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Re: [existlist] Re: consciousness myth

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  • Herman
    Hi Jim, ... It is important to distinguish between what we sense and what we think. Cause and effect is never sensed, it is thought. Likewise, we don t sense
    Message 1 of 168 , Feb 1, 2010
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      Hi Jim,

      On 2 February 2010 08:33, Jim <jjimstuart1@...> wrote:
      > Wil, Mary, Polly,
      >
      > Response: Perhaps not surprisingly, I'm closest to Wil on this, although I am stimulated by the alternative viewpoints. But I'll put it in my own way.
      >
      > Science looks for cause-effect laws and views things from an objective, third-person, point of view. Science may well eventually be able to predict and explain bodily movements of animals and humans without recourse to consciousness. We just don't know at present.
      >
      > However each of us has a unique first-person view of things. Each of us has a perspective on the world. Each of us is conscious and self-conscious.

      It is important to distinguish between what we sense and what we
      think. Cause and effect is never sensed, it is thought. Likewise, we
      don't sense consciousness or self, we think them. We should not allow
      the grammatical structure of our language to blind us. We have been
      hammered into constructing all our sentences with a subject, object
      and a verb. But that does not mean that the experience of red is a
      product of the experience of a seer seeing the seen. That may be how
      we think about the world, but as I said, thinking and sensing are not
      the same.

      When we say we are conscious, that is just a shorthand convenience, a
      social convention. What is meant is that there is an experience of
      something, be it colour, sound, a feeling. If you experience
      consciousness as something distinct from colours, sounds etc, please
      describe it. To me, red, and consciousness of red, describe the same
      experience. Consciousness is redundant.

      As to self-consciousness, please describe it.

      >We see ourselves and other human beings acting with purpose. We feel ourselves to be the authors of our own destinies. We feel ourselves to be agents, acting and intervening purposefully and rationally in the world. We (well, I at least!) see others as agents of their own destinies. We (well, I …) respect others as persons, Selves, who are to be treated as ends and not as means for my use. My attitude to human beings is very different to my attitude to inanimate objects. (Arguably animals fall on a spectrum in the middle.) As Wil said recently, Selves are such as to be appropriate recipients of something like Heidegger's >care (or compassion if you prefer).

      Where you use the words see and feel, you are not aware that you
      actually mean think. Seeing is limited to colours, brightness and the
      like. Seeing isn't thinking. Feeling likewise has its own domain, but
      feeling is feeling, not thinking. This is not just verbal nitpicking,
      it is highlighting the great unclarity in method that allows a
      subject/object paradigm to be superimposed on the world as though it
      is there to see.


      >
      > Why do we have an attitude of respect/care/compassion (choose you favourite term) to human beings but not to inanimate objects? Partly because human beings are both conscious and self-consciousness. We could not be authors of our own destinies if we lacked consciousness and self-consciousness.
      >
      > It is not so much that consciousness and self-consciousness fill an explanatory gap in a scientific theory, it is more that we are directly aware of consciousness and self-consciousness in ourselves and others when we view ourselves as persons, Selves.
      >

      I doubt that you or anyone anywhere is directly aware of consciousness
      or self. I put it to you that consciousness and self are concepts, the
      products of thinking.



      > For example I have been distinctly aware of typing up this post. I have watched my fingers moving from key to key, I have been aware that I have the intention of submitting a post to >Existlist.

      Yes, but notice that it is possible for all that to make perfect sense
      without having to inject a consciousness that is somehow other than
      the "objects" you describe.

      > Further I have the expectation that others will be aware of themselves reading these words on their computer screens. (Hopefully, at least a couple of people will have made it to the end of this post!)

      Yep. Made it :-)

      Polly

      >
      > Jim
      >
      >
    • Mary
      Tom, existentialism for me involves less of the ideal and more of the practical pain/pleasure dynamic. Integration and cooperation as one s ideals do not
      Message 168 of 168 , Feb 7, 2010
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        Tom, existentialism for me involves less of the ideal and more of the practical pain/pleasure dynamic. Integration and cooperation as one's ideals do not resolve common relationship issues. You can appeal to these ideals for conflict resolution, but they never guarantee any success. Although existentialism is a discussion about alterity, it offers no ideals. Mary

        --- In existlist@yahoogroups.com, "tom" <tsmith17_midsouth1@...> wrote:
        >
        The nerd and the jock are the two stereotype extremes of thinking versus sensory motor functions.I believe the ideal is integration.
        >
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