On Apr 24, 4:03 pm, David Nyman <da...@davidnyman.com> wrote:

> 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.

Yes, in a sense I agree that the Easy Problem of Consciousness has
more to offer in terms of scientific promise, but I see a real danger
in allowing that to define the culture of consciousness research. As
it filters down to the public at large also, I think what you get is a
lot of teachers and students who are quite satisfied with the idea
that everything that they experience is an illusion and that reality
lies permanently elsewhere in microcosmic obscurity. As recent
experiments have shown the negative impact of disbelief in free will,
I think there are many other social consequences which follow from a
worldview in which the world is ultimately unviewed and the viewer is
ultimately unworlded. It's especially important for me because I can
see clearly that the principle of sense cuts through this mistake and
allows us to be present in a world that is real in many overlapping
and underlapping private and public 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.

You are probably right, probably a lot of political pundits are
likewise not so opinionated in private. There is always a need for
people who will represent politically incorrect opinions in public.


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