Here basically is where I am coming from.
Point 1. A concept needs a living brain to be made (let's forget artificial intelligence for the time being, which also needed a living brain to invent it). Once that living brain dies, all the concepts inside that brain die also.
Point 2. The concepts created by a brain are contained in that brain during the life of the conscious organism. They do not ever jump out to somewhere else in a "non-physical" plane, unless you are a mystic and postulate a spirit world or whatever.
Point 3. Concepts, like all organic entities, can grow. Thus they can die.
Point 4. Drugs like LSD, which alter the physical support of concepts (brain cells), also alter the concepts themselves so long as the drugs' effects last.
Point 5. Concepts are stored in a living brain and retrieved by it by volition.
Anyway, enough about concepts. The point is that concepts are dependent on a physical support (a living brain) to exist and can be altered and/or terminated by altering and/or killing that support. This points to a physical existence, even if science does not know precisely the form or measurability of such for now.
In Objectivist epistemology, a concept is a mental unit representing two or more extremely similar things (Ayn Rand calls them "units" and they are physical entities or mental units, which I hold are a special category of physical entities), with the particular measurements omitted (ITOE, p. 13).
I just skimmed over your link. (sigh) Will there ever be a link without 25 hours minimum of reading in it? Anyway, I found there a kindred sentiment that there is much science does not know yet - and that it is still discovering some pretty basic stuff. I agree heartily. Discovering the physical forms of consciousness is one of them.
About consciousness being measurable, you never heard of an IQ test? How about all those animal intelligence and awareness tests? Brain scans? I am not expert in this field, but these are definite measurements of attributes of consciousness.
All you ever measure are attributes anyway. Can you imagine measuring a tree, for instance, without specifying an attribute like height, thickness, age or whatever? Just measure "tree." The idea becomes comical.
But that's what some people try to impose on consciousness. You must measure the whole consciousness, not its attributes. No wonder it appears to be non-physical.
If there really does exist a "non-physical," i.e. "non-measurable" plane, I would say that whoever postulates this idea should at least come up with some way to become aware of it instead of arguing by metaphors, which is what I have seen mostly.
Edit - Ed, our posts crossed. Kant's "error" was that concepts are "things," but they do not exist in the phenomenal realm - they exist in the noumenal (non-knowable) realm. The present "error" I see is an inversion of this, that consciousness is part of some "non-physical" existence when everything about it depends on this very physical phenomenal realm - including its birth and death.
Second edit - Sarah, I just reread your post. You are spot on correct about one thing. Memory is the key word. Once the physical mechanisms of memory (including differentiation and integration) are more fully understood, volition will be next.
Third edit - Sarah, the primacy of consciousness idea does not apply. Existence exists irrespective of concepts, which are specific things inside a conscious brain with a conceptual faculty, not things the brain garners from external reality. They are used for identifying, grouping, measuring and evaluating that which exists without having to hold all that exists within a perceptual field.
(No more edits, caramba!)
(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 7/10, 7:14pm)
(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 7/10, 7:20pm)
(Edited by Michael Stuart Kelly on 7/10, 7:27pm)