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This question came up when I was trying to explain that color is subjective. My conclusion is, color is constructed by our "Imagination", the same mechanism that produces mental images.

That discussion leads me to think if consciousness could be just like color, it was produced to fill void in our mental images: "Now I have this thing called consciousness and I can FEEL how I really have free will".

What if Imagination is first order. And everything else including complex concepts such as consciousness was simply produced out of necessity.

I acknowledge this idea is on the naive side. Pointers to further readings are greatly appreciated.

As for "Imagination", the mechanism that can produce a mental image, I tend to think of it not conscious but behave based on a collection of external sensory data, knowledge gained through previous learning activities, as well as other data (including memory) .

  • Can you clarify what you mean by "imagination" in your second paragraph? Do you mean by that and "mental image", the having of a mental image or do you mean it is the forming of a mental image or do you mean it is itself a mental image that happens through some other faculty? – virmaior Jul 29 '15 at 6:00
  • I am not sure, actually. But I will try to clarify my thoughts as much as I can. Please continue to ask me if you see problems. So I tried to use the word imagination to try to describe the CAPABILITY of producing a mental image. For the whole question I tried to ask if consciousness itself, is just a mental image, something only exists because we try to produce it in our minds. I am not ready to talk about the mechanism of "imagination" yet. – Los Los Jul 29 '15 at 6:04
  • Also what would produce the image? Is that image-producing an automatic process or does something do it? If it is not automatic, isn't that process also conscious? – virmaior Jul 29 '15 at 6:18
  • You dont understand what Subjective is. Colors are absolute, like numbers and sounds. Only their naming is relative. Imagination is a muscle of the mind, not its only essense. – Asphir Dom Jul 29 '15 at 13:50
  • Not trying to persuade you here, but Color is a curious and especially sophisticated topic. It takes time for me to finally realize lights do not have colors, the objects we see do not have colors, in fact, colors only exists in our minds or other creatures' minds with individually differences in perception. What's more, almost all "color theory" is based on experiments of human vision system, unlike almost all other areas of Physics. They just picked what they think "an average human" as the base for Color Theory. I actually think understanding Color will lead us to many realizations. – Los Los Jul 29 '15 at 22:13
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Your post aims at the core of both the philosophy of mind and neuroscience. Possibly you are just entering this field (“out of the blue”). Therefore I would like to recommend to you some sources for further study:

1) Christof Koch: Consciousness - Confessions of a Romantic Reductionist, 2012.

Koch approaches consciousness from the viewpoint of cognitive science and neuroscience. His book mixes personal memories with a discussion of scientific investigations. Section 3 presents different viewpoints on consciousness. Section 8 centers around his preferred approach, which takes consciousness as integrated information according to the corresponding theory of Guilio Tononi. The latter aims at grounding the concept of consciousness in informatics by a mathematical theory of information processing.

2) Paul Thagard: Mind. Introduction to Cognitive Science,1996

The book is a textbook from the philosophical side.

3) Susan Blackmore: Conversations on Consciousness, 2005

The book collects conversations with several researchers from neuroscience or philosophy of mind.

When reading about cognitive science I find it helpful to distinguish always two viewpoints: Does the author speak from the viewpoint of first person, the subjective stance? Or does he speak from the viewpoint of third person, the objective stance? The main challenge is to correlate the sense of self with the results of scientific investigations.

Returning to your original question: I do not consider consiousness a capability to make mental images. I prefer to view the content of our conscious processes a mental construction.

  • Thank you so much, Jo! This is exactly what I am looking for. – Los Los Jul 29 '15 at 6:08

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