Re: The dangers of genuine ignorance (was: Volitional Morality and Action Judgement)

From: David Cake (
Date: Fri May 28 2004 - 00:38:10 MDT

>fudley wrote:
>>On Thu, 27 May 2004, "Marc Geddes" <> said:
>>>Conclusions: Higher level forms of qualia are
>>>obtained through multiple recursion of the
>>>laws of logic.
>>Consciousness (but not intelligence!) theories are a dime a dozen because
>>there are no facts they need explain.
>The fact that needs explaining is: "Why do people believe they are
>conscious?" When David Chalmers says "I have qualia", air vibrates,
>his lips move, a physical event bound into the universe of cause and
>effect. The problem with panpsychism is that if you can't measure
>the so-called "awareness" of elementary particles, the alleged
>"awareness" can't affect Chalmers's brainstate in any way. Cannot
>be the agency responsible, in *any* sense, for making Chalmers's
>lips move. Eliminate the postulate of panpsychism, and everything
>remains exactly the same, including the real explanation for
>Chalmers's lips moving.

        Delurking momentarily.
        I think there is nothing wrong with a functionalist view of
qualia. My opinion is that 'qualia' as used by most philosophers end
up being essentially those functional descriptions of consciousness
and the processes of thought that are not obvious. Yes, there is a
difference between a strict functional definition of an experience,
that is simply acquiring the knowledge that comes with that
experience, and the actual experience of doing so, but its by virtue
of embedding that thought in a very complex brain/consciousness with
many properties that are not obvious or explained easily.
Nevertheless, such properties have a physical reality and can be
physically explored, and neuroscience and psychology will reveal many
of them to philosophers that deign to dirty their hands with actual
        I'm aware of the philosophical challenges to this viewpoint
(inverted qualia, etc) but in as much as they all rest on postulating
a being that is exactly the same in every way we can measure, only
different in some crucial manner that we can't, I don't think there
is a lot of value there.
        Awareness is a property of a system, IMO. A particle can't
have awareness any more than a particle can have, say, transitivity.
Only more so.

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