On 7/4/2011 12:53 AM, Jason Resch wrote:

On Mon, Jul 4, 2011 at 2:27 AM, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net <mailto:meeke...@verizon.net>> wrote:

    On 7/3/2011 10:30 PM, Jason Resch wrote:

    On Sun, Jul 3, 2011 at 10:32 PM, B Soroud <bsor...@gmail.com
    <mailto:bsor...@gmail.com>> wrote:

        "if you are thinking about consciousness, then what else
        could it have been but consciousness that caused you to think
        about it"

        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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