The arrival of individual self consciousness.

Either the gentle arousal of sleeping beauty or disturbing a sleeping dragon, which is it?

The part:
An individual human could not become a self-reflective, thinking adult without the necessary bodily systems, processes and organs which comprise the whole organism.

The whole:
Earthly life could not reach a stage in which individual organisms become self-reflective, rational thinking beings without the forms of life which develop in a way that comprises the vast supporting structure that allow these few seeds of nascent self-aware consciousness to spring from the living earth. Life on earth is one self-regulating body while humanity provides the mind within that body.

The majority of earthly life forms only developed so far along the path, some along ever narrowing, one-sided branches, while the balance of the whole is ever maintained. The  one-sided nature of some creatures is obvious. Giant pandas being a classic example. The hoof of a horse, the wing of an albatross, the middle finger of an aye-aye, are all much more specialised than the human hand. Ideally suited to their specific tasks. But this speciality becomes a hindrance to further novelty.

 

Like pacemakers in a race, various creatures forego their own advancement to give an outcome which was destined in the long run. And to achieve this outcome whereby nature can look upon herself with a spark of understanding, self-conscious individuals are a necessity. The sleeping beauty that is nature begins to wake up. Or has the dragon been poked with a stick?

 

The ubiquitous instinctive wisdom of nature which has been in control since physical life began is handing over its power to the still ripening human wisdom. And of course there is no guarantee that the newly sapient creatures that we are will be up to the task of handling this new found power responsibly. Adolescents can be unpredictable when they encounter novel freedom before they have gained the experience to deal with it.

 

Our minds are our exception within nature. And human exceptionalism rightly regarded is a privilege granted us by nature. It is not something for us to boast about; we did not get here by means of our own efforts. We did not wake of our own accord. This is a responsibility which was thrust upon us and we are now left in a position where we have a great deal of control over the destiny of earthly life. Will we gain sufficient maturity to enhance life or are we the seeds of earthly destruction?

 

The future will determine if our efforts turn out to be praiseworthy. We can claim no credit for getting to this point. Will we be considered worthy of credit for what follows? We haven’t made the best of starts but who would have expected otherwise.

0

367 thoughts on “The arrival of individual self consciousness.

  1. Corneel:
    CharlieM: Human behaviour is vastly more individualised than that of animals even to the point of deliberately ending one’s own life.

    Corneel: We discussed individuality on previous occasions, so let’s not rehash that here. Let me just point out that the very phrase “more individualised” signifies a difference in scale, not in kind.

    Imagine some alien being comparing the various species on earth. It compares the behaviour and nest building of wood mice to that of humans. The difference would be glaringly obvious. There is an essential similarity to the way all wood mice construct their “homes”. They would find that this is not the case with humans. In fact it may not be the case for a single human who might move between all types of dwelling over a lifetime. It would also observe that humans tend to live in concentrated communities where it would find a whole variety of constructions over and above dwelling places. I could write pages on the comparison between humans and other species dealing with the essential differences and similarities between and within each. But you would probably still argue that there is more similarity than difference in the behaviour of humans and any other species.

    CharlieM: Maybe a better analogy would be pre and post pubescence. A person is in a continual state of development but puberty marks a transition from one state of being to another.

    Corneel: Even if I would indulge you here, that still marks a gradual transition taking place over several years, not an overnight switch from one state to the other.

    What does it matter how gradual the transition is? The transition happens regardless.

    Corneel: Why is it so hard for you to accept that, by the criteria you mentioned (self awareness and intentionality), human and non-human consciousness are not different in kind?

    Because humans don’t just have basic bodily self-consciousness in the moment. We have a rhythm of self-consciousness over nearly a lifetime and even if we lose self- consciousness every time we go to sleep we still retain a thread of memories stretching back to when we were young and we recognise ourselves as being the same individual.

    Someone can drive to work and back by the same route for years on end. They end up being able to do it instinctively so that when they try to recall the journey they can’t do it. But they can also choose to concentrate and focus on their actions while making the journey and in that case they will remember it. We have a conscious memory not demonstrated by animals.

    0
  2. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: Do you believe that Tallis deliberately tries to deceive people?

    Neil Rickert: I have no idea. I’m not into mind reading.

    Based on experience, I know that it is not useful for me to spend additional time listening to him.

    I am just curious why you called him a charlatan. It gave me the impression that you thought he was being deceitful.

    0
  3. Kantian Naturalist:
    CharlieM: We think with our minds, not our nervous system. Say someone has the thought, “I drink too much alcohol, from now on I will abstain completely”. Was this thought instigated by neurons firing? Where did this sudden decision to forego an anticipated pleasure come from?

    Kantian Naturalist: We appear to ourselves as having minds with thoughts, and so of course the relation between thoughts and neuronal patterns seems mysterious to us — just as the relation between the sensations of cold and warmth and mean kinetic energy seems mysterious

    I regard my mind as being closer than my physical body to the reality of who I am. My body is the constantly changing “shell” that sustains the essential “me”. When you speak about yourself what do you regard as being the most essential part of that self? What is it that is thinking about neural patterns?

    0
  4. CharlieM: I could write pages on the comparison between humans and other species dealing with the essential differences and similarities between and within each. But you would probably still argue that there is more similarity than difference in the behaviour of humans and any other species.

    Possibly, that all depends on what characters you choose to focus on. But I have not argued so in this thread.

    CharlieM: What does it matter how gradual the transition is? The transition happens regardless.

    Do you understand what the distinction is between a difference in scale and a difference in kind?

    CharlieM: Me: Why is it so hard for you to accept that, by the criteria you mentioned (self awareness and intentionality), human and non-human consciousness are not different in kind?

    Charlie: Because humans don’t just have basic bodily self-consciousness in the moment. We have a rhythm of self-consciousness over nearly a lifetime and even if we lose self- consciousness every time we go to sleep we still retain a thread of memories stretching back to when we were young and we recognise ourselves as being the same individual.

    You choose to be very unyielding on this topic. I haven’t argued against there being differences, or even against the differences being very large. I just objected to you describing this difference as a difference “in kind”. By your own admission several animals have self consciousness and many animals are capable of building memories. I do not see why you need there to be a sharp dividing line between us and them.

    0
  5. Corneel: Possibly, that all depends on what characters you choose to focus on. But I have not argued so in this thread.

    Do you understand what the distinction is between a difference in scale and a difference in kind?

    You choose to be very unyielding on this topic. I haven’t argued against there being differences, or even against the differences being very large. I just objected to you describing this difference as a difference “in kind”.By your own admission several animals have self consciousness and many animals are capable of building memories. I do not see why you need there to be a sharp dividing line between us and them.

    Do you grant that there is a great deal of difference between being conscious of the self in the moment and being conscious of oneself as a constantly developing entity in time and space? Both humans and a select few higher animals have the former, only humans have the latter type of self-consciousness. The maxim “know thyself” is pointless if applied to animals. They do not have the capacity to look back on their own lives from the point of view of an outsider.

    0
  6. Some thoughts on thinking and perception are written below.

    Having learned about the processes involved in colour vision I can trace them in my act of seeing. I look at a red ball. It is in my consciousness as a sense perception. Photons travel from the ball to my eyes. Photons are wave/particle entities, they have no colour. Photons impinging on the retinas results in nerve signals travelling along the optic nerves to the brain. The red colour isn’t in the nerves. The resulting processes in my brain is then supposed to produce the sensation of red in my conscious mind. And I have then perceived the red which I recognise as being attached to the ball where the process of my seeing the ball began. A similar scenario takes place when I touch the ball to determine its texture, weight and hardness.

    It may be argued that supposedly the colour does not actually exist on the ball. This is just the movement of photons. Likewise not on my retinas. Nor in the nerves of the optic nerve or the brain. The ball, the eye, the retina, the optic nerve and the brain are all sense perceptible objects. Also activities between the ball and the brain can be represented to perception by means of modern technology. For example brain activity may be represented on a screen using an MRI scanner. But how do we unify all these perceptions? How are these separate processes and experiences bound together in our minds? The perceptions alone do not achieve the binding. We do so through thinking. It is by means of thinking that we obtain a higher form of knowledge than that given by perception alone.

    The entities we perceive Steiner refers to as percepts. And regarding them he says:

    “The way objects as percepts are related to the subject as percept — a relationship that goes beyond what is merely perceived — is therefore purely ideal, that is, it can be expressed only by means of concepts.”

    The relationship between the percept “colour” and the percept “eye” can only be an ideal one. That is it exists as an idea in the mind. Percept plus concept equals reality. The concept does not add anything to reality that was not already contained within it.

    0
  7. CharlieM: Do you grant that there is a great deal of difference between being conscious of the self in the moment and being conscious of oneself as a constantly developing entity in time and space?

    So you don’t understand the distinction between a difference in scale and a difference in kind? And you seemed such a smart guy.

    Let’s try again: Do you grant that there is a great deal of difference between the distance between you and your keyboard and the distance between you and Betelguese? An enormous difference, isn’t it? Yet it is still a difference in scale.

    Humans are pretty good at certain cognitive tasks, but the abilities you chose as examples are, by your own admission, not absent in non-human animals. Therefore these abilities cannot be different in kind between humans and animals, no matter how large you perceive the chasm to be.

    0
  8. CharlieM,

    In my opinion, what you wrote there is mostly nonsense.

    Perception presents us the world.

    Using your mind, you dissect the world into pieces, and you have convinced yourself that perception presents us only those pieces. Then you have convinced yourself that it is the mind that puts the pieces together to give us a world.

    It is pretty much all your invention — or perhaps it is Steiner’s invention.

    0
  9. Corneel:
    CharlieM: Do you grant that there is a great deal of difference between being conscious of the self in the moment and being conscious of oneself as a constantly developing entity in time and space?

    Corneel: So you don’t understand the distinction between a difference in scale and a difference in kind? And you seemed such a smart guy.

    Let’s try again: Do you grant that there is a great deal of difference between the distance between you and your keyboard and the distance between you and Betelguese? An enormous difference, isn’t it? Yet it is still a difference in scale.

    You are ignoring an important and essential difference in the relationship I
    have with my keyboard and my relationship with a star. I have a great deal of control over the placement of my keyboard, I have no control of the placement of any star. The respective distances have to do with scale, but my relationship with each is a difference in kind.

    Corneel: Humans are pretty good at certain cognitive tasks, but the abilities you chose as examples are, by your own admission, not absent in non-human animals. Therefore these abilities cannot be different in kind between humans and animals, no matter how large you perceive the chasm to be.

    Members of which other species are consciously aware of the global effect their species has on climate and species numbers? What other species has intentions on exploring, exploiting and even colonizing other planets?

    Even staunch Darwinists have to admit that with the arrival of modern humans, evolution is no longer a purely blind affair. The sharing, across the planetary population, of the rational, individual, inner thoughts of self-conscious individuals is not just a scalar progression. It takes evolution in a whole new direction.

    0
  10. Neil Rickert: In my opinion, what you wrote there is mostly nonsense.

    Perception presents us the world.

    Using your mind, you dissect the world into pieces, and you have convinced yourself that perception presents us only those pieces. Then you have convinced yourself that it is the mind that puts the pieces together to give us a world.

    It is pretty much all your invention — or perhaps it is Steiner’s invention.

    The act of perceiving is already a process of combining. My perception of a thrush already contains concepts such as “song”, “bird”, “organism” and others. What are separate are the entities that are producing my sense impressions, the shape I see and the sound I hear. (The entities Steiner calls percepts). We are never aware of receiving the pure sensation because we have already added concepts in the process of becoming aware. We do not learn by dissecting the world into pieces. We learn by slowly placing the differentiated parts into their context within the whole.

    Out walking one day my grandson pointed to a mole hill and proclaimed, “look a mountain!”. He could see that it was different from the surrounding field and immediately linked it to his concept of a mountain. He had obviously learned what a mountain looked like from picture books and he hadn’t grasped the idea of perspective. His is now knows what mole hills look like and that mountains are very much bigger that we are. He is aware of their similarities and their differences. He learned not by dissecting but by differentiating.

    0
  11. CharlieM: The respective distances have to do with scale, but my relationship with each is a difference in kind.

    True. That is why I chose distance and not whether one can move around objects as an appropriate analogy for how you were using self awareness and intentionality in your argument.

    CharlieM: Even staunch Darwinists have to admit that with the arrival of modern humans, evolution is no longer a purely blind affair. The sharing, across the planetary population, of the rational, individual, inner thoughts of self-conscious individuals is not just a scalar progression. It takes evolution in a whole new direction.

    Are we having the same discussion? There is a whole lot of baggage in here that I certainly didn’t bring up. It is quite intriguing what you choose to hang on the distinction between continuous and discrete variables. And here is me believing it was such a small correction I was suggesting.

    0
  12. CharlieM: The act of perceiving is already a process of combining.

    And, of course, I already disagree.

    However, many people will probably agree with you. And that’s why they are unable to understand human cognition.

    We are never aware of receiving the pure sensation because …

    We never receive pure sensation. Sensation comes from within, so is not something received.

    We do not learn by dissecting the world into pieces.

    Of course we do.

    We learn by slowly placing the differentiated parts into their context within the whole.

    There are no differentiated parts, until we differentiate them (i.e. until we dissect the world into what we will take to be parts).

    He learned not by dissecting but by differentiating.

    You have misunderstood what your grandson learned. In looking around and seeing that molehill, and relating it to a mountain, he learned something about the world. In the subsequent conversation, where you explained his “mistake”, you were teaching him about human meaning conventions.

    Learning human meaning conventions is an important part of learning. But it is not the same as learning about the world.

    0
  13. Corneel:
    CharlieM: The respective distances have to do with scale, but my relationship with each is a difference in kind.

    Corneel: True. That is why I chose distance and not whether one can move around objects as an appropriate analogy for how you were using self awareness and intentionality in your argument.

    The fundamental difference I see between the self-consciousness of those select higher animals and that of humans is that both have bodily self-awareness but only humans have awareness of self as a mind. Only humans think about their own thinking. We can discern that we are a bodily self but also a thinking self.

    CharlieM: Even staunch Darwinists have to admit that with the arrival of modern humans, evolution is no longer a purely blind affair. The sharing, across the planetary population, of the rational, individual, inner thoughts of self-conscious individuals is not just a scalar progression. It takes evolution in a whole new direction.

    Corneel: Are we having the same discussion? There is a whole lot of baggage in here that I certainly didn’t bring up. It is quite intriguing what you choose to hang on the distinction between continuous and discrete variables. And here is me believing it was such a small correction I was suggesting

    It is a good thing to focus on details, but I also like to keep in mind the wider context and implications of anything under discussion. Regarding the uniqueness of human creativity and culture what are its implications for the continuing evolution of life on earth?

    0
  14. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: The act of perceiving is already a process of combining.

    Neil Rickert: And, of course, I already disagree.

    However, many people will probably agree with you. And that’s why they are unable to understand human cognition.

    And you do understand human cognition? Do we see a patch of red along with a sphere or do we see a cherry?

    CharlieM: We are never aware of receiving the pure sensation because …

    Neil Rickert: We never receive pure sensation. Sensation comes from within, so is not something received.

    That is a point that is worth thinking about. If I have the sensation “red” is that of my making? If it comes “from within”, where about within does it come from and to where does it go? Can I have the experience of “red” without there being some entity that this quality belongs to?

    CharlieM: We do not learn by dissecting the world into pieces.

    Neil Rickert: Of course we do.

    Fair comment. Leonardo learned a great deal from the dissecting table. But he was able to learn because he could then see how the parts combined in the working of the whole body. Even if it was impossible to put the physical body back together again, Leonardo could think it back together again. The context of the organism is an essential feature of the reality of the parts.

    CharlieM: We learn by slowly placing the differentiated parts into their context within the whole.

    Neil Rickert: There are no differentiated parts, until we differentiate them (i.e. until we dissect the world into what we will take to be parts).

    Young children who are watching a variety of birds coming and going will see them as separate things moving about. To begin with they will not understand how they fit within life as a whole.

    CharlieM: He learned not by dissecting but by differentiating.

    Neil Rickert: You have misunderstood what your grandson learned. In looking around and seeing that molehill, and relating it to a mountain, he learned something about the world. In the subsequent conversation, where you explained his “mistake”, you were teaching him about human meaning conventions.

    Learning human meaning conventions is an important part of learning. But it is not the same as learning about the world.

    His “mistake” was not pointed out to him. Nobody told him that the mole hill wasn’t a mountain. It was explained to him what it was and how it was produced by the mole. As he has learned new things he has gained a fair understanding what we humans class as mountains. But now he would probably say that a mole hill is still a mountain from an ant’s point of view.

    I once had an argument with an Ixodes ricinus about this and it was becoming heated. i said, “Steady on! No need to get so ticked off. You’re making a mountain out of a ….” 🙂

    0
  15. CharlieM: It is a good thing to focus on details, but I also like to keep in mind the wider context and implications of anything under discussion. Regarding the uniqueness of human creativity and culture what are its implications for the continuing evolution of life on earth?

    Most likely that it will be cut short, but hey, maybe I am being too pessimistic here.

    As for your “wider context and implications”: humans would still be unique if they were to differ in continuous traits only. As I see it, your resistance to this minor point is irrational. I wish I understood what is behind it.

    0
  16. CharlieM: Do we see a patch of red along with a sphere or do we see a cherry?

    The question itself seems confused.

    Yes, we see a cherry. But what do “patch of red” and “sphere” have to do with that?

    If I have the sensation “red” is that of my making?

    It isn’t anything that you are conscious of doing, so “of my making” does not seem right. Nevertheless, it comes from within.

    If it comes “from within”, where about within does it come from and to where does it go?

    That seems to be a confused question.

    Leonardo learned a great deal from the dissecting table. But he was able to learn because he could then see how the parts combined in the working of the whole body.

    In my view, this is how we understand our world — by taking it apart and then putting it back together (all in our thoughts).

    Young children who are watching a variety of birds coming and going will see them as separate things moving about.

    Yes, but those are children who have learned to see their world that way. But the child would first have to learn to thingify the world before being able to see a world of things.

    His “mistake” was not pointed out to him.

    That’s the first sentence in a paragraph. The remainder of your paragraph describes how it was pointed out.

    0
  17. Corneel:
    CharlieM: It is a good thing to focus on details, but I also like to keep in mind the wider context and implications of anything under discussion. Regarding the uniqueness of human creativity and culture what are its implications for the continuing evolution of life on earth?

    Corneel: Most likely that it will be cut short, but hey, maybe I am being too pessimistic here.

    Who knows, you could be right. But no matter what happens on earth, evolution will continue.

    As for your “wider context and implications”: humans would still be unique if they were to differ in continuous traits only. As I see it, your resistance to this minor point is irrational. I wish I understood what is behind it.

    As I see it the evolution in bodily forms of earthly organisms is the physical manifestation of the evolution of consciousness. And the evolution of consciousness involves a trajectory in which a very extended, diffuse, instinctive consciousness condenses. In humans it has condensed to the point where individuals have the physical and mental means to think and act creatively, communicate complex thoughts, contemplate the deep past and far future. This is very different from this consciousness apparent in individual animals of other species..

    0
  18. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: Do we see a patch of red along with a sphere or do we see a cherry?

    Neil Rickert: The question itself seems confused.

    Yes, we see a cherry. But what do “patch of red” and “sphere” have to do with that?

    When we “see” a cherry we do not just rely on our senses through which separate sensations come about. When I look at a cherry I have already combined the sense data with a variety of concepts that I have previously acquired

    CharlieM: If I have the sensation “red” is that of my making?

    Neil Rickert: It isn’t anything that you are conscious of doing, so “of my making” does not seem right. Nevertheless, it comes from within.

    CharlieM: If it comes “from within”, where about within does it come from and to where does it go?

    Neil Rickert: That seems to be a confused question.

    It might lead to a confused answer, but don’t you think it’s a question worth asking and pondering over?

    CharlieM: Leonardo learned a great deal from the dissecting table. But he was able to learn because he could then see how the parts combined in the working of the whole body.

    Neil Rickert: In my view, this is how we understand our world — by taking it apart and then putting it back together (all in our thoughts).

    And do you think that other animals have this ability?

    CharlieM: Young children who are watching a variety of birds coming and going will see them as separate things moving about.

    Neil Rickert: Yes, but those are children who have learned to see their world that way. But the child would first have to learn to thingify the world before being able to see a world of things.

    And how do you think children learn to “thingify” the world?

    CharlieM: His “mistake” was not pointed out to him.

    Neil Rickert: That’s the first sentence in a paragraph. The remainder of your paragraph describes how it was pointed out.

    Giving him a detailed description of what he was looking at does not involve pointing out any perceived mistakes. How do you know he didn’t come away thinking that moles are very good at making little mountains?

    When kids are given information in a productive and positive way, they are quite capable of correcting their own views of the world.

    0
  19. CharlieM: When I look at a cherry I have already combined the sense data with a variety of concepts that I have previously acquired

    Here, I see “sense data” as a nonsense term, albeit a term that is in wide use.

    It might lead to a confused answer, but don’t you think it’s a question worth asking and pondering over?

    No, I don’t. It presupposes some sort of division into compartments, and asks to identify which compartment. But unless you have an actual well developed theory with well defined compartments, it makes no sense to ask such a question.

    And do you think that other animals have this ability?

    Yes, but they probably don’t do that taking apart as extensively as we do.

    And how do you think children learn to “thingify” the world?

    By experimenting with ways of taking it apart and putting it back together.

    How do you know he didn’t come away thinking that moles are very good at making little mountains?

    What a child means by “little mountains” is going to be very different from what an adult means by “little mountains”.

    So maybe he was right. Maybe moles are very good at making little mountains, as the child understands “little mountains”. You seem to think that he’s got wrong ideas about the world, when the real “problem” is that he has not yet mastered the meaning conventions that adults follow.

    0
  20. CharlieM: I regard my mind as being closer than my physical body to the reality of who I am. My body is the constantly changing “shell” that sustains the essential “me”. When you speak about yourself what do you regard as being the most essential part of that self? What is it that is thinking about neural patterns?

    I don’t think of my mind as being more essential than my body. In fact I think that this idea that the mind is somehow more essential than the body is one of the most completely wrong-headed mistakes in the entire history of philosophy.

    And in response to those questions, I don’t think of anything as being “the most essential part of the self”. I don’t think there’s anything which is “essential to the self”. In fact, I think the very concept of essence is a terrible blunder, and one we’re better off without.

    0
  21. Neil Rickert: Here, I see “sense data” as a nonsense term, albeit a term that is in wide use.

    Agreed. It’s a concept born of confusion between phenomenological description and scientific explanation, but it doesn’t belong to either.

    On the phenomenological side, we have no experience of sense-data. Perception is best described (as by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty) an intentional arc from embodied consciousness to perceptible configurations.

    On the scientific side, sense-data have no place in our model of how the transactions between organisms and their environments is mediated by how ambient energies modulate the activity of diverse selective transducers.

    0
  22. CharlieM,

    I regard my mind as being closer than my physical body to the reality of who I am. 

    Heh. And yet you never see a ‘naked mind’, do ya? 😁

    +1
  23. CharlieM: As I see it the evolution in bodily forms of earthly organisms is the physical manifestation of the evolution of consciousness. And the evolution of consciousness involves a trajectory in which a very extended, diffuse, instinctive consciousness condenses. In humans it has condensed to the point where individuals have the physical and mental means to think and act creatively, communicate complex thoughts, contemplate the deep past and far future. This is very different from this consciousness apparent in individual animals of other species..

    My wife is taller than me and therefore able to pick things from the upper shelf that I cannot reach. Does that make our difference in length a difference in kind rather than a difference in scale? No, it doesn’t. You are merely demonstrating that one can convert any continuous difference into a discrete difference by establishing arbitrary thresholds.

    Your arguments would have been easier to accept if you hadn’t previously dismissed novel phenotypes in other species as being merely “extreme forms” of the archetype. You are so very clearly using a double standard.

    0
  24. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: When I look at a cherry I have already combined the sense data with a variety of concepts that I have previously acquired

    Neil Rickert: Here, I see “sense data” as a nonsense term, albeit a term that is in wide use.

    It wasn’t until after I had used the term “sense data” here that I discovered that there is actually a philosophical position called the sense datum theory. There are many details of this theory that I disagree with but I can agree with one thing. In this video a basic understanding of what is meant by “sense data” is given which is attributed to G. E. Moore. Moore used the term to mean “whatever is given in perceptual experience”. The speaker explained that it should be regarded as “a presentation of a sensing and nothing more.”

    I don’t see how you can argue that through sense perception you are presented with something.

    I lean more towards direct realism than the sense datum theory.

    CharlieM: It might lead to a confused answer, but don’t you think it’s a question worth asking and pondering over?

    Neil Rickert: No, I don’t.

    I believe that there is very often something to be learned from the questions posed by very young children who have not had the time and experience to whittle down their world views into an ever narrowing point. No questions should be completely ignored.

    Neil Rickert: It presupposes some sort of division into compartments, and asks to identify which compartment. But unless you have an actual well developed theory with well defined compartments, it makes no sense to ask such a question.

    Don’t you think that hearing, seeing, and touching are different sense experiences? How much more compartmentalized do you want?

    CharlieM (regarding dissecting and recombining things in our minds): And do you think that other animals have this ability?

    Neil Rickert: Yes, but they probably don’t do that taking apart as extensively as we do.

    Crows that regularly separate dead animals into mouth sized pieces will have a great deal of experience in delving deep into their bodies. Do you think that these avian anatomists have any awareness of how the various component parts, such as organs, muscles nerves, combined and functioned while the animal was living?

    CharlieM: And how do you think children learn to “thingify” the world?

    Neil Rickert: By experimenting with ways of taking it apart and putting it back together.

    My grandson knew about small furry animals. He came across a mole hill and was taught what it was and how it was made. His knowledge was extended by making the connection between moles and their hills. An act of combining that didn’t require taking anything apart.

    No moles were harmed during the teaching process. 🙂

    CharlieM: How do you know he didn’t come away thinking that moles are very good at making little mountains?

    Neil Rickert: What a child means by “little mountains” is going to be very different from what an adult means by “little mountains”.

    In other words they could be perceiving the same thing but both will have different concepts relating to it.

    Neil Rickert: So maybe he was right. Maybe moles are very good at making little mountains, as the child understands “little mountains”. You seem to think that he’s got wrong ideas about the world, when the real “problem” is that he has not yet mastered the meaning conventions that adults follow.

    I have never said his ideas were “wrong”. His knowledge is less complete than the average adult which is to be expected of someone at such a young age. When he learns about tectonic plates, fault lines and earthly forces then he will have acquired a more complete understanding of mountain ranges and the world around him. He will have a clearer understanding of both the similarities and the differences between mole hills and mountains as understood by those who are responsible for his education.

    0
  25. Kantian Naturalist:
    CharlieM: I regard my mind as being closer than my physical body to the reality of who I am. My body is the constantly changing “shell” that sustains the essential “me”. When you speak about yourself what do you regard as being the most essential part of that self? What is it that is thinking about neural patterns?

    Kantian Naturalist: I don’t think of my mind as being more essential than my body. In fact I think that this idea that the mind is somehow more essential than the body is one of the most completely wrong-headed mistakes in the entire history of philosophy.

    You don’t call yourself a naturalist for no reason.

    Kantian Naturalist: And in response to those questions, I don’t think of anything as being “the most essential part of the self”. I don’t think there’s anything which is “essential to the self”. In fact, I think the very concept of essence is a terrible blunder, and one we’re better off without.

    How do you feel about the essence of a triangle? Is having three sides essential to being a triangle? What about having a ninety degree angle, is that essential to being a triangle?

    0
  26. Kantian Naturalist:
    Neil Rickert: Here, I see “sense data” as a nonsense term, albeit a term that is in wide use.

    Kantian Naturalist: Agreed. It’s a concept born of confusion between phenomenological description and scientific explanation, but it doesn’t belong to either.

    When you hear a bird singing something enters your ears, right?

    Kantian Naturalist: On the phenomenological side, we have no experience of sense-data. Perception is best described (as by Husserl and Merleau-Ponty) an intentional arc from embodied consciousness to perceptible configurations.

    Well it is very true that we have no sensory experience of sense-data. But we can recognise that they are present by means of thinking. I have a sensory experience of a bird singing. And that sensory experience usually involves perception, thinking, feeling, willing and understanding associated concepts.

    But I have also learned that in order for me to hear those sounds air vibrations must enter my ear. Sense data are not experienced through the senses, they can be gathered nonetheless.

    Kantian Naturalist: On the scientific side, sense-data have no place in our model of how the transactions between organisms and their environments is mediated by how ambient energies modulate the activity of diverse selective transducers.

    On the scientific side according to Kantian Naturalist…gobbledegook 🙂

    Scientists can measure the frequency and amplitude of the air vibrations entering our ears. These are data relating to the processes which produce in us our sense of hearing.

    I must admit that I was wrong when I originally used the term “sense data” in the way that I did. I meant that when I look at a cherry I have already combined my sensation of red, my past experiences, my concept of three dimensional bodies, fruit and such like.

    I now think that the term “sense data” should only be applied to those measurements that can be obtained from the processes that lead to our sense experience. They are not directly sense experienceable.

    0
  27. Allan Miller:
    CharlieM: I regard my mind as being closer than my physical body to the reality of who I am. 

    Allan Miller: Heh. And yet you never see a ‘naked mind’, do ya?

    Have you ever seen the “big bang”?

    I can see quite a lot in my mind, as can those clever crows 🙂

    0
  28. CharlieM: Don’t you think that hearing, seeing, and touching are different sense experiences? How much more compartmentalized do you want?

    You have, as ever, changed the topic of conversation.
    No matter, as your diversion is entertaining in its own right.
    Did you leave tasting and smelling off your list because you recognize there’s some overlap there?
    If so, I have some bad news for you regarding hearing, seeing and touching…

    0
  29. CharlieM,

    Just amused me in light of you spending 3 months arguing against gene centrism with that. Very reductionist, this “mind’s-I” thing! 🤣

    0
  30. CharlieM: Moore used the term to mean “whatever is given in perceptual experience”.

    Fair enough. May I suggest that you read (or google) “the myth of the given” which argues that there isn’t anything given.

    I lean more towards direct realism than the sense datum theory.

    I’m for direct perception. But perhaps my version would be better described as “direct anti-realism”.

    Don’t you think that hearing, seeing, and touching are different sense experiences?

    We describe them as separate. But it seems to me that they are fully integrated. How we see the world might be influenced by the sounds that we hear while looking. The compartments are how we analyze cognition, but it’s probably a mistake to assume that the brain does it that way.

    Do you think that these avian anatomists have any awareness of how the various component parts, such as organs, muscles nerves, combined and functioned while the animal was living?

    No. But humans would not be aware of that either, were it not for the cultural phenomenon known as “science”.

    In other words they could be perceiving the same thing but both will have different concepts relating to it.

    Yes. Concepts are personal things, and we change our own concepts over time so as to best fit our experience.

    0
  31. CharlieM: How do you feel about the essence of a triangle? Is having three sides essential to being a triangle? What about having a ninety degree angle, is that essential to being a triangle?

    Having three sides is crucial to the definition of a triangle, and having a ninety-degree angled is not. But definitions aren’t essences, because definitions are explications of meaning. Essences (if there are any) would be the stable, enduring features of substances. And I don’t think there are any essences because I don’t think that there are substances. I prefer a process ontology, and there’s no room for essences in a process ontology.

    CharlieM: When you hear a bird singing something enters your ears, right?

    Yes, but not “auditory sense-data”.

    CharlieM: Well it is very true that we have no sensory experience of sense-data. But we can recognise that they are present by means of thinking. I have a sensory experience of a bird singing. And that sensory experience usually involves perception, thinking, feeling, willing and understanding associated concepts.

    You can tell a story in which sense-data play some important role in the metaphysics of perception — Moore and Russell did that quite well, as did many others.

    But why bother? If you don’t need sense-data in order to describe the phenomenology of perception, and you don’t need them to explain the science of perception, then what’s driving the commitment to them?

    Neil Rickert: Fair enough. May I suggest that you read (or google) “the myth of the given” which argues that there isn’t anything given.

    Well, yes and no. The person who coined the phrase “the Myth of the Given”, Wilfrid Sellars, meant several different things by that phrase.

    He was certainly taking aim those empiricist epistemologists who look to “sense-impressions” to play an epistemically foundational role. But he would not have denied that sentient animals use their senses are crucial for detecting and tracking motivationally salient affordances in their ambient environments.

    Neil Rickert: I’m for direct perception. But perhaps my version would be better described as “direct anti-realism”.

    What’s the difference that makes a difference between direct realism and direct anti-realism?

    Sellars has a view he calls “critical realism”: roughly what we perceive is external to our bodies and minds, but we can’t subtract away our own contribution to the perceiving process and thereby perceive what things are in themselves.

    I think that something like that is plausible.

    Neil Rickert: Yes. Concepts are personal things, and we change our own concepts over time so as to best fit our experience.

    I’d say that concepts have strata or dimensions because of how they are distributed across patterns of neuronal activity. Some features are closely tied to the unique circumstances under which each concept-user acquired that concept, and those are affectively coded — a person who grew up in a happy home does not have quite the same concept of ‘home’ as someone who grew up in a dysfunctional home. Yet there are other features of concepts that are more linguistically encoded and which do allow for intersubjective communication about “the same things.”

    0
  32. Kantian Naturalist: What’s the difference that makes a difference between direct realism and direct anti-realism?

    I don’t hold that perception is true, nor that what we perceive is how the world is. There’s a way that I see the world, but there isn’t a way that the world is.

    Sellars has a view he calls “critical realism”: roughly what we perceive is external to our bodies and minds, but we can’t subtract away our own contribution to the perceiving process and thereby perceive what things are in themselves.

    Yes, that sounds about right.

    0
  33. Corneel:
    CharlieM: As I see it the evolution in bodily forms of earthly organisms is the physical manifestation of the evolution of consciousness. And the evolution of consciousness involves a trajectory in which a very extended, diffuse, instinctive consciousness condenses. In humans it has condensed to the point where individuals have the physical and mental means to think and act creatively, communicate complex thoughts, contemplate the deep past and far future. This is very different from this consciousness apparent in individual animals of other species.

    Corneel: My wife is taller than me and therefore able to pick things from the upper shelf that I cannot reach. Does that make our difference in length a difference in kind rather than a difference in scale? No, it doesn’t. You are merely demonstrating that one can convert any continuous difference into a discrete difference by establishing arbitrary thresholds.

    Human consciousness during deep sleep compared with consciousness while having a heated debate with other people can be looked at from two aspects. The latter is a much higher level of consciousness than the former, but it is also a different kind of consciousness.

    When you are making a comparison between your wife and yourself why have you focused on just one narrow aspect of the differences?

    Your arguments would have been easier to accept if you hadn’t previously dismissed novel phenotypes in other species as being merely “extreme forms” of the archetype. You are so very clearly using a double standard

    If we are serious about doing a comparative study of entities would it not be sensible to cover as many areas as possible in making comparisons. Crows and sharks are both vertebrates, each on a different level, but they are separate kinds, belonging to different classes.

    0
  34. DNA_Jock:
    CharlieM: Don’t you think that hearing, seeing, and touching are different sense experiences? How much more compartmentalized do you want?

    DNA_Jock: You have, as ever, changed the topic of conversation.

    The topic is anything related to the op.

    DNA_Jock: No matter, as your diversion is entertaining in its own right.
    Did you leave tasting and smelling off your list because you recognize there’s some overlap there?
    If so, I have some bad news for you regarding hearing, seeing and touching…

    Don’t forget I am talking about experience, not the mechanisms associated with them.

    In the general case our senses give us different types of awareness. I do not hear red. Synesthetes are an exception. It is by combining my sense experiences in thought that I am able to attribute to the same organism the call and the visual appearance of a yellow hammer. And since I have gained that knowledge, when I hear one calling in the distance my thinking gives me a far richer impression than if I relied solely on the disconnected sound.

    0
  35. Allan Miller:
    CharlieM,

    Just amused me in light of you spending 3 months arguing against gene centrism with that. Very reductionist, this “mind’s-I” thing!

    Your comment brings me to thinking about unity and multiplicity.

    We can teach children basic arithmetic by getting them to add up beans or whatever. But in this way right from the start they are taught to see everything as disconnected.

    If they are taught in such a way that they begin with, say, a pie, and then divide it into pieces, then they can see how everything is connected and we can get multiplicity out of unity.

    There can be unity without reductionism.

    0
  36. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: Moore used the term to mean “whatever is given in perceptual experience”.

    Neil Rickert: Fair enough. May I suggest that you read (or google) “the myth of the given” which argues that there isn’t anything given.

    Having followed what Kantian Naturalist has posted over the years, I have learned about the myth of the given. I don’t think it argues that there is nothing given. In my opinion it argues that we are never aware of anything that is purely given. Through our activity anything that is given is always entangled in what we bring to it. We do not passively receive anything from without.

    CharlieM: I lean more towards direct realism than the sense datum theory.

    Neil Rickert: I’m for direct perception. But perhaps my version would be better described as “direct anti-realism”.

    Is there anything you do regard as real?

    CharlieM: Don’t you think that hearing, seeing, and touching are different sense experiences?

    Neil Rickert: We describe them as separate. But it seems to me that they are fully integrated. How we see the world might be influenced by the sounds that we hear while looking. The compartments are how we analyze cognition, but it’s probably a mistake to assume that the brain does it that way.

    So what performs the integrating?

    CharlieM: Do you think that these avian anatomists have any awareness of how the various component parts, such as organs, muscles nerves, combined and functioned while the animal was living?

    Neil Rickert: No. But humans would not be aware of that either, were it not for the cultural phenomenon known as “science”.

    So humans would not be aware of it were it not for the human activity that we designate as science?

    CharlieM: In other words they could be perceiving the same thing but both will have different concepts relating to it.

    Neil Rickert: Yes. Concepts are personal things, and we change our own concepts over time so as to best fit our experience.

    Are all concepts personal? In what way is the concept “tringle” personal? In what way is a two dimensional figure with three boundary edges personal?

    0
  37. CharlieM: I don’t think it argues that there is nothing given. In my opinion it argues that we are never aware of anything that is purely given.

    Well I’ll say it. Nothing is given.

    In ordinary conversation, we use “given” to refer to agreed premises. We enter our lives without any agreed premises.

    Yes, there is a reality that is independent of us. But that’s not a given — it is a taken. It is something that we take from our experience.

    As best I can tell, that reality consists of undifferentiated stuff. In order to make sense of it, we have to differentiate into parts. It is all up to us. Nothing is given.

    Is there anything you do regard as real?

    I always thought that I was a realist. But KN has told me that I am an anti-realist. And this, because I say that scientific theories are neither true nor false.

    It seems that philosophers have tied the word “real” to truth. This seems odd, because there are lots of non-linguistic creatures around who could not have any notion of truth, yet who deal with reality.

    When I say that I’m a direct anti-realist, what I mean is that our perception is direct but that perception is not in any way dependent on truth.

    0
  38. Kantian Naturalist:
    CharlieM: How do you feel about the essence of a triangle? Is having three sides essential to being a triangle? What about having a ninety degree angle, is that essential to being a triangle?

    Kantian Naturalist: Having three sides is crucial to the definition of a triangle, and having a ninety-degree angled is not. But definitions aren’t essences, because definitions are explications of meaning. Essences (if there are any) would be the stable, enduring features of substances. And I don’t think there are any essences because I don’t think that there are substances. I prefer a process ontology, and there’s no room for essences in a process ontology.

    Is it not an essential feature of a triangle that it has three sides? All you have done is substitute “essential” for “crucial”. So having three sides is the crux of the matter when defining a triangle.

    CharlieM: When you hear a bird singing something enters your ears, right?

    Kantian Naturalist: Yes, but not “auditory sense-data”.

    No, I’ve admitted that. But data can be gathered from what does enter our sense organs.

    CharlieM: Well it is very true that we have no sensory experience of sense-data. But we can recognise that they are present by means of thinking. I have a sensory experience of a bird singing. And that sensory experience usually involves perception, thinking, feeling, willing and understanding associated concepts.

    Kantian Naturalist: You can tell a story in which sense-data play some important role in the metaphysics of perception — Moore and Russell did that quite well, as did many others.

    But why bother? If you don’t need sense-data in order to describe the phenomenology of perception, and you don’t need them to explain the science of perception, then what’s driving the commitment to them?

    I do think that they fall within the science of perception. The processes that vibrate our ear drums have been discovered using the scientific method. It is the same processes which produce the patterns on Chladni plates

    0
  39. CharlieM: Is it not an essential feature of a triangle that it has three sides? All you have done is substitute “essential” for “crucial”. So having three sides is the crux of the matter when defining a triangle.

    KN was attempting to distinguish between the philosophical notion of essence, and the ordinary notion of definitional requirement. We can change our definitions, and that would change our definitional requirement. Philosophical essences are presumed to be more essential than that.

    But data can be gathered from what does enter our sense organs.

    I disagree with that.

    You are painting a picture of us as passive receivers of data. But, as I look at it, the sense organs are responsible for gathering data. We don’t gather data from what they receive. Rather, they gather data for us. Or, said differently, I want to insist on a more active role for sense organs.

    0
  40. CharlieM: Your comment brings me to thinking about unity and multiplicity.

    We can teach children basic arithmetic by getting them to add up beans or whatever. But in this way right from the start they are taught to see everything as disconnected.

    If they are taught in such a way that they begin with, say, a pie, and then divide it into pieces, then they can see how everything is connected and we can get multiplicity out of unity.

    There can be unity without reductionism.

    I don’t really know what you are trying to convey. I think you have in mind a ‘reductionist’ who does not exist in reality: someone who only thinks reductively. It’s like imagining a gene centrist who doesn’t know about anything other than gene sequence. No such creature.

    0
  41. CharlieM: When you are making a comparison between your wife and yourself why have you focused on just one narrow aspect of the differences?

    Perhaps you are mistaking holism for the inability to focus on a single topic?

    All I have been trying to do is to get you to acknowledge that your claim that:

    Human consciousness is not just different in scale from animal consciousness, it transcends animal consciousness, it is different in kind.

    was not supported by the preceding argument that:

    Human consciousness cannot be reduced to physics. Intentionality (not to be confused with intentions) works in the opposite direction to causes producing effects.

    … because intentionality is not exclusive to humans. You have been changing the topic ever since.

    CharlieM: If we are serious about doing a comparative study of entities would it not be sensible to cover as many areas as possible in making comparisons. Crows and sharks are both vertebrates, each on a different level, but they are separate kinds, belonging to different classes.

    So you, who is forever repeating your “self consciousness” mantra when comparing humans to other animals, are arguing that we should “cover as many areas as possible in making comparisons”? Very amusing. Not very self conscious though.

    So which of the two “kinds” have the higher level of intentionality I wonder? Sharks or crows?

    0
  42. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: I don’t think it argues that there is nothing given. In my opinion it argues that we are never aware of anything that is purely given.

    Neil Rickert: Well I’ll say it. Nothing is given.

    In ordinary conversation, we use “given” to refer to agreed premises. We enter our lives without any agreed premises.

    That’s not the sense in which I have been using of the word. For instance I said: when kids are given information and Moore used the term to mean “whatever is given in perceptual experience”, I was obviously using it to mean something that is transferred from one entity to another.

    Neil Rickert: Yes, there is a reality that is independent of us. But that’s not a given — it is a taken. It is something that we take from our experience.

    Is there a reality that is truly independent of us?

    Neil Rickert: As best I can tell, that reality consists of undifferentiated stuff. In order to make sense of it, we have to differentiate into parts. It is all up to us. Nothing is given.

    You may not at first differentiate, but nonetheless your senses are giving you separate impressions. You won’t feel pain just by looking at the flame of a candle.

    CharlieM: Is there anything you do regard as real?

    Neil Rickert: I always thought that I was a realist. But KN has told me that I am an anti-realist. And this, because I say that scientific theories are neither true nor false.

    It seems that philosophers have tied the word “real” to truth. This seems odd, because there are lots of non-linguistic creatures around who could not have any notion of truth, yet who deal with reality.

    When I say that I’m a direct anti-realist, what I mean is that our perception is direct but that perception is not in any way dependent on truth.

    And in everyday usage the word “real” is tied to the physically tangible. I believe we can gain access to the reality of entities through our ability to recombine what we experience as percept (the entity perceived) with its corresponding concept arrived at by thinking.

    Steiner:
    “The sense-world in its manifestation to human perception is not reality. It possesses its reality in connection with that which reveals itself in man in the form of thought concerning this sense-world. Thoughts belong to the reality of the sensibly perceived; only, that which is present in the sense-existence as thought manifests itself, not externally in this existence, but inwardly in man. But thought and sense-perception are a single essence”

    0
  43. Neil Rickert:
    CharlieM: Is it not an essential feature of a triangle that it has three sides? All you have done is substitute “essential” for “crucial”. So having three sides is the crux of the matter when defining a triangle.

    Neil Rickert: KN was attempting to distinguish between the philosophical notion of essence, and the ordinary notion of definitional requirement. We can change our definitions, and that would change our definitional requirement. Philosophical essences are presumed to be more essential than that.

    So do you think that any triangle must in essence have three sides and three angles?

    CharlieM: But data can be gathered from what does enter our sense organs.

    Neil Rickert: I disagree with that.

    You are painting a picture of us as passive receivers of data. But, as I look at it, the sense organs are responsible for gathering data. We don’t gather data from what they receive. Rather, they gather data for us. Or, said differently, I want to insist on a more active role for sense organs.

    I’ve already said in a reply to you that, “through our activity anything that is given is always entangled in what we bring to it. We do not passively receive anything from without”

    0
  44. Allan Miller:
    CharlieM: Your comment brings me to thinking about unity and multiplicity.

    We can teach children basic arithmetic by getting them to add up beans or whatever. But in this way right from the start they are taught to see everything as disconnected.

    If they are taught in such a way that they begin with, say, a pie, and then divide it into pieces, then they can see how everything is connected and we can get multiplicity out of unity.

    There can be unity without reductionism.

    Allan Miller: I don’t really know what you are trying to convey. I think you have in mind a ‘reductionist’ who does not exist in reality: someone who only thinks reductively. It’s like imagining a gene centrist who doesn’t know about anything other than gene sequence. No such creature.

    No. I’m not talking about extremes. I am talking about biases.

    0
  45. CharlieM: That’s not the sense in which I have been using of the word. For instance I said: when kids are given information and Moore used the term to mean “whatever is given in perceptual experience”, I was obviously using it to mean something that is transferred from one entity to another.

    With that explanation of what you mean, I say the same thing: nothing is given in perceptual experience. Perception is hard, which is why robots cannot do it.

    Is there a reality that is truly independent of us?

    Yes. But just about everything we say about reality does depend on us.

    You may not at first differentiate, but nonetheless your senses are giving you separate impressions.

    “Our senses” are metaphorical. We actively engage with the world, and we make sense of it by means of that engagement.

    And in everyday usage the word “real” is tied to the physically tangible.

    Circular definitions.

    Your quote from Steiner might have some poetic elegance. But, apart from that, it come across as nonsense.

    0
  46. Corneel:
    CharlieM: When you are making a comparison between your wife and yourself why have you focused on just one narrow aspect of the differences?

    Perhaps you are mistaking holism for the inability to focus on a single topic?

    Or perhaps I am focusing on the essential differences instead of incidental differences. I presume that you have always been male and your wife female. On the other hand your height has always been changing throughout your life.

    Corneel: All I have been trying to do is to get you to acknowledge that your claim that:

    CharlieM: Human consciousness is not just different in scale from animal consciousness, it transcends animal consciousness, it is different in kind.

    Corneel: was not supported by the preceding argument that:

    Human consciousness cannot be reduced to physics.

    They don’t support each other because they are separate arguments.

    CharlieM: Intentionality (not to be confused with intentions) works in the opposite direction to causes producing effects.

    Corneel… because intentionality is not exclusive to humans. You have been changing the topic ever since.

    I haven’t argued that it is exclusive to humans.

    CharlieM: If we are serious about doing a comparative study of entities would it not be sensible to cover as many areas as possible in making comparisons. Crows and sharks are both vertebrates, each on a different level, but they are separate kinds, belonging to different classes.

    Corneel: So you, who is forever repeating your “self consciousness” mantra when comparing humans to other animals, are arguing that we should “cover as many areas as possible in making comparisons”? Very amusing. Not very self conscious though.

    I am conscious that I can study life, including my own, in a way that no animal can do.

    Corneel: So which of the two “kinds” have the higher level of intentionality I wonder? Sharks or crows?

    All sentient creatures demonstrate examples of what could be taken to be intentionality. I think that intentionality can be broken down into instinctive intentionality, conscious intentionality and self-conscious intentionality.

    Consider caring for young. Sharks give birth or lays eggs and that’s it. They take no further part in raising their young. Crows prepare nests, tend to their young and supply them with food until they fledge. What about us humans. Because humans are aware of what having children entails for them personally, some people decide on termination, some on letting strangers bring up their babies. Some mothers opt for a C section. And many women decide that they don’t want to feed their babies in the natural way.

    Humans think about how having children will affect their individual lives and make decisions about the future with this in mind.

    0
  47. CharlieM: Or perhaps I am focusing on the essential differences instead of incidental differences. I presume that you have always been male and your wife female. On the other hand your height has always been changing throughout your life.

    This statement doesn’t sit well with your previous claim that we need to cover “as many areas as possible in making comparisons”. Fact is, whenever somebody calls attention to unique and distinguishing traits for non-human species, you will be downplaying those to lump them in with big generic groups. It is only for humans that you refuse to consider anything else than how darn smart we are.

    CharlieM: Corneel… because intentionality is not exclusive to humans. You have been changing the topic ever since.

    Charlie: I haven’t argued that it is exclusive to humans.

    Then it shouldn’t be so hard to acknowledge that intentionality cannot be used in support of your claim that human consciousness is different in kind from animal consciousness. You must have decided this based on other criteria that you only brought up after the claim, right?

    0
  48. Neil Rickert:
    For CharlieM:

    Humans are animals. Get over it.

    More specifically, in our physical organisation we are mammals.

    An example of the difference between us and other animals; we are unique in that our human consciousness together with the organization of our mammalian bodies enables us to apply our self-conscious creativity. Human technology begins in human minds and through human manipulative skills and cooperation it become a physical reality. The planet is awash with human technology and human activities are being broadcast ever further into the reaches of space.

    What we lack at this time is the wisdom to use our superior technological intelligence in a way that will enhance further evolution.

    Another example of our uniqueness is our acceptance of moral accountability. As Dan Kaufman mentions in the video, “squirrels are not going to be arrested for murdering each other”.

    0

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.