[ExI] Fwd: Paper on "Detecting Qualia" presentation at 2015 MTA conference

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Sun Feb 1 00:51:57 UTC 2015

On Sat, Jan 31, 2015  Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at canonizer.com> wrote:

> > Sure, if your knowledge has a redness quality, you can think of this
> redness quality as a lable, a label that all of our knowledge of things
> that reflect 650 NM light has. You are talking about what this labeled
> knowledge represents.  I am talking about the qualitative nature, of the
> label itself,

I think nature of the label itself, that is to say the essential qualia,
comes from all the things in your memory that reflect 650 NM light and more
importantly from the astronomically large number things and ideas that,
although lacking the REDNESS qualia themselves nevertheless are associated
with it. That I think is where  qualia comes from.

Let me put it another way, I don't think there would be any difference
subjectively or objectively between somebody who saw everything in black
and white and somebody who saw everything in black and red.

> For the rest of your life, you wear red green color inverting glasses.
> When you first do this, it is difficult, because you know your knowledge of
> things that reflect 650 NM light are represented with knowledge that has or
> is tagged with a redness quality, and things that represent things that
> reflect 700 nm light are reprsented with greenness.  And now this is
> backwards, making it difficult at first.


> > Eventually after a long period of time you will learn to associate and
> bind the redness quality, with all the things before that were green, and
> visa verse

Things would certainly look weird when I first put the glasses on because
the new qualia associations would be inconsistent with my memory of the old
ones, but as you say after a long time things would start to look normal
again. But why would it take a long time? Because of the huge number of
nested links and associations that would have to be reassigned for things
to make sense again. If I then took the glasses off things would look weird
again and would stay that way until my brain managed to put all those links
back to where they were originally.

> > It will eventually become very natural for you to be just as normal as
> it was, before,

I agree.

> > but you will know that your knowledge is very qualitatively different
> than before you put on those glasses.

That is exactly the point where you and I differ on this. If all the links
have been successfully reassigned then I don't see how in the world things
would seem "very qualitatively different than before".

But at the end of the day the really important question isn't the nature of
REDNESS or GREENNESS  it's the question I asked in my last post that you
didn't answer, do you believe as I do that consciousness is fundamental?

  John K Clark
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