[ExI] Mental Phenomena

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Mon Feb 3 16:49:20 UTC 2020

On 03/02/2020 14:28, Brent Allsop wrote:
> Hi Ben,
> “I expect it will be a description that isn't all that easy to 
> decipher, as well. It will necessarily relate to a large number of 
> processes, and will be different (possibly wildly different) in 
> different brains, and likely restricted to a single point in time.”
> We are talking about completely different things.

No, we're not.

> You are talking about information abstracted away from different 
> qualities as they change over time and between people. I’m talking 
> about the quality (process) that is changing.

Although you are muddying things terribly, by using the word 
'qualities'. I'm talking about the patterns of information in the brain 
that arise when our senses send information into the brain. You just 
said you're talking about the same thing, except you use the word 
'quality' instead of 'process'.

> I’m asking, what is the color of this process, before it changed, and 
> how did this process change?

What does that even mean?? A process doesn't have a colour! No more than 
knowledge does.

I don't know how to say it any more simply: The sensation of 
experiencing a colour is a pattern of information-processing in the 
brain. That's it. It's not 'about' something else, it doesn't have a 
'quality', it's not 'abstracted away' from anything, it just is.

> There is a necessary functional cost to achieve this substrate 
> independence. If P1 is the process before the change, and P2 is the 
> objectively observable different process after the change,
What change are you talking about here?
> you need two different dictionaries to get the same abstract 
> information from the different processes before and after the change.
There is no need to get any abstract information. The processes /are/ 
the experiences of colour.
> Colors are just colors.Sure, a redness processes can change from 
> redness to greenness,

Colours are indeed just colours. Now why on earth would the experience 
of redness suddenly become the experience of greenness? /How/ could it? 
The only reason the experience is an experience of redness is because of 
the similarity it has to prior red things experienced. A redness 
experience could be succeeded by a greenness one,  though, and this 
happens all the time. Look from the strawberry to a leaf. But no-one is 
going to look at a strawberry and suddenly see a green thing (unless 
they have brain damage, or are colour-blind, in which case the leaves 
and the fruit are all the same colour).

> and we can have different dictionaries to get the same 'red' information.

No, there are no dictionaries. There is no 'red information'. There are 
patterns of information, and associations with very many other patterns, 
shifting all the time. The pattern that today in Bob means 'I see a red 
strawberry', could well be different tomorrow, and is likely to be very 
different in Bill, but they all mean the same thing. The closest thing 
to a dictionary that could be said to exist is the memories of similar 
things seen in the past, in a particular individual (IOW, examples). 
Memories that, even if very similar in content, are probably encoded in 
different patterns in different people, and changed in the same person 
when they access them (I assume you're familiar with the idea that we 
change our memories every time we remember them. Or at least we re-write 
them, and they can easily change during this process).

> The dictionary before the change defines the redness process to be 
> red, and after the change, the dictionary defines greenness to be 
> red.A redness quality just is, if it changes, it is an objectively 
> observable and subjectively experienceable different process, there 
> are no dictionaries required.

The only thing that defines redness is the prior examples we have 
And there's that word again. There is no such thing as a 'redness 
quality'. There are information processes that cause people to say "That 
thing there is red". We can't say much more than that. One day we may be 
able to, but not today.

Ben Zaiboc

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