Consciousness: Dennett says it is an illusion (General)

by dhw, Saturday, October 12, 2019, 12:17 (6 days ago) @ David Turell

dhw: You continue to argue that although you agree that “yes, humans are conscious like all other animals with a brain” they are not conscious, because consciousness means having self-awareness and the ability to conceptualize. No it doesn’t. Self-awareness and conceptualization etc. are attributes of human consciousness, and you are making a mockery of language. I have not used the word “gradation”, which implies small changes. I have repeatedly agreed that there is a vast difference between animal levels and our own.

DAVID: Thank you. You finally agree to the vast difference, the key to Adler's religious philosophy that makes us very special and is a proof of God's actions.

Not finally. I have always agreed that there is a vast difference, and I doubt if there is anyone on earth who would not agree that human consciousness is vastly more complex than that of our fellow animals, and we are not arguing about Adler’s proof of God’s existence. I also doubt if there is anyone on earth apart from you who would insist that there is a difference between being conscious and having consciousness.

dhw: […] we are now discussing Egnor’s question: “..if consciousness is non-physical, how could it evolve? Darwinian natural selection can only act on a physical attribute”.

dhw […] Nor do I know why you think, say, ant consciousness and human consciousness do not represent evolution from the comparatively simple to the comparatively complex, no matter how consciousness originated. Nor do I know why you think ant consciousness (an awareness of problems and how to set about trying to solve them) as well as our own complex consciousness have not been aids to survival, in keeping with Darwin’s theory of natural selection.[David’s bold]

DAVID: There you go again. In the bold you have ants with consciousness. We continue to disagree as you smudge the differences. Ants are conscious and have no consciousness, I will continue to insist. We can go no further in this specific difference.

And so you totally ignore the whole discussion on Egnor’s question, and simply go on insisting that organisms can be conscious and yet have no consciousness (the meaning of which you confine to all those additional attributes of consciousness which are special to humans)! Once more, in answer to Egnor, and ignoring this linguistic absurdity: Nobody knows the origin of consciousness and there are disagreements as to its source (materialism = the source is the material brain, which evolved; David’s form of dualism = the source is God, who didn’t evolve). Ants are conscious but do not have all the attributes of consciousness that humans have. This illustrates the evolution of consciousness from comparatively simple levels to extremely complex. However, these different degrees of consciousness have proved to be aids to survival, in keeping with Darwin’s theory of natural selection.


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