Chalmers argument against a future scientific (physical) explanation of consciousness is profoundly disappointing. The argument is: if there were an atom for atom replica of a human being, then that replica could lack consciousness. Or, even if we knew 'all the physical facts' about consciousness, we would not thereby know what it feels like' to be conscious.Greta wrote:I suppose they can't because the physical sciences concern themselves with physical processes, not what it feels like to be, although they may be because we currently lack the computing power to work out all the relations between the many complex feedback loops in a body with a nervous system. Perhaps science itself will be subject to emergence when a sufficient level of calculation is achieved?Wyman wrote:No, not at all. I have only a passing knowledge of science. Part of the reason I am skeptical of Chalmers' approach (I am only on the second part of the book) is that I can't see how what I would call 'analytic frameworks' or theories have anything to do with physical or biological questions such as the nature of consciousness.Greta wrote: Do you know how, or if, theory handles thresholds and emergence? That is, after a certain level of aggregation, continued linear development is no longer possible and there is a state change, eg. star ignition, abiogenesis, consciousness.
His argument for those propositions? - 'it's just obvious.'
I find the very idea of 'knowing all the physical facts' problematic to say the least. And I do not find it obvious that a perfect replica of a human could lack consciousness - I have no idea whether that would be the case and neither does Chalmers or anyone else, since science is nowhere near that advanced.
I will carry on reading the rest of the book, but I find his 'arguments' against materialism downright amateurish - after he lists the arguments against a reductive analysis of consciousness, he then lists objections to his 'arguments.' Each of these objections are what I was shouting out in my mind as I read his arguments. The objections, in other words, are far more cogent and convincing than his arguments - which, by the way, are not his - they are a collection of arguments made by others. Hopefully, this is all leading up to a more interesting analysis in the second half of the book.
Any defenders of Chalmers, please feel free to set me straight.