A friend sends me this link:
which will perhaps be of interest to a number of people here.
But the familiar first sentence just sends me into orbit:
The hard problem of consciousness, according to
David Chalmers, is explaining why and how
experience is generated by certain particular
configurations of physical stuff.
Just how the devil do you all you Chalmerites expect
that the world could have been any different in this
regard than it is???
Do you imagine that it's possible that we could go to
another star, and encounter beings who discoursed with
us about every single other thing, yet denied that they
had consciousness, and professed that they had no idea
what we were talking about? Yes or No! I want an answer.
Do you think that this *could* happen someday?
I gather that you *can* imagine it! So then what happens
if you take one of these entities off by itself? (Assume
that meanwhile you've verified that no kind of telepathy
is present, and it isn't part of a group mind.)
The alien unit has functioning sense organs. The unit has
motivations. (More cruel-minded officers of your organization
have perhaps denied it sustenance or perhaps pressed with
forceful machinery on parts of the unit's surface, eliciting
escape behavior from the subject.)
I'm sorry. I just cannot entertain the hypothesis at all.
It's really as though you have some kind of horrid illusory
fascination with <c-word>, or have been mesmerized some way.
It simply defies all that I know about the world to suppose
that there is any mystery here. Isn't the above scenario
an overwhelming demonstration that something along the lines
of "consciousness" must exist, whether we reify it or not?
On the other hand, if, like me, you do *not* find the above
interstellar report at all conceivable, then it's obvious that
what we call <c-word> *must* exist, and is no mystery at all!