Interesting Ian wrote:Why not? Once you understand everything about a car engine, and that it's connected to the rest of the car, you can understand perfectly how the car runs. There's no problem here at all.
No, once we understand the processes, then the running of the car is an inevitable consequence. It's all just functions.
If consciousness (or the self) were also just functions, then we could explain everything about consciousness as well, including seeing red.
And who says we cannot? OK, we do not CURRENTLY have sufficient knowledge to do that comprehensively, but why do you assume that this knowledge is not obtainable?
But some maintain that the experience of seeing red can neither be derived from physical processes (how would you do that??), nor is it the same as physical processes.
Who (apart from you) maintain that, and on what grounds? The perception of red is a pattern of neurons firing in our brain (actually, a range of patterns, since there are different kinds of redness). When these patterns emerge, we have chosen to call it "I see red", because we have stored earlier sequences where this impression was accompanying the observation of objects with certain optical properties. However, the perception of "seing red" is not exclusive to visual observations. For example, if you sit in total darkness and press your fingers against your eyeballs, you "see red" (or other colors); the same pattern of neurons are firing in your brain as when you observe red light.
Consciousness itself cannot be derived from physical processes because it's the neural correlates which do all the "work". A p-zombie (unconscious automaton) would do everything exactly the same as a real person would.
Quite apart from this being obviously an unfounded claim, how does it support your theory? If a p-zombie is indistinguishable from a human, how do you conclude that it is not conscious?
If a p-zombie is not possible, then you're saying consciousness per se is indispensable.
No, I say consciousness is a function of the physical brain.
In which case it's not the neural correlates which do all the work.
How does that follow?
There is this thing called consciousness per se which does some work. But consciousness per se is only what the individual experiences (anyone else can only experience their bodily behaviour or the neural correlates of their consciousness).
This means that something only discernible from the 1st person perspective exists and which has real causal powers.
Do you generally have any difficulty in discerning whether a person is conscious or not? Do you perceive whether I am conscious as I write this? Consciousness is basically observable from a 2nd person perspective, too.
Ummm . .a direct contradiction of materialism.
Even if the first claim was correct, that would not follow. Even if parts of consciousness can be shown to be only observable from within, your conclusion builds on the premise that only observable things can exist in the material world. This premise is obviously wrong.