X-Message-Number: 25527
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2005 10:02:40 -0800
Subject: The Delusions of Richard???
From: <>

Robert has accused me of (1) using non-standard terminology (what 
exists versus what happens), and (2) wishful thinking regarding the 
knowability of survival criteria.

Of course I do not use the common terminology when I am trying to 
be precise. This is why in papers in mathematics or philosophy, you 
will see the authors clearly define the terms they use. There is 
too much slop in everyday language to permit its intrusion into 
rigorous discussions.

People talk of the sun as resolving around the earth. They talk 
about things having a color (as opposed to reflecting that color 
and absorbing all others). And they refer to changes, such as 
waves, as existing, when in fact they do not. The common way of 
phrasing things, which is intuitive and short-hand, is often wrong. 
Therefore I have no qualms about breaking with common terminology 
when precision demands it.

Regarding (2). My survival criteria is *necessary* and 
*sufficient*, under the known laws of physics (essentially under 
the assumption of strict materialism). You have to break with 
strict materialism in order to say it is unecessary (Mike Perry), 
or insufficient (some extremist who deny you survive sleep).

This is because when we say a noun exists (such as a dog or an 
apple), we mean this hunk of matter over here possesses certain 
properties; when the hunk of matter stops possessing those 
properties, the noun does not exist anymore. It can be no other 
way, since noun objects do not exist, but are mere labels given to 
arrangements of existing things (atoms).

Therefore, our qualia experiencer exists as long as our brain is 
arranged in such a manner that it constitutes a qualia experiencer. 
By qualia experiencer, I of course mean certain changes to it 
correlate with subjective experience.

As I have said before, I think this is roughly equivalent to your 
'overlap in time, space, and matter'. The exact boundary (how much 
you can be damaged and yet survive) is vague under both 
definitions, but under mine, the answer could theoretically be 

Best Regards,

Richard B. R.

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