On 3/20/2013 6:37 PM, Craig Weinberg wrote:



On Wednesday, March 20, 2013 8:26:04 PM UTC-4, Brent wrote:

    On 3/20/2013 4:51 PM, Tom Bayley wrote:

        There is not a "direct link" between the light switch and the light 
going on
        either, the closing of the light switch just caused a current to flow 
in the
        wire, the current flow didn't cause the light either it just caused the
        filament in the light bulb to get hot, it was the hot electrons in the 
filament
        that caused the electromagnetic waves to be produced.


    I think explanations are important to prove causation ;-) and it's 
interesting that
    you can break this example down. Each explanatory step is materially 
plausible (it
    has a satisfactory public explanation), right up to the perception of the 
light.
    But the qualia (qualium?) itself doesn't have a public description, and 
there isn't
    any sense of satisfaction that it has been explained. It's tempting to 
believe
    that's because it's a complicated step, but there seems no obvious way to 
reduce
    it. So as far as I can see it is still only an assumption, with the 
hope/faith that
    some plausible explanation will one day be found. I'm not sure there are 
many other
    widely-held scientific explanations like this one?

    I don't think you have considered carefully enough explanations that you do 
think
    are plausible: Did Newton explain gravity?  Did Gell-Mann explain quarks. 
Is life
    explained by chemistry? An explanation is satisfying when we can used it to 
predict
    or manipulate.  When we can build robots that act just like people and 
report their
    qualia to us - then we'll think we've explained qualia, and questions like 
"Yes, but
    what is it really?" will seem anachronistic.


That isn't a rebuttal to the promissory functionalism which Tom and I point out. You are only saying that you don't care about our objections, because of your faith in the future of your particular view of science. What reason do you offer to share your optimism, completely blind as it is? What explanations do you accuse Tom of not considering carefully enough?

It's not just my view. It was Newton's too which he expressed as "Hypothesi non fingo." And it's not optimism. It's a recognition of the limits of explanation. I listed three for consideration.

Bret

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