When does someone become mentally sentient?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Zillion, Mar 31, 2018.

  1. Zillion Banned Banned

    What age does a human being become mentally sentient?

    Like, what age did you become mentally sentient?
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  3. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

    When I first realized Hentai was porn for people who struggle with real relationships.
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  5. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    It very much depends on what you mean by sentient. Consciousness begins as soon as the brain functions at all - earth-worm stage, or about 12 weeks gestation. Awareness grows beyond sensation, to include position and environment, then voluntary motion and response to external stimuli. Soon after birth, differentiation of other entities from environment; primitive communication.
    If you mean the formation of coherent images and sequence of event, cause and effect, association, pattern recognition, the concept of time and space, recognition of discreet objects, preference - they kick in gradually from Day 2 to 60. By two months, babies are able to express their emotions and communicate their desires selectively and deliberately.
    If you mean accessible memory storage, it usually begins between 6 months and two years. (Oddly, boys tend to stat later than girls; it's common for women and uncommon for men to recall memories prior to age three.) Typically, these memories are fragmented, episodic, coloured by physical sensation or strong emotion rather than rational understanding, and there are big gaps between them. In those gaps may be other memories that one can't consciously articulate but that may still be recoverable though hypnosis or association. They may recur in a child's dreams. But none of those recurrances are verifiable.
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  7. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

    Currently I am studying concessness
    I have doubts it starts at 12 weeks gestation however I have not finished the book yet so maybe it will crop up

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  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    I agree with Jeeves that it depends on how we choose to define 'sentient'.

    Wikipedia says: "Sentience is the capacity to feel, perceive or experience subjectively" which isn't very helpful since it simply shifts our problem from defining 'sentience' to defining 'subjectivity'.

    Wikipedia continues: "In modern Western philosophy, sentience is the ability to experience sensations (known in philosophy of mind as "qualia")."

    Which turns 'sentience' into a function of the existence of 'qualia'. My own belief is that 'qualia' (as metaphysical existents and not merely as sense-data) are an artifact of bad philosophy.

    Rather than going into some extended critique of the idea of 'qualia', I'll just say that the question in the O.P. doesn't seem to me to be a scientific question at all, it's more of a philosophical question.

    We can certainly ask whether various animals and organisms can perceive color and then devise behavioral experiments to test it. That's arguably scientific.

    But it's hard to know how to test whether a non-verbal being is actually having the same 'experience of red' that we individually believe that we have (and simply assume that others like us have as well). In fact it would be hard to test whether a meat robot capable of speech was actually 'experiencing red' in some inner-subjective-perception sense, or just reacting mechanically to the light frequency and saying it sees red. (The 'zombie' problem.)
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2018
  9. Michael 345 New year. PRESENT is 70 years old Valued Senior Member

    Very good point

    My vague idea would be that others detect in YOU a individuality (which you might not be aware of) and/or your sentinent being starts (started) from the first memory you recall

    Still a bit wishy-washy

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  10. sideshowbob Sorry, wrong number. Valued Senior Member

    I'll do it tomorrow.
  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

    I agree.
    IMO, qualia are not causal to motor functions, but are causal to cognition, IOW, they are part of information processing, perhaps something like the cognition of patterns, which in turn allows us associate new information with previously experienced memories. Perhaps our memories are the imprint of qualia on our mirror neural system.

    And perhaps the processing and storage of qualia is instrumental (or causal) to dreaming.
  12. RainbowSingularity Valued Senior Member

    does mental capacity dictate sentience ?

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