[ExI] Mental Phenomena

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Fri Feb 14 00:51:14 UTC 2020

On Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 6:14 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

Hi Brent

* > his brain represents both red light and green light with the same
> physical knowledge that has John's redness.*

Ok, but those physical things are just arbitrary labels and
neither glutamate or glycine are inherently red or green and neither
chemical is closer to being a qualia than the English words "red" and
"green" are. How the brain interprets those labels are what qualia are and
that depends on the internal assembly language of the brain. And in your
scenario you and I don't use the same internal lower level language, the
change has no effect on objective behavior, we can both sort red things
from green things with equal fidelity but I can only speculate if your
internal experience is different.

The labels are inverted but the interpretation of them might be inverted
too, and that would result in identical behavior and identical subjective
experience too; or the labels could be inverted but the interpretation of
the label is not, and that would result in identical behavior but a
different subjective experience. Both produce identical objective behavior,
therefore science can not help us differentiate between the two

> *> 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?*

Aware? I have no way of knowing what colors you're aware of, I can only
observe your behavior. I might note that you can make finer color
distinctions that I can and, because of that, suspect (but be unable to
prove) that you have a different subjective experience than I have, but I'd
have no way of even guessing what that sort of subjectivity would feel

*> 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.*

Black is lack of white. If I could only see blue then for me black would be
lack of blue, and there would be no difference subjectively or objectively
between black and white and black and blue.

> *> 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.*

Not true. Those physical qualities are just chemicals they are NOT qualia
anymore than the word "red" is. Qualia depends on the meaning of those
chemical labels and that depends on the personalized low level internal
language of our brains.

*> 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.*

You always have to worry about physics, nothing can represent anything
without it. And I don't see why a voltage is less physical  (or more
physical) than a chemical.

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

No I'm afraid not.

John K Clark
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