I think in the end all roads lead to what Chalmers calls the 'hard problem of consciousness' - the easy ones being those which can in principle be explained in terms of our scientific physicalist model of the world (neurons, nervous system, etc). Where we get stuck in principle, is in trying to apply that physicalist model to phenomenal experience (whether it's qualia, thoughts, perceptions, memory, sensations, hallucinations, dreams, etc - any experiential states). This is what your last sentence here refers to - all the rest we have a physicalist scientific model for, but not for that.Greta wrote: ↑January 4th, 2019, 2:31 amThere are all manner of convoluted and esoteric ideas in this area, which I suspect just complicates the issue and may have ramifications as we attempt to digitise minds.
Daniel Dennett pointed out that consciousness is not especially any more exotic than digestion, each being a means of processing. I would take it one step further. The proposition of this thread is that the metabolism, not the brain, is the primary source of qualia and the brain the primary shaper of qualia, with some overlap due to the gut/brain axis.
The metabolism is like a farmer, producing the raw materials of qualia that the brain can process and turns them into something more useful for us. If the "manufacturers" (brains) has severe enough problems then the "raw materials" (sensations) will remain unprocessed, eg. a vegetative state. This impact on consciousness, I suspect, is why people so often mistakenly (IMO) assume that qualia is generated, rather than processed, by the brain.
As such, I reject the brain in a jar thought experiment unless an excellent digital reproduction of metabolic actions fed that brain. Even so, I would probably expect a "tinny" kind of consciousness as compared with ours, like comparing a child's first electronic keyboard with a Steinway grand piano.
The interaction between brain and gut is far more subtle and interactive than the latter being a mere energy provider for the former.
The situation is made clear by our evolutionary history. First came metabolisms. Then scattered nerve receptors (glial cells). This helped metabolisms find food and avoid dangers. Then nerve nets evolved to provide full body coverage. Then brains emerged to coordinate all that information which allows different parts of the body to work ever more in concert with each other, as governments do (theoretically). Then brains developed further, shaping the raw sensation of being (qualia) mainly generated by metabolic processes into various kinds of awareness.
Dennett's solution imo is to try to disappear the phenomenal experiential states in order to make consciousness fit into our established physicalist model. He does this by making bold claims which his arguments don't bear out. He calls phenomenal experiential states an illusion, but that's just slippery use of language, implying something isn't real - but illusions themselves are real experiential states! Ugh. Hence the accusation of obfuscation and slipperiness.