Colin Hales wrote:
>>Empiricism as a philosophical movement has traditionally been opposed
>>to metaphysics. It hasn't just been a mild disagreement either, but an
>>at times vicious dispute (well, as vicious as philosophers get). David
>>Hume suggested that the best place for books on metaphysics was
>>in the fire, and his successors including logical empiricists and analytic
>>philosophers of the past century have generally tended to agree with
> It's one of my favourite lines from Hume!.... but the issue does not live
> quite so clearly into the 21st century. We now have words and much
> neuroscience pinning down subjective experience to the operation of small
> groups of cells and hence, likely, single cells. It's entirely cranial CNS.
> Cortical, Basal, Cerebellum, upper brain stem. So....
> Q If empiricism demands phenomenal consciousness as the source of all
> scientific evidence (close your eyes and see what evidence is left. QED.) of
> the science of the appearance of things, then what is phenomenal
> consciousness itself evidence of?
This is misrepresenting science. Science doesn't aim at the appearance of
things. It uses appearance, i.e. empirical evidence, to test models which go
beyond the appearance. If they didn't the models would be mere catalogues of
data. Phenomenal consciousness is no different. If you have a model for it,
then specific instances of phenomenal consciousness will be evidence for (or
against) it. We don't have any very complete model of consciousness, but a
rough one says that consciousness is produced by some neural activity in a
brain. The loss of consciousness under anesthesia is evidence for this. The
eliciting experiences by electrostimulation of places in the brain is evidence
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