Humans consist of complex physical materials. However, we determine and experience our lives through numerous spiritual moments. Should consciousness be described as an outcome of physical matter and senses, or is it a higher mental construction?

  • also another fascinating point comes from Daniel Dennett's Freedom Evolves, where he states that consciousness and free will have their basis in raw biology. How valid is such a point. – Fred Buford_32 Dec 13 '18 at 23:20
  • You need to decide if reality is all made of one kind of 'stuff' (atoms) or many kinds of stuff. If the latter.. then can you devise an experiment to determine what that stuff is? Are you a 'dualust' in short. Dennett isn't.. though he does acknowledge that some things exist even though they're made of literally nothing. Memes for example. Consciousness is something that arises from the gestalt operation of brains. Exactly how science doesn't know. But before long.. we'll recreate it in AI machines... Then.. with luck.. we'll get closer to understanding what it is. – Richard Dec 14 '18 at 0:50
  • @Richard Ah, gestalt. I heard that term during the AI debates of the 70's. Computers can't have gestalt. But isn't that swapping in one mystery for another, or one label for another? We don't know what consciousness is; and we don't know what gestalt really is. Some of us (myself included) believe that computations can have neither, and that people do. But it's a hard argument to make these days. Maybe there's no gestalt, maybe it's all just datamining. That's the argument of the latest AI enthusiasts. – user4894 Dec 14 '18 at 1:35
  • @user4894 We know consciousness interacts with matter.. otherwise you couldn't decide to pick up a cup of tea. For that interaction to happen.. whatever consciousness is must be made of the same stuff as your cup of tea. Electrical and chemical signals in the brain. AI machines are made of the same stuff.. and we are very close to simulating that chemical and electrical process. When we do.. we can probe the AI to see how it works.. without having to kill anyone. – Richard Dec 14 '18 at 1:45
  • @Richard Even if the mind must ultimately be physical; what is your proof that it must be a computation as the word is currently understood? What is your proof that the mind is a Turing machine? That would really be my point. I'm not a dualist. I believe our current understanding of physics is not sufficiently detailed to explain consciousness. And that it might never be. And that the mind might be physical, yet not computational. Now, what does that mean? Well that's a good question! – user4894 Dec 14 '18 at 1:52

What is consciousness? Hm! Sounds like dangerous waters to attempt to navigate, but, anyway, here goes; Consciousness, at least within a psychological frame seems to always include an aspect of self-awareness. But even taken together these two conceptions have not seemed to logically lead anywhere useful. That is primarily because different interpretations of what it means to be aware of self just lead into differing types of argument which never seem to go anywhere other than in concentric circles. So here is a quite different path or at least a suggested path to unraveling this persistent 'Gordian knot'
Spinoza in his "Ethics" Part Three- Of the Affects [Emotions] in Propositions 6-7-8, introduces, what he considers to constitute the essence of human nature, he termed it 'conatus' or 'striving'. It has been defined as 'self-assertive impulse', 'desire'/'appetite' and 'agency-in-act'. Taken together these three designations indicate the nexus where the urge to continue in existence merges with the desire to accumulate the necessary security and products required and the capability and intelligence to problem solve and join with other like-minded people to form communities to accomplish these ends.

The bodily mechanism operating through this 'conatus' receives impressions from objects/people in the environment [today we would term these digital signals]. These impressions instantaneously convert into 'emotional triggers' which automatically and ceaselessly bombard the brain with inputs which it stores. These data are then 'taken under consideration' by the mind which sorts, analyzes and converts into 'ideas'. Some of these 'ideas' become 'adequate' or clearly understood. Others, which cannot be deciphered remain 'inadequate'. The function within the mind which performs this evaluation consists in a combination of 'reflective knowledge' [observing, measuring and comparing past experience with the data and 'intuitional understanding' [let's leave that for the moment].

This then, while not a modern explanation of consciousness is one that may, just may, be deserving of consideration.

For further reading on this see; Spinoza's "Ethics" and "on the Improvement of the Understanding". Spinoza's Strange Symbiosis- Where Emotion and Thought Conjoin. [available soon on Academia.com and Amazon] CS


Since there is cosmic consciousness, it is not worth dealing human consciousness separately. You know, even the answers to many questions regarding death is still completely unknown. The same will be the case of consciousness also. This is because of that great cosmic consciousness. We can never deny the fact that even in unicellular organisms like bacteria and viruses have consciousness. Then you can make sure that consciousness has no relation to the number of cells or its complexity. Consciousness is everywhere; in animate objects, inanimate objects, tangible, intangible and everywhere.

The following link is just for giving you some hints.


Should consciousness be described as an outcome of physical matter and senses, or is it a higher mental construction?


He who can look into himself realizes this Truth. When he realizes it, he knows his consciousness is everywhere and everything ( https://www.speakingtree.in/allslides/sarvam-khaluidam-brahma )...and he attains liberation from all bondage. Now you may think about: "What happens to consciousness even if his body becomes no more?"

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    I'm with you on this but feel you make claims here that need more support. It seems useful to point out that the Perennial philosophy is unfalsifiable. This means nobody will ever be able to prove that matter gives rise to consciousness. The unfalsifiability of Solipsism proves the same thing. Quite why so many people ignore these facts is something of a mystery to me even after many years of trying to understand. The MInd-Matter problem is ancient and requires a metaphysical solution. Without this we cannot explain Mind or Matter. – PeterJ Dec 14 '18 at 11:02
  • @PeterJ: This is not any kind of understanding. I don't think that a mere understanding can satisfy anybody in this regard. That is the real problem for it is the 'root of all'. Since I don't know about solipsism, I didn't pursue it. I believe solipsism and non-duality are not synonymous because solipsism is rather egocentric while non-duality is something that transcends mind and ego. You won't be disturbed by mind-matter problem in non-dual state because you know that it is nonsense in reality. – SonOfThought Dec 15 '18 at 3:10
  • I most definitely did not suggest solipsism and non-duality are the same. I said the unfalsifiabilty of solipsism entails that it would be impossible to prove that matter gives rise to consciousness. Nor did I suggest that I am disturbed by the mind-matter problem. I was saying it is people and how they reason that I don't understand, not metaphysical problems. – PeterJ Dec 15 '18 at 10:49
  • @PeterJ: I really appreciate you for letting me know that you are not disturbed by mind-matter problem. Now I understand your words more clearly...you didn't say they (solipsism and non-dualism) are the same. Thanks for your clarification. – SonOfThought Dec 18 '18 at 3:11
  • No problem. It's amazing how difficult it is in philosophy to say something that isn't misunderstood. I hope to do it one day.:) – PeterJ Dec 18 '18 at 10:34

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