[ExI] i am software: wasRE: utah: RE: Frank Jackson's brilliant color scientist Mary

Adrian Tymes atymes at gmail.com
Tue Jan 7 06:39:29 UTC 2020

> are you really implying that I think that rainbow picture can’t be
represented by an array of values including RGB(FF0000), as it appears

You appear to be defending the position that there is some ineffable,
not-representable-by-other-means qualia in the image.  Without agreeing or
disagreeing with that position, I am pointing out that the specific example
given is a remarkably weak defense of that position.

> Are you saying that RGB(FF,00,00). or any other such abstract software is
physically red?

No.  I say it is a representation of red, similar in nature to
representations of red in the human brain.

"Physically red", to me, consists of reflecting and/or emitting - within
the visible spectrum - primarily red photons, which are photons close to
680 nanometers in wavelength.  A mathematical construct (such as
"RGB(FF,00,00)", which is in turn most often represented as the number
16,711,680) is not a physical object, and thus is not "physically"
anything.  It can, however, serve as part of an instruction for a physical
thing - say, a pixel on a monitor - to become physically red.  Physical
redness can be measured, just like any other physical color properties, but
the number that results from the measurement is just another
representation.  "The map is not the territory", as it's said.

This debate in general seems to be suffering from a remarkable level of
redefinitions on the fly and goalpost-moving.  I am not saying you
exclusively are doing that, I'm saying that's the discussion in general.
This has been my main reason for staying out of the debate until now.

Most egregiously, what exactly is "qualia", other than "magic that defines
the experience of redness/et cetera"?  Some people seem to be insisting
that qualia can not be defined in any measurable terms.  Over and over, I
have seen strawman examples set up - the original supposition about a
"color scientist who had all the physical information, and then one day
actually saw red" being an example.  One reason there is dissonance is
that, intuitively we know there can not be such a thing as someone with
"all the physical information", thus the premise is rejected and what is
actually evaluated is someone who has a lot of data but nowhere near
"all".  Another reason is that it confuses "information" in the
intellectual sense with memories of experiences: of course someone who
doesn't have a specific memory won't have that memory, but that says
nothing about that person's ability to learn information.

Perhaps this debate could be settled more quickly if people simply did not
use words that have been muddled so much within the conversation itself.
Specifically, state the concepts without using the word "qualia" (or making
up any other words).

For instance, going back to Mary the color scientist.  Let's say she is
color-blind due to a defect located entirely in her eyes, but knows how to
do brain surgery, specifically on the sensorimotor cortex.  Might she be
able to implant something, or rewire someone's brain, so they see red?  If
so, would it be correct to say that she has triggered that person's
perception of red?

Let's say she then programs a robot or instructs other people to do the
same surgery to her.  They do (let us assume correctly and perfectly, which
is certainly possible), and she gets a perception that she has never had
before - but she has a word for it: "red".

Everything that can be measured says Mary and this other person had the
same experience.  They both use the word "red" for it, but of course words
can mean different things to different people.  There are probably
different emotional connotations and reactions, but these trigger off the
representation in the brain, not actually off the physical redness itself.
(In almost all real cases, physical redness is the only viable means to
create this representation - but that doesn't make physical redness and the
representation literally the same thing.)

On Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 6:38 PM Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com> wrote:

> Hi Adrian,
> Thanks for jumping in.
> And I often get sucked into missing when people are just yanking my chain.
> So, just to get that out of the way, this entire response seems like
> someone is just yanking my chain, it seems to me to be so obviously wrong
> and twisted in so many ways.
> “fails to refute the concept that image qualia can be represented in
> other forms.
> Along with most everything else in this reply that is so mistaken, are you
> really implying that I think that rainbow picture can’t be represented by
> an array of values including RGB(FF0000), as it appears here?  Are you
> saying that RGB(FF,00,00). or any other such abstract software is
> physically red?
> Software = qualia people are so infuriating to me.  The best I can
> understand from what qualia arise from software say is redness arises from
> software via <magic happens here>.  They certainly never provide anything
> better than that, that I can see.  I wonder what a person believing qualia
> arise from software will do if experimentalists discover that the only
> thing anyone can find in this universe that has a physical redness quality
> is glutamate.  Would they continue to try to find some way to make
> something like RGB(FF,00,00) produce a redness experience for someone, and
> continue to claim you can’t disprove a negative as the theists always do
> about the existence of their God?  After all, you never know, if you add
> enough RGB(FFFFFFFFFFFFFF….,00,00) it could finally result in a physical
> redness quality, right?
> If you are not yanking my chain, again, still, thanks for jumping in.  I
> still must not be adequately communicating what I’m trying to describe.  Or
> maybe I'm just failing to understand what you are trying to say.  I
> appreciate everyone’s patience on this.  It is always helpful when a new
> person joins in.  I’ve improved a lot in the way I say things (having much
> more success than I once had), but I evidently still have a LONG way to
> go.  Unless you are yanking my chain? ;)
> Brent
> On Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 4:37 PM Adrian Tymes via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> I see orange and cyan there, too.  Also, a rainbow is a gradient, which
>> your list of words fails to note.  There is also no mention of the sky,
>> clouds, or arc of the rainbow, nor of the transparency toward one end.
>> It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words.  Exacttness of that
>> measure aside, trying to equate a picture to a very few words is a strawman
>> argument, and as such fails to refute the concept that image qualia can be
>> represented in other forms.
>> On Mon, Jan 6, 2020 at 8:44 AM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> Your wrong, unless you see no difference between this
>>> [image: image.png]
>>> and the abstract words "red, yellow, green, purple and blue".
>>> Notice how I can redefine the words purple and blue.
>>> You can't redefine your purpleness, and blueness, it just is, and you
>>> know that more absolutely than you know anything.
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