On 26 Aug 2009, at 05:26, Rex Allen wrote:

> On Tue, Aug 25, 2009 at 9:50 AM, David Nyman<david.ny...@gmail.com>  
> wrote:
>> Recalling your interest in Chalmers: I was re-reading "Facing Up to
>> the Problem of Consciousness" recently, and I  realised - I think for
>> the first time - that his own "double-aspect theory of information"  
>> is
>> effectively a reformulation, in less 'professionally-embarrassing'
>> lingo, of eastern metaphysics!
> Indeed, Chalmers' double-aspect theory of information seemed like a
> good starting point when I first read it 18 months or so ago, but I
> guess the question is where do you go from there?  Chalmers did a
> great job of articulating the mind-body problem, and I think in
> defending his initial position, but he doesn't seem to have made much
> progress in the 14 or so years since then.  BUT, then...I guess that's
> the "hard" part for you.
> Though, just in the last month, I think I've kind of shifted gears
> here.  Why should consciousness be an aspect of information (or
> anything else)?  Why not consider information an aspect of
> consciousness?
> In an earlier thread, Brent mentioned Hume, and in response you
> referenced Kant, BUT I'm not very familiar with either.  But just in
> the last week I've discovered that Kant has already given some thought
> to this topic, and kindly summarized his views in "A Critique of Pure
> Reason"!  Who knew???  So now I'm interested in reading up on Kant,
> and particularly G. E. Schulze's subsequent response in Aenesidemus.
> SO...if you've already been down this path, then I'd be interested to
> hear your thoughts.
> Though, obviously since A Critique of Pure reason was written in 1781,
> and yet we're still here discussing it almost 230 years later, it
> didn't offer any conclusive answers...but still...
> Of course even before Hume and Kant, we have Leibniz in Monadology  
> (1714):
> "Moreover, it must be confessed that perception and that which depends
> upon it are inexplicable on mechanical grounds, that is to say, by
> means of figures and motions. And supposing there were a machine, so
> constructed as to think, feel, and have perception, it might be
> conceived as increased in size, while keeping the same proportions, so
> that one might go into it as into a mill. That being so, we should, on
> examining its interior, find only parts which work one upon another,
> and never anything by which to explain a perception.  Thus it is in a
> simple substance, and not in a compound or in a machine, that
> perception must be sought for."
> BUT, I think my general criticism is that we seem to be mistaking
> descriptions of what we are conscious of, with an explanation of
> consciousness itself.
> So, for instance, if Bruno is correct in his mathematical theory of
> the origins of consciousness...what does that mean, really?
> Ultimately, how is it different than saying "consciousness exists
> uncaused, but by pure chance there are these interesting patterns that
> can be seen in this record of our past observations."

Chance is also a sort of filling-gap explanations.
Assuming mechanism, chance cannot work. It cannot explain  
regularities. It cannot explain why we remain in stable realities.
Be it matter or consciousness we may try theories, instead of  
postulating an absence of explanation at the start.
Some theories can then explain why some phenomenological gaps have to  
exist, due to our embedding in reality/realities.

> SO...I dunno.  Bruno made the dreaded accusation of solipsism, but I'm
> not sure how you avoid ending up there (at least in the
> epistemological sense of there being a limit to what can be known),
> regardless of which direction you go.  You can take the long way, or
> you can take the short way, but all roads do seem to ultimately lead
> to some variety of solipsism.  The only question is what kind of
> scenery will you get along the way.  Hmmmm.

All babies are solipsist. We start from solipsism. Solipsism is  
correct, from the first person point of view. But science begins when  
we start betting in a third or perhaps a zero-person view, a  
transcendental reality, be it a universe, a god, a way (tao). We need  
this if only to be able to accept other minds, other consciousness,  
other people. Then we can make theories.
Now, all universal machine does have that solipsist part, and we can  
explain why, and what exists beyond.

A lot of what you say makes sense, but more as a description of  
important data, than as an attempt toward an explanation.
Once you accept that something else (third person) can have a first  
person view, be it a machine, an animal, a human, an extraterrestrial  
entity or a god, you have to accept that solipsism, although an  
accurate feature of consciousness, is inaccurate as a fundamental  
explanation. We can believe in something greater than ourself.  
Somehow, the belief in "matter" is an intermediate between the  
correct, but third person pointless solipsism, and the many incorrect,  
but corrigible, pointers toward the real or truth, which is what we  
are searching.



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