[ExI] Consciousness as 'brute fact' and meta-skepticism

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Mon Feb 10 03:26:12 UTC 2020

Speaking of definitions of consciousness, as I've repeatedly tried to point
out this is defined in the "Representational Qualia Theory
<https://canonizer.com/topic/88-Representational-Qualia/6>" camp as
"Computationally bound elemental subjective qualities like redness and
Abstract descriptions of the brain don't, by design (to be substrate
independent), have any physical quality information in them.  (i.e. the
word red isn't physically red)  The only way to know what color something
is is to have a dictionary for abstract words and descriptions back to the
actual physical (or spiritual if you must) qualities.

On Sat, Feb 8, 2020 at 1:03 PM William Flynn Wallace via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Defining words by equating them to other words gets you exactly nowhere.
> It's circular. Consciousness - awareness.  If you are going to be
> scientific then you need operational definitions, which are that the
> concept is defined in terms of the measurements.  Now an operational
> definition (OD) does not tell you what something IS.  It tells you how it
> was measured, like IQ is defined as a score on an accepted intelligence
> test.
> If you can't measure it, it isn't science.  However, all things start in
> the descriptive phase where all you can do is to use words for it.  But you
> have to invent tools to measure it so that you can communicate with your
> fellow scientists just what you did.  Highly preferable:  math measurements
> on an equal interval scale, like pounds or miles.
> Telling a person that intelligence is a score on an IQ test is very
> unsatisfactory, but that is what ODs do.  You could, perhaps, define
> consciousness by EEG tests, by reactions or lack of them, to various
> stimuli.  Here is where creativity comes in.
> No matter what you do, you will get flak from people who think that that's
> not what consciousness really is, any more than an IQ score is really
> intelligence.  Then you take your measurements and see what they correlate
> with, like IQ with school test scores,and go on from there.
> bill w
> On Sat, Feb 8, 2020 at 1:19 PM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On 07/02/2020 18:57, Will Steinberg wrote:
>> > It has always bugged me when otherwise rigorous science-types claim
>> > that consciousness JUST IS.
>> Well, before you start explaining something, you need to define it. How
>> do we define consciousness? Is there an accepted definition? 'Awareness'
>> seems to be the most common one, but that seems fairly simple to
>> explain, in terms of information in systems, that allows them to react
>> to their environment and other systems, and even themselves
>> (self-awareness).
>> Somehow, though, I suspect that won't be enough for some people.
>> If that's the case, those people need to come up with (and agree on) a
>> definition of 'consciousness' that we can use as a starting point for
>> investigation.
>> Maybe the actual problem here is defining the word in a way that is
>> meaningful and amenable to scientific investigation (which brings us
>> back to 'Awareness', as far as I can see,  and that's not something that
>> 'just is', it's something we can already explain).
>> Any other suggestions?
>> --
>> Ben Zaiboc
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