I don't think these criticisms are coming to terms with what your materialist philosophers of consciousness (Dennett in particular) is saying, though. They are interesting ideas in their own right, but they don't really address the issue which prompted the original notion of 'qualia', do they? They actually say there is no subjective experience, that subjectivity itself is illusory, don't they? Isn't that the viewpoint of 'eliminative materialism?' I don't think anyone here agrees with it, but I think we ought to get clear about what we are critiquing...
I just took the Wiki definition and ran with it. I have looked at some of Dennett's work, though. "Eliminative materialism" strikes me as absurd, as almost insane. I wonder how those discussing it as a great idea ignored the fact that they could see who they were talking to, and even hear their own voice...
Materialism seems so silly
to me. Sure, "consciousness" is also a tricky concept, but certainly less immediately
absurd than materialism.
Who would have dreamed up the concept of matter in the absence of qualia (or shall we just say "sensation)"?
From a logical point of view, I think there's a strong case in a common source for both "matter" and "consciousness." These are both abstractions, nodes in the network of language.
---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 01:15 AM ----------
You know, I am one of those who would say that "consciousness is just high level integrated experience, a function of complex organism.
I respect that. I just can't help seeing "consciousness" as an essence, a concept. Perhaps you are associating the experience of sensation and concept with the word "consciousness." In this case, I think I see what you are saying.
---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 01:16 AM ----------
Experience on the other hand (not conscious experience but primitive experience) is a general or widespread feature of reality.
The same of perception (not sense perception) but prehension (primitive preception (non sensory awareness) of other actualites is widespread in nature.
This is interesting. It reminds me of Schopenhauer, who as you probably know thought that "Wille" was the fundamental reality, beneath objects, living and "dead," as they appear to us. Will was more concentrated in the more mobile and conscious beings.
---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 01:19 AM ----------
Nature is fundamentally perceptive, experiential and responsive to its core, so the absence of humans has little effect on the overall experience of the universe. One conception of god is that god is the unified experience of the universe (takes in the experience of the universe) and provides new possiblities for creative advance against chaos and the formless void.
I find this view quite respectable. Perhaps you will agree it requires a certain faith, as we have only known reality while embedded in it in the form of human -- or as embedded in the experience of a human.
But this leap of "faith" is something most of us do automatically. It's not absurd. When we are born, we find a world that is old and rich with history. Still, for us all this history is abstract.
---------- Post added 05-26-2010 at 01:21 AM ----------
That mind, perception and experience all all illusions of a sort.It seems like a very odd thing for a high level conscious experiential being to assert. It seems like a denial of the most obvious fact of human experience and human consciousness. Also a denial of the very nature and the inherent limits of the scientific endeavor.
This is my gripe, even though I love science. The implicit metaphysics of science (at least as too often expressed) is more than a little questionable when taken as the full human truth. Abstractions are taken as the true reality, even though these abstractions are always embedded in sensation, emotion, a particular human being. The general forgets the particular it is born from.