In my view, the "I" is how any particular subjective experience refers to
itself. I agree, you can't have consciousness without the "I" orientation,
although the ability to conceive of oneself may not be necessary for
consciousness. Consciousness requires only an experience of being, not
necessarily an understanding of the experience of being or self or "I". You
could say that the term 'consciousness' refers specifically to
self-awareness though, and I think it's ok to define the word that way. I'm
more interested in the hard problem - so not human consciousness in
particular but the faintest hint of awareness or sense as opposed to
completely non-experiential unconsciousness.
On Saturday, September 8, 2012 10:56:51 AM UTC-4, rclough wrote:
> Hi Craig Weinberg
> I seem to be a voice crying in the wilderness. So be it, but...
> When you say "Here I present ", how or where does the "I" fit into your
> philosophy ?
> You cannot have thinking or consciousness or intelligence or perception
> withut it.
> Leibniz would say, "If there's no God, we'd have to invent him
> so that everything could function."
> ----- Receiving the following content -----
> *Time:* 2012-09-08, 09:10:48
> *Subject:* Alice and Wittgenstein: Materialism, Functionalism, and Comp
> Here I present another metaphor to encapsulate by view of the relation
> between consciousness, information, and physicality by demonstrating the
> inadequacy of functionalist, computationalist, and materialist models and
> how they paint over the hard problem of consciousness with a choice of two
> flavors of the easy problem.
> I came up with this thought exercise in response to this lecture:
> Consider "Alice in Wonderland"
> Let's say that Alice is trying to decide whether she can describe herself
> in terms of being composed of the syntax of the letters, words, and
> sentences of the story from which she emerges, or whether she is composed
> of the bleached and pressed wood pulp and ink that are considered page
> parts of the whole book.
> The former I would say corresponds to the functionalist view of Alice as
> "roles and realizers", while the materialist view of Alice corresponds to
> the mereological "parts and wholes". To extend the metaphor to
> computationalism I would make the distinction between functionalism and
> computationalism as the difference between the string of English words
> being equivalent to the story of Alice (functionalism) and the same thing
> but with the capacity for the string of words to translate themselves into
> any language.
> - Materialism = pages in a book,
> - Functionalism = English words in sentences (literature),
> - Computationalism / Digital Functionalism = Amazon Kindle that
> translates literature into any language (customized literature).
> Although this distinction between comp and functionalism does, I think,
> make comp superior to either functionalism or materialism, it is still
> ultimately the wrong approach as it takes the story and characters for
> granted as an unexplained precipitate of linguistic roles and grammatical
> realizers. This is Searle, etc. The symbol grounding problem. In this
> respect, comp and functionalism are equivalent - both wrong in the same way
> and in the way that is orthogonal/perpendicular to the way that materialism
> is the wrong approach.
> What must be understood about consciousness, and about Alice, is that
> nothing means anything without the possibility of perception and
> participation to begin with in the universe. There is, to my way of
> thinking, zero possibility of perception or participation experiences
> emerging from either as that relies on a free lunch where either the paper
> and ink, the words and sentences, or the bits and bytes can spontaneously
> illustrate Alice and her world, as well as spontaneously invent the concept
> of illustration itself - of color and shape, of the lilt of her voice, the
> relation of those things to each other and how they are presented not as
> separate aspects being related but as a whole character.
> If we want to understand Alice as she is, not as she thinks of herself in
> terms of the pages, words, or bytes of her story, then I think we need to
> begin with the reality of Alice as 'the given'. We don锟� have to believe
> that she is anything more than a character or that her life is anything
> other than a story, but if the character and story were really the ground
> of being for Alice, then the book of pages (brain hardware) and the
> language typed through those pages (cognitive software) both make sense as
> ways of stabilizing, controlling, and reproducing aspects of the story. The
> book is what makes Alice in Wonderland a publicly accessible artifact and
> the words are what mediate from the public spatial sense to the private
> temporal sense.
> To extend this a bit more, we could say that the private *motive* to open
> the book, read the words, and imagine the characters and scenes in the
> story are what bind the symbols to the private sense experience. *Body
> needs the book, mind needs the words, but story needs the willing self*.
> The story is not bytes or words or turning pages, it is intentionalized
> interior sensorimotive experience and nothing else. The map is not the
> What this means is that all of the levels discussed in the lecture are not
> personal or sub-personal at all, but rather they are different aspects of
> the impersonal: impersonal (surface-topological) and impersonal
> (syntactic-operational). I propose a whole other indispensable half of this
> picture of consciousness and experience of which to paraphrase
> Wittgenstein, we cannot speak, thereof we must remain silent. *We can
> however, listen*.
> We cannot speak about the personal, but we can know what it is to be a
> person. We can realize ourselves directly, as an autonomous presence
> without converting ourselves into an external appearance or function. We
> can let human experience be human experience on it's native level, in it's
> native language, and nothing less. We are not merely aggregates of bytes
> and cells nor fragments of inevitable evolutionary algorithms of
> speciation, we are also irreducibly people with irreducibly human bodies.
> We propagate a conscious experience directly into our environment of our
> own (quasi-free) will, out of our own anthropological sense and motive. Of
> course the sub-personal and super-personal levels inform and influence our
> every choice and desire, but that doesn't negate the fact that there is a
> something personal to which these choices and desires actually refer.
> The psyche, to continue with the Alice in Wonderland metaphor, has a
> protagonist - an Alice. It has other characters too, and themes, and a
> plot, etc锟�r does it? Does it literally 锟�ave a plot�, or are stories more
> of an experience with multiple frequency layers of events, memories, and
> expectations? These are the kinds of considerations we would have to make
> if we want to look at what consciousness actually is scientifically. Maybe
> it is better not to try to do that, or maybe it shouldn't be the concern of
> science. I am okay with that. But we should not be confused about what we
> are doing when we work with the vehicles and shadows of consciousness - the
> names and numbers, substances and functions. If we lose the realism of the
> self, then we will make books that publish their own empty stories, written
> by focus-group algorithms about the wonders of algorithms and emptiness and
> self-publishing books.
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