[ExI] Mental Phenomena

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Thu Feb 13 15:10:09 UTC 2020

On Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 9:31 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

*> you guys are all completely qualia blind.*

You have 2 possibilities to consider:
1) Solipsism is true, we are zombies and so we really are qualia blind and
you are the only conscious being in the universe.
2) You are qualia delusional, that is to say your philosophical ideas are
self contradictory.

> *Not only do you not know the physical color anything, you don't care.*

I am unable to care much until you explain exactly (or at least
approximately) what you mean by "physical color". And if it doesn't involve
the subjective ability to notice a change in the wavelength of
electromagnetic radiation and the ability to objectively act on that
differentiation then whatever you mean by it just isn't very interesting. I
mean... if it doesn't effect anything objectively and it doesn't effect
anything subjectively either then I just can't work up much enthusiasm
about studying it.

> *Having this dictionary will tell us what color things are,*

You keep trying to find the nature of things at the most fundamental level
and yet for some strange reason you keep talking about dictionaries. A
dictionary is a list of definitions of words. Every definition is itself
made of words, every one of those words has its own definition also made of
words, and the infinite loop continues. You're not going to obtain
philosophical insight by reading a dictionary. And if there isn't an
infinite chain of "why" questions and there really is one correct answer to
the consciousness question at the most fundamental level then at some point
in the chain of questions you are going to say "I see a termination because
a miracle occurs here" or if you prefer "a brute fact occurs here". After
all, an effect without a cause does not violate any law of logic.
Fortunately with data processing the miracle is as small as possible
because changes don't get simpler than changing on to off.

> > *where we connect our brains with 3 millions neurons, so we can
> directly experience the actual physical colors in other's brains, the same
> way the physical knowledge in our left hemisphere is directly
> computationally bound to the physical knowledge in our right. *

We know with experiments with people that when those 3 million neurons
connecting the brain's hemispheres  are cut the individual who received the
surgery starts acting in ways that are different from the way he acted
before the surgery.  And both hemispheres are capable of acting
independently of the other, and that behavior is different from each other,
and neither matches the behavior of the pre-surgery individual. And it can
be shown that one hemisphere can know things that the other does not. And
so I would maintain neither hemisphere knows what it's like to be the
other, and neither hemisphere knows what it's like to have 2 working
hemispheres connected by 3 million information carrying cables, and the
pre-surgery individual doesn't know what it will be like to have a split
brain in his head.

*> we aren't jsut some kind of brain in a vat.*

I don't know why you keep saying that as if it's something of fundamental
importance, skulls and vats are just slightly different types of containers
for brains.

> *And it's up to the experimentalists. *

Exactly, and just like Evolution itself experimentalists can see
intelligent behavior but they can't see qualia or consciousness.
Nevertheless Evolution managed to produce consciousness at least once (in
me) and probably many billions of times, so I conclude consciousness must
be a byproduct of something that Evolution can see, something like
intelligent behavior. And experimentalists can form some conclusions about
qualia and consciousness, but only if they make some assumptions that,
although my hunch is are largely correct, they can't prove and will never
be able to prove.

*> the current popular consensus that "The supervening qualities are the
> result of the ones and zeroes"*

Ones and zeroes are pure abstractions but information is physical and so is
the difference between a electrical circuit that is open and a electrical
circuit that is closed. So I guess i believe in half of what you call the
"popular consensus" (although in my experience it's not all that popular).
Supervenience is just a two dollar word for "depends on" and I think that
both intelligent behavior and consciousness is the result of not ones and
zeros but of open/closed or on/off; you can represent one and zero with on
and off if you want but you don't have to, if you're working in Boolean
logic and not arithmetic you can have them represent true or false or any
other binary quality you like.

*> I'll bet any amount of money, at any odds, that functionalists camps
> will be the first to be experimentally falsified, once experimentalists
> stop being qualia blind. Anyone care to put any money, where their mouth
> is? *

I've been known to make small bets on scientific matters before (and to be
honest I usually ended up losing money) but I refuse to make a bet if I
don't understand exactly, or even approximately, what the bet actually is.

 John K Clark
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