Cosmology, Quantum Mechanics & Consciousness Message Board › What IS "consciousness"?

What IS "consciousness"?

lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 91

Incidentally (in much more light-hearted vein than heretofore) Camilla's closing comment:

>"BTW, I apologise for ... had a mental block(head)."

.. is more than apposite in connection with commentary on Popper. he had a particular antipathy toward "blockheads" -- i.e. people who are utterly refractory toward the acceptance of any corrective evidence and argumentation -- and gives vehement vent to this dislike within (I think) his (1977?) book The Self and its Brain (Co-authored by Nobel Prize-winning neurologist Sir John Carew Eccles.)

Although this book strongly advocates a classical Cartesian-outlook dualism-interactionism between 2 utterly distinct "substances" (in the Aristotelian sense) -- Popper hailed from a solidly middle-class Viennese Jewish background and Eccles was an Aussie Roman Catholic -- and one (I think rightly, though some may disagree) would suppose that few readers of this Board would be inclined to have any sympathy with such a position, Popper's own lengthy yet extremely elementary and philosophically speaking unsophisticated examination of most of the straightforward positions within Philosophy of Mind is exemplary for the beginner in the subject, and I would regard it as obligatory reading: good for intrigued Upper Sixth Formers, say. That's fine for getting the terminology sorted out, but shame about the ineptitude of the ensuing argumentation, from both Popper Eccles.


A former member
Post #: 15
Peter, it reads is if you're referring to determinacy rather than determinism, in chaotic systems.

No

The latter is in principle and is not affected by our state of knowledge.

Agreed

We may not know the precise initial conditions for the Big Bang (if it happened) but the results nevertheless unfolded as they always would have done deterministically, some sub systems stabily whilst others unstabily, chaotically but still deterministically.

You and Ian have now supplied a definition of deterministic which guarantees that (provided QM uncertainty is ignored) the entire universe and everything in it is deterministic. This definition is so weak that it does not convey any useful meaning, IMO; but it is nevertheless rational and self consistent.

So I agree.

Indeed I never disagreed, claiming only:
A chaotic system is certainly NOT deterministic in the normal meaning of the word. Whether or not it is deterministic depends on the definition you choose.
Because the "man on the Clapham Omnibus" meaning of determininistic (not in italics) admits to the possibility of some actual determining getting done.

It is the case that chaotic systems are indeterminate to a fine degree whilst still being deterministic i.e. necessarily moving from state to state through time in a manner that can be traced back afterward in principle.

No. You cannot trace them back. Or forward (same problem actually).

This (and only this, I suspect) is the key point in dispute.

In order to predict the future state of a non-analytic system (which broadly equates to a chaotic system) you need not only to know the starting state of the chaotic system with infinite accuracy, but also run your model with zero time interval and zero chunk size. You are in fact "running" the system itself in order to "trace it back"; nothing less will do.

If you look back at the way I defined predictable you will see that it depends crucially on the concept of being able to place a limit on the errors that can arise in the prediction process. This approach was taken directly from the techniques used in Mathematics to get from "close to zero" to the actual case at zero, or, equivalently, to investigate the properties of systems or equations as some value gets arbitrarily large.

These techniques were developed over (mainly) the last 500 years to avoid the many pitfalls and false conclusions that otherwise occur.

What I'm seeing is Philosophers wandering into similar types of reasoning but feeling free to ignore the lessons of the past.

If you apply the approach based on my definition of predictable, you will (I hope) clearly see that you cannot "trace back" a chaotic system through time other than by observing that actual states (at the times in question) of the system itself.

The confusion is between the epistemic matter of our prediction and the ontological grounding as to whether a system is determined as a process in itself. That means that although unstable in outcome it progresses through time apparently dependent upon the previous state, hence would be predictable in principle. Russell's definition. Though agreed perhaps not to us, with current resources.
The issue there is for physics, that predictability ought not to rest solely on those within the set of the universe as it unfolds, despite this being Popper's fervent wish.

There is no confusion. I just don't think this distinction is significant. What really matters is that the systems we wish to consider in our discussion of "consciousness" are all unpredictable

Hope this helps for clarity.

BTW, I notice that your specified italics for contrasted definitions, eg. for prediction vs prediction did not come out in the pasted in messages on this board, which will puzzle everbody. Also, some coloured responses are misattributed, to general confusion. Maybe slight editing could be done by Ian, I can't recall if it's possible after the fact once submitted.

I will try to collect all my definitions an a document where italics and colour are maintained correctly. I agree, without that this conversation is hopelessly confusing.


On emergence: I am going to stick with weak emergence meaning unstable system outcomes, different macro effects but not new unpredictable properties at the reductive level once the results are called in.

I'm not sure what "at the reductive level once the results are called in" means in this (or indeed any) context; but I do know that as I walk down the street I am surrounded by chaotic systems that exhibit properties that are unpredictable and unpredictable.



Peter
A former member
Post #: 16
I take it Peter you were aiming for an in your view 'indeterministic' account of consciousness as a chaotic system, thus somehow preserving its efficacy? Unfortunately, that cannot go through.


I'd be more comfortable if I understood what you meant by "efficacy" here, and actually I was thinking of an unpredictable non-analytic system, rather than an indeterminisitic chaotic system, but I'm pretty certain these are semantic technicalities, and your broad view of where I am headed is correct.

What matters is you unsubstantiated assertion that:
Unfortunately, that cannot go through.


I can imagine quite a few arguments to that effect, but all of them depend on the ideas (which I hold to be manifestly false) that non-analytic systems are predictable, or that the emergent phenomena they evince are necessarily predictable.


I do understand that computer use of the term determinism tends to conflate it with prediction.

I would call it a pragmatic view of determinism, rahter than a specifically computer one, but as you and Ian have now supplied a definition it no longer matters.


And you were heading for combining this with intelligence as a rational learning manoeuvre, to naturalise it?

We need to agree a number of definitions before I can state my views with any precision, and your use of the terms "manouvre" and "naturalise" baffles me, but I think you are broadly correct is you supposition of what I am thinking here.


So, straightening out determinism has been useful to the debate Ian.



So, Ian I really am NOT running away from what you perceive as the real problem. I'm sitting here with what I perceive as entirely reasonable philosophical answers (but which leave a HUGE amount of detailed scientific work still to be done) but which you and Camilla do not accept as plausible or potentially valid answers because of the differences between us concerning (principally) whether non-analytic systems are predictable and whether the phenomena emergent from them are predictable.



Peter
lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 97

Me in this colour; Peter in white; Camilla in olive

Peter, it reads is if you're referring to determinacy rather than determinism, in chaotic systems.

(Actually -- to make matters less ambiguous -- I would use determinability rather than determinacy. Of course, determinability = predictability, and also retrodictability

No

The latter is in principle and is not affected by our state of knowledge.

Agreed

We may not know the precise initial conditions for the Big Bang (if it happened) but the results nevertheless unfolded as they always would have done deterministically, some sub systems stabily whilst others unstabily, chaotically but still deterministically.

Inasmuch as events arbitrarily soon after the Big bang were not such as to be described more appropriately by the rules of QM, rather than of the approximation described as classical physics, yes.

You and Ian have now supplied a definition of deterministic which guarantees that (provided QM uncertainty is ignored) the entire universe and everything in it is deterministic. This definition is so weak that it does not convey any useful meaning, IMO; but it is nevertheless rational and self consistent.

Aha, but Camilla and I are simply adhering to standard terminology within not only philosophy, but also the philosophy of physics (and even "real physics" as well!)

Don't forget that it was Laplace himself -- surely a mathematician by any standards! -- who actually proposed "Laplace's Demon" -- i.e. an infinitely precise calculator who comprehends every single motion of each "mass-point" in the universe and also knows their momenta because it knows each of their masses as well -- and Laplace was then asked by Napoleon l "and where does God fit into all this?", replying: "Sire, l have no need of that hypothesis."

All that's entailed in order to make determinism true is continuity. l.e. each mass-point must be required to move continuously -- or remain at rest relative to some inertial frame or other, obviously -- i.e. without making "jumps" (QM-type or otherwise).

Newtonian physics is deterministic, and so are its 2 successive classical generalisations, firstly SR and then GR -- although problems can arise within GR due to the fact that spacelike "simultaneous present" slices across Minkowski light-cones are no longer necessarily Euclidean. ln fact, in the general case they're not, because of gravitational fields, leading to worries about causality violations.

Now chaotic systems are not governed by QM -- or rather, if one "takes QM really seriously", as does mathematical physicist Roland Omnès, who is a leading exponent of the decoherence/consistent historiesinterpretation of QM, then everything is governed by QM, but the decoherence effect cancels out the interference terms, leading only to definite, real number-expressible measurement terms (obtained by taking the trace of the density matrix describing the system of interest). This leaves us with only "classical" variables such as the system's centre of mass, and it is this which traces out a continuous line through spacetime, rather than performing "quantum jumps", even when as is often found to be the case the centre of mass actually lies outside the material boundaries of the system -- or at least of the components of the system -- in question. Physics has not at least thus far posited or found the need to posit any class of truly indeterministic system other than those described by QM. We all 3 agree that the hallmark of chaotic systems is their sensitive dependence upon the system's initial conditions, and as long as the function(s) describing the system are smoothly divergent -- l think l'm using mathematically correct terminology here but correct me if not -- then determinism is absolutely guaranteed.


So I agree.

lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 98

Indeed I never disagreed, claiming only:

A chaotic system is certainly NOT deterministic in the normal meaning of the word. Whether or not it is deterministic depends on the definition you choose.

Hmmm .. How about the conventional one which l've just given and which as far as l know is universally accepted by physicists?

Because the "man on the Clapham Omnibus" meaning of determininistic (not in italics) admits to the possibility of some actual determining getting done.

But that's clearly an epistemic issue -- concerning only our own state of ignorance -- rather than an ontological one -- concerning only what is actually the case! The logic which distinguishes "epistemic" from "ontological" is surely clear and useful, is it not?

Sorry if that seemed to be an unduly leading and rhetorical question!

Any attempt to substitute the man on the Clapham Omnibus's "viewpoint" -- always assuming that he/she has one in the first place, that is -- for the distinction which all physicists have been trained to understand is lMV to substitute precision and understanding for, effectively, hopelessly trivial "Page 3"-type misunderstanding, but l anticipate you'll disagree, and l'm not seeking war for its own sake!


It is the case that chaotic systems are indeterminate to a fine degree whilst still being deterministic i.e. necessarily moving from state to state through time in a manner that can be traced back afterward in principle.

No. You cannot trace them back. Or forward (same problem actually).

.. But Camilla stressed "in principle". The fact that that is not practically achievable impinges not at all upon the ontological issue. ln fact it reinforces acceptance of the fact that your objection is just an epistemic one, but your (our) ignorance of the nth-degree physical details of some system certainly does not wipe out those continuous trajectories!

This (and only this, I suspect) is the key point in dispute.

Alas, l think that we're completely firing across each others' bows .. and we haven't even begun to discuss the core issue of consciousness itself yet! .. Although you disagree, Peter. Andrew found it so distasteful that he retired from the game, although it would be nice to see him return -- and l did warn people when l opened up this particular discussion topic that disagreements can be extremely vehement. Both Camilla and myself have repeatedly encountered vehement, apparently sincere incomprehension many times, even from philosophers. (ln fact, particularly from philosophers! Camilla is currently "enjoying" a 4-day phenomenal qualities conference at the University of Hertfordshire, containing world-famous philosophers of mind such as Ned Block, David Chalmers and David Papineau, and has told me that thus far it's pretty dire, with a solidly entrenched bloc of naive realists and externalists about colours, sounds and so on.

l'm going to check it out tomorrow and Sunday though, even if only to verify its sheer awfulness!


In order to predict the future state of a non-analytic system (which broadly equates to a chaotic system) you need not only to know the starting state of the chaotic system with infinite accuracy, but also run your model with zero time interval and zero chunk size. You are in fact "running" the system itself in order to "trace it back"; nothing less will do.

Agreed.

If you look back at the way I defined predictable you will see that it depends crucially on the concept of being able to place a limit on the errors that can arise in the prediction process. This approach was taken directly from the techniques used in Mathematics to get from "close to zero" to the actual case at zero, or, equivalently, to investigate the properties of systems or equations as some value gets arbitrarily large.

Yes. The notion of limit in mathematics is an extremely useful one.

These techniques were developed over (mainly) the last 500 years to avoid the many pitfalls and false conclusions that otherwise occur.

What I'm seeing is Philosophers wandering into similar types of reasoning but feeling free to ignore the lessons of the past.

Yes they often are wont to do that ..

.. particularly when it comes to the industry's renewed -- and largely science-ignorant -- rejection of the distinction between primary and secondary qualities! confused


lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 99
If you apply the approach based on my definition of predictable, you will (I hope) clearly see that you cannot "trace back" a chaotic system through time other than by observing that actual states (at the times in question) of the system itself.

Not in practice, but l don't understand the relevance of that observation. l mean, we have every reason to believe that, say, the Andromeda galaxy actually exists, but since it's 2.2 million light years away we can't directly verify the existence and varying conditions of even a single planet orbiting a single star, yet denial of their existence would border on absurdity. (Analogy!)

The confusion is between the epistemic matter of our prediction and the ontological grounding as to whether a system is determined as a process in itself. That means that although unstable in outcome it progresses through time apparently dependent upon the previous state, hence would be predictable in principle. Russell's definition. Though agreed perhaps not to us, with current resources.

l completely agree!

The issue there is for physics, that predictability ought not to rest solely on those within the set of the universe as it unfolds, despite this being Popper's fervent wish.

There is no confusion. I just don't think this distinction is significant. What really matters is that the systems we wish to consider in our discussion of "consciousness" are all unpredictable

Hope this helps for clarity.

BTW, I notice that your specified italics for contrasted definitions, eg. for prediction vs prediction did not come out in the pasted in messages on this board, which will puzzle everbody. Also, some coloured responses are misattributed, to general confusion. Maybe slight editing could be done by Ian, I can't recall if it's possible after the fact once submitted.


lan B.
user 10895495
London, GB
Post #: 100

I will try to collect all my definitions an a document where italics and colour are maintained correctly. I agree, without that this conversation is hopelessly confusing.

On emergence: I am going to stick with weak emergence meaning unstable system outcomes, different macro effects but not new unpredictable properties at the reductive level once the results are called in.

I'm not sure what "at the reductive level once the results are called in" means in this (or indeed any) context;

Camilla is speaking as a parsimonious "reductive physicalist". l'm sure that the parsimony appeals to all, and particularly to Peter. "Reduction" is the aspiration that any physical phenomenon no matter how complex can be understood in terms of the interactions of as few fundamental laws of physics -- or at least as few descriptively relevant, even if not fundamental, laws of physics -- as can be "got away with", and so Camilla's admirably concise expression is merely an alternative stament of what l've just said. "Weak emergence" then refers trivially to the recognition that once we're satisfied that we've harvested the important data abstracted from some system of interest then we should be able to account for the entirety of the system's behaviour, without invoking spooky, new, voodoo physics (which if true would constitute the first-ever verified encounter with some "strongly emergent" properties!)

but I do know that as I walk down the street I am surrounded by chaotic systems that exhibit properties that are unpredictable and unpredictable.

(Yes, but .. ?)

I take it Peter you were aiming for an in your view 'indeterministic' account of consciousness as a chaotic system, thus somehow preserving its efficacy? Unfortunately, that cannot go through.

I'd be more comfortable if I understood what you meant by "efficacy" here,

Ah now this is a tough -- and this time completely different! -- can of worms. l do not believe that we make "conscious decisions". Rather, lMV we discover decisions which the brain has already made. We sense them just as we sense colours, sounds and all the rest. ln fact, we sense everything "mental". (lMV!) We sense, indeed, our "thoughts". We discover what we've been thinking, and this (lMV!) is what consciousness "is for".

The corollary is that we do not make conscious decisions! Consciousness is (lMV!) concerned with sensation only. Thus said, it's clear that it cannot be in any sense efficacious. However, we are able to refer to it, and reference is unequivocally reducible to physical talk about information processing systems. That being so, consciousness does exert a causal influence, because l'm assuming as does just about everyone else that it is perfectly legitimate to invoke a causal theory of reference.

None of this leads inexorably to any inference that "there is an unconscious mind". What it does show is that consciousness is distinct from its "mental" contents! (All of which -- lMV! -- can indeed be simulated simply by writing the right software!

l hope that the opportunity afforded by the opening given by this exchange between yourself and Camilla, Peter, will help clarify our own pretty similar positions vis-a-vis your own.


and actually I was thinking of an unpredictable non-analytic system, rather than an indeterminisitic chaotic system, but I'm pretty certain these are semantic technicalities, and your broad view of where I am headed is correct.

What matters is you unsubstantiated assertion that:

Unfortunately, that cannot go through.

I can imagine quite a few arguments to that effect, but all of them depend on the ideas (which I hold to be manifestly false) that non-analytic systems are predictable, or that the emergent phenomena they evince are necessarily predictable.

I do understand that computer use of the term determinism tends to conflate it with prediction.

I would call it a pragmatic view of determinism, rahter than a specifically computer one, but as you and Ian have now supplied a definition it no longer matters.

And you were heading for combining this with intelligence as a rational learning manoeuvre, to naturalise it?

We need to agree a number of definitions before I can state my views with any precision, and your use of the terms "manouvre" and "naturalise" baffles me, but I think you are broadly correct is you supposition of what I am thinking here.

"Manoeuvre" simply = "a made move". "natursalise" means to cash out completely in terms of physical, chemical, biological or cybernetic processes.

So, straightening out determinism has been useful to the debate Ian.

[Hmmm ... sad]

So, Ian I really am NOT running away from what you perceive as the real problem. I'm sitting here with what I perceive as entirely reasonable philosophical answers (but which leave a HUGE amount of detailed scientific work still to be done) but which you and Camilla do not accept as plausible or potentially valid answers because of the differences between us concerning (principally) whether non-analytic systems are predictable and whether the phenomena emergent from them are predictable.

No neither of us sees the disagreement in those terms, l can assure you! l -- more than Camilla -- see all this talk of dynamical systems as absolutely orthogonal to the question of any satisfactory physical resolution of the process of consciousness as a physical process!

Thus, l certainly do not think you are "running away". rather, it is unfortunately the case that at least one "side" fails as yet to understand the other. (Maybe both sides!)



Peter
A former member
Post #: 24
Hi Ian,


First the General Point.


When I joined this conversation I tried to talk about consciousness, but a number of objections were raised, which in turn hinged on the issues we are now discussing.

My broad view is that intelligence, and consciousness and the mental perceptions that seem to perplex you, are emergent phenomena (or the consequence of those phenomena emerging) of the sort you would expect from any complex system with a suitable causal network.

I'm not claiming that says very much - it merely sets the scene for more interesting questions, such as what is a suitable causal network is, (A: one that has massive processing power, that includes the capacity to change its own state, whose embedded desires promote positive feedback or learning, that is not too stable ...) and what sort of structures we might design to try to build such a creature.

But my view DOES (to my mind) remove the mystery at a philosophical level.

Clearly, you and Camilla disagree, because when I try to express these ideas I meet with fierce resistance, much if which involves the musings of long dead philosophers, or distinctions I do not accept are relevant, or that even exist.

Now... it really is quite simple - either I am right and my refutation of your joint objections is valid, or I'm wrong, and some (at least) of your objections are valid.

Once we know which, and only then, can we possibly move forward.


You may be right that free-will is an irrelevance, but Camilla clearly attributes some importance to it: and my views (if valid) demolish ALL the arguments against the existence of free-will that have so far been put to me.

So I'm inclined to leave that in the melting pot.


The main place where we differ, as far as I can make out, is "strong emergence" in which I am a firm believer, on the grounds that I see it all around me.

The key characteristic of Strong emergence is that the phenomena are NOT predictable - at least that's what Wiki tells me - and my views do indeed depend crucially on the idea that you cannot, in principle, trace the behaviour of a chaotic system backwards or forwards in time by any means other than following the system itself and making real-world observations at the instants of interest; nor can you rigorously deduce what emergent behaviour will arise. With some inspired guesswork and statistics much can be achieved of course, but the emergent behaviour remains, in principle, unpredictable.

Both you and Camilla keep making statements indicating that you do not agree with me on this point.

Maybe I need to emphasize my view:

I AM NOT suggesting that is is in practice quite difficult to "trace back" such systems, but that it is fundamentally impossible to do so for deep theoretical reasons. I hold this to be a result of equal power to the QM uncertainty principle. We inhabit a deterministic universe by virtue of the definition you have provided for deterministic; but you cannot use that to move one iota, even in principle or in theory, towards the idea that it is possible to predict or to determine (other than by actual observation) or to analize, the behaviour of the systems we are interested in for the pursuit of consciousness.


For what it's worth, since you introduced the topic earlier as an objection to something I put forward, I believe I am an adherent of "Strong AI", and that I have clearly proved that the difference between Weak and Strong AI is null. Note: the definition I am using here is that used by John Searle as part of his Chinese Room argument. "Weak AI only claims that machines can act intelligently. Strong AI claims that a machine that acts intelligently also has mind and understands in the same sense people do."



I'm sure I'll need to add to this, but that all for now except to say:

IMO, this message board lacks the power, and the entire process lacks the necessary rapid feedback, to make this conversation viable. Unless we are prepared to meet...



Peter

A former member
Post #: 25
Now replying to significant points in each of Ian's 4 reply posts:

Response to Reply 1

I have accepted your definition of deterministically, and agreed that it imples that everything is deterministically so little needs (needed) to be said.


Me in this colour; Peter in white; Camilla in olive

...

You and Ian have now supplied a definition of deterministic which guarantees that (provided QM uncertainty is ignored) the entire universe and everything in it is deterministic. This definition is so weak that it does not convey any useful meaning, IMO; but it is nevertheless rational and self consistent.

Aha, but ...

So I agree.



The important conclusions here are:
1. No substantive disagreement exists
2. deterministic need no longer figure in our discussions. The definition is too weak to bear on issues such as consciousness or intelligence or the systems that might exhibit them. This is a welcome simplification.

Two points of interest, however, arise from your response:

Laplace is long dead, and so (I trust) are his daemons. He was indeed a great mathematician: the key error he made was caused by not knowing about Chaos Theory which would have required time travel. However, if we are going to refer to such concepts as his " infinitely precise calculator who comprehends every single..." we need to understand the flaw. It's the same flaw I was describing in my previous post. Such a calulator cannot, in principle and in theory, exist. He is envisioning a causal network which (as per my original definition) is apart from, a separate entity to, and capable of being executed independently of, the original system, but which can still predict the original system. As I showed earlier such a causal network cannot exist for any non-analytic system.

I feel that if we continue to introduce into this discussion ideas, or arguments that we know yield false results, we will continue to trip over our own shoelaces.


... We all 3 agree that the hallmark of chaotic systems is their sensitive dependence upon the system's initial conditions, and as long as the function(s) describing the system are smoothly divergent -- l think l'm using mathematically correct terminology here but correct me if not -- then determinism is absolutely guaranteed.

No.

This somehow loses the FAR MORE important point, at least as far as I'm concerned, that chaotic systems are sensitive to the resolution of the computation of the functions. Only infinite resolution (i.e. zero time interval and zero chunk size) is sufficient. Any finite resolution yields the possibility of arbitrarily large errors. Please see my treatment using non-analytic systems and predictability for what (I hope) isa more rigorous approach. I am concerned that no-one seems disposed to challenge that approach directly, but statements inconsistent with it still proliferate.

As a minor consequence: "No": You suggest this is a requirement for determinism : "and as long as the function(s) describing the system are smoothly divergent". I don't think it's a requirement. I hope it is not a requirement. I'm quite certain it's not true. The functions in question are NOT necessarily smoothly divergent.


End of Response to Reply 1
A former member
Post #: 26
Response to Reply 2





... (just defunct semantics)

It is the case that chaotic systems are indeterminate to a fine degree whilst still being deterministic i.e. necessarily moving from state to state through time in a manner that can be traced back afterward in principle.

No. You cannot trace them back. Or forward (same problem actually).

.. But Camilla stressed "in principle". The fact that that is not practically achievable impinges not at all upon the ontological issue. ln fact it reinforces acceptance of the fact that your objection is just an epistemic one, but your (our) ignorance of the nth-degree physical details of some system certainly does not wipe out those continuous trajectories!

I can read. I know Camilla said "in principle". That is PRECISELY what you cannot (necessarily) do. I said what I meant and I meant what I said. This is nothing to do with what is "practically achievable", and it is NOT an epistemic vs ontological issue. It a question of what you can, in principle, rely on being able to achieve.

Now: I concede that the term "trace back" is a trifle vague, so if you mean "sit and observe the original system at the points in time of interest" then I concede - yes that IS possible, but it fails to advance Camilla's argument in the way she clearly intends.


This (and only this, I suspect) is the key point in dispute.

Alas, l think that we're completely firing across each others' bows .. and we haven't even begun to discuss the core issue of consciousness itself yet! ...

As I've already observed, when I tried to put forward ideas about consciousness I was immediately subjected to a barrage of objections couched in such obscure terminology that it took me a couple of weeks to wade through it all and determine that in fact (as far as I could see) the objections were all fallacious.

We are still dealing with the fallout from that.

We have, IMO, no chance of discussing consciousness unless and until we adopt a much more rigorous and agreed set of terminology, and which uses results/theorems/arguments that are open to inspection and agreed to be valid.

I'm trying to work towards that.

It will be interesting to see what response I get to this series of posts.

...

What I'm seeing is Philosophers wandering into similar types of reasoning but feeling free to ignore the lessons of the past.

Yes they often are wont to do that ..

.. particularly when it comes to the industry's renewed -- and largely science-ignorant -- rejection of the distinction between primary and secondary qualities! confused



Those two terms, plus the attendant reported vs reported are certainly important.


End of Response to Reply 2
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