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

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at canonizer.com
Wed Feb 4 04:56:48 UTC 2015

Hi Stathis,

On 2/2/2015 8:10 PM, Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> But in general it is impossible to devise an experiment that will test
> the hypothesis that something has qualia.

But we describe in the paper a weak, stronger, and strongest form of 
effing the ineffable, which if validated is possible via experiment, it 
will falsify your assertion that this is impossible, right?  Do you 
predict all of these are impossible, or just some parts of some?

> What I am claiming is that if you replace a part of
> the brain with another part that functions identically, in the sense
> of reproducing its I/O behaviour, then all of the behaviour and all of
> the experiences will be unchanged. Therefore qualia cannot be due to
> particular matter, they must be due to the functional organisation of
> the brain. You seem to be agreeing with this because you say that if
> we replace a part of the brain and then test the subject by asking him
> about his qualia, and find no difference, then that is evidence that
> the replacement part has similar qualia to the original part. Have I
> got it right or do you disagree with this?

Let's back up a bit here.  Do you not agree that the word 'red' is 
zombie information, and has nothing to do with redness, other than it 
has sufficient diversity for it to be able to be interpreted as if it 
did, and that only with that interpretation is it able to behave as if 
it was the real intrinsic redness?  Why is the substation experiment not 
just replacing the real things, with zombie information that only 
functions the same, to the degree that you include the correct 
interpretation hardware which is capable of interpreting that which does 
not have a redness quality, as if it does?  Sure they function the same, 
but one does not need interpretation hardware, and the other does.  I 
don't understand why you can't clearely see the significance of this 
difference, whether something functional or material is responsible for 
redness.  One has a true redness experience.  By definition, the zombie 
simulation does not, yet it is perfectly able to function the same, but 
only because of the interpretation hardware.  I've tried to explain this 
many many times, yet you still say behaving the same is "evidence that 
the replacement part has similar qualia to the original." even though 
one, by definition, only has zombie information which, by definition, 
does not have the original intrinsic redness quality.

>>> It is the function of the part, not the matter it is made out of, that
>>> determines this. If you agree that, given identical function, then the
>>> qualia must also be identical, then you are a functionalist.
>> Again, I completely agree with this.  But the higher level testability,
>> qualitatively, still applies.  When you are aware of redness, there must be
>> something, that is detectably causing you to be aware of this.  And there
>> must be something that is detectably different than this, which is reliably
>> responsible for us being aware of greenness.
> Yes.
>> Since no functionalist, ever gives any possible way to reliably detect this
>> difference, even if it is an obviously falsifiable difference, it makes it
>> hard to use functionalist theories to talk about the more important part of
>> how to falsifiably detect what is, and is not responsible for redness.  All
>> you need to do is replace glutamate, with whatever you could possibly
>> predict is detectably responsible for redness.
> A functionalist would say that if you knock out the glutamate and the
> red qualia disappear then the glutamate was necessary (though perhaps
> not sufficient) to produce red qualia; and replace the glutamate with
> a functional equivalent and the red qualia will be preserved.
>> I've tried to find any possible way to detect, functionally, what is
>> responsible for redness, and how this could be different than some
>> functionalist greenness, but I can't, without it being circular, and not
>> defined anywhere.  If you can provide any way to test for this, I will be
>> glad to include the predictions you provide, along with the different
>> predictions being included with materialist theories, so we can both leave
>> it to scientific demonstration to prove, which is right.  But till you can
>> provide how to test for what you are claiming, there isn't much I can do.
>> Seems to me you must admit that if a materialist theory, works, and you can
>> use waves, or anything else to bind them together, as you predict can't be
>> done, you must admit that functionality would be scientifically proven
>> wrong.
>> And the same is true for detectable functionalism.  But, we must first find,
>> either theoretically or experimentally, some reasonable testable theory
>> which is detectably responsible for us experiencing a redness quality.
> I must be missing something because it seems straightforward to me:
> knock out a part of the system you suspect is involved in a certain
> type of experience and that experience should be affected.

Yes, that is exactly what I am saying will enable us to detect and 
predict when someone is, and is not experiencing redness.  But if you 
know this is possible, I cant understand why are you saying this can't 
be done?

Brent Allsop

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