[Wittrs] Re: Dennett's paradigm shiftiness--Reply to Stuart

  • From: "BruceD" <blroadies@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: wittrsamr@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 01 Mar 2010 00:35:33 -0000

--- In Wittrs@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, "SWM" <SWMirsky@...> wrote:

> The point is what is consciousness, i.e., is it a feature (or
features) of a certain kind of system or
>  is it something that cannot be reduced to that?

Your questions are confusing. Easily I can say "consciousness is a
feature of organismic systems, simply meaning, some organisms are
conscious. Where is the puzzle here?

Reduction? If X is a feature of a system it is part of the system and
not reduced to it.

> If it can be reduced to that in brains

No "if" about it, in one sense. I can refer to the parts of the brain
that are correlated with various conscious states. But there is no
reduction here. I'm simply attributing to the brain "mental" features
which, of course, the brain doesn't have, the person has.

> The question is what is consciousness, what is it that we are saying
is caused?

Which begs the question of whether consciousness is the sort of concept
that can be accounted for in causal terms. I have a beer. My demeanor
changes. Exactly what did the beer cause? It reduced the availability of
oxygen to the brain cells. The brain fired differently.

In order to relate this change in brain, to change in MY demeanor, I, as
a person, has to be introduced into the account. "I" don't fit anywhere
in the causal change.


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