On Wednesday, October 16, 2013 11:03:21 PM UTC-4, Liz R wrote:
> > wrote:
> The pixels don't have an obvious cause outside themselves unless you
>> smuggle your knowledge of electronics into it. Neurons are a character
>> within our conscious experience as much as our experience coincides with
>> some of the behaviors of neurons. We have no reason at all to imagine that
>> a brain has anything to do with 'consciousness' except because we are
>> taking our own word that we are conscious. On the level that we understand
>> the brain and neurons, there could be no such thing as awareness.
> "Smuggle your knowledge of electronics" into explaining the operation of
> an electronic device???
You don't know its an electronic device, you only know that there are
pixels because you can look at the screen closely. It's like the stop
motion video. You would have to suppress your knowledge of stop motion
video and what is possible in real life if you wanted to imagine how the
video would look to someone who had no experience with video editing. To
such a person, the video could seem like evidence of impossible things
happening. This is the case when we look at the data presented by
neuroscientific instruments. We are seeing a limited narrative which we
have interpreted under certain assumptions. If we used only those
assumptions, and suppressed our knowledge of consciousness, there would be
nothing which neuroscience reports that could lead us to discover any such
thing as consciousness. In his book Aping Mankind, Raymond Tallis talks
about the failure of neuroscience and evolutionary biology to examine this
view, what he calls the prospective view of consciousness. Any theory of
consciousness can make sense retrospectively, since you already know how
its supposed to turn out - with consciousness as an end result, but only a
theory of consciousness which makes sense prospectively can help us with
the Hard Problem and Explanatory Gap.
> If we can't take our word for it that we're conscious, whose word can we
> take for it?
We would have to take the word of neuroscience. If neuroscientific data
were enough to lead us to consciousness, then that is all that we would
need. If consciousness were like some other form or function, we could
simply measure whether something was conscious or not without having any
idea what consciousness is. We have to begin to approach consciousness by
forgetting that there has ever been any such thing.
> How can there be "no such thing as awareness" when we have good working
> models of eyes, the visual cortex, and so on?
We have good working models of cameras and video editing hardware too, but
that doesn't mean that they imply awareness at all.
> TBH I think you're just throwing out objections randomly; if you aren't, I
> don't have a clue what you're trying to say.
I'm trying to say that our contemporary approach to understanding awareness
is fatally flawed. It suffers from a leaky philosophical vacuum, and maybe
the premature confidence of a teenage civilization that imagines it to be
finishing a race that is only halfway done.
> I think it's time for me to retire in confusion.
Have a good night!
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