Facing Up to the Problems of "Facing Up to the Problems of Consciousness" These are actually just problems I have which may be resolved with some clarification- I just couldn't resist that title. (Yes, I know, I'm SO original. ) BTW I ended up asking more questions than I intended to, I really want to understand this, I greatly appreciate everyone's help, and I certainly don't mind working for the answers. Quotes in indigo are from Chalmers' "Facing Up to the Problems of Consciousness." I'm rather new to the easy v. hard distinction, but, from what I gather, the hard question is answered by 1) settling on some system of "methodological and philosophical rules and assumptions"- or defining what qualifies as an acceptable answer- then 2) stating the necessary and sufficient conditions from which experience follows or which give rise to consciousness. The first step may need some explaining, but presumably the hard question is only hard under certain combinations of rules and assumptions, since they define and are used to evaluate the second step, the "necessary and sufficient conditions from which experience follows". No? Have I made that more difficult than necessary? I need a statement in the form, "The hard question is answered by...". "I suggest that a theory of consciousness should take experience as fundamental. We know that a theory of consciousness requires the addition of something fundamental to our ontology, as everything in physical theory is compatible with the absence of consciousness." (I guess I should say that I'm not yet convinced that experience cannot be explained as an emergent property so you know where I'm coming from.) Though it may follow from his assumptions- and I'm not sure it does- my main problem is that this seems like such a cop-out, as he seems to admit and excuse: "Of course, by taking experience as fundamental, there is a sense in which this approach does not tell us why there is experience in the first place. But this is the same for any fundamental theory. Nothing in physics tells us why there is matter in the first place, but we do not count this against theories of matter. Certain features of the world need to be taken as fundamental by any scientific theory. A theory of matter can still explain all sorts of facts about matter, by showing how they are consequences of the basic laws. The same goes for a theory of experience." Since when was the hard question asking "why there is experience in the first place"? Hasn't he changed the question? Granted, it may end up being swallowed by the "creation of the universe" question, but isn't that a different question? That is, is his "naturalistic dualism" a possible answer to the hard question, or is it a claim that the hard question cannot be answered? It seems that defining experience as fundamental makes it an easy problem: "The easy problems are easy precisely because they concern the explanation of cognitive abilities and functions." Isn't the problem hard only when experience is assumed to not be fundamental? (I'm new to the following also but indulge me.) Is he doing something analogous to completing an incomplete system by adding G to its axiom set? If this process is acceptable, (when) does it ever end? And how does he know this very process is not the mechanism which gives rise to experience? He has argued in another paper, published the same year as "Facing Up...", that "the assumption that we know we are sound leads to a contradiction." Now, I'm on very thin ice here for several reasons, but it seems like he is assuming his combination of rules and assumptions (CRA) are true, he knows he experiences, yet he knows he cannot demonstrate that he can experience from his current set of rules and assumptions. He says, "Experience may arise from the physical, but it is not entailed by the physical." So he takes experience as fundamental- that is, he adds it to his CRA. Ugh, I don't know enough to make an argument with this, and I'm tempted to delete this part, but I really want to know what is going on here, and I suspect it is relevant to his argument. (Please go easy on me- those are all honest questions. ) "For any physical process we specify there will be an unanswered question: Why should this process give rise to experience? Given any such process, it is conceptually coherent that it could be instantiated in the absence of experience. It follows that no mere account of the physical process will tell us why experience arises. The emergence of experience goes beyond what can be derived from physical theory." I don't understand what he means by "conceptually coherent". Does he mean "it is possible that..."? Is he evaluating it from inside or outside of his CRA? He does seem to admit that his CRA, or "physical theory", is incomplete. But I don't know if physical theory- in itself- meets the requirements for Gödel's incompleteness theorems to apply. I also don't understand the difference between entailment and implication though I have tried to find consistent definitions (I understand implication). I also don't understand the difference between proof and demonstration. Mathworld defines "proof" as "a rigorous mathematical argument which unequivocally demonstrates the truth of a given proposition." It has no definition for "demonstration" and begins the definition of "rigorous" with "A proof or demonstration is said to be rigorous..." My main problem arises because I don't understand how he concludes that experience is not entailed by the physical. Is the problem with forming or deciding the statement? Or something else? Finally, I started this thread mainly to clarify the meanings of intrinsic, extrinsic, and emergent properties as they are used in the context of consciousness. And I'd like to understand the implications of defining these three terms in different ways, as they relate to each other. For even a little help with a single part of this, thank you.