knowledge: facts or relationships in a domain; belief: how correct is knowledge given its domain; attitude: is it morally good or bad.
What is? And
These are the two fundamental questions we can ask. The first one is answered by reality. The second by thinking agents. The first is the domain of science. The second the domain of philosophy.
The hard problem of consciousness is that we can only measure and observe the objective aspects of it. Only the conscious person can observe what it feels like to be that person.
One perspective that can give some insight on what generates consciousness, is by looking at learning systems. Systems that react to different situations and can adjust how they react after feedback. Brains are such a system. They learn to recognize the world and learn to predict it, including internal brain states. Learning better predictions or better choices, after negative or rewarding feedback.
To do so, a brain must be observing itself in two ways:
- It has to scan its own predictions and judge if there are any dangers, or ways to create a benefit;
- It has to match the current situation to past predictions and choices, to see if it needs to learn from what happened.
Our brains are self-observers, why would that not be consciousness? Enriched by all the human aspects, like episodic memory, identity, empathy and love.
Learning Creates Meaning
Moreover, learning creates subjectivity and meaning. By recognizing and adapting to situations, some situations become more meaningful than others.
For example, if a strain of bacteria undergoes a few mutations such that a new chemical can be a source of energy, that chemical has now become a food source. This might be the first time that the label “food” applies to this chemical, a new role for this chemical, a new meaning.
inside the skeptic mind— 🍀onnlucky🍀 (@onnlucky) December 28, 2017
• if our beliefs don't explain and predict effectively, we update them
• if the result of our choices are not what we want, we adjust
• never should what we want, inform how we interpret the world
• only actions influence the world, never our thoughts pic.twitter.com/XwCuFD4kkh
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