This is a blog to discuss philosophy, chess, politics,
C. S. Lewis, or whatever it is that I'm in the mood to discuss.
Bonjour bids physicalism adieu.
There is an obvious response he never considers: the martian knows of its own internal information processing states when experiencing the two colors, and by virtue of matching them up to the two states in humans can pick which color is being observed by the humans.To patch up this obvious objection, he should leave out the part where God tells the Martian that the two states are what the Martian experiences when it goes through X and Y. That makes it a bit more interesting and tricky to deal with (though not impossible). But in that case it reduces to Nagel's bat so is nothing new.I think the hardest case would be to assume no humans exist, and Martians come to examine nonhuman species on Earth (maybe 6 million years ago or whatever). In that case, will the Martians ever need to hypothesize that there is something it is like to be a primate? That is a much tougher question. Why? Because if they are analyzing humans, then the Martians can make use of human claims about their own experience, about 'what it is like', which will enter as data into their theory of human cognition, and they ultimately (I would argue) realize there was a 'something it is like-ness' there.So, antiphysicalist, don't give the Martians humans that makes your case weaker. Next step, are the Martians conscious or not? To make the case harder for the naturalist, assume not, that they are scientific automata that can think and examine data, but are not conscious. Yes, this isn't very plausible, but as a thought experiment it makes it again much harder for people like me. If you assume they are conscious, then I'll just say they will have the concept of consciousness, will understand it in themselves in principle, and can use the resources in examining the monkeys. If they are not conscious, and perhaps don't even have that concept, this makes the thought experiment really tricky.This also gets around what I always thought was an easy out from Mary: she is conscious, she knows what it is like to know what it is like, so has the concept of consciousness. Once she has that, things just get easier for the naturalist.Turn Mary into a Martian that has zero phenomenal states, and it is studying nonhuman primates with no language. You have the makings of a bigger badder Nagelian/Jacksonian argument.Frankly, this is one I'm actually going to have to think about, it's a tough one....But the Bonjour piece? Nothing new really, except he basically weakend Nagel's argument making it easier to respond.
>There is an obvious response he never considers: the martian knows of its own internal information processing states when experiencing the two colors, and by virtue of matching them up to the two states in humans can pick which color is being observed by the humans.I reply: But doesn't this assume the conceptional metal state of an alien intelligence is comparable enough to a human that makes real communication possible? In science fiction we are often presented with Aliens who are practically human minds in funny looking bodies. What if an Alien Intelligence was more like a Lovecraftian Being (i.e something not really godlike...forget Durst's corruption of Lovecraft..but truly Alien) or the Alien in Solaris?Thus I think this easy response kinda begs the question IMHO.Cheers friend.PS Easy summery an Alien Intelligence(Martians) need not be mentally anthropomorphic (in fact we should assume it isn't) as it begs the question. But be truly Alien.Cheers again.
edit: I should have said "obvious response" not "easy" sorry.
BY: there is no need for communication of their results to humans, just for them to understand our species in their own terms. Also, Bonjour stipulates that they share two mental states with humans; indeed, that's the whole basis of his thought experiment (people who haven't grokked his paper, Section II in particular, will not understand my post above).I'll be thinking about my "new and improved" version of his thought experiment. Just to repeat: the martians are studying a conscious organism that does not use language, and they themselves do not have the concept of consciousness.Instead of assuming they are not conscious, as in my previous post, I am now just assuming they are behaviorist martians or something, without a concept of consciousness or subjective expereience. Funny thing is, now that I have formulated things this way, I realize this is exactly the approach taken by Wilfrid Sellars in his essay 'Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind' he initially delivered in the 1950s. His great essay is here, and gets at my question in Section 16. Beware: it is nontrivial reading. A guidebook would be helpful, the best in my knowledge is Knowledge, Mind, and the Given.
I'm done with blog comments for at least a week. Priorities need rearranging.
>there is no need for communication of their results to humans, just for them to understand our species in their own terms.I reply: But I always thought the point of Nagel was that you can't understand the mental processes of another species and said species. Humans can't really imagine what it is to be a bat but at best can imagine themselves as a human imagining they are bats?You are right thought. It's not light reading.Anyway I look forward to your future posts.
edit: as said species...
A major philosopher?I've been following philosophy for awhile and this is the first I've ever heard the name.How is this any different than a philosopher of the caliber of a Plantinga bidding physicalism "good bye"? We'd all think that it's obvious that a Plantinga would be inclined to make such a bold, unfounded claim.
You've never heard of Bonjour? He is indeed a major epistemologist. See his Amazon page: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_1_13?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=laurence+bonjour&x=0&y=0&sprefix=laurence+bonj
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