Consciousness: Dennett says it is an illusion (General)

by dhw, Sunday, October 06, 2019, 10:16 (105 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: In the context of our discussion on Egnor’s point above, he has wrongly equated evolving with originating, and whether you are a dualist or a materialist, the fact remains that we do not know the origin of physical life or of non-physical consciousness, but both have evolved from comparatively simple beginnings to their current levels, and natural selection has determined what has survived.

DAVID: You still don not understand that our definitions differ. Yes, humans are conscious like all other animals with a brain. But we also have the special attribute of consciousness, which is totally unexplained and creates self-awareness and conceptual thought as you describe above. The two differ and the separation must be recognized, especially as Adler uses it as proof God exists, as I do.

dhw: You seem to be arguing for the sake of arguing. Humans are conscious like all other animals with a brain, and consciousness at all levels is totally unexplained. There is no difference between being conscious and having consciousness. Humans have an advance degree of consciousness which makes them self-aware. There is absolutely no disagreement here, and I don't have a problem if you and Adler use human self-awareness or indeed ANY level of consciousness or of design as evidence for your God's existence. So why don’t you just stick to the subject, which is Egnor’s claim, reproduced at the beginning of this post, and concerning which I have spent so much time and space arguing that he has mistakenly equated evolving with originating, as bolded above? If you agree with the bold, then let's move on.

DAVID: Note the colored phrases. The lower one shows our full disagreement: humans and other animals are conscious, but only humans have a special form called consciousness, which makes us very different. The upper one is a truism, which doesn't bridge our difference.

If animals are conscious, what noun do you use for what they have? Once more: there is no difference between being conscious and having consciousness! The difference between other animals and humans is that our level of consciousness extends to self-awareness! As for the upper section in red, I am answering Egnor’s point: “...if consciousness is non-physical, how could it evolve? Darwinian natural selection can only act on a physical attribute." I am not trying to “bridge our differences.” If my answer is a truism, then clearly you agree with me, and therefore you also disagree with Egnor. So why don’t you just say so?

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