[ExI] Mental Phenomena

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Tue Jan 14 23:03:49 UTC 2020

Brent Allsop wrote:

> We only use a simplified version of the easiest theory to falsify, 
> "elemental qualia are molecular material qualities," is to better help 
> people understand what it means to be qualia blind.

Well, I still have no real clue what you mean by 'qualia blind', even 
after falsifying your theory.

It can't mean being blind to qualia, because that's not possible, 
assuming the word 'qualia' has the commonly-accepted meaning of 
"subjective experiences".

> Also, congratulations.  You've come up with some great arguments some 
> of which are not consistent with glutamate being redness.

I think I've done more than that. I've falsified the theory, wouldn't 
you say?

Anyway, I'm very glad to hear it, and look forward to you not talking 
about glutamate (or any other substance) somehow being redness any more.

Perhaps you can now start thinking about what it /could/ be, if it's not 

> You just need any working hypothesis of what could be redness. What we 
> are describing is the technique to falsify that, or any other theory.  
> The important thing is describing a non qualia blind method for 
> experimentalists to use, to falsify such theories.

Well, you could do worse than read what neurologists have to say about 
how the brain works.

Here is a hypothesis that is at least theoretically testable: The 
experience of redness is accompanied by the presence of certain neural 
circuits in parts of the visual cortex. (in V8, in the occipital lobe), 
and that temporarily knocking out these circuits (via local electrodes, 
or a drug, or some other means) would prevent the perception of redness 
(as well as all other colours, quite possibly).

If this was done precisely enough, it would at least demonstrate that 
the perception of colour was dependent on these circuits. If some kind 
of neural interface was developed that could link to precise sets of 
neurons, you could maybe even pinpoint circuits that only affect the 
perception of a specific hue and saturation of redness and not other 
colours. With enough investigation of this kind, you could probably even 
tease out the entire route of a large neural circuit that travels round 
the visual areas, the thalamus and other parts of the brain, and be able 
to say "this circuit here, is redness (Hue 0, Sat 67%) (Strawberry, as 
it happens). If interrupting or disrupting that circuit removes that 
specific redness quale (such that the subject would report that they 
can't see it, and tests could verify that), then you've pinned it down. 
You now know what that quale actually is.

In case you wondered where the 'Lightness' component went, I think it 
will be conveyed by the frequency of the spikes in the circuit, but 
again, that's something that could be experimentally verified.

I say that this is theoretically testable. It may require 
uploading-level technology to actually be able to test it, as the 
'circuits' I'm talking about are unlikely to be simple loops or patterns 
like you'd see on an electronic circuit board. They are probably very 
complex, with many branches and loops. Probably the term 'network' is 
more appropriate than 'circuits'.

Ben Zaiboc
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