[ExI] Mental Phenomena

Brent Allsop brent.allsop at gmail.com
Thu Feb 13 23:12:15 UTC 2020

Hi John,

On Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 3:09 PM John Clark via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> On Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 4:37 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
> *> Would I also be right in pointing out that you can't have "pure qualia"
>> and that  the only way we can have knowledge of redness, is if we have
>> something physical, that is the conscious knowledge of redness?*
> You can't have knowledge of the red qualia unless you also have knowledge
> of something that is not red, like white for example. So there is no such
> thing as pure elemental redness. And you can't tell the difference,
> objectively or subjectively, between red and white and black and white
> unless you have knowledge of black. So there is no such thing as elemental
> black-and-whiteness either.

Let's assume Dylan's red and green qualia blindness is a little more
complete than it really is, and that his brain represents both red light
and green light with the same physical knowledge that has John's redness.
In other words, he has only ever experienced redness and blueness never
Let's assume all of the rest of us are trichromats, and have only ever
experienced redness, grenness, and bluenness.
Let's also assume there is a tetrachromat which has a 4th primary color,
let's call it grue, or grueness.
Finally, let's also assume that there is a person suffering from
Achromatopsia, but instead of black and white, he just has blueness, and
lack of blueness.

If what you say is true, Then the achromatopsian couldn't be aware of the
quality of his blueness,
Dylan couldn't be aware of blueness and redness,
We couldn't be aware of our redness, greeness, and blueness.
Only the Tetrachomate could know what any of these colors were?

But of course, we know that is all factually incorrect, right?

> And you can't have knowledge of ANYTHING unless you are using matter. And
> that's why I can't make heads or tails out of Robot #3.

Maybe this will help with this.

Robot 1 and robot 2 are purposely designed for mechanical simplicity.  They
don't want to have the additional transducing dictionaries required for
substrate independence, so they just represent red knowledge directly on
physical qualities.  No additional dictionaries required.

Let's say we want to make robot 3 easier to design.  We want the designer
to be able to only use one word for all things red, and not worry about
what physics are representing that red at any given time. And assume we
don't care about extra mechanical interpretation for all the different
physical things that could represent that single abstract 'red' concept.
So,  Everywhere we use redness to represent red, we put a dictionary from
redness to the word 'red'.  Every place we use grenness to represent the
word 'red' we provide a different dictionary from greenness to red.  And
when we use +5 volts on a line to represent red, again we provide yet a
different dictionary.  We provide all these different dictionaries so that
no matter what is representing the abstract notion of red, we can put the
word 'red' on the computer screen.  Without a different dictionary for each
different substrate we used, the substrate independence wouldn't be

And of course, evolution doesn't need a simple way to design things, it
just needs the simplest possible machinery, so it implements consciousness
directly on physical qualities, because that is more efficiently survivable.

Does that help you at all to make heads or tails out of robot #3?
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