On 24 April 2012 21:22, meekerdb <meeke...@verizon.net> wrote:

> 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?"

You may well be right, for all practical purposes.  But yet the
parallel with elan vital is inexact, as Chalmers - I think defensibly
- points out.  In the latter case, as he puts it, it isn't
controversial (at least, not these days) that all that ever required
explanation was structure and function; what was surprising was that
"gross matter" could in fact evince just such fine-grained structure
and function.  Hence, a full elucidation in those terms need omit
nothing relevant to the explanation that was originally demanded.

But that doesn't necessarily apply in the case of consciousness, since
it seems as if one can still ask for more explanation even after a
"perfected" correlation of structure and function with conscious
states.  It's a bit like "A Universe from Nothing".  Krauss is
(extremely) exasperated with "moronic philosophers" who pester him
with demands for an even more vacuous "nothing" than the quantum
vacuum, and future brain researchers may be similarly frustrated by
those who won't accept that systematic correlation of one domain with
another has exhausted what can possibly be meant by "explanation".  In
the end, it probably comes down to personal temperament and taste.

David

> 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.
>>
>> David
>
>
> 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?"
>
> Brent
>
>
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