On 17 February 2010 00:16, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:

> But suppose we had a really good theory and understanding of the brain so
> that we could watch yours in operation on some kind of scope (like an fMRI,
> except in great detail) and from our theory we could infer that "David's now
> thinking X.  And it's going to lead him to next think Y.  And then he'll
> remember Z and strenghten this synapse over here.  And..."   Then wouldn't
> you start to regard the 1-p account as just another level of description, as
> when you start you car on a cold day it "wants" a richer fuel mixture and
> the ECU "remembers" to keep the idle speed up until it's warm.

In short, yes.  But that doesn't make the problem as I've defined it
go away.  At the level of reconciliation you want to invoke, you would
have to stop putting scare quotes round the experiential vocabulary,
unless your intention - like Dennett's AFAICS - is to deny the
existence, and causal relevance, of genuinely experiential qualities
(as opposed to "seemings", whatever they might be).  At bottom, 1-p is
not a "level of description" - i.e. something accessed *within*
consciousness - it *is* the very mode of access itself.  The trouble
comes because in the version you cite the default assumption is that
the synapse-strengthening stuff - the 3-p narrative - is sufficient to
account for all the observed phenomena - including of course all the
3-p references to experiential qualities and their consequences.

But such qualities are entirely non-computable from the 3-p level, so
how can such a narrative refer to them?  And indeed, looked at the
other way round, given the assumed causal closure of the 3-p level,
what further function would be served by such 1-p references?  Now, if
we indeed had the robust state of affairs that you describe above,
this would be a stunning puzzle, because 1-p and 3-p are manifestly
not "identical", nor are they equivalently "levels of description" in
any relevant sense. Consequently, we would be faced with a brute
reality without any adequate explanation.

However, in practice, the theory and observations you characterise are
very far from the current state of the art. This leaves scope for some
actual future theory and observation to elucidate "interaction"
between 1-p and 3-p with real consequences that would be inexplicable
in terms of facile "identity" assertions.  For example, that I
withdraw my hand from the fire *because* I feel the pain, and this
turns out to both in theory and observation to be inexplicable in
terms of any purely 3-p level of description.  Prima facie, this might
seem to lead to an even more problematic interactive dualism, but my
suspicion is that there is scope for some genuinely revelatory
reconciliation at a more fundamental level - i.e. a truly explanatory
identity theory.  But we won't get to that by ignoring the problem.

David

> David Nyman wrote:
>>
>> On 16 February 2010 22:21, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:
>>
>>
>>>
>>> Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
>>> computation, you have the experience.
>>>
>>
>> Yes, but that's precisely not the sense I was referring to.  Rather
>> the sense I'm picking out is that neither the existence, nor the
>> specifically experiential characteristics, of any 1-p component over
>> and above the 3-p level of description is accessible (computable) in
>> terms of any such 3-p narrative.  Consequently any reference to such a
>> component at the 3-p level seems inexplicable.  This leads some (e.g.
>> Dennett, if I've understood him) to try to finesse this by claiming
>> that 1-p experience only "seems" to exist - IOW that when 3-me refers
>> to 3-my "conscious experience" this is merely a 3-p reference to some
>> equivalent computational aspect which is fully sufficient to account
>> for all the resultant 3-p phenomena.  The 1-p "seeming" is then
>> supposed to be, in some under-defined sense, "identical" to this
>> computation.
>>
>> But for two manifestly distinct levels of description to have any
>> prospect of being seen as "identical", they must  be capable of being
>> discarded individually, in order to be jointly reconciled in terms of
>> a single more fundamental level clearly compatible with both - this is
>> the only manoeuvre that could validate any non-question-begging
>> ascription of "identity".
>
> But suppose we had a really good theory and understanding of the brain so
> that we could watch yours in operation on some kind of scope (like an fMRI,
> except in great detail) and from our theory we could infer that "David's now
> thinking X.  And it's going to lead him to next think Y.  And then he'll
> remember Z and strenghten this synapse over here.  And..."   Then wouldn't
> you start to regard the 1-p account as just another level of description, as
> when you start you car on a cold day it "wants" a richer fuel mixture and
> the ECU "remembers" to keep the idle speed up until it's warm.
>
> Brent
>
>> ISTM that the Dennettian approach is merely
>> to *assert* - given the undeniable "seeming" of conscious experience -
>> that this *must* be the case, whilst offering no glimmer of what the
>> nature of such a transcendent level of reconciliation could possibly
>> be.
>>
>> David
>>
>>
>>
>>>
>>> On 17 February 2010 05:07, David Nyman <david.ny...@gmail.com> 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?
>>>>
>>>
>>> Consciousness could be computable in the sense that if you are the
>>> computation, you have the experience.
>>>
>>>
>>> --
>>> Stathis Papaioannou
>>>
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>>>
>>
>>
>
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