" what is the sensation of being conscious, after all, but the sensation of observing? "
Have you ever been conscious of nothing? Once I was lying in bed, eyes shut, and then my mind went completely blank: no visual images, no annoying internal chatter, no repetitive two bars of that stupid song, nothing. All I had was the "sensation of existing" but that's now how it came to me, for there were no words, concepts, or anything familiar accompanying the experience. It was just... pure, contentless awareness?
I don't know what caused it other than being extremely tired, but it was an interesting experience.
" The position of pencil A is knowable to a observer: namely, pencil A. This analogy does not change the question at all. "
I once argued with someone that there was more to my ideas than the words I was saying. The guy asked, "like what?", but all I could offer him was more words, which to him only proved he was right, and to me only proved that if you don't want to understand an argument nobody can force it down your throat.
" Be specific. Show me the contradiction. "
Some people say that Godel proved that any logical system can be used to "prove" two contradictory statements, and that something other than logic is required to decide which is true and which is false.
" The entire dictionary aside, why don't you view the word "conscious" to be a generalization? "
I do! I was having an argument with Harv about exactly that. I don't believe scientists can find "consciousness" in the brain anymore than they can find "passion for sports" or "karaoke skills". Strictly speaking, consciousness does not exist, but that does not prevent us from thinking about it.