Consciousness does not require a self - Deepstash

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The Illusion of Self

The concept that our consciousness is dependent on a sense of self has been present since Descartes. Recent studies in neuroscience and psychedelic experiences challenge this belief, suggesting that 'you' may not be who you think you are. James Cooke delves deeper into this idea.

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Understanding Consciousness

In our understanding of consciousness, we may feel like we are the one directing our attention to different objects. But this model can lead to confusion, as the true subject is not the bodily organism, but the "you" that is reading these words. Consciousness is a property of the body, not the conscious subject living in our heads.

We possess our bodies, but consciousness is a property of the body itself, not the conscious subject

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Consciousness in Scientific Method

Rene Descartes believed only humans have consciousness, which illuminates our experience of the world. But what makes that subject conscious?

Key Points:

  • Consciousness originated with scientific method
  • Humans seen as only conscious beings
  • What makes the subject conscious?

This never-ending explanation is called the Cartesian Theatre by philosopher Daniel Dennett.

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Theories of Consciousness

To understand how consciousness arises, we must look at our brain's complex network. It processes information and performs tasks through hierarchical levels, yet the origin of consciousness remains a mystery. Two theories, bottom-up and top-down, offer different explanations.

  • The bottom-up theory suggests consciousness arises from information processing in lower brain levels
  • The top-down theory argues that consciousness results from introspection in higher brain regions

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The Dual Nature of Consciousness

Brain studies support both theories, showing that consciousness involves both sensory processing and higher cognitive functions. Understanding this duality can shed light on the complexities of consciousness in the future. 🧠💡

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An Intuitive Concept of the Mind

This concept of the mind has been widely incorporated into the scientific and philosophical study of consciousness. However, it can sometimes lead to misunderstandings about the actual experience itself.

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The Role of Reporting in Consciousness

The Brain's Involvement in Communication

When we communicate, the frontal areas of our brain are activated. But is this due to consciousness itself or just the act of reporting on it?

  • One study found a clever way to determine this, by using physiological data instead of self-reporting
  • When participants didn't have to report, the frontal activity lessened

It seems that the structures associated with introspection only report on consciousness, rather than underpinning it.

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The Self And Consciousness

Neuroscience shows that the self is not the owner of experiences. But what is consciousness?

In certain experiences, like meditation or drug-induced states, the psychological self disappears, but consciousness remains.

  • Consciousness is a formless awareness - the space where experiences happen.
  • It's not tied to a subject and doesn't need a self to experience it.
  • Consciousness is like a container where the image of a self can occur.

While this may be challenging to understand, it's clear when experienced- a state where experiences arise without a self.

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The Role of Consciousness in Perception

The Phenomenal experience and beliefs

- Belief refers to the ability to hold that the world is a certain way.

- This aligns with Immanuel Kant's ideas that we only perceive phenomenal representations of reality.

- Therefore, consciousness does not allow us to understand the world as it is.

- At the core, consciousness allows us to hold beliefs about the qualitative character of the world.

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Constructing Beliefs for Survival

Our world is constantly changing and in order to survive, we must create our own understanding of it. Constructing beliefs is how we make sense of our surroundings and move forward.

Here are some key points to remember:

  • We need beliefs to navigate the world.
  • Beliefs are our own understanding of the world around us.
  • Beliefs help us survive over time.

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Understanding How Our Brain Forms Beliefs

Our brain uses Bayesian inference to update beliefs, but without all possible evidence, it relies on free energy minimization. This aligns beliefs with reality, as explained by the Free Energy Principle.

  • Bayesian inference: updating beliefs based on evidence
  • Free energy minimization: aligning beliefs with reality
  • Free Energy Principle: shaping our perception of the world

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CURATED BY

soul7

φ 𝚙𝚑𝚒𝚕𝚘𝚜𝚘𝚙𝚑𝚢 | ⚖ 𝒑𝒔𝒚𝒄𝒉𝒐𝒍𝒐𝒈𝒚 𝚿 | ѕριяιтυαℓιту 𖦹

CURATOR'S NOTE

Recent studies in neuroscience and psychedelic experiences challenge this belief, suggesting that 'you' may not be who you think you are. James Cooke delves deeper into this idea

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