I could also nitpick some of the points you've made and indeed we could go around in circles. I still think, in all likelihood, that consciousness simply arises from a complex system. There are different degrees of consciousness and to me evidence points to the phenomena being encoded. You may not agree with everything DD proposes but he does raise some good points, namely the Cartesian theatre fiasco.
When it comes to qualia, one could argue that "real brain states" are being misinterpreted by certain programs within the brain (which have their role in the emergence of self) for whatever reason.
As you said before, green is thought to be real because it is experienced in the mind. It is the qualia of an object being perceived by an organism. Qualia happens in the mind. Mind arises from the living working brain as far as I know. Take a psychedelic and you will witness how the qualia of something objective changes dramatically.
You must know already that human beings cannot possibly agree with one another 100% in that they experience qualia in exactly the same way other than the fact that each one of us have their own reality and we agree on certain perceptual experiences in terms of language. Furthermore, if animals could speak, I very much doubt that they would agree with a human being on how something real feels.
The brain as a computer interprets. Overtime, it simply has evolved a program that is capable of examining how it experiences the external reality. Reality, however, and one must never forget this, happens entirely in the brain. I'm sorry but the visual areas of the brain have already been identified. Why is it so hard to swallow for you that we are our bodies, that external stimuli provokes an organic reaction and that everything is interpreted as a sense because it is, after all, sensed by the organs.
Sensing is subjective. It happens in the brain. It is your brain. You are the brain. It is your make and thus the subjective element arises. We may not fully understand how this happens but it does happen. It can't happen any other way and this nonsense of spirits incarnating in newborn babies is just that. There is no sensation of something outside of the most complex organ in the universe. The brain, as Stephen LaBerge put it, creates a model of the world. The colours you see are encoded just as "00011001" can represent a letter of the alphabet on a computer screen. How can a binary code as long as that represent a letter you might ask? I don't fully understand how a computer works but it does happen that way, doesn't it? The colours as you see them, however, do not exist externally as you perceive them.
If a computer or robot could intelligently speak to you, from a conscious perspective, it could only tell you what it knows based on what it was fed. It would not know for sure whether the data it contains represents the true world on the outside. We, and it goes without saying, are very much like this.
Take a look at it this way: if you and a daltonic person were the only human beings in the world, who would have the right perception of it? Both perceptions are equally valid, don't you think? The truth is that nobody really knows what the world looks like other than the shape that our mental clay takes.
You two could argue forever about what the world is really like but the truth is that neither one of you is having a direct experience of it. You can only experience it from the perspective of what you intrinsically are: a physical body with all its biological systems. That is the only way you can perceive the world. There is no out-of-body perception apart from an illusory one when you enter the phase from a waking state. There is waking perception... dreaming... and lucid dreaming (the phase state). That's it.
The brain has what it needs to create this. If you lose certain qualities in the way that you experience the world when the brain is affected, I think it is logical to think of the brain as being truly what we are (regardless of the quantum roots or not). The homunculus in the Cartesian theatre concept is ridiculous because it does not address how consciousness comes about. It is not practical. Just like the suggestion that mind can exist without a physical body.
To me, it is more logical to think of mind arising from matter and then claiming itself as perpetual (but it doesn't make it so). I believe qualia phenomena intrinsically arises once the body is stimulated in a certain way even if it is for the first time. It holds the potential to experience anything new in nature for as long as it can go and this may go hand in hand with the potential maximum life span of the organism and adaptability. Imagine that you have all the letters of the alphabet and you start inventing numerous words (combinations) to form a language. Communication and how it has evolved in its various forms is a great analogy for this. Hey, I came up with a new word! Yes, you did - using the letters that were taught to you, using elements that you already possessed - intrinsic to communication.
It is merely the universe playing with itself, Jeff. Like an ocean bubbling up. The bubbles have different sizes and properties and they come and go. A universe couldn't possibly, in my view, come up with a conglomerate of complex properties such as the lifeforms it pops into being from its essence unless these are realistically fine-tuned to their environments in order to endure for as long as they can in space and time.
Apart from what it has already been exposed to, the brain can also form a mishmash of such experiences and these may come about in dreams and imagination. It has a memory, it learns, it creates. Hence why it is possible to perceive what has never been perceived before. The billiards have been set in motion. Newton's Cradle perpetuates itself and only exists at a certain scale and using specific materials.
It's just the way it is and the self is no different. Science's role is to investigate, measure, demonstrate and explain from observation. Eventually we will get to the bottom of it all and you will see that it goes no farther than the physical realm because that is all there is.
If this is still hard for you to grasp then you might as well ask what makes wood "wood" and metal "metal" if they are, intrinsically, the same thing: energy.
The illusion of something is only real if you believe in the way your brain has interpreted a stimulus. Expectation is a powerful thing and clearly an active agent in cognition. We all know that the brain can get things wrong and it is extremely quick at filling in the gaps. It needs this so the world makes sense... in our minds (see how mind is secondary to matter and can only be an emergent phenomenon from how the latter plays out?)!!
Hence why illusions vanish when you understand how something is truly working or you acquire a different perspective (you can try this with the McGurk effect). I believe the same is going on in understanding reality on a quantum level and the many assumptions we make.
Perception is continuously adapted as we experience the world. It is also worth noting that consciousness thrives alongside a developing physical organism. Just like updating a computer and making it more sophisticated. Destroy the computer and everything ceases. The same should be logically true about the brain. The collective function of programming in the brain gives rise to the sense of self. It is essential for consciousness to emerge if the universe is to be said to exist. But even this is an anthropological notion. The most likely truth, which is unbiased by the way we think, is that the universe simply stumbled upon the secret formula for consciousness. It's part of evolution. It inevitably eventuated itself from cause and effect - just like in a game of snooker you happen to pot three balls at the same time from the get-go. It's a chain of events. Why not?
If no physical building blocks can ever give rise to the phenomenon of self, then I ask you, what does? Spirits that science has failed to detect? Fairies, perhaps?
If you say "non-physical" then I am out because, how can something non-physical (if there was even such a thing and I can't express how much I abhor the term) interact with something physical?
The brain creates its own reality. It gives rise to the sense of self with the summation of its relevant programs (call me a reductionist if you like). I am not surprised at all that this self has a tendency to claim ownership of the will, and dwell, in comfort, on the notion of "free will" (going back to that subject). It may even have served its purpose in evolution as species want freedom of action in a dangerous world and the idea does seem to convey less friction when it comes to surviving. That isn't the case, though.
There is no self and there is no free will in my worldview. I see nothing more than illusions of perception. These illusions, I can assure you, can either be reinforced or vanish completely by altering your state of consciousness via phase entrance, with meditation, psychedelic intake and other mind-altering methods.
I'll sort of meet you in the middle with your Donald D Hoffman link where it says:
"Scientiﬁc investigation of the classic mind-body problem has failed to produce a
viable theory. As McGinn puts it, "We know that brains are the de facto causal basis
of consciousness, but we have, it seems, no understanding whatever of how this
can be." I propose that the obstruction is commitment to a physicalist ontology: It is
not possible to obtain consciousness from unconscious ingredients. I propose
instead the ontology of conscious realism: Consciousness and its contents are all
that exists. Matter, brains, and space-time are among the contents of
consciousness, dependent on it for their existence. For a conscious realist the
mind-body problem is to show precisely how conscious agents construct the
macroscopic and microscopic physical world. I propose a mathematically rigorous
account of conscious agents and their dynamics, and of their construction of the
physical world. In particular, I propose that the physical world is a species-speciﬁc
user interface, and that quantum physics represents properties of the stable
dynamics of conscious agents. Symmetries of these stable dynamics are the
source of the symmetries studied in quantum physics. I present a concrete
dynamics for pairs of conscious agents that exhibits SL(2,C) symmetry, and from
this obtain a physical representation of the dynamics in terms of relativistic spin half
particles. This representation allows one to canonically associate a discrete patch
of Minkowski space-time to each such pair of conscious agents, and suggests that,
at the smallest scale, space-time is discrete. This suggestion comports well with
current approaches to quantum gravity."
Only I don't think "consciousness" is right word to use for the medium of all things. How can you call it conscious if it isn't conscious as far as we know? In fact, you can only know 100% that you are conscious right now, and you can recognise (or logically fathom) that other people and animals are, too, as they are familiar to you in the way that they behave - however, the same cannot be said to be true about a rock.
You might say, however, that it doesn't resonate consciously, in which case we are back to the materialistic approach. Sorry, but, Thomas Campbell is just plain wrong with his "digital consciousness". The term doesn't even make sense and fails to give any sort of coherent explanation whatsoever.
If the same energy can give rise to cognitively different elements (such as wood and metal) in the way that it resonates, then why not consciousness and unconsciousness? There is definitely unconsciousness, is there not? I find it absurd to even suggest that a rock is conscious of itself.
More appropriately, I'd rather say that there are different levels of potential for consciousness to emerge in different areas of space (like gravity increases as we near a celestial body). Areas where the possibility of consciousness manifesting itself is more likely (but not immediate as time is required) would be those areas where you find the fundamental building blocks of life: sulfur, phosphorous, oxygen, nitrogen, carbon, and hydrogen (SPONCH). Why is time required? Because it takes time for a biological/physical system to develop complexity. It also takes time for a star to form.
Jupiter is a failed star. Had there been more matter available and it would have generated more heat and ultimately light. In this analogy, think of light as consciousness that arises when the conditions are right. Light is also mysterious. So is gravity. The behaviour of water under certain conditions can be regarded as mysterious. We have many theories for them and something is only "mysterious" until we have fully understood it. But neither are considered as mysterious as the phenomenon of consciousness. Nevertheless, I still hold that what intrinsically lies at the heart of all phenomena is a physical system.
Perhaps there is something more intrinsic - and the Higgs Field, if we ever establish its existence - may have something to do with it. But even if consciousness extended right down to such roots, then wouldn't it take more than a simple blow to the head for you to lose it? Something to ponder...
Why should some event determined at the big bang match the 'illusory' sense of will at any particular moment? If it is an illusion then nature should not care.
Nature does not care. It stumbled upon it. You simply find it hard to grasp the randomness or the deterministic causality of an effect as a conscious human being. And let's face it, by nature, we like to believe that we are in control of our environment and everything that happens in it. We like to believe we are in control period. And if we don't, we feel powerless, we deteriorate as we socialise and become embroiled in relationships and events, we begin to live entirely in fear and may sink into depression overtime. At least, such tends to happen.
Others appear to be more comfortable with the idea. There is will children... it just isn't free... but we need not be concerned with that... and certainly not directly or consciously aware.
The randomness has given rise to apparent cycles because vibrating particles are interacting with each other. The universe is like a flood of sounds... and we hear music. But there is no meaning but in our heads (a vital function of the brain - a sophisticated system of order that emerged by chance from an entropic universe).
I believe this is a complete mischaracterization of reality.I'd like to make a post all it's own on this one..LOL! In a nutshell this would require neurons to be intrinsically creative,not to mention the representation and self reference problems.And as I said,they act as the laws of nature compell them to.Futhermore this is false.I have experienced veridical content in the phase that was never entered through my conventional senses.Of course you and DD are both free to ignore this.
Please do. I have experienced the veridical content too. I just don't dismiss the more mundane explanations which have not been ruled out so far and do not dwell in mysticism. Please be my guest on opening up another topic on why you do not concur with Stephen LaBerge's view that dreams create models of the world. To think that they don't is somewhat illogical, don't you think?
As far as my experience goes, since I've been alive, I have seen more evidence that the mental clay represents the external world and can invent non-existent worlds (it can invent and reinvent) than so-called veridical content. As I said before, why assign more significance to the "hits" and be so dismissive of the "misses". It seems somewhat biased, don't you think?
On your Ned Block video, he addresses the "hard problem" which DD has already refuted (if you checked my links and delve deeper into Dennett's view). Both could argue forever and agree to disagree. It's just different ways of thinking in the end. Both make good points. I tend to resonate more with Dennett.
On your following link I have this to say: The mind (which arises from the complex brain) forms conceptuality from experience and interaction just as a computer does (only a computer has a different way of interacting or it is there to be interacted with). I have no doubt that it is possible to create a conscious robot that learns and conceptualises. Give it time. Qualia is nothing but the result of interacting physical systems within the brain. Take a specific type of anaesthetic and, rest assured, qualia has left the building. It is nothing but a cerebral function. The universe has simply made itself aware via complexity. We are the universe.
The awareness is the illusion that emerges from energy being forced to behave a certain way within a cyclic and highly connected system that maintains itself for as long as it possibly can within an environment. Like Jupiter's Red Spot. Ultimately, it is all cause and effect in a universe that is nothing but vibrating particles. Amazing that it stumbled upon what we see today, isn't it?
The link also states:
We are the same person throughout our lives, despite a continual turn-over of matter in our brains.
There is a computer or TV analogy for this too. You can change all of its parts overtime but the same functionality is maintained. Besides, I can't honestly say that I am the same person I was when I was a child. There are differences. My biological system has simply had parts that we replaced (parts with the same or identical properties) as it thrived. The point again, becomes moot if you get right down to the nitty-gritty of this "body changes therefore self should too" malarkey.
Hume thought that the sense of personal continuity was the result of a continuous string of memories, but his theory begs the question. Who is it that has the string of memories? Continuity of self is a prerequisite for a string of memories, so it can't be the result of a string of memories. Persistence of self-identity through time can't be explained materialistically; the most reasonable explanation is that there is an immaterial component of the mind that is continuous over time.
Erm... the maintenance of memories and the system as a whole can explain this. Also, the synaptic theory of working memory (which hasn't been ruled out) has a ground on this. Replace as many parts as you want as long as the function is maintained.
As for Roger Sperry:
I would ask him this if he was alive. If he recognised both brain hemispheres to be capable of functioning independently of each other and both containing consciousness... which one holds the self?
Maybe his kuru affected his reasoning in the end. We have made more progress since then and the observations are undeniable in their suggestibility. Peel away the conscious experiences and you will be left with nothing. The self disappears.
If you believe there to be an afterlife and you have a SOUND explanation for consciousness in some sort of dualist theory... fire away!