[ExI] a little essay on anger and respect

Ben Zaiboc ben at zaiboc.net
Tue Apr 25 19:42:42 UTC 2023

Brent Allsop wrote:

 >Precisely the reason I fight against anti qualia transhumanists is 
because in my belief, you are part of the problem. Everyone can know, 
absolutely, that our knowledge of [image: red_border.png], is different 
from a code like "*RED*". And I'm sorry, in my opinion, as much as you 
know about neuroscience, to me, and many religious people, when you make 
the claims you make about qualities, like this, you completely destroy 
your reputation in their eyes.

Well you are mistaken. In my opinion.

Everyone does know that there's a difference between the experience of 
something and a label used to refer to the experience. Nobody is 
disputing this. Nobody thinks that the title "War and Peace" is the same 
thing as the entire book. You seem to be claiming that some people (most 
of the scientifically-literate people on this list, for starters) are 
mixing the two things up. If that is your claim, it's false.

 > when you make the claims you make about qualities, like this

What claims? You are the one making claims about 'qualities' (whatever 
they are supposed to be), with nothing to back them up, except intuition.

What we are saying is that the experiences that we have are dynamic 
patterns (very complex patterns) of information. We use simple labels 
(e.g. "pineapple") to communicate a very complex pattern of information 
that is the experience each one of us has (experiences which could very 
well - and almost certainly are, although we can't tell for certain - be 
completely different) in response to seeing, eating, smelling or reading 
about, a pineapple.

When I say "I can taste pineapple", I'm using the label that I, 
personally, link to the complex pattern of information in my brain that 
is active while I'm tasting pineapple, to evoke in someone else, their 
own personal complex pattern of information in their brain that is 
active when they are tasting pineapple.

Naturally, as we all have many small differences in physiology and 
anatomy and neurology, it's extremely unlikely (and completely 
irrelevant) that we experience exactly the same thing. All we can know 
is that we can both point to the same object (a pineapple) and agree 
that the phrase "I can taste pineapple" refers to 'the taste of 
pineapple', whatever that is to each of us.

I can't see how this is remotely controversial. I don't see why we are 
arguing over it.

Neuroscientists can demonstrate, in any number of actual experiments (as 
opposed to arguments), that complex neural patterns are what occur when 
people experience things. They can demonstrate, in actual experiments, 
that in the absence of these patterns, the experiences do not occur.

I don't know what else I can say, or what else anybody needs.

(and I should point out that, as far as I know, nobody knows what on 
earth you mean when you say 'knowledge of', as you insist on doing in 
front of just about everything. If it really does add something, you 
really need to explain it, because it's a good example of the 
'impenetrable personal jargon' that people keep complaining about)

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