Is consciousness fundamental?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by matthew809, Feb 8, 2015.

  1. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    That might be a false dichotomy where both options are flawed.

    If someone goes that route, how does he/she scape from solipsism? The only consciousness that I can have is my own, so on this kind of theory, nothing exists but me. You and everyone else disappears along with the hated tables and chairs of the 'material world'. You are nothing, just part of my mental construct, my imaginary man.

    I don't believe that. There's an influential faction in the philosophy of mind that argue that way, but I think that they are misconceiving the problem.

    No. My intuition begins with me in the world, interacting with all manner of things. My emotions, beliefs and attitudes are shaped by those interactions. I'm not an originally pure consciousness, supplied with sense-data from... somewhere, and then tasked with constructing a universe out of it. (That idea has distorted the whole history of modern post-Cartesian Western philosophy.) I've always experienced myself as an embodied being in a world that I didn't create for myself. My intuition is that many things exist whose reality depends in no way on me.

    In a word: I don't try to imagine that I'm God.
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2015
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  3. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    In this case, the messier route as opposed to the simplest one is psychologically unavoidable, though. Reflective thought demands a plurality of contexts for knowledge about the outer realm, not just the one of immediate experience. IOW, there's an innate and functional urge in the mind's framework to multiply the existence of that world of extrospection. It's duplicated in memory and dreams and language as well as via the numerous conceptual models which activities ranging from commonsensical to philosophical to scientific output. Thus a metaphysical repeat of the external cosmos (like materialism offers), which serves as the higher "cause" of its own regularities, falls out of that traditional process of variable realization.

    Such a relationship differs from a dream's outer world being caused by a brain, from the standpoint that the former is no attempt to represent the latter. And thus that external world "exists" a single time, the result of general and specific forms stored neurally in the brain (biology's version of Platonism) being recruited and integrated on the fly to yield those manifestations. Another difference is that a dream's outer world in not truly intersubjective, though the other dream characters may behave and speak as if it is, or that they also have experiences of it.

    Despite the person-on-the-street's belief in a presentism view of time, the same extrospective environment is still somehow taken to persist over the ages. Its version occupying this particular moment being annihilated as it acquires a non-real "past" designation and a new version brutely replacing it as the next "now". Recollection alone is left to assert that an overall consistency is being maintained through that constant replacement process (a group recollection is also abstracted from our interpersonal comparisons of reported data). Memory of a coherent past that's sported by both the individual observers and the deciphered historical evidence scattered in the aforementioned environment, which is publicly accessible for scrutiny by those conscious agents (in contrast to their private or introspective phenomenal occurrences).
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2015
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  5. C C Consular Corps - "the backbone of diplomacy" Valued Senior Member

    Deleted a cloned post here. Mistakenly hit "Reply" rather than "Edit".
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2015
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  7. kx000 Valued Senior Member

    The human mind creates or projects semi palpable essence in trees and the air.
  8. wesmorris Nerd Overlord - we(s):1 of N Valued Senior Member

    How much of our understanding of the questions at hand are fundamentally constrained by the words we use to discuss them?

    Can a sentence be constructed in this vein of thought such that everyone interested receives similar benefit?

    My apathy is futile.

    For the hell of it I'll shoot:

    Consciousness is necessary for the universe to have meaning, as it is the vessel thereof.

    If by being conscious, it appears we are bounded by something that we say "exists" - then that's what will be "real" to us. Apparent constraints on our capacity to exist, seem to exist without our consent - hence rendering the apparentness of that which seems to exist so seemingly irrefutable.

    In reflecting on my first sentence. I would say it is indeed fundamental, but not in the way that people usually mean it. The thing is, meaning is a must for anything to be "real" because without it whether or not it is doesn't matter. As such, consciousness is fundamental, requisite even - to all that matters, as again is the only means by which something can.
  9. Quantum Quack Life's a tease... Valued Senior Member

    nearly all of it is my guess. Language can only deliver meaning that is "less than the whole" as does logic... a form of convenient and expeditious reductionism perhaps.
    danshawen likes this.
  10. Adrian Commander Registered Member

    First of all we need to define consciousness..? I wonder whether we are all falling into the trap of thinking HUMAN consciousness is 'fundamental'. Is a cat conscious? In my opinion, yes. If so it seems there are levels of consciousness and therefor it seems logical to conclude that our particular version, on a sliding scale, does not by any means have to be the pinnacle of consciousnessness. So therefor in a sense, it can't be absolute or 'fundamental'.
  11. river


    But consciousness does inevitably become.

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