On 27 Sep 2012, at 04:24, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:

On Tue, Sep 25, 2012 at 3:34 PM, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:

If it has no causal efficacy, what causes someone to talk about the pain
they are experiencing?  Is it all coincidental?

There is a sequence of physical events from the application of the
painful stimulus to the subject saying "that hurts", and this
completely explains the observable behaviour. We can't observe the
experience itself. If the experience had separate causal powers we
would be able to observe its effects: we would see that neurons were
miraculously firing contrary to physical law, and explain this as the
immaterial soul affecting the physical world.

I find the entire concept of epiphenominalism to be self-defeating: if it were true, there is no reason to expect anyone to ever have proposed it. If consciousness were truly an epiphenomenon then the experience of it and the resulting wonder about it would necessarily be private and non- shareable. In other words, whoever is experiencing the consciousness with all its intrigue can in no way effect changes in the physical world. So then who is it that proposes the theory of epiphenominalism to explain the mystery of conscious experience? It can't be the causally inefficacious experiencer. The only consistent answer epiphenominalism can offer is that the theory of epiphenominalism comes from a causally efficacious entity which in no way is
effected by experiences.  It might as well be a considered a
non-experiencer, for it would behave the same regardless of whether it
experienced something or if it were a zombie.

The experiencer would behave the same if he were a zombie, since that
is the definition of a zombie. I know I'm not a zombie and I believe
that other people aren't zombies either, but I can't be sure.

Epiphenominalism is forced to defend the absurd notion that epiphenominalism (and all other theories of consciousness) are proposed by things that have never experienced consciousness. Perhaps instead, its core assumption is
wrong.  The reason for all these books and discussion threads about
consciousness is that experiences and consciousness are causally
efficacious.  If they weren't then why is anyone talking about them?

The people talking about them could be zombies. There is nothing in
any observation of peoples' behaviour that *proves* they are
conscious, because consciousness is not causally efficacious.

You can approximate consciousness by "belief in self-consistency". This has already a "causal efficacy", notably a relative self-speeding ability (by Gödel "length of proof" theorem). But "belief in self- consistency" is pure 3p, and is not consciousness, you get consciousness because the machine will confuse the belief in self- consistency with the truth of its self-consistency, and this will introduce a quale. The machine can be aware of it, and (with enough cognitive ability) the machine will be aware of its non communicability, making it into a personal quale.

I think you are doing a confusion level, like if matter was real, and consciousness only emerging on it. I thought that some times ago you did understand the movie graph argument, so that it is the illusion of brain and matter which emerges from consciousness, and this gives another role for consciousness: the bringing of physical realities through number relations being selected (non causally, here). Consciousness is what makes notions of causal efficacy meaningful to start with.

I think it is the same error as using determinacy to refute free-will. This would be correct if we were living at the determinist base level, but we are not. Consciousness and free-will are real at the level where we live, and unreal, in the big 3p picture, but this concerns only the "outer god", not the "inner one" which can *know* a part of its local self-consistency, and cannot know its local future.

Bruno





It is
emergent, at a higher level of description, supervenient or
epiphenomenal - but not separately causally efficacious, or the
problem of other minds and zombies would not exist.


--
Stathis Papaioannou

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