Thursday, 21 April 2011

A silly question to which you will not be given an answer - the nature consciousness and the purpose of asking silly questions that will not be answered

S11 APING MANKIND at Town Hall Unreserved
Tuesday, June 7, 2011 - 18:00
£8 (£7), Members - 10% off

The blurb:
"Raymond Tallis questions the claim that a combination of neuroscience and evolutionary theory is sufficient to explain human consciousness, behaviour, culture and society. Join him to hear his argument that we humans are infinitely more interesting and complex than we appear to be when we are represented as essentially biological organisms. By minimizing the difference between ourselves and our nearest primate kin, are we in fact misrepresenting and even degrading humanity?" 

What is it about human consciousness that needs to be explicated beyond the dictionary definition and beyond what I have provided at has a number of silly questions we could ask to which there will be no real answer, viz:

  1. Is consciousness a valid concept or a conceptual error?
  2. Is it a single unified entity or a collection of distinct entities?
  3. How does it relate to language?
  4. Can it be explained in terms of the laws of physics?
  5. Why are we convinced that other people (or even we ourselves) possess consciousness?
  6. Why do we believe that some animals possess consciousness, and is there any way to test this belief?
  7. What is the nature of experience, and particularly what is the nature of sensory qualities such as the color red?
If you were to perchance get an answer, it would be so boring, irrelevant and obscure that you wonder why you bothered in the first place.  

Is this branch of philosophy a branch of philosophy whereby the most confident and convincing charlatans can talk utter nonsense for hours, be asked questions and answer them with supreme confidence and leave the uninitiated none the wiser?

Is this branch of philosophy the training ground for confidence tricksters?

Of course humans who are conscious are cleverer than animals who are also conscious.  

Does any more really need to be said about the subject? 

Is Western civilisation rubbish these days because Western philosophy is rubbish? 

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