Forum Replies Created
03/27/2019 at 12:38 pm in reply to: Consciousness and Cognizant Action Skype Discussion #4915
I’d like to suggest two things.
- That we recognize “consciousness” as a critique. There’s something about a behavior or a set of behaviors that lets one of us decide “P is conscious”. What is that something? What is that phenomenon? What other critiques are available for that phenomenon?
- We didn’t want to reify Wynn’s “through-line” concept, so we came up with the “through-line description”; and it centered on a significance component common to a series of behaviors. Now let’s come up with a “consciousness description” of similar provenance. What should it center on? If it’s an ability, then this discussion should be about competence with something. If it’s a trait, then it’s about bringing one behavior to many circumstances (and see #1 about how that behavior might be sorted out from all other behaviors).
I’ll end with this quote from Positive Health and Transcendental Theories:
Terry: It’s sort of a methodological reformulation of the noumenon—
Peter: No, it isn’t. It’s again just somebody’s way of talking. It’s not our way of talking. And since it’s not ours, remember that here, we’re presupposing us, not them. That’s why I keep insisting on talking our ways and not their ways.
03/06/2019 at 4:38 pm in reply to: Consciousness and Cognizant Action Skype Discussion #4776
“What does it mean to say that there is a human developmental pattern? What accounts for that?”
Centuries of observing babies. We don’t switch from talking about babies’ age in months because it was all the rage, and now it’s not fashionable. (Helots!) It’s because we can observe changes in babies by month up to age two. Etc. We are well-acquainted with their developmental pattern.
“What substitutions do we make to the paradigm case of Person to account for the deficiencies of infants…”
None. We understand they are babies. They have the status “baby”, with all that entails.
“…do we recognize them as “potential Persons”? What leads us to make such allowances?”
Yes. We make that allowance because we understand their developmental pattern. If that pattern is a success, they will turn into persons. Everyone knows this—and we know it about other things, too: I don’t put an acorn in the ground today and expect to see an oak tree tomorrow; but I expect I will get one if things go right.
In DP terms, given the normal, expected capacity and the appropriate intervening history, a baby will turn into a person. Nothing mysterious. We only need to explain it if it goes wrong.
And there, by the way, is your “nature-nurture”: capacity, and the appropriate intervening history. There, also, is Piaget. “Assimilation” and “accomodation” are critiques; thus, they are critiques of some phenomenon. Which one? Capacity + some history = behavior repertoire. We observe someone’s behavior and decide which term we are willing to commit to; but the principle of some capacity + some history = behavior repertoire is the principle, no matter how we critique the results.
“Does it simply answer the question to say that consciousness requires being a Person with a World, or to say that being a Person with a World requires consciousness, or to say that to be conscious is to be a Person with a World.”
You’re just confusing yourself. Others (Putman, Jeffrey x2) have written about doing psychology without talking about “consciousness”. They’ve demonstrated we don’t need to do it. So let’s stop doing it.
Now, you might take that as a degradation, so think about this: if I want to do physics, and I start talking about phlogiston, what do you think the other doers-of-physics will say to me? Not a rhetorical question. Think about it. What are they going to say? Now, should we doers-of-psychology be saying similar things to anyone trying to do psychology who wants to talk about “consciousness”? Not only do I swear never to reveal the crisp, crunchy secret of Arthur Treacher’s Original Fish and Chips (so help me, Arthur), I also swear never to do psychology and use the word “consciousness”.
“…would we want to say that “consciousness is” or “requires” the recursive ability for any thought or observation to be in turn the “objects” of thought and observation…”
No. It is Deliberate Action that makes us persons, and knowing your behavior the same way you know someone else’s behavior is enough. The achievements (differences made) from your behavior and theirs are in the world to be known. If you couldn’t see your own behavior, you couldn’t pick up a cup, take a drink, and spit it out because it’s nasty. Remember, persons’ behavior is a generative calculational system. The outputs are the inputs to the next behavior; no inputs, no outputs. No “consciousness” necessary.
We do fine talking about behavior as a feedback loop, and I’m not sure that loop is “recursive”. That’s not how generative calculational systems are usually discussed. Feedback loops seem to be central to organisms (even an amoeba will move away from something “bad”). I don’t think any of us would try to make the case that an amoeba is recursive; but the amoeba does move away. Maybe recursiveness isn’t all its cracked up to be.
As for embodiment, it provides; makes possible; bestows capacities; gives whatever it takes to participate, such as a feedback loop. If you are saying there is “consciousness”, and if you are saying it’s a function of the brain (rather than something we DO with our brains), those are claims. The burden of proof is on you. Even if you say it is something we do with our brains, the burden of proof is still on you. We’ve had a pretty good run doing psychology without “consciousness”, so I’ll keep being conservative, parsimonious, Occam’s Razorly, etc.
“Would we want to say that that that “ability” is a conceptual component of what we mean when we say that a Person with a World, including language, is conscious?”
We don’t say “a Person with a World, including language, is conscious”, so I’m not sure what the question is.
02/26/2019 at 2:25 pm in reply to: Consciousness and Cognizant Action Skype Discussion #4748
1. I note Pete is sparing when it comes to anything to do with the word “conscious”, esp. “conscious-ness”. Similarly, he’s sparing with “aware-ness”, and a little less so with “aware”. I’m reading Positive Health and Trancendental Theories (PHTT) right now, so I’m sensitized.
2. If I have a cup of tea and a cup of coffee, and I want to describe what’s in the cups, I should be careful about trying to create a superclass that’s a tea-coffee-combo; thus, I might talk about conscious OF and conscious AS, but I should be careful about trying to create a superclass that’s conscious-NESS.
3. Recalling a discussion on the Yahoo board, I wonder if we couldn’t use “recognize” where we are saying “conscious”. “Recognition of” and “recognition as” seem to me to fit here without touching the “consciousness” Tar Baby. “Recognize” also leads into DP’s competence concepts, which is part of what we are talking about with the <I,S,W> formulation. “Because I have the status S, I should be sensitive to what’s an X and what’s not. I recognize x as an X; I recognize that as an S, I must treat it as an X—or I can’t be an S any more.” Joe, I’d welcome a critique about what this approach lacks, and I’ll re-read your paper this weekend.
4. This “recognize” formulation seems to be in line with Charlie’s report of the baseball game. He recognized a particular state of affairs (SoA), he weighted the circumstances the way he knew the coaches would (knew what they would recognize as important), etc. We could construct a reverse for his kids, that is, what they didn’t recognize.
5. When talking about non-paradigmatic “consciousness”, I think it’s important to remember we are talking about non-paradigmatic brain states; that we are talking about systematic variations in abilities; and that we are talking about, in-principle, a reversible state. You get high, you come down. That’s normal. You don’t come down, that’s a failure and must be explained. It looks like any of the other non-paradigmatic brain states Wynn has named would follow this pattern.
6. Dissociation does not seem to be one of these kinds of states, that is, a change in the function of the brain. If it is not, it follows we should treat it as a separate case. That is, dissociation is not a form of getting high and not coming down. Given that real is whatever you are prepared to act on; and your real world is your set of what’s real; it seems like the symptoms of dissociative disorder follow closely from an inability to act on various kinds of things from your real world (objects-processes-events, statuses, relationships, etc.) that one of us should be able to act on.
7. In both cases, though, the results are similar for the observer: P does not recognize an X the way an S would and does not treat it as an S would. But P got to this state in one of the ways P could get to this state—bonk on the head, brown acid, break with the real world, etc. We observers must dig into it.
8. When talking about non-paradigmatic states, remember “deficit” is a critique. Stay focused on the phenomenon proper, describe it, then decide about a critique. I doubt any one of us would describe a sleeping state as a deficit, even though a sleeper can’t treat an X as one of us would; and if you do without dreaming, you get into a different state that IS a deficit. But these apparent deficits are normal parts of life. If you can’t do either of them, it needs to be explained. Be careful with your critiques.
9. We can argue about whether getting high and coming down are normal parts of life.
10. If I understand what I’m reading in PHTT, Pete is firm THE real world is at least a person and that person’s world. As usual, things don’t interpret themselves. We persons do that. Without one of us, no world—not our real world, not THE real world. (See that we can give the physical universe the status “continues when we are not there” and treat it that way, but it’s not something we can observe. That, by the way, is in reality, the set of constraints on everyone’s behavior.)
Hope that is useful.
Practically, I think it would be a good first step to establish the paradigm case for both types: a leader that anyone would say is a leader, but not necessarily a manager; a manager that anyone would say is a manager, but not necessarily a leader. With those two cases, you can get a PA or a PCF going, and when you feel like you’re close to done, you can compare the two and see if they are the same thing with different parameters. If so, then either one is the superclass of the other, or the two have a superclass that’s to be discovered.
I anticipate the former because, in my experience, management done wrong is lacking a certain amount of leadership. For instance, managers are reviewed on an entirely different set of criteria than their workers, so it’s reasonable for them to ask the workers to do things that make the manager look shiny. Unfortunately, shining up the manager usually takes time away from real work, and if the manager becomes a martinet about the shining, the work environment becomes intolerable for the workers (who really just want to work). Thus, a manager might take a hit in its review so the workers can be more productive, and so on; but that kind of sacrifice is more the behavior of a leader. Similarly, a manager might protect the workers from demands made by the manager’s superiors for the same reasons, and take the same kind of hit. Etc.
But we’re philosophizing. Get your paradigm cases and get moving.