Le 25-mai-05, à 10:34, Jonathan Colvin a écrit :

Bruno: But we can photosynthesize. And we can understand why we
cannot travel at the speed of light. All this by using purely
3-person description of those phenomena in some theory.
With consciousness, the range of the debate goes from
non-existence to only-existing. The problem is that it seems
that an entirely 3-person explanation of the brain-muscles
relations evacuates any purpose for consciousness and the
1-person. That's not the case with photosynthesis.

You can photosynthesize? I certainly can not (not being a tree). If I had
photosynthetic pigments in my skin, I suppose I could; and if I had rubbery
wings and sharp teeth I'd be a bat (if my aunt had wheels, she'd be a
wagon). I still can not see (intellectually) the "problem" of consciousness.

I said I can photosynthetize, like I would said I can fly by taking a plane. I can photosynthetize by building some voltaic cells. This is not the case with the brain-consciousness relation. A thorough understanding of how the brain functions *seems* to put away any purpose of consciousness. A thorough understanding of photosynthesis does not lead to an equivalent problem.

I still can not see (intellectually) the "problem" of consciousness.

It is the problem of relating first person subjective private experience with third person sharable theories and experiments. There is a vast literature. A good intro is
Tye, M. (1995). Ten problems of consciousness. The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Consciousness /qualia, 1st person phenomena, etc, IMHO, being very poorly
defined,

Universes, matter, existence,... are also not well defined. Perhaps you are not interested in such problems. The success of "natural science" is due in great part to the simplifying assumption of psychophysico-parallelism. I have proved such an assumption is just incompatible with the computationalist assumption in cognitive science.
I have also reduce the problem of the existence of the 1-person to the problem of the existence of third person sharable truth. And partially solve it.
My problem: few physicist knows what axiomatic methodology is. It is the art of reasoning without even trying to define the concept on which we reason. We need just to agree on properties bearing on those things, captured by formula and inference rules. Mathematicians proceed in this way since more than one century now.

and likely non-existing entities,

What about the person's right? What about pleasure and pain, ... It seems to me you just excluded those things from your definition of science, and I'm afraid you make the category error I have describe recently.


are a precarious pillar to base
any cosmology or metaphysics on.

With comp, we just have no choice in the matter. If you are interested at some point we can follow the proof step by step. I'm always interested where, precisely, some people have some difficulties.


To borrow a page from Penrose, I see qualia in much the same light as a
shadow.

As an (arithmetical) platonist this is how I conceive anything physical. Qualia are more colourful it seems to me. Wave lenght looks more like shadows imo.


Everyone can agree what a shadow is, point to one, and talk about
them. But a shadow is not a thing. The ancients made much ado about shadows,
ascribing all sorts of metaphysical significance and whatnot to them. I
think it is quite likely that the fuss about consciousness and qualia
resurrects this old mistake. Shadows of the mind, indeed.
"Observer" is far superior, and lacks the
taint of dualism.

As Stephen knows comp leads to monism. In a nutshell there is only numbers.
And numbers (under the form of digital machine) can provided a complete (and startling) explanation why, from their point of views, it looks there is much more than numbers, and why necessarily it takes the shape of a 1-3 person distinction.

Bruno


http://iridia.ulb.ac.be/~marchal/

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