Chalmers Consciousness And Its Place In Nature Pdf
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- What Consciousness Is Not
- What Is It Like to Be Conscious? – David Chalmers’ Easy and Hard Questions
- Part I: The problem of consciousness
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Chalmers suggests that the dualistic non-physical element might be information. Indeed it might. Chalmers The Meta-Problem of Consciousness The meta-problem of consciousness is to a first approximation the problem of explaining why we think that there is a problem of consciousness. Chalmers 1 Introduction 1 Consciousness fits uneasily into our conception of the natural world. Kirk, Robert.
What Consciousness Is Not
David Chalmers is one of the most prolific and influential philosophers of our time 1. He is also one of relatively few contemporary analytic philosophers well-known outside the philosophical community, in particular within the sciences of mind. His broad influence and authority was demonstrated by the fact that when he visited Oslo this August, he engaged in an hour-long conversation with scientists about foundational issues in the sciences of mind.
All the same, he has been very keen to stress that consciousness is not merely mysterious or inexplicable; his aim is to give a theory of consciousness, in interdisciplinary fashion. Chalmers insists that a theory of consciousness will be non-reductive, but he opposes materialism without opting out of a scientific world-view.
Before the talk, over a hastily devoured meal in Glassbaren , he gave an interview with Filosofisk supplement. It is an honor having you here, Professor Chalmers. We would like to start with the beginning: You stirred up the philosophical scene with your first book, The Conscious Mind , in Why do you think that book got so much attention?
For one thing, it was being in the right place at the right time. It was a time when interest in consciousness was just taking a very big upswing, both in philosophy and in science — in neuroscience and psychology, for instance — and there were several big theories starting to come out. In his new book, Shadows of the Mind: A Search for the Missing Science of Consciousness , Roger Penrose had written about consciousness from the point of view of physics.
Francis Crick and Christoph Koch had been encouraging neuroscientists to come back and study consciousness. This led to a lot of activity and a lot of optimism, and maybe even some people thought they were about to solve the problems of consciousness.
I suspect that some of the interest in the book came from the way I engaged some of the works that was coming out of the neurosciences, and some of it was because of the upswing of philosophical interests in consciousness.
In any case, arguing against materialism is controversial, so that seems to have gotten people interested. You distinguish the easy problems of consciousness, which are those people presumably were being optimistic about, from what you call the hard problem of consciousness.
Could you expand on the relevant distinction? The easy problems of consciousness are those about explaining the relevant objective functions associated with consciousness, such as perceptual discrimination, control of behavior, verbal report, and so on, whereas the hard problem is that of subjective experience.
In the book, I went on to describe my preferred theoretical approach to the hard problem. I always thought of the distinction between the easy problems and the hard problem as just five minutes in the background of saying the obvious. Everybody knew all along what the hard problem was, but at least the terminology seemed to catch on quite fast, especially for scientists.
Now that we have some background, could you expand on the basic argument in The Conscious Mind that made it go against much of the orthodoxy at that time? The first half of the book sets out, broadly speaking, negative arguments against certain kinds of reductionist explanations of consciousness and against materialist metaphysics of consciousness. The second half of the book puts forward its own positive program in terms of seeing consciousness as fundamental properties.
Studying consciousness then becomes trying to find fundamental laws involving consciousness. My impression is that the first half of the book has ended up getting more of the attention. People are particularly interested in the negative program. The basic idea there is that purely physical explanations of consciousness are not going to work.
There are several different arguments there and maybe the one that got the most attention was the conceivability argument : You could conceive of any physical process you like in the absence of consciousness. I also made arguments connecting conceivability and possibility. There are two different points related to this connection: epistemological arguments against reductive explanations of consciousness and metaphysical arguments against a materialistic metaphysics, or reduction of consciousness.
These two points are quite closely linked. The first one is in the third chapter of the book and the second is in the fourth. Perhaps the connection between them was the central point of the first half of the book, although early on in the book I also spent quite a lot of work trying to clarify the relevant notions of consciousness and the different problems that they pose. I also extensively discussed the relevant issues about explanation, possibility, meaning, and so on, which was important background for the argument against materialism.
As we have touched upon, you argue against materialism on the grounds that you do not think it can explain phenomenal consciousness. However, when we leave materialism behind, there are a couple of different views one might accept.
How do you view the position you end up defending in The Conscious Mind , and could you also say something about how it relates to classical dualism?
I always thought of the arguments in The Conscious Mind as establishing only property dualism, which is the thesis that consciousness is a fundamental property not reducible to physical properties. There are roughly two ways you can go here. You can be a sort of monist: Consciousness will be a fundamental property at the basic level, but you are a monist in terms of substances. The other approach is to say that consciousness attaches at a higher level.
In the book I was interested in both, and I am still to some extent neutral between them. At the panpsychism workshop we had a couple of days ago, I gave a talk looking at the prospects of panpsychism.
Let us switch focus to your now famous zombie-argument, which is probably the single argument in the book that has gotten the most attention. The general idea of the argument is that it is conceivable that there are entities just like us, but they have no consciousness?
Yes, entities which are physically identical to us, but do not have any consciousness. I think I can make sense of that. I look at you and I think you are a behaving, functioning system. It seems I can make sense of the hypothesis that there is someone physically just like you without consciousness.
There seems to be no contradiction in the idea, so on the face of it, it seems to be philosophically conceivable.
People react in different ways to the argument. The argument really has two steps. The second step is that conceivability of this kind implies a certain kind of metaphysical possibility.
Some people argue against the first step. I suppose that more people, at least within philosophy, have been trying to argue against the conceivability-entails-possibility step than against the conceivability step, although there are certainly people who want to do both.
You have written extensively about two-dimensional semantics. Would you say that your interest in two-dimensional semantics arose from trying to cash out this relationship between conceivability and possibility involved in the zombie argument?
The secondary intension is fixed empirically and as a matter of fact picks out H 2 O. In the book, I try to argue that this general model about the relationship between conceivability and possibility is not suffiecient to save materialism from the zombie argument.
In this picture, the usual Kripke-cases — where something is conceivable but not possible, for instance water being XYZ — are analyzed as there being worlds where the primary intension is false, but there not being worlds where the secondary intension is false. That being said, the semantic framework is interesting in its own right. Since I wrote the book, I have become very interested in it for the purposes of thinking about the Fregean notion of meaning and different notions of the content of thought, and for many other purposes.
To return to the zombie-argument: Do you think that if you accept two-dimensional semantics, you have to accept the crucial premise that conceivability entails possibility? If you go that way, then you can have at least a variety of two-dimensional semantics without it supporting the connection between conceivability and possibility.
In a way, that is good, since I think the framework has got applications for thinking about meaning, content, and so on that are to some extent independent of those particular projects in metaphysics. This provides a way for people who are skeptical of the applications to metaphysics to still have some of the uses of two-dimensional semantics.
To return to the central theme of consciousness: The Conscious Mind came out almost 20 years ago. How would you say that your views have developed since then? Another direction in which my views have developed is that I have become much more inclined to see deep connections between consciousness and intentionality than I was at the time of writing the book.
In the book you isolated the problem of intentionality, and said that we can probably solve it with the resources of functionalism. But now you think that intentionality is deeply linked to consciousness, and that they cannot be analyzed independently of each other? I did leave this open as a possibility in the book. I said that intentionality has functional aspects and phenomenal aspects, and maybe I put more emphasis on the functional aspects, whereas now I would be inclined to put more of the emphasis on the phenomenal aspects.
Maybe the core of intentionality is the kind of intentionality you find in consciousness. You recently attended a panpsychism conference here in Oslo. Many people are negatively disposed towards panpsychism, maybe even more so than towards dualism.
How plausible do you think panpsychism is, especially compared to dualism? I think panpsychism has many attractions. It offers a very integrated picture of the place of consciousness in the natural order, in a monistic, simple picture.
It provides a potential causal role of consciousness in the natural order. I think of it as having many of the advantages of materialism and the advantages of dualism without having the disadvantages associated with the respective positions: too much reductionism for materialism and problems of physics for dualism.
These intuitions are very culturally relative and some cultures have found it very plausible. I consider the main problem with panpsychism to be the combination problem. How do the little bits of consciousness add up to the kind of consciousness we have?
I think these are still open questions. There are forms of panpsychism that you can view as forms of materialism. Mass and charge and maybe space and time have a phenomenal nature already. Likewise for pan-protopsychism, where the material properties end up being proto-conscious properties. However, I could be wrong about all of this and maybe the much more reductionist form of materialism is actually correct. But I would be surprised. In several places, you have criticized the prospects of current science to explain and study consciousness properly, first and foremost because much of contemporary science is a science of correlation and not causation.
Could you say something about why you find it so dissatisfactory, and maybe a little bit about how you see it moving forward? I have been very involved in conferences with the Association for the Scientific Study of Consciousness , 12 Toward a Science of Consciousness , 13 and so on. So what we have got out of the science of consciousness in recent years, as I see it, is basically a non-reductive science.
It is early days for doing that, but someone like Tononi is putting forward some hypotheses, and maybe there are others. So I suppose the distinctive pessimism I have would be just directed at reductionist approaches. Those are two very different things.
What Is It Like to Be Conscious? – David Chalmers’ Easy and Hard Questions
A pioneer in the philosophy of mind, David J. Chalmers b. The Australian can speak about zombies, quantum mechanics and virtual worlds without batting an eye. The most burning problem, however, is a thoroughly philosophical one: the nature and place of consciousness in the physical world. In philosophy, the first step is always to formulate the right questions in the right way. Chalmers became world-renowned after the publication of his book The Conscious Mind , which differentiated between two sets of research questions. In search of answers, Chalmers turns out to be a methodological pluralist: when trying to solve difficult questions, we need to use the results of empirical sciences in addition to intuition and philosophical arguments.
We thus cannot determine which of the available solutions to the meta-problem is correct without having already solved the hard problem. This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution. Rent this article via DeepDyve. It may be that Chalmers means something much weaker than this, in which case he might accept the bulk of the following discussion. Reductive realists might hold differing views on whether this explanation is accessible to us. More on this below. Frankish , , is reluctant to associate the strong illusionist view he defends with eliminativism, as the latter term carries certain connotations that he sees as inessential to strong illusionism.
Forgot Password? Already Subscribed? Create a Login now. Raymond Tallis. W ith the publication of his book The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory , David Chalmers established himself as one of the most assiduous, honest, imaginative, and talented thinkers working in the vast and overpopulated field of the philosophy of mind. In that tome, Chalmers did not avoid the abstruse and the technical where they were unavoidable, and only intermittently lost touch with the mysteries that strike us all when we think about consciousness.
Download Citation | Consciousness and Its Place in Nature | Introduction1The Request Full-text Paper PDF Chalmers () calls the first model "Type A Materialism" and it is based on the premise that everything is.
Part I: The problem of consciousness
David J. Chalmers Australian National University, Australia. This paper gives a nontechnical overview of the problems of consciousness and my approach to them. In it I distinguish between the easy problems and the hard problem of consciousness, and argue that the hard problem eludes conventional methods of explanation. I argue that we need a new form of nonreductive explanation, and make some moves toward a detailed nonreductive theory.
Вы набрали правильно, - сказал он осторожно, - но это служба сопровождения. Звонивший некоторое время молчал. - О… понимаю. Прошу прощения.
Ну конечно, - сказала она, все еще не в силах поверить в произошедшее. - Он хотел, чтобы вы восстановили его доброе имя. - Нет, - хмуро сказал Стратмор. - Танкадо потребовал ТРАНСТЕКСТ. - ТРАНСТЕКСТ.
Клюквенный сок и капелька водки. Беккер поблагодарил. Отпил глоток и чуть не поперхнулся. Ничего себе капелька. В голове у нее стучало.
Она наклонилась и что было сил потянула ее, стараясь высвободить застрявшую часть. Затуманенные глаза Беккера не отрываясь смотрели на торчащий из двери кусок ткани. Он рванулся, вытянув вперед руки, к этой заветной щели, из которой торчал красный хвост сумки, и упал вперед, но его вытянутая рука не достала до. Ему не хватило лишь нескольких сантиметров.
Это очень важная часть! - заявил лейтенант. - Это не ребро или палец, как в церквях Галиции. Вам и в самом деле стоило бы задержаться и посмотреть. - Может быть, я так и сделаю.
Он отдал распоряжение вырубить электропитание, но это все равно произойдет на двадцать минут позже, чем следует. Акулы со скоростными модемами успеют скачать чудовищные объемы секретной информации через открывшееся окно.
Стало трудно дышать. Сьюзан бессильно прижалась к двери, за которой, всего в нескольких сантиметрах от нее, работала вентиляция, и упала, задыхаясь и судорожно хватая ртом воздух. Сьюзан закрыла глаза, но ее снова вывел из забытья голос Дэвида.
Шестиэтажная ракета содрогалась. Стратмор нетвердыми шагами двинулся к дрожащему корпусу и упал на колени, как грешник перед лицом рассерженного божества. Все предпринятые им меры оказались бесполезными.
Скоро, подумал он, совсем. Как хищник, идущий по следам жертвы, Халохот отступил в заднюю часть собора, а оттуда пошел на сближение - прямо по центральному проходу. Ему не было нужды выискивать Беккера в толпе, выходящей из церкви: жертва в ловушке, все сложилось на редкость удачно. Нужно только выбрать момент, чтобы сделать это тихо.
Простите, сэр, вы, кажется, меня не… - Merde alors. Я отлично все понял! - Он уставил на Беккера костлявый указательный палец, и его голос загремел на всю палату. - Вы не первый. Они уже пытались сделать то же самое в Мулен Руж, в отеле Брауне пэлис и в Голфиньо в Лагосе. Но что попало на газетную полосу.
Первичное! - воскликнула. И повернулась к Джаббе. - Ключ - это первичное, то есть простое число. Подумайте. Это не лишено смысла.
Мидж… пошли. Это личный кабинет директора. - Это где-то здесь, - пробормотала она, вглядываясь в текст.
Мысли его перенеслись назад, в детство. Родители… Сьюзан.