What is self-awareness?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by kmguru, Jul 18, 2001.

  1. kmguru Staff Member

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    Hermann wrote in a science thread:

    "kmguru,

    What is self-awareness or consciousness? We feel it, but we cannot describe it. Nobody of us can be sure that other people feel it like we do, because all corresponding signs we get from other people and the results of all corresponding psychological tests can be easily computer simulated. But if self-awareness or consciousness cannot be described or observed, it cannot be a "Digital Object" (string of bits) and therefore also not an object for DOI."

    Since it has something to do with our feelings, I thought this is the best place to discuss it. I am looking for other reader's comments before I comment on it. Thanks
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2001
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  3. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    And what????
     
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  5. kmguru Staff Member

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    Chagur: You jumped in too fast while I was doing a cut and paste from one open window....and lost my place....now your turn....
     
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  7. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Did it again!

    Sorry about that, kmguru.

    The story of my life (in and out of the sack)

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    I'd have to say re. self-awareness: Waking up in the morning, looking in the mirror (something I try to avoid) and recognizing my reflection: "Yep, it's me."
     
  8. dan1123 Registered Senior Member

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    What is the self anyway? You can have almost any part of you cut off (including sections of your brain) and not think the part that got cut off was yourself. And even if you got up, looked in the mirror and didn't recognize yourself, you would eventually figure it out.

    Any ideas?
     
  9. ripleofdeath Registered Senior Member

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    a psychological or mental sign post that redirects intelegence to be intravertive while in a state of fluid computation.

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    just a thought realy

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    groove on all

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  10. Bebelina Feminazi Messiah Valued Senior Member

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    To be self aware is to recognize your soul in your body.

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  11. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Thanks, Bebelina ...

    Just think, all these years I've just been thinking such recognitions were just wet-dreams!

    Bye ...
     
  12. Bebelina Feminazi Messiah Valued Senior Member

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    You´re welcome...

    Keep on dreaming!

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  13. Hermann Registered Senior Member

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    I agree with Bebelina: Self-awareness is feeling the own soul, but only for those who believe to have one. The understanding of self-awareness depends very much on the individual world-view (weltanschauung), which seems to be prior to everything.

    I am still waiting for the explanations from kmguru. It will certainly reflect his world-view and this will be a matter of belief as for everyone.

    My world-view: http://www.users.bigpond.com/hermann.raith
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2005
  14. glaucon tending tangentially Moderator

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    Sorry all but, I have to disagree.

    I do not 'feel' anything that gives me the idea of an unchanging, immaterial thing that gives me the idea of self.

    Feelings are by their very nature nothing more than the brain's interpretation of physical stimuli. Emotional feelings are much more difficult to define but, we all know how incorrect they can be.
    This self that we speak of certainly lies outside the realm of feelings.

    On a purely material level, after 8 years of life, every single cell in the human body has been replaced through constant growth. The cells that last the longest, neuronal cells, change radically due to massive amounts of chemical transmissions. In every sense, you are a completely different person from who you were when you were born.

    How is it then that we have this sense of self? I'm the ultimate sceptic, but even I know what it is that's being spoken of when we talk about self-awareness. I did my thesis on this very topic and basically, this is what I would say it is:

    In Kantian terms, Space and Time are pure concepts that are required by the human brain for it to be able to function in the chaos that is our material world. Without them, we could not discretely identify things such as position, size, shape, colour, etc. Constantly being bombarded by information in the form of physical stimuli, these concepts act as filters, rendering the information into a more compact, perceivable form. This is what I believe the self to be. A necessary concept manufactured by the brain on a regular basis that enables the body to deal effectively with the world in which it finds itself. By regulating and ordering such disconnected information like images, emotions, memories and the like, the self enables us to interact and engage our world. Without it, we would be unable to see, to move, or to communicate. All very important to an organism's survival. Most important however, is the fact that it makes it possible for us to learn; by bridging the gaps in our memories (which occur every time we sleep) an apparent continuity is established that effectively helps us 'remember' what we've already gone through.

    Remember: when you introspectively look 'inside', searching for that one constant thing, the self, what's the part that's doing the looking????


    Any thoughts?
     
  15. kmguru Staff Member

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    Hermann:

    I am sorry, got distracted :
    I will reply that in the section of Eastern Philosophy after I print out your view.
     
  16. Chagur .Seeker. Registered Senior Member

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    Glaucon
    Ahhh ... the soul?????

    But really, great question ... and so logical.
     
  17. Hermann Registered Senior Member

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    glaucon,

    Your statements in your thesis are very interesting and consequent within a materialistic view. But generally you cannot avoid basic assumptions and concepts. Time and space are just concepts and the belief that materialistic sciences can explain everything, although many things are not understood yet, is just an assumption.

    Based on an other assumption, that there is a spiritual world with individual souls, I could define my view of being with 5 sentences:

    1. Our brain is a huge hardware computer developed by evolution just for the purpose of survival.
    2. This computer has no possibilities for loading or developing new software.
    3. There is a spiritual world with individual souls having intellectual capabilities, who want to take part on the material life
    4. Evolution produced a proper interface for them, because this gave a great advantage for survival
    5. Now the brain serves just all sensors and actuators in the body and follows instincts, but the soul does the intellectual part with flexible thinking. E.g. during playing chess the soul is doing all strategic evaluations, because the development of a chess program was certainly not needed for survival.

    The interesting thing is now, that if these 5 sentences were true, no scientist would have noticed that during research!

    The materialistic view is one way, where you have to assume wonderful abilities of the material brain and a wonderful evolution, which has produced all that. I am wondering now, whether my world-view is really more speculative as the materialistic one.

    I think, self-awareness is feeling the soul, but not as an unchanging item. The soul is me and my body belongs to me.

    My world-view: http://home.t-online.de/home/hraith/english.htm
     
  18. ripleofdeath Registered Senior Member

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    hey all

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    to test the body...?
    to test the brain...?
    to test the character is to test the relationship between the body and brain!

    to test the soul is to test the relationship of the character to other characters

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    just a little thought form a little thought guy

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    @_@
    \___/

    groove on all :]

    #please note i use the word brain to describe the concept of self and thus soul as in conjunction with the brain...as the machine we try to teach it to drive

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  19. lythea Registered Member

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    This is a very interesting topic! And I still have to go back and read all of the posts. But it reminded me of something. I like the discussion of whether animals have a self-awareness also and I remember something in the news a few months ago about a study on elephants and how one elephant was looking in the mirror and was using his trunk trying to get something off his face that he saw in the mirror. I think that is proof that he knew it was on his own face and not just another elephant. That is too cute! But I think it proves his awareness of self. Sorry this is not really connected with the current discussions but it just popped into my head.

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    Lythea
     
  20. teerum Registered Senior Member

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    Self Awareness is:

    Not something we are always in the State of. In fact it may be something that we can mostly NEVER be in the State of, because you cannot physically be everything you are Spiritually at any one time. BUT for the purpose of this conversation.... It would be the moment when everything you are inside your soul (if we are to assume the soul) meets your conscious mind and foillows through with your MOUTH and you feel that satisfaction that you are in complete control of everything you are expressing, however you are expressing it. I say expression to include ART, Conversation etc.

    It is the ability to understand your extensions to the point where they simply flow out of you without effort. It is that perfect painting, or piano peice. It is that perfect day you spend with someone you feel love for and understand.

    It is the most dissapointing thing in my life, because I do not know if I will ever understand myself enough to ever really accomplish it in full.
     
  21. kmguru Staff Member

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    Lythea:

    Welcome to my topic. Please do not feel sorry to comment. If you find you are going off on a tangent, you can start a new thread. But, please do not feel constrained to express your views. That is what this forum is all about.

    It is possible that animals have self awareness. A friend argued with me that even plants have intelligence. He said that plants do not use us for survival the same way we use them? Look at Rose. Is the smell designed for other animals or humans that can really enjoy it and associate it to romance?
     
  22. teerum Registered Senior Member

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    Interesting about animals and plants.......

    the higher the intelligent in some ways the less self awareness exists........it makes sense. I Rose can only be a Rose......but a DOG has emotions.......my sister has a dog that is SO smart it thinks it is a Human being.......and will not accept it is a DOG....I know when I look at him.....
     
  23. kmguru Staff Member

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    Hi teerum,

    Welcome. Here is an experiment you can do. On a starry night, find a quiet place outside where you can see them. Remain in a postion you can relax and watch the sky. Relax and just feel using all your senses the world and the universe around you. Soon you will have a feeling of intense awareness. Email me how you felt.....
     

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