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Can evolution explain consciousness?

zmikecuber
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3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM
Posted: 2 years ago
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
Rational_Thinker9119
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3/12/2014 12:13:02 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

I used to think Evolution could explain consciousness when I was an Atheist, now I am not so sure. This is because there is no reason to think consciousness would play any role anywhere. We just have to say something like this:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com...
bladerunner060
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3/12/2014 12:43:44 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

I would argue that consciousness is likely a direct result of a certain degree of complexity of thought and ability to abstract. So that, while consciousness, in its own right, doesn't per se convey a benefit necessarily, if it is an emergent property of the ability to think "better" than other organisms, it is a consequence of that which is "better".

Also, I question whether P-zombies are actually more complex than actual conscious beings, but that's a bit of a side issue.
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Magic8000
Posts: 975
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3/12/2014 12:50:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Evolution can tell us how consciousness should be and maybe provide insight into psychology and neuroscience. But I don't think it will explain it.

I think evolution tells us conscious experience is something general. Not specific to a brain event(s). Evolutionary, life can develop in any number of ways. Silicone, carbon, ect. However, evolutionary in order for some alien race to survive they must have conscious experience like pain. Otherwise they'd starve to death, as the didn't realize the felt the pain of hunger. Or go to sleep in the fire and burn themselves to death. However, if something like pain is equal to c fiber firing, then these aliens cannot feel pain. As c fiber firing is a carbon based phenomena. So pain must be something general to our world. Not specific to any type of brain event.
404 coherent debate topic not found. Please restart the debate with clear resolution.

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zmikecuber
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3/12/2014 1:22:22 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 12:43:44 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

I would argue that consciousness is likely a direct result of a certain degree of complexity of thought and ability to abstract.

As in a necessary or sufficient cause?

So that, while consciousness, in its own right, doesn't per se convey a benefit necessarily, if it is an emergent property of the ability to think "better" than other organisms, it is a consequence of that which is "better".


First of all, that's controversial as to whether it could emerge from physical matter. Particularly because it leads to epiphenomenalism.

Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

Also, I question whether P-zombies are actually more complex than actual conscious beings, but that's a bit of a side issue.

Well for your position to succeed, you have to show that the brain always produces consciousness. In my opinion that's a hard task. A solipsitic world seems very possible. If that's the case, it's always possible physical matter doesn't exist. Even if physical matter does exist, how can we know for sure that a brain produces consciousness? The only example you have is your own brain producing your mind... you can't look at someone else's mind really.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
zmikecuber
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3/12/2014 1:24:07 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 12:13:02 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

I used to think Evolution could explain consciousness when I was an Atheist, now I am not so sure. This is because there is no reason to think consciousness would play any role anywhere. We just have to say something like this:

http://blog.stackoverflow.com...

Well I tend towards evolution, but in this case, I think that God created the immaterial soul/mind. This lines up pretty well with Catholicism, cuz all I'm required to believe is that the soul is directly created by God, not necessarily the body.

Funny picture btw :P
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
AnDoctuir
Posts: 11,060
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3/12/2014 1:36:00 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
It is unfathomable how consciousness could have come about, as far as I'm concerned, but that's just argument from ignorance, as Sswdwm mentions in another thread. But then, is consciousness really anything more incredible than anything else, or are we perhaps biased? And what is a p-zombie? Are plants not p-zombies? Are solar systems not p-zombies? We exist, simple as. In fact, the notion of evolution itself is an incredibly simplistic notion, its solidity residing only in the evidence, the patterns, we've gathered after having had that simplistic notion. But we still don't go very far with those patterns, do we? There's always an infinity beyond what we know. People get into odds, but there are no odds, because we have no real data. All we have is day-to-day consistency, by which we survive, but which is also as godly as anything else. That's definitely an intellectual pet peeve of mine, people applying odds to the purely random, like that "It is improbable that god exists" kinda stuff. Wrong. We know nothing. It is probable that the champion horse will win its next race, but only taking for granted that all will continue as it is, and that's a pretty huge "for granted", epistemologically speaking. To actually answer, I'll say... sure, I guess, but I'm guessing, and will only ever be guessing. The mind is such a marvel, in my opinion, in my possibly biased opinion, that if it is not god by birthright, it has become god anyway. And then there's this: http://sprott.physics.wisc.edu...
MysticEgg
Posts: 524
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3/12/2014 1:41:16 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

Meh. I have no idea. :P I won't pretend expertise. However, as long as you're not claiming it can't (which would be fallacious), I'm chill.

(Hippy post of the day? Check.)
bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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3/12/2014 2:06:03 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 1:22:22 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 12:43:44 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

I would argue that consciousness is likely a direct result of a certain degree of complexity of thought and ability to abstract.

As in a necessary or sufficient cause?

I believe it's possible--though I'd stop short of asserting it as definitely true.

So that, while consciousness, in its own right, doesn't per se convey a benefit necessarily, if it is an emergent property of the ability to think "better" than other organisms, it is a consequence of that which is "better".


First of all, that's controversial as to whether it could emerge from physical matter. Particularly because it leads to epiphenomenalism.

Your own OP said: "So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?"

So, it's not controversial in this context, or in answering the question you asked. I think it's unfair to even bring this up considering you specifically said that we should assume consciousness can arise from matter--it feels like an attempt at a "gotcha", unfair because you asked for this and are now "gotcha"-ing it.

Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

That you can imagine something does not make so. Neither does your ability to "imagine" an alternative have anything to do with evolution--we can conceive of lots of different configurations with the same function. That doesn't mean that somehow the evolutionary explanation for the specific configuration is lacking.

Further, as I said: if it's an emergent property, then it's a necessary consequence of a certainl level of complexity of thought--such complexity which could convey an evolutionary benefit.

Also, I question whether P-zombies are actually more complex than actual conscious beings, but that's a bit of a side issue.

Well for your position to succeed, you have to show that the brain always produces consciousness. In my opinion that's a hard task. A solipsitic world seems very possible. If that's the case, it's always possible physical matter doesn't exist. Even if physical matter does exist, how can we know for sure that a brain produces consciousness? The only example you have is your own brain producing your mind... you can't look at someone else's mind really.

Yes, yes, there's no solution to hard solipsism. But trying to appeal to it, particularly when your original question was about evolution, seems frankly dishonest.

Did you want an answer to your question, or did you want to set people up to fail by framing it and phrasing it in such a way that you had ready-made answers that attacked the basic foundations that the answer was built on...considering they were ALSO built into your question?
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zmikecuber
Posts: 4,083
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3/12/2014 2:10:25 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 2:06:03 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 1:22:22 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 12:43:44 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

I would argue that consciousness is likely a direct result of a certain degree of complexity of thought and ability to abstract.

As in a necessary or sufficient cause?

I believe it's possible--though I'd stop short of asserting it as definitely true.

So that, while consciousness, in its own right, doesn't per se convey a benefit necessarily, if it is an emergent property of the ability to think "better" than other organisms, it is a consequence of that which is "better".


First of all, that's controversial as to whether it could emerge from physical matter. Particularly because it leads to epiphenomenalism.

Your own OP said: "So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?"


Oh yeah.. lol. I suppose you're right. :P

So, it's not controversial in this context, or in answering the question you asked. I think it's unfair to even bring this up considering you specifically said that we should assume consciousness can arise from matter--it feels like an attempt at a "gotcha", unfair because you asked for this and are now "gotcha"-ing it.


No, it was unintentional. I forgot that I said that in the OP.


Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

That you can imagine something does not make so. Neither does your ability to "imagine" an alternative have anything to do with evolution--we can conceive of lots of different configurations with the same function. That doesn't mean that somehow the evolutionary explanation for the specific configuration is lacking.


If it was metaphysically impossible though, then we couldn't conceive of it.

Further, as I said: if it's an emergent property, then it's a necessary consequence of a certainl level of complexity of thought--such complexity which could convey an evolutionary benefit.


Alright, but that would say p-zombies are impossible.

Also, I question whether P-zombies are actually more complex than actual conscious beings, but that's a bit of a side issue.

Well for your position to succeed, you have to show that the brain always produces consciousness. In my opinion that's a hard task. A solipsitic world seems very possible. If that's the case, it's always possible physical matter doesn't exist. Even if physical matter does exist, how can we know for sure that a brain produces consciousness? The only example you have is your own brain producing your mind... you can't look at someone else's mind really.

Yes, yes, there's no solution to hard solipsism. But trying to appeal to it, particularly when your original question was about evolution, seems frankly dishonest.

Did you want an answer to your question, or did you want to set people up to fail by framing it and phrasing it in such a way that you had ready-made answers that attacked the basic foundations that the answer was built on...considering they were ALSO built into your question?

Calm down... lol.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
zmikecuber
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3/12/2014 2:12:25 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 2:06:03 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 1:22:22 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 12:43:44 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

I would argue that consciousness is likely a direct result of a certain degree of complexity of thought and ability to abstract.

As in a necessary or sufficient cause?

I believe it's possible--though I'd stop short of asserting it as definitely true.

So that, while consciousness, in its own right, doesn't per se convey a benefit necessarily, if it is an emergent property of the ability to think "better" than other organisms, it is a consequence of that which is "better".


First of all, that's controversial as to whether it could emerge from physical matter. Particularly because it leads to epiphenomenalism.

Your own OP said: "So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?"

So, it's not controversial in this context, or in answering the question you asked. I think it's unfair to even bring this up considering you specifically said that we should assume consciousness can arise from matter--it feels like an attempt at a "gotcha", unfair because you asked for this and are now "gotcha"-ing it.


Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

That you can imagine something does not make so. Neither does your ability to "imagine" an alternative have anything to do with evolution--we can conceive of lots of different configurations with the same function. That doesn't mean that somehow the evolutionary explanation for the specific configuration is lacking.

Further, as I said: if it's an emergent property, then it's a necessary consequence of a certainl level of complexity of thought--such complexity which could convey an evolutionary benefit.

Also, I question whether P-zombies are actually more complex than actual conscious beings, but that's a bit of a side issue.

Well for your position to succeed, you have to show that the brain always produces consciousness. In my opinion that's a hard task. A solipsitic world seems very possible. If that's the case, it's always possible physical matter doesn't exist. Even if physical matter does exist, how can we know for sure that a brain produces consciousness? The only example you have is your own brain producing your mind... you can't look at someone else's mind really.

Yes, yes, there's no solution to hard solipsism. But trying to appeal to it, particularly when your original question was about evolution, seems frankly dishonest.

Did you want an answer to your question, or did you want to set people up to fail by framing it and phrasing it in such a way that you had ready-made answers that attacked the basic foundations that the answer was built on...considering they were ALSO built into your question?

I think your response answers the question though. Also note that I said "can" arise from matter, not "always does." So I suppose you'd have to show that the mind necessarily always arises from a certain amount of complexity. I'm not saying that's impossible, just that it doesn't seem like there is a necessary connection between the two.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
bladerunner060
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3/12/2014 2:17:28 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 2:10:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 2:06:03 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 1:22:22 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 12:43:44 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

I would argue that consciousness is likely a direct result of a certain degree of complexity of thought and ability to abstract.

As in a necessary or sufficient cause?

I believe it's possible--though I'd stop short of asserting it as definitely true.

So that, while consciousness, in its own right, doesn't per se convey a benefit necessarily, if it is an emergent property of the ability to think "better" than other organisms, it is a consequence of that which is "better".


First of all, that's controversial as to whether it could emerge from physical matter. Particularly because it leads to epiphenomenalism.

Your own OP said: "So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?"


Oh yeah.. lol. I suppose you're right. :P

So, it's not controversial in this context, or in answering the question you asked. I think it's unfair to even bring this up considering you specifically said that we should assume consciousness can arise from matter--it feels like an attempt at a "gotcha", unfair because you asked for this and are now "gotcha"-ing it.


No, it was unintentional. I forgot that I said that in the OP.


Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

That you can imagine something does not make so. Neither does your ability to "imagine" an alternative have anything to do with evolution--we can conceive of lots of different configurations with the same function. That doesn't mean that somehow the evolutionary explanation for the specific configuration is lacking.


If it was metaphysically impossible though, then we couldn't conceive of it.

So?

Evolution is not metaphysics.

Further, as I said: if it's an emergent property, then it's a necessary consequence of a certainl level of complexity of thought--such complexity which could convey an evolutionary benefit.


Alright, but that would say p-zombies are impossible.

Eh--not metaphysically so necessarily. Too many conditionals to say that. But it might be an emergent property of the world in which we live.

Also, I question whether P-zombies are actually more complex than actual conscious beings, but that's a bit of a side issue.

Well for your position to succeed, you have to show that the brain always produces consciousness. In my opinion that's a hard task. A solipsitic world seems very possible. If that's the case, it's always possible physical matter doesn't exist. Even if physical matter does exist, how can we know for sure that a brain produces consciousness? The only example you have is your own brain producing your mind... you can't look at someone else's mind really.

Yes, yes, there's no solution to hard solipsism. But trying to appeal to it, particularly when your original question was about evolution, seems frankly dishonest.

Did you want an answer to your question, or did you want to set people up to fail by framing it and phrasing it in such a way that you had ready-made answers that attacked the basic foundations that the answer was built on...considering they were ALSO built into your question?

Calm down... lol.

I'm calm. I'm just pointing out what I perceive to be flaws in your response--flaws that feel disingenuous. If they're unintentionally so, that's fine.
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bladerunner060
Posts: 7,126
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3/12/2014 2:18:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 2:12:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 2:06:03 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 1:22:22 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 12:43:44 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

I would argue that consciousness is likely a direct result of a certain degree of complexity of thought and ability to abstract.

As in a necessary or sufficient cause?

I believe it's possible--though I'd stop short of asserting it as definitely true.

So that, while consciousness, in its own right, doesn't per se convey a benefit necessarily, if it is an emergent property of the ability to think "better" than other organisms, it is a consequence of that which is "better".


First of all, that's controversial as to whether it could emerge from physical matter. Particularly because it leads to epiphenomenalism.

Your own OP said: "So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?"

So, it's not controversial in this context, or in answering the question you asked. I think it's unfair to even bring this up considering you specifically said that we should assume consciousness can arise from matter--it feels like an attempt at a "gotcha", unfair because you asked for this and are now "gotcha"-ing it.


Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

That you can imagine something does not make so. Neither does your ability to "imagine" an alternative have anything to do with evolution--we can conceive of lots of different configurations with the same function. That doesn't mean that somehow the evolutionary explanation for the specific configuration is lacking.

Further, as I said: if it's an emergent property, then it's a necessary consequence of a certainl level of complexity of thought--such complexity which could convey an evolutionary benefit.

Also, I question whether P-zombies are actually more complex than actual conscious beings, but that's a bit of a side issue.

Well for your position to succeed, you have to show that the brain always produces consciousness. In my opinion that's a hard task. A solipsitic world seems very possible. If that's the case, it's always possible physical matter doesn't exist. Even if physical matter does exist, how can we know for sure that a brain produces consciousness? The only example you have is your own brain producing your mind... you can't look at someone else's mind really.

Yes, yes, there's no solution to hard solipsism. But trying to appeal to it, particularly when your original question was about evolution, seems frankly dishonest.

Did you want an answer to your question, or did you want to set people up to fail by framing it and phrasing it in such a way that you had ready-made answers that attacked the basic foundations that the answer was built on...considering they were ALSO built into your question?

I think your response answers the question though. Also note that I said "can" arise from matter, not "always does." So I suppose you'd have to show that the mind necessarily always arises from a certain amount of complexity. I'm not saying that's impossible, just that it doesn't seem like there is a necessary connection between the two.

But you asked whether it COULD explain it. I have given a possible explanation--I have not asserted it as definitely so, but obviously then the answer is YES, it can, depending on what the answer is; we don't know the answer at present.
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Skikx
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3/12/2014 2:22:26 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

Intelligence, in general, can be very beneficial to survival.
A complex environment favors higher levels of intelligence. For example, predators need more intelligence then herbivores, because hunting living prey is more complex then picking leafs.
Social groups are very complex environments (hierarchy, social relationships, language etc.) To be able to effectively sustain a large social group, high levels of intelligence are necessary. So, if living in a group is beneficial, then so is the necessary intelligence.

The ability to learn is beneficial. To know that something is always bad or good after doing it only once, or witnessing another individual do it yields large benefits.

Even better is the ability to predict if something is good or bad, the ability to think, even if the predictions may not be perfect. However, to predict how something may affect you, you need to have an idea of yourself, a consciousness.

Another benefit is teaching. If you teach your offspring e.g. a new technique to hunt, it ensures their survival and thus the survival or your genetic heritage.
To actively teach, however, you need to be aware that you hold knowledge, that they do not. You must be aware that you are a different, a unique individual. Again, you need to have a consciousness.
AnDoctuir
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3/12/2014 2:50:57 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
You know what's amusing though? That the reference to god itself is not stated as a part of the fine-tuning argument. So called "intelligent Christians" babble on about the sun and the moon and certain constants, but rarely bring up the most resounding facet of that argument, and what it all relates to, the consideration of god by conscious minds itself. Anyone who goes beyond that is dumb, to be quite honest.
SovereignDream
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3/12/2014 4:43:31 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

If you wouldn't mind enlightening the noob here, what exactly is a p-zombie?
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3/12/2014 4:51:26 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 2:17:28 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 2:10:25 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 2:06:03 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 1:22:22 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 12:43:44 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

I would argue that consciousness is likely a direct result of a certain degree of complexity of thought and ability to abstract.

As in a necessary or sufficient cause?

I believe it's possible--though I'd stop short of asserting it as definitely true.

So that, while consciousness, in its own right, doesn't per se convey a benefit necessarily, if it is an emergent property of the ability to think "better" than other organisms, it is a consequence of that which is "better".


First of all, that's controversial as to whether it could emerge from physical matter. Particularly because it leads to epiphenomenalism.

Your own OP said: "So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?"


Oh yeah.. lol. I suppose you're right. :P

So, it's not controversial in this context, or in answering the question you asked. I think it's unfair to even bring this up considering you specifically said that we should assume consciousness can arise from matter--it feels like an attempt at a "gotcha", unfair because you asked for this and are now "gotcha"-ing it.


No, it was unintentional. I forgot that I said that in the OP.


Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

That you can imagine something does not make so. Neither does your ability to "imagine" an alternative have anything to do with evolution--we can conceive of lots of different configurations with the same function. That doesn't mean that somehow the evolutionary explanation for the specific configuration is lacking.


If it was metaphysically impossible though, then we couldn't conceive of it.

So?

Evolution is not metaphysics.


I think you missed the point. :P I'm saying that if it's metaphysically impossible for there to be p-zombies, we wouldn't be able to conceive of it. We can conceive of it. Thus, it's metaphysically possible.

Further, as I said: if it's an emergent property, then it's a necessary consequence of a certainl level of complexity of thought--such complexity which could convey an evolutionary benefit.


Alright, but that would say p-zombies are impossible.

Eh--not metaphysically so necessarily. Too many conditionals to say that. But it might be an emergent property of the world in which we live.


But it also might not. So I'd say I need to see why you think consciousness always arises from a certain complexity of matter. If you can show that, and since we're assuming mind arising from matter is at least possible, then for the sake of this thread you've explained how evolution has explained consciousness.

Also, I question whether P-zombies are actually more complex than actual conscious beings, but that's a bit of a side issue.

Well for your position to succeed, you have to show that the brain always produces consciousness. In my opinion that's a hard task. A solipsitic world seems very possible. If that's the case, it's always possible physical matter doesn't exist. Even if physical matter does exist, how can we know for sure that a brain produces consciousness? The only example you have is your own brain producing your mind... you can't look at someone else's mind really.

Yes, yes, there's no solution to hard solipsism. But trying to appeal to it, particularly when your original question was about evolution, seems frankly dishonest.

Did you want an answer to your question, or did you want to set people up to fail by framing it and phrasing it in such a way that you had ready-made answers that attacked the basic foundations that the answer was built on...considering they were ALSO built into your question?

Calm down... lol.

I'm calm. I'm just pointing out what I perceive to be flaws in your response--flaws that feel disingenuous. If they're unintentionally so, that's fine.

So essentially I see there as being two options to show evolution selects concsiousness.

(i) Consciousness improves an organism's ability to survive
(ii) Consciousness always emerges from X complexity of an organism

Some people on here take the first option, you take the second.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
zmikecuber
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3/12/2014 4:54:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 4:43:31 PM, SovereignDream wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

If you wouldn't mind enlightening the noob here, what exactly is a p-zombie?

Like a person who's a computer. Imagine your best friend is actually a computer, and doesn't "experience" anything. He just is programmed in a way to act as if he did. So if you say, "Is there a consciousness in there?" he would look into your eyes and say "Of course there is, duh! Are you half-ape??? Lol!"

However, he's not a "computer" made out of computer hardware, but rather has a brain. So the question is whether or not it's metaphysically possible for there to be something physically like a person, and acting the same, but not having consciousness.

If so, and consciousness doesn't aid survival (since a p-zombie could survive just as well as a conscious person) then it doesn't seem like evolution can explain consciousness.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
zmikecuber
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3/12/2014 4:56:20 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 2:22:26 PM, Skikx wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

Intelligence, in general, can be very beneficial to survival.
A complex environment favors higher levels of intelligence. For example, predators need more intelligence then herbivores, because hunting living prey is more complex then picking leafs.
Social groups are very complex environments (hierarchy, social relationships, language etc.) To be able to effectively sustain a large social group, high levels of intelligence are necessary. So, if living in a group is beneficial, then so is the necessary intelligence.

The ability to learn is beneficial. To know that something is always bad or good after doing it only once, or witnessing another individual do it yields large benefits.

Even better is the ability to predict if something is good or bad, the ability to think, even if the predictions may not be perfect. However, to predict how something may affect you, you need to have an idea of yourself, a consciousness.

Another benefit is teaching. If you teach your offspring e.g. a new technique to hunt, it ensures their survival and thus the survival or your genetic heritage.

To actively teach, however, you need to be aware that you hold knowledge, that they do not. You must be aware that you are a different, a unique individual. Again, you need to have a consciousness.

Not really. You can easily do all those things without being conscious. Like soul-less puppets.... lol.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
zmikecuber
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3/12/2014 5:01:21 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 3:08:40 PM, SNP1 wrote:
http://www.imprint.co.uk...

Just one of many sources that can be gathered.

Cool. I'll try and read it... lol.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
bladerunner060
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3/12/2014 5:21:27 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 4:51:26 PM, zmikecuber wrote:

Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

That you can imagine something does not make so. Neither does your ability to "imagine" an alternative have anything to do with evolution--we can conceive of lots of different configurations with the same function. That doesn't mean that somehow the evolutionary explanation for the specific configuration is lacking.


If it was metaphysically impossible though, then we couldn't conceive of it.

So?

Evolution is not metaphysics.

I think you missed the point. :P I'm saying that if it's metaphysically impossible for there to be p-zombies, we wouldn't be able to conceive of it. We can conceive of it. Thus, it's metaphysically possible.

Which has nothing to do with the question you asked. That things could be a different way has nothing to do with anything. Your question was about evolution, and whether it could explain an attribute. That you can think of a different way is no different than if I think of a different design for a wing--so what?

Further, as I said: if it's an emergent property, then it's a necessary consequence of a certainl level of complexity of thought--such complexity which could convey an evolutionary benefit.


Alright, but that would say p-zombies are impossible.

Eh--not metaphysically so necessarily. Too many conditionals to say that. But it might be an emergent property of the world in which we live.


But it also might not. So I'd say I need to see why you think consciousness always arises from a certain complexity of matter. If you can show that, and since we're assuming mind arising from matter is at least possible, then for the sake of this thread you've explained how evolution has explained consciousness.

So you're asking for a definitive explanation of something we can't even definitively define? That's kind of absurd.

I'm calm. I'm just pointing out what I perceive to be flaws in your response--flaws that feel disingenuous. If they're unintentionally so, that's fine.

So essentially I see there as being two options to show evolution selects concsiousness.

(i) Consciousness improves an organism's ability to survive
(ii) Consciousness always emerges from X complexity of an organism

Some people on here take the first option, you take the second.

No, I specifically said that I wasn't asserting it. I simply said it was an option.

You said it "cannot" explain it. I think it can--but we don't have a definitive answer yet.
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zmikecuber
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3/12/2014 5:26:00 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 5:21:27 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 4:51:26 PM, zmikecuber wrote:

Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

That you can imagine something does not make so. Neither does your ability to "imagine" an alternative have anything to do with evolution--we can conceive of lots of different configurations with the same function. That doesn't mean that somehow the evolutionary explanation for the specific configuration is lacking.


If it was metaphysically impossible though, then we couldn't conceive of it.

So?

Evolution is not metaphysics.

I think you missed the point. :P I'm saying that if it's metaphysically impossible for there to be p-zombies, we wouldn't be able to conceive of it. We can conceive of it. Thus, it's metaphysically possible.

Which has nothing to do with the question you asked. That things could be a different way has nothing to do with anything. Your question was about evolution, and whether it could explain an attribute. That you can think of a different way is no different than if I think of a different design for a wing--so what?


Yes it does... because if p-zombies are possible, then there's no reason to think that evolution would have selected conscious beings over p-zombies.

Further, as I said: if it's an emergent property, then it's a necessary consequence of a certainl level of complexity of thought--such complexity which could convey an evolutionary benefit.


Alright, but that would say p-zombies are impossible.

Eh--not metaphysically so necessarily. Too many conditionals to say that. But it might be an emergent property of the world in which we live.


But it also might not. So I'd say I need to see why you think consciousness always arises from a certain complexity of matter. If you can show that, and since we're assuming mind arising from matter is at least possible, then for the sake of this thread you've explained how evolution has explained consciousness.

So you're asking for a definitive explanation of something we can't even definitively define? That's kind of absurd.


Well if you're going to argue that there is a necessary connection between an X complex organism and consciousness, then yeah. :P

I'm calm. I'm just pointing out what I perceive to be flaws in your response--flaws that feel disingenuous. If they're unintentionally so, that's fine.

So essentially I see there as being two options to show evolution selects concsiousness.

(i) Consciousness improves an organism's ability to survive
(ii) Consciousness always emerges from X complexity of an organism

Some people on here take the first option, you take the second.


No, I specifically said that I wasn't asserting it. I simply said it was an option.


How do we know it's an option? I recall you saying that the burden of proof was always on the one making the assertion, even if it was an assertion of possibility...

You said it "cannot" explain it. I think it can--but we don't have a definitive answer yet.

Well, granted, if consciousness always arises from X complexity, then yes, evolution would explain consciousness. However, if it doesn't always arise from X complexity, we can't say for sure whether evolution does explain it.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
bladerunner060
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3/12/2014 5:30:49 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 5:26:00 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 5:21:27 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 4:51:26 PM, zmikecuber wrote:

Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

That you can imagine something does not make so. Neither does your ability to "imagine" an alternative have anything to do with evolution--we can conceive of lots of different configurations with the same function. That doesn't mean that somehow the evolutionary explanation for the specific configuration is lacking.


If it was metaphysically impossible though, then we couldn't conceive of it.

So?

Evolution is not metaphysics.

I think you missed the point. :P I'm saying that if it's metaphysically impossible for there to be p-zombies, we wouldn't be able to conceive of it. We can conceive of it. Thus, it's metaphysically possible.

Which has nothing to do with the question you asked. That things could be a different way has nothing to do with anything. Your question was about evolution, and whether it could explain an attribute. That you can think of a different way is no different than if I think of a different design for a wing--so what?


Yes it does... because if p-zombies are possible, then there's no reason to think that evolution would have selected conscious beings over p-zombies.

You would have to prove p-zombies were simpler, and something on the way to the current level of consciousness. Evolution is a process.

Further, as I said: if it's an emergent property, then it's a necessary consequence of a certainl level of complexity of thought--such complexity which could convey an evolutionary benefit.


Alright, but that would say p-zombies are impossible.

Eh--not metaphysically so necessarily. Too many conditionals to say that. But it might be an emergent property of the world in which we live.


But it also might not. So I'd say I need to see why you think consciousness always arises from a certain complexity of matter. If you can show that, and since we're assuming mind arising from matter is at least possible, then for the sake of this thread you've explained how evolution has explained consciousness.

So you're asking for a definitive explanation of something we can't even definitively define? That's kind of absurd.


Well if you're going to argue that there is a necessary connection between an X complex organism and consciousness, then yeah. :P

Well, define what it is you're talking about then.

I'm calm. I'm just pointing out what I perceive to be flaws in your response--flaws that feel disingenuous. If they're unintentionally so, that's fine.

So essentially I see there as being two options to show evolution selects concsiousness.

(i) Consciousness improves an organism's ability to survive
(ii) Consciousness always emerges from X complexity of an organism

Some people on here take the first option, you take the second.


No, I specifically said that I wasn't asserting it. I simply said it was an option.


How do we know it's an option? I recall you saying that the burden of proof was always on the one making the assertion, even if it was an assertion of possibility...

And I have well fulfilled that for the assertions I've made. It's an option inasmuch as we can't say it is NOT an option. The correct response is, of course, I don't know, which I go with. But if you're going to pretend that "it's a facet of a mind that has X level of complexity" is anywhere near on par with magical dualism, we have a rather vast gulf between us.

You said it "cannot" explain it. I think it can--but we don't have a definitive answer yet.

Well, granted, if consciousness always arises from X complexity, then yes, evolution would explain consciousness. However, if it doesn't always arise from X complexity, we can't say for sure whether evolution does explain it.

Well, let's build a system with the same level of complexity as the human brain. Then we'll (hopefully) know.
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Skikx
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3/12/2014 5:51:48 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 4:56:20 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 2:22:26 PM, Skikx wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

Intelligence, in general, can be very beneficial to survival.
A complex environment favors higher levels of intelligence. For example, predators need more intelligence then herbivores, because hunting living prey is more complex then picking leafs.
Social groups are very complex environments (hierarchy, social relationships, language etc.) To be able to effectively sustain a large social group, high levels of intelligence are necessary. So, if living in a group is beneficial, then so is the necessary intelligence.

The ability to learn is beneficial. To know that something is always bad or good after doing it only once, or witnessing another individual do it yields large benefits.

Even better is the ability to predict if something is good or bad, the ability to think, even if the predictions may not be perfect. However, to predict how something may affect you, you need to have an idea of yourself, a consciousness.

Another benefit is teaching. If you teach your offspring e.g. a new technique to hunt, it ensures their survival and thus the survival or your genetic heritage.


To actively teach, however, you need to be aware that you hold knowledge, that they do not. You must be aware that you are a different, a unique individual. Again, you need to have a consciousness.

Not really. You can easily do all those things without being conscious. Like soul-less puppets.... lol.

How do you do these things without being conscious then?
And why do you think being conscious and being a soul-less puppet is mutually exclusive?
Sswdwm
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3/12/2014 6:08:10 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
Huh, so the p-zombie argument is, if something unconscious can act exactly like something that is conscious, there is no evolutionary benefit to conciousness?

The appropriate questions are:

What kind of system in reality would be required to achieve those results unconsciously?
Is such a system accessible evolutionarily?

Evolution cannot produce systems very easily which require a pre-cooption of parts, which ID proponents will argue. Evolution cannot simply pop up a conscious system from nowhere, it needs an incremental ramp.

We know of no such system that is possible in nature, and if one could exist, if it was likely accessible via the evolutionary slope. Therefore conciousness may well have been the easiest way to get the same superficial benefit (conscious autonomous movement).
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InvictusManeo
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3/13/2014 6:20:23 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
In so many ways the unconscious, the gorilla, otter, the bird, are at a direct advantage over humans. Point me in the direction of a gorilla in the throngs of a midlife existential crisis ... lol.

But to answer the question seriously, no, it cannot. Consciousness is not a physical property. It cannot be measured with physical objects. Consciousness is something entirely metaphysical. It is a higher expression of emergence but it is still just an expression of that which already exists without the need for validation of itself.

This is the problem with lovers of science and 'facts'. Not everything in this life can be dissected and measured under a microscope. You're taking snapshots of reality and calling the picture an accurate representation of all that is and ever will be. How foolish is that, right? Consciousness is a higher order, a calling into being the 'divine', as everything expressed forth from consciousness strives to attain just that, some higher order of expression in an attempt to capture that which we can sense is there but can never measure. Evolution cannot explain it. I contend that there is much about the true nature of existence that science can never touch, and to believe otherwise is a self-refuting prophecy.
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3/13/2014 6:31:52 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 6:08:10 PM, Sswdwm wrote:
Huh, so the p-zombie argument is, if something unconscious can act exactly like something that is conscious, there is no evolutionary benefit to conciousness?


Well if mind projects matter, and its logically coherent for it to not project matter, and we allow epiphnomenalism... then yeah. It doesn't seem like evolution can explain consciousness.

In other words, if the physical world affects the mental world, but the mental world doesnt' affect the physical world, as matter projecting mind seems to entail, the only way evolution could produce consciousness is if we say p-zombies are impossible.

The appropriate questions are:

What kind of system in reality would be required to achieve those results unconsciously?
Is such a system accessible evolutionarily?

Evolution cannot produce systems very easily which require a pre-cooption of parts, which ID proponents will argue. Evolution cannot simply pop up a conscious system from nowhere, it needs an incremental ramp.


Well something is either conscious or it's not, even if that consciousness differs in degree.

We know of no such system that is possible in nature, and if one could exist, if it was likely accessible via the evolutionary slope. Therefore conciousness may well have been the easiest way to get the same superficial benefit (conscious autonomous movement).
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"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
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3/13/2014 6:37:36 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 5:30:49 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 5:26:00 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 5:21:27 PM, bladerunner060 wrote:
At 3/12/2014 4:51:26 PM, zmikecuber wrote:

Second of all. I can imagine two beings who behave exactly the same, but one does not have consciousness. Consciousness doesn't seem to affect our behavior.

That you can imagine something does not make so. Neither does your ability to "imagine" an alternative have anything to do with evolution--we can conceive of lots of different configurations with the same function. That doesn't mean that somehow the evolutionary explanation for the specific configuration is lacking.


If it was metaphysically impossible though, then we couldn't conceive of it.

So?

Evolution is not metaphysics.

I think you missed the point. :P I'm saying that if it's metaphysically impossible for there to be p-zombies, we wouldn't be able to conceive of it. We can conceive of it. Thus, it's metaphysically possible.

Which has nothing to do with the question you asked. That things could be a different way has nothing to do with anything. Your question was about evolution, and whether it could explain an attribute. That you can think of a different way is no different than if I think of a different design for a wing--so what?


Yes it does... because if p-zombies are possible, then there's no reason to think that evolution would have selected conscious beings over p-zombies.


You would have to prove p-zombies were simpler, and something on the way to the current level of consciousness. Evolution is a process.


Well if matter projecting mind entails epiphenomenalism, then they're very obviously simpler. Is it simpler to have a train pulling a box car, or just a train? I mean, if the box car doesn't affect the train at all, and it's perfectly possible for the train to exist apart from the box car...

Further, as I said: if it's an emergent property, then it's a necessary consequence of a certainl level of complexity of thought--such complexity which could convey an evolutionary benefit.


Alright, but that would say p-zombies are impossible.

Eh--not metaphysically so necessarily. Too many conditionals to say that. But it might be an emergent property of the world in which we live.


But it also might not. So I'd say I need to see why you think consciousness always arises from a certain complexity of matter. If you can show that, and since we're assuming mind arising from matter is at least possible, then for the sake of this thread you've explained how evolution has explained consciousness.

So you're asking for a definitive explanation of something we can't even definitively define? That's kind of absurd.


Well if you're going to argue that there is a necessary connection between an X complex organism and consciousness, then yeah. :P

Well, define what it is you're talking about then.


By consciousness, I mean the awareness we experience. There doesn't seem to be any necessary connection between that and the brain.

I'm calm. I'm just pointing out what I perceive to be flaws in your response--flaws that feel disingenuous. If they're unintentionally so, that's fine.

So essentially I see there as being two options to show evolution selects concsiousness.

(i) Consciousness improves an organism's ability to survive
(ii) Consciousness always emerges from X complexity of an organism

Some people on here take the first option, you take the second.


No, I specifically said that I wasn't asserting it. I simply said it was an option.


How do we know it's an option? I recall you saying that the burden of proof was always on the one making the assertion, even if it was an assertion of possibility...

And I have well fulfilled that for the assertions I've made. It's an option inasmuch as we can't say it is NOT an option. The correct response is, of course, I don't know, which I go with. But if you're going to pretend that "it's a facet of a mind that has X level of complexity" is anywhere near on par with magical dualism, we have a rather vast gulf between us.

You said it "cannot" explain it. I think it can--but we don't have a definitive answer yet.

Well, granted, if consciousness always arises from X complexity, then yes, evolution would explain consciousness. However, if it doesn't always arise from X complexity, we can't say for sure whether evolution does explain it.

Well, let's build a system with the same level of complexity as the human brain. Then we'll (hopefully) know.

Well I think that would still be hard to know if the system was conscious, since we can never get "inside" of a mind.

I think you have the best response so far though.

But if each of these are true, then evolution cannot explain consciousness.

1. P-zombies are possible (aka, matter doesn't necessarily project mind)
2. Matter projecting mind entails epiphenomenalism

So in order for evolution to possibly explain consciousness, I think we have to show that p-zombies are impossible, and there is a necessary connection between brain and mind, OR that the mind can have some influence over matter for the matter's survival.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."
zmikecuber
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3/13/2014 6:39:29 PM
Posted: 2 years ago
At 3/12/2014 5:51:48 PM, Skikx wrote:
At 3/12/2014 4:56:20 PM, zmikecuber wrote:
At 3/12/2014 2:22:26 PM, Skikx wrote:
At 3/12/2014 11:40:41 AM, zmikecuber wrote:
It seems to me that it cannot. For if any sort of dualism is true.. whether it be that the mind is a res cogitans, or is an immaterial property of material objects, or is like a software running on the brain, or is "projected by" the brain, p zombies still seem possible.

And if p-zombies are possible, then why would conscious beings be selected by natural selection, and not unconscious beings? It seems that there is nothing incoherent or impossible with the universe not having any conscious beings in it. In fact, there seems to be nothing about consciousness that would make a conscious being more conducive to survival.

So... Assuming consciousness can arise from matter, why does consciousness help an organism to survive?

Intelligence, in general, can be very beneficial to survival.
A complex environment favors higher levels of intelligence. For example, predators need more intelligence then herbivores, because hunting living prey is more complex then picking leafs.
Social groups are very complex environments (hierarchy, social relationships, language etc.) To be able to effectively sustain a large social group, high levels of intelligence are necessary. So, if living in a group is beneficial, then so is the necessary intelligence.

The ability to learn is beneficial. To know that something is always bad or good after doing it only once, or witnessing another individual do it yields large benefits.

Even better is the ability to predict if something is good or bad, the ability to think, even if the predictions may not be perfect. However, to predict how something may affect you, you need to have an idea of yourself, a consciousness.

Another benefit is teaching. If you teach your offspring e.g. a new technique to hunt, it ensures their survival and thus the survival or your genetic heritage.


To actively teach, however, you need to be aware that you hold knowledge, that they do not. You must be aware that you are a different, a unique individual. Again, you need to have a consciousness.

Not really. You can easily do all those things without being conscious. Like soul-less puppets.... lol.

How do you do these things without being conscious then?

Easy. Neuron firing patters in your brain. Computers do stuff all the time without consciousness.

http://existor.com...

Is Evie conscious? Obviously not. So why didn't evolution make us like Evie, that is, just unconscious machines?

And why do you think being conscious and being a soul-less puppet is mutually exclusive?

You're either conscious, or you're not conscious. It's the law of excluded middle.
"Delete your fvcking sig" -1hard

"primal man had the habit, when he came into contact with fire, of satisfying the infantile desire connected with it, by putting it out with a stream of his urine... Putting out the fire by micturating was therefore a kind of sexual act with a male, an enjoyment of sexual potency in a homosexual competition."