Never one to stray from your own tradition, you've failed to understand the importance (or perhaps even the meaning) of the first paragraph.
Perhaps (only perhaps) that's because it wasn't presented very well at all. I can't be blamed for not liking what i took to be a bad argument. I can't get inside your head, I can only gauge your thoughts from what you write. You wrote
that consciousness necessarily exists before physical brains - because it recognises itself as existing before physical brains, which is a bad argument, for whatever consciousness 'recognises' is not true. Anyway, that is how i perceived it, let's move on as these issues cover what you were getting at I think:
There can be no enquiry without consciousness - consciousness must be the first thing into which we enquire. How can we enquire into consciousness? It is not a measurable, but an experiential phenomenon; empirical science cannot account for it, being the measurer of things, not the qualifier of them. Experience of consciousness is what is required, but what exactly does this mean?
I agree with this. But then isn't the problem revealed in its true light as an epistemological problem and not a 'metaphysical' one? Do you think you get a metaphysical conclusion like 'consciousness must exist before physical brains' from the above considerations?
I agree that there are significant issues related to scientifically investigating consciousness, for the reasons you give here. it seems to be that this gives no support to the conclusion that consciousness does not emerge from physical brains, however (other considerations might). This supports the conclusion that it is troubling how something first person can be fully explained in terms of propositions relating to third person entities (which is an epistemological issue).
IF experience ACTUALLY DID emerge from third person entities (neurons), I can imagine that we would still not be satisfied with complete third person explanations for some qualitative experience. We would feel something has been left out. I think this is epistemological. A sophisticated computer cognitive system, IF it were conscious, would think the same thing.
...there is absolutely no difference between the consciousness of a person at one moment to the next, nor between that of one entity and that of another, though the experiences may differ greatly...
What about the glaring fact that 'my' consciousness is, in some very important and no doubt significant sense, correlated with my brain
, and that your consciousness is connected with your brain?! Why not vice versa, if consciousness is undifferentiated?
Also, there is a big difference between (a) the consciousness of a person who has a normal functioning brain and (b) the consciousness of a person who has been shot in the head?
There is very glaring set of relations that non-physicalists need to deal with. The relation between consciousness and physical brains. You are not a physicalist but you say you are a monist. I don't understand this. So do you think we need to add consciousness to the fundamental constituents of reality along with quarks, strings, or whatever? If so, we need detailed laws on why the 'fundamental consciousness-stuff' DEPENDS on physical brains in a way which seems to mirror how water DEPENDS on its constituent parts
Water DEPENDS on a certain organisation of molecules (let us please not get into the universals debate again - grant me 'depends' in whatever weak sense you want). Consciousness, everyone would admit, seems to DEPEND on physical brains in a similar way. Consciousness depends on physical brains (1) existing and (2) being in a certain (healthy, normal) state. Why?
I am very interested in these two points. I am not closed minded, obviously I have much invested in my outlook as you, but I genuinely feel nothing has addressed these points (however we are slowly moving forward, as I can increasingly get a picture on what important points we differ, which is useful for knowledge in general).
Please forgive my pre-empting here, just in case you take this line. I'm not much for accounts of telepathy, after death experiences and the like as examples of consciousness not depending on physical brains (call me dogmatic).