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

Jeff Bone <jbone at> on Mon Jul 9 17:47:15 PDT 2007

On Jul 9, 2007, at 5:18 PM, Lion Kimbro wrote:

> 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
>  experience.

The hardest COMP hypothesis of all is, of course, that these are  
exactly the kind of question I brought up earlier:  "what color is  
Thursday?"  I.e., questions without answers, therefore not worth  
asking or worrying about too much.

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

Hello, Tipler... ;-)

>  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.

Yes, but the problem is he frames it in the rhetorical trappings of  
earlier philosophical (pre- or psuedo-scientific) exploration of  
consciousness;  while I won't at all deny that Chalmers is a Real  
Scientist (tm) and there's lots of juicy bits in the whole  
presentation, I find it hard to track his thought when he delves into  
conclusion.  It's a bit as if he's thinking of really hard problems  
in a very deep way, but trying to frame the answers in a deprecated  
mode of thought.  "Is there phlogiston?"  "What is the essential  
character of the Philosophick Mercury?"  It's as if he doesn't have  
the courage of his own convictions.

$0.02, YMMV.

>  You say tomatoe, I say tomato.

Indeed.  (Actually, backwards:  I say tomato, and insist that it is  
more "linguistically efficient.")

Yet though we talk about the same thing, you insist on differences  
that I say are not meaningful at 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.

No, it's a problem for you when you try to use terminology  
imprecisely, or even precisely but divergent to the understanding of  
those with whom you are conversing.  In the latter case, you need to  
have rigor;  and not just that, but rigor that grounds in  
terminological consensus.  Chalmers has the rigor, but not the  
terminological consensus, or the subsequent ontological consensus.

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

Oh, I have a much more compelling case for my own reality than I do  
yours! ;-)

But I don't actually *believe* that case, so I won't make it;  all  
random bitstrings have equivalent existential probability.

>  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 find it hilarious, really, that you think the points you are  
attempting to make have any similarity to the viewpoints of any of  
the people you mentioned.  How odd that you would, like me, assert  
that your own viewpoint has something in common with any of theirs  
--- when it apparently is, ultimately, in conflict.

>  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?

Absolutely, and what a shame for you.  It appears that you're  
ideologically doomed to an eternity of noise-generation about the  
topic. ;-)  Well, I suppose there has to be an underlying process for  
the subjective appearance of the second law of thermodynamics in my  
life, or the lives of those on this list... ;-) :-)


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