On 7/4/2011 12:53 AM, Jason Resch wrote:
On Mon, Jul 4, 2011 at 2:27 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net
On 7/3/2011 10:30 PM, Jason Resch wrote:
On Sun, Jul 3, 2011 at 10:32 PM, B Soroud <bsor...@gmail.com
"if you are thinking about consciousness, then what else
could it have been but consciousness that caused you to think
Are you saying consciousness literally causes you to
objectify consciousness? Consciousness as a base is required
to reflect on consciousness... the question is whether
consciousness can truly be objectified or only falsely so.
There appears to be some confusion. This is what I am saying:
Selva asked if consciousness is causally effective. My response
is a thought experiment designed to show that it is:
1. Assume consciousness is not causally effective
2. It follows that consciousness has no effects
3. If consciousness has no effects, then whether present or not
it makes do difference in what happens
4. Consider a universe identical to this one only without any
consciousness (this is possible only in the case where
consciousness is causally inert)
5. This universe would have zombie humans that talk about
consciousness, that appear to wonder about consciousness, that
write e-mail threads about consciousness, and so on, yet all this
is happening in a universe where consciousness does not exist.
6. It seems odd that there would be zombies talking and wondering
about consciousness in a universe where there is no such thing as
If on the other hand, consciousness is causally effective, as I
believe it is, then zombie universes cannot be identical to our
own. Perhaps you see nothing wrong with a zombie universe with
beings wondering about consciousness, but if you do, then you
should doubt the assumption made at step 1.
You can make the parallel argument to show that the elan vital
must be causally effective too.
Please explain what steps 5 and 6 would be for an argument showing the
causal effectiveness of a vital force, I was not able to come up with
one that fit.
It's like reifying "the weather" and then asking can there be wind
and rain and sunshine without "the weather".
I think one of us is missing the other's point, but I am not sure who.
Do you think epiphenominalism is a consistent and valid possibility?
And if not, what led you to that conclusion? If you do, why do you
think we evolved consciousness in the first place (if it has no
effects), why do we feel thirst if it has no bearing (according to
epiphenominalism) on whether or not we decide to get water?
I you're thirsty you have a feeling that will be relieved by getting a
drink. If you sleepy you'll want to take nap. But what is added to
this by collecting thirst and sleepiness into a category called "be
conscious of..."? I think consciousness is the selection of experiences
for inclusion in an inner narrative for the purpose of forming
memories. We have this inner narrative because for evolutionary reasons
(and perhaps for technical ones we don't yet understand) the formation
of the narrative into language and symbols uses the same brain
structures and processes as used for perception. This selective
memorization of what seems important is essential to learning. Whether
it's use of the same processes as perception is essential I don't know.
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