[ExI] Quantum consciousness, quantum mysticism, and transhumanist engineering

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu Mar 30 23:25:53 UTC 2017

> If the system is designed to detect real glutamate, and you change it so
> that it is not detecting real glutamate, then of course it will fail in its
> job to detect real glutamate. But that is the wrong question to ask. We are
> discussing qualia. Your theory is that glutamate is directly and uniquely
> responsible for red qualia, and therefore if the glutamate goes, the red
> qualia will go. What I am trying to show is that the glutamate can go but
> the red qualia will remain. Therefore, the glutamate cannot be directly and
> uniquely responsible for the red qualia.
> Brent Allsop wrote:

>> It's all the same.  And remember, you need to stop making the mistake,
which you have done again here, that when I use the term glutamate, I am
talking about real glutamate.  You made the claim that in your neuro
substituted system, that it would have qualitative distinguishing
abilities.  For you, every time I say glutamate, don't think of it as real
glutamate, you need think of it as if it was whatever it is, in your
system, which is able to be qualitatively distinquished.

I think it isn't glutamate, but anything that can be substituted for
glutamate that will result in the neurons firing in the same sequence.

>> Part of our consciousness is a real detection system of whatever is the
neural correlate of redness.  So, if we are talking about qualia, we are
talking about consciously detecting the real thing, and distinguishing it
from greenness.  That's what consciousness is, it is a detector of
qualities of nature of something in our brain.  If you neurosubstitute out
this ability to do this detection (either subjectively or objectively),
your argument becomes invalid.

I don't think it's correct to say that our brains detect the neural
correlate of redness. What I detect is redness - subjectively, because I
have the experience, and objectively, because I can point to the red
strawberry among the green leaves. I have no direct knowledge of what is
going on in my brain. The glutamate could be changed to glycine and
glutamate receptors to glycine receptors, as I have described before, and I
might not notice that there had been any change, because I would still have
red experiences and I would still be able to point to the red strawberry
among the green leaves.

>> Try to do the neuro substitution on the described glutamate detection
system.  If you do it in the same way, your conclusion must be that real
glutamate can't be responsible for whatever qualities you are detecting
about it.  The same way for any kind of functional redness quality.  When
you do your simplistic neuro substitution, you must conclude that no such
functionality can exist.

If the glutamate is substituted out and the subject still has red
experiences and can still distinguish red from green, what conclusion would
you draw about the role of glutamate?

>> But, if, in your system, you include something that has detectable
qualities, and a way to detect them (either subjectively or objectively)
there are no impossible problems, and there is a real part of nature that
has a redness quality, without it being some kind of: "A miracle happens

I think redness results from the functional organisation of the system, and
not from a particular substrate. By analogy, I think it is like a car's
ability to turn left: it results from multiple mechanical and electrical
components working together in a system. The steering wheel is important,
but the steering wheel by itself is not enough, and changing the material
the steering wheel is made of will not make a difference to turning left
provided that the new material has certain physical properties.

Stathis Papaioannou
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