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

Giovanni Santostasi gsantostasi at gmail.com
Sat Apr 15 22:19:06 UTC 2023

In other conversations, this person seems to claim there is something
physically unique to Joe's redness that if understood could be recreated in
Mary, and then Mary all of the sudden would experience Joe's redness. I
think this is nonsense for several reasons but I would like you to tell me
what is wrong with these assertions based on a common understanding of

Based on common understanding of neuroscience, the idea that there is
something physically unique to Joe's redness that could be recreated in
Mary is problematic for several reasons:

Subjective experience: The perception of color, such as redness, is a
subjective experience. It is influenced by an individual's unique neural
pathways, as well as their personal experiences and memories. The concept
of qualia, which refers to an individual's subjective experience of the
world, implies that it would be difficult to recreate Joe's exact
perception of redness in Mary.

Neural differences: Each person's brain is wired differently due to genetic
and environmental factors. These differences influence the way each person
processes sensory information, including color perception. It is unlikely
that one could recreate the exact neural configuration responsible for
Joe's perception of redness in Mary's brain.

Variation in color perception: Studies have shown that there is
considerable variation in color perception among individuals, even those
with normal color vision. Factors such as age, gender, and cultural
background can influence color perception. This further complicates the
idea of recreating one person's perception of redness in another.

Plasticity and adaptation: The brain is constantly changing and adapting to
new experiences. Even if it were possible to recreate the exact neural
configuration responsible for Joe's perception of redness in Mary, her
brain would likely adapt and change over time, making it difficult to
maintain the same perception.

Ethical considerations: Manipulating someone's neural pathways to change
their perception of color raises ethical concerns. Such an intervention
could have unintended consequences and may infringe upon an individual's
autonomy and right to their own subjective experience.

In summary, the assertion that Joe's redness could be recreated in Mary is
problematic due to the subjective nature of color perception, individual
neural differences, variation in color perception, brain plasticity and
adaptation, and ethical considerations. While neuroscience has made great
strides in understanding the brain and sensory processing, the complexity
of individual perception makes it unlikely that one person's experience of
a specific color can be precisely replicated in another.

On Sat, Apr 15, 2023 at 3:14 PM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>

> Brent,
> Here for example I asked GPT-4 to make sense of your standard explanation
> of the redness of red. I asked in addition how we would go about to know
> what the redness of Joe is vs Mary. Here is the response. Do you think
> GPT-4 understands what you are trying to communicate?
> The person also mentions the importance of having a "dictionary" or a
> common understanding of the terminology being used. By having a shared
> understanding of terms, people can better communicate their subjective
> experiences, like color perception.
> To know the "redness" of Joe vs. Mary, we would need to understand their
> individual color perceptions and how they relate to each other. This could
> be achieved by:
> Communication: Engaging in conversations with Joe and Mary to understand
> how they describe their experience of 'redness.' This may involve asking
> them to describe or compare their perception of red to other colors, or to
> provide examples of objects they perceive as red.
> Testing: Performing tests to assess Joe's and Mary's color vision, such as
> the Ishihara test or the Farnsworth-Munsell 100 Hue Test. These tests can
> help determine if either individual has any color vision deficiencies or
> unique color perception abilities.
> Context: Understanding the background and context of Joe's and Mary's
> experiences with color. This could include factors such as their cultural
> background, personal experiences, or any unique circumstances that may have
> influenced their perception of color.
> In summary, to know the "redness" of Joe vs. Mary, one must engage in
> communication, perform tests, and understand their individual contexts to
> better comprehend their unique color perceptions. However, it's important
> to note that color perception is subjective, and fully understanding
> someone else's experience of color can be challenging.
> On Sat, Apr 15, 2023 at 2:57 PM Giovanni Santostasi <gsantostasi at gmail.com>
> wrote:
>> Another even deeper mystery that the communicability of qualia is how the
>> brain creates an I.
>> If you think about it, somehow the qualia is "communicated" among the
>> 100,000s or even millions of neurons that are needed to
>> experience something like red. By the way, there was some time ago some
>> talk about "mother neurons" or single neurons that were activated when a
>> particular face was shown, almost implying we have in our brains a neuron
>> that activates when we see Brad Pitt. I'm not sure what is the status of
>> that line of research (I will look it up) but I don't think any experience
>> is associated with the activation of a single neuron.
>> Anyway, I'm pretty sure that when we experience something millions of
>> neurons are involved.
>> Jason, given you know so much about consciousness, how do these neurons
>> communicate to each other the experience of red (or anything else)? Somehow
>> millions of individual entities come together and say "I see red". I think
>> this phenomenon is even more important to understand than qualia.
>> Understanding of this phenomenon comes first because somehow there is some
>> sharing and integration of experience among these neurons. The qualia are
>> indeed communicated among these neurons at least. There is no point to talk
>> about qualia if we don't understand how an I is created by the brain in the
>> first place.
>> How the activity of many becomes the experience of an I?
>> Giovanni
>> On Sat, Apr 15, 2023 at 12:17 PM efc--- via extropy-chat <
>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org> wrote:
>>> On Sat, 15 Apr 2023, Jason Resch via extropy-chat wrote:
>>> > 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.
>>> You can even argue that time is a component. Space, time, software and
>>> hardware, and since the two, regardless of equal hardware and software,
>>> cannot occupy the same space at the same time it is impossible to ever
>>> be certain.
>>> I think I vaguely tried to make this point somewhere "up there" but I
>>> think I'll have to reside with Jason on this one.
>>> Best regards,
>>> Daniel
>>> _______________________________________________
>>> extropy-chat mailing list
>>> extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org
>>> http://lists.extropy.org/mailman/listinfo.cgi/extropy-chat
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