An old post I redated
In a previous post I had written:
"Now let's try a plain vanilla argument from consciousness.
1. Probably, if naturalism is true, there is no consciousness.
2. There is consciousness.
3. Threfore (probably) naturalism is false.
Now, on the face of things, it looks as if the naturalist can respond by denying 2. Ah yes, what you think of as consciousness really doesn't exist. Or perhaps they will give you a definition of consciousness which eliminates salient features of what we common-sensically think of as concsiousness, while retaining the name. I take it that's what's going on in Dennett's Conscoiusness Explained, and that is why some have suggested the title should have been Consciousness Explained Away."
Ahab on the Internet Infidels Discussion Board wrote: I don't quite understand why you think a naturalist would bother trying to deny #2. It is #1 which seems obviously flawed by its question-begging assumption that if naturalism were true there would be no such thing as consciousness.
Well, consider this from Susan Blackmore in The Meme Machine.
“each illusory self is a construct of the memetic world in which it successfully competes. Each selfplex gives rise to ordinary human consciousness based on the false idea that there is someone inside who is in charge."
or Pinker from "Is Science Killing the Soul?"
"There's considerable evidence that the unified self is a fiction--that the mind is a congeries of parts acting asynchronously, and that it only an illusion that there is a president in the Oval Office of the brain who oversees the activity of everything."
Now if I am right rational inference is an inference done by some person. The same person must have the thought "All men are mortal" that thinks "Socrates is a man" and "Socrates is mortal." When I think of consciousness I mean that there is an individual, unified person who is conscious, and to tell me that there is no unified person is to tell me, in effect, that there is no consciousness. And this kind of a denial of a unified consciousness, on my view, undermines the possibility of rational inference on which the natural sciences rest. No one could prove the Pythagorean Theorem if there were no president in the oval office making the rational inference.
This is why arguments from consciousness can be part of the argument from reason family; because denials of what I take consciousness to be, denials made by major league naturalistic scientists and philosophers, have disastrous epistemological implications.