Book recommendation Re: [FoRK] Re: anybody remember...

Jeff Bone <jbone at> on Mon Jul 9 10:24:52 PDT 2007

On Jul 9, 2007, at 10:56 AM, Lion Kimbro wrote:

> On 7/8/07, Jeff Bone <jbone at> wrote:
>> Have to agree with the real philosophers.  This reflects an
>> inconsistent position.
>  No it is not inconsistent, and I have real philosopher cred
>  backing my position:
>    David Chalmers.

I can't possibly imagine how you've come to believe that David  
Chalmers in any way validates your (apparent) position that there's  
something ineffable about consciousness.  Indeed, Chalmers ultimately  
comes down on the side of the strong computationalists.

You say:

>  They *don't.*  There's no real way (save by using whatever "soul- 
> detecting"
>  technology invented in the third step) to know whether there is such
> a thing or not.

So your problem is with the formulation of the gedankenexperiments?

> Even "soul-detecting" technology is impossible;  Such a device could
>  only be built with ontological assumptions built in.

The problem here (and onward in your argument) is that you're  
proceeding to argue from a set of ontological assumptions yourself;   
you just aren't being explicit about what those are.  Those  
acquainted with the general arguments of e.g. the Everything list and  
the philosophers working in this area --- which, admittedly, the poll  
doesn't really go into --- are quite detailed about the ontological  
specifics.  In particular, the concept of the observer moment is key  
to the understanding of what they mean by conciousness.  As for  
"soul" --- it's the straw pony in this whole thing.  You're indeed  
supposed to bring your own ontological assumptions, there.  The point  
of the whole (set of) experimental decisions is to point out that you  
cannot consistently believe in strong computationalism while  
maintaining a belief in a non-material component to identity.   
Indeed, you can't even consistently maintain a belief that mind is  
duplicable while still thinking there's any "reality" to the notion  
that anything other than the state vector connects one observer  
moment to the "next."

You're welcome, of course, to continue thinking -- as you assert --  
"that we can never know the answers to those questions, no matter how  
far science and technology advance."  I'm quite comfortable not  
knowing the answers to those and many other qualitatively similar  
questions, like "what color is Thursday?" and "how porous is love?"

I would however encourage you to read a bit more on the matter...   
starting, perhaps, with a more careful review of Chalmers.




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