[ExI] Mental Phenomena

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Thu Jan 30 09:53:44 UTC 2020

Brent Allsop wrote:
> Hi Ben,
> Thanks for your extra work in our efforts to communicate.  We are 
> obviously failing miserably.

Well, I would suggest that your model example using glutamate, combined 
with your terminology ('elemental') could almost be designed to mislead 
people about what you actually mean, so it's no wonder there's 

My 'availability' argument was a response to what you seemed to be 
claiming (and you agreed to what I asked about it. That question wasn't 
aimed at a simplified imaginary world, it was about the real world), and 
it doesn't just falsify the idea that glutamate = redness, but falsifies 
the whole concept of any molecule representing any quale, but perhaps 
you accept that, and perhaps it is missing the point anyway, which just 
reinforces what I'm saying here.

I still don't understand what you mean by 'qualia blindness', and your 
simple-world examples do nothing towards helping me (or anyone else, 
that I can see) to understand it.

As the saying goes "If you do what you always did, you'll get what you 
always got". Perhaps it's time to try a different tack? The more 
different ways you can explain something, the better chance there is of 
people understanding it. When I have difficulty understanding a thing, I 
try to find a variety of sources with different ways of explaining it, 
then there's a better chance of finding something that makes sense to 
me. Any idea worth its salt can be explained in a number of different 
ways, or looked at from different angles. Unfortunately, you seem to be 
the only source of this idea, whatever it is, so it's up to you to come 
up with the different ways of explaining it that might help people to 
understand it.

I suggest you add more ways of looking at this to your vocabulary, make 
new models, using different viewpoints, to try to convey what 'qualia 
blindness' is. Without this, I for one, wiil certainly continue to have 
no clue what it can mean. The only thing the term suggests to me is a 
lack of ability to experience qualia, just as ordinary blindness is a 
lack of ability to see. You clearly don't mean that, as it's an absurd 
thing to say.

I know that you've probably invested a lot of time and thought in coming 
up with your model and terminology, and presumably it makes perfect 
sense to you, but if I'm any indication, it doesn't necessarily make 
sense to many other people. Time to think of other ways to explain it 
(and I don't just mean 'yellowness' instead of 'redness', and serotonin 
instead of glutamate!!). Preferably several different ways, if you want 
people to latch on to what you mean.

I don't know, but perhaps drop the 'simplified world' and try using the 
real world? Or create a less simplified imaginary world? Or better 
still, translate into a completely different system that has nothing to 
do with brains, colours and neurotransmitters, but embodies the same 
concept? (I remember, long long ago, having difficulty understanding 
multiplication, it was all very abstract and mysterious, until someone 
drew a 2 x 3 grid on a piece of paper in front of me, and said "There, 
*that's* what multiiplication is!". I was all OOOOHHH!!! Suddenly it 
made complete sense. It just hadn't been explained to me like that 
before (for some daft reason)).

By the way, if anyone can come up with a similar way of explaining what 
complex numbers are, I'd be very grateful! I know the usual description, 
but that just doesn't make any sense to me.
(Yes, I know, it's extremely unlikely).

And you're /still/ CCing my private email address, despite repeated 
requests that you don't. That doesn't improve my mood (I won't repeat 
what escapes my lips every time I see this. Use your imagination). 
Please stop it, permanently.

Ben Zaiboc

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