[ExI] are qualia communicable?

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Sat Apr 15 21:18:23 UTC 2023

Hi Ben,
What you are saying is exactly what I would say if I was good with words as
you are.
What strikes me is that is what everybody else that is scientifically
trained is saying the same things, even if in slightly different words.
The explanations are coherent and based on what we know about how reality
works. But notwithstanding all this, the other side is repeating more or
less the same mantras about the redness of red, the grounding problem, and
stuff like that without really adding layers of understanding to the
discussion. Not sure if this impasse can be resolved at all.

Maybe in the future when we know more about brains and minds of all types
these misconceptions will disappear as they did with the concept of "life
spirit" that people were using to justify why life is magical and a divine
creation beyond the understanding of science.
I'm not sure what is going on with Brent because I think he has
supposedly a more scientific motivation but what he says doesn't sound
scientific at all. But I know Gordon, for his own admission, thinks there
is something beyond science behind consciousness and that science is not
adequate to understand it. This is more of a religious position than a
scientific one so not sure there is much point in discussing further.

On Sat, Apr 15, 2023 at 8:52 AM Ben Zaiboc via extropy-chat <
extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:

> 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.
> Yes.
> ... (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.
> No.
> 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).
> Ben
> PS Strawberries are passé. Didn't you know that Limes are the 'in' fruit
> these days?
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> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
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