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Thread: The Unconscious Self

  1. #1
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    The Unconscious Self

    Dennett's compatabilism which limits free will to his description of 'wiggle room' has a basis in the behavioral science and the physiology of the brain in what is called the Unconscious Self. The subject o this thread is to dialogue concerning the evidence for this Unconscious Self that dominates our will and limits the degree of free will that Dennett proposes in his theory of compatabalism.

    Source: https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/unconscious



    Understanding the Unconscious

    The unconscious is where most of the work of the mind gets done; it's the repository of automatic skills, the source of intuition and dreams, and an engine of information processing. Fleeting perceptions may register in the unconscious mind long before are aware of them.

    The unconscious mind is not some black hole of unacceptable impulses waiting to trip you up, but it can be the source of hidden beliefs, fears, and attitudes that interfere with everyday life. Most forms of psychotherapy aim to bring into conscious awareness many of these hidden hindrances, so that we can examine them and choose how to deal with them.

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    It has been demonstrated that physical wounds, tumors, disease, and other physical changes in the brain can radically influence and actually change behavior, personality, and our decision making process.

    I also propose that our unconscious self changes with normal maturing and aging. We have different Unconscious Selves as children, changes through puberty, adulthood and as we age in our elder years.

    There are indeed differing views that consider the degree of control or influence of the Unconscious Self. Some propose more of a partnership with the Conscious Self ( David B. Feldman Ph.D), and others propose that the Unconscious Self dominates (Dennett, David Eagleman PhD).
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 11-11-2017 at 01:35 AM.
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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    I am looking for input from the philosophical and scientific perspective concerning the nature of the Unconscious Self and human cognition and will.

    I will give more references in the future, but at present I would like to comment on the differences between Eagleman and Dennett.

    Eagleman is primarily a scientist, and depends heavily on scientific evidence for determinism. He does not address the 'potential o free will in most of his writings.

    Dennett on the other hand is primarily a philosopher who refers to science extensively, particularly evolution and behavioral science to justify his view of compatabilism. He addresses the 'potential of free will' more than Eagleman.

    The following cite discusses some of the differences between Eagleman and Dennett.

    https://partiallyexaminedlife.com/20...-neuroscience/

    It is interesting that philosophers lean more toward variations of free will, and scientists lean toward determinism. This parallels the comments on their websites and websites that cite their work. Comments criticized scientists for not considering philosophy, and some criticized some philosophers for not taking into consideration the science.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 11-11-2017 at 01:08 PM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    tWebber 37818's Avatar
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    There is a National Geographic article where they measured response times between the conscious and unconscious mind.
    http://phenomena.nationalgeographic....our-decisions/
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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 37818 View Post
    There is a National Geographic article where they measured response times between the conscious and unconscious mind.
    http://phenomena.nationalgeographic....our-decisions/
    Thank you for the reference. It is worth a read. It describes some of the evidence of the influence the Unconscious Self has over the decision making process of the Conscious Self.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    Libet has similar view as Dennett based on the scientific research"

    Source: http://phenomena.nationalgeographic.com/2008/04/13/unconscious-brain-activity-shapes-our-decisions/


    Chain of events

    The involvement of the frontopolar cortex isn’t surprising. It fulfils the role of an executive manager and is involved in retrieving memories and controlling other high-level parts in the brain. Soon thinks that it is the source of the decision itself, with the precuneus simply storing the decision until it reaches a conscious level. When he changed his experiment so that volunteers were shown a cue to tell them when to make their choice, the frontopolar cortex still showed predictive activity before the signal, but the precuneus only did so in the time between signal and action.

    Soon found, as Libet did, that the SMA was also active before the volunteers became conscious about their intentions. But he also showed that its pattern of activity can predict when the final decision is made. Again, this information is available at an unconscious level about 5 seconds before the volunteers actually move. The frontopolar and parietal cortex aren’t involved in timing until the few milliseconds before the movement, so it seems that the two parts of the brain have different and complementary duties. One shapes the outcome of a choice and the other affects its timing.

    Soon tentatively suggests that the sparks of a decision begin in the frontopolar cortex. From there, the decision is ‘prepared’ by the buildup of activity in the precuneus and later, the SMA. It is held there for a short while before we become consciously aware of it and act. This unconscious part of the decision-making process may be for our own good. At least one experiment showed that people with damage to the relevant parts of the brain don’t show any signs of unconscious preparation and make poorer decisions in a gambling experiment.

    Studies like these have important philosophical implications. If our brains unconsciously make our decisions for us, is there any room for free will? Libet himself thinks so, but only in a restricted way. He asserts that for all the brain’s unconscious preparation, people can still consciously decide to stop performing an action in the final milliseconds before thought becomes deed. In this view, it’s more a case of “free won’t” than free will.

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    I propose that most humans in history live largely passive deterministic lives, but there is the 'potential free will' as described by Libet, and to a lesser extent by Dennett.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 11-17-2017 at 01:30 AM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

  6. #6
    tWebber shunyadragon's Avatar
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    I stated the following in a previous post. The question is can our unconscious mind be altered to treat phobias and other mental problems that we do not have 'free will' to change?

    "It has been demonstrated that physical wounds, tumors, disease, and other physical changes in the brain can radically influence and actually change behavior, personality, and our decision making process.

    I also propose that our unconscious self changes with normal maturing and aging. We have different Unconscious Selves as children, changes through puberty, adulthood and as we age in our elder years."

    In the past treatment of phobias was exposure an hypnosis, which have been notorious as failures. Recently successful research has treated phobias like arachnophobia with propranolol.

    Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/opinion/sunday/a-drug-to-cure-fear.html


    New research suggests that it may be possible not just to change certain types of emotional memories, but even to erase them. We’ve learned that memories are uniquely vulnerable to alteration at two points: when we first lay them down, and later, when we retrieve them.

    Merel Kindt, a professor of psychology at the University of Amsterdam, and her colleagues have seemingly erased the emotional fear response in healthy people with arachnophobia. For a study published last month in the journal Biological Psychiatry, she compared three groups made up of 45 subjects in total. One group was exposed to a tarantula in a glass jar for two minutes, and then given a beta-blocker called propranolol that is commonly prescribed to patients for performance anxiety; one was exposed to the tarantula and given a placebo; and one was just given propranolol without being shown the spider, to rule out the possibility that propranolol by itself could decrease spider fear.

    Dr. Kindt assessed the subjects’ anxiety when they were shown the spider the first time, then again three months later, and finally after a year. What she found was remarkable. Those who got the propranolol alone and those who got the placebo had no improvement in their anxiety. But the arachnophobes who were exposed to the spider and given the drug were able to touch the tarantula within days and, by three months, many felt comfortable holding the spider with their bare hands. Their fear did not return even at the end of one year.

    How does this work? Well, propranolol blocks the effects of norepinephrine in the brain. This chemical, which is similar to adrenaline, enhances learning, so blocking it disrupts the way a memory is put back in storage after it is retrieved — a process called reconsolidation.

    © Copyright Original Source



    The consequences of drug treatments that can alter our unconscious mind, which we do not have 'free will' to change has immense future consequences. We cannot willfully change the unconscious mind, but it has been demonstrated in this tratment that memories of the unconscious mind can be blocked or altered by drug treatment.
    Last edited by shunyadragon; 12-08-2017 at 12:06 AM.
    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep.
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;
    But will they come when you do call for them? Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 1, Act III:

    go with the flow the river knows . . .

    Frank

    I do not know, therefore everything is in pencil.

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