deschainXIX wrote:Everyone seems to have their own subjective definition of consciousness. I was very disappointed by my psychology textbook's explanation: "the state of being aware." This and nothing more. No expounding of any kind. With as soft a science as psychology is already, they still have so little to say on the subject. "Consciousness" is only a small sliver of the course material.
You will like the book then because it mentions many others who are focused on the subject and take it seriously - as they should!
deschainXIX wrote:Even if we could eventually discover the explanation, could our minds, at their current natural state, comprehend it?
Others pose the same question and the book certainly has something to say about this. You might find that the book will mention things that you already know but it will definitely expand your mind in other areas. Dualism is dead but there seems to be a popular Cartesian materialism that still lingers out there there and tends to be quite popular. There is no Cartesian Theatre in the brain. It seems that there is but this way of looking at the problem will get you nowhere and such notion is false.
deschainXIX wrote:I am, however, partial to the idea that the universe vomited up this idea of consciousness as a way of affirming its own existence--to sort of have a way to view and observe itself. Though this idea is still extremely unsatisfactory, in my opinion. It doesn't really answer anything, at least not for me. I still adhere to the idea that perhaps consciousness is not so spectacular and remarkable a thing that we even need a reason to explain its existence.
There is no purpose behind consciousness. For the universe to formulate consciousness for a specific goal, it would need to be aware of such a goal, to have that goal in mind...
We know that things do not work like that. We know evolution certainly doesn't. It is almost like saying that we were born because we needed to affirm our existence. We did not pick life and neither did the universe as a conscious agent. Life arose by chance because the universe stumbled upon the right conditions in this particular spot in the Milky Way. One can say that consciousness is an amazing illusion which deeply befuddles beings such as ourselves - mammals that thirst for knowledge and explanations. Some would argue that we shouldn't find it surprising that we developed consciousness in our evolution. It was bound to happen given language, self-awareness, instincts, propensities, intentionalities, higher-order intentionalities and so forth... We are biological robots that have been perennially upgraded by natural selection since time immemorial.
deschainXIX wrote:I haven't seen "Bicentennial Man," but I love all movies that ponder artificial intelligence. There's a film coming out soon called "Chappie" by Neil Blomkamp, my favorite science fiction filmmaker. I get the impression it will be a more speculative, contemplative movie about artificial intelligence and the melding of androids with the rest of humanity--far more tame and mature compared to Blomkamp's other films, which were mostly filled with the most entertaining sci-fi action I've ever seen with less-than-subtle social allegory as a backdrop. The two movies sound similar.
Watch Bicentennial. It is deep. And I'll watch "Chappie." I also liked Steven Spielberg's AI. I love films that contemplate the nature of consciousness, too.