Our shared condition -- consciousness (John Searle)

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posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 12:20 PM
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John Searle Consciousness

Quick Excerpt:
"Philosopher John Searle lays out the case for studying human consciousness -- and systematically shoots down some of the common objections to taking it seriously. As we learn more about the brain processes that cause awareness, accepting that consciousness is a biological phenomenon is an important first step. And no, he says, consciousness is not a massive computer simulation. (Filmed at TEDxCERN.)

John Searle has made countless contributions to contemporary thinking about consciousness, language, artificial intelligence and rationality itself."

The way he explained consciousness in this video made the most sense to me that I have seen discussed.
I included the excerpt for those of you not able to watch, but when you are able, please take a moment, it's about fifteen minutes, but well worth it.

Come back, and let's hear what you have to say about it!

Regards,
Amarri

Mods: I'm not familiar with embedding videos here, I apologize for just the link. Also, feel free to move this to another forum if this isn't the correct one for this presentation. Thank you!
edit on 22-7-2013 by Amarri because: grammatical error
edit on 22-7-2013 by Amarri because: video error
edit on 22-7-2013 by Amarri because: (no reason given)
edit on 22-7-2013 by Amarri because: (no reason given)
edit on 22-7-2013 by Amarri because: (no reason given)




posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 12:28 PM
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Your link is faulty.

Is this the vid?



posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 12:33 PM
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Yes, that is correct! Thank you!
I fixed the link, but you did good! I'm not familiar with how to embed the videos.
edit on 22-7-2013 by Amarri because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 12:48 PM
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Originally posted by Amarri
Yes, that is correct! Thank you!
I fixed the link, but you did good! I'm not familiar with how to embed the videos.
edit on 22-7-2013 by Amarri because: (no reason given)


I find the easiest way is to look for it on youtube. If its there then note the long numbet at the end of the url, in this case its eqDgt12m26c
If you click the VID:YOUTUBE button and paste in the number then job done


I prefer youtube as the source because people such a myself who have limited bandwidth can choose a lower bandwidth option.

He speaks quickly, so I'm watching it again, my consciousness works slower than his
edit on 22-7-2013 by VoidHawk because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 12:56 PM
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Thank you for the information! Will remember to do just that in the future.

In relation to your situation, I apologize for the source, didn't do my research properly on connectivity


I don't think I think as fast as he does either. But it seems as if sometimes he's going to run out of breath at any moment. I literally was stressing for him lol!



posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 01:06 PM
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Consciousness is a biological function...

That really is an incredible spot to plant your favorite chair because... just as the man said, both science and faith refuse to even approach it. It's an excellent walk down a rarely taken path but... that much acknowledged, there is consciousness when it looks in the mirror.

I am, I think, therefore I am, I think.

Yeah, I know... that is not the way it is supposed to read but it does, in my opinion, offer a little more elbow room for exploration.

The human being is, most basically... like most all Earthly lifeforms (except for lawyers and politicians), a physical machine. Moreover, it is a damned good mechanism because it can do things that most other physical machines on this bloody rock couldn't do even if they were twice as smart as humans.

Next, the programming is like the computer in front of you... there is the firmware that keeps the basic functions functioning and then there is the operating system that is unique to each species.

It's really amazing because... up until the last few decades, a concept of this depth was almost unreachable by the average layman... which, on a sidenote, does appear to be problematic to so many today in the elite of both science and faith.

Now then, coming this far, one can still say that consciousness is a biological function and do so without making a mess. In fact, if one can extract both extremes from science and religion from the equation... the whole thing is a lot less like waltzing on a sheet of melting ice.

But now... we walk up to the mirror gaze into it... what do we see? Is it a machine? Is it a spirit? Is it both... or neither?

I attended a seminar back in the mid '90s that suggested that all living things on this planet share a common place in biology and consciousness. This is why we can identify with cats and dogs and ex-spouses. But there is a very rigid, defined valley between humanity (well, most of it) and those critters and it rounds back to...

I think, therefore I am.

You will note (I hope) that there is a small difference from the earlier trip to the mirror... and that is THE grand canyon.

Defining the ability of our biologic ability to realize self is not the question... it is looking into that mirror and then questioning how and why we are asking the question to begin, that jumps out of the Bunsen burner into the skies above.

It really does open another dimension of wonder


...



posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 02:37 PM
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reply to post by redoubt
 


I have read many of your posts, mostly in passing.

I have also read just about every thread on consciousness that has been put up on ATS since 2004 (when i first started lurking here).

With both of those things said....you have just risen the bar to a whole new level in replies. You have just stated what so many have stated before, but I think you said something significant along the way in the way you analogized it.

Well done. Star from me



posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 02:40 PM
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reply to post by bigfatfurrytexan
 


I am honored... thank you for the kind words


PS - I can get a little silly at times so... I hope I can earn those compliments in the future, lol.



posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 03:16 PM
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Originally posted by bigfatfurrytexan
reply to post by redoubt
 

I have also read just about every thread on consciousness that has been put up on ATS since 2004 (when i first started lurking here).
I don't know if I've read all the consciousness threads since I joined, but I've read quite a few and I have the same reaction as Searle about so many things that are said about it, I'm appalled.

So it was quite refreshing to see someone talk about it in a way that makes sense.

Of course we only understand bits and pieces of consciousness, so he may have over-simplified the concepts somewhat for his audience, but this is better than talking over our heads where we don't understand what he's talking about (I think he did that intentionally once in the talk just to demonstrate what the discussion sounds like when he's not dumbing it down for us).

Studying consciousness seems to have a little in common with the UFO field. There are certainly scientific approaches that can be taken toward UFO research. Studying consciousness is easier than studying UFOs because conscious subjects to study are plentiful and not elusive like UFOs, but it's harder because it's a more complex topic. However both the consciousness field and the UFO field seem to attract large numbers of people who don't seem interested in scientific approaches, which is partly what may have tainted the reputations of both fields.

I'm glad to hear him say that academia has advanced so that now a professor may actually be able to obtain tenure by studying consciousness when that wasn't possible before...at least there's progress.

The only downside to the talk for me was the 15 minute length seemed too short. I would have liked to hear 30 or 60 minutes of some logical discussion of consciousness to make up for the endless hours of crackpottery opposed to his viewpoint that I've had to endure in seeking answers.

Speaking of crackpottery, in case anybody who hasn't watched the video is wondering, this John Searle is a real professor, and not just claiming to be a professor like the John Searle who claimed he invented an antigravity craft but it worked so well it flew off into outer space before he could show it to us, so don't let the similarity in names dissuade you from watching...it's not that John Searle.



posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 03:34 PM
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reply to post by redoubt
 


Dear Sir,

I am humbled at your thoughtful reply. Thank you for sharing that with us, in such an intriguing way. You deserve many stars, but alas, I only have one to give.

Here is a thought. You have seen children (excellent examples due to their limited interaction with the world), go to an animal and want to get it as close to them as possible. Hug it, squeeze it, pull its hair, you name it. They do not seem to recognize the animals rejection of it.

Okay, so years go by, and then little Timmy hits the animal because he knows the animal hurts, he can *see* it in the way the dog responds. So, has little Timmy learned this because he knows what pain feels like (self learned), or does he know this because he *shares* that animals conscious feelings on some unknown level, where he looks in that animals eyes and *sees/feels* it? You've seen it before, right? The sadness or the happiness? Every pet owner I believe has, to some extent.

Not too long ago, scientists claimed animals were not *self-aware*, but new studies have been done that would prove to the contrary. Also, it ties back to the question, does Timmy *feel* the dogs response. It's like, we know that the animal is feeling and thinking, but yet we have to prove it with countless studies, and it's not so until we do.

I believe in coincidences, sure. I dropped my sandwich at the same time my dog happened to saunter by, and so she snatches it up before I can say "darn". BUT, the coincidences that add up to our universe banging in on the scene from nowhere (not even getting started on matter and anti-matter), our planet existing in such a way for life to begin and evolve on it, life (conscious or unconscious) existing, and then as you said, to be able to ponder its own existence, is just, well... A little overwhelming.

But, I find it difficult to believe in an entity being involved in this for the simple fact of death, suffering, chaos, and of course the lack of communication or evidence to there being an entity. If there is, they are some kind of terrifying, to create such a beautiful thing as life, thought, hope and dream, just to shatter it with rot at the end.

So, I realize that we are far from understanding the very thing that makes us who we are. And why is that in itself so elusive? We can know measurements, math, complex systems, robotics, nano-technology, etc, etc, BUT, we don't know anything about why we're even here. Why do organisms want to keep making copies of themselves just to reproduce, just to do it over and over again, with no other meaning than to just reproduce. Apparently, they don't even need a reason to have started doing it. They just did. Another coincidence. Why is it so elusive? Like we are not MEANT to know. But we are MEANT to question. I'm sure it's a coincidence.

Regards,
Amarri
edit on 22-7-2013 by Amarri because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 03:39 PM
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reply to post by Arbitrageur
 


Thank you for clarifying the identity of Professor Searle. I was not aware of the other gentleman you had mentioned.

I agree with you as well, I would have happily listened to much more on his research. TED.com has some related media there, with credible speakers on the subject. So you may want to just browse around for a little while and see what you can come up with. I found several other videos that were refreshing and entertaining, steering away from the crack-pottery.


Regards,
Amarri
edit on 22-7-2013 by Amarri because: (no reason given)



posted on Jul, 22 2013 @ 04:51 PM
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Great post, thanks for sharing the video. I'll be looking more into John Searle the philosopher since I too would like more than just 15min of his thoughts on the matter.

I've always wanted to know how our uniqueness is determined. It's funny because I tend to catch myself asking myself, or my wife, and quite often - "why me?"

What was it that determined when, how, and as who I would experience self? Why am I not someone or something or nothing else at another time and place? And why the hell can I reflect on it?

To me this is the impossible problem of consciousness.



posted on Jul, 23 2013 @ 01:35 PM
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reply to post by Amarri
 


Amarri,

Thank you for you detailed and thoughtful reply.

While we gaze out into the universe around us and search for potential homes for life 'out there', we have a chance to really learn from, and come to appreciate what life is here on our little blue rock in space. While we gaze into telescopes at the universe around us, maybe we could take a brief moment and gaze into that mirror... and perhaps, just perhaps find as much wonder as we do in the stars.

That's my view, anyway


Thanks again!





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