On 25 Apr 2012, at 16:36, David Nyman wrote:

On 25 April 2012 08:24, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:

To say that consciousness is an illusion does not make any sense. Everything else can be an illusion, but not consciousness. I think we agree on that.

We do indeed agree on this. The word illusion has become so imprecise
in this context that it would be better to avoid it.  However, to be
fair, in this particular case Susan Blackmore seemed not to intend it
in any clearly eliminative way, but rather in the sense of a mirage -
i.e. a real something, but a something about whose precise nature and
cause we may be misled.

It is hard to say. I guess she want just to dismiss consciousness, as opposed to matter.



Of course, she assumes materialism, and this
makes it difficult to tie up a number of metaphysical and logical
loose ends (i.e. the "hard" ones).

Yes. Coherent materialists have to be eliminativist. It is a chance that few materialists are coherent!



But Brent is probably right that
most people will in the end be more impressed by technical wizardry
than ultimate philosophical illumination.

I would not separate them. The question consists in finding the less false conception/theory of reality.
Applications always follow. For the best and the worst.

Bruno




David


On 24 Apr 2012, at 20:57, David Nyman wrote:

On 24 April 2012 19:37, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com> wrote:

Really Susan Blackmore was the
only speaker that I saw who advocated a purely materialist view and
she was practically booed when she put up a slide that said
"Consciousness is an Illusion".


Susan Blackmore, New Scientist, 22 June 2002, p 26-29:

"First we must be clear what is meant by the term "illusion". To say
that consciousness is an illusion is not to say that it doesn't exist, but that it is not what it seems to be--more like a mirage or a visual
illusion.........Admitting that it's all an illusion does not solve
the problem of consciousness but changes it completely. Instead of
asking how neural impulses turn into conscious experiences, we must
ask how the grand illusion gets constructed. This will prove no easy
task, but unlike solving the Hard Problem it may at least be
possible."

The article in the NS, taken as a whole, suggests that her position is
more nuanced than the slogan you quoted might suggest.


I really loved her book "The search of the light", which was a rare serious and rigorous text in parapsychology. She debunked the field, and remains completely valid in her conclusion. But when praised by materialists for her debunking of those results in parapsychology, she became a super- materialist
priest, and lost her initial scientific attitude to some extent.
To say that consciousness is an illusion does not make any sense. Everything else can be an illusion, but not consciousness. I think we agree on that.

Bruno





David


Microtubules were well represented, as were fractals and Higher Order Theories, but nowhere was the kind of knee-jerk instrumentalism that I
encounter so often online. It seemed to me that variations on
panpsychism were more popular. There is a link to abstract book here: http://www.consciousness.arizona.edu/ if you want to read about all of
the presentations.

Craig


On Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 1:19 PM, Craig Weinberg
<whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:







On Apr 24, 8:59 am, Stathis Papaioannou <stath...@gmail.com> wrote:

On Tue, Apr 24, 2012 at 12:49 AM, Craig Weinberg
<whatsons...@gmail.com>

wrote:

But are decisions that a person makes freely caused or uncaused?


Both and neither. Just as a yellow traffic signal is neither red nor green but represents possibilities of both stop and go. We are the
cause. We are influenced by causes but to varying degrees. We
influence our body and by extension the world with varying degrees of
freedom.


EITHER something is determined/caused OR it's random/uncaused. This is standard use of language. You can define your own terms but then at least you should explain them in relation to the standard language: "what everyone else calls green, I call red, and what everyone else
calls a dog, I call a cat".


It is a standard use of language to say that people are responsible in varying degrees for their actions. I don't understand why you claim that your binary determinism is 'standard language' in some way. When we talk about someone being guilty of a crime, that quality of guilt
makes no sense in terms of being passively caused or randomly
uncaused. It is you who should explain your ideas in relation to the
standard language: "what everyone else calls intention, I call
irrelevant."


By this reasoning nothing can ever have an adequate explanation,

since

if the explanation offered for A is B, you can always ask, "But
why
should B apply to A?"; and if the answer is given, "Because

empirical

observation shows that it is so" you can dismiss it as

unsatisfactory.


It depends what A and B are. If A is a cloud and B is rain, then
you
can see that there could be a connection. If A is a neural fiber

and B

is an experience of blue, then there is a gigantic gap separating

the

two which can't be bridged just because we are used to looking at physical objects relating to other physical objects and think it

would

be convenient if subjects behaved that way as well.


If you're bloody-minded enough you can claim here isn't really an
obvious connection between clouds and rain either.


Sure, it's a matter of degree. If I squeeze an orange, it follows
very
logically that what comes out of it is orange juice. If I poke a microorganism like a neuron with an electrode, it does not follow
very
logically at all that comedy, symphonies or the smell of pineapple should ensue. At some point you have to decide whether sanity is real
or reality is insane. I choose the former.


But it's an empirical observation that if certain biochemical
reactions occur (the ones involved in processing information) ,
consciousness results. That you find it mysterious is your problem,
not nature's.


If I turn on a TV set, TV programs occur. That doesn't mean that TV programs are generated by electronics. Fortunately I just spent a week at the consciousness conference in AZ so I now know how deeply in the minority views such as yours are. The vast majority of doctors and professors researching in this field agree that the Explanatory Gap cannot simply be wished away in the manner you suggest. I don't find it mysterious at all that consciousness could come from configurations
of objects, I find it impossible, as do most people.


Craig


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