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

Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at> on Mon Jul 9 14:18:09 PDT 2007

On 7/9/07, Jeff Bone <jbone at> wrote:
> Yeah, yeah...  Chalmers will deny being a computationalist on some
> level, but if you read the actual arguments, he's toeing the line.

  I'm a computationalist as well;

  I believe that computational states are mental states.

  It still doesn't answer the hard problem of consciousness,
  and it still doesn't give us any real answers about why there's

  Like Alan Turing, I believe that when I die, the soul that I am
  may well reincarnate into a computer.

> 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.)

  Chalmers' approach is to pull out a list of all the possibilities,
  and then think about what we have to give and take should we
  accept any of them.

  He makes commitments to none of them, but he says he's
  partial to Class F monism, the idea that all computation,
  or classes of computation, automatically produce/co-exist with

  But it's *all* possibilities, and it doesn't make sense to make
  specific commitments.

  I see no fundamental difference between his positions and mine.

> 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.)

  Yes;  As I said before, he and I are in agreement.

> >  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.

  You say tomatoe, I say tomato.

  For half a decade, I used the word "awareness," because by
  "consciousness," I found people usually referred to brain states
  and chemistry, and I wanted to talk about *experience.*  But
  experience has two ends -- the experiencer, and the experienced.
  And I wanted to talk about the experiencer, by the word "I."

  Some people got really confused when I talked about "awarenesses,"
  (assuming that there is more than one awareness in the universe.)

  I read a paper that said, (basically,) "Can't we just get over it,
  and call it plain old "soul?"" and I said, "Well, I believe in plain
  talk, and it makes sense to me.  Fewer syllables, and all."

  So I just call it Soul, and if you think I mean "karma" or
  cosmic bank accounts or records of good and evil and so on,
  that'll just be your problem.  It ain't mine.

  But we can call it whatever you like, for the sake of a conversation
  here in Fork.

  I understand that the word "Soul" can't be admitted, because the
  color of the word doesn't go well with the anti-religious decorations
  present in the room here.

  It's more of a "Fashion Alert" than a "Red Alert."

> >  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. :-)

  Well, you can't talk about me, but it's entirely plausible
  that that's true for you.

  I realize that making that one, simple change--

    "Consciousness does not exists,"

  ...makes the equations of the universe completely total
  and self complete, in themselves.

  So, if the puzzle piece doesn't fit, just throw it out, right?

  Well, I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave.

  You go on ahead, and erase yourself out of your own picture.
  And when you get to erasing me out, just call me a "religious
  nut," or something, and "Death-fearing self-obsessed," or
  some other non-sense that passes for "reason" amongst the
  scholarly and scientific zombies.

  I won't have any of it, whether it ostracizes me from "polite society"
  or not.

  I guess you have to have a name like "Ray Kurzweil" or
  "Alan Turing" to hold this view and still be tolerated in polite
  circles, or arm yourself to the teeth, like David Chalmers.

> 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.

  No, the facts of the world make it utterly clear that we don't exist.

  I completely understand that.

  That just causes some fundamental problems for me.
  I'm happy for you, that you're able to just light up a cigarette,
  in the face of that.  Go with the flow, you know?

  Myself, no can do.

  I'll be in that other circle, of people who are trying to figure out
  what's going on here.

  You can hang out with the cool scientists.

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