At 14:21 12/11/03 -0800, Pete Carlton wrote:
this reply has taken some time...

I don't quite agree with your point of view, and the reason is maybe
similar to our disagreement in my statement: "It is not useful to talk
about 1st person experiences in 3rd person terms, since when we do
that we lose the very thing that we want to study."

I think you're right; this is the central disagreement. To spell it out: I do not believe the 1st person/3rd person distinction is fundamental. That is, I think that once you've explained what a system does (and how it does it), you've explained everything. Consciousness is simply a complicated set of behavioral dispositions, which can in principle be explained from an objective, 3rd-person standpoint; and the "1st person" viewpoint is just a description, a way that it naturally occurs to us to put things, because of our psychology (biology).

Feeling  pain or pleasure has nothing to do with description.
Actually when you associate a knower
to a theorem prover (by defining  "the machine know p' by
"(the machine prove p) and p", that is when you apply Thaetetus
definition of knowing to godelian provability, the nice thing
which happen (and which is quite non trivial and related to
incompleteness) is that the machine-knower cannot be related to
any description. A description is a pure third person notion.
Only artist can "describe" feelings, and this has sense only
for people having lived sufficiently similar feelings.

But consciousness has indeed a basic relation with
sets of behavioral dispositions. I will have other occasion
to talk on this.
It is related to my "filmed graph" argument alias
Maudlin's paper alias one conversation on this list
with Jacques Mallah (people interested can
search "crackpot" on the archive,
(it is Jacques Mallah's name for my argument)).

When you said earlier that:
"In a materialistic framework, ' I ' am a bunch of atoms. These atoms
happen to constitute a system that has self-referential qualities that
we call consciousness."

I would say I *own* a bunch of atoms. And we should distinguish third person
sel-reference like "after the self-duplication you will see me at W and at M, say",
and first person self-reference like "after the self-duplication, if comp is true, I
will either feel to be at W, or I will feel to be at M, but I will never feel to be at
both place at once.


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