fevereiro 25, 2011


"The third-person methods of the natural sciences suffice to investigate consciousness as completely as any phenomenon in nature can be investigated, without significant residue. What is the import of “significant” here? Simply this: If scientists were to study a single grain of sand, there would always be more that could be discovered about it, no matter how long they worked. The sums of the attractive and repulsive forces between all the subatomic particles composing the atoms composing the grain will always have some residual uncertainty in the last significant digit we have calculated to date, and backtracking the location in space-time of the grain of sand over the eons will lead to a spreading cone of indiscernibility. But our ignorance will not be significant. The principle of diminishing returns applies. My claim is that if we use the third-person methods of science to study human consciousness, whatever residual ignorance we must acknowledge “at the end of the day” will be no more unsettling, no more frustrating or mystifying, than the ignorance that is ineliminable when we study photosynthesis, earthquakes, or grains of sand. In short, no good reasons have been advanced for the popular hypothesis that consciousness is, from the point of view of third-person science, a mystery in a way that other natural phenomena are not" - Daniel Dennett, Sweet Dreams

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