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consciousness and neuroscience

Ken Easlon ken5 at delphi.com
Mon Feb 28 05:35:22 EST 1994



You folks who have sampled my tirades on comp.ai.philosophy over
the past 15 months will know that one of my main interests is the
relationship of subjective and objective points of view. 

One method of addressing this subject is to look at everything from
the subjective point of view, a view that tends toward solipsism,
but with important differences.  This approach would view "nature"
as a source of information (and other influences) which induce in
the mind an illusion of hard physical reality.

The approach has its points, but it's hard to take seriously when
you're up to your ass in alligators.  So here's an attempt to go in
the other direction, and define subjective phenomena in terms of
hard science.

Let's start with my 3 block diagram from an earlier post.
(turn page)

 .-------------.    .-----------.     
 |            _V____V_          |      You'll have to check the previous
 |             \    /           |      posts in this thread to see the
 |    THOUGHT    \/             |      reasoning behind this diagram.
 |               /\             |      (see sci.cognitive)
 |             /    \           |      
 |            --------          |      The emphasis is on the subjective 
 |             V    V           |      point of view, as witnessed by the
 |   .---------'    `-------.   |      fact that the entire extra-mental
 |   |    .---.  .-----.    |   |      universe is represented by the   
 |  _V____V_  |  |    _V____V_  |      space between the double lines at
 |   \    /   |  |     \    /   |      the bottom of the action block.
 |     \/     `-<|<-.    \/     |      
 |     /\ ACTION |  |    /\ FEELING    The double lines themselves repre- 
 |   /    \      |  |  /    \   |      sent the interface between mind   
 |  ========     |  | --------  |      and matter, motor-effectors on the
 |   V    V      |  |  V    V   |      top, sensory-affected on the
 `---'    `------'  `--'    `---'      bottom. (turn page)


  _____________________________________    So, as a concession to
 |             __________              |   those of you who aren't
 |            |          |--->|\   /|>-'   on drugs, I'll redraw the
 |            |          |    |  X  |      top level diagram slightly
 |            |          | .->|/   \|>-.   and give extra-mental
 `->|\       /|          | |  THOUGHT  |   reality it's very own box.
    |  \   /  |  EXTRA-  | |_____      |
    |    X    |  MENTAL  | .---->|>----'   From a subjective point of
    |  /   \  | UNIVERSE | |     |_____    view, we can't break down
 .->|/       \|          | |  FEELING  |   the EMU box, because every-
 |            |          | `->|\   /|>-'   thing we know or think about
 | PERCEPTION |          |    |  X  |      the extra-mental universe is 
 |            |__________|--->|/   \|>-.   in our mind, i.e. the thought
 |_____________________________________|   box.

Notice the name change for the former action box.  Since the objective
component for action has been moved to the EMU, the real time awareness of
activity is now better described as perception.  (turn page)


Now to correlating subjective and objective.  Fortunately this is something
we do all the time, with a little tool we call common sense.



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