[ExI] Qualia are incommensurate

Rafal Smigrodzki rafal.smigrodzki at gmail.com
Wed Jul 24 04:04:45 UTC 2019

On Tue, Jul 23, 2019 at 10:37 PM Brent Allsop <brent.allsop at gmail.com>

> Hi Rafal,
> “Nothing we speak of is "just the redness", because of the un-articulated,
> unspecified complexity hidden behind every image and every word that
> pertains to the physical world.”
> Let’s try this.
> There is one of all possible pixels (smallest spot you can clearly
> perceive) on the surface of a ripe red strawberry that is changing between
> red and green.  You can focus on whichever spot is changing and you are
> clearly aware of it as it changes from red to green.
> Would you agree that there was something physical, in your brain, which
> you are directly aware of that is this switching knowledge?  And would you
> agree that the physics that was the “red” knowledge has a redness quality
> you can be directly aware of, and when it changes to green, this different
> physics has a greenness quality you are also directly aware of?

### Obviously conscious perception is a physical process but physics or
awareness in my brain doesn't do anything "directly". There are probably
hundreds of synapses involved in the basic calculation of reflectances
(colors) in any small patch of the visual field, and the number of neurons
involved in conscious, attentive perception of even the smallest sensory
input is measured in the hundreds of millions if not billions. The
qualities we talk about are features of large neural networks that are
implemented in a complex physical substrate, and as I mentioned earlier,
these are anything but simple or direct.

In case you wanted to ask if "redness" could exist independently of a
physically functioning neural network, my answer would be "no". And as I
mentioned earlier, every unique network that perceives changes in
reflectance on strawberries will have its own unique "redness",
incommensurate with qualia in other networks.
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