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because such sensations would be equivalent to predictions that I would be burning alive, which would be false and therefore interfere with my functioning

I don't see a necessary equivalence here. You could be fully aware that the sensations were inaccurate, or hallucinated. But it would still hurt just as much.

if you could have a body which doesn’t experience, then it’s not going to function as normal.

A human body, or any kind of body? It seems like a robot could engage in the same self-preservation behavior as a human without needing to have anything like burning sensations. I can imagine a sort of AI prosthesis for people born with congenital insensitivity to pain that would make their hand jerk away from a burning hot surface, despite them not ever experiencing pain or even knowing what it is.

You seem to be claiming that you have experiences, but that their role is purely functional. If you were to experience all tactile sensations as degrees of being burnt alive, but you could still make predictions just as well as before, it wouldn't make any difference to you?

It's plausible that reverse-engineering the human mind requires tools that are much more powerful than the human mind.

So you don't believe there is such a thing as first-person phenomenal experiences, sort of like Brian Tomasik? Could you give an example or counterexample of what would or wouldn't qualify as such an experience?

Doesn't "direct" have the implication of "certain" here?

Response in favor of the assumption that Signer said was detrimental.

but my current theory is that one such detrimental assumption is "I have direct knowledge of content of my experiences"

It's true this is the weakest link, since instances of the template "I have direct knowledge of X" sound presumptuous and have an extremely bad track record.

The only serious response in favor of the presumptuous assumption [edit] that I can think of is epiphenomenalism in the sense of "I simply am my experiences", with self-identity (i.e. X = X) filling the role of "having direct knowledge of X". For explaining how we're able to have conversations about "epiphenomenalism" without it playing any local causal role in us having these conversations, I'm optimistic that observation selection effects could end up explaining this.

The burden of proof is on those who assert that the Hard Problem is real. You can say what consciousness is not, but can you say what it is?

In the sense that you mean this, this is a general argument against the existence of everything, because ultimately words have to be defined either in terms of other words or in terms of things that aren't words. Your ontology has the same problem, to the same degree or worse. But we only need to give particular examples of conscious experience, like suffering. There's no need to prove that there is some essence of consciousness. Theories that deny the existence of these particular examples are (at best) at odds with empiricism.

Therefore I choose to accept the benefits of the sensation of experience and accept the Easy Problem of consciousness as the overwhelmingly likely Only Problem of consciousness.

It's deeply unclear to me what you mean by this. If you're denying that you have phenomenal experiences like suffering (i.e. negative valences), your rational decision making should be strongly affected by this belief. In the same way that someone who has stopped believing in Hell and Heaven should change their behavior to account for this radical change in their ontology.

Are you saying that you don't think there's any fact of the matter whether or not you have phenomenal experiences like suffering? Or do you mean that phenomenal experience is unreal in the same way that the hellscape described by Dante is unreal?

I don't like "illusionism" either, since it makes it seem like illusionists are merely claiming that consciousness is an illusion, i.e., it is something different than what it seems to be. That claim isn't very shocking or novel, but illusionists aren't claiming that. They're actually claiming that you aren't having any internal experience in the first place. There isn't any illusion.

"Fictionalism" would be a better term than "illusionism": when people say they are having a bad experience, or an experience of saltiness, they are just describing a fictional character.

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