Epiphenomenalism - Do you have foam on the brain?

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posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 09:16 PM
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Epiphenomenalism - in response to Cartesian dualism ( Descartes idea that the mind/consciousness was separate from the physical part of a person) relegates the whole of human experience to a 'sea of neuronal firings' with a thin layer of scummy foam on the top which represents consciousness as a by-product of these natural and physical events.

What grinds my gears is that it seems to denigrate the point of human existence. Are we soulless robots or is there meaning in life at all?

Thing is does it matter to you if you believe that you have no soul?




posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 09:25 PM
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It's very interesting to think into, but doesn't every natural by-product have a function? I see more to our "being-ness" than a meaningless (possibly even destructive) abberation.



posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 09:35 PM
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Originally posted by depth om
It's very interesting to think into, but doesn't every natural by-product have a function? I see more to our "being-ness" than a meaningless (possibly even destructive) abberation.


Surely the main ingredients of a manufactured good are far more important than the by-products? A sentient being with an impression of free-will is more important than an existential robot - wouldn't you agree?



posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 09:37 PM
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Does not matter to me if I have no soul. I do not believe in a god, I just believe we do not understand nor have the ability to.

I sometimes look at myself as a machine, doing tasks and going through process's, however there are other times when I laugh and cry and I know there is more.

Like I said before, I do not believe in god, however I do believe that there is something we are all missing (something there we cant see)



posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 09:45 PM
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Originally posted by R3KR
Does not matter to me if I have no soul. I do not believe in a god, I just believe we do not understand nor have the ability to.

I sometimes look at myself as a machine, doing tasks and going through process's, however there are other times when I laugh and cry and I know there is more.

Like I said before, I do not believe in god, however I do believe that there is something we are all missing (something there we cant see)


Thank you for your honesty! What is that makes you laugh, cry, love and hate? Chemical reactions or something spooky? I have read accounts of Near Death Experiences where people started off as unbelievers like yourself, and then, at the operating table, they saw themselves being operated on and heard the surgeons talking. Alternatively they saw a tunnel with light and loved ones ready to recieve them. This experience arising from trauma seems to have convinced them of the existence of somthing called a soul.



posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 10:06 PM
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Chemicals cause me to laugh and cry.
But the feeling ?

The physical act of doing so is caused by chemicals, neurons fire and my muscles in my face fire, more neurons fire and I cry. But what started and drove all of those neurons to do so was an emotion. Where do those come from ? Are emotions just more neurons pre-programmed to fire off other neurons when a "learned" event occurs, such as a joke. And is all of this a reaction from when we are babies ? When we "learned" to survive? Probably.

As for the people seeing tunnels of light, I think that is just made up in their heads.

I guess a question would be, is everything we are learned ?

Can you make a new color in your head ?
One that dosnt exist ? not a mixture of RGB or CMYK....

I think not, hence its all learned, every last bit of it.

I still believe there is a part of we can not see. The very fact that I am sitting here typing away is proof of it. I am "physically" just a collection of matter organized in a certain way, however, I am choosing and typing words to try and discuss/debate the reason of existence. The part we cannot see is the thing that brings ourselves together, its called awareness.






[edit on 10-10-2008 by R3KR]

[edit on 10-10-2008 by R3KR]



posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 10:40 PM
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reply to post by Heronumber0
 

Here is a link on Epiphenomenalism (for those like me who don't know what that means.)

www.philosophyonline.co.uk...

According to the above link, it says that consciousness is a by-product of our physical brain, and as such cannot affect the brain.

The first part, about consciousness is caused by physical structure of the brain - maybe that is true.

The second part, about consciousness being one way and not being able to affect the brain - I don't see how that follows at all.

#

Going back to the first part: might it be possible that at some point a highly complex system just flat-out becomes conscious? That has been the premise of many science fiction stories, where a computer system just magically achieves critical mass.

Maybe at some extreme level of complexity, ordinary matter crosses a threshold and enters the thinking and conscious world. Perhaps this particular threshold can actually be calculated and determined. Maybe it is some physical constant in our Universe, like Planck's Constant.

If I derive that constant, I will call it "Buck's Constant", and let everyone here know what it is.



[edit on 10-10-2008 by Buck Division]



posted on Oct, 10 2008 @ 10:50 PM
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Yes, it matters to me that I have a soul. This body I'm in is just a machine with the brain as the mother board.

How many times I wished I were a machine with no emotions. Now, in the last years of my life in this body I wish even more that I could turn off this thing called 'soul'.

Life would be much more simple if I were a machine. But I'm not. I feel pain, love, happiness, sadness and great joy.

As my family has grown my soul has been forced to endure even greater joy along with a greater sorrow. My old soul is beginning to tire. How much more pain, fear and sorrow can one soul take in. I long for the day when I can be released from this body ad it's encumbrances.

Death need not be our enemy. It releases the soul from the body and sets it free.

No, I'm not a machine. My body is the machine that holds my soul. It is the best and most efficient machine ever created.

My Body will die, my soul will live on. Therefore I am immortal as I am not my body. I am me.



posted on Oct, 11 2008 @ 07:39 AM
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reply to post by R3KR
 


R3KR - just one point and a question. I think it was Augustine who asked: "who is the I that sees". The brain is in pitch black darkness in the middle of the skull - auditory centres, visual centre etc... so it seems natural to think that the brain is like a hard disk drive with software that decodes the information coming into it. However, when you take in information from your eyes and the brain decodes it, who watches the information on the screen in your head and who makes a decision regarding it?

I must admit that I do not understand the nature of a soul. Is it something that acts on the body or is it "something else?" However one thing is certain, whilst my body is renewing itself at a cellular level almost completely every 7-10 years or so, the "I" in me stays much the same. I have an identity of sorts which I don't believe a robot can have.



posted on Oct, 11 2008 @ 07:52 AM
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reply to post by dizziedame
 


dizziedame - lovely thoughts. It is a comfort to believe that something we call soul or ego lives on after the body dies and that life is a journey and not an end in itself. However, I think we are ina doubting century. People that I know personally who have become atheists are sitting on the fence regarding the question of a soul. Unlike R3KR who is quite brave in his assertion that he does not have a soul, I see doubt in my atheist friends. They don't believe in God but do believe in the soul because the two things are not mutually connected.

I think an earlier post has put forward the possibility that matter becomes conscious over a certain critical mass. This is interesting.



posted on Oct, 11 2008 @ 06:53 PM
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Originally posted by Buck Division
If I derive that constant, I will call it "Buck's Constant", and let everyone here know what it is.


So, as promised, Buck's constant is set to be 10^18 KU (Kolmogorov Units) of complexity. Anything that is above 10^18 KU is clearly conscious. Anything below that is not conscious. The margin of error is around 10%.

No. I am joking.

But there is a great article about measuring complexity here:

www.cscs.umich.edu...

According to the above article, the most complex thing is a purely random string of numbers. A random string of numbers also contains the most information possible, according to Shannon's theory of information.

So, if my original premise, about something becoming conscious after it crosses a "complexity threshold" -- if that it really true, it appears that consciousness is some how linked with randomness, and our inability to predict something.

So, the profound point I will make now: consciousness is simply a barrier that prevents us from knowing what will happen next. It is probably the exact same barrier that prevents us from knowing the conscious mind of someone else directly. The more conscious we are, the less we can see what happens next.

Anothe way of looking at this: Consciousness is all about "now", and is totally blocked from "what's next".

That is my start to a unified theory of consciousness. I think.



posted on Oct, 12 2008 @ 04:19 AM
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So, as promised, Buck's constant is set to be 10^18 KU (Kolmogorov Units) of complexity. Anything that is above 10^18 KU is clearly conscious. Anything below that is not conscious. The margin of error is around 10%.

No. I am joking.

But there is a great article about measuring complexity here:

www.cscs.umich.edu...

According to the above article, the most complex thing is a purely random string of numbers. A random string of numbers also contains the most information possible, according to Shannon's theory of information.

So, if my original premise, about something becoming conscious after it crosses a "complexity threshold" -- if that it really true, it appears that consciousness is some how linked with randomness, and our inability to predict something.


Great humour, and modesty, well done

I thought coscious beings were quite good at predicting things and then learning from them. For example a tiger cub would learn to shy away from hyenas or something that bit them and would then create a mental scenario preventing them from repeating the undesired action. Humans also make predictions or inductions. For example my inductive reasoning builds into it the feeling that the sun will rise and set as usual tomorrow and the next day. Just induction and not deduction. Or have I read what you have written wrongly?



Another way of looking at this: Consciousness is all about "now", and is totally blocked from "what's next".

That is my start to a unified theory of consciousness. I think.


OK. Same point as above. Also from your link, did Solomon Feferman not come up with a way of circumventing Godel's incompleteness problems? I can't find the link because my old Hard Drive crashed on me, but this is his homepage. Feferman
I really need to depend on your computing expertise because I have none, but are you suggesting that a computer can also, with the correct algorithm, mimic human consciousness?



posted on Oct, 23 2008 @ 06:55 PM
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Originally posted by Heronumber0
What grinds my gears is that it seems to denigrate the point of human existence. Are we soulless robots or is there meaning in life at all?


If it is true, it doesn't denigrate human existance. The appearance of it is irrelevant, the design is what produces the end result.





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