[FoRK] Why is there any experience of it, at all? (was: GEB, etc.)

Russell Turpin <deafbox at hotmail.com> on Tue Jul 10 09:16:26 PDT 2007

"Lion Kimbro" <lionkimbro at gmail.com>:
>Make no doubts that these are two completely different conceptual
>things:  We can easily conceive of awarenesses floating in ether,
>dreaming up stories, without any correlates at all.  (Regardless of whether 
>we believe in it or not.)  And we can easily conceive of neurons, doing 
>their thing, but without any actual inner experience of consciousness;  
>Merely rote calculation and transmission and chemical influence and so on.

"By consciousness, do you refer to the intuitive idea of
consciousness, which was envisioned as disembodied from any cognitive
substrate? Or by consciousness, do you refer to what we understand as
how that is accomplished? Which is it:  the idea, or the actuality?"

You'll recognize the question, of course. ;-)

In any case, I agree: it is conceivable that every human except me
lacks consciousness in the way that I have it. They are conscious
only in the way that philosophical zombies are conscious.

It also is conceivable that what I experience as consciousness is no
more than what every other philosophical zombie experiences, just by
virtue of having a functioning, physical brain. It might be that
everyone else has an "inner light" of a sort that I cannot even
imagine.

Both of those situations are conceivable.

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