[ExI] Who does or does not think consciousness is composed of color (and other) qualities?

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Mon Apr 10 02:55:58 UTC 2023

In the line of the previous example and your original question if I even
understand it then one could do several experiments. For example, I could
show the color red to a subject using different levels of
alcohol (something to modify consciousness somehow) and see how the person
responds. Again, we need to do this with a large sample of individuals to
understand what is in common and different in subjects. I could try
different types of drugs again to alter the states of consciousness. I
could present the colors with different backgrounds, inside different
shapes, at the corner of the screen vs the center, and so on. In fact, all
these experiments have been done and it is an entire field of science
called psychophysics. I'm sure there are review papers that describe what
is our best understanding of the link between consciousness and the
experience of colors. I'm very sure in these papers a sentence like*
Consciousness is composed of qualities like redness, greenness, and warmth *is
nowhere to be found because it doesn't make any sense from a scientific
point of view. No scientist would express his finding in this way. There
are very good reasons why that is the case. One of the main things that
come to mind is that "quality" is a very vague term. It seems to me
something an Aristotelian would use that were the enemies of Galileo when
he was trying to introduce the scientific method. We have moved from
qualities to quantity and it allowed us to make enormous progress in
understanding reality.

On Sun, Apr 9, 2023 at 7:45 PM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>

> Brent,
> Most of us are technical and science people. We really do not talk the
> same language you do. I don't know if this is philosophical language or not
> but it is not how a scientist would talk about this stuff. I gave you
> examples of how a scientist thinks about these issues.
> Let me repeat this again in a different way. There is no mystery about
> what the red color is because we know it is a particular frequency region
> of vibration of the EM spectrum. The redness (using your language) you
> refer to is the experience of red in the brain is a complex phenomenon that
> involves many physical and chemical reactions and activations patterns in
> the brain. In another post, I gave you an example on how we could explore
> this topic (and probably it is already done) which is to expose 1000s of
> people (often is much fewer in these experiments) to red and gree objects
> and see what activation patterns you obtain. Then you overlap the brain
> regions of several people and see what they have in common.
> You can create a phase diagram with these activation patterns (fMRI
> intensity in a given region vs another) and color code the 2 conditions
> (red or blue on stimuli). You will get a similar pattern for most people
> but not identical. The green stimuli would be distinguishable from the red
> ones because of the different regions involved. In fact, this could be used
> in reverse to guess what color somebody is seeing by looking at the
> particular individual dot on the phase diagram.
> You used a sample to train the AI to make the association between phase
> diagram coordinates and color stimuli and then test with an independent
> sample to see if the AI get it right.
> This is how you do science about these topics, this is how you think
> scientifically on these topics.
> This is the language a scientific person would want to use to discuss
> these topics.
> You can ask an infinite number of questions and go deeper and deeper in
> understanding what redness means doing this. It leads somewhere.
> Your language and way of thinking is what the ancient philosophers were
> doing and this why they were writing on papyrus and we use computers. Their
> approach led to almost nothing in terms of understanding of the physical
> world until the scientific revolution happened and we did more progress in
> the last few hundred years than the 1000s before.
> Giovanni
> On Sun, Apr 9, 2023 at 7:28 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> Thanks mike.  It is good to know.
>> Would you agree that redness is not a quality of the strawberry, but a
>> quality of our conscious knowledge of the strawberry, and that all we know
>> of the color qualities of things is the color qualities things seem to be?
>> On Sun, Apr 9, 2023 at 8:13 PM Mike Dougherty via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> On Sun, Apr 9, 2023, 9:36 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>>> I'd like to take a survey, and find out if anyone does or does not
>>>> agree with this statement:
>>>> Consciousness is composed of qualities like redness, greenness, and
>>>> warmth.
>>> I have difficulty understanding what you are even asking.  Every attempt
>>> you have ever made to clarify your position has made less sense.  I get
>>> frustrated that we exchange so many words for so little
>>> recognition/understanding then give up.
>>> I do not agree with that statement but I expect you will ask me why and
>>> direct me to open or support a camp to prove my thinking is reasonable by
>>> consensus.. I am not going to do that.
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