[ExI] Fwd: Paper on "Detecting Qualia" presentation at 2015 MTA conference

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Wed Jan 28 18:33:31 UTC 2015

On Wed, Jan 28, 2015  Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at canonizer.com> wrote:

> To illustrate, let’s talk about detecting the property of “causal red”,
> which is defined to be the ability of something to reflect 650 NM light.
> So the question is, what does it mean to detect this, as apposed to
> detecting a green leaf?

To a atom or molecule it means that light with a wavelength of 650 NM will
knock an electron into a higher orbital shell, but light with a wavelength
of 510 NM will not. This is probably not what you mean by the REDNESS
property or the GREENNESS property, but I'm not sure what you do mean.
Forgetting physics, is your experience of seeing red (qualia) the same as
mine? Absolutely not, we're 2 different people so we're having 2 different
experiences. So can John Clark ever know what it's like for Brent Allsop to
experience red?  No. Nanotechnology could change my brain so it was
identical to yours but then John Clark would still not know because I'd no
longer be John Clark, I'd be Brent Allsop.

You probably think these answers are a bit unsatisfactory and I have to
admit that they sound a little unsatisfactory to me too, but I think that's
just because conscious experience is fundamental. I think most, perhaps
all, chains of how or why questions do not continue for infinity but
eventually terminate, and when they do they've hit something fundamental.
So after saying that consciousness is the way data feels like when it's
being processed there is simply nothing more that can be productively said
on the subject.

  John K Clark
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