Archive for May 8th, 2013

May 8, 2013

Consciousness 0: An introduction

by Neil Rickert

I’ve decided to attempt to explain consciousness.  I might not succeed, but it is worth a try.  The way that I look at consciousness is very different from the way that most people look at it.  And that make communication difficult.

I won’t be saying much about conciousness in this introductory post.  But I do plan to get into more detail in future posts in this series.  As a warm up, you might want to watch this youtube video, where Alva Noe gives his ideas:

My way of looking at it is somewhat along the lines that Noe suggests.

When you watch that, you might get the impression that Noe is being a tad mystical.  Perhaps that’s what one can expect from a philosopher.  But, then, if you read Maturana and Varela, you might get a similar impression.  However, Maturana and Varela are not philosophers, they are biologists.  For that matter, some people who read J.J. Gibson, on his ecological theory of perception, think that he is appealing to magic.  However, Gibson was a down to earth experimenter in perceptual psychology.

That you might get a mystical impression is partly a reflection of the difficulty of discussing this topic.  And one of the reasons it is difficult, is that people have many preconceived notions about consciousness.  So an attempt to explain consciousness that does not fit with those preconceived notions is going to be difficult to follow.

I have said enough for now.  I will get into more detail in future posts.