Author Topic: Causes and mechanisms  (Read 831 times)

Never Talk to Strangers

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #50 on: June 28, 2020, 03:43:36 PM »
So am I the end result of lots of reactions?

Yes, that is what reason and evidence tells us.

But the end result of reactions can only be another reaction.
When, as an outside observer, we consider the concept of "emergence" coming from complex reactions, the concept appears in our perception as a single entity - such as a pattern or a function.  But outside our perception there is no single entity - just lots of individual interactions.  So the idea of a single entity of perception (ie, you) emerging from lots of complex reactions does not make any sense to me.

Personal incredulity again....     ::)
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enki

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #51 on: June 28, 2020, 04:46:50 PM »
You imply that "I" am something emerging from physical reactions of material elements.
Nothing actually "emerges" from physical reactions.
The only thing a reaction produces is a reaction - nothing else.
So am I the end result of lots of reactions?
But the end result of reactions can only be another reaction.
When, as an outside observer, we consider the concept of "emergence" coming from complex reactions, the concept appears in our perception as a single entity - such as a pattern or a function.  But outside our perception there is no single entity - just lots of individual interactions.  So the idea of a single entity of perception (ie, you) emerging from lots of complex reactions does not make any sense to me.

 As the processes of the brain are a result of physical reactions and interactions, possibly as a result of the brain's EM field generating neuron firing whilst being generated by neuron firing(a self referencing loop), I see no reason to think that the 'I' isn't basically a product of the brain. Firstly the 'I' seems clearly local to each individual person, secondly it can change drastically when the brain is damaged, thirdly it can be demonstrated that some people have multiple 'I's, fourthly, it disappears completely with brain death. This suggests clearly that the 'I' emanates from the brain. Also, as one would expect, the 'I' doesn't remain constant throughout life. It can change greatly over time such that, for instance, as I look at old photographs of myself, I see the person depicted as a different person to the 'I' of today.

I would have said that perception is the result of a data stream(normally from our senses or memory) being interpreted by the brain to give understanding and interpretation. I would suggest that recent experimental data suggests that the co-ordination or synchronization of nerve firing seems to be linked to an increase in perception and awareness. In other words, lots of reactions seem to come/link together to influence perception.

What have you actually offered?  No answers to my questions at all. "Where is the 'I' located and how does it interact with your brain?

On what grounds should I be convinced by your ideas of the 'I' when you present no arguments, no evidence and ignore questions that are put to you?
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torridon

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #52 on: June 28, 2020, 04:47:26 PM »
You imply that "I" am something emerging from physical reactions of material elements.
Nothing actually "emerges" from physical reactions.
The only thing a reaction produces is a reaction - nothing else.
So am I the end result of lots of reactions?
But the end result of reactions can only be another reaction.
When, as an outside observer, we consider the concept of "emergence" coming from complex reactions, the concept appears in our perception as a single entity - such as a pattern or a function.  But outside our perception there is no single entity - just lots of individual interactions.  So the idea of a single entity of perception (ie, you) emerging from lots of complex reactions does not make any sense to me.

The aggregation and synthesis of multiple organs and tissue structures within a skin boundary into a singular organism operating as a unit is what brains do.  It is why they evolved.  Like a conductor it orchestrates all the parts into a wonderful inter-functioning collaborating synthesis.  No soul required, your brain does all that stuff; learn to appreciate it, it is the end product of 500 million years of gradualistic refinement through biological evolution.  It operates so smoothly you could almost imagine it works by magic.  But it don't.
« Last Edit: June 28, 2020, 05:45:35 PM by torridon »

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #53 on: June 28, 2020, 05:07:13 PM »
That is because, Alan, you are mired in fallacious thinking yourself (in this case the fallacies of 'consequences' and 'composition' are fairly obvious)._
Like a conductor it orchestrates all the parts into a wonderful inter-functioning collaborating synthesis.
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What units are we using to measure wonder?
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Sebastian Toe

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #54 on: June 28, 2020, 05:19:07 PM »

What units are we using to measure wonder?
Well it's obviously the Der scale!
Most people only use the singular in common parlance, i.e "wonder" but you can have twoders, threeders etc.
 ;)
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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #55 on: June 28, 2020, 07:22:47 PM »
Well it's obviously the Der scale!
Most people only use the singular in common parlance, i.e "wonder" but you can have twoders, threeders etc.
 ;)
;D The twoders....Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward the something, Mary and Elizabeth.
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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #56 on: June 28, 2020, 07:30:06 PM »
I wondered whether I should have included Lady Jane Gray but I understand she's a unit of ionising radiation dose.
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Nearly Sane

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #57 on: June 28, 2020, 07:37:55 PM »
I wondered whether I should have included Lady Jane Gray but I understand she's a unit of ionising radiation dose.
Half life of 4.5 days

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #58 on: June 28, 2020, 08:18:39 PM »
Half life of 4.5 days
;D keep 'em coming.
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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #59 on: June 28, 2020, 08:22:22 PM »
Half life of 4.5 days
She came from a nuclear family.
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Sebastian Toe

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #60 on: June 28, 2020, 11:56:28 PM »
I wondered whether I should have included Lady Jane Gray but I understand she's a unit of ionising radiation dose.
Not my cup of tea.
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Outrider

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #61 on: June 29, 2020, 01:17:38 PM »
Such patterns are certainly seen to correlate with conscious thought activity, but alone, they do not explain how such activity can define the conscious thought we all experience.

Why not? What's missing from the description? What phenomenon do we observe that isn't explained?

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Neurological stimuli in the form of sensory inputs and feedback mechanisms within the neurological architecture.
Use of such technical jargon comes nowhere near to explaining the source of conscious thought.

Again, what part of the observed phenomena is not adequately explained by that account?

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Which all boils down to physically defined reactions in material elements - so no definable source of manipulation - just the end results of physically defined cause and effect reactions.

We have innumerable examples of physical phenomena having an effect - manipulating - other physical objects and phenomena.  What we don't have any evidence for, within the consideration of consciousnes or in anything else - is evidence of consistent, coherent manipulation of the physical by anything else.  You've accepted that our thoughts correlate strongly with our subjective awareness of our own thought process.  What reason do you have to think that's not a causitive mechanism and that rather there is another cause, which fundamentally changes the concept of physics?

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Which reduces whatever comprises "you" to be just the inevitable unavoidable end result of physical reactions

And you keep pushing out variations of this like it's some sort of problem for my account and it really isn't.  Yes, I am an inevitable instance of bioelectric activity for a short and generally coherent passage of time in a block-universe.

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One day I sincerely hope and pray you will come to realise what comprises the real "you".

I already do, and it's amazing.  I sincerely hope you stop desperately seeking some sort of validation from an imaginary friend and just appreciate that you're an amazing consequence of a spectacular universe and enjoy the time that you have.

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Alan Burns

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #62 on: June 29, 2020, 06:27:32 PM »
Why not? What's missing from the description? What phenomenon do we observe that isn't explained?
Again, what part of the observed phenomena is not adequately explained by that account?
What is missing is a feasible explanation for how material reactions alone can generate a single entity of conscious awareness.
We can certainly mimic the outward appearance of conscious awareness by complex manipulation of reactions, but there would be nothing within those reactions which constitute the internal conscious awareness which defines "you".
Quote
We have innumerable examples of physical phenomena having an effect - manipulating - other physical objects and phenomena.  What we don't have any evidence for, within the consideration of consciousnes or in anything else - is evidence of consistent, coherent manipulation of the physical by anything else.  You've accepted that our thoughts correlate strongly with our subjective awareness of our own thought process.  What reason do you have to think that's not a causitive mechanism and that rather there is another cause, which fundamentally changes the concept of physics?
The fundamental question here relates to the ultimate source of that which causes manipulation.  My contention is that your conscious self is the source of manipulation.  If you relate the source of manipulation to entirely physical causes, then the concept of "you" being the ultimate source disappears into oblivion because physically driven cause and effect chains of reactions will trace back to the beginning of time.
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And you keep pushing out variations of this like it's some sort of problem for my account and it really isn't.  Yes, I am an inevitable instance of bioelectric activity for a short and generally coherent passage of time in a block-universe.
I consider my ability to consciously choose my own thoughts, words and actions to be a reality rather than an illusion, which puts "me" as being the source of manipulation rather than endless chains of physically driven cause and effect.
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I already do, and it's amazing.  I sincerely hope you stop desperately seeking some sort of validation from an imaginary friend and just appreciate that you're an amazing consequence of a spectacular universe and enjoy the time that you have.
What is amazing is my ability to consciously interact with this universe rather than just react to it.
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Truth is not an abstraction, but a person - Edith Stein
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torridon

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #63 on: June 29, 2020, 08:01:13 PM »
The fundamental question here relates to the ultimate source of that which causes manipulation.  My contention is that your conscious self is the source of manipulation.  If you relate the source of manipulation to entirely physical causes, then the concept of "you" being the ultimate source disappears into oblivion because physically driven cause and effect chains of reactions will trace back to the beginning of time...

As per usual, your contention amounts to a random 'self'.  To disconnect your self from those long chains of cause and effect would be to render your self without anchor, without meaning, without any purpose or direction. 

torridon

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #64 on: June 29, 2020, 08:06:29 PM »
I consider my ability to consciously choose my own thoughts, words and actions to be a reality rather than an illusion

Trouble is, 'consciously choosing' a thought to think, is itself a thought process.  So how do you resolve that evident circularity ?

Sebastian Toe

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #65 on: June 29, 2020, 08:18:59 PM »
My contention is that your conscious self is the source of manipulation. 


What is missing is a feasible explanation for how a soul, visiting the space time manifold from where it resides outwith said STM, alone can generate a single action of physical manipulation


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Alan Burns

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #66 on: June 29, 2020, 09:04:29 PM »
As per usual, your contention amounts to a random 'self'.  To disconnect your self from those long chains of cause and effect would be to render your self without anchor, without meaning, without any purpose or direction.
No
Being able to consciously intercede within the physical chains of cause and effect gives me the freedom to consciously choose rather than just react.
« Last Edit: June 29, 2020, 11:02:51 PM by Alan Burns »
The truth will set you free  - John 8:32
Truth is not an abstraction, but a person - Edith Stein
Free Will is the highest truth about humanity - GK Chesterton
Remove grace, and you have nothing whereby to be saved. Remove free will and you have nothing that could be saved."
-- Anselm of Canterbury

Alan Burns

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #67 on: June 29, 2020, 10:57:05 PM »
Trouble is, 'consciously choosing' a thought to think, is itself a thought process.  So how do you resolve that evident circularity ?
There is no infinite regress or circularity because I am the cause of my own thoughts.
I am not a machine - I have a will of my own.
You seem unable to appreciate the reality of the precious gift of free will which nature alone could never achieve.
The truth will set you free  - John 8:32
Truth is not an abstraction, but a person - Edith Stein
Free Will is the highest truth about humanity - GK Chesterton
Remove grace, and you have nothing whereby to be saved. Remove free will and you have nothing that could be saved."
-- Anselm of Canterbury

Alan Burns

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #68 on: June 29, 2020, 11:15:05 PM »

What is missing is a feasible explanation for how a soul, visiting the space time manifold from where it resides outwith said STM, alone can generate a single action of physical manipulation
I have no explanation for how the interaction of conscious will within this otherwise physically predetermined universe works.
What we have is our own demonstrable ability to consciously interact which defies any physical definition.
The truth will set you free  - John 8:32
Truth is not an abstraction, but a person - Edith Stein
Free Will is the highest truth about humanity - GK Chesterton
Remove grace, and you have nothing whereby to be saved. Remove free will and you have nothing that could be saved."
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torridon

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #69 on: June 30, 2020, 06:32:34 AM »
No
Being able to consciously intercede within the physical chains of cause and effect gives me the freedom to consciously choose rather than just react.

But you would have no basis on which to resolve choice were you disconnected from those chains of cause and effect.  Consciousness would give you no advantage if you have no reason for your preferences.  You would merely be consciously making random choices rather than just making random choices.  Consciousness will not furnish you with a sound basis for preferences.

torridon

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #70 on: June 30, 2020, 06:34:58 AM »
There is no infinite regress or circularity because I am the cause of my own thoughts.
..

You cannot see the circularity in that ?

Really ?

Never Talk to Strangers

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #71 on: June 30, 2020, 07:34:30 AM »
Being able to consciously intercede within the physical chains of cause and effect gives me the freedom to consciously choose rather than just react.

And you making a choice is something that happens as your mind changes state over time, so the logic we discussed before (here) applies, regardless of the role of consciousness. Choices are always reactions (unless they involve randomness).

There is no infinite regress or circularity because I am the cause of my own thoughts.

You really haven't given this any thought at all, have you?
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Outrider

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #72 on: June 30, 2020, 09:04:50 AM »
What is missing is a feasible explanation for how material reactions alone can generate a single entity of conscious awareness.

No, that's not missing - any number of people can see it in that description.  You can't accept it; is that a function of an inadequacy of that description, or is that a function of your interpretation?

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We can certainly mimic the outward appearance of conscious awareness by complex manipulation of reactions, but there would be nothing within those reactions which constitute the internal conscious awareness which defines "you".

Except that you can't show that there is anything else to it.  You keep claiming it, you keep asserting that there must be something else, but you can neither show what it is, show what's missing, or show how there are elements we can see which don't have readily explainable mechanisms.  It's like you asserting that a car engine can't be providing the power because dead dinosaurs don't have any explosions in them, but not being able to show where the explosions are coming from somewhere else, that something else is getting into the engine or that the engine isn't doing the work.

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The fundamental question here relates to the ultimate source of that which causes manipulation.

No, the fundamental question is what makes you think there's some external 'ultimate source'?

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My contention is that your conscious self is the source of manipulation.

No-one is in any doubt what your contention is.  However, on an evidentiary basis you have no justification for your contention, and on a philosophical one you have the infinite reduction problem of 'well if your brain needs an external consciousness to drive it, what drives your external consciousness' to try to lever in the untenable 'freedom of will' that you appear to need.

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If you relate the source of manipulation to entirely physical causes, then the concept of "you" being the ultimate source disappears into oblivion because physically driven cause and effect chains of reactions will trace back to the beginning of time.

And, again, the issue here isn't the restriction to the physical.  Even if, for the sake of argument, we accede to a thought experiment where there's some intangible, separate 'spirit' influencing consciousness, you still have to explain how that is at once dependent on prior events enough to be considered 'will', but unconstrained enough to be considered 'free'.  That's not a 'physical' restriction, it's a logical one.  The proposal you have, before we get to the mechanics, is logically unsound.

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I consider my ability to consciously choose my own thoughts, words and actions to be a reality rather than an illusion, which puts "me" as being the source of manipulation rather than endless chains of physically driven cause and effect.

And your subjective experience is exactly as liable to error as everyone else's subjective experience of everything they do.  That's why we measure things, that's why we don't just rely on 'feelings' to determine how the world works.

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What is amazing is my ability to consciously interact with this universe rather than just react to it.

What's amazing is your ability to continually fail to react to the points made and continue with the 'but I feel like it' response as though you are making some killer point.

O.
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jeremyp

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #73 on: June 30, 2020, 09:12:38 AM »
What is amazing is my ability to consciously interact with this universe rather than just react to it.
What's the difference?
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Alan Burns

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Re: Causes and mechanisms
« Reply #74 on: July 01, 2020, 11:52:07 PM »
But you would have no basis on which to resolve choice were you disconnected from those chains of cause and effect.  Consciousness would give you no advantage if you have no reason for your preferences.  You would merely be consciously making random choices rather than just making random choices.  Consciousness will not furnish you with a sound basis for preferences.
Conscious interaction is not random.
Neither is it a predetermined reaction.
You seem to be stuck in the groove of trying to shoe horn reality to fit in with the mechanistic cause and effect scenario we observe in physical material reactions.  There is more to human life.
The truth will set you free  - John 8:32
Truth is not an abstraction, but a person - Edith Stein
Free Will is the highest truth about humanity - GK Chesterton
Remove grace, and you have nothing whereby to be saved. Remove free will and you have nothing that could be saved."
-- Anselm of Canterbury