Reply To: Daniel Dennet's claim that consciousness is an illusion

  • Don Salmon

    May 10, 2023 at 6:01 pm

    Or as short as possible:

    Every time you see the words “matter” or “mind” or “energy” or “physical” or “consciousness” (this would even include our previous discussion about Tao)

    Ask yourself:

    Are you reading the word through an analytic lens, taking it to be an identifiable object or subject?

    Or are you “reading” the word through an intuitive lens, BEGINNING with lived experience?

    For example, from an analytic lens, of course it makes no sense to say “Consciousness is everything” – but that statement is not meant to be seen through an analytic lens – which doesn’t mean you can’t analyze the experience, but if you don’t START with the lived experience, the analysis won’t make sense. Indian and pre-Socratic philosophy always worked this way, starting on a basis of lived experience (Parmenides is rarely understood, because his writings are taking to be pure analysis, whereas they are USING analysis to undo analytic presuppositions in order to open to lived experience, much like Nagarjuna and Shankara, and to a much lesser extent, Heidegger and some of the post modern philosophers – though the latter have only a weak vague connection to lived experience)

    The confusion between these two lenses is why when I get time later this year, I’m going to do little or no writing about this. I find it usually takes anywhere from two to 6 months to shift people out of analytic/objectivist thinking into direct experience. So I’ll be doing almost entirely videos, with music, poetry, animation and SOME analysis but always on the basis of lived experience.

    It took me 6 months with a brilliant STEM student for him to suddenly write and exclaim how astonished he was that it took him that long to see that in a physicalist framework, assuming laws of nature as “causative factors” is completely meaningless.

    Similarly, it took around the same period of time with a philosophy professor from a major university to get to the point where he saw what it meant that the word “physicalism” is completely meaningless.