Friday, November 23, 2007

Dualism bad hairstyles and progressive rock.
Science and speculative fiction, computer games and individualism.

The history of literature until recently was the history of the language of embodiment. All successful rhetoric involves an understanding of the material of language. All craft, even craft in the service of faith -religious oratory- is and always has been empirical and materialist in technique, if not intent. The skill of the orator or author draws you into a relationship that is fundamentally intimate, of having someone else's perceptions as your own. Whether those perceptions are the author's or those of his or her fictitious characters is immaterial. This is learning by seduction.
Science, speculative or cerebral fiction by comparison are fictions of the individual unchallenged; like video and virtual reality games they allow you to relive your life without testing your conceptions of yourself or others. Your virtual self is an augmented self. This is art less as a defense of dualism than a presumption of it, following the definition of consciousness as computation-plus, the nature of plus being unresolved but secondary, secondary because unthreatening, no longer a moral question for each of us but now quite literally academic.
The way to confront the arguments for dualism is to ask if the language and literature of embodiment [embodiment plus-computation] teach us things about the world and our existence in it that we would not otherwise learn. If the answer is yes then the debate, as described in the quote from Ned Block in the previous post, is resolved.

Consciousness is a problem mostly for those who are unwilling to accept a weakening of their own sense of authority. Once you do it becomes simply a question of logic.
See posts Nov. 1st and 6th and this from 2003. It makes no sense to argue against dualism using arguments founded on it.

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