David Nyman wrote:
This is old hat, but I've been thinking about it on awakening every
morning for the last week.  Is consciousness - i.e. the actual first-
person experience itself - literally uncomputable from any third-
person perspective?  The only rationale for adducing the additional
existence of any 1-p experience in a 3-p world is the raw fact that we
possess it (or "seem" to, according to some).  We can't "compute" the
existence of any 1-p experiential component of a 3-p process on purely
3-p grounds.  Further, if we believe that 3-p process is a closed and
sufficient explanation for all events, this of course leads to the
uncomfortable conclusion (referred to, for example, by Chalmers in
TCM) that 1-p conscious phenomena (the "raw feels" of sight, sound,
pain, fear and all the rest) are totally irrelevant to what's
happening, including our every thought and action.

But doesn't this lead to paradox?  For example, how are we able to
refer to these phenomena if they are causally disconnected from our
behaviour - i.e. they are uncomputable (i.e. inaccessible) from the 3-
p perspective?  Citing "identity" doesn't seem to help here - the
issue is how 1-p phenomena could ever emerge as features of our shared
behavioural world (including, of course, talking about them) if they
are forever inaccessible from a causally closed and sufficient 3-p
perspective.  Does this in fact lead to the conclusion that the 3-p
world can't be causally closed to 1-p experience, and that I really do
withdraw my finger from the fire because it hurts, and not just
because C-fibres are firing?  But how?

I think one idea is that consciousness is connected to language (c.f. Julian Jaynes) which was originally just another perception - as animals give and hear warning cries - but with the evolution of culture it became a way of passing more detailed information, and then of storing (memory) information and this led to have an internal narrative as a way of remembering what was important (what you paid *attention* to). Some evidence for this theory is that when thinking about something, the same parts of the brain are activated as when perceiving it.

Not very complete, but it's a hint.


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