[ExI] Why stop at glutamate?

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Sun Apr 9 14:19:23 UTC 2023

Brent has proposed that something physical in the brain is responsible for
redness, and he has proposed the molecular/protein level as a candidate,
giving the example of the neurotransmitter glutamate. But there are a great
number of different levels operating concurrently in the brain, and I
wonder: why choose any particular level as more important than any other to
associate with redness? We see for example, at a quick glance:

Level Examples of things operating at this level
Whole Brain Human Brain, Dolphin Brain
Brain Hemispheres Left Brain Hemisphere, Right Brain Hemisphere
Brain regions Frontal lobe, Occipital lobe, Corpus callosum
Brain modules Broca's Area, Hippocampus, Visual Cortex
Higher Level Networks Subunits of visual cortex, Subunits of visual cortex
Neocortical Columns Pattern Recognizers, Classifiers, Discriminators
Neural Connections Connections, Inhibitory and Excitatory Signals, Firing
Neuronal Level Neurons, Dendrites, Axons
Cellular Level Stem Cells, Blood Cells, Nerve Cells
Intracellular Level Organelles, ATP, Mitochondria
Protein Level Genes, Ribosomes, Proteins
Molecular Biology Amino Acids, Peptides, Base Pairs
Molecular Level Molecules, Covalent Bonds, Ionic Bonds
Atomic Level Chemicals, Ions, Electron Orbitals
Nuclear Physics Atomic Nuclei, Chemical Elements, Isotopes
Baryon Level Quarks and Gluons, Protons, Neutrons
Subatomic Particles Quarks, Electrons, Photons
Quantum Fields force fields, matter fields, Higgs field
When every level above could be called a "physical" level, why should we
limit the investigation to the protein level of neurotransmitters?

If molecules/proteins, are in the end, just patterns of activity of quantum
fields, why can't the patterns of activity of higher-complexity (still
quantum fields) such as the processing done by the visual cortex, count as
a pattern of activity open to investigation?

If lower order patterns of activity (quarks, atoms, molecules, proteins)
etc. are possible candidates to explain "redness", why can't these higher
order patterns of activity be candidates for redness? (Or do you consider
them to be viable candidates?)

An extra question, consider this quote from the physicist John Wheeler:

"Now I am in the grip of a new vision, that Everything is Information. The
more I have pondered the mystery of the quantum and our strange ability to
comprehend this world in which we live, the more I see possible fundamental
roles for logic and information as the bedrock of physical theory."

-- John Archibald Wheeler
<https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Archibald_Wheeler> in “*Geons*, *Black
Holes*, and *Quantum Foam*

If Wheeler's speculation is right, then there exists another level below
quantum fields, one of essentially pure information. What would that imply
about the patterns of activity necessary for redness? Would that not imply
that redness is, at some level (even if it is only associated with
glutamate) in the end, nothing but a particular pattern of information

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