Do copies of you = you...from a physical determinism POV

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Paul C. Anagnostopoulos
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Post by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos »

Ian wrote:I am genuinely interested if my argument has any flaws. I'm not definitely saying it is right, I'm saying I'm unable to see any errors in my reasoning. If you can, then I would more than welcome your insights.
But what is the physical? It seems to me that it should be everything, that, at least in principle, can be observed by anyone with appropriate faculties and suitable instruments.
I presume you mean "everything and only those things." In any event, this is a definition. I disagree with it. Edited to add: My disagreement centers around the word observed.
Now there is something peculiar about conscious experience which marks it off from all other existents. It is simply this. It cannot be observed or detected by anyone with appropriate faculties and/or suitable instruments!
This is a premise based on ignorance.


~~ Paul
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Post by Interesting Ian »

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos wrote:
Ian wrote:I am genuinely interested if my argument has any flaws. I'm not definitely saying it is right, I'm saying I'm unable to see any errors in my reasoning. If you can, then I would more than welcome your insights.
But what is the physical? It seems to me that it should be everything, that, at least in principle, can be observed by anyone with appropriate faculties and suitable instruments.
I presume you mean "everything and only those things." In any event, this is a definition. I disagree with it. Edited to add: My disagreement centers around the word observed.
If it cannot be directly or indirectly observed, then how can it be physical??
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DanishDynamite
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Post by DanishDynamite »

OK, Ian. It is my understanding that the following is your proof that materialism is bunk. It is part of your response to Stimpy on page 5. I'll be commenting it along the way:
For the final time I provide my argument refuting materialism. This time read it and understand it.

Let me address the reason why I think materialism is unintelligible. What we need to do is take a look at materialism to see if it is internally consistent. Now the particular question I would like to address is why should we suppose that other peoples’ bodies are "inhabited" by conscious minds (or why phenomenal consciousness is associated with brains). Your argument no doubt will be that materialism stipulates this to be so; it is an axiomatic premise of materialism.
No, other conscious minds are not part of the axioms of materialism. Their existence is a deduction.
But this makes your definition of materialism an arbitrary one. A metaphysic which glosses over awkward facts. Allow me to explain.

It seems to me that materialism should stipulate that the physical exhausts reality. That once we have completely described the Universe in physical terms then we have said all that can be said about the Universe or reality.
No. First of all, materialism has no view on whether or not the Universe can ever be completely described. Secondly, it is my understanding that the axioms of materialism are just that reality is:

1. objective,
2. logical,
3. consistent,
4. and that it is possible to acquire reliable information about it from our observations.

(It is possible the above axioms are in fact the axioms of Science and that materialism has fewer axioms. Stimpy?)
But what is the physical? It seems to me that it should be everything, that, at least in principle, can be observed by anyone with appropriate faculties and suitable instruments. In other words all that is objective exists, or to put it another way, all that is discernable from the third person perspective exists. This will also include things which can only be indirectly seen (although strictly speaking I reject the direct/indirect dichotomy). This then includes such entities as electrons, because although they can only be "indirectly" seen they nevertheless play fruitful roles in our theories describing the world ie we need to hypothesise electrons in order to explain certain aspects of reality.
I believe the definition of "physical" is that anything which interacts with something physical, is physical.
Now there is something peculiar about conscious experience which marks it off from all other existents. It is simply this. It cannot be observed or detected by anyone with appropriate faculties and/or suitable instruments!
See my link in previous post.
Thus according to my prior definition of the physical it is not a physical existent. Thus I may have toothache to take an arbitrary example. But you cannot observe that toothache, all you can observe is the effects of the toothache, the grimace of pain for example. Conscious experiences in other words are irreducibly private.
Conscious experiences obviously aren't private. They can be directly shown on a TV monitor.
Now you will no doubt say that by observing the grimace, or at least by observing the neurons fire, then you are observing the toothache since materialism holds that the toothache and its neural correlates are one and the same thing, or at least aspects of the same thing. But an objective examination of this toothache will necessarily leave out the subjective irreducibly sensation of pain. The actually sensation of pain does not figure into the physical facts about the pain according to our prior definition of the physical. Nor can we infer the sensation of pain since, unlike an electron, the (phenomenological) pain does not play a part in any description of our behaviour. The pain per se cannot play a part because pain per se is not part of the objective publically accessible realm. Only the neural correlates of the pain can play any fruitful role in our theories.
I can't say at what point pain transducers will be available, but transducing the phenomenal experience of "seeing" from a 1st person perspective to a 3rd person perspective, is already available. See previous link.
metaphysic is internally inconsistent, or he must arbitrarily include phenomenological consciousness within his world picture. But if he opts for the latter then the whole prima facie plausibility of his world view crumbles away. No longer can he say that for something to exist it must be in principle be directly observable or play a fruitful role in some theory about the world, because this then necessarily precludes phenomenological consciousness. He
has to expand the notion of the physical to even include things that cannot be directly or even indirectly detected, even in principle!
As shown in the link, phenominal consciousness experienced by creature X can be observed by any number of 3rd parties.
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Post by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos »

Ian wrote:If it cannot be directly or indirectly observed, then how can it be physical??
Because it can be inferred. Actually, the term indirectly observed is okay if you're careful with it. In particular, my concern was that you might use observe as a synonym for experience. You are the only person who can directly observe your conscious experience, but I can observe it indirectly by interacting with you. And there is nothing, in principle, that rules out my direct experience in the future.

I also cannot directly experience what it is like to be a rock, yet you don't seem to think rocks are a problem for materialism.

~~ Paul
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Post by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos »

When you search the Web for definitions of materialism, most of them are ontological definitions. As I've said before, I think such definitions are meaningless. I have no idea what stuff actually is, and I cannot imagine any way to know.

So when I say materialism I am actually referring to scientific materialism, which is an epistemological viewpoint about what we can know.

~~ Paul
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Post by Cool Hand »

Thanks, DD. You saved me a lot of trouble. I really had no intention of addressing Ian's tired argument that no one has ever refuted any of his claims in his proof.

Of course many of us have in the two years we've been debating it.

Sorry, Ian, but it's true.

Cool Hand
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And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

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Post by Interesting Ian »

DanishDynamite wrote:
But what is the physical? It seems to me that it should be everything, that, at least in principle, can be observed by anyone with appropriate faculties and suitable instruments. In other words all that is objective exists, or to put it another way, all that is discernable from the third person perspective exists. This will also include things which can only be indirectly seen (although strictly speaking I reject the direct/indirect dichotomy). This then includes such entities as electrons, because although they can only be "indirectly" seen they nevertheless play fruitful roles in our theories describing the world ie we need to hypothesise electrons in order to explain certain aspects of reality.
I believe the definition of "physical" is that anything which interacts with something physical, is physical.

No DD, none of what you said has any relevance. But I'd like to pick up on your above observation. If you define "physical" as such, then materialism is established (if we leave aside whether maths exist objectively and physical laws).

But note that simply defining the physical in this way would not make the position I hold, subjective idealism, false. It would simply become a variety of materialism and my branch of materialism will be as far apart as your materialism, just as much as it is now. Playing around with definitions establishes nothing of any substance whatsoever.

Basically defining the physical in this way will result in what I argue to be 2 fundamentally different types of physical thing; namely those objects perceived directly or indirectly by the senses, and the mind which has those perceptions.

Now of course I know that you argue that they are the same type of thing, but you cannot win simply by declaring both to be material. Obviously that doesn't alter the actual reality. No, if both minds, and the minds sensory perceptions, are fundamentally of the same type of thing, with that thing being material, then this position needs to be justified by argumentation. Not just saying you are correct by definition.

As for the cat, I'm afraid it's wholly irrelevant. The totality of 3rd person physical facts does not entail or imply a first person perspective. If there is only physical causality, and this describes the entirety of reality, then there is no reason to suppose that the cat has any conscious experiences at all. Certainly we don't know it has. How could we? There is nothing, nor could there be anything, in the totality of physical facts about the world which could imply the raw feel of particular conscious states. So if they exist, this necessarily entails materialism is false.
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Post by Interesting Ian »

Cool Hand wrote:Thanks, DD. You saved me a lot of trouble. I really had no intention of addressing Ian's tired argument that no one has ever refuted any of his claims in his proof.

Of course many of us have in the two years we've been debating it.

Sorry, Ian, but it's true.

Cool Hand
I'm afraid he's said nothing whatsoever to put a dent in my argument. So if this is the best you lot can do . . . .
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Post by Interesting Ian »

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos wrote:
Ian wrote:If it cannot be directly or indirectly observed, then how can it be physical??
Because it can be inferred.
If inferred means something different from indirect observation you would need to explain in what way it differs.

Actually, the term indirectly observed is okay if you're careful with it. In particular, my concern was that you might use observe as a synonym for experience. You are the only person who can directly observe your conscious experience, but I can observe it indirectly by interacting with you. And there is nothing, in principle, that rules out my direct experience in the future.
If you believe the world is physically closed you can only observe my consciousness by presupposing the correctness of materialism. So you observe my behaviour, or neurons firing, and that is one and the very same thing as consciousness. But obviously non-materialists think this is completely absurd.



I also cannot directly experience what it is like to be a rock, yet you don't seem to think rocks are a problem for materialism.
They would be if they were conscious. Conversely if no consciousnesses exist whatsoever, that would not be a problem for materialism either.
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Post by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos »

Ian wrote:Now of course I know that you argue that they are the same type of thing, but you cannot win simply by declaring both to be material. Obviously that doesn't alter the actual reality. No, if both minds, and the minds sensory perceptions, are fundamentally of the same type of thing, with that thing being material, then this position needs to be justified by argumentation. Not just saying you are correct by definition.
But Ian, this is precisely what you do, only you declare them both to be immaterial. You've got the universal Mind, individual minds, and all the sensory inputs to the individual minds as one existent, yet they are so completely different. Every philosophy with only one fundamental existent has to deal with emergent properties. That's why dualism was invented (even though it doesn't solve the problem), and that's why people keep saying you sound like a dualist.
If you believe the world is physically closed you can only observe my consciousness by presupposing the correctness of materialism. So you observe my behaviour, or neurons firing, and that is one and the very same thing as consciousness. But obviously non-materialists think this is completely absurd.
I don't understand the first sentence. I also never understand what you mean by "one and the very same thing."
They would be if they were conscious. Conversely if no consciousnesses exist whatsoever, that would not be a problem for materialism either.
Why would conscious rocks be a problem for materialism, in principle?

~~ Paul
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Post by hammegk »

Cool Hand wrote:
Once again, Hammy, you demonstrate your obtuseness. That link demonstrates that the experimenters were in fact seeing what the cat sees (or at least a fuzzy version of it). That IS the hard problem. You can wave your hands and call it phenomenal consciousness all you want, but at the end of the day it's just so much bullshit.
As materialists wish the fact that they assume materialism true, then wave their arms to make unfortunate aspects of reality disappear under the weight of the bs they aver to be Truth is Truth.
Cool Hand wrote: I think we can conclude from your many posts and non sequiturs on the subject that you don't understand what the hard problem is.
Do you label all things you disagree with (or don't understand) non-sequitors?
Cool Hand wrote: Once again, as Stimpy has stated repeatedly, there will never be enough evidence for the anti-materialists to accept that the "mind" is simply the brain itself (and perhaps its neurological pathways in and out of it). Each time neuroscientists come up with more evidence to explain away ancient philosophical conundrums, the philosophers back peddle and try to invent a new "problem" for materialism. Face it, it's bullshit armchair nonsense. Meanwhile, actual scientists are in the laboratories learning about the brain and its functioning, instead of making ridiculous assertions that philosophers can never explore beyond mere speculation and conjecture.
I certainly accept that as your opinion. Materialism's problem do not needed re-invention. Where is your line separating sentience/awareness of surroundings from inert "material"?

It does provide a more scholarly appearance to defend your position assuming HPC is imaginary and material "real".
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Post by Interesting Ian »

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos wrote:
Ian wrote:Now of course I know that you argue that they are the same type of thing, but you cannot win simply by declaring both to be material. Obviously that doesn't alter the actual reality. No, if both minds, and the minds sensory perceptions, are fundamentally of the same type of thing, with that thing being material, then this position needs to be justified by argumentation. Not just saying you are correct by definition.
But Ian, this is precisely what you do, only you declare them both to be immaterial.
Hang on a sec. I do not simply declare they are both immaterial. There is the self, and the self's sensory perceptions. What I'm saying is that the self cannot fit into a physical description of reality. I argued for this in the post that DD addressed. So I do not simply assume the self is immaterial. Actually a materialist cannot believe in an enduring self at all.

As for our sensory perceptions, we do not know if they refer to anything beyond our perceptions. So if we reject there exists anything non-mental (material = non-mental) which causes our perceptions, we have no reason to think anything corresponding to the "material" exists at all.

You've got the universal Mind, individual minds, and all the sensory inputs to the individual minds as one existent, yet they are so completely different. Every philosophy with only one fundamental existent has to deal with emergent properties. That's why dualism was invented (even though it doesn't solve the problem), and that's why people keep saying you sound like a dualist.
I'm a dualist in the sense that I think there is a self, and that the self has thoughts, sensory perceptions etc. So I see a table before me. That table is not literally constitutive of me. So there are 2 things in the world, namely the self, and a self's thoughts and sensory perceptions.

This differs from normal (substance) dualism because they believe there is a self, the self's thoughts and sensory perceptions, and also a material world which causes those sensory perceptions. So a dualist believes in 3 things in a sense. But the self and it's thoughts/perceptions belong in the general mental realm, and the external world belongs in the material realm. So I'm guessing that's why they are labelled dualists. I, on the other hand, only believe in the existence of the mental realm, therefore I am a monist.


If you believe the world is physically closed you can only observe my consciousness by presupposing the correctness of materialism. So you observe my behaviour, or neurons firing, and that is one and the very same thing as consciousness. But obviously non-materialists think this is completely absurd.
I don't understand the first sentence. I also never understand what you mean by "one and the very same thing."
Physically closed simply means that everything that happens in the world is due to physical cause and effect. In particular, everything that happens in the brain is due to inputs from the environment and previous physical states of the brain. There is no non-physical self causally influencing anything (that would be mental causation).

Re One and the same thing. Imagine looking at a pen end on. You will just see a small circle. Now imagine seeing a pen from the side. You will see a long thin rectangle. But in both instances you are seeing one and the very same thing i.e the pen. Now I imagine this is how non-eliminative materialists view consciousness. Conscious experiences and neural events are one and the very same thing, it's just that the raw (phenomenological) experience is viewing consciousness from the inside (1st person perspective), and the neural events is viewing consciousness from the "outside" (3rd person perspective).

They would be if they were conscious. Conversely if no consciousnesses exist whatsoever, that would not be a problem for materialism either.
Why would conscious rocks be a problem for materialism, in principle?

~~ Paul
The same as why conscious people are a problem. Consciousness is incompatible with materialism.
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Back to the original topic!

Post by Interesting Ian »

Regarding the topic of this thread, there is a similar type of discussion taking place on the Internet Infidels board to which I have contributed (although my post is simply a copy of a post of mine from a thread on jref).

http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php? ... ost1667557
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Post by Cool Hand »

hammegk wrote:
Cool Hand wrote:
Once again, Hammy, you demonstrate your obtuseness. That link demonstrates that the experimenters were in fact seeing what the cat sees (or at least a fuzzy version of it). That IS the hard problem. You can wave your hands and call it phenomenal consciousness all you want, but at the end of the day it's just so much bullshit.
As materialists wish the fact that they assume materialism true, then wave their arms to make unfortunate aspects of reality disappear under the weight of the bs they aver to be Truth is Truth.

I do wish you could write less elliptically and more directly. Half the time I have no idea what you mean. This is one of those instances.
Cool Hand wrote: I think we can conclude from your many posts and non sequiturs on the subject that you don't understand what the hard problem is.
Do you label all things you disagree with (or don't understand) non-sequitors?
No.

Cool Hand wrote: Once again, as Stimpy has stated repeatedly, there will never be enough evidence for the anti-materialists to accept that the "mind" is simply the brain itself (and perhaps its neurological pathways in and out of it). Each time neuroscientists come up with more evidence to explain away ancient philosophical conundrums, the philosophers back peddle and try to invent a new "problem" for materialism. Face it, it's bullshit armchair nonsense. Meanwhile, actual scientists are in the laboratories learning about the brain and its functioning, instead of making ridiculous assertions that philosophers can never explore beyond mere speculation and conjecture.
I certainly accept that as your opinion. Materialism's problem do not needed re-invention. Where is your line separating sentience/awareness of surroundings from inert "material"?
It's more than opinion. Dualism apologists have been back peddling for decades. Every time neuroscientists develop more credible and reproducible evidence that the brain is where consciousness lies, dualists invent a new "problem" for the scientists to solve. Meanwhile, many of the scientists often don't give a shit what the armchair philosophers have to say about their work.

You second question is interesting. We do not know exactly how sentience emerges from sufficient numbers of the right kind of neurons and synapses acting in concert. We do know that inert material without neurons is not sentient. At least we can say we have never observed any sentient inert material, so it is probably reasonable to conclude than none such inert material exists (and I take your usage of "inert" to mean the opposite of "sentient," so I can reasonably infer that by definition inert material is not sentient). Nevertheless, your question really has nothing to do with 3rd person observance of 1st person experience--the so-called hard problem.
It does provide a more scholarly appearance to defend your position assuming HPC is imaginary and material "real".
As is so often the case, your commentary contributes little or nothing to the discussion.

Cool Hand
....life purpose is pay taxes -- pillory 12/05/13

And you run and you run to catch up with the sun but it's sinking
Racing around to come up behind you again
The sun is the same in a relative way, but you're older
Shorter of breath and one day closer to death.

"Time" -- Pink Floyd
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hammegk
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Post by hammegk »

Cool Hand wrote:
I do wish you could write less elliptically and more directly. Half the time I have no idea what you mean. This is one of those instances. [/b]
We agree on that.

Cool Hand wrote:
No.
Good.
Cool Hand wrote:
It's more than opinion. Dualism apologists have been back peddling for decades. Every time neuroscientists develop more credible and reproducible evidence that the brain is where consciousness lies, dualists invent a new "problem" for the scientists to solve. Meanwhile, many of the scientists often don't give a shit what the armchair philosophers have to say about their work.
At least materialism -- given acceptance of its premise that a only non-sentient (let's call it "physical) objective reality exists -- is coherent.

Interactive dualism of any form is illiogical so far as I can see. Non-interactive dualism is meaningless so far as I can see.
Cool Hand wrote: You second question is interesting. We do not know exactly how sentience emerges from sufficient numbers of the right kind of neurons and synapses acting in concert. We do know that inert material without neurons is not sentient. At least we can say we have never observed any sentient inert material, so it is probably reasonable to conclude than none such inert material exists (and I take your usage of "inert" to mean the opposite of "sentient," so I can reasonably infer that by definition inert material is not sentient). Nevertheless, your question really has nothing to do with 3rd person observance of 1st person experience--the so-called hard problem.
I believe you actually have a glimmer of understanding. Now, try following it to logically conclude the view point of materialism is "correct".
Cool Hand wrote: As is so often the case, your commentary contributes little or nothing to the discussion.
As opposed to that statement, seems about equal to you, here, now, anyway. :wink:
The most important things in life–beauty, grace, redemption, compassion, loyalty, love–are beyond the reach of reason. Which doesn’t make them any less real. Stay far back: I'm allergic to Stupid.

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Post by Paul C. Anagnostopoulos »

Ian wrote:I'm a dualist in the sense that I think there is a self, and that the self has thoughts, sensory perceptions etc. So I see a table before me. That table is not literally constitutive of me. So there are 2 things in the world, namely the self, and a self's thoughts and sensory perceptions.
Now I'm thoroughly confused, but so what else is new?

I don't know what it means for a table to be not literally constructive of you.

~~ Paul
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Post by DanishDynamite »

Cool Hand wrote:Thanks, DD. You saved me a lot of trouble. I really had no intention of addressing Ian's tired argument that no one has ever refuted any of his claims in his proof.

Of course many of us have in the two years we've been debating it.

Sorry, Ian, but it's true.

Cool Hand
You're welcome, AS...uh...I mean Cool Hand. :D
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Post by Interesting Ian »

Paul C. Anagnostopoulos wrote:
Ian wrote:I'm a dualist in the sense that I think there is a self, and that the self has thoughts, sensory perceptions etc. So I see a table before me. That table is not literally constitutive of me. So there are 2 things in the world, namely the self, and a self's thoughts and sensory perceptions.
Now I'm thoroughly confused, but so what else is new?

I don't know what it means for a table to be not literally constructive of you.

~~ Paul
Constitutive!! Not constructive. :o When I see a table, that table is not part of me is it??
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Post by DanishDynamite »

No DD, none of what you said has any relevance. But I'd like to pick up on your above observation. If you define "physical" as such, then materialism is established (if we leave aside whether maths exist objectively and physical laws).
I'm saddened that nothing I say has any relevance. I guess we're two of a pair, eh?

BTW, no, my definition of physical does not establish materialism.
But note that simply defining the physical in this way would not make the position I hold, subjective idealism, false. It would simply become a variety of materialism and my branch of materialism will be as far apart as your materialism, just as much as it is now. Playing around with definitions establishes nothing of any substance whatsoever.

Basically defining the physical in this way will result in what I argue to be 2 fundamentally different types of physical thing; namely those objects perceived directly or indirectly by the senses, and the mind which has those perceptions.

Now of course I know that you argue that they are the same type of thing, but you cannot win simply by declaring both to be material. Obviously that doesn't alter the actual reality. No, if both minds, and the minds sensory perceptions, are fundamentally of the same type of thing, with that thing being material, then this position needs to be justified by argumentation. Not just saying you are correct by definition.
I am not defining materialism to be true. I am simply defining the word physical. For fun, try exchanging the word "physical" in the definition with the word "immaterial".
As for the cat, I'm afraid it's wholly irrelevant. The totality of 3rd person physical facts does not entail or imply a first person perspective.
Not sure what you mean. If I watch directly what a person other than me is experiencing visually, is that not a case of 3rd person observation of 1st person experience? If not, why not?
If there is only physical causality, and this describes the entirety of reality, then there is no reason to suppose that the cat has any conscious experiences at all.
Of course there is. It is a resonable deduction from the facts.
Certainly we don't know it has. How could we?
By watching the TV monitor, for example.
There is nothing, nor could there be anything, in the totality of physical facts about the world which could imply the raw feel of particular conscious states. So if they exist, this necessarily entails materialism is false.
The raw feel of the cat seeing a tree branch is already documented. You can play the video back, anytime you want.
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Post by hammegk »

DanishDynamite wrote:
The raw feel of the cat seeing a tree branch is already documented. You can play the video back, anytime you want.
I'd say what is documented is the result *you* see after photons are processed via a cat's optic system and answer no part of the HPC aspect. That is, what is the raw feel for the 1st person cat if the cat was seeing the processing. (Hmm, I really don't like "raw feel", but it sorta points the way.)

We could use your optic system and perform the same operations. Do you think that I would then capture your raw feel of the experience of you seeing a tree?
The most important things in life–beauty, grace, redemption, compassion, loyalty, love–are beyond the reach of reason. Which doesn’t make them any less real. Stay far back: I'm allergic to Stupid.

The simple rule, the greatest plan, that he should keep who has the power, and he should take who can.

The only enemies of guns: rust ... and politicians.

Philanthropist (n.) - Someone who spends his own money to advance his version of Utopia. Socialist (n.) - Someone who spends your money to advance his version of Utopia.

“Jesus loves the little cheeses, all the cheeses of the world. Swiss and Cheddar, stinky, too. If He loved them, so should you. Jesus loves the little cheeses of the world.”

I'm right 98% of the time; who cares about the other 3%?