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Is consciousness innate or a social product? Watch


    (Original post by demx9)
    Fundamentally I do agree they are useless as not verifiable. But calling my ideas stupid is funny on a philosophy forum where all the ideas could be consequently called stupid.
    They weren't useless because they weren't verifiable - plenty of things are useful simply because there is consensus over them. They were useless because they weren't meaningful.

    (Original post by demx9)
    Well philosophy is useless in the first place.. its all mental speculation without evidence, so I don't know what you're complaining about tbh.
    OH really, tell me all about your extensive knowledge of philosophy.

    If the quote refers to consciousness as "awareness", then as pointed above, I would strongly disagree this is a social construct. However I would prefer to look at the quote from a "nature versus nurture" perspective, in which Skinner is arguing for the extreme nurture side, by stating that our consciousness, in this case defined in terms of behaviour, language, and perhaps knowledge (shared knowledge) is a product of society and therefore of the way we were raised. Interpreted in this way it might not appear as outrageous of a statement as the first interpretation.

    Regarding the computer network example above, it is an interesting point to make, and it becomes very difficult to pin exactly what is meant by consciousness, I think we only really know that we are conscious, as pointed out by Descartes' "Cogito ergo sum" I think therefore I am, and by induction we assume that other people, given they act, speak and react similarly to us, must have a consciousness as well, however this assumption cannot be proven logically, it is taken upon faith and "common sense". It becomes even more interesting when we consider the computer system "consciousness" possibility, and more importantly the "Zombie" possibility, where people around us act, speak, and do the same actions as us, but do not in fact have a consciousness, it is impossible to distinguish from a "zombie" and a normal human being (this is a mental exercise, I am not realistically suggesting zombies). However zombies require the acceptance of something known as "Cartesian dualism", the belief that mind and body are separate things, it would be impossible to have a zombie with an identical body but a different mind, if the mind was present physically in the body, the difference would be observable.

    (I had a longer message, but for some reason TSR failed to send the ******* thing)

    He's making the same mistakes solipsists make when saying this; he claims that he knows the minds of others, when only the individual can really give an honest answer as to their condition. There's no necessary link between consciousness and language; although without expression you could claim we'd be without civilisation and subsequently little other than animals, that doesn't preclude the idea of conciousness in man.
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