What is CTD?

Discussions on the nature of being, existence, reality and knowledge. What is? How do we know?

Re: What is CTD?

Postby DragonFly on March 14th, 2018, 12:50 am 

C', the neural activity, does the constructive work behind the imagining of Y', the quale of which, Y, then appears in C, consciousness. C itself can't originate Y; C qualia correlate to what C' has just processed/produced. C' runs the show.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby BadgerJelly on March 14th, 2018, 1:34 am 

Mitch -

If it has nothing to do with morality then did you find a flaw in what I laid out on the previous page? If you didn't then I fail to see how you can conclude this doesn't have strong moral implications.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 14th, 2018, 4:06 am 

BadgerJelly » March 13th, 2018, 3:53 am wrote:A) I believe (1) rigidly and in no way think my choices are my own or that I have any control. If I am correct then it obviously doesn't matter, if (1) is true then there is no consequence following this belief. If however (2) is true I affect my future choices and arm myself with the presumption that what I do or think makes no difference and if the time comes in the future where a choice will point to toward something good or something bad I will mutely just go along with anything because I don't believe I am more than a passenger.

This is simply being inconsistent. If you have no control then there is no such thing as following this belief or going along with anything. Saying this can be used as an excuse for just going along with anything doesn't mean you actually do so. Thus the moral judgement only apply to what people actually do and not to philosophical beliefs.

BadgerJelly » March 13th, 2018, 3:53 am wrote:B) I believe (2) rigidly, but in reality (1) is true so it doesn't matter at all what I do or think. My thoughts and belief in having any agency at all are merely a consequence of the predetermined universe - there is no consequence to my thought here, there is essentially no difference to me believing (1) or not. If however (2) is true and I possess some element of agency in the universe, that my thoguhts can impact upon future events AND I am thinking they do then I put my agency to use and direct myself toward the good and away from the bad, and no doubt make mistakes and learn and strive toward something better.

A yes, here is the Pascal wager type argument. It doesn't work for Christianity because doing things for a payoff is doing it for all the wrong reasons and is less than worthless. Even in this purely philosophical application the proposed dishonesty is quite appalling. Instead of being true to what you believe in, you think people should be more concerned with covering their ass.

BadgerJelly » March 13th, 2018, 3:53 am wrote:The difference here is stark. If you adhere to rigid and unerring belief in (1) you're not even trying because you don't believe "trying" matters.

If you don't understand this let me break it into more simplier terms.

Position (1) means there is no responsibility for our conscious awareness. Position (2) means there is some responsibility carried by our conscious awareness.

Belief in either position makes no difference if (1) is true. Belief in each position has consequences if (2) is true.

The point is that morality has to do with what you actually do and not with your beliefs. And just because a particular type of thinking is part of the reason why YOU do good rather than evil (just as some theists may do so because they think God will reward or punish accordingly), doesn't mean that those who think differently are automatically immoral.

BadgerJelly » March 13th, 2018, 3:53 am wrote:I just meant the "get out of jail free card" as being an appeal and acceptance of personal limitation with the added bonus of assuming there is an overlying moral meaning to the universe and that we're a blip, albeit a blip that matters.

Basically I am saying it is an appeal to reason "beyond reason", which we obviously cannot conceive of. Much like physicists don't tend to mull over what happens outside of time and space, because such ideas are so beyond human contemplation that to frame them rationally is to bring them into the confines of that which they are unknowable - and there is the point at which people struggle with Kant's "noumenon" and misinterpret it as an appeal to something "other", not realizing that the very term "noumenon" is its own refutation.

It may be more convoluted than I imagined or can even comprehend but it still looks like religious ideas, sentiments, and subjective prejudices to me.

BadgerJelly » March 13th, 2018, 3:53 am wrote:It appears Dfly thinks RJG has stumbled upon some "ultimate truth."

I have given up on expecting much logical coherence from either of them.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby BadgerJelly on March 14th, 2018, 5:11 am 

Mitch -

If you have no control then there is no such thing as following this belief or going along with anything.


Of course. That is scenario one. Neither position makes a difference (obviously!) It then remains for someone to prove this without doubt - that has not been done and if it were possible I don't even know what that would mean. That is why I believe this kind of path is the first step toward absurdism and stepping into the world of action based decision making rather than passive fatalism.

The issue is if they are wrong.

The point is that morality has to do with what you actually do and not with your beliefs.


And this is the crux of my point. If you deny any "agency" you deny the "doing" and are therefore free from guilt of the outcome of any "action," which such a dogmatic position denies outright saying "there is consequence, but I am not the actor merely the spectator."

We are after all taking about consciousness and agency of human action. To say no agency exists from conscious thought (without a healthy skepticism that understands the possible faults and consequences of this thought - which may very well be ignored because "consequence" is eradicated as an argumentation against such a position if held dogmatically) then we are saying my thought doesn't matter and I have no control over my actions. If wrong there are consequences, if not fair do.

Thus we have two positons, that in which someone accepts that what they think does something in the future (they have a degree of agency in the world), or someone who outright dismisses the possibility of conscious agency in the world.

This is not to say either way that we do or do not have agency. What I have done is look at the possible repercussion of both positions; the first being skeptical and open to having an effect in the world and the second dismissing any possible effect in the world.

The point is very simple, or so I thought? If we have no agency then both positions are mute. It makes no difference (obviously, I don't think I need explain that further??)

If however we do have agency then we have one person who believes they have some agency in the world acting as if they do, and one person who dismisses themselves having any agency in the world and thus acting according (or rather NOT acting.) If we accept that there is some agency in this second scenario then we are talking about the gun scenario I mentioned above, where the dismissal of "choice" leads that person to blind pick up the gun and blow their own brains out because they don't believe there is another option available to them, they simply have instilled the idea so as to blind themselves from having "options."

Morally one person understadnign the idea of acting better and finding a better way, whilst the other person literally has no inkling of such an idea and merely wanders forward like some zombie into the future.

If we are talking about human agency and action, we are necessarily talking about consequence of action. If someone denies agency or the ability to act, yet unbeknownst to them they are acting and do have agency then they are stumbling thorugh the world like babies - I whilst I can obviously not blame a baby for not understanding the results of their actions I can, and will, blame an adult who outright refuses to believe they have agency before logically it doesn't hold up to moral scrutiny.

I have more respect for ideas that say killing babies is fun, because they at least accept that they do something and understand the consequences of society. If everyone else accepted that they had no agency in the world, when there was agency in the world, then these people would be killing babaies for fun whilst the other people looked on passively because they "know" their actions have no consequences. They don't even su8bscribe to the idea of acting passively as an example to others, because they have no agency, they are mute, null and void, defunct of all responsibility toward themselves or anyone else.

And to be clear I do find nihilism and fatalism to be worthy things to contemplate. It is strcit adherence to these ideas as universal laws that I will actively battle against, even though I do understand that from the depths of nihilism and fatalism the true individual can rise form the ashes so to speak - but not all do.

It does boil down to the very basic principle of "It doesn't matter what I do, because I cannot do anything" mentality. If you abscond from self agency then such ethical quandaries open you up to doing as you so please, or to do as much as you believe you can get away with. I am not saying this will happen within the same instant only that if that idea is instilled over time and the effect of that thought has an effect then ... amoral behavior will occur because there is no grounding for "morality" for such a person.

This is not to say the whoel universe is not a case of Que sera sera, and in life we pretty much all have to accept the situation as it is; but from their most of us ACT accordingly and CONTEMPLATE possible scenarios that may better our situation - that is the seed of morally active humans as opposed to those unwilling or unable to work for some better future outcome.

Those who show no remorse do so because they don't care about the consequences of their actions. Those who refuse direct ownership of any of their actions fall within the same area as those who don't care - with the added twist that they don't even belief they care or don't care, they are merely mute passengers to the horrors of the world emotionlessly chomping on popcorn with no enjoyment or enthusiasm.

To sum up. It is the down the road consequences of this line of thinking that instills resistence in me. That is why I call it abhorrent (in the sense of being cowardly.) We can forgive children for different degrees of ignorance, but for adults I am less willing to forgive ignorance when they are basing their position in a doctrine of dogmatic ignorance, the belief in nothing, the god of fatalism and denial of human agency and existence. I won't pretend it is okay to say stupid things if those stupid things are repeated over and over without any concern for the questions and criticism being expressed.

To further express this view we can talk about slavery. Now if you were my property and you had to do what I told you or I'd beat you, you'd probably not be to happy about your position. The view being espoused is worse than this. It is worse because it is denying you the option to fight back, die in righteous indignation, or even to willfully submit to my demands and be a good slave. None of these things are open to you, because you cannot even be a slave in the world of non-agency. The issue is the denial of existence itself and I am not going to accept the denial of my own existence because I've yet to see proof of such a thing and logically such an idea seems utterly absurd at best or possibly nothing more than a meteaphor for certain aspects of human existence.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby DragonFly on March 14th, 2018, 1:52 pm 

It's quite problematic for consciousness to right then and there produce its own objects, consciously causing them. Those here in the form supporting this notion haven't established this, nor do they recognize why this conscious point is too late for its own causation of its qualia.

We may yet find some role for consciousness, but it won't be causation.


From Max Velmans, part 1:

…ask yourself “Where did that thought come from?”

Although you might be able to give reasons for whatever judgment you made after the fact, you have little or no introspective access to the detailed processes that gave rise to the immediate thought, i.e. to the processes that somehow analyzed the meaning of the question, accessed your global memory system, somehow made the judgment about how well the arguments presented here fit in with your current understanding of the topic, and then expressed that judgment in the form of a verbal thought. Once one has a conscious verbal thought, manifested in experience in the form of phonemic imagery, the complex cognitive processes required to generate that thought, including the meaning it expresses, the choice of grammar and words, and the processing required to encode these into phonemic imagery have already operated. In short, the conscious aspects of inner speech and overt speech have a similar relation to the processes that produce them. In neither case are the complex antecedent processes available to introspection.

In short, whether we consider conscious forms of input analysis (speech perception and reading), information transformation (verbal thinking) or output (speech production) the conscious experience that we normally associate with such processing follows the processing to which it relates. Given this, in what sense are these “conscious processes” conscious?

(to be continued)
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 14th, 2018, 3:53 pm 

RJG » March 13th, 2018, 11:12 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:But to be sure, imagination is a process which takes time...

...and then some microseconds later one is conscious of the imagined Y…

If "one is conscious of the imagined Y" AFTER the imagination process, then would you agree that it is not logically possible for one to consciously cause the imagined Y?


Nope. This does not logically follow. You have not shown that one has to be conscious of something BEFORE you can be the cause of it (and indeed why you would adopt such a nonsensical premise is beyond comprehension). As explained above, it is the consciousness of X which was the cause for imagining Y. The fact that consciousness of the imagined Y comes afterwards does not change this in the slightest. Likewise the imagined Y is the cause for enacting Y, and the fact that the consciousness of Y enacted comes later does not change this in the slightest either.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby sponge on March 14th, 2018, 4:12 pm 

Thanks, mitch, you just put me back on track. You're right, of course. Logic rules!
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby DragonFly on March 14th, 2018, 4:51 pm 

sponge » March 14th, 2018, 3:12 pm wrote:Thanks, mitch, you just put me back on track. You're right, of course. Logic rules!


The association of X with Y that led from X to the imagining of Y was already done in C' as X' relating to Y' before the result of C' went to C accordingly. C' has access to memories and associations.

We'll see more from Velmans on how much or all of the self is buried in C', C but being, hopefully for wishers, at least a tip of the huge submerged iceberg, as for consolation.

Conscious causation is still out, but there may be some solace "prizes", but both the pro and con will likely deem them trivial, such as that C' is able/free to operate as 'you' when there is no coercion and no disease affecting, and that the phenomenal transforms of C' into C from sensing noumena are quite reliable although there are some useful differences that go toward better distinction for C' 'symbols'.

If only C had some metaphysical power over and above and beyond the information of the total self known to C' then many would feel better about their dwindling status, maybe, if at the same time the "outside help" could be discounted somehow; a paradox.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby DragonFly on March 14th, 2018, 5:05 pm 

Velmans part 2, as trying to get something, anything, to have a process be conscious, or part:

Unravelling the three senses in which a process may be “conscious”

According to Velmans (1991a), the psychological and philosophical literature often confounds three distinct senses in which a process might be said to be “conscious.” It might be conscious:

(a) in the sense that one is conscious of the process

(b) in the sense that the operation of the process is accompanied by consciousness (of its
results) and

(c) in the sense that consciousness enters into or causally influences the process.

We do not have introspective access to how the preconscious cognitive processes that enable thinking produce individual, conscious thoughts in the form of “inner speech.” However, the content of such thoughts and the sequence in which they appear does give some insight into the way the cognitive processes (of which they are manifestations) operate over time in problem solving, thinking, planning and so on.

Consequently such cognitive processes are partly conscious in sense (a), but only in so far as their detailed operation is made explicit in conscious thoughts, thereby becoming accessible to introspection.

Many psychological processes are conscious in sense (b), but not in sense (a)—that is, we are not conscious of how the processes operate, but we are conscious of their results. This applies to perception in all sense modalities.

When consciously reading this sentence for example you become aware of the printed text on the page, accompanied, perhaps, by inner speech (phonemic imagery) and a feeling of understanding (or not), but you have no introspective access to the processes which enable you to read. Nor does one have introspective access to the details of most other forms of cognitive functioning, for example to the detailed operations which enable “conscious” learning, remembering, engaging in conversations with others and so on.

Crucially, having an experience that gives some introspective access to a given process, or having the results of that process manifest in an experience, says nothing about whether that experience carries out that process. That is, whether a process is “conscious” in sense (a) or (b) needs to distinguished from whether it is conscious in sense (c).

Indeed, it is not easy to envisage how the experience that makes a process conscious in sense (a) or (b), could make it conscious in sense (c). Consciousness of a physical process does not make consciousness responsible for the operation of that process (watching paint dry does not actually make it dry on the wall). So, how could consciousness of a mental process carry out the functions of that process? Alternatively, if conscious experience results from a mental process it arrives too late to carry out the functions of that process.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on March 14th, 2018, 5:53 pm 

mitchellmckain wrote:But to be sure, imagination is a process which takes time...
...and then some microseconds later one is conscious of the imagined Y…

RJG wrote:If "one is conscious of the imagined Y" AFTER the imagination process, then would you agree that it is not logically possible for one to consciously cause the imagined Y?

mitchellmckain wrote:Nope. This does not logically follow. You have not shown that one has to be conscious of something BEFORE you can be the cause of it (and indeed why you would adopt such a nonsensical premise is beyond comprehension).

That was pretty sneaky of you dropping (hiding) the word "consciously" from your answer. (...hopefully it was not intentional). Our 'physical bodies' can "cause" lots of things, no doubt, but that's NOT what is at issue here, nor was the question.

Let me try to ask you the question again… (and please pay special attention to the word "consciously"):

If "one is conscious of the imagined Y" AFTER the imagination process, then would you agree that it is not logically possible for one to CONSCIOUSLY cause the imagined Y?


mitchellmckain wrote:As explained above, it is the consciousness of X which was the cause for imagining Y.

1. At what point were you conscious of X? ...was it before or after X?
2. At what point were you conscious of imagining Y? ...was it before/after the imagining of Y?
3. At what point are you conscious of anything? ...was it before/after the anything?
4. At what point can ever you come 'before' (and consciously cause) that which you come 'after'?
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby BadgerJelly on March 14th, 2018, 8:44 pm 

RJG -

Again, this boils down to you either not understanding the words you're using or simply refusing to explicate what you mean by them.

Refine your position by taking some serious time to decide what these terms mean. Define them as precisely as you can in the context you're using them. I've been asking you to do this for over five years because it is an infinite task if taken on with due seriousness.

How about explaining what you mean by "consciously" as this appears to be the contenious issue for you.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on March 14th, 2018, 8:51 pm 

Consciously means knowingly
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby BadgerJelly on March 14th, 2018, 8:58 pm 

RJG » March 15th, 2018, 8:51 am wrote:Consciously means knowingly


I struggle to see why you find that to be enough of an explanation in the given context.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 14th, 2018, 9:20 pm 

RJG » March 14th, 2018, 4:53 pm wrote:If "one is conscious of the imagined Y" AFTER the imagination process, then would you agree that it is not logically possible for one to CONSCIOUSLY cause the imagined Y?

Incorrect.

What I would agree to is that if the sequence of events were exactly as I laid them out then it is not an example of consciously causing the imagined Y but it is an example of consciously causing the enacted Y. However it is not the case that this is impossible because a more complex sequence of events is also possible. This happens all the time when an author is writing where a scene he imagines is worked on through many revisions, in which case he certainly is consciously causing the final result. If you simply seek to make the point that there are always elements of the process of consciousness and human action that are under-the-hood, then I agree. What I have constantly disputed is your claim it is impossible for consciousness to cause anything. PERHAPS, what you MEANT to say is that it is impossible for consciousness to be the exclusive cause of anything -- for that you may make a valid case.

RJG » March 14th, 2018, 4:53 pm wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:As explained above, it is the consciousness of X which was the cause for imagining Y.

1. At what point were you conscious of X? ...was it before or after X?
2. At what point were you conscious of imagining Y? ...was it before/after the imagining of Y?
3. At what point are you conscious of anything? ...was it before/after the anything?
4. At what point can ever you come 'before' (and consciously cause) that which you come 'after'?

1. After.
2. After. Doesn't change the fact that it was caused by the consciousness of X.
3. After. Doesn't mean that it isn't the cause of things which come later.
4. We covered this. You come before and consciously cause things which come later when you imagine it before you enact it. Does this mean that what you enact may not be exactly what you imagine beforehand? Absolutely! Our freedom of will is only to choose our responses, NOT to control the resulting events. This is because we are very rarely the exclusive cause of the things we do, but most of the time only one of the contributing factors.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on March 15th, 2018, 1:53 am 

RJG wrote:Consciously means knowingly

BadgerJelly wrote:I struggle to why you find that to be enough of an explanation in the given context.

Sorry Badge, but it is as simple as that. If you struggle to understand what "knowingly" means, then consult your favorite dictionary.


mitchellmckain wrote:What I have constantly disputed is your claim it is impossible for consciousness to cause anything.

Unfortunately if CTD is true, then 'reality', (not consciousness), leads and calls ALL the shots.


mitchellmckain wrote:
RJG wrote:1. At what point were you conscious of X? ...was it before or after X?

1. After.

Correct. Since the consciousness-of-X is AFTER X, it cannot "consciously cause" X.


mitchellmckain wrote:
RJG wrote:2. At what point were you conscious of imagining Y? ...was it before/after the imagining of Y?

2. After. Doesn't change the fact that it was caused by the consciousness of X.

If the consciousness-of-X can't consciously cause X, then it certainly can't "consciously cause' that which X causes, nor can it "consciously cause" that which it is 'not' conscious of!

Although it is possible for the real-time X to cause the real-time (imagining of) Y, it is impossible for the 'consciousness-of-X' to consciously cause this real-time event, especially considering that it can't consciously cause X itself!


mitchellmckain wrote:
RJG wrote:3. At what point are you conscious of anything? ...was it before/after the anything?

3. After. Doesn't mean that it isn't the cause of things which come later.

Yes it does. As it can't possibly "consciously cause" that which it is 'not' conscious of!


mitchellmckain wrote:
RJG wrote:4. At what point can ever you come 'before' (and consciously cause) that which you come 'after'?

4. We covered this. You come before and consciously cause things which come later…

Impossible. We are not conscious of those "things that come later", so we can't consciously cause them.

We are ONLY conscious of the 'past', and the the past has already been caused!
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby BadgerJelly on March 15th, 2018, 3:06 am 

RJG -

And hence I return to saying your approach is completely idiotic again. Rinse and repeat it seems.

Is there a chance one day you may actually listen to the numerous people across two different forums telling you the same problems with you exposition? Maybe I foolishly optimistic, either way it is practice writing I guess.

I am guessing your approach when someone asks you what the meaning of life is, is to look in a dictionary. haha!

Bye bye!
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby DragonFly on March 15th, 2018, 12:57 pm 

BadgerJelly » March 15th, 2018, 2:06 am wrote:…I return to saying your approach is completely idiotic again.


Well, that clinches it; I don't see how we can compete against that deep and comprehensive analysis.

Velmans' too, idiotic? What are your specifics against it?
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 15th, 2018, 3:04 pm 

RJG » March 15th, 2018, 12:53 am wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:What I have constantly disputed is your claim it is impossible for consciousness to cause anything.

Unfortunately if CTD is true, then 'reality', (not consciousness), leads and calls ALL the shots.

So you would like to believe despite not being able to prove it because it doesn't agree with the facts.

RJG » March 15th, 2018, 12:53 am wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:
RJG wrote:2. At what point were you conscious of imagining Y? ...was it before/after the imagining of Y?

2. After. Doesn't change the fact that it was caused by the consciousness of X.

If the consciousness-of-X can't consciously cause X, then it certainly can't "consciously cause' that which X causes, nor can it "consciously cause" that which it is 'not' conscious of!

But nobody says it was directly caused by X and in fact it doesn't make sense to say it was directly caused by X. Take an example... I am writing a story and I see a bird and decide that would be a good thing to put into this scene I am writing. Is it correct to say the bird itself causes the bird to be written into the story? NO! If I am never conscious of the bird then it never gets in the story. It only goes into the story BECAUSE I was conscious of it. Thus it is the consciousness of the bird which causes it to be put in the story, not the bird itself.

RJG » March 15th, 2018, 12:53 am wrote:Although it is possible for the real-time X to cause the real-time (imagining of) Y, it is impossible for the 'consciousness-of-X' to consciously cause this real-time event, especially considering that it can't consciously cause X itself!

You are being silly beyond compare... You are saying the bird can write the bird into the book but I cannot write the bird into the book just because I cannot cause the bird itself.

RJG » March 15th, 2018, 12:53 am wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:
RJG wrote:3. At what point are you conscious of anything? ...was it before/after the anything?

3. After. Doesn't mean that it isn't the cause of things which come later.

Yes it does. As it can't possibly "consciously cause" that which it is 'not' conscious of!

mitchellmckain wrote:
RJG wrote:4. At what point can ever you come 'before' (and consciously cause) that which you come 'after'?

4. We covered this. You come before and consciously cause things which come later…

Impossible. We are not conscious of those "things that come later", so we can't consciously cause them.

Incorrect. We have already shown you how it can consciously cause things by imagining it before hand.

And it is interesting what you have done here... You edit out the things you refuse to hear.

RJG » Wed Mar 14, 2018 10:53 pm wrote:We are ONLY conscious of the 'past', and the the past has already been caused!


Incorrect. By imagination we are conscious of things in the future. Thus the most you can say here is that our ability to consciously cause things is limited to our ability to imagine and predict the future.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on March 15th, 2018, 5:06 pm 

RJG wrote:Unfortunately if CTD is true, then 'reality', (not consciousness), leads and calls ALL the shots.

mitchellmckain wrote:So you would like to believe despite not being able to prove it because it doesn't agree with the facts.

Logic proves it. One cannot be conscious of something without there being something to be conscious of. ...or are you disputing this logic?


mitchellmckain wrote:Take an example... I am writing a story and I see a bird and decide that would be a good thing to put into this scene I am writing.

Okay, examples are good. But don't forget that your 'consciousness' of writing, seeing, and deciding all happened AFTER your actual 'physical' writing, seeing, and deciding. ...a very important point not to forget!

mitchellmckain wrote:If I am never conscious of the bird then it never gets in the story. It only goes into the story BECAUSE I was conscious of it. Thus it is the consciousness of the bird which causes it to be put in the story...

Not so. It was not the "consciousness-of-the-bird" that gets him into your story, it was your 'physical actions' that got him into your story.

Let's recap the chain of events here:

    1. When the physical you was 'seeing the bird', the conscious you was "conscious-of-writing".

    2. And when the physical you was 'deciding', the conscious you was "conscious-of-seeing" the bird.

    3. And when the physical you was 'including the bird' in the story, the conscious you was "conscious-of-deciding".

    4. And when the physical you was 'finishing the story', the conscious you was "conscious-of-including-the-bird" in the story.

    5. And finally, 150 ms later after finishing the story, the conscious you was "conscious-of-finishing" the story.

Consciousness can never get out in front of the real actions of reality to ever have a causal effect on them. Consciousness ALWAYS lags behind reality. So that the content of one's consciousness can only be filled with "old news"; of stuff that has already happened; already been caused!


RJG wrote:We are ONLY conscious of the 'past', and the the past has already been caused!

mitchellmckain wrote:Incorrect. By imagination we are conscious of things in the future.

Are you 'conscious'-of-this-"imagining"?


mitchellmckain wrote:Thus the most you can say here is that our ability to consciously cause things is limited to our ability to imagine and predict the future.

Not so. We don't/can't "imagine". We can only be 'conscious'-of-imagining. And everything that we are conscious of is "old news"; past happenings.

Conscious causation is logically impossible.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 15th, 2018, 6:39 pm 

Ok, I surrender to the following fact. You are going to believe what you want to believe no matter what we say and what evidence there is to the contrary. But then this being such an unbelievably absurd thing to believe in the first place against all logic and all evidence, this isn't a terribly big surprise. But I accept the fact that you will not listen and so I will stop wasting my time.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby DragonFly on March 15th, 2018, 7:14 pm 

How would imagining, or anything, in consciousness, just come out of the blue, instantly, unconstructed? That would go against all logic and evidence. It doesn't; neural activity came up with it earlier and may next be heading toward the object of the imagination, which action may then go to consciousness, and so forth.

It's a simple situation, and so it's not absurd at all, and of course people preaching 'absurd' as some kind of generalized preventative don't get listened to; their argument didn't fly; CTD wasn't undone and replaced, nor its implications.

We have to accept the reality that while plans and imaginations can continue, they are not thought of instantly in/by consciousness, and so there's no agency therein. See Velmans; see Edelman; see their contemporaries… It's been out there for decades.

Good tries, really, but for the silly buffoonery by some.

It's not the happiest thing to find out; it reduces humanity from what the ideal hoped for. For searchers, though, it's great to discover how reality works.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby sponge on March 17th, 2018, 2:10 pm 

Surely this only matters to anyone who restricts the ownership of their thinking to the self-awareness? It is obvious that decision-making and choices are a complex process involving memory, circumstances, background and observation. Most people understand that it is the unique working of their own brain that sorts all this stuff out and because a proportion of this process is carried out at a subconscious level doesn't lessen their ownership of those decisions.

This time delay is an interesting detail that we have been able to add in to the consciousness process but it is nothing to do with who we are or our self-determination.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 17th, 2018, 5:18 pm 

This is a comment on RJG's post but not addressed to RJG, whom I wouldn't waste any time arguing with.

RJG » March 15th, 2018, 4:06 pm wrote:Let's recap the chain of events here:

    1. When the physical you was 'seeing the bird', the conscious you was "conscious-of-writing".

    2. And when the physical you was 'deciding', the conscious you was "conscious-of-seeing" the bird.

    3. And when the physical you was 'including the bird' in the story, the conscious you was "conscious-of-deciding".

    4. And when the physical you was 'finishing the story', the conscious you was "conscious-of-including-the-bird" in the story.

    5. And finally, 150 ms later after finishing the story, the conscious you was "conscious-of-finishing" the story.

A lot is made much more clear about RJG in this description. It would seem that RJG is a Decartian dualist, inventing a nonphysical consciousness apart from the physical report of information to the physical person who decides on the information he receives about his environment. So no wonder we physicalists are flabbergasted by his claims -- it is speaking about things which we did not even consider to be part of the discussion. For the physicalist, there is no "conscious you" apart from the physical you, nor any consciousness apart from the report of sensory data to the information processing functions of the brain which includes the linguistic organization we call the mind. For us, consciousness is simply one of the many physical operations part of a single you. In fact, it is reasonable to think that the only "you" involved is another one of these function -- an identity function -- either or both in the neurological operations of the brain of the linguistic conceptual constructions of the mind.

Anyway, let's correct this sequence of events.

    1. Seeing the bird is a process which starts with the operation of the eyes then the brain's various neurological functions and then the mind (linguistic processing of data) which attaches meaning to the presentation including the consciousness of this perception of the bird. In some of perceptions there are reflex reactions to perceptions but for the most part this does not apply to events like the perception of a bird when we shift our attention to it and consider its relevance to our current activity.

    This physical you processing the sensory data into the perception of a bird is the only consciousness of the bird there is. Since it takes time of course, this happens after the actual event of the bird, but the physicalist sees no need whatsoever to invent nonphysical "conscious you", which indeed would logically be epiphenomenal since there is frankly no objective evidence for believing it exists at all.

    2. When the physical you completes the perceptual process and shifts attention to the bird deciding it has some relevance to the process of writing a book, then begins the deliberation process of whether this is a good thing to add to the writing. At some point the decision is likely to become the focus of consciousness in self-monitoring process that keeps track of what you are doing in the context of your daily activities. There is no "nonphysical conscious you" to which this decision needs to be reported as far as the events of physical reality is concerned. It is possible that a nonphysical you does exist but it wouldn't have anything whatsoever to do with any measurable CTD.

    3. Since the inclusion of the bird in the story is a highly linguistic operation then this is easily categorized as work of the mind though of course there are numerous neurological processes also involved which translate this into motions of the body in order to record the result in a hand written or machine typed record. Again there is no "nonphysical conscious you" to which this activity needs to be reported as far as the physical events are concerned. The CTD is just a delay between this activity and the self-reflective process that registers that this activity as accomplished.

    4. The physical you, which is the only you having anything to do with CTD, is finishing this scene of the story and checking the logical coherence of the alteration as well as its aesthetic appeal. This is likely to be a complex process of many conscious reports of both your thoughts and reading what you have written. But there is no "nonphysical conscious you" involving any measurable CTD. CTD only a delay between one process in the nervous system of the physical you and another.

    5. If there is a nonphysical conscious you to which the finishing of the story is reported then it would indeed be entirely epiphenomenal, but there is no physical evidence of such a thing and so many people see no reason to believe that such a thing even exists.

RJG » March 15th, 2018, 4:06 pm wrote:Consciousness can never get out in front of the real actions of reality to ever have a causal effect on them. Consciousness ALWAYS lags behind reality. So that the content of one's consciousness can only be filled with "old news"; of stuff that has already happened; already been caused!

Incorrect. Physical consciousness logically only follows the object of physical consciousness but it is logically out in front of actions which follow, including those which are a causal result of physical consciousness. We are of course talking about the consciousness of information coming to and being processed by the physical you and not any nonphysical epiphenomenal consciousness which people may believe in.

In fact... when you think about it, if RJG's so called "epiphenomenal conscous you" "cannot logically cause anything" then how in the world is it logical to presume it is causing the CTD? The only way you can measure a CTD is to measure time between two events and the second event would have to be something caused by this consiousness in question for it is not as if we can see the consciousness itself in order to measure the time of it happening.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on March 17th, 2018, 10:22 pm 

mitchellmckain wrote:For the physicalist, there is no "conscious you" apart from the physical you…

Agreed. We physicalists only use the terms "conscious self" (and "mind") out of 'convenience' to describe the (conscious) 'recognition' of bodily experiences/reactions. There only exists a 'physical body' (aka a "physical you") that experiences and 'auto-reacts' accordingly (to its applied stimuli).

The acceptance of the physicalist position, refutes "agency". There is no agent within; no "conscious self" or "mind' to make decisions, or to "consciously do or cause" anything. There is no "conscious causation" or conscious control. There is only a physical body that 'auto-reacts' accordingly (to its applied stimuli).
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 17th, 2018, 11:24 pm 

So it is nothing but semantics after all. RJG is simply using the word "conscious" for this nonphysical conscious thing he seems to believe in, while the rest of us use the word "conscious" for the process in the physical organism which turns sensual data into perceptions and then acts upon them. So when we say there is conscious causation and RJG says their is no conscious causation, we are talking about two entirely different things. We are talking about the process in the "physical you" which responds to information from the environment and he is talking about this nonphysical consciousness he seems to believe in, which I can quite agree is pretty much epiphenomenal. But this does not remove the rather phenomenal error that RJG has been making by claiming this has something to do with CTD which I have shown to be quite impossible.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on March 18th, 2018, 1:04 am 

mitchellmckain wrote:We are talking about the process in the "physical you" which responds to information from the environment…

Is the "physical you" conscious of "responding"?

If yes, then the 'physical recognition' process (aka consciousness) of the "response" occurred AFTER the physical bodily "response" (actions/reactions) itself.

If no, then there is no conscious response, but instead a non conscious physical response.

Consciousness cannot "respond", ...it can only be conscious of responding!
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby mitchellmckain on March 18th, 2018, 3:25 am 

RJG » March 18th, 2018, 12:04 am wrote:Is the "physical you" conscious of "responding"?

Not necessarily but it can be in an event that follows that responding of course. Your argument that conscious causation consists of being conscious of what will be done before you do it, is absurd. Of course you are not conscious of the future except as a prediction, imagining, or an intention. And yes that includes any action of prediction, imagining or intention as well. OF COURSE, you are not conscious of these things done before you do them. That is simply ridiculous. But by imagining, predicting, or intending you do have what we mean by conscious causation -- it is all anyone has ever meant by it. And to say that because it is not an actual knowledge of the future itself, then it cannot be conscious causation is just being silly.

I am reminded once again of Zeno's argument that before you go any distance you must go halfway first. You try to set of the same kind of absurdity by trying the same predictable serial query... Are you conscious of being the cause of your intention to do something. My answer is the same... not necessarily but it is possible. Sometimes your intention will not be a product of conscious deliberation and sometimes it will. But does your Zeno-like argument really work? Does the failure to consciously cause your intention to do something mean that the dominoes fall and you are thus not consciously causing that something? No it does not. You are still the cause of the intention and conscious of the intention and that is all which is required for being the conscious cause of what you intend. If you are not consciously the cause of your intention, this does not prevent conscious causation any more than the necessity of going 1/2 the distance before going the whole distance in any way stops you from going the distance.

But the real flaw in your argument is this premise of yours that consciousness causation must consist of being conscious of what is caused in the future. The premise is just wrong. This absurd impossibility is not the meaning of conscious causation except in your argument of straw.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby Positor on March 18th, 2018, 11:12 pm 

RJG » March 18th, 2018, 2:22 am wrote:
mitchellmckain wrote:For the physicalist, there is no "conscious you" apart from the physical you…

Agreed. We physicalists only use the terms "conscious self" (and "mind") out of 'convenience' to describe the (conscious) 'recognition' of bodily experiences/reactions. There only exists a 'physical body' (aka a "physical you") that experiences and 'auto-reacts' accordingly (to its applied stimuli).

1. Every conscious recognition is a specific event, occurring at a specific time.

2. For a physicalist, all events are physical.

3. Therefore, an instance of conscious recognition is either a physical event itself, or it does not exist at all.

4. Instances of conscious recognition exist.

5. Therefore, for a physicalist, an instance of conscious recognition is a physical event itself.

6. It is agreed that CTD applies to stimuli. There are (at least) two distinct physical events: (a) the stimulus and (b) the consciousness of that stimulus. Or (a) a set of stimuli and (b) the processed, unified consciousness of that set of stimuli.

7. It is not agreed that CTD applies to responses. If it does, then there are (at least) two distinct physical events: the so-called 'physical' response and the conscious recognition of that response (which, however, is also physical - see (5) above).

8. If the conscious recognition of a response is itself physical, it is physically possible for it to have (some) causative power. It is also logically possible for it to influence future events, by imagining such events and then (perhaps imperfectly) enacting them.

9, It has not been proven that CTD applies to responses. If it does not, then the so-called 'physical' response is the conscious response. If CTD does apply, then it is logically possible that the two distinct physical events in (7) - one unconscious and the other conscious - can both influence the future (the conscious event would add input to the ongoing unconscious (auto-reactive) process).

10. It may be the case that consciousness has no causative power, but you need to present an argument for determinism; it is not a question of logic. Actually, I find deterministic arguments for epiphenomenalism quite persuasive.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on March 19th, 2018, 12:37 pm 

Positor wrote:1. Every conscious recognition is a specific event, occurring at a specific time.

2. For a physicalist, all events are physical.

3. Therefore, an instance of conscious recognition is either a physical event itself, or it does not exist at all.

4. Instances of conscious recognition exist.

5. Therefore, for a physicalist, an instance of conscious recognition is a physical event itself.

All good. Agreed.


Positor wrote:6. It is agreed that CTD applies to stimuli. There are (at least) two distinct physical events: (a) the stimulus and (b) the consciousness of that stimulus. Or (a) a set of stimuli and (b) the processed, unified consciousness of that set of stimuli.

Here lies the confusion.

Firstly, the use of the word "stimuli" seems to be an odd choice of words here. (But I'm okay with using it so long as we are consistent with it). For it is our non-conscious physical bodily actions/reactions (experiences) that one becomes conscious of 'after' the process of recognition. If these bodily actions/reactions are referred to as "stimuli", then the consciousness of said bodily reactions should be referred to as the "response", ...or referred to as "cause" and "effect".

Secondly, CTD does not apply to just the singular "stimuli". CTD is the 'time delay' between the stimuli and response. CTD is the time delay between the two distinct physical events; between the non-conscious bodily reaction (aka "stimuli" or "cause") and the consciousness of this bodily reaction (aka "response" or "effect"). Or to simplify, CTD is the time it takes to convert a non-conscious event into a conscious event.


Positor wrote:7. It is not agreed that CTD applies to responses. If it does, then there are (at least) two distinct physical events: the so-called 'physical' response and the conscious recognition of that response (which, however, is also physical - see (5) above).

...again, CTD is the amount of time it takes to consciously realize a real-time event. If one is conscious of a so-called "response" then this so-called response is actually the "stimuli", and the consciousness of it, is actually the "response".


Positor wrote:8. If the conscious recognition of a response is itself physical, it is physically possible for it to have (some) causative power. It is also logically possible for it to influence future events, by imagining such events and then (perhaps imperfectly) enacting them.

9. It has not been proven that CTD applies to responses. If it does not, then the so-called 'physical' response is the conscious response. If CTD does apply, then it is logically possible that the two distinct physical events in (7) - one unconscious and the other conscious - can both influence the future (the conscious event would add input to the ongoing unconscious (auto-reactive) process).

Not so. Firstly, "instantaneous" consciousness is IMPOSSIBLE. One can't be conscious of anything (including a so-called "response") without some 'time' ticking off the clock.

And secondly, if consciousness is to "influence" future events then even if the impossible "instantaneous consciousness" were somehow (?) possible, then it still couldn't "influence" any future event. To consciously "influence", one must be conscious-of-X 'prior' to the X; in other words, the "response" (effect) must 'precede' its "stimuli" (cause), which again, is not logically possible.


Positor wrote:10. It may be the case that consciousness has no causative power, but you need to present an argument for determinism; it is not a question of logic. Actually, I find deterministic arguments for epiphenomenalism quite persuasive.

Although deterministic arguments are convincing, they are not more convincing than "logical impossibilities".

Again, if CTD is true; i.e. if consciousness is ALWAYS 'after' that which it is conscious of, then it is logically impossible for consciousness to EVER have a causal effect on past, present, or future real-time events.

Again, please consider the following--
RJG wrote:Imagine the following:

Brothers Ron and Carl are running a long race (e.g. an ultra-marathon through the streets of San Francisco). Ron is always ahead of Carl by 10 meters. When Ron turns left, then 10 meters later, Carl turns left. When Ron runs up a hill, then 10 meters later, Carl runs up that hill. etc. etc.

Question 1: If Carl is presently 10 meters behind Ron, is there anything Carl can do to influence/affect/cause Ron's present actions?

Question 2: If Carl, at the beginning of the race (i.e. in the 'past') was 10 meters behind Ron, is there anything then or now Carl can do to influence/affect/cause Ron's past or present actions?

Question 3: If Carl is ALWAYS 10 meters behind Ron, can Carl EVER influence/affect/cause Ron's past, present, or future actions?

The answers are all "NO" -- Carl can only view Ron's actions, but never (ever!) have a causal effect upon them.

Carl = consciousness (conscious self)
Ron = physical body (real self)

Consciousness can never (ever!) have a 'causal' influence on the real-time actions/reactions of the body.
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Re: What is CTD?

Postby RJG on March 22nd, 2018, 9:18 am 

To close out this topic -

1. We can't be conscious of something if there is nothing to be conscious of.
2. This 'something' always precedes the consciousness-of-this-something (by the CTD value).
3. Therefore, everything that we are conscious of, has already happened; already been caused.

In actuality, we are being 'fed' our conscious experiences by the preceding actions/reactions of the physical body. So, contrary to popular belief, we don’t/can't “consciously do” anything, ...we can only be “conscious” of what we’ve “done”.

And to end all this with the spooky, but true, "Twilight Zone" moment:
RJG wrote:When you get off work today and walk across the parking lot to your car, know that your 'real' body is at least 7 inches out in front of you. And if it were possible to see the 'real' you (the one existing in 'reality'), then you would see the back of your own head. ...spooky, ...yes.

And then when you reach for the car door handle, your 'real' hand has already opened the door. ...again, spooky, ...but true!

Our 'real' self (body) always leads our 'conscious' self. There is no way to avoid this logical truth.


...thank you all for the very good and interesting discussions/debates.

The END
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