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Old 22nd January 2012, 06:05 PM   #161
PixyMisa
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
Clearly, not everyone is using the word in that way.
In a scientific context, the use of the term is not unreasonable, because you've necessarily excluded the dualistic baggage by the very fact of it being in a scientific context.

In a philosophical context, the term carries so much baggage that its use in rational debate is quite untenable.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 06:44 PM   #162
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
In a philosophical context, the term carries so much baggage that its use in rational debate is quite untenable.
But, that's a problem with philosophy, not with words.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 06:58 PM   #163
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Originally Posted by PixyMisa View Post
In a scientific context, the use of the term is not unreasonable, because you've necessarily excluded the dualistic baggage by the very fact of it being in a scientific context.

In a philosophical context, the term carries so much baggage that its use in rational debate is quite untenable.
So if someone mentions qualia, how do you know which context they are talking about?
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Old 22nd January 2012, 07:11 PM   #164
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
So if someone mentions qualia, how do you know which context they are talking about?
I find that so much of these discussions gets wasted in discussing what "qualia" really means that I prefer not to use it that often. I prefer subjective experience.

Not that it matters. Anyone that talks about human beings and refers to what it's like to be a human being will be accused of believing in magic, regardless.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 07:19 PM   #165
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
So if someone mentions qualia, how do you know which context they are talking about?
If they are talking about empirical ways in which qualia emerges or is constructed, chances are, it is being used in scientific context.

If they are talking about how qualia is "separate" from the self or the body, and/or if they claim qualia is a "problem" for materialists... then chances are, it is being used in a philosophical context.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 07:54 PM   #166
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
I find that so much of these discussions gets wasted in discussing what "qualia" really means that I prefer not to use it that often. I prefer subjective experience.
Cats and dogs living together!

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Not that it matters. Anyone that talks about human beings and refers to what it's like to be a human being will be accused of believing in magic, regardless.
Never mind.
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Old 22nd January 2012, 08:13 PM   #167
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I know a quale when I see one.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 02:55 AM   #168
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Have you noticed that in almost every discussion about the subjective experience of consciousness, the example of the red color is trotted out? Almost never green, blue, yellow, etc. It's always red.

Why do you think that is?

Here's a thought experiment I'd created of a long time ago:

Suppose we take an unborn child and rewire his retina so that the cones with the pigments assigned to red, and those for green, have their neuron connections swapped.

Now the person grows up seeing red objects with the green subjective experience, and green objects with the red subjective experience. (notice the Q word is perfect for this but I don't want to alienate PixyMisa. People who are not Q-phobic may translate. LOL). This person grows up with all the proper associations: the red look is associated with the word green, with cool grass, with lush trees, and traffic lights that mean "go." The green look is associated with the red word, with blood, delicious strawberries, and traffic lights that mean "stop."

Does this person, as an adult, really see (and feel) green as red and red as green? Does it matter?

Actually, a test of this sort can be performed by viewing the world for a time only through a camera/tv setup where these colors are so swapped. What do you suppose this would be like? Would the red "experience" turn into the green "experience" and vice versa? Or would we see the colors backwards always and just intellectually translate the look of red to cool grass, and the look of green as a delicious, ripe strawberry?

Last edited by Mr. Scott; 23rd January 2012 at 02:57 AM.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 04:38 AM   #169
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
Here's a thought experiment I'd created of a long time ago:

Suppose we take an unborn child and rewire his retina so that the cones with the pigments assigned to red, and those for green, have their neuron connections swapped.
You can stop there. Your intuition is based on the cones in our eyes working somewhat like the pixels in an RGB camera. Your intuition is wrong; our eyes simply do not work that way.

The cone pigments are not assigned to red and green. L and M have erythrolabe and chlorolabe; those opsins are sensitive throughout the spectra, and their sensitivity curves actually look quite similar to each other. In fact, though chlorolabe is most sensitive in the green portion of the spectrum, erythrolabe's peak sensitivity is merely in a yellowish-green portion of the spectrum. The signals produced by these cones never make it past your retina.

Your sensation of red is a result of the red-green opponent color process, formed by ganglial cells that attempt to determine the difference between these two cones, as if computing a function L-M. This is why a deficiency along this path (either protanopia or deuteranopia) leads to red-green colorblindness; both sorts of deficiencies compromise the red-green opponent color process. So there's not even separate neurons responsible for red and green; there's merely a single channel for both.

Now, if you want to swap the L and the M cones in the eye, you can continue your "thought experiment" from there. However, if you do this, you need to take into account the developmental process of these ganglial cells. I'm not even sure your if your brain would register a difference; given a particular theory of ganglial development that I've seen before, it probably wouldn't.

I believe we need to take the actual physics of color vision into account when judging your thought experiment, in which case, these particulars become critical.

Last edited by yy2bggggs; 23rd January 2012 at 05:11 AM.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 05:47 AM   #170
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
Right, my robot does not have feelings. Describe feelings in a way that will give me ideas about how to add them to my robot.

BTW: My robot uses simple analog circuitry. No AD converters, databases, or any kind of digital processing, but I don't think the distinction addresses the phenomenon of qualia, unless you can convince me otherwise.

BTBTW Thanks for the video link. I'll watch it when I have more time. Dennett is awesome.

You are welcome about the video.... I see you have watched it intently. Good. Maybe now I do not have to explain any further.

Regarding feelings.....I will give below a description that may be useful when applied to robotics.

But first....remember that I said that robotic intelligence is an entirely different process to human intelligence. Most importantly in a robot someone put a PROGRAM to do what it does. In animals there are no programs.

Your analog robot is more akin to human intelligence than the robot that I described.

Remember in the worm there are DIRECT PATHWAYS between receptors and muscles. The electrical signals that are generated as a result of receptors are directly routed to muscles to actuate them. There is no analysis and SECONDARY actions as a result of analysis.

Your analog robot if it is what I think, has receptors (two) that generate a voltage level that is directly wired to motors (two) which when activated will make the robot move either towards or away from the light. There is no logic or programs. This is very much like the worm.

Now here is an explanation for feelings...it is a lot simpler than you might think.....
Feelings are increased or decreased secretions of chemical cocktails.
See it is a very simple thing.

It is like theists who keep harping on about love not being real or not being possible to understand or quantify or explain. RUBBISH..... love has been identified, quantified, analyzed and explained.....it is hormones and pheromones.

So are feelings....they are hormones and pheromones.

So if you want to give a robot feelings make it have mechanisms that apply variable voltage levels to certain parts depending on voltage levels from certain other parts.

That is all there is to it....that is what happens in us.... certain parts react to something which will cause them to trigger the release of chemicals that affect the FIRINGS OF OUR NEURONS in a certain way.

That is how drugs work. If a drug can induce FEELINGS of whatever they induce or even REDUCE feelings or cut them out altogether......then there you have it....FEELINGS are drug induced effects on the firings of neurons.

Remember..... there is big community of worms in our body.... it is called the brain.

Just like a worm may wriggle away from some light or acid due to electrical signals between its receptors and its muscles so does the brain.

What appears to be consciousness is nothing but a result of extremely complex set of numerous worms wriggling in one way or another in response to signals from receptors.
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Last edited by Leumas; 23rd January 2012 at 07:04 AM.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 05:58 AM   #171
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
It is like theists who keep harping on about love not being real or not being possible to understand or quantify or explain. RUBBISH..... love has been identified, quantified, analyzed and explained.....it is hormones and pheromones.

So are feelings....they are hormones and pheromones.
Weeeeell.... Those hormones and pheromones introduce a computational bias, which is what I think is the key. You're not wrong, but I think you have only part of it.

Quote:
That is all there is to it....that is what happens in us.... certain parts react to something which will cause them to trigger the release of chemicals that affect the FIRINGS OF OUR NEURONS in a certain way.
Ah, then yes. We agree.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 06:08 AM   #172
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
From what I understand, consciousness seems to arise through all of the layers, acting as an emergent system. I think it would be incorrect to assume that there is a single layer ("the first one" or otherwise) where consciousness happens.

That's how I see it, anyway.
But I am not talking about consciousness, I am specifically talking about qualia, and even more specifically whether there is utility in referring to meta-layers.

Again, I will ask the question in terms of mathematics -- is there any utility in referring to how round roundness is? Or even the roundness of a circle? What is the "roundness" of a circle, anyway?
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Old 23rd January 2012, 06:10 AM   #173
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
Do we define experience as what it is like to be something though?
Yes, absolutely. That is the only logical definition that holds water.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 06:16 AM   #174
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post

We now have nearly complete schematics of the nervous systems of tiny worms. They have circuits just like my robot's: sensory organs linked to motor neurons. Do they experience qualia? Not likely. We evolved from these creatures. We experience qualia. Why?
First, you haven't asked the worms if they experience anything. Since worms don't talk, you would have to find some other way to communicate with them. Perhaps poking them with a needle would elicit a response -- oops, worms curl up when poked. So I guess they feel something, in their limited circuits.

Second, you make the mistake of assuming that what is in your head is something besides circuits -- there is zero evidence of this.

It is much more logical to just assume that experience is simply "what it is like to be X" and because you have a ton of circuitry your experience is much more rich than that of a worm. For example, you can see in very high resolution, you can see in color, you can hear a number of sounds, you have a body filled with sensory neurons, you have a very large memory, and perhaps most importantly you have a very large cortex that allows much more recurrent processing than a worm could dream of.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 06:20 AM   #175
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
It's interesting that this thread has developed into descriptions of what it's like to be other things. I have no idea what it's like to be a worm, say, or a robot. I know what it's like to be a person. I strongly suspect that being a rock is not like anything.
Well, being a rock is like being a rock. By definition.

If you want to know what it is like to be a rock, hit yourself in the head with a rock -- really hard. When you wake up, try to remember what it was like when you were unconscious.

Can't remember anything, eh? That's what it is like to be a rock.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 06:24 AM   #176
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post

If "Qualia" is used to mean "conscious experience" rather generically, it's a perfectly valid word; and more specific than "experience", which would include things that were not part of consciousness (most dreams, for example).
I challenge you to provide even a single experience that is not conscious.

I think this will be difficult, since for someone to even realize they had an experience they must become conscious of that experience at some point.

And if you mean "conscious of the experience at the same time the experience is occurring" then I have to ask why the phrase "conscious of the experience at the same time the experience is occurring " can't just be the definition to begin with. And in that case, what is all the fuss about.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 06:31 AM   #177
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
Maybe I could use argument from authority and say, if the Q word is good enough for Ramachandran, then it's good enough for me. Slap me why don't you.

I've watched Dennett's lecture for the third time now, and it seems he spends more time (almost all the time) telling us what consciousness isn't than what it is. He never uses the Q word. It's still a terrific lecture BTW.

Something odd happened to me once regarding tooth pain, surely one of the most intense pains commonly experienced.

Ordinarily, pain is accompanied by an extreme desire and struggle to be free of the pain. It can be ruinous to the enjoyment of life.

What I experienced once or twice was the sensation of tooth pain with the complete absence of it's uncomfortableness and imperative to be relieved. It was a very matter-of-fact "hmmm, that's some intense tooth pain. I suppose a dentist ought to see if something needs fixing." But absolutely no discomfort or misery. Just it's matter-of-fact presence. I've heard laughing gass has this effect: you still feel the pain, but it doesn't bother you.

So, why can't we call the pain qualia? Or the agonizing imperative to be free of pain? Before I learned the Q word I called it "sensation." It just seems like "experience" is a flaccid word for it. I think "experience" is too general, while "qualia" is more specific.

Do you think there could be such a thing as experience without qualia?
I'm not sure I see the difficulty here, since you have already spelled it out for yourself.

You have pain -- the experience of set of neurons firing, that your body really does not approve of. You have all the stuff that may or may not be associated with pain -- fear, desire to be rid of it, whatever -- each of those experiences in their own right. And .... ?

I don't understand why the experience of pain, coupled with the experience of fear regarding what that pain might mean, coupled with the experience of desire to be rid of the pain, is anything more than the experience of pain, fear, and desire. I mean, the logic seems pretty simple, right?

Now if you want to call qualia something like "a bunch of experiences put together" or "an experience is a bunch of qualia put together" then fine, but then I don't see the utility of term since by definition "experience" can be as simple or as complex as you want. "experience" is the cognitive analog of the mathematical term "value," or even "number." People don't say "we need to define something that is made of numbers yet is qualitatively different from numbers." That makes no sense in fact -- kind of like how people say qualia make no sense.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 06:40 AM   #178
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
What do you suppose this would be like? Would the red "experience" turn into the green "experience" and vice versa? Or would we see the colors backwards always and just intellectually translate the look of red to cool grass, and the look of green as a delicious, ripe strawberry?
If you phrase the question properly, the answer appears.

The proper question is "what would it be like for a person to perceive both <color x> and <color of grass> as the same?"
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Old 23rd January 2012, 06:59 AM   #179
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
What appears to be consciousness
How can something appear to be consciousness without being consciousness?
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Old 23rd January 2012, 07:01 AM   #180
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I think we can identify at least one significant difference between us and a mere conglomeration of "billions of worms": We typical humans have managed to develop an Autobiographical Self, which builds models from memories sufficiently sophisticated to anticipate future needs more effectively. Worms don't have that, but it did evolve out of precursors that worms do have.

Reducing our brains to those of "conglomerations of worms" doesn't tell us anything about what makes our mind "special". Thinking in terms of the fundamental functions of emergent systems does. Our brain cells are doing things, from a higher level point of view, that worm brains cells are not doing. At least not yet.

Think about traffic dynamics in a bustling metropolis. The human brain is a similar but much more complicated set of constraint dynamics.

The conglomeration of neurons all firing through and adjacent to each other in a bundle called the brain imposes numerous constraints and effects on the various individual “worms” of the brain that constrain and affect each other in such a manner so as to proceed to GENERATE even further constraints and effects.

Consciousness emerges due to these constraints and side-effects causing further constraint dynamics and producing more side-effects which are evermore self-regenerating.

This in turn results in effects upon the environment due to muscular movement, which in turn generates more side-effects and further constraints external to the bundle but that nevertheless are entwined with it and just as important to the whole entangled dynamics which eventually result in an illusion we call the Self.

Also please watch this video.

Also have a look at these books
  1. The Compass of Pleasure: How Our Brains Make Fatty Foods, Orgasm, Exercise, Marijuana, Generosity, Vodka, Learning, and Gambling Feel So Good
  2. The Accidental Mind: How Brain Evolution Has Given Us Love, Memory, Dreams, and God
  3. Brain Bugs: How the Brain's Flaws Shape Our Lives
  4. Braintrust: What Neuroscience Tells Us about Morality
  5. Who's in Charge?: Free Will and the Science of the Brain
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Old 23rd January 2012, 08:45 AM   #181
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
I think we can identify at least one significant difference between us and a mere conglomeration of "billions of worms": We typical humans have managed to develop an Autobiographical Self, which builds models from memories sufficiently sophisticated to anticipate future needs more effectively. Worms don't have that, but it did evolve out of precursors that worms do have.
What evidence do you have that worms don't have such a thing?

For instance, there is no reason a small network of just a few dozen neurons couldn't satisfy the constraints of "building a model from memories sufficiently sophisticated to anticipate future needs more effectively."

The "memories" involved might need to be extremely simple, on the order of a single binary condition, but so what?

Note that I am not saying worms can do such a thing -- I am not familiar with research regarding just how smart or dumb worms are, or if they can be trained at all, etc -- I am just bringing up a question.

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Old 23rd January 2012, 10:30 AM   #182
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
How can something appear to be consciousness without being consciousness?


See this post.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 11:01 AM   #183
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Originally Posted by yy2bggggs View Post
I believe we need to take the actual physics of color vision into account when judging your thought experiment, in which case, these particulars become critical.
No, my though experiment does not have to take into account the physics of color vision, because it's a thought experiment for which the physics of color, such as wavelengths of light and sensitivites of pigments, are irrelevant. It's about the greenish and reddish qualia in the brain, whatever way we swap them. My alternative implementation, viewing the world through a video camera/monitor where the red and green channels are swapped should have made that clear. What's relevant is that the brain, at the appropriate places, would get the green signal when looking at red, and red signal when looking at green, with learned associations opposite of what was normal.

I can rework the thought experiment to help further eliminate the irrelevancies:

We raise a child in a concocted environment in which cool grass is dyed red, ripe strawberries are dyed green, red lights mean go, green lights mean stop, and we recoil in fear when green liquid comes out of holes in our skin, etc.

What qualia does this child, after fully adjusting to this environment, see when looking at a ripe green strawberry? The same greenishness we see, but with different meaning attached? Or redishness?

Really think about this, will you? Your eagerness to preempt the question with an irrelevant squabble about the physics of light exposes your discomfort with the issues the experiment intends to expose.

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Old 23rd January 2012, 11:17 AM   #184
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
But I am not talking about consciousness, I am specifically talking about qualia, and even more specifically whether there is utility in referring to meta-layers.

Again, I will ask the question in terms of mathematics -- is there any utility in referring to how round roundness is? Or even the roundness of a circle? What is the "roundness" of a circle, anyway?
Roundness is that property that arises when when we apply a constant angle to a straight line leading the line to intersect with itself. Pi is directly related to roundness and the diameter is doubly so but the circumference is the limiting factor. Roundness then is an innate property of an unbounded line being curved in upon itself and exhibiting Pi, Diameter and Circumference as determining characteristics. We call this phenomonon circalia.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 11:20 AM   #185
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Also please watch this video.
I just watched it for the 4th time, thank you.

Dennett is really expending more effort there refuting other's ideas about consciousness than he is explaining what he thinks consciousness really is.

Like others, he uses red as his color of choice for discussing what he never uses the Q word for: Once for the girl's lips: "there no red happening in the brain" and again for the flag afterimage: "there's no red bar intersecting the black cross."

What is it about red that makes it such a popular example to explain principles of consciousness?

I think there's too much stress in consciousness research on vision. There's also too much tendency to think of consciousness as receiving input. Aren't we still conscious during sensory deprivation? While dreaming, fantasizing, or recalling past experiences? While recalling past recollections of fantasizing, while momentarily blocking out the world?

When I chuckle at the above, that's just a hormone. That's all the feeling is, right?
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Old 23rd January 2012, 11:20 AM   #186
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Originally Posted by tsig View Post
Roundness is that property that arises when when we apply a constant angle to a straight line leading the line to intersect with itself. Pi is directly related to roundness and the diameter is doubly so but the circumference is the limiting factor. Roundness then is an innate property of an unbounded line being curved in upon itself and exhibiting Pi, Diameter and Circumference as determining characteristics. We call this phenomonon circalia.

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Old 23rd January 2012, 11:26 AM   #187
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
No, my though experiment does not have to take into account the physics of color vision, because it's a thought experiment for which the physics of color, such as wavelengths of light and sensitivites of pigments, are irrelevant. It's about the greenish and reddish qualia in the brain, whatever way we swap them. My alternative implementation, viewing the world through a video camera/monitor where the red and green channels are swapped should have made that clear. What's relevant is that the brain, at the appropriate places, would get the green signal when looking at red, and red signal when looking at green, with learned associations opposite of what was normal.

I can rework the thought experiment to help further eliminate the irrelevancies:

We raise a child in a concocted environment in which cool grass is dyed red, ripe strawberries are dyed green, red lights mean go, green lights mean stop, and we recoil in fear when green liquid comes out of holes in our skin, etc.

What qualia does this child, after fully adjusting to this environment, see when looking at a ripe green strawberry? The same greenishness we see, but with different meaning attached? Or redishness?

Really think about this, will you? Your eagerness to preempt the question with an irrelevant squabble about the physics of light exposes your discomfort with the issues the experiment intends to expose.
Your statements reveal the utter irrelevance of your thought experiment.

Arguing about what red 'is' without using physics is like discussing what ice 'is' but ignoring water.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 11:27 AM   #188
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
See this post.
Yes, that's the post I mean. The claim is that an illusion of self is generated. An illusion to whom?

One can imagine a man seeing a dog. Then one can imagine a man seeing a perfect visual, auditory and sensual version of a dog, and getting exactly the same experience. The experience of a dog and of an illusion of a dog are the same thing. So what is the illusion of an experience? It's an experience. Calling an experience an illusion tells us nothing about what the experience is. An illusion requires something to experience the illusion. The thing itself experiencing the illusion cannot be an illusion itself.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 11:31 AM   #189
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
I just watched it for the 4th time, thank you.

Dennett is really expending more effort there refuting other's ideas about consciousness than he is explaining what he thinks consciousness really is.

Like others, he uses red as his color of choice for discussing what he never uses the Q word for: Once for the girl's lips: "there no red happening in the brain" and again for the flag afterimage: "there's no red bar intersecting the black cross."

What is it about red that makes it such a popular example to explain principles of consciousness?

I think there's too much stress in consciousness research on vision. There's also too much tendency to think of consciousness as receiving input. Aren't we still conscious during sensory deprivation? While dreaming, fantasizing, or recalling past experiences? While recalling past recollections of fantasizing, while momentarily blocking out the world?

When I chuckle at the above, that's just a hormone. That's all the feeling is, right?
Because that's what the inventor of qualia used.

Qualia" (singular, "quale") is a term introduced by C. I. Lewis (1929, p. 121) to stand for "recognizable qualitative characters of the given". Lewis’s examples were red, blue, round, and loud.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 11:50 AM   #190
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Originally Posted by Mr. Scott View Post
I just watched it for the 4th time, thank you.

Dennett is really expending more effort there refuting other's ideas about consciousness than he is explaining what he thinks consciousness really is.

Like others, he uses red as his color of choice for discussing what he never uses the Q word for: Once for the girl's lips: "there no red happening in the brain" and again for the flag afterimage: "there's no red bar intersecting the black cross."

What is it about red that makes it such a popular example to explain principles of consciousness?

I think there's too much stress in consciousness research on vision. There's also too much tendency to think of consciousness as receiving input. Aren't we still conscious during sensory deprivation? While dreaming, fantasizing, or recalling past experiences? While recalling past recollections of fantasizing, while momentarily blocking out the world?

When I chuckle at the above, that's just a hormone. That's all the feeling is, right?

Have you ever watched an animal being slaughtered or dressed after being shot.

Have you ever cut the head off of a goose and then watched it scurry about gushing blood all over the place while its body is running here and there?

Have you ever watched a human being after he landed splat into the ground because of a partial parachute failure and seen his jugular gush out blood like a garden hose?

I think you might find the color red and MORTALITY are quite well associated in people's psyche.

I know a woman who faints at the sight of blood....literally.

Also have you noticed how many fruits go red when they RIPEN? Grapes, Pomegranate, Apples, Figs, etc.

Have you noticed the color of a vagina?

I think you might find FERTILITY and the color red are quite well associated in people's instincts.

So that might be the explanation perhaps?
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Old 23rd January 2012, 11:57 AM   #191
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Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
But I am not talking about consciousness, I am specifically talking about qualia, and even more specifically whether there is utility in referring to meta-layers.
You are assuming qualia, if it exists, is an all-or-nothing thing. Qualia could, very well, come about in layers, and in different forms. The qualia of hearing music might be fundamentally different from the qualia of seeing a color, (from a neurological pattern point of view, perhaps, or in other ways), but we would still be prone to think of them as simply parts of conscious experience.

Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
Again, I will ask the question in terms of mathematics -- is there any utility in referring to how round roundness is? Or even the roundness of a circle? What is the "roundness" of a circle, anyway?
Using qualia to describe conscious experience is not the same as describing the "roundness of a circle". At least not when one is talking about how qualia empirically manifests itself. (Those who talk in non-empirical terms are a different story. Perhaps they are who you should be going after?) Circles, by mathematical convention, have to be round. Things that the mind experiences do not necessarily have to be presented as quale.

Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
I challenge you to provide even a single experience that is not conscious.
I can name at least three, though I admit they are controversial:

Most forms of Dreaming: (Sentient dreaming would be an exception to this): In most forms of dreaming, your mind is experiencing a LOT of things, but almost none of it enters into qualia. If you wake up in the middle of a dream, you might remember many aspects of it (usually only for a short while), but the qualia of the memory is the only experience you got out of it. You probably got no emergence of qualia, at all, while you were actually dreaming.
Note: This does NOT imply qualia is dependent on memory. Of course, you can experience a lot of things, and forget about them, but you still experienced them at the time. What I am talking about is that idea that most dreams are different from waking life: That you get no genuine qualia while in a dream state. Even though you could be said to be experiencing them.

Semi-Conscious States: Consciousness uses glucose (energy). And, it is reasonable to think that the mind will try to find shortcuts in how we think, and shutdown parts of itself when not needed, to conserve glucose usage. Thus, there could be moments where you are awake, but not fully and completely conscious. If such states exist, you might not experience actual, genuine qualia, though your mind will "experience" something else.

I can give an example of this, that Antonio Damasio seems to like, though Daniel Dennett might disagree with it: Driving down a long stretch of road, and suddenly realizing you don't remember the last 15 minutes of the drive. I realize Dennett would argue that this is a trick of memory: He would say you probably were fully conscious while driving those 15 minutes, but you simply don't remember it.
Damasio seems to think that this is indicative of a conscious shortcutting. You probably weren't fully conscious. But, you weren't unconscious, either. Some part of your mind was alert enough to respond if sudden action was necessary: for example if an animal walked in front of the car, you would still be able to stomp on the brakes. (This would use the automatic stimulus/response systems, not conscious thinking, at least not for the first microseconds.) But, little to no genuine qualia was seeping through your conscious apparatus during that time. According to theory, anyway.

Certain forms of Mental Disorders: For example, epileptic automatism ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Automatism_(medicine) ) could leave its victim without a sense of qualia, though their minds seem to be experiencing... something.


Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
And if you mean "conscious of the experience at the same time the experience is occurring" then I have to ask why the phrase "conscious of the experience at the same time the experience is occurring " can't just be the definition to begin with. And in that case, what is all the fuss about.
There could well be things you could experience, at the same time it is occurring, that don't get to go into a state of qualia. I identified some candidates above.

I left "sub-conscious thinking" off the list, because I figured that would not even count as an "experience". But, to neurology, the difference between sub-conscious and semi-conscious does tend to get blurred a bit. Figured that might be worth a mention.

Originally Posted by Leumas View Post
Think about traffic dynamics in a bustling metropolis. The human brain is a similar but much more complicated set of constraint dynamics. (snip)
That's all well and good. But, what does that have to do with what I was talking about?

Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
What evidence do you have that worms don't have such a thing?

For instance, there is no reason a small network of just a few dozen neurons couldn't satisfy the constraints of "building a model from memories sufficiently sophisticated to anticipate future needs more effectively."
It is not the size of the network, but how it is wired, and to what it is wired to.

As far as we can tell, the Autobiographical Self seems to be modeled in the Posteromedial Cortices (PMCs), on the sides of the human brain, as identified through fMRI and other lines of evidence. And, we have identified several things that are relatively unique about the wiring of this area: Its density and where it branches off to, etc. Worms do not seem to have a network wired in the way our PMCs are.

Of course, this does not rule out the idea that worms could have a model of Autobiographical Self that happens to be modeled in a very different way from ours. But, given how much we already know about the functions of areas in the neural networks of worms (which might not be much, but it is not in the direction an Autobio model would need to go in), this seems unlikely.


Again, this is based on Antonio Damasio's work. I happen to like it, because it offers a clear evolutionary pathway to consciousness, that other thinkers in this area have generally floundered on. So, I adopted it as the working theory I like to use. Most of it does not conflict with any other genuine theories of consciousness: Not even most of Dennett's Multiple Drafts theory, since they address different things. Though, there might be a small number of minor disagreements.

Originally Posted by rocketdodger View Post
I am just bringing up a question.
That's fine. It's a perfectly valid question to bring up.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 12:25 PM   #192
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Originally Posted by Leumas View Post

....

But first....remember that I said that robotic intelligence is an entirely different process to human intelligence. Most importantly in a robot someone put a PROGRAM to do what it does. In animals there are no programs.
Every ontological materalist will tell you none of us are anything but programming which begins at conception and continues until death.

How any programmer will ever manage to write code that accomplishes that for a robot is unknown. If the substrate is biological it may be easier than for silicon chips or pebbles in sand. Pixy & Wowbagger seem to think it's possible in any substrate that supports computing.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 01:29 PM   #193
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Originally Posted by AlBell View Post
Pixy & Wowbagger seem to think it's possible in any substrate that supports computing.
If consciousness is going to emerge naturally, it would have to do so from a substrate that would support evolution towards a computing system.

Unless consciousness was Created by some Intelligent Entity , you need both computing and evolution to do it. Not merely 'computing'.

But, perhaps that's besides the point.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 01:34 PM   #194
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So you do agree executing a program by moving pebbles in sand can be conscious?
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Old 23rd January 2012, 02:12 PM   #195
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
If consciousness is going to emerge naturally, it would have to do so from a substrate that would support evolution towards a computing system.

Unless consciousness was Created by some Intelligent Entity , you need both computing and evolution to do it. Not merely 'computing'.

But, perhaps that's besides the point.
I'm not aware of any biological process that has been created by evolution to consist of a computing system. Certainly not a Turing-type computing system.

Many of the proofs of the computational nature of consciousness seem to assume it to start with.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 02:12 PM   #196
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
Note: This does NOT imply qualia is dependent on memory. Of course, you can experience a lot of things, and forget about them, but you still experienced them at the time. What I am talking about is that idea that most dreams are different from waking life: That you get no genuine qualia while in a dream state. Even though you could be said to be experiencing them.
I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with you here. All three of your examples can be described as situations where most of the brain is functioning normally, but the retrograde amnesia we associate with unconsciousness is present. If qualia isn't dependent on memory, there's no reason all three can't be qualia.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 02:24 PM   #197
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Originally Posted by AlBell View Post
So you do agree executing a program by moving pebbles in sand can be conscious?
The pebbles would have to "evolve" to move themselves in the sand in such a way that would compute a conscious system. Having a human do it, even if they are emulating or simulating all of the steps in the process of consciousness, wouldn't be sufficient.

You have to ask where the "algorithm" of conscious is actually running:

When humans do it, the algorithm is running in their heads, not in the pebbles. If the pebbles were to do it, themselves, the algorithm is somewhere within the arrangement of the pebbles.

A computer program might be able to emerge a consciousness, if it contained the proper "algorithm". (And, if it was granted to opportunity to evolve in just the right way, it would no longer be what any Designer designed.)


There might be another missing ingredient that I allude to in this thread: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=212683
I might have to modify the idea, in light of some stuff I read in the past few months. But, the general gist is this:

What the pebbles compute would need to sustain a state whereby a model of the "self" has an opportunity to sense that its mind is separate from its body, even if it is not literally separate from its body. And, that's probably a fairly complex system to wire up.
As a thought exercise, there is no reason why it would be impossible for this to happen to pebbles. Though, it is ridiculously improbable.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 02:35 PM   #198
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Originally Posted by westprog View Post
I'm not aware of any biological process that has been created by evolution to consist of a computing system. Certainly not a Turing-type computing system.
We have to be somewhat flexible with the term "computing system". I don't think natural consciousness nor the natural mind is a Turing system. For one thing, they both evolved for specific tasks (even if those tasks changed over time). But, they can be described as a computing system, in an abstract sense.

And, I do think a Turing system could emerge a conscious state, if it was running the right algorithm.


Originally Posted by Beelzebuddy View Post
I'm gonna go ahead and disagree with you here. All three of your examples can be described as situations where most of the brain is functioning normally, but the retrograde amnesia we associate with unconsciousness is present. If qualia isn't dependent on memory, there's no reason all three can't be qualia.
What if these are not cases of retrograde amnesia? What if the state of the brain, in these cases, was such that qualia was not actually experienced. There is some circumstantial evidence in that direction, from what I recall.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 02:45 PM   #199
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Quote:
What if the state of the brain, in these cases, was such that qualia was not actually experienced.
Then you'd need to better elucidate the difference between the two.
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Old 23rd January 2012, 02:56 PM   #200
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Originally Posted by Wowbagger View Post
The pebbles would have to "evolve" to move themselves in the sand in such a way that would compute a conscious system. Having a human do it, even if they are emulating or simulating all of the steps in the process of consciousness, wouldn't be sufficient.

You have to ask where the "algorithm" of conscious is actually running:

When humans do it, the algorithm is running in their heads, not in the pebbles. If the pebbles were to do it, themselves, the algorithm is somewhere within the arrangement of the pebbles.

A computer program might be able to emerge a consciousness, if it contained the proper "algorithm". (And, if it was granted to opportunity to evolve in just the right way, it would no longer be what any Designer designed.)


There might be another missing ingredient that I allude to in this thread: http://www.internationalskeptics.com...d.php?t=212683
I might have to modify the idea, in light of some stuff I read in the past few months. But, the general gist is this:

What the pebbles compute would need to sustain a state whereby a model of the "self" has an opportunity to sense that its mind is separate from its body, even if it is not literally separate from its body. And, that's probably a fairly complex system to wire up.
As a thought exercise, there is no reason why it would be impossible for this to happen to pebbles. Though, it is ridiculously improbable.
We can agree I suspect that pebbles will not evolve to the point they move themselves; I at least find it ridiculously improbable that consciousness will exist in the algorythm that occurs if a human or other intelligence moves the pebbles to follow programmed instructions.
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