Re: Statistical Measure, does it matter?

From: John M <>
Date: Mon, 19 Mar 2007 15:54:44 -0400

it seems you apply some hard 'Occami\sation' to consckiousness: as I see you consider it as 'being conscious - vs. unconscious'. The physiological (mediacal?) way.
In my experience from reading and intenrnet-discussing Ccness for over 15 years - most researchers consider it more than that: the noun (Ccness) is only partially related to the adjective (conscious - maybe "of")..
This is why I included into my identification of it not only "acknowledgement" referring to the awareness-part, but also 'and response to' which implies activity in some process.
Considering our world as a process it has not too much merit to identify an importqan noumenon (still not agreed upon its content) as a snapshot-static image of a state.
Some equate Ccness with life itself (good idea, life is another questionmark).
Your anesthesiologistic version has its audience, but so has the wider sense as well.
John M
  ----- Original Message -----
  From: Stathis Papaioannou
  Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 5:54 AM
  Subject: Re: Statistical Measure, does it matter?

  On 3/19/07, Brent Meeker <> wrote:

    Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> On 3/19/07, *Brent Meeker* <
> < >> wrote:
> >If there are OMs which don't
> > remember being you then they are not going to be part of your
> stream of
> > consciousness.
> There's the rub. Almost all my OMs *do not* include consciously
> remembering being me (or anyone). And if you suppose there is an
> *unconscious* memory component of an OM then there's a problem with
> what it means to have an unconscious part of consciousness.
> Well, how do you maintain a sense of being you in normal life?

    Certainly not consciously.

>If you
> are absent-mindedly staring at a tree you at least have a sense that you
> have been staring at the tree, rather than drowning in the ocean a
> moment ago.

    I have that sense transiently - and its isolated and unconnected to the OM in which I was staring at the tree, except through the content it shares, i.e. my staring at a tree - the one as perception and the other as memory of a perception.

>You are also aware that you haven't grown 10cm taller or
> suddenly changed sex - that is, you would immediately be aware of these
> things had they happened, even though you are not actively thinking
> about them or their absence.

>So a bland sameness from moment to moment
> constitutes a sense of memory and continuity of identity,

    What's a "sense of memory"? Is it conscious? I'm not conscious of one. I'd say it's the default model we use when we think, "Am I the same person I was a few minutes ago? Don't feel and different. Must be."

  It seems you are using "consciousness" in a more specific sense than I am. I am just referring to the process of having any experience - of not being unconscious.

>since an OM
> that deviated substantially from this would either not be considered as
> a successor OM or immediately alert you that something strange had
> happened.

    But as you argued earlier OMs don't communicate. They are not related except by their conscious content. So an OM never has knowledge of another OM against which to measure its deviation. One might experience an OM whose content was, "I'm a different person than I was ten minutes ago because I now notice a discontinuity in my memory." but I'm not sure even that would break my feeling of being me.

  No, there are obviously multiple factors involved, from memory to continuity of perception and perhaps even a primary sense of identity separate from these other cues. But if at any moment these factors have zero conscious activity, they could in theory be eliminated, although they might need to be brought into play again in an instant.

    My point is that, at least as I experience it, consciousness, the inner narrative we tell ourselves, is far too weak, to lacking in content, to create a chain of experience. Memory cannot do it because one is rarely, consciously remembering anything. What creates the chain is something unconscious - something not observed and so not part of an OM.

  Unconscious factors affecting our sense of continuity of identity must do it through affecting conscious factors. Suppose some unconscious factor X were partly responsible for placing my last second of consciousness in sequence. That means that if X had been different, my conscious experience would have been different. I can't claim that X plays a role while maintaining that I would not have noticed anything different without X. You could use that as a definition of unconscious: if it were removed, you would not notice any change.

    Of course you can deny that there is any chain and think of it more like network of paths with marked stepping stones. Once in awhile there's a stone that's marked, "Remember you're Brent Meeker." and every path that includes one of these is "me", even if the path also includes some marked "Remember you're Stathis Papaioannou."

  How could you tell the difference, from the inside, between such a path and a chain?

  Stathis Papaioannou

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Received on Mon Mar 19 2007 - 16:01:00 PDT

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