[ExI] Mental Phenomena

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Mon Jan 6 13:57:25 UTC 2020

On 06/01/2020 07:00, Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com> wrote:

 >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,

No, I very much doubt it. In order for your 'redness' to be like my 
'greenness', it would have to be associated with the perception of 
grass, racing cars, limes, and hundreds of other things linked to the 
word 'green' in my mind. The 'something that I'm experiencing' (but see 
below) when I see a lime and am just concentrating on the colour, is far 
from a simple thing. And it's probably a different thing, to some 
degree, each time I do this.

The 'thing that is green', or the subjective experience of a specific 
green object, is not somethihng like a physical property of a chemical. 
It's a large pattern of neural activation in my brain. This pattern is 
necessarily linked to other patterns that represent instances of green 
objects, among many other patterns.

The phrase "what it is that has the redness quality you can directly 
experience" betrays a dualistic mind-set, I think. As though the 'me' 
that was experiencing the sight (or memory, etc.) of a red object, or 
just a flat field of the colour red, or even the abstract notion of 
'redness', was a different thing to the actual experience. Which of 
course gives rise to all sorts of awkward and nonsensical questions.

That's not what I think is happening. The way of looking at this that 
currently makes sense to me, is that when I'm in that state of 
'experiencing a red thing', that is what I am. There are not two 
separate things, one having an experience, and the other being the 
experience. There is just one. There is a pattern of neural activation 
going on in a brain. At that moment, 'I' am not 'experiencing' that 
pattern, the pattern is what I am. The next moment, of course, the 
pattern (or rather, the complex set of all the patterns that are 
currently active) changes, and I am something else.

This is why I say that "elemental redness" is a nonsense concept, and 
why I don't give any credence to the idea of a chemical substance 
somehow having a 'red property'. If that was the case, I would be that 
red property of that chemical. Which gives rise, again, to all sorts of 
nonsensical questions. Which molecule am I? How do I think of something 
other than red? and so on.

Ben Zaiboc

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