Re: What do you lose if you simply accept...

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Fri, 20 May 2005 12:37:45 +0200

Le 20-mai-05, à 02:59, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :

> OK then, we agree! It's just that what I (and many others) refer to as
> qualia, you refer to as the difference between a description of a
> thing and being the thing. I hate the word "dualism" as much as you do
> (because of the implication that we may end up philosophically in the
> 16th century if we yield to it), but haven't you just defined a very
> fundamental kind of dualism, in aknowledging this difference between a
> thing and its description? It seems to me, in retrospect, that our
> whole argument has been one over semantics. Dennett (whom I greatly
> respect) goes to great lengths to avoid having impure thoughts about
> something being beyond empirical science or logic. David Chalmers
> ("The Conscious Mind", 1996) accepts that it is actually simpler to
> admit that consciousness is just an irreducible part of physical
> existence. We accept that quarks, or bitstrings, or whatever are
> irreducible, so why is it any different to accept consciousness or
> what-it-is-like-to-be-something-as-distinct-from-a-description-of-
> something (which is more of a mouthful) on the same basis?

Yes but then why not take everything for granted. I do think Chalmers
just abandons rationalism, unlike Dennett in Brainstorms (but then a
little bit too in "Consciousness explained" ... explained away as he
realises himself at the end of the book (at last).

Frankly Stathis, is that is your last move, I prefer the short answer
by Norman Samish's wife: "because".



> --Stathis Papaioannou
>> > [quoting Stathis]
>> > > >My curiosity could only be satisfied if I were in fact the
>> > duplicated
>> > > >system myself; perhaps this could be achieved if I "became
>> > one" with
>> > > >the new system by direct neural interface. I don't have to
>> > go to such
>> > > >lengths to learn about the new system's mass, volume,
>> > behaviour, or
>> > > >any other property, and in *this* consists the essential
>> > difference
>> > > >between 1st person and 3rd person experience. You can
>> > minimise it and
>> > > >say it doesn't really make much practical difference, but I don't
>> > > >think you can deny it.
>> > >
>> > >I can deny that there is anything special about it, beyond the
>> > >difference between A): *a description of an apple*; and B):
>> > *an apple*.
>> > >I don't think anyone would deny that there is a difference between
>> A
>> > >and B (even with comp there is still a difference); but this
>> > "essential
>> > >difference" does not seem to have anything in particular to do with
>> > >qualia or experience.
>> > >
>> > >Jonathan Colvin
>> >
>> > Stathis: Can the description of the apple, or bat, or whatever
>> > meaningfully include what it is like to be that thing?
>> My argument (which is Dennet's argument) is that "what it is like to
>> be that
>> thing" is identical to "being that thing". As Bruno points out, in 3rd
>> person level (ie. the level where I am describing or simulating an
>> apple), a
>> description can not "be" a thing; but on the 1st person level (where a
>> description *is* the thing, from the point of view of the thing,
>> inside the
>> simulation, as it were), then the description does "include" what it
>> is like
>> to be that thing. But "include" is not the correct word to use, since
>> it
>> subtly assumes a dualism (that the qualia exist somehow separate from
>> the
>> mere description of the thing); the description *just is* the thing.
>> Jonathan
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Received on Fri May 20 2005 - 06:40:56 PDT

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