Hello AF: Not sure what the problem is since I have acknowledged that consciousness is not unique to human or even primate brains. You are attacking a straw man/person if you think I am making an argument that bigger brains are better - what I did was point out that many people believe is that there is something special about dolphins because their brains are big
You mentioned brain size a few times in your previous post so I am glad we are clear that brain size is not necessarily part of the argument. Straw-man has been burnt to the ground, thank god.
(remember that this thread started with objections to dolphins in captivity) whereas I made a case that that in itself does not confer special consideration, and that animals with smaller brains can do the same things we consider clever about dolphins
I do remember and I'm sure we'll get to that eventually. As you know, I have much difficulty accepting this form of "edu-tainment".
And we can agree to disagree on the details of the Cambridge Declaration; however, I think that I can rightly object to people using the argument of authority (why should the signature of Stephen Hawking, a non- brain expert, be an argument for animal consciousness?
You sure can, especially if Stephen Hawking was the only scientist present and wasn't just an aside to the others who signed who are prominent international group of cognitive neuroscientists, neuropharmacologists, neurophysiologists, neauroanatomists, and computational neuroscientists. Hawking may have some other interest in the declaration .... which I have not looked into. But if we are lookng to authority, what's wrong with this group?
He may believe, and believe for scientific reasons (evolution alone would suggest it) that animals have consciousness, but the CD goes beyond that to include self-awareness, and if you have some understanding of the things like mirror recognition and other studies of self awareness, like the possession of theory of mind, you would not sign off on that as a universal aspect of animal consciousness.
Again, there were a host of reasons why this group made and signed the declaration. Recognizing oneself in a mirror was only a sentence compared to a much longer explanation. And i don't see why recognizing self in mirror should or should not be reason for self-awarness anyway.
We simply do not have enough or good enough evidence for such a generalization, not even at the single animal species level, like (Indian) elephants, or dolphins (usually, bottlenose). But that is not denying the possibility, and research continues.
Glad that research continues, but the research you are speaking of must be empirical .... materialistic, as is the tradition. There is actually no other way for a scientist to look at it, which doessn't mean they shouldn't look with the tools they have available to them. Personally, it is my opinion that the study of consciousness is beyond their scope as they have nothing but material to study and consciousness is ineffable and beyond the material. I would say that the material is contained within consciousness .... and not that consciousness is contained within the material.
As for your personal OBE, I will certainly listen to what you think you experienced;
Already there is biased ..... What I "think" I experienced.
however, whatever it is, it is not proof until data have been collected
I wasn't supine or near death or in a lab. There's limits to what data can be collected.
from a number of people (as has been done) to look for shared features that will help define what OBE 's characteristics are.
If they were done in a lab, that would change the nature of the experience.
And neuroscientists will try and relate these to the brain because all the evidence supports that personal perceptions originate there.
Yes, of course neuroscientists will try and relate these to the brain .... in some kind of material. What else can they deal with?
Which brings me back to a question of mine you have not answered: if consciousness, including the consciousness of OBEs, is not by and of the brain, then what?
Good question. Then what? Where does consciousness reside? Does it have a boundary? The brain is a boundary. It is material/substance that can be examined. It can be measured as any other object can be measured. Dolphins have brains which can be measured just as humans.
In OBE's, anecdotally, perception is outside of the brain/body. Can we only have perception through the eyes which are attached to the brain? When the brain is in the body and the eyes are connected to the brain, how is it possible to "see" outside of the brain/body? Are the eye and brain the only way of "seeing"?
I don't want to get into my own personal experiences with OBE's too much, especially since there are thousands of people who have had similar experiences, but I was not near death, sick, laying down, dreaming, sleeping, in a laboratory, or on drugs at the time. It was completely spontaneous and I hovered 30 feet in the air .... 'seeing" the pebbles and broken branches on roof tops while also "seeing" my body 30 feet below. My eyes were in my body and so was my brain, but "I" was out of my body and could still "see" even without my body/brain/eyes.
Consciousness should be a question which science investigates, but it can only ever be a materialistic study .... even of humans.