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

Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> on Mon Jul 9 13:50:25 PDT 2007

On Jul 9, 2007, at 1:52 PM, Lion Kimbro wrote:

> On 7/9/07, Jeff Bone <jbone at place.org> wrote:
>> 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.
>
>  I've more than carefully reviewed Chalmers;
>  I've exchanged a few emails with him.
>
>  I've been reading Chalmers since, what, 1996?
>  I'm quite familiar with his classes of dualism and his
>  type F monism.  I had come to them independently,
>  but just had different names for them.  (For example,
>  class D dualism, I called "the magical universe hypothesis,"
>  and I called class E dualism "ephiphenominalism."
>  F monism is usually a pan-psychism, but there are other
>  models that can fit it as well.

Yeah, yeah...  Chalmers will deny being a computationalist on some  
level, but if you read the actual arguments, he's toeing the line.   
He's just generating a lot of obscurantist flak with all his  
classifications.  (BTW, this topic is treated in the book I mention  
-- the author has directly engaged Chalmers on the question.  AFAICT,  
the various dualisms Chalmers mentioned are a menu of possibilities  
rather than a theory.)  On the specifics of consciousness his  
position is anti-Penrose (no quantum wave collapsing micro-tubule  
hocus pocus), anti-Putnam (computation can indeed provide a  
meaningful basis for mind), and anti-Searle (the Chinese Room can ---  
perhaps --- think.)

>  I think David Chalmers supports my position that
>  consciousness, or "soul" as it's conventionally called, is:

Red alert:  consciousness and "soul" are (potentially, and probably  
for any meaningful understanding) fundamentally different concepts.

>  A) not explained
>  B) not understood
>  C) we have a hard time even coming to understand how
>    we could even approach it
>  D) it's arguably not even possible
>  E) sure seems pretty mysterious right now

A-E are also all true if --- here's the simplest hypothesis of all  
--- it simply doesn't exist. :-)

I.e., you can be consistent w/ Chalmers and still be objectively  
inconsistent if you believe that there is inherent inconsistency  
between his analysis and his conclusions.  Despite an apparent  
rejection, the substance of many of his argument indeed is supportive  
of computationalism.  He --- like many others --- just hasn't  
apparently been willing to take the final leap and admit to where all  
of it ultimately and inevitably leads.

jb

>
>
>  I'm more certain of my consciousness than anything else,
>  which the mere experience of which is entirely contingent
>  on my being conscious.  So if you want to say, "These are
>  ridiculous questions," go right ahead.  And what do I know,
>  maybe you're not conscious.  I have no way of telling.
>  Maybe they are ridiculous questions for you.
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