[ExI] are qualia communicable?

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Sat Apr 15 15:50:57 UTC 2023

On 15/04/2023 13:00, Brent Allsop wrote:
> You can't teach a toddler their colours, with a book that has no 
> colours in it. You point to the red one and say: THAT is red.


... (skip some meaningless verbiage)...

> Once we have the required dictionary (after exhaustive trial and 
> error, and you discover that is P1, and only P1 that has a redness 
> quality), you take P1, computationally bind it into someone's 
> subjective experience, and say: THAT is redness.


What you are calling a 'dictionary' doesn't exist, and it's extremely 
unlikely that a single defined function (or neural network) is the only 
one that gives rise to the sensation of 'red', even in one individual, 
and certainly not across different individuals. Have you noticed that 
feeling feverish affects your perception? Or being happy as opposed to 
sad? Or... (any number of mental states). 'Red' can mean many different 
things to a person (even ignoring the fact that there isn't just one 
'red' but at least hundreds), and the state of mind you're in can affect 
what 'red' feels like.
Apart from that, what you seem to be proposing would only work if 
everyone's brain was the same, in detail. The kind of detail that would 
mean everyone was essentially the same person. Rendering the whole 
exercise pointless.

I don't know what you mean by 'computationally bind it into someone's 
subjective experience', but it's possible that it's a terrible way of 
saying "reproduce the same function (or network) in someone else's 
brain". Which, I'm pretty sure, A) is not possible, and B) if it were 
possible, there's no guarantee it would work to produce the same 
subjective sensations in the recipient. It would be like taking the 
engine management software from a BMW racing car and (somehow) making it 
work in a Fiat saloon, and saying THAT's what it's like to be a BMW 
racing car!. Of course it wouldn't be. It would most likely turn the 
Fiat into a useless piece of junk, at least until the offending software 
was removed and replaced with the original (and maybe not even then, if 
it's damaged the engine).

If you mean something else, please explain (without, please, please, 
resorting to your usual indecipherable vocabulary. In case you're 
uncertain what I mean, don't use the terms 'computationally bind', 
'quality', 'dictionary', 'redness' (just 'red' wlil do), and 
'objective'. To be honest, if you want people to understand what you're 
saying, use plain english (or american, even), and try to drop this 
terminology which is only meaningful to you).


PS Strawberries are passé. Didn't you know that Limes are the 'in' fruit 
these days?

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