Ted Honderich

Actual Consciousness: A Lecture -- Database, Theory, Physicalities, Criteria                                                               29 Mar 15

from Actual Consciousness, Oxford University Press.   Whole lecture at:  http://www.homepages.ucl.ac.uk/~uctytho/

 

1. Questions of consciousness in the primary ordinary sense and of perceptual, cognitive and affective consciousness in particular. Common sense definition? Our holds on our consciousnesses. Pessimisms of Chomsky, Nagel, Chalmers, McGinn etc about a theory or analysis of consciousness.  Is disagreement etc. about a theory mainly owed to no adequate initial clarification of subject, not talking about the same thing?

 

Help from 5 leading ideas?  Qualia – only conflicted consensus; only part of consciousness; only qualities. Something it's like for a thing to be that thing – circularity; want of reality. Subjectivity as metaphysical self/subject – circularity; obscurity. Intentionality or aboutness -- ambiguity etc. re objects; only part of consciousness. Phenomenality – miscellany; obscurity. Block on mongrel concept. Chalmers bundle; 5 ideas ‘synonyms’. But, reassuringly, real thoughts, concepts, impulses in  5 ideas and also elsewhere in past and present science and philosophy -- despite no adequate initial clarification.

 

2. A database. Your being conscious now in the primary ordinary or core sense is:

the having of something, something being had,

hence something being held, possessed or owned,

your seeing, thinking, wanting in the ordinary active sense of the verbs,

experience in the sense of the experiencing of something,

something being met with, encountered, undergone, in contact,

inattentive awareness of something,

something being directly or immediately in touch,

something being apparent,

something not deduced, inferred, posited, constructed, or got from something else,

something somehow existing,

something being for something,

something being to something,

something being in view, on view, in a point of view,

something being open, provided, supplied,

something to which there is some privileged access,

in the case of perception, there being the world as it is for something,

what involves or is an object or content,

an object or content's coming to us straight-off,

something being given,

hence something existing and known,

something being present,

something being presented,

something being shown, revealed or manifest, 

something here and now,

something  transparent in the sense of being unconveyed by anything else,

something clear straight-off,

something being open,

in the case of perception, the openness of a world

something being close,

an occurrent or event, not a disposition to such events,

something real,

something being vividly naked,

something being right there.

 

Consciousness as something being actual -- figurative encapsulation of the above figurative database. Actual consciousness. What is actual? Being actual is what? Answers to the questions are first two criteria of good theory or analysis of consciousness..

 

3. Theory of abstract functionalism in fact = traditional and contemporary mind-body dualism. Various other uniform or flattening theories. General Physicalism, particular physicalisms, Aboutness, Mentalism, Panpsychism, general externalisms of Burge etc. Hence all criteria: answers to What is actual?, Being actual is what?; finding reality of this consciousness; difference in kind of consciousness from all else; true subjectivity including a credible or persuasive unity; its three parts, sides or kinds of elements; naturalism - consciousness being in and of science; its relations to behaviour and to a brain or other basis and also other relations.

 

4. The 5 leading ideas; consciousness being actual – the ontic & epistemic database; and also the various theories -- all bring up what it  is for something to be objectively physical – the objective physical world. 16 characteristics, first of physicality and then of objectivity. Left hand column of the table below. Whole table having to do with more physicality than objective. Genus, 2 species, 2 sub-species. Concordant likenesses and differences in columns. Pedestrian v. high-level or only science account.

 

 

 

 

 

        PHYSICALITY

                                                               /                    \

                                                             /                        \

    SUBJECTIVE                     PHYSICALITY                    

                                                        /                                 /                                  \

                                                         /                                 /                                      \                                        

 

OBJECTIVE PHYSICAL WORLD

SUBJECTIVE  PHYSICAL WORLDS: Perceptual Consciousness

SUBJECTIVE  PHYSICAL  REPRESENTATIONS: Cognitive and Affective Consciousness

 

 

 

 

 

ITS PHYSICALITY

THEIR PHYSICALITY

THEIR PHYSICALITY

1

in the inventory of science

in the inventory of science

in the inventory of science

2

open to the scientific method

open to the scientific method

open to the scientific method

3

in space and time

in space and time

in space and time

4

in particular lawful connections

in particular lawful connections

in particular lawful connections

5

in categorial lawful connections

in categorial lawful connections, including those with the objective physical world and the conscious thing

in categorial lawful connections, including those with the objective physical world and the conscious thing

6

macroworld perception microworld deduction

constitutive of macroworld perception

not perceived, but dependent on macroworld perception

7

more than one point of view with macroworld

more than one point of view with perception

no point of view

8

different from different points of view

different from different points of view

no differences from points of view

9

primary and secondary properties

primary and secondary properties

no primary and secondary properties

 

 

 

 

 

ITS OBJECTIVITY

THEIR SUBJECTIVITY

THEIR SUBJECTIVITY

10

separate from consciousness

not separate from consciousness

not separate from consciousness

11

public

private

private

12

common access

privileged access

privileged access

13

truth and logic, more subject to?

truth and logic, less subject to?

truth and logic, less subject to?

14

open to the scientific method

open to the scientific method despite doubt

open to the scientific method, despite doubt

15

includes no self or unity or other such inner fact of subjectivity inconsistent with the above properties of the  objective physical world

each subjective physical world is an element in an individuality that is a unique and large unity of lawful and conceptual dependencies including much else

each representation is an element in an individuality that is a unique and large unity of lawful and conceptual dependencies including much else

16

hesitation about whether objective physicality includes consciousness

no significant hesitation about taking the above subjective physicality as being that of actual perceptual consciousness

no significant hesitation about taking this subjective physicality as being the nature of actual cognitive and affective consciousness

 

5. Perceptual consciousness – what is actual? Only a subjective physical world, lawfully dependent on the objective physical world and a perceiver.  Whatever other effects on unconscious mentality, consciousness without representations.  6. Its being actual is its being subjectively physical in given way. Middle column above.  7. Cognitive and affective consciousness. What is actual? Representations. 8. Their  being actual? Being differently subjectively physical. Right hand column. 9. Zombie objection, changing tune, individuality, old hat. 10. Actualism’s further merits: (a) Not ‘semantics’.

(b) Pessimisms defeated. (c) Correct representationism. (d) Not Naive Realism. (e) Liberation of science, Copernicanism etc.

(f) Theory fertile, a workplace. (g) Contribution to old problem of determinism and freedom. (h) Actual consciousness the right consciousness to consider? (i) Little Copernicanism. Hume’s hope.