From: pdugan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Wed Oct 12 2005 - 10:10:26 MDT
>===== Original Message From Gordon Worley <email@example.com> =====
>> Phil Eby is an all-around keen guy, but I found today's post
>> really interesting. Reminded me of Cory Doctorow's short story
>> "0wnz0red" .
>Eby's essay is a perfect demonstration of technical explanation akrasia.
>He begins by noting that he's discovered a secret that is only a
>secret by virtue of poor explanation. People read explanations of
>the secret and then proceed to misinterpret the explanations to fit
>what they already know. He seems aware of this, but then fails to
>provide an explanation that is any better. Rather than tell us the
>secret in technical language (semitechnically, the experience of
>being you is not the same thing as the process that controls the
>behavior you experience), he just chooses an alternative metaphor to
>Buddha-nature and talks about the brain in terms of computer
>Yet Eby is aware that his explanation will be misinterpreted, not for
>lack of intelligence, but for lack of explanation that cannot be
>misinterpreted by intelligent people. So we find he hasn't managed
>to discover all of his own secret or take it all to heart: he
>ironically suffers from acute technical explanation akrasia.
You're complaint hinges on the concept that there is such a thing as an
objective or technical standard by which the nature of human consciousness can
be conveyed. The difference between writing about consciousness and writing
about, say Linux, is that "you" are trying to document the mechanics of a
system which is producing that very documentation. A completely thorough
technical documentation of human consciousness could be produced is by an
entity of transhuman or greater intelligence.
In the meantime, Patrick Dugan
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