Sorted by New

Wiki Contributions


This is a very good post and nearly all the replies here are illustrating the exact issue that Bob has, which is an inability to engage in the dialectic between these two perspectives without indignation as a defense against guilt.

Most people, including myself, are more Bob than Alice, but I've had a much easier time integrating my inner Alice and engaging with Alices I meet because I rarely, if ever, feel guilt about anything. Strong guilt increases the anticipated costs of positive self-change, and makes people strengthen defense mechanisms that boil down to "I don't owe anyone anything!" to avoid confronting that cost. Ironically this creates people who think they're not predisposed towards guilt, but absolutely are.

Don't get me wrong, Bobs often have pretty understandable reasons to be the way they are. A lot of Bobs got out of religious groups that were really aggressive with the guilting. But understandable reasons to be in an undesirable state does not increase the desirability of that state!

Having met a number of Alices, I think they need to invest more in the consequences of the manner in which they try to get other people to improve. I understand their frustration but the aggressiveness is really so counterproductive and just makes Bobs even worse. Bobs unfortunately need to be treated with kid gloves to get them to improve without feeling in danger of self-guilt-torture.

Thanks for the review! I remember your last post.

I'm definitely a Camp 2 person, though I have several Camp 1 beliefs. Consciousness pretty obviously has to be physical, and it seems likely that it's evolved. I'm in a perpetual state of aporia trying to reconcile this with Camp 2 intuitions. Treating my own directly-apprehensible experience as fictional worldbuilding seems nonsensical, as any outside evidence is going to be running through that experience, and without a root of trust in my own experiences there's no way out of Cartesian doubt.

Probably relevant is that I have very mild synesthesia, which was mentioned in the post as challenging to Dennett's arguments. Most concepts have a color and/or texture for me - for example nitrogen is a glassy navy blue, the concept of "brittle" is smooth chrome lavender, the number 17 is green and a little rough. Unlike more classical synesthesics this has never been overwhelming to me, but for as far back as I can remember I've associated textures and colors with most things. When drugs move around my synesthesic associations, it becomes very hard to think about or remember anything, it's like the items around my house have all been relocated and everything needs to be searched for from scratch. Having such a relationship with qualia, it's pretty inconceivable for me to deny their existence. For me, qualia are synonymous with the concept of "internal experiences", by which I mean "experiences when there is something it is like to have them".

Being unable to accept the premise that qualia don't exist, my stumbling block with Camp 1 explanations is they never hit on why internal experience would come out of only some small subset of physical reactions. It seems very arbitrary! Information transfer is happening everywhere all at once! And the alternative to believing internal experience is the result of some arbitrary subset of process-space is panpsychism, which comes with countless problems of its own. (namely, the combination problem and the fact it's incompatible with consciousness as an evolved trait).

I would welcome any attempts to help me detangle this, it's been one of the more persistently frustrating issues I've thought about.