> But position 1 does NOT preclude the reality of a first-person
> existence, it just makes that existence a purely subjective matter,
> but not only for third persons.
> Once you attribute consciousness to an entity (perhaps persuaded by
> its Turing test performance), then you are interpreting its observable
> state in terms of feelings, beliefs and intentions.
Would you say, then, that it is *impossible* to *falsely* attribute
consciousness to an entity? That the question of whether something is
conscious, being purely subjective, is not something that you can be
We sometimes find ourselves tempted to treat seemingly mindless and
even inanimate objects as conscious. Some people talk to their plants
and feel that the plants respond. Others persuade their vehicles to
cooperate by offering encouraging words. Primitive societies believed
that nature in its various manifestations was conscious, and would talk
to the crops and clouds, entreating them to grow, often with success.
In your view, would you say that these attitudes are equally as valid
as treating other human beings as conscious? If it is all subjective,
how can we draw a line between conscious and unconscious entities?
It seems important to do so, otherwise there a danger that we might say
there is no moral difference between kicking a rock and kicking a puppy.