[ExI] Mental Phenomena

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Thu Feb 6 21:35:26 UTC 2020

On Fri, 7 Feb 2020 at 05:06, Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Hi Stathis,
> This is all meaningless slight of hand, misdirecting people away from what
> is important.  There is no objectively observable "redness behavior" in
> what you are describing.  There must be some objectively observable redness
> behavior which cannot be substituted for anything sufficiently objectively
> observably different, without it changing from redness behavior.
> What is that objectively observable redness behavior and how could God
> objectively observe when it changed to grenness behavior?

We could observe redness behaviour (behaviour associated with red qualia)
by giving the subject tests, such as asking him to distinguish between red
objects and objects of a different colour, and by asking him to describe
what he sees. He will say “I see red objects”. In addition, we could
observe the neural correlates of this behaviour, by doing an fMRI, by
observing the effects of brain damage, by taking out the contribution of
specific receptors with drugs, and so on. We might find a drug that blocks
a particular receptor subtype and results in spectrum inversion, which we
will know because the subject says “things that were red now look green”.
The spectrum inversion may or may not result in changes in the ability to
sort or correctly identify coloured objects. If we find the neural
correlates, we can say that they are sufficient for the qualia but we
cannot say they are necessary, because they could be replaced with a
different system that performs the same function (ignoring qualia) and the
qualia must remain the same.

With all this information, however, we could not, as observers, know with
certainty that the subject has qualia or that his qualia are similar to our
own. But this is in principle no different to other skeptical philosophical
positions, such as solipsism.

> --
Stathis Papaioannou
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