The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory
David J. Chalmers, 1996

Consciousness is Non-Physical, Something "Else"
Chalmers claims to be a converted materialist, not strongly spiritual or religious. What "else" could he have in mind? Information Theory looms large. Perhaps a theory akin to Penrose's domain of "mathematical truth"? Chalmers position here is quite puzzling because he has just demonstrated in Chapter 1 that he has a quite clear view of the properties and characteristics of consciousness and has similarly demonstrated his ability to put his thoughts into clear prose. Furthermore, in
Chapter 8 , he will show that he has a good understanding of computation, information, and the meaning of messages (to sender and receiver). And yet, he holds on to the "hope?" that consciousness is something else other than any of these.

Chapter 2 Gets Serious
Chalmers warned us back in the Introduction that Chapter 2 was going to get serious. It seems that one of the favorite pastimes of philosophers is to dream up imaginary worlds and speculate about them. It seems that philosophers have as many words for imaginary states as Eskimos are reputed to have for snow.

Imaginary Worlds
Making up imaginary worlds may be a fun thing to do, but, in my opinion, if you start building logical arguments upon what could or could not exist in those worlds, you're definitely flirting with folly. If you start to create theories and prove theorems based on these worlds, you are no less than a mad, raving lunatic.

I don't exactly understand "logical supervenience" because I don't exactly understand "logical necessity". But I do know this ...


My Head

From my reading of the rest of this book, it appears that My Understanding of Physics (in my head) and David's Understanding of Physics (in David's head) are in fact quite close (he understands quantum mechanics much better than I do, but I am aware of no glaring inconsistencies between our views). On the other hand, David can put anything he wants to into ZombieWorld. In particular, there is absolutely no connection between ZombiePhysics and either David's Understanding of Physics or My Understanding of Physics. The point is that David can arbitrarily rearrange the structure of Zombies and ZombiePhysics in any way he likes so as to achieve consistency (as he perceives it) within the whole of ZombieWorld. I cannot accept his implicit assurances that he is able to maintain equality between ZombiePhysics and David's Understanding of Physics (in his own head, let alone in my head).


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