[ExI] “Stathis’ ‘behavior’ which, if it remains the same, the subjectivity remains the same.”

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Tue Feb 11 21:02:37 UTC 2020

On Wed, 12 Feb 2020 at 06:10, Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Hi Stathis,
> Aren't we just talking past each other?  We are both trying to stress: “As
> long as the ‘behavior’ remains the same the subjectivity must also remain
> the same.”

That's what I am trying to say about the overall behaviour of the system.

>   Are you not also saying, exactly, the subjectively is dependent on the
> ‘behavior’ you are referring to as staying the same here?

Yes, the subjectivity is dependent on the behaviour.

> There are two parts to your ‘behavior.’ First there is the fact of the
> matter, that redness (even if it is not physical as you assert with:  “It
> supervenes on the physical”) is always redness.

I don't think that "redness is always redness" could be called part of the
behaviour. The behaviour is what a scientist would observe. A scientists
would not observe that "redness is always redness", although he might
observe that a report of redness is always associated with certain
neurological processes. The two components of the behaviour are the high
level behaviour of the system, such as saying "that is red", and the low
level behaviour, such as neurons firing and bones moving. The low level
behaviour can change without affecting the high level behaviour, and in
this case, the subjectivity must remain the same. The subjectivity is
dependent on the high level behaviour.

> Would it be better if, instead of saying just “physical qualities like
> redness and grenness,” I say: “physical (or spiritual if you must)
> qualities like redness and greenness.”?  By “spiritual”, I mean anything
> that is not physical. For example, if redness behavior is only related to
> physical behavior in a “supervening” way, then it is included in anything
> that is not physical, all of which is “spiritual”.

I don't like the term "spiritual" but there are several terms that mean the
same thing: subjective, qualia, consciousness, mental. These are not
behaviours because they cannot be observed by a scientist, only inferred.

> The second part is our communication behavior, saying “That is redness”.
> While it is possible for someone to say: “that is redness”, when they meen
> greenness, that is using a dictionary of different facts.  If you are
> always talking about the facts of the matter, “As long as the ‘behavior’
> remains the same the subjectivity must also remain the same.”  Every time
> I try to pin your ‘behavior’ down to anything, including magic, you
> accuse me of talking about something different than this factual redness
> that is your ‘behavior’ which must remain the same as the subjectivity.
> Whatever your ‘behavior’ is which remains the same, along with the
> subjectivity, is not this subjectivity dependent on this behavior which you
> assume is remaining the same?

It is possible for the high level behaviour of the system to remain the
same because we have not tested it enough, even though there is a
subjective change. For example, the subject could be made colourblind, but
because they are tested in a darkened room, where they would not perceive
colours anyway, they do not notice, and they behave the same. Or the
subject might have their red-green qualia inverted, and because they are
not asked about it, or they deliberately conceal it, they behave the same.
But we must assume for these thought experiments that we can put the
subject through any test and they are being honest, so if they notice a
change they will say something. In this case, if they have a procedure
which you think will cause red-green qualia inversion but they do not
notice a change and you do not notice a change in their high level
behaviour (despite the change in the low level behaviour in their brain)
then the procedure did NOT cause qualia inversion. For the word "qualia"
would be meaningless otherwise.

> So, from now on, how about I refer to what we are both trying to talk
> about as: “Stathis’ ‘behavior’ which, if it remains the same, the
> subjectivity remains the same.”?

As long as we understand that this refers to high level behaviour,
particularly behaviour associated with honestly communicating about the
subject's experiences.

Stathis Papaioannou
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