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Date Posted: 14:45
Author: Eponymous-28Jan2002
Subject: Re: How About This?
In reply to: ketch 's message, "Re: How About This?" on 14:44

Well, that gives you a lot of wiggle room, but I guess I can't hijack assent.* So - to continue:

1. At least in the case of one individual, call him A, anesthesia induced utter nonawareness.

2. Anesthesia works via some (we shall say unknown) physical mechanism.

3. Whatever the mechanism, that mechanism must work by causing some change in the physical conditions that obtain in A’s brain or body.

4. From (1), (2) and (3) above, it follows that A’s is a case of a person whose awareness is totally dependent upon physical conditions that obtain in A's brain and body.

5. (4) above strongly suggests, and maybe even logically entails, that A’s conscious awareness is caused by certain physical conditions that obtain in the brain and body.

6. Therefore, since any imaginable conditions that obtain in the brain and body that would support or cause consciousness will be absent at death, A's awareness will cease upon death.


* I still think that you and I are in a semantic tussle. For that reason, when I use the term ‘awareness’, I mean phenomenal awareness. That’s the only type of awareness anyone is interested in anyway. (Otherwise, people would be perfectly happy living out their days under general anesthesia. Which may be O.K. for certain fundamentalist Christians. But seriously folks…)

Incidentally, computers may be influenced by suggestion, but I’m sure you’ll grant that they are not aware in any sense. Is there any principled distinction between the “suggestibility” that perfectly anesthetized patients exhibit and the “suggestibility” that computers exhibit?

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