Re: Dreaming On

From: Rex Allen <>
Date: Fri, 31 Jul 2009 13:59:43 -0400

On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 4:34 PM, David Nyman<> wrote:
> So my point is simply: let's start from the understanding that to
> exist is just and only what it is to exist-for-oneself: the defining
> characteristic of existence is 'taking everything personally'. The
> standard put-down at this point is something like 'well how personally
> do you suppose an electron takes itself?' to which the riposte is
> simply 'precisely as personally as it needs to exist'.

So I'm willing to believe that there might be "something that it's
like" to be an electron, that electrons may in some way have some sort
of subjective experience.

BUT, as you say, that all happens in a different part of the forest.

I don't see that the electron's experiential aspect contributes in any
way to my experience of electrons. And, in a easier to visualize
vein, the same goes for chairs. Maybe there's something that it's
like to be a chair, but this is irrelevant to my conscious experience
of chairs. How could the chair's experience of its existence affect
my experience of the chair?

So in addition to conscious experience being uncaused, I take it to
also be acausal.

Conscious experience only does one thing: exist. Consciousness just
is. There's nothing else to it. No other purpose for it. No deeper
meaning in it. No additional role that it plays in some larger

I take it to be acausal even to the extent that my current subjective
experience is not caused by my previous experiences. Each moment of
consciousness stands alone, connected to it's predecessors and
successors only by the similarity of their content.

You can find all sorts of causal-structure models, in physics or in
COMP, that can be fit to the contents of your conscious experience,
but these are just descriptive, not proscriptive.

> As to 'first' causes, I think
> we've reached the end of the semantic road. If you want, you can can
> elect to be a mathematical Prospero and conjure us from the deep by
> tautological force majeure, or you can accept the mystery of our
> contingent 'necessity'. Take your pick.

It does seem likely to me that our conscious experience exists
necessarily. Though for it to be a mystery would imply a hidden,
unknown cause. But consciousness is uncaused, it just exists
(necessarily), so there can be no mystery.

BTW, the quality of your posts are very high, it surprises me that you
can write them so quickly. Well done!

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Received on Fri Jul 31 2009 - 13:59:43 PDT

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