) that inform us about the likes of fatigue or enery level, discouragement or enthusiasm, malaise or well-being, etc. It is only true that these 'pre-verbal' signs are all checked out when we approach or observe others, and are used in assessing that other party's 'state of mind.'
We will then check for attention. This will be observations that the third party will exhibit attention, orient themselves towards objects and concentrate on such as needed--in a relatively coherent and coordinated fashion. We must keep in mind that while the mere presence of attention towards an object will usually be a criterion for consciousness, that is not always the case
Then, at this level of analysis, we have one more--and NO less important at all--factor, viz., LACK
of attention towards an external object when that object (or event) could be recognized as being sufficient to draw attention. This, however, is true if it is on a temporary basis (as opposed to, for example, drowsiness, stupor, confusional states, etc.). If lack of attention is a sustained state, such as in VS, coma, or general anethesia, the description of consciousness is not applied to the being.
Then, we should fill this out with a fuller description in relation to brain states and functions that give rise to the above considerations, and also investigate how function, activity, and events which do happen at a level below
that of consciousness
fit in. This will bring out a matter which some have objected to, but which I have not yet fully demonstrated yet, and which is most secure in understanding. It will also put away the old 'ego
' of psychoanalysis, and the 'immaterial spritism' of animistic folklore.