[ExI] are qualia communicable? Was Why stop at glutamate?

Jason Resch jasonresch at gmail.com
Sat Apr 15 19:00:10 UTC 2023

On Sat, Apr 15, 2023, 1:30 PM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> Hi Jason,
> On Sat, Apr 15, 2023 at 8:31 AM Jason Resch via extropy-chat <
> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>> On Sat, Apr 15, 2023, 8:01 AM Brent Allsop via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> First off, let me make sure we agree on some (platonic or mathematical?)
>>> logical facts.
>>> You can't teach a toddler their colors, with a book that has no colors
>>> in it.                               You point to the red one and say: THAT
>>> is red. (Note: Your are really pointing to the property of the toddlers
>>> subjective knowledge of that)
>>> You can't tell someone which colors different wavelengths of
>>> light represent, without colors.  You add a red color near the 700nm
>>> section, and say 700nm light is THAT color.
>>> If we agree on those facts, then:
>>> 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.
>>> At which point the person may say:  "Wow, THAT is my grenness, I must be
>>> engineered to be different than everyone else."
>> This is good. I think we are having some real communication on these
>> issues now.
> Yes, very exciting.
> Let me start by pointing out that Dennets 2nd property of qualia
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia> is that qualia are: "2. *intrinsic
> <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsic>* – they are non-relational
> properties, which do not change depending on the experience's relation to
> other things."
> In other words P1 always has the same redness property, no matter who's
> brain it is in, and no matter what it is compared to.

>> Let me add names for clarity for your above description:
>> When Bob says; "Wow, THAT is Alice's redness!" How does Bob know what
>> redness is for Alice?
> The weak way is we have our dictionary which never fails (as in That (P1)
> is always redness)

But how does one make a dictionary that does this? How does a third-person
perspective *ever* gain insight into the first-person perspective of

The strong way is you computationally bind the two brains together, so you
> can be directly aware of whatever quality that other brain is using.

Even then I don't accept this would necessarily work. How is information
from one brain processed by the other? If it's still using two different
visual cortexes, I don't think you can ensure they see the same thing. If
you make them share a visual cortex, whose do you use? When they go back to
being themselves, how do they know their memory of their experience is

There's an area of the brain that when destroyed not only makes it
impossible to see colors, but also even imagine or remember them. If our
visual system is necessary to interpret memories of colors, then one can't
necessarily remember an altered visual quale experienced using a different
visual cortex.

>> Another possibility to consider is: after we put some new processing
>> ability into Bob and he doesn't feel anything, not at first. It may take
>> several weeks for his brain to rewire itself to adapt to this new signal,
>> as it did for the monkeys given full color vision.
> You are describing subjective change here.  You can objectively observe
> this change.  If they aren't YET experiencing redness, it is because there
> is no redness being computationally bound.  Once you computationally bind
> them, you will experience redness.  They are the same thing.
>> Is there any promise that Bob's resulting brain changes and rewiring
>> after given a new signal will preserve the same relational role for P1 as
>> it had within Alice's brain?
> You can re-engineer bob, any way you want.  Whatever you objectively
> rewire (it may take some time to do this), will be exactly the subjective
> experience.  They are the same thing.

Yes, when identically wired, I am inclined to agree.

Subjective experience doesn't change without that change being objectively
> observable.

We can rewire all of Bob's brain to equal all of Alice's brain. Then we can
ensure that when they look at the same strawberry under the same light they
see the same thing. But short of that there will always be doubts, if not
an impossibility, that the two can ever experience the same state of
subjective awareness. And the requirement of rewiring a brain I think is
proof that qualia aren't communicable, and why experience is always trapped
within and forever bound to the experiencer.

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