Re: Bruno's argument

From: Bruno Marchal <>
Date: Thu, 20 Jul 2006 16:07:17 +0200

Le 20-juil.-06, à 12:16, Stathis Papaioannou a écrit :

>> I met David Chalmers in Brussels in 2000 (at the Brussels ASSC
>> meeting). He *is* indeed quite coherent, in the sense that he
>> considers
>> that in the self-duplication Washington/Moscow experiment the first
>> person must feel to be at the two places simultaneously.
> I'm surprised at this, and I don't see how it fits with the rest of
> his theory of consciousness.

It fit nicely I think. Chalmers, as you explained, is aware of the
problematic character of the mind/body relation. Now, he wants to be as
close as possible to comp, because he knows about the brain's
digitalisable functionnality, and at the same time he wants to keep a
Naturalistic World, so he need a form of dualism. That he stops already
at the step three of UDA is just wise in that setting. I guess he knows
it could be hard to stop after that. Now, at that meeting, he did
*leave* my UDA presentation at step three, telling me that weird thing
(that he can be from a first person point of view simultaneously in W
and M) and I did not meet him again, so I cannot say much more about
Still, after that meeting I begun to understand why he need not only a
dualism for the mind/body, but also a dualism for his own
interpretation of Everett. That is why I think he remains coherent with
respect to the proposition I was, and still am, trying to convey.

> The cited article a rather emotional criticism of Chalmer's ideas.

Ah? OK, surely you know a better resume?

> What it seems to amount to is this. Suppose someone figures out the
> Mystery of Consciousness, much simpler than we all suspected, as
> follows: whenever a switch goes through a particular sequence
> 101011010010011, then that is necessary and sufficient to produce a
> conscious experience. The anti-chalmerites will rejoice and say that's
> it, philosophers of mind can all pack up their bags and go home, we
> now know everything there is to know about consciousness.
> The chalmerites, on the other hand, will say, that's very interesting,
> but we still haven't the slightest idea what it is like to experience
> that switching sequence unless we, well, actually experience that
> switching sequence. Working out that the sequence creates a conscious
> experience is the "easy" problem, explaining why it creates a
> conscious experience at all, or why a particular conscious experience,
> is the "hard" problem. Both groups agree on the facts, but the
> chalmerites think it's pretty amazing that a conscious experience is
> produced, while the anti-chalmerites think it's no big deal, in fact
> not even worthy of the name "problem", let alone "hard problem". I
> don't see that there is a dispute here at all regarding empirical or
> logical facts. The dispute seems to be over an attitude to the facts.

Surely there is much more to Chalmers than this. What you call
"anti-chalmerites" here, are those naturalist who just don't get the
understanding of the mind/body problem. They are numerous since about
500 after JC. So they are glad with any explanation of the form you
describe above.
Now the chalmerites are aware of the problem, and, those who like
Chalmers want to stay close to both naturalism and computationalism are
obliged to depart enough of comp to get a dualism. That they are forced
to make that move is literally a consequence of the UD Argument.


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Received on Thu Jul 20 2006 - 10:08:28 PDT

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