[ExI] Mental Phenomena

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Tue Feb 11 22:35:57 UTC 2020

On Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 2:24 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> *For example, the retina, is the mechanical dictionary transducing system
> which interprets the red information in the light, to the red information
> in the physically different red signal in the optic nerve.  Ultimately, you
> need to interpret this abstract word like ‘red’, *

And we can. The human retina has 3 different types of light sensors, #1
responds to red light #2 responds to green light and #3 responds to blue.
If the number in the first column that the brain receives from the eye is
larger than zero but the other 2 columns are zero then we interpret that
abstract notion with another abstract notion, you see pure red, a dim pure
red if the number is small and a intense pure red if the number is large.
And if the numbers in the first two columns are of equal size but the third
column remains zero then we see yellow, and if the numbers in all 3 columns
are equal we see white.

Suppose there was a parallel Everettian reality that was exactly like our
own except that the English language had developed slightly differently so
that we called the color of the sky "red" and the color of a strawberry
"blue", it wouldn't make any difference because the words chosen were
arbitrary, the important thing is that the words be used consistently. And
the same thing is true not only for words but for the red and blue qualia
themselves. And that's why your color inversion exparament would result in
precisely zero objective change in behavior and zero change in subjective
feeling, you're experimental subject would have no way of even knowing you
had done anything to him at all.

*> 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.” *

I think that's a good rule of thumb but I don't take it as an axiom, it's
usually true but not always. If you're chasing me with a bloody ax it would
be easy for me to behave in a scared way because I'm subjectively scared,
but if I'm in a horror movie and a stuntman friend of mine is chasing me
with a rubber ax with red paint on it I would not be subjectively scared so
I would need some serious acting skills (which I lack) to behave in the
same way. I couldn't do it but a great actor could.

My axiom is that intelligent behavior implies consciousness, I need to
believe it's true because I could not function as a solipsist and Darwinian
Evolution gives me, perhaps not proof but, a good reason to think it
actually is true. However the reverse, consciousness implying intelligent
behavior, is not an axiom, Darwinian Evolution can say nothing pro or con
about it so maybe rocks are conscious but shy so that's why they don't
behave intelligently. I could still function if I thought there was a
slight possibility rocks are conscious, I very much doubt they are but

*> “Computational binding” is what is done in a CPU.  *

And what particular qualia a external stimulus is bound to may result is
differences in brain chemistry but those different chemistries result in no
subjective change whatsoever and no change in behavior either.

 John K Clark
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