Dan Dennett (Tufts) A Phenomenal Confusion About Access and Consciousness
Antonio Damasio (USC) Feelings and Sentience
II. Felt Function (Saturday June 30)
Joseph Ledoux (NYU) The Perplexing Relationship Between Emotions and Consciousness
Jorge Armony (McGill) Neural Bases of Emotion
Fernando Cervero (McGill) Cellular and Molecular Mechanisms of Pain
Phillip Jackson (Laval) The Brain Response to the Pain of Others: Fleeing Versus Caring
Catherine Tallon-Baudry (CNRS) Is Consciousness an Executive Function
David Edelman (NSI) The Octopus as a Possible Invertebrate Model for Consciousness Studies
DISCUSSION STARTED BY STEVAN HARNAD ON FACEBOOK :ReplyDelete
"No, admitting that we feel does not commit us to a homunculus. Redundance (feeling feelings, accessing feelings, believing feelings) does."
GUILLAUME LOIGNON :Delete
"As soon as we say that "feelings are felt", a kind of 3rd man argument problem arises, infinite regression and all. Who is feeling the feeling? Who feels that I feel the feeling, and so on."
MATIAS BALTAZAR :
"That is a very good point. But though feeling feelings is clearly redundant, accessing them or believing in them are different operations that deserves to be isolated to fully understand what it is to simply feel to my point of vue."
STEVAN HARNAD :
"Access can be felt or unfelt. You don't access feelings, you feel them. You may have "beliefs" about feelings (or about anything) but, again, those beliefs may be felt or unfelt."
GUILLAUME LOIGNON :
"Still, in that model the feeling needs to be felt, and I am still stuck with an infinite regression, homuncular or not."
MAXWELL RAMSTEAD :
"Maybe some phenomenology could be of use here. From a Husserlian point of view, there is no danger of infinite regress. Felt experience instead has two sides to it: an “ego-pole” and an “object-pole.” There is only the phenomenon of experience, and this experience has distinct features. The fact that experience seems to happen to a subject is merely a phenomenal aspect of experience. There is no homunculus, no subject “doing the feeling,” as it were; there is only a formal aspect of felt experience, a kind of “mineness,” that is, the aspect of a feeling that makes it seem as if it was happening “to me.” Mineness is simply a feature of experience, and I do not think it is necessary to reify this feature of feeling into a hypostasis like a homunculus."
FEELERS, FEELING FEELINGS...Delete
This is mostly verbal. "Feeling a feeling" is not redundant, any more than tasting a taste is redundant.
Salt tastes like something. It has a taste. To know what the taste is, you have to be tasting salt (or at least be feeling as if you're tasting something salty).
It's part of the nature of feeling (and we all know it) that there is something a feeling feels like. It's a feeling, and to know what it's like you have to be feeling it.
A more interesting question that whether "feeling a feeling" is redundant is whether feeling/feeler is redundant, or tautological.
I think Descartes over-reached with his Cogito ergo Sum: better rendered as "I am feeling, therefore I can be sure that I, the feeler, exist."
All I can be sure of when I am feeling something is that there's this feeling going on, now. Of course the feeling is being felt. But how much does that really entail, before we are lost in theory of "self," "I," etc. and far from the Cartesian certainty that feeling is going on when it's going on?
COMMENT POSTED ON FACEBOOK (June, 30th)ReplyDelete
"I noticed from today's and yesterday's lectures that it was especially difficult to mix the content of all the speeches because it seems to have huge divergences in the definition itself of consciousness as well as other terms that are related to consciousness such as awareness.
What is consciousness? wthat does it mean to be conscious? what is the difference betqeen consciousness and awareness? as long as the brain is able to store information by creating images (which seems to be the case for any living being with senses and a memory system), is the fact that the brain know what is going on necessary to create what we call consciousness, or does it need to reach a higher a level of awareness, mainly when an organism is aware of its own body and its environment?"
POSTED ON FACEBOOK BY STEVAN HARNAD (June, 30th) :ReplyDelete
"Notice that if they were asking "do animals feel" the answer would be obvious..."
PAULINE CLAUDE :Delete
"It seems obvious to me that the uniqueness of human species does not rely on our ability to "feel" (which I hardly believe most vertebrate have) but to our ability to translate these feelings into another layer of complexity by giving a meaning to those feelings by association learning, added to higher cognitive abilities, ability to multiply neuronal connection within the different part of the brain and the ability of language?
It seems obvious to me that animals can "feel"; after all they do have the same neuroanatomic structures. What differs is the size of each part of the brain (how much a part of the brain is used and developped in a species) and how they connect each others. If animals do have the same anatomic structures involved in feelings and emotions in humans, why would they not have feelings? but if feelings means being conscious, why would animals not be conscious?"
STEVAN HARNAD :
"It's obvious to me that animals feel, but not because of their neuroanatomy. (For most animals I have no idea of their neuroanatomy.)"
PAULINE CLAUDE :
"Is that obvious to you because it is an intuition or because you have evidences to rely on?
Because, I do have the conviction both based on my intuition and some people's theory of consciousness (especially Damasio's) that animals do feel, but neuroanatomy is just a piece of evidence that makes me believe that my intuition could be true."
STEVAN HARNAD :
"My main evidence that animals feel is based on what they do (Turing test...), not neuroanatomy."
PAULINE CLAUDE :
"Okay. But is comparative neuroanatomy irrelevant to try to explore the idea of consciousness?"
STEVAN HARNAD :
"No, of course comparative neuroanatomy is relevant for studying the brain correlates of both doing and feeling. It's just that with doing they will eventually give us a full causal explanation, but with feelings they will just give us predictors, not explanations, even when Dan Dennett's (and Shimon Edelman's) full heterophenomenology has been neurally mapped out: http://users.ecs.soton.ac.uk/harnad/TuringEvolutionConsciousness.htm#_edn18"
PAULINE CLAUDE :
"Anyway, scientific evidence can only give us predictors (more or less strong) but will never give us real explanations as it always have a piece of interpretation and subjectivity."
PASCAL RIENDEAU :
"As always, a lot of this rests on what theory of explanation we endorse. It's a philosophical problem that's hard to circumvent, and we certainly cannot assume all the presenters endorse (knowingly or not) the same."
Thought related to Mark Mitton's talk :ReplyDelete
Mark Mitton demonstrated us that the way we perceive the the world is far from being a true representation of the world in which we live in. Moreover, it seems to me that the only representation of the world we have has, at some point, to reach the level of consciousness. Is there any possibility that the fact we do not have a true representation of the world might be adaptive?
Visual illusions, both static and dynamic, may be side-effects of mechanisms for seeing the world veridically: special cases where they lead us astray.
Or (as Mark would probably suggest), they give us a few more degrees of freedom in how we can see the same things.
Originally posted on facebookReplyDelete
I feel a lot of people on this page (including me) do not get the doing/feeling distinction M. Harnad keeps refferring to. Could we have a clean definition/delimitation of these concepts, so that we can understand your interventions better and actually argue with you? =)
FREDERIC SIMARD :
I'm replying to the first comment, if everything that is neural activity is doing... What substrate remains to support feeling (or where is it)? (It's a slippy road, I know)
I think you get it Frederic. This "feeling" should be in our brain. But it seems like everything that comes from our brain (fear, fear of losing someone you love, loneliness, happiness, greediness, etc, etc) is subject to "feeling", it's a little circular. So where is it? What is it? And I really really want to know why it was necessery for us to have this consciousness. Finding this could help us know if animals do indeed "feel".
Originally posted on facebook :ReplyDelete
"This is for the person who did the comment on empathy and homeostasis in the discussion session. Here is not an answer but maybe some parts of an answer. I think what is much more relevant to this question than empathy is prosocial behaviors that may or may not be triggered by feeling empathy for someone. Most researchers agree that empathy is related to more prosocial behaviors. But we also know that when you do this behavior it’s not to alleviate a discomfort you are yourself feeling but is altruistic. So in a sense it seems indeed that you want to help the other person get better (if you think about pain) and so get back to the homeostasis. I don’t remember reading that prosocial behavior are more frequent with friends/family than with unknown people, but since we tend to empathise more with people we know and people who we can relate to, I guess it’s not a bad idea that the homeostasis of our group as well as ours is important."
THERMOSTATS AND FEELING THE HEATDelete
I don't understand what explanatory work the notion of "homeostasis" is doing in any of this?
Yes, organisms need to breathe, drink, eat, avoid predators, reproduce. So ensuring that these things keep happening can be renamed "homeostasis", but how is that explanatory. With thirst and drinking my body may be "defending" osmotic levels the same way a thermostat defends temperature, but what level of what is being "defended" when I avoid predators, or even seek and court a mate? (Yes, I can tell the just-so story too, that turns every mechanism into a servo-mechanism, but is that explanatory or tautological?)
And how and why would homeostasis, even if it nontrivially explained all our doings, explain feeling?