The activity theory of consciousness

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The activity theory of consciousness

Prof. Vladimir Serkin, PhD, PhD |


Quote:Prof. Vladimir Serkin discusses a theory of consciousness whereby the latter is not regarded as merely a product of physiological function. His isn’t an idealist approach and, therefore, we at Essentia Foundation reserve judgment about it. However, the theory is undoubtedly scholarly and reveals the remarkably interesting directions in which Russian academia is pursuing an explanation for mind. They aren’t as held back by physicalist prejudices as similar efforts in the West, and thus deserve our careful attention.



Quote:By now, millions of facts have been accumulated related to transpersonal, religious, and psycho-technical experiences, unexpected knowledge of ancient languages by people who did not study them, accurate predictions of the future, ‘out of body’ and mental travel, telepathy, telekinesis, etc. Many of them have been objectively recorded in concordance with strict positivist requirements and supported by the testimonies of reputable scientists, such as V.P. Zinchenko, I.M. Kagan, A.N. Leontiev, B.F. Lomov, A.R. Luria, V.D. Nebylitsyn, B.V. Rauschenbach, M.G. Yaroshevsky and others [30, 11]. Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of well-recognized theories of consciousness [1, 2, 4, 6, 16, 5, 27] do not explain the accumulated empirical evidence. For example, take people in the state of clinical death, when all the physiological and related neurocognitive processes are completely absent: while in the ‘out-of-body’ state, they are able to observe what is happening and, after regaining consciousness, not only report the general line of events, but also provide their detailed and specific description [15]. Of course, we can continue to ignore numerous psychic phenomena, unexplained by existing theories, but this will not make them disappear; instead, it may result in psychology losing its scientific credibility.



Quote:In the methodology of science, the principle of observer-independent results has long been considered untenable. However, many psychology researchers still try to adhere to this ideal in their scientific models and theories. But when constructing theories of consciousness, filtering out the researcher engaged in the process of cognition leads to complete absurdity. For this is an attempt to build theories or models of consciousness that are independent of the researcher, who is part of the very process of consciousness. And it is precisely such absurd theories that are generally recognized nowadays.



Quote:In this article, I propose nine theses for a theory of consciousness that fits within the developmental trends of Russian psychology. The theory also attempts to provide a natural-scientific explanation of the generally accepted phenomenology of consciousness and many transpersonal phenomena. The first thesis proposes a new conceptualization of reality, i.e., it provides a philosophical and ideological framework for an activity-based theory of consciousness. The other eight theses are the content of the theory itself.
 
Thesis 1. The mental and the physical are different attributes of activity, which is the basic processrelated substance....
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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Hey Sci,

For some reason, I struggled to concentrate on this article. Perhaps it's not so much for me. In any case, here are some thoughts and questions:

I think I grok the idea that there is some fundamental substance of which "[t]he mental and the physical are different attributes", but I don't grok how this could be "activity". In my eyes, activity isn't a "substance"; it is that in which a substance partakes. Perhaps this is simply a semantic confusion over definitions.

I also think I grok how this applies to conscious entities such as humans, but the article was very silent on how this applies to the world of objects "out there". Are those external objects, too, comprised of "the basic process–related substance", and do they, too, then, possess a mental attribute as well as a physical one? If so, how is this approach different to some sort of panpsychism or idealism other than for the emphasis on "activity" (versus, say, as @Typoz wrote about very recently, "being" itself)?
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(2021-07-24, 08:06 AM)Laird Wrote: Hey Sci,

For some reason, I struggled to concentrate on this article. Perhaps it's not so much for me. In any case, here are some thoughts and questions:

I think I grok the idea that there is some fundamental substance of which "[t]he mental and the physical are different attributes", but I don't grok how this could be "activity". In my eyes, activity isn't a "substance"; it is that in which a substance partakes. Perhaps this is simply a semantic confusion over definitions.

I also think I grok how this applies to conscious entities such as humans, but the article was very silent on how this applies to the world of objects "out there". Are those external objects, too, comprised of "the basic process–related substance", and do they, too, then, possess a mental attribute as well as a physical one? If so, how is this approach different to some sort of panpsychism or idealism other than for the emphasis on "activity" (versus, say, as @Typoz wrote about very recently, "being" itself)?

Ah I just post the articles that I think are interesting, I can't claim to have a deeper insight. But I think this idea of activity-as-substance is akin to the idea of relations rather than relata being the Ground of Reality.

It might also be similar to Whitehead's ideas about the Ground being formed by Occasions which were temporary (save God) events that had experiential outward & inner mental contents.

I'll see what else this guy has written, Bernardo helps run the Essentia Foundation so he might know - if I can get a hold of him I'll ask.

edit: This might be one of the few things written in English actually...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


(This post was last modified: 2021-07-28, 03:27 AM by Sciborg_S_Patel.)
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I recently saw this article on Fractons, which apparently are theorized semi-particles that come up in mathematical speculation. Apparently they are, "Theorists are in a frenzy over “fractons,” bizarre, but potentially useful, hypothetical particles that can only move in combination with one another."

This idea of movement rules inherent to the existence of these particles got me thinking again of "activity" as substance. There's also varied holistic ideas (like Wilbur's Holons) where the Whole can also determine the parts.

Beyond that, even this idea of Fractons and Holons depends on reifying a collection of observations into/onto a "thing in itself". For example an electron is a collection of observations/relations.

Yet if we just largely stick with observations and rules we could arguably reify them as something more like a "force" than a "thing", and the existence of a force is tied into its activity...or at least I'd posit this is an arguable/defensible position.

Might try emailing the author and see if I'm close to the mark here or just shooting in the dark...
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


[-] The following 2 users Like Sciborg_S_Patel's post:
  • stephenw, Typoz

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