Wednesday, May 02, 2012

The Stanford Encyclopedia Entry on Consciousness

I find this section interesting.

4. The descriptive question: What are the features of consciousness?


William said...

Found a typo!

"Facts about conscious experience can be best incompletely understood from an outside third person point of view, such as those associated with objective physical science."

maybe should read at best ... ?

Heuristics said...

I would like to add conceptual experience to the list. As in it has the ability to have a universal idea such as of what a line is or triangularity, something which is something but does not refer to anything that actually exists in reality.

finney said...

I wonder how many of these Daniel Dennett accepts.

William said...

The author is a functionalist (teleo-pragmatism afaik .

It's one of those non-reductive physicalist positions that tries to have its physicalist cake and still eat the nonphysical too.

Nonreductive physicalism, it seems to me, amounts to some of the best hand-waving out there, since it says more or less that all is physical, but we can never do the reduction needed to prove it so. Chalmers has said this better.

Zach said...

William I am not a physicalist but I don't see it as handwaving at all. Chalmers has never said it is handwaving, not in general (maybe about consciousness he sees handwaving attempts to redefine the problem, but that is not the same thing at all). Multiple realizability and all that seem like genuine concerns for the physicalist. How do you reduce 'animal reproduction' to physics? You cannot, not at the type level. But that isn't to say that you should be a dualist about animal reproduction.

Zach said...

Note I think there are serious problems with physicalism about consciousness, even nonreductive physicalism, but to call it handwaving seems a mistake.

The problem is they can't even get token identities to work, much less type identities!!! That's where we (dualists) should focus our rage.

William said...

Good point. I retract that criticism.

But theories that are by their definition unprovable are still very inferior to what I consider useful knowledge.

For a nonreductivist there can be no finite type indentities. A finite, specified type identity would be a reduction! So of course they don't work!