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I think conscious as a brain function...
Thu Mar 9, 2017 4:05pm

...might not be conclusively demonstrated yet, but it's getting pretty darn close. I'll be very surprised indeed if anything comes along to make us massively re-evaluate at this point.

I definitely think the non-material can arise from the material. The whole of metaphysics as a concept relies on that, really.

I also think it's an inevitable result for complex adaptive systems of this sort. By "this sort," I mean systems in which the continuance of the system depends on the self-propagation of relatively large component subsets of the system. In the case of biological evolution, animal life as is single, massive complex adaptive system places considerable reliance on the success of large aggregates of system components (individual critters) in propagating alleles. Consciousness is an enormous competitive advantage in terms of preserving those large aggregates so that this propagation can occur, for obvious reasons: reacting to damage/threat, attaining necessary resources, and (eventually) engaging in complex, cooperative behaviors. As consciousness is an addition of complexity, it corresponds with complexity theory that it would arise as one of the increases of complexity all such systems undergo, should they survive. The process isn't perfectly linear, and there is considerable randomness in the allele propagation process...but that, too, is expected. The most successful adaptive systems operate on the "edge of chaos." Not doing so produces a more-moribund system, which is seldom successful for long.

On that thing-in-itself matter, I think what happens when we assign "catness" (going to run with this example because it makes me smile) to the myriad physical phenomena that constitute the animal is not a recognition of any sort of innate property on the part of the cat's constituent components, at whatever level short of the complete cat we wish to consider. Instead, we recognize an emergent phenomenon. The aggregate components combine (continually, at least for the life of the cat) in such a manner as to cause what we recognize as catness to arise. Catness is what they do, not what they are.

That same process occurs at "sub-cat" levels, too. Whether it be a big component like a tail, much smaller components like a blood cell, of all the way down to the subatomic level, each categorized phenomenon's categorical identity arises from those component phenomena...not because they component phenomena possess some sort of innate sub-catness. Clear down at the QM level, I think it becomes easier to see that the cat's component quanta don't possess innate catness (a bit much to ask of a quark, IMO...).

  • I Was Amused By His Tone...Amadeus, Thu Mar 9 12:20pm
    And that amusement comes in context of my recent interaction with him. There is no doubt that he's highly intelligent, and I absolutely didn't dispute his claims, but he has a tunnel vision sense of... more
    • I think conscious as a brain function... — Poppet, Thu Mar 9 4:05pm
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