Thanks for digging out that summary. I met Chalmers in January this
year on a trip to Canberra, but I wasn't completely sure what his
position was.

Fromthis summary, his position actually sounds very close to that
which I argue in Theory of Nothing, however I attach a label to it:
"Emergence". The funny thing is doesn't really fit into any of the
classic 'isms apart from being decidedly _not_ eliminative


On Fri, Jul 21, 2006 at 01:22:56PM +1000, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> Bruno Marchal writes:
> > > The cited article a rather emotional criticism of Chalmer's ideas.> > > 
> > > Ah? OK, surely you know a better resume?
> Perhaps this one:
> Quoting:
> >>>Then Chalmers proceeds to present his own theory of consciousness, that he 
> >>>calls "naturalistic dualism" (but might as well have called "naturalistic 
> >>>monism"). It is a variant of what is known as "property dualism": there 
> >>>are no two substances (mental and physical), there is only one substance, 
> >>>but that substance has two separate sets of properties, one physical and 
> >>>one mental. Conscious experience is due to the mental properties. The 
> >>>physical sciences have studied only the physical properties. The physical 
> >>>sciences study macroscopic properties like "temperature" that are due to 
> >>>microscopic properties such as the physical properties of particles. 
> >>>Chalmers advocates a science that studies the "protophenomenal properties" 
> >>>of microscopic matter that can yield the macroscopic phenomenon of 
> >>>consciousness. His parallel with electromagnetism is powerful. 
> >>>Electromagnetism could not be explained by "reducing" electromagnetic 
> >>>phenomena to the known properties of matter: it was explained when 
> >>>scientists introduced a whole new set of properties (and related laws), 
> >>>the properties of microscopic matter that yield the macroscopic phenomenon 
> >>>of electromagnetism. Similarly, consciousness cannot be explained by the 
> >>>physical laws of the known properties but requires a new set of 
> >>>"psychophysical" laws that deal with "protophenomenal properties". 
> >>>Consciousness supervenes naturally on the physical: the "psychophysical" 
> >>>laws will explain this supervenience, they will explain how conscious 
> >>>experiences depend on physical processes. Chalmers emphasizes that this 
> >>>applies only to consciousness. Cognition is governed by the known laws of 
> >>>the physical sciences.<<<
> A lot of the stuff criticising Chalmer's thesis is quite strident, at least 
> by the usual academic standards. It's not quite as severe as the reaction to 
> Roger Penrose's theories on the mind, but almost. Many cognitive scientists 
> seem to take anything not clearly straightforward materialism as 
> automatically false or even nonsense. I sympathise with them to a degree: I 
> think we should push materialism and reductionism as far as we can. But the 
> inescapable fact remains, I could know every empirical fact about a conscious 
> system, but still have no idea what it is actually like to *be* that system, 
> as it were from the inside. Denying that this is of any interest does not 
> make it go away.
> Stathis Papaioannou
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