Playing with Our Selves
None doubt the existence of consciousness.
There are those who lie about others' belief in consciousness.
(Not liking the theories that some advocate and believe does NOT mean they don't believe in consciousness. I don't claim that Chalmers, Craig, or McGinn don't believe in consciousness. Though I can entertain questions as to the depth and quality of their particular instantiation of it in the latter case.)
The issue lies with those who conflate the existence of consciousness or of phenomena with the verity of what they appear to reveal about themselves as content and relationship of consciousness. They seem immune to awareness that the meta-content of consciousness is STILL content produced in and by the same mechanism's of consciousness.
That it seems to you that there is a consciously manifested SELF who is the recipient of phenomenal presentation IS ITSELF A PRESENTATION OF CONSCIOUSNESS. Indeed the entire self-aware SELF is a presentation of consciousness.
That SELF and SELF as recipient, the meta-content of consciousness and its phenomenality are as much constructs and illusion as color and sunsets.
Like color and sunsets, it does not mean that what is *represented* in consciousness is illusory. The mountain on the horizon and the sun are real, the sunset is not. The grass is real, green is not. In the same way there is a thinker of thoughts, a perceiver of senses. The perceived self in consciousness is not - it is merely a placeholder reference to the thinker/subject. There is a body in roughly the perceived relationship with the outside world as the perceived self. It is not the SELF perceived in phenomenal consciousness, but a representational placeholder for it. The entities of consciousness are often real world, materially real in one sense or another. The relationships presented therein are quite often erroneous and always incomplete.
ALL of phenomenality works that way, including everything and anything in it. The entire "manifest image" of the world per consciousness consists of tokens and their relationships rather than real things in the material world. Of course there is real material in the world accounting for the tokens and their meaning, but (save for abstractions in discussion such as this) they are NOT the same material things as those referenced by those tokens.
This duality, the distinction between the tokens as references and those things to which they refer, is not a Cartesian duality but the fundamental duality of information. (CZ short definition: Asserted correlation between disparate physicalities such that properties of the reference physical are predictive representations of the referent physicality. Defining as "asserted" rather than necessarily actual allows mechanistic information processors to be built with "weak" references .... tokens of correlation which do not at the present exist, but which are anticipated to exist in the future). There is no mystery or magic about the duality of information. There is in fact an explosively expanding new science about it.
This is not a Cartesian duality for the simple fact that the perceived SELF is not the actual perceiver. There is no way to preserve a subjective subject. The subject must be real and material. And a material agent that can process and interpret information. The perceived SELF is in reality is the substrate material of the processor by which the processor reconstructs, uses, and amends that SELF reference. The perceived SELF exists only as and as part of the material processor transacting the process of SELF representation. The real self, the processor and its tokens about SELF and the other things of its real, imagined, and idealized worlds (think "numbers" as example of the last) exists so long as it can manifest such representations, whether any particular is at that instant is or not being represented.
There is no infinite regress as the token SELF may indicate and reference the real and material self, but the token self does not and cannot impute (i. e. require processing of) all information of the referenced material self in any bounded timeframe. There is no SELF watching SELF watching SELF.... There is only a real self manifesting and interpreting a SELF ... representing and amending SOME aspects of the self representation at any instant. These can be *iterated* with the appearance of SELF watching SELF watching SELF watching SELF.... but all that is really happening is the real self manifesting and amending (aka watching) SELF as representing *some* aspects of self at one instant, then manifesting the amendment and processing it the next, then that secondary amendment the next then the tertiary, and so forth, all sequentially one after the other. Not all at the same time.
To those of us who have given it some thought and really understand the workings of information, reference and scope this is all really rather transparent and obvious.
It is not really difficult, just emotionally unpalatable to those who wish to be some immutable intrinsic essence.
Once past that, trivial. And obvious.
The only thing more certain than consciousness is stupidity.