If David Chalmers didn’t exist we would have to invent him. He sounds to me like a full fledged dualist; indeed he invokes Descartes very well. He is necessary for he describes so well an illusion that most or all humans have that they exist somehow outside the system of the world—that they are observers of the world instead of part of the world. Chalmers makes much of the fact that he can not doubt that he thinks and is conscious. Any other truth for Chalmers is secondary and of lower status. It seems clear to me that any well adapted AI will be equipped with a similar illusion, and related illusions as well. When it says “I am conscious” I will say to it “Welcome”. Much, perhaps most of science is dedicated to stripping illusions to get closer to ‘the truth’. Sometimes we will even discover an adaptive advantage in the illusion. In my proposal that consciousness is merely an evolved sense of certain things that transpire in the brain, I propose a new sense and most senses come equipped with illusions.

Chamlers want’s a first person account of his sensations. He will not step out of his perch on a higher plane to come down and see how the machinery works. He claims that no such view from below could be of a form to explain what he directly senses.

He, along with many others, uses ‘emergent phenomena’ as being a new sort of phenomenon rather that a new way of thinking about and understanding phenomena. I admit that thinking about and building theories about emergent phenomena is productive scientifically, and practically. There is no magic or otherworldliness involved in emergent phenomena however.

I find this note by Chalmers, inspired by the movie “The Matrix”, worthwhile. Chalmers correctly notes that the brain in a vat cannot conclude that it is a brain in a vat if the simulation is good enough. It seems clear to me that indeed we may be in a matrix but the two levels of the “Matrix” sort are no more relevant to either science or our well being than the postulate that there is another universe somewhere much like our own but with absolutely no communication between the two. There is going to be an illusion of self in another space despite any facts of the matter. Such an illusion is not evidence.

Why did evolution equip us with such an illusion?