[ExI] Nolopsism

The Avantguardian avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com
Mon Feb 8 03:11:54 UTC 2010

----- Original Message ----
> From: Ben Zaiboc <bbenzai at yahoo.com>
> To: extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
> Sent: Sun, February 7, 2010 3:04:36 AM
> Subject: Re: [ExI] Nolopsism

> Philosophically, it may be as you say.  Practically, though, it's not really 
> that useful because it makes no actual difference to the way we regard things 
> like fear of death, or to the law.
> It's in the scientific arena that nolipsism is most useful, because it explains 
> what subjectivity actually is, and clears the nonsense and confusion out of the 
> way.

How so? Siddhartha Guatama said that the self was an illusion some 3000 years ago only he called it the skandha of consciousness instead of a "de se designator". What makes nolopsism more scientifically useful than Buddhism? Are you suggesting that by sweeping consciousness under a rug, it can be scientifically ignored? I can imagine the dialog:

Chalmers: What is the neurological basis of phenomenal consciousness?

Pollock: Phenomenal consciousness doesn't actually exist. It is simply a necessary illusion of subjectivity. It allows you to think about yourself without knowing anything about yourself. Which would be useful if you went on a bender and passed out in the Stanford Library. That is, of course, if there were a you to do the thinking and a you to to think about. Which there isn't. But human minds weren't meant to go there, so you can pretend to exist if you want.
Julie Andrews [waltzing by]: Me... the name... I call myself... 

Chalmers: Oookaaay... So what is the neurological basis of the *illusion* of phenomenal consciousness?
Pollock: [glances at watch] Well would you look at the time. It's been nice chatting but I must be going now.

>  We know, at least in theory, that subjectivity can be built into an 
> artificial mind, and we can finally dump the concept of the 'hard problem' in 
> the bin.

So you think that programming a computer to falsely believe itself to be conscious is easier than to program one to actually be so. Or do you think that programming a computer to use "de se" designators necessarily makes it think itself conscious? A person could get by without the use "de se" designators yet still retain a sense of self. It might sound funny, but a person could consistently refer to themselves in the third-person by name even in their thoughts. Stuart doesn't think that "de se" designators are particularly profound. Stuart doesn't need them. Do you see what Stuart means? 
> The concept of a "de se" designator explains why we don't have souls, not why we 
> shouldn't have property rights. 

Property rights are no less abstract than souls. Neither seems to have a physical basis beyond metaphysical/philosophical fiat. Communists tend not to believe in either.
Stuart LaForge 

"Never express yourself more clearly than you think." - Niels Bohr


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