From: Ben Goertzel (email@example.com)
Date: Wed Jul 20 2005 - 17:46:08 MDT
Well, *my* interpretation of the "hard problem" is "explaining how/why there
is a connection between subjective conscious experience, on the one hand,
and particular physical phenomena like electricity flowing in brains on the
Chalmers may have put it in an overly objective-reality-flavored way, but I
suppose this is the essence of what he was getting at.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com]On Behalf Of Norm
> Sent: Wednesday, July 20, 2005 7:14 PM
> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
> Subject: RE: Objective versus subjective reality: which is primary?
> > What you're pointing out is basically the (in)
> > famous "hard problem of consciousness", isn't it?
> It's been a while since I read Chalmer's paper, but I seem to
> recall the hard problem being described in a way that presupposed
> the primacy of objective reality and placed the burden of
> explaining the "something extra" of consciousness on the
> proponents of the hard problem. I feel that this emphasis is
> arbitrary and that an equally valid approach would be to
> presuppose the existence of subjective reality and require that
> any would-be physical explanation of reality provide for (or at
> least not preclude) the obvious fact of subjective experience.
> It seems clear to me that subjective reality is primary from a
> subjective standpoint; whereas objective reality is primary from
> an objective standpoint. I think you hit the nail on the head
> when you said "each has their own validity, and each gives rise
> to the other in a certain sense." There are clearly interactions
> among them, but to posit one as more primary than the other (in
> the sense that one subsumes and explains the other) would be unwarranted.
> Of course, all of our observations, thoughts and logical
> arguments regarding reality originate from a subjective
> perspective, relative to which objective reality is in the
> deepest sense an unprovable hypothesis. Relative to subjective
> reality, objective reality is a construct of our own subjectivity
> - an abstraction on the horizon which can be approached but never
> reached. We can never "know" objective reality, but can only
> deduce it indirectly as a function of how it relates to patterns
> within our own subjectivity. Any understanding of the objective
> world is necessarily incomplete and inextricably bound to our own
> subjective points-of-view. In short, I think we are stuck with
> the fact that subjective reality is primary, at least from our
> perspective, because we are bound to the subjective
> point-of-view. While we can build strong cases for the existence
> of objective reality, in the end it would be begging the question
> to position objective reality as primary. Any theor!
> y of reality that fails to explain subjective experience is
> necessarily incomplete.
> Norm Wilson
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