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Wandering Towards a Goal
How can mindless mathematical laws give rise to aims and intention?
December 2, 2016 to March 3, 2017
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Trick or Truth: The Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics
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How Should Humanity Steer the Future?
January 9, 2014 - August 31, 2014
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It From Bit or Bit From It
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Questioning the Foundations
Which of Our Basic Physical Assumptions Are Wrong?
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Is Reality Digital or Analog?
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A bench-top experiment could test the notion that gravity breaks delicate quantum superpositions.

March 17, 2018

CATEGORY: Wandering Towards a Goal Essay Contest (2016-2017) [back]
TOPIC: The Mystery of Consciousness and Self by Janice F. Murin [refresh]
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Author Janice F. Murin wrote on Feb. 27, 2017 @ 17:36 GMT
Essay Abstract

. If consciousness exists, what is it? How is it to be explained and understood? On the face of it, there could be no greater mystery than that brains should somehow produce, or be, our states of awareness, our thoughts, feelings, perceptions and desires. What is so baffling and mysterious about consciousness is that each one of us knows it exists, and knows what it is, because we possess it, indeed we are it, in a certain sense; and yet, if we examine a conscious brain, we find such things as neurons and synaptic junctions, but nothing remotely like consciousness as we experience it. Consciousness is wholly apparent to the owner of the conscious brain, but bafflingly invisible and ineffable to everyone else. How is this familiar and utterly inexplicable stuff of consciousness to be explained and understood?

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Philosophy Student

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Joseph Murphy Brisendine wrote on Feb. 27, 2017 @ 20:00 GMT
Ms. Murin,

I enjoyed reading your essay and thought you did a nice job of summarizing much of the modern philosophical discourse on subjectivity in a clear manner, and I especially appreciate that you considered Husserl's point of view. What I'm missing in your essay, from the perspective of this perticular competition, is the connection to mathematics. You mention other problems in quantum foundations and quantum grvaity but I'm not sure what your thesis was in regard to how these issues relate to consciousness, if at all. My absolute favorite Husserl text is the "Origins of geometry", and if you haven't had the pleasure I would highly recommend it. I think it would help you tie together the "phenomenological reduction" of selfhood and the consistency of natural patterns, the intuition of which Husserl believed was the basis for our concept(s) of space.

If you have time, I think you may enjoy my own entry in the competition, becuase I have touched on similar philosophical issues but taken a slightly different stance on the "mystery" of selfhood. I would be interested in your opinion as a philosopher.

Once again, well done presentation of many different perspectives in the history of philosophy!



(Joseph Murphy Brisendine, essay title "A Sign without Meaning")

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Andrew R. Scott wrote on Feb. 27, 2017 @ 23:39 GMT
You say: "According to Quantum Theory, atomic and subatomic events are intimately connected to the presence of a consciousness which observes them. In the absence of such a consciousness the event does not occur"

This is a very common misunderstanding, or at best a huge overstatement of one very speculative viewpoint, for which there is no convincing evidence. It comes from a very loose use of "observation", when "interaction" would probably be much more appropriate. The insistence on the need for a conscious observer, whatever that means, is part of wacky "pop" physics, not real physics.

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Don Limuti replied on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 04:11 GMT
Hi Andrew,

Your very common misunderstanding is still being taught in universities!

Don Limuti

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sridattadev kancharla wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 13:42 GMT
Dear Janice,

I really enjoyed your splendid essay and please accept congratulations from the heart of a fellow philosopher. I totally concur with your points on singularity of universal consciousness and welcome you to read the essay There are no goals as such it's all play. Also please see the attached document, zero = i = infinity, with all the diagrams and links that i have made on the journey of self realization. Science is a subset of spirituality and it has to catch up to integrating consciousness to fully understand the reality of existence. I wish you all the best and hope that you will cherish the diagrams and share them with all our fellow philosophers.



attachments: zero__i__infinity.docx

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Wilhelmus de Wilde wrote on Feb. 28, 2017 @ 14:59 GMT
Dear Janice,

You are clearly starting from the base of philosophy in trying to understand consciousness.

And always remain (like everybody) with a pile of unanswered questions.

I tried to give some answers in my essay : "The Purpose of Life".

I wonder what your opinion is and hope to reveive a comment and maybe a rating.

best regards


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Joe Fisher wrote on Mar. 2, 2017 @ 17:16 GMT
Dear Janice F. Murin,

Please excuse me for I have no intention of disparaging in any way any part of your essay.

I merely wish to point out that “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) Physicist & Nobel Laureate.

Only nature could produce a reality so simple, a single cell amoeba could deal with it.

The real Universe must consist only of one unified visible infinite physical surface occurring in one infinite dimension, that am always illuminated by infinite non-surface light.

A more detailed explanation of natural reality can be found in my essay, SCORE ONE FOR SIMPLICITY. I do hope that you will read my essay and perhaps comment on its merit.

Joe Fisher, Realist

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Satyavarapu Naga Parameswara Gupta wrote on Mar. 3, 2017 @ 05:54 GMT
Dear Murin,

Thank you for the nice essay on “consciousness and understanding ... "

Your observations are excellent, “If consciousness exists, what is it? How is it to be explained and understood ................. I feel understanding itself is related to consciousness... ”

Probably Universe itself had some consciousness………………… …..For Example …in my...

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Don Limuti wrote on Mar. 6, 2017 @ 04:31 GMT
Hi Janice,

I enjoyed reading your essay. A refreshing informative read that did not require ingesting controlled substances to be understood.

Don Limuti

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