Stathis, Jason, and Brent,
How about we set aside the idea of consciousness for a moment and look
at what makes something a weapon. The materialist perspective would
hold that it must be the capabilities of an object that makes it a
weapon. If a pistol is a weapon, then anything that 'behaves like a
pistol' is 'a weapon', and therefore all weaponness must be
predictable by the physical components of the pistol an it's
interaction with it's ammunition. The firing pin hits the back of the
cartridge and bang, the bullet fires out of the gun, therefore it is
the interrelation between bullet-like objects and their acceleration
out of barrel-like receptacles which makes it is a weapon, QED.
My perspective is that the distinction of being a weapon is not a
literal, physical characteristic of a pistol, knife, recklessly driven
automobile, or hospital pillow. There is no specific mechanism which
causes 'weaponness' from Neither is the quality of being a weapon a
magical dweomer conferred metaphysically on some objects and not
others - that is the substance dualism category error. What I propose
is that the idea of a weapon is neither a fixed Platonic principle,
nor a relativistic 'illusion' or 'emergent property', but it is in
fact an irreducibly semantic sensibility. Not just a passive label
applied by the context, but an active, participatory sense-making.
A weapon is that which can be used to easily amplify one's subjective
motives to endanger someone or some thing into a literal threat. That
does mean that all objects are equally suited to be a weapon. You can
hardly fight a war using only feathers. Even though in the right
hands, a feather pillow can be used to smother someone, it's not the
hands themselves, or the pillow that are causing danger. It's the
motive behind the hand, behind the brain.
I know that your objection would be that there cannot be a motive
separate from the brain, and I agree, on the physical level they are
one and the same. If that were the case that there is no separation on
any level however, I think that there would be no intermediate level
of psychological experience at all, it would just be neurons computing
the function of a pistol without any need to consider it anything
other than what it is. Such a brain would have no use for categorical
labels like 'weapon', or any labels for that matter. A pistol is a
metal machine, a pillow is a feather machine, etc.
This is where it gets into inertial frames. Perception and relativity
rely upon persistent phenomenology which relates within one context
but not as much in others. It's both bottom up and top down so the
pistol lets you shoot intentionally, but the pistol also can result in
someone being shot unintentionally. In this example, we are talking
about the world as it appears from our perspective, so that how we
appear from the world's perspective (neurology) is a different frame
of reference (or the opposite side of the same frame of reference) and
therefore an obstacle to understanding the relation of subject to
object, and mind to matter.
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