[ExI] Mental Phenomena

Stathis Papaioannou stathisp at gmail.com
Mon Jan 6 04:58:05 UTC 2020

On Mon, 6 Jan 2020 at 15:26, Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Hi Ben,
> On Sun, Jan 5, 2020 at 3:42 PM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com> wrote:
>>  >When we experience red, there are lots of other physical memories and
>> things computationally bound to that elemental redness, just as you
>> pointed out.
>> No, I didn't. I was pointing out that 'elemental redness' literally
>> doesn't mean anything, as far as I can see. You seem to think it does.
>> Please explain that. Just that, without any of the other stuff. What do
>> you mean by 'elemental redness'?
> When you experience a redness quality, when you are dreaming or not, there
> must be something, that is that redness quality you are experiencing.  My
> redness could be like your greenness, either naturally, or engineered to be
> that way.  You claim glutamate could function identically to glycine, but
> that physical difference is the point.  If you engineered someone to be
> identical to you, except that person swapped all redness/glutamate with
> glycine/grenness, and visa versa, you would function identically, but
> qualitatively your knowledge would be physically different.  My redness
> would be like your grenness.

If you swapped glutamate for glycine and glutamate receptors for glycine
receptors, then the redness and greenness qualia would remain the same, as
I thought you (almost) agreed in an earlier discussion with me. This is
assuming that the neurotransmitters and receptors only do what we know them
to do; if glutamate has other effects, like its breakdown products
stimulating other neurons, then there might be a difference.

>  >Also, even if this physical change in your pixel of awareness was a
>> single neuron switching between firing with glutamate and glycine.
>> I know that the 'one neuron, one neurotransmitter' paradigm has recently
>> been challenged, but as far as I know, if a glutaminergic neuron somehow
>> started secreting glycine from the same synapses, then nothing would
>> happen because the post-synaptic receptors wouldn't have glycine
>> receptors, would they?
> This is missing the point.  The idea of a single neuron firing with with
> either glutamate or glycine is just an over simplified example to simplify
> understand how we might bridge the explanatory gap, or find out whether
> your redness is more like my grenness, or not.  Once we can bridge the
> explanatory gap (eff the ineffable) with an overly simplified theory, we
> can use the same qualitative effing thinking on all more capable theories.
> But in any case, as I keep saying, individual neurotransmitters are
>> irrelevant.
> The idea that glutamate has the redness physical property is meant to be
> easily falsified, via the ways you are proposing, or any other way.
> Falsifiability is the point.  If this is falsified, you just try something
> else in the brain, till you can't falsify it.  Then you replace glutamate
> with whatever that is.  Then you know what it is that has the redness
> quality you can directly experience.
>> Another term I'm not sure about the meaning of, is 'pixel of awareness'.
> For every pixel, on every surface you are aware of, there must be
> something, physical, that is that conscious knowledge of that point, and it
> must be able to change to any other color, at any time.  We're trying to
> imagine the simplest possible theory for this simplest point of knowledge,
> where falsifiability is the point.
>> Many of the things you say don't seem to relate to neuroscience at all,
>> as far as I'm aware. It would help greatly if you could ground your
>> ideas in what we actually know about how the brain works, then I might
>> be able to make some sense of them.
> Objective observation of the brain can give you descriptions of everything
> in the brain.  The problem is, you can't know, qualitatively, what any of
> that is describing.
> The only thing qualitative is direct awareness of the colorness properties
> of something in your brain.  We some how need to make the connection
> between the abstract objective and the qualitative subjective.  Again, once
> you understand how it could be true, in a world simpler than our own, that
> our abstract descriptions of glutamate, binding to a glutamate receptor
> could be a description of what we directly experience as redness, the
> connection would be made.  Again, if it isn't glutamate, you keep trying
> other stuff in the brain till you find which abstract description of stuff
> in the brain is the description of subjective redness.  Then you replace
> whatever that turns out to be with all instances of the word glutamate I
> have been using.
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Stathis Papaioannou
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