[ExI] Mental Phenomena

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Fri Jan 10 09:42:30 UTC 2020

Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com> wrote:

 >If you surgically remove your eyes, and are put into a room with no 
light, then stimulate the optic nerve, identical to the way it would be 
when looking at a strawberry.   You would have identical knowledge of 
the strawberry.  What is that knowledge, and what is it that has the 
redness quality you experience?  This can’t be ‘perception’ as that 
requires eyes.  It is simply conscious knowledge, the result of perception.

You are making a meaningless distinction. I would see a strawberry 
(there's no need to say "have knowledge of", that's just an 
unnecessarily complicated way of saying the same thing).

My eyes would be whatever provides the pattern of signals to my brain, 
instead of my original biological eyes. Even if that was a stored 
pattern in a computer, the pattern would be my eyes. Rather limited 
eyes, but by definition, whatever provides sensory signals to my visual 
cortex (or optic nerves, or any point along that pathway) is my eyes.

"What is that knowledge", I can only interpret as "what do you see?", so 
the answer is "A strawberry". "What is it that has the redness quality?" 
= "What is  red?". Um, The strawberry!

And if you're going to say "but the strawberry doesn't exist!", all I 
can say is yes, it does, in two different ways. A 'real' strawberry must 
have been used to create the stored pattern (or perhaps a composite of 
several strawberries), and a representation of a strawberry exists in my 
brain, exactly the same as when I used to see strawberries with my 
biological eyes.

In the virtual reality that my brain creates all the time, it's this 
representation that's the important thing. In a sense, this is more 
'real' than the physical object that presumably exists, or has existed, 
in the outside world. We can, after all, perceive and act upon things 
that have no existence in the outside world. Beauty, for example, or 
jealousy. Or the ghost I saw in the middle of my bedroom the other night 
(which turned out to be the silhouette of my cats head about two inches 
from my face).

What constitutes the representation of a strawberry in my brain? Exactly 
the same pattern of neural activity as before, when I looked at a 
strawberry with my biological eyes.

Perception does not require eyes, or any other /specific/ sensory organ 
(I'm sure you're not claiming that I don't perceive music because my 
eyes are not involved, or that there's no such thing as the perception 
of cool wet grass because it involves several different sensory 
channels). Perception requires a *brain*. The sensory organs just 
provide input to the sensory processes.

Ben Zaiboc

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