Re: Statistical Measure, does it matter?

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Tue, 20 Mar 2007 08:55:47 -0800

John M wrote:
> Glad to have misread your "consiousness" as being "not unconscious". I
> agree with you even in the 'life' part, except that I consider that darn
> elusive 'consciousness' still "on", when you sleep or are anesthesized.
> "You" (whatever it is) are still "responding to the information you get:
> you wake up to the alarm clock, or from unconsciousness. There are
> different 'levels' to be included into that noumenon.
> John M

Yes it's a problem that there a different levels of consciousness; although I'd say that an anesthetized person is not conscious at all. A sleeping person is still processing sensory stimuli; he can usually be awakened by whispering his name. Part of the time when asleep he is dreaming, which is more conscious than dreamless sleep as evidenced by the fact that he may remember the dream.

And then there is self-consciousness, when one actually introspects. I'm not sure that's any different than just being conscious of perceptions, but it may be.

This thread started from a discussion of "observer moments", which are purportedly building blocks which constitute consciousness even without being assembled, i.e. just the existence of the blocks, each isolated from all the others is enough to constitute a stream of consciousness. The blocks are like Julian Barbour's time capsules; except Barbour supposes that each time capsule contains a complete state of the universe. In that case, it is much more plausible that there is an implicit order connecting the capsules. I find the OM hypothesis dubious because a time-slice of consciousness, i.e. a thought, seems to me to have very little content. Not nearly enough to supply an implicit chain. If I think, "There's a yellow butterfly." it may equally connect to "I should buy butter." and "I shouldn't use insecticide here."

Now to some this may be a feature, not a bug ;-) These are both "consistent continuations" and therefore they are both "me" and there as are many me's as there there are paths of consistent continuations through all the possible OMs. But that just leads back to my general complaint about "everything" theories. They have no predictive power. Notice that in comparison a material theory would say there are neural connections in your brain such that if we mapped them we would know that "There's a yellow butterfly." would be followed by "I should buy butter." and not "I shouldn't use insecticide here."

Brent Meeker

> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* Stathis Papaioannou <>
> *To:*
> <>
> *Sent:* Monday, March 19, 2007 7:13 PM
> *Subject:* Re: Statistical Measure, does it matter?
> On 3/20/07, *John M* <
> <>> wrote:
> Stathis:
> 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
> I thought my sense was wider. You can be conscious even though you
> are not actually analysing sensory input, remembering things from
> your past, and so on. And I'm not sure that life can be equated with
> consciousness because you are still alive, and even your neurons are
> still for the most part going about their business, when you are
> asleep or anaesthetised.
> Stathis Papaioannou
> >

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Received on Tue Mar 20 2007 - 13:07:20 PDT

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