TED Conversations

Orlando Hawkins


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What is consciousness? What is required for consciousness to exist?

What makes consciousness important?

We already know that many of our mental experiences are reducable to brain function. The brain controls our feelings, our behaviors, our thoughts, speech, etc and all of these constitute to the experiences that we have. From a psycho-neural identity perspective mental and brain processes are one and the same. Mental that people (and other organisms) experience and think are real are nothing more than they physical functioning of the Brain and w/o a Brain, could their be an absence of mind or experiences? What Scientific or Philosophical approaches can support this claim? What issues arise if one is to completely accepts the reductionist position?

Do the other alternatives like dualism, pluralism and monism and quantum mechanics have something to offer to this question?

I understand that this may not bring us any closer to unlocking the mysteries of consciousness but I'm interested in learning more about it from different perspectives/approaches.


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  • Oct 31 2011: speaking in a more spiritual way i think counciusness is bound to the soul, its what we are, all memories conditions that may be recall to afect our behavior is our subcnouncius. if we take away that we are nothing more than concius for example, if you get hypnotised u can actually interact with the subconcius, the physical part of you, that part can perfectly manage your body. you can manage to change it like a software, we develope it through life but you have to know that it is conditioned by the enviroment.
    this is way more complex, but just showing my perspective.
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      Nov 1 2011: Hello Gonzalo,

      Just so I understand, you stating that consciousness, if reducible, will not find its origins in the brain but elsewhere? What would the other alternative be? These just questions of curiosity?

      There is a mystical aspect to consciousness, there is not doubt about that but I am curious as to why, if consciousness or anything that we hold dear to us (actions, principles, etc) are nothing more than states of our brain, why would this seem to be "un-human". It seems that if consciousness was ever to be found to be nothing but neural activity, humans would seem to lose a very vital side of themselves. Is this the way you see things as well?
      • Nov 2 2011: well i can only guess of course for pure empirsm, concius it's what trascend it we has always been and it we will always be what our concius, our councius don't judge don't even think as the normal concept of thinking like in a factual way, our concius if its separated for the subconcius(memory particulary)in other way of saying concius will only be what we "feel", in a complex way.

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