[ExI] The alleged existence of consciousness

Spencer Campbell lacertilian at gmail.com
Fri Feb 19 05:57:57 UTC 2010

Gordon Swobe <gts_2000 at yahoo.com>:
> Now then should we consider consciousness an adaptive trait or a non-adaptive trait? I think it clearly qualifies as an adaptive trait, and I think you will agree. Conscious awareness enhances intelligence and gives the organism more flexibility in dealing with multiple stimuli simultaneously.

See, it's remarks like these that make me think you and I mean
completely different things when we use the word "consciousness". I
give it a more metaphysical position. I say philosophical zombies are
conceivable, but, as far as my reasoning goes, physically impossible.

Imagine the whole physical universe as a bubble. Next to it, place a
"godhead" bubble; an entirely distinct universe which is built out of
the stuff of phenomenal experience rather than spacetime and such. Now
arbitrarily suppose a one-way line of communication between the two
bubbles, so that the mechanistic universe is feeding content to the
phenomenal universe. There is no way to determine that the downloading
bubble exists from within the uploading bubble, even if you suppose
that it does.

That's about what I think consciousness is right now, but I'm not
anywhere near satisfied with it as a theory. It's inelegant and naive.
I see no reason why reality should be set up in that way; the only
utility I'm getting out of believing this is to ward off any troubling
thoughts about the role of consciousness in the world.

I am not a consciousness researcher, and I do not intend to become
one, so thoughts like those are less than productive for me. Not that
chatting about it here is any less a waste of time, of course; I've
long since come to regard Extropy-Chat as purely a source of idle

At least it's better brainfood than TV.

More information about the extropy-chat mailing list