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

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Fri Jan 30 05:17:30 UTC 2015

On Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 6:24 PM, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at canonizer.com>

>  > Would you agree that something, detectable, is responsible for the
> elemental redness quality you can experience?

Yes, I think that is a reasonable guess.

> > If so, what do you imagine it to be?

I believe in a theory that was historically developed quite recently is
probably true, namely that there is a abstract thing called "650 nm light"
that turns on the REDNESS mechanism in human beings.  But people
believed in REDNESS long before they knew that waves had anything to do
with light or that length had anything to do with red, and they were
entirely justified in having that belief. People should demand proof before
they believe that wavelike properties of light exist, but they don't need
that to believe that REDNESS exists because they have something much better
than proof, direct experience. REDNESS is something that is very concrete,
 650 nm light is more abstract, and a theory with a further layer of
abstraction on top of that would be that the 650 nm light is coming from
a red tomato.

Note:  by "abstract" I mean removed from direct experience, the more
removed the more abstract, I don't see what else the word could mean. For
example, the set of all Real Numbers is abstract, the set of all subsets of
the Real Numbers is more abstract.

But why does the mind experience 650 nm light as a qualia? How could it
not, if the mind experiences a sensation then it is a qualia by
definition.  I mean, how in the world could we experience 650 nm light
as 650 nm light?

Why does 650 nm light and 510 nm light produce different qualia? Because
Evolution found that the ability to distinguish between red and green
helped get its genes into the next generation.

  John K Clark
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