On 8/23/2012 1:04 PM, Quentin Anciaux wrote:

    The hardest part of the mind/body problem is figuring out exactly what the 
    problem is

An explanation on how consciousness arises in the body.

    and what "solving" it is supposed to mean.

Know how consciousness works and how it is related to the physical body.


It's useful to think of what kind of explanation we might find satisfactory. In other fields, once we have an explanation that fits in with other theories and which allows use to manipulate or predict things we call it an explanation. When Newton came up with his theory of gravity he was asked how gravity exerted a force at a distance. He replied "Hypothesi non fingo." Yet gravity was considered a good explanation of planetary motion, ballistics, and other phenomena. Eventually, Einstein found a better explanation - one that agreed with a few more observations and which answered the force-at-a-distance problem. But it still leaves the question; how does matter warp spacetime? And Einstein might have given the same answer as Newton. That's why I think that when consciousness is 'explained' it will just be that we will have solved the engineering problems of AI and robotics to such a degree that everyone will agree that we can make conscious robots and that we can make them with different personalities and we can manipulated and interconnect brains in ways that people describe as changing their consciousness, etc. And we will just stop thinking of consciousness as "the hard problem" because it will be seen as an ancillary question - like, how does gravity act at a distance.


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