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Consciousness And The Mind Of God Pdf Download

The latter question of how consciousness can acquire knowledge about the external world has a long history in philosophy. According to René Descartes and John Locke, a distinction needs to be introduced when thinking about material entities. In detail (Baggott 2009, p. 99):

Consciousness And The Mind Of God Pdf Download


[P]hysical objects possess primary qualities such as extension in space, shape, motion, density, number, and so on, all underpinned by the concept of material substance. [...] Secondary qualities such as color exist only in our minds and therefore cannot be said to be independently existing real qualities of physical objects.

Space and time are thus not drawn from experience but are presupposed in experience. They are never observed as such, but they constitute that context within which all events observed. They cannot be known to exist in nature independently of the mind, but the world cannot be known by the mind without them.

Space and time therefore cannot be said to be characteristic of the world in itself, for they are contributed in the act of human observation. They are grounded epistemologically in the nature of the mind, not ontologically in the nature of things.

It is all just one big coincidence and happened by pure chance. We know the fundamental laws of nature and consciousness is simply the result of how the brain works. There is no mystery and that is all there is to say. [Materialism, scientific realism]

A God created the universe. Perhaps 13.8 billion years ago or perhaps 6,000 years ago with fictitious properties making the universe appear older (or even 5 seconds ago, with false memories implanted in all human minds) . [Creationism in Abrahamic religion]

Reality is a vast and impermanent illusion (anicca) comprised of endless distractions and suffering. The quest of the mind is to cultivate a state of awareness, allowing the illusion to be seen for what it is. Then the enlightened mind can withdraw from the physical realm and enter a state of pure bliss. [Buddhism]

Only pure consciousness exists. In endless cycles, it manifests itself as separate physical embodiments, allowing for an experiential context, only to merge in unity again and start afresh. [Spirituality, panpsychism]

How should the human mind proceed from here? Should we simply concede that information is the fundamental nature of physical reality and that our minds are forever unknowable enigmas? In other words, subjectivity allows the objective to be grasped while remaining ethereal itself. This chapter argues that the human mind can take a final step in understanding itself. It is a small step within the informational ontology, but a huge step conceptually. Only the brave mind can reach the destination, as it requires a radical reassessment of all things believed to be true. For one, radical open-mindedness is asked for (Sect. 12.4.4). Indeed (deGrasse Tyson 2007, p. 305):

Let me end with a plea for humility. The cosmos is a strange place, and we still know little about it. It was only two decades ago that scientists discovered that a mere 4 percent of the mass-energy of the universe is the sort of material out of which stars, planets, trees, you, and I are fashioned. One-quarter is cold dark matter, and the rest is something bizarre called dark energy.Footnote 1 Cosmologists have no idea what dark energy is or what laws it obeys. [...] Our knowledge is but a fire lighting up the vast darkness around us, flickering in the wind. So, let us be open to alternative, rational explanations in the quest for the source of consciousness.

In the dualistic, mechanical philosophy that dominated the rise of modern science, nature was not only seen as devoid of consciousness but also was objectified to the point that it was divorced from perceptual experience altogether. The material objects that made up the world were believed to have certain primary qualities, such as size, shape and velocity; but they were inherently devoid of all secondary properties, such as color, smell, and sound, which were relative to perception. Thus, conscious experience was effectively removed from nature and, therefore, from the objective domain of science.

After four centuries of advances in scientific knowledge, more than a century of psychological research, and roughly a half century of progress in the neurosciences, even most advocates of scientism acknowledge that science has yet to give any intelligible account of the nature of consciousness. Nevertheless, the extent of our ignorance concerning consciousness is often overlooked. This ignorance is like a retinal blind spot in the scientific vision of the world, of which modern society seems largely unaware. In most books and articles on cosmogony, evolution, embryology, and psychology, consciousness is hardly mentioned; and when it is addressed, it tends to be presented not in terms of experiential qualia but in terms of brain functions and computer systems.

He has been collaborating on a mathematical theory of consciousness, based on information, first introduced by the neuroscientist and psychiatrist Giulio Tononi. In the publication with the title An Information Integration Theory of Consciousness, Tononi first outlined the thesis (Tononi 2004):

Integration: A mechanism can contribute to consciousness only if it specifies a cause-effect repertoire (information) that is irreducible to independent components. Integration/irreducibility \(\varphi \) is assessed by partitioning the mechanism and measuring what difference this makes to its cause-effect repertoire.

Exclusion: A mechanism can contribute to consciousness at most one cause-effect repertoire, the one having the maximum value of integration/irreducibility \(\varphi ^\text Max\). This is its maximally irreducible cause-effect repertoire (MICE, or quale sensu stricto (in the narrow sense of the word)). If the MICE exists, the mechanism constitutes a concept.

In 2016, a study tested a complexity metric in the context of IIT (Casarotto et al. 2016). A threshold was derived, above which consciousness emerges. Patients may be misdiagnosed as being in a vegetative state due to their lack of expressing signs of consciousness, although they are experiencing the world. This can result from brain injury. Locked-in syndrome is the tragic condition in which a patient is completely paralyzed and unable to communicate while being fully conscious. Recall the devastating and inspiring story of Martin Pistorius recollected in Sect. 11.3.3. In the study, healthy subjects were measured as being conscious during:

IIT provides a principled and parsimonious way to account for why certain brain regions appear to be essential for our consciousness while others do not. For example, widespread lesions of the cerebral cortex lead to loss of consciousness, and local lesions or stimulations of various cortical areas and tracts can affect its content (for example, the experience of color). A prominent feature of the cerebral cortex is that it is comprised of elements that are functionally specialized and at the same time can interact rapidly and effectively (when awake or dreaming) . According to IIT, this is the kind of organization that can yield a comparatively high value of \(\varPhi ^\text Max\). On the other hand, lesions of the cerebellum do not affect our consciousness in any obvious way, although the cerebellum is massively interconnected with the cerebral cortex and has four times more neurons. This paradox can be explained by considering that the cerebellum is composed of small modules that process inputs and produce outputs largely independent of each other. As suggested by computer simulations, a system thus organized, even if each module is tightly connected with a complex of high \(\varPhi ^\text Max\) (the cortical complex), will remain excluded from the conceptual structure of the latter, nor will it form a complex on its own (at best it would decompose into many mini-complexes each having low \(\varPhi ^\text Max\)).

Now that the floodgates have been opened, the recalcitrant nature of consciousness can be viewed in a novel light. In a remarkable turn of events, the seemingly isolated phenomenon of consciousness reemerges within the structure of the cosmos itself.

While in the mindset of thinking that physics is on its way to giving a complete picture of the fundamental nature of reality, panpsychism seems improbable as physics does not attribute experience to fundamental particles. But once we realize that physics leaves us completely in the dark about the deep nature of the entities it talks about, and indeed that the only thing we know for certain about the deep nature of the universe is that some of it is taken up with consciousness, things look very different. All we get from physics is this big black and white abstract structure, which we metaphysicians must somehow color in with concrete categorical nature. Assuming the falsity of substance dualism,Footnote 16 we know how to color in one bit of it: the brains of organisms are colored in with consciousness. How to color in the rest? The most elegant, simple, sensible option is to color in the rest of the world with the same pen.

Chalmers mentioned the notion of consciousness being fundamental above. Some scholars have tried to conceptualize around this idea. For instance, the eminent philosopher of science and systems theorist Ervin Laszlo. In his book with the title The Systems View of the World: A Holistic Vision for Our Time (Laszlo 1996), Laszlo outlined a systems-based view of nature, based on over three decades of research. In essence, he advocated a complexity-oriented understanding of reality (see Chap. 6, especially Sect. 6.2). In 2006, Laszlo published Science and the Reenchantment of the Cosmos (Laszlo 2006). Peter Russell contributed an essay (Russell 2006, p. 144):

Ervin Laszlo has proposed that the virtual energy field known as the quantum vacuum, or zero-point field,Footnote 17 corresponds to what Indian teachings have called Akasha, the source of everything that exists, and in which the memory of the cosmos is encoded. I would like to take his reasoning a step further and suggest that the nature of this ultimate source is consciousness itself, nothing more and nothing less.

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