Free Will

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Re: Free Will

Postby morriswalters » Mon May 22, 2017 10:39 am UTC

ucim wrote:
morriswalters wrote:Without higher thought the only thing that will save that lobster is me just having eaten. That and my shellfish allergy. :cry: However some like Pinker suggest that higher level consciousness might require language.
You seem to be equating consciousness and thought, or thought and feeling. I do not. That's our difference. Do babies not need anesthesia because they can't do calculus?

The baby probably wouldn't like it. A more cogent way of expressing what I think might be to say that the consciousness of a baby and the consciousness of an adult are different. One of those differences might be a more complex underlying process represented to the world by verbal language.

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Re: Free Will

Postby ucim » Mon May 22, 2017 1:27 pm UTC

eSOANEM wrote:You said introspection not sentience. Introspection is...
I was responding to:
morriswalters wrote:Without language is it possible to self reflect, to be aware of being aware in the way we seem to be?
Introspection isn't really the same as consciousness, but have reflexiveness in common, and I simply continued what I took to be a proxy. It's not clear to me that dogs and cats have language, but it is clear to me that they have consciousness in sufficient quantity to make (say) stabbing them for fun a Very Bad Thing, even if they can't talk to us. You posted about the existence of research to the contrary; that language "plays a majorly fundamental role" in cognition, including introspection.

If introspection is irrelevant to consciousness, then the research is irrelevant. But to the extent that introspection intersects consciousness, I'm interested in seeing the research. Language is a tool that requires the brain to formalize thoughts; formalizing thoughts does help people to think. I have no doubt about that. But thinking and feeling are fundamentally different things, even if you want to put them both under the rubric of "cognition".

I suppose all of this is more or less about defining what is meant by "consciousness"; without a definition there's no reasonable discussion. Part of the definition of what I imagine consciousness to be would embody the idea that it does not depend on language; that acquiring language would not make one "more conscious". It hurts just as much even if you don't know the proper word for "ouch". It's just as much fun even if you don't know the word for "whee!".

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