ummm...Current wrote:Just to clarify something, do you accept the following?
A mental process can take place without anyone being conscious of it (consciousness of X happening is distinct from X happening)
Consciousness of consciousness is indistinguishable from consciousness itself. (consciousness is an exception to the rule above)
Can't really make an argument unless I'm sure I get you.
Yeah. Unconscious/subconscious thoughts can occur automatically without our conscious awareness. (like how our brain regulates heartbeat and recognises the individual letters in a sentence and so on). And yes, I would equate consciousness to a consciousness of consciousness. (which is probably a circular premise but it backs up my disregard for animal sentience )
Definitely. When a chimp looks in the mirror and is able to recognise itself and play around in front of it I'm pretty convinced that he or she is both self-aware and sentient. When pidgeons and pigs just find food or follow their training based on reflected images I'm not as impressed. But then, could a chimp's behaviour be automatic as well? I don't think so but I'm not sure why. How is automatically recognising one's physical position in relation to food any different from recognising oneself in a mirror? This actually seems like a pretty big hole in my argument unless you assume that there is no proof of the chimp's self-awareness. I'm going to think about this though because I'm still convinced of that self-awareness.Current wrote:I meant the classic version of using the mirror to recognise oneself, not using it as a tool. I.e. if we can tell an animal recognises itself, then we know it has self-awareness. Which is just kicking the problem back another step, but I don't know of any better tool, and a perfect one likely won't exist until we understand the neurological basis of consciousness.
It could actually turn out that there is no physical basis for selfawareness or consciousness. Our own consciousness could be illusory since we perceive, quite intimately, the desires, perceptions and thoughts of our minds but cannot be sure that they are generated from ourselves. We are able to think but perhaps, like Hume established back in the day, it is all an automatic process and our notion of the 'self' is an illusion. But that removes the issue of whether animals are sentient because even sentience and self-awareness are automatic functions. And now it's even more complicated. Oh dear.
Nevertheless, it can't really be proven without doubt that any creature external to the mind is acting automatically or consciously. I suggest we call it a draw until some time in the future when neurologists might find a physical basis for consciousness. Maybe.