On Sun, Feb 21, 2010 at 9:52 PM, Brent Meeker <meeke...@dslextreme.com> wrote:
> Rex Allen wrote:
>>
>> On Tue, Feb 16, 2010 at 1:07 PM, David Nyman <david.ny...@gmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>>
>>> 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.
>>>
>>
>>
>> It seems to me that what we know is our subjective conscious
>> experience.  From this, we infer the existence of ourselves as
>> individuals who persist through time, as well as the independent
>> existence of an external world that in some way causes our conscious
>> experience.
>>
>
> I think it's fruitless to argue about which is "fundamental".

How are you defining "fruitless"?  What sort of fruit are you after?  And why?

I agree that the discussion isn't likely to lead to better ramjets, or
cures for terrible diseases, BUT...those aren't my goals.  Why would
they be?

To paraphrase Hume, reason is the slave of the passions.  But what
explains the passions?


> Obviously we
> have direct 1-p experience; but also that there are differences between
> persons.

So I only know my own experiences.  I infer the existence of
experiences which aren't "mine".

I have the experience of interacting with others who seem conscious,
but this happens in my dreams as well, where presumably those
dream-people have no experiences of their own.

However, my experiences certainly exist.  And even if they are
fundamental and uncaused, why would they be the only ones?


> So if we concentrate on the intersubjective agreement between
> different 1-p reports we find that we can make some successful predictive
> models of that 3-p world.

What does the experience of making and verifying predictions mean in a
deterministic world?  What does it mean in a random world?  (see my
previous email to David)

Why would the world be the kind of place where we have the ability to
build predictive models, and where these models would actually be
successful?


> At one time there was an assumption that the 3-p
> world could be modeled as a lot of agents, i.e. beings with 1-p experiences.
> But that turned out be an impediment and it worked better to model the 3-p
> world as impersonal and mathematical.  So naturally one attractive strategy
> is to keep pushing what has worked in the past.

Regardless of the true nature of reality, taking what has seemed to
worked in the past as a guide seems like as good a strategy as any
other.


> There's no reason not to
> try taking 1-p experiences as the basis of your ontology, the positivists
> tried to put physics on that basis, but so far it seems the way to make
> progress has been to treat 1-p as basic but fallible and quickly move to an
> external reality that is more consistent.

I certainly agree that using 3-p as a calculational device seems to be
the way to proceed when having experiences of designing ramjets or
trying to start uncooperative cars.

BUT.  SO.  HOWEVER...

Either conscious experience is caused, or it's not.

If it's caused, then either determinism is true, or it's not.

It seems possible to grasp the implications of all 3 resulting
scenarios...and to me they all lead to the same ultimate conclusion.
There is no reason for the way things are.  They just are this way.

You can describe the way things are (or seem to be) within the world,
and you can use these descriptions to construct plausible narratives
about how things within the world seem to be related to to each other.
 But there is no explanation for the world's (apparent) existence or
why it is the way it is.

Which to me actually seems like the answer.  The answer is:  there is no answer.

BUT...no one else seems to agree, so maybe I'm missing something.

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