On 4/24/2012 1:03 PM, David Nyman wrote:
On 24 April 2012 20:07, Craig Weinberg<whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:
I still don't see how calling it a mirage or illusion gets around the hard
problem at all. A mirage to whom? Why or how is it there at all? For
me the issue was never the veracity of the content of consciousness
compared to external measurements, it is that there can be any content
in the first place.
Yes, but her position is that empirical science has no purchase on the
latter question (that's why it's Hard), but may be able to make
progress on correlating brain activity with conscious states, and in
the process perhaps re-describe either or both sides of the coin in
helpful ways. I recently read an interesting interview with Patricia
Churchland - pretty much universally regarded as the High Priestess of
Denialism with respect to consciousness - and she vigorously rejected
the idea that she had ever sought to do any such thing. In fact, she
and Paul now regret ever adopting the sobriquet "eliminative
materialism", which she attributes to Richard Rorty (a bloody
philosopher!). Again, the Churchlands' project, like Blakemore's, is
correlation and categorisation, not metaphysics. Trouble is, as you
say, if you've got Deepak Chopra in the other chair, the conversation
is apt to get somewhat polarised. But, political posturing aside,
away from the public gaze there is often lot more doubt than the
slogans would suggest.
As I've posted before, when we know how look at a brain and infer what it's thinking and
we know how to build a brain that behaves as we want, in other words when we can do
consciousness engineering, the "hard problem" will be bypassed as a metaphysical
non-question, like "Where did the elan vital go?"
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