Rex Allen wrote:
> On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 10:52 PM, Brent Meeker<meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
>> Rex Allen wrote:
>>> On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 4:01 PM, Brent Meeker<meeke...@dslextreme.com>
>>>> Where are you trying to get? to an immortal soul?
>>>> a ghost-in-the-machine? What's wrong with my
>>>> mind is what my brain does?
>>> Where I'm trying to get is that there is no explanation for our
>>> conscious experience. It just is.
>> Depends on what you want an explanation in terms of.
> I want an explanation that explains what's really real and how that
> connects to my conscious experience.
> BUT, I see now that this apparently isn't possible, even in principle.
> And even if physicalism or platonism were answers to what's "really
> real"...those answers don't mean anything.
> So. That's a bummer.
>>> So all that we have to work with are our observations, plus our innate
>>> reasoning processes.
>>> Unfortunately, these two things are not enough to determine what, if
>>> anything, really exists outside of our experience.
>>> At best, we can take our observations and apply our innate reasoning
>>> processes to produce theoretical models that are consistent with what
>>> we have observed.
>> Right. Forget the really real and I'll settle for a good model.
> Hmmm. Well, apparently that's as good as it gets. So I reckon you
> have the right attitude.
>>> And third, even if true, the bottom line for all of them is,
>>> "conscious experience just is what it is".
>> The problem with that is that is applies equally to everything. So it's
>> completely devoid
>> of meaning.
> Yep. I don't see it as a problem. That's just the way it is.
>>> For instance: Bits of matter in particular configurations "cause"
>>> conscious experience. Fine. So what deeper meaning can we draw from
>>> this? None.
>> Maybe not meaning, but engineering. That's why I think the "hard problem"
>> will eventually
>> be considered a philosophical curiosity like how many angels can dance on
>> the head of a
>> pin. If we learn to build machines, robots, artificial brains, that behave
>> as if they
>> were conscious we'll stop worrying about perceptual qualia and phenomenal
>> and instead we'll talk about visual processing and memory access and other
>> new concepts
>> that'll be invented.
> I'd say that when we actually have such robots will be when interest
> in the "hard problem" will peak. We're just in the early stages of
> this process now.
> But, I think there is no answer to the hard problem, and at some point
> you just have to get on with things. So practical considerations will
> ultimately rule the day. If it's convenient to treat such robots as
> conscious entities then we will, otherwise we won't.
> It seems unlikely that we would design a robot to feel much suffering,
> and certainly not to display "human-like" signs of suffering...so can
> you be cruel or abusive to something that doesn't suffer? Seems
> So maybe there is no robot parallel to the animal-rights type ethics
> to worry about.
>>>>>> "If you make yourself small enough you can avoid responsibility for
>>>>>> --- Daniel Dennett, in Elbow Room
>>>>> Every word in your quote, except "for", has to be considered in the
>>>>> context of Dennett's special terminology.
>>>> Seems prefectly straightforward to me. If you define yourself as
>>>> something apart from the
>>>> physical processes that move your arms and legs then you avoid
>>>> responsibility for what
>>>> your arms and legs do.
>>> Right. "If you define yourself as...". Well sure. That makes it
>>> easy, and that's what Dennett does. Just makes up arbitrary
>>> definitions that suit his ends.
>> On the contrary he was criticizing that way of defining yourself. And of
>> definitions of words are arbitrary - we just chose the words.
> Right. And Dennett is choosing his words carefully, so as to advance
> his social re-engineering agenda. He want's to keep the idea of
> responsibility for utilitarian reasons..it's hard to keep a society
> going without it, and so he redefines it's meaning to be compatible
> with determinism.
> It's not "responsiblity" in the common usage,
Sure it is. It's what justifies reward and punishment.
> it's "Dennettian
> compatibilist responsibility". He just shortens the latter to plain
> "responsibility" in an attempt to mislead the unwary.
> The common usage of "responsibility" may not be logical, but it has a
> definite meaning, and it's not the meaning that Dennett assigns to it
> in that quote.
And what meaning is that? Can you give an operational definition, an
ostensive definition, any definition other than "it is what it is"?
> Dennett knows this, but he wants society to adopt his
> terminology and view point, so he keeps throwing it out there in the
> hopes that it'll stick.
> If determinism is true, then there is no responsibility (common
> usage). My acts are an inevitable result of the initial state of the
> universe and the laws that govern its evolution...neither of which are
> my doing. I get neither credit nor blame for anything, as events
> could not have transpired other than they did.
First, some things may be random (like the way your brain developed).
Second, the utilitarian definition of responsibility - something that
justifies you being punished or rewarded for you actions - applies
*only* if what you do is determined by your experience. Otherwise there
would be no justification for giving you the experience of reward or
> You (and Dennett) can redefine responsiblity and then say, "there, you
> have that". But this is a change from the common usage...and so
> effectively a new word.
You haven't defined it at all. In fact you seem to assert it doesn't
exist and hence no one is allowed to define it.
> As far as I know Dennett isn't contesting determinism. He's just
> trying to make it more palatable.
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