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"The reason the book is in some way unsatisfying is that there's another aspect of the problem of consciousness for which no one has yet come up with a satisfactory explanation: why there's a clear intuitive difference between one organism that feels pain and another organism that acts as if it feels pain but doesn't really feel it, or one organism or system that has the experience of seeing red when a red object is in front of it, whereas another acts identically in every way but does not have the experience." -- edge.org
Seems like Pinker's been reading Chalmers. I've always liked Chalmers's ideas, but I thought he was pretty fringe. Pinker used to be a respected scientist, though (before he quit doing research to write pop science books) so it's intriguing to hear him talk about science's possible limits.

It's too bad Dennett totally ignores this part of the problem of consciousness, because it prevents some people from reaching the main body of his argument, which is fascinating in its own right.
"What about the person who said it? Did he mean it? Well, ask him. The person who said it will say, 'Well, yeah, I meant it. I said it. I didn't correct it. My ears aren't burning. I'm not blushing. I must have meant it.' He has no more access into whether he meant it in any deep, deep sense than you do. As E.M. Forster once remarked, 'How do I know what I think until I see what I say?'"
Which, of course, is why I'm writing this.


last timestamped: 18:10:16 23-Apr-2002
in categories:Philosophy/Mind

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