Stathis writes

> Lee Corbin writes:
> 
> > I anticipate that in the future it will, as you say so well,
> > be shown that "appropriate brain states necessarily lead to
> > conscious states", except I also expect that by then the
> > meaning of "conscious states" will be vastly better informed
> > and filled-out than today.  In particular, the concept will
> > have migrated from a mix of 1st and 3rd person notions, to
> > entirely 3rd person notions. I speculate that after this
> > occurs, people won't consider the old 1st person notion to
> > be of much value (after all, you can't really use it to
> > communicate with anyone about anything).
> 
> I really can't imagine how you could make consciousness entirely a 3rd 
> person notion, no matter how well it is understood scientifically. Suppose 
> God, noting our sisyphian debate, takes pity on us and reveals that in fact 
> consciousness is just a special kind of recursive computation. He then gives 
> us a dozen lines of C code, explaining that when implemented this 
> computation is the simplest possible conscious process.

Good example.

> OK, from a scientific point of view, we know *everything* about this
> piece of code.

And, let's say further that we have all sorts of descriptions of it,
which make enormous intuitive sense; but only as much as an experienced
electrical engineer has explanation after explanation, and metaphor after
metaphor, with which he understands and can explain electrical phenomena.

> We also know that it is conscious, which is normally a 1st person thing, 
> because God told us.

Yes, but let's say that it also makes sense, i.e., fits in with
the way that we know how the brains of mammals work, etc. (I do
believe I am only fleshing out your hypothesis---very sorry if
I'm damaging it or changing it.)

> But we *still* don't know what it feels like to *be* the code
> implemented on a computer.
> We might be able to guess, perhaps from analogy with our own
> experience, perhaps by running the code in our head; but once
> we start doing either of these things, we are replacing the 3rd 
> person perspective with the 1st person.

Yes.  Doesn't it seem that you want the impossible?  That you want
to be the code and yet remain someone else?

It seems like only by actually *being* that code---having its
emotional reactions, its same impressions of everything---can
you possibly know what it's like... to be the code. This point
was made by someone here before. Namely, that if *you* become
a bat in order to learn what it's like to be a bat, then "you"
aren't you anymore.

Lee

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