RE: Conscious of the hard problem

O'Regan, Emlyn (
Fri, 25 Jun 1999 17:19:34 +1000

> Ron McClain =
> >> If some folks are going to hold that science can't explain
> >> the subjective, then maybe there's no point in coming up with elaborate
> >> schemes to prove that?
> correct: these folks are just plain constitutionally incapable of
> understanding how phlogiston, ether, light, magnetism & chemistry, and
> life
> force all got reduced to heat, nothing, QED, and DNA respectively.
> They also can't understand how a theory of the mind is possible. I am not
> sure why, but having tried I accept now that it is impossible to convince
> them otherwise - they can;t see it just like we can't hear bats. Sad but
> true. Try not to have too many of them around you.
> >>It seems that any scenario to prove the "failure"
> >> of science on this, is itself going to be a kind of science or
> >> engineering or materials scenario, maybe even involving "ghost energy"
> >> of some sort? How can any materialist or realist scenario prove that
> >> realism is missing an essential component?
> They are unrealists - they don't have to prove anything - they assert it
> so
> and that is proof. Just like Angela Dworkin claims that if any woman
> anywhere, anytime, ever claims that a thing is pornographic, that that is
> incontrovertible proof that that thing should be banned.
> best,
> tim
It's good to see people who are such passionate advocates of materialism. I'm hoping that you'll probably be the first to volunteer for uploading. Then we can ask you if it's still you afterwards. You don't mind if your originial body is destroyed in the process, I hope, those early period brain state scans could be a little destructive.

Hmmm, except even if it's a zombie version of you in the machine, and the real you has been extinguished, the uploaded zombie will probably protest that it really is you and really is conscious. Or a materialist might deny his/her own consciousness, no matter if a zombie or not. Oh well, there's a lot of materialists for test subjects, we'll just have to be careful to keep a few to figure out experimental criteria to decide this question more carefully.

Or we could just use the uploaded maybe-zombies to design and run these experiments, there's nothing to suggest that a zombie couldn't be a good experimenter.

Anyway, a materialist wont mind if self isn't continued across media (ie: into the machine). As long as there is something in the universe which is indistinguishable from you by any administerable test, well, then that's you. Even if it isn't.

Meanwhile, I'll keep trying to wrap my feeble mind around this new interpretation of phlogiston and the ether. That durned DNA thing'll never catch on.


Q: If a materialist falls in the forest, does he make a sound? A: Who cares?

  1. My materialist has no nose
  2. How does she smell?
  3. She can't smell, she doesn't have a nose