Hi Steve and Brent,
As you both know I am in strong agreement with both your positions - albeit very reticent to use a word like "spiritual" as Brent does.
But also I can see why adopting a deep representationalist viewpoint is extraordinarily difficult for most people. The paradigm shift is quite literally earth-shaking. I got here I think because I had been absorbing bits and pieces of related theory and descriptions of supporting evidence [eg Oliver Sachs's _the Man who Mistook his Wife for a Hat_, and others] and had experienced a couple of intensely emotional paradigm shifts already.
The reason why our deep changes are like this, IMO, is precisely because the constructs which constitute our thoughts and perceptions of the world are tightly constrained by associations [via amygdala and basal ganglia, whatever,] which key into our deepest level survival strategies. So in effect we cannot change until, at a very deep level, we become ready to accept that the new paradigm does not constitute a threat to our survival. In other words the deep preparatory thinking occurs unconsciously. When the new paradigm becomes apparent, this is a true act of creation within the person's mind wherein an array of previously disparate constructs _fall together_ as a more effective representational strategy.
My assumption is that this process allows a reduction in the amount of energy needed to maintain exclusions between conflicting constructs and in the state of fight/flight arousal which was previously provoked by the potential threat attributed to elements in the conflict.
On my website I have a description of the amazingly powerful emotional effect of such a shift I experienced one day in the late '70s after which I decided to be a Christian [membership since reversed though, which I also describe a bit.]
I also have a copy [with his permission to use it] of My e-friend Peter Main's experience of _seeing_ how representations are in his brain, how the 3Dness experience must be _in_ the brain.
Yes, that is a great overview of the history of this topic. And it makes so much sense framed with in a representationalist paradigm. Great piece of work!
The canonizer camp structure is precisely designed for these types of differences of beliefs. The more major 'paradigms' exist higher in the branching structure, such as "Consciousness has nothing to do with the super natural" and everyone else is on some other major paradigm branch.
I also think things like measuring and forcing people to explicitly declare just where they are, tracking where people are in a way that hurts their reputation when in fallacy camps, and facilitating cooperative efforts where everyone in the right camp can work together, as a team will greatly enhance the ability of truth to be recognized and become dominate much more efficiently and completely against the still primitive mistaken majority.
The representationalist thesis is easily "falsifiable" (or provable) by this fact: If there was not a representation of the world in your brain, then you wouldn't see the world around you. Go ahead and try to make a robot that can "see" the world *without* a representation in its "brain", and you will see that it is impossible.
But this argument is only convincing to those who are already in the camp that visual processing and experience are straightforward physical processes in a physical brain, analogous to a robotic cyborg. The alternative is rather vague and slippery, and centuries of philosophers have tried unsuccessfully to make that alternative case, but that doesn't stop the great majority of scientists from believing that slippery view anyway!
This is the difference between theories and paradigms. You can prove a theory to anyone, given the right evidence, but you can never prove a paradigm to someone who is from a different paradigm, only to members of your own paradigmatic camp.
Take a gander at this History of the Epistemological Debate...
and you get an idea of what we are up against!
Any objections to adding something like this to the new version of our representational camp statement being developed?
"If we should achieve even a remote and rare ability to 'eff' the ineffable as predicted by this thoery (perhaps in some way like is starting to be done by people with artificial eyes that directly artificially stimulate the visual cortex http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.09/vision.html ) this will be more than a way to 'falsify' this theory. In addition to letting us know objectively and phenomenally what consciousness is like, it will prove or demonstrate this theory to be 'THE ONE' and thereby falsify all competing theories."