2009/9/23 Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com>:

>> True, but this is to give a third-person behavioural account, not a
>> first-person experiential one.  I'm right in assuming that you don't
>> intend to offer a third-person account as an eliminativist dismissal
>> of first-person experience - yes?  I didn't think that was your
>> position, but you've made this kind of comment so frequently recently
>> that I'm starting to wonder.
>
> I don't have "a position" on such an unsettled question.

Perhaps you misunderstand me.  Do you mean to suggest that the denial
of first-person experience, as a 'solution' to the mind-body problem,
is an unsettled question?  Or that you are willing to entertain such a
denial?

 > But I think what you are asking
>  is incoherent - a first-person account physical account of experience.  Can 
> you give an
> example what such an account might look like?

I wasn't asking for that.  I was extrapolating, for the purposes of
this particular discussion, from the line of argument that assumes the
primacy of matter and physical causation.  On this basis, I would
expect a physical theory of consciousness to take the form of a
consistent mapping from a low-level physical account to a high-level
experiential account, exactly as is the case with physical reductions
of life, weather, or other higher-order physical phenomena (as you
yourself have suggested to me more than once).  This is not to say
that I'm in any way convinced that first-person experience can be
explained satisfactorily in this manner, but it's what a physical
account should look like if consciousness is deemed to supervene on
physical states in any standardly justified sense.

David

>
> David Nyman wrote:
>> On Sep 23, 3:20 am, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
>>
>>  >> What would make a theory of consciousness a
>>>> physical theory would be a normal causal account of a succession of
>>>> physical states, the experience that accompanies them, and the precise
>>>> relation between them.  Such a theory would of course escape the
>>>> vulnerability to accusations of lack of meaningful physical commitment
>>>> inherent in MR.
>>> Such a theory is available.  It is the evolutionary account of the
>>> development of consciousness, c.f. Thomas Metzinger, Antonio Damasio,
>>> Julian Jaynes, Daniel Dennett.
>>
>> Well, I've read Damasio, Jaynes and Dennett, all at some length, and
>> whilst each offers fascinating insight from his own perspective, I
>> don't think that any of them could be said to offer a physical causal
>> theory of first-person experience in the sense we are discussing
>> here.  Does Metzinger go any further?  I've got quite a lot on my
>> reading list so I've been resisting the temptation to add him to it
>> for the moment - should I succumb?
>>
>>> Knowing the physical function of a species sensors and the evolutionary 
>>> history
>>> of it's environment you could infer what it is conscious of.
>>
>> True, but this is to give a third-person behavioural account, not a
>> first-person experiential one.  I'm right in assuming that you don't
>> intend to offer a third-person account as an eliminativist dismissal
>> of first-person experience - yes?  I didn't think that was your
>> position, but you've made this kind of comment so frequently recently
>> that I'm starting to wonder.
>
> I don't have "a position" on such an unsettled question.  But I think what 
> you are asking
>  is incoherent - a first-person account physical account of experience.  Can 
> you give an
> example what such an account might look like?
>
> Brent
>
> >
>

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