[ExI] Redness comes from Context?

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Mon May 6 23:23:58 UTC 2013

On Mon, May 6, 2013 at 8:41 AM, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at canonizer.com>wrote:

> Hi Ben,
> This is all about Shannon’s information theory.  You can’t store a
> megabyte of information in some physical device that is only capable of
> holding one byte.  If you know something, there must be something
> physical which you can point to, which is representing that information.
Hi Brent,

Are you familiar with the way a hologram works? The information is not
stored in any one particular place, it's distributed all over the thing.
All of the information is stored everywhere, and it degrades gracefully as
pieces of the original are removed. That is how I see memory and qualia in
the brain. It is a pattern that is triggered when the right information
flows through it, just as light flows through a hologram.

> If something ‘seems’ some way, there must be something that is this
> seeming.
Seeming is intuition. Ben has done a good job of telling us why intuition
is unsuited to this endeavor. If all you needed was intuition, the ancient
Greeks would have figured all this stuff out.

> You talked about a ‘vortex’, which is a good example.  In that case, if a
> vortex exists, there is a real liquid, in a real ‘vortex’ state, which can
> be described.  The physical stuff, along with the state description, are
> the necessary and sufficient set of causal properties that are the real
> ‘vortex’.
But the concept of a vortex doesn't exist in one spot in your brain. It's
distributed all over the brain. Studies of people with various forms of
brain damage by and large show this, though specific kinds of thinking are
localized for sure as Oliver Sacks' books and studies demonstrate. (By the
way, Oliver Sacks' books are true horror, Steven King is a schlep.)

> If something /feels/ some way, the same thing is true, there must be
> something physically real, and some physical state, which is responsible
> for that feeling.
Clearly, but it's all over, not a glucose level in a single cell or
anything remotely like that.

> There must be some necessary and sufficient set of causal properties that
> are the redness experience.  Obviously, something that /feels/ like
> redness is very different than something that /feels/ like greenness.  The
> qualitative natures of these, and their differences, and whatever is
> responsible for it, is what I’m talking about, nothing more.
Then talk about it that way. I have no problem with this.

> Also, as far as ‘elemental redness’ goes.  We both agree that when we
> experience redness, we usually have bound to that our knowledge of the word
> ‘red’, our knowledge of us perceiving redness, a sensation that redness is
> a ‘warm’ color and a bunch of stuff like that.  While it is true that all
> of these things can be bound together in one person’s brain, would you also
> agree that it is possible to reduce these things down, and isolate them all.
> So that it is possible for a brain to have just a qualitative redness
> experience, with none of the other cognitive information bound up with it?

No. I don't think it is possible. You can't teach an infant to understand
and know "redness" and nothing else. It is ludicrous. I challenge you to
raise a lab rat in an environment where all it learns about is redness, and
nothing else.

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