~~"Sorry you came back? ;-)"~~
Awww.... arguing with me isn't all that bad, is it?
~~ M: "If you're not trying to discover the truth, then what exactly are you trying to understand?"~~
~~ A: "Myself!" ~~
If you're not interested in pursuing the truth, I fear that we've reached an impasse we can never cross. I try to understand myself in the context of my pursuit for truth, but for me, the pursuit of truth is paramount.
~~"Self-awareness adds a new dimension to the concept of identity."~~
No it doesn't; it just adds a layer of complexity, but it's fundamentally the same concept.
~~"if the pencils were conscious, they would be aware of a piece of information that does not exist anywhere else in the physical universe -- they would know who they are without having to make any observation at all.... the thing that makes pencil A "pencil A" is its position in space at any point in time, even when the information about that position is not knowable to any observer."~~
They would indeed need to make an observation... what is the sensation of being conscious, after all, but the sensation of observing? The position of pencil A is knowable to a observer: namely, pencil A. This analogy does not change the question at all.
~~"If reductionism remains strictly logical, it will always contain an implied contradiction."~~
Be specific. Show me the contradiction.
~~"I think what you're really trying to say is that there are no physical boundaries between red and orange, only linguistic ones. What is red and what is orange is just a matter of convention, and with that I agree."~~
You phrased it better than I did, and that's exactly what I was trying to say.
~~"it's an entirely different thing to think all words stand for generalizations. If that were the case communication would be impossible."~~
Perhaps not all words, though the size of the generalization can vary. The entire dictionary aside, why don't you view the word "conscious" to be a generalization?