• Relativist
    862
    But they still have some experience- even if not the same as a majority of people. What is this experience as compared to the wavelength/neural states that correspond with the experience? This isn't a semantic question, but a metaphysical one. By simply restating that there are qualia like greenness (or whatever subjective experience the person has, like in the case of colorblindness), and that there are wavelengths associated with green, we aren't saying much except what we already know. So how are you dissolving this problem?schopenhauer1
    What I am addressing is the referrent: green is a word that refers to the experience of greenness (the quale). Like all qualia, it is subjective - so your experience of greenness may differ from mine (due to subtle differences in our neural wiring). Knowledge of greenness constitutes non-verbal, non-semantic knowledge; only by actually experiencing greenness can we have this knowledge. The ontology of the quale green is different from other objects of the world because it is subjective: it is a personal mental image (whatever THAT is).

    It's true that there is a range of wavelengths that corresponds to green, but this scientific information is not identical to the experience. A person who has never experienced green can learn everything that can be known about the color from the perspective of science and art, but they will still lack the non-semanticknowledge by acquaintance of the color.
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    What do phenomenal concepts have in common such that that commonality makes them count as being phenomenal, whereas the non phenomenal concepts do not have/share this same common denominator or set thereof?creativesoul

    Phenomenal are creature dependent. We see red not because the world is colored in, but because our visual system evolved to discriminate photons that reflect off surfaces in combination of three primary values. But that still leaves out the experience of red, because a detector or robot can make that discrimination without supposing there is any experience.

    Here it gets a bit murky because shape and extension is also part of our visual experience. It's just that we can use those aspects of our visual field to form scientific explanations of the world. The real question is why there is an experience of a visual field, instead of it being "all dark" like it would presumably be for a detector or a rock.

    Vision is tricky. Pain and pleasure are easier to make clear. Why does my nervous system need to have an experience of a painfully touching a stove if we can describe the nervous system performing the function of jerking my hand back without any experience?
  • Relativist
    862
    The "concept" of greenness is that mental image that we perceive. The word "green" refers to this quale. The range of wavelengths associated with greenness are those wavelengths that are associated with this quale. — Relativist

    Right, and it is these concepts which cannot be reconciled with our scientific concepts.
    Marchesk
    What do you mean by "reconciled"? The quale "green" is not ontologically identical to the scientific concept of green (e.g. the range of wavelengths), but the two are related to one another: objects that we perceive as matching the green quale of experience are also known (through science) to reflect light in a specific range of wavelengths.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.5k
    (whatever THAT is)Relativist

    THAT is the exact thing that is trying to be understood.

    It's true that there is a range of wavelengths that corresponds to green, but this scientific information is not identical to the experience. A person who has never experienced green can learn everything that can be known about the color from the perspective of science and art, but they will still lack the non-semanticknowledge by acquaintance of the color.Relativist

    Yep, so why is it THAT experience at all (whatever it is) is attendant with the physiological phenomena (i.e. the scientific perspective)? What is this "experience" (the THAT in your previous post)?
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    What do you mean by "reconciled"?Relativist

    The hard and harder problems exist if we take our ontology from science, because it leaves the phenomenal out. Reconciling would mean figuring out a way to include the phenomenal in the scientific, whether that's by reduction, identity, elimination, emergent or expanding the scientific ontology (panpsychism or dualism).
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    The quale "green" is not ontologically identical to the scientific concept of green (e.g. the range of wavelengths), but the two are related to one another: objects that we perceive as matching the green quale of experience are also known (through science) to reflect light in a specific range of wavelengths.Relativist

    Right, but this presents an ontological problem. For physicalists, anyway. It's not a problem if you're down with dualism, or you're an idealist. It's also not a problem for anti-realists, because they will just deny there is an ontological distinction to be made between subjective and objective.
  • Relativist
    862
    (whatever THAT is) — Relativist

    THAT is the exact thing that is trying to be understood.
    schopenhauer1
    I expected a response to that! It's a broader topic than qualia. If we can't agree on qualia, we won't get far in a discussion of mental life.

    Yep, so why is it THAT experience at all (whatever it is) with the physiological phenomena?schopenhauer1
    It seems to me it's just an accident of evolution (like the rather large size of my nose). The ability to discriminate objects by color has a utility, and this particular means of discriminating color just happens to be what developed as a consequence of genetic drift and environmental factors.
  • Relativist
    862
    The hard and harder problems exist if we take our ontology from science, because it leaves the phenomenal out. Reconciling would mean figuring out a way to include the phenomenal in the scientific, whether that's by reduction, identity, elimination, emergent or expanding the scientific ontology.Marchesk
    We know too little about the workings of the brain to truly reconcile that. At this point, all we can do is entertain metaphysical accounts and consider how these might relate to, or emerge from, the physical. The one thing I reject is the argument from ignorance that dualists use: that if we can't provide a full scientific account for the various aspects of mental life then we should accept dualism.
  • creativesoul
    6.6k
    What do phenomenal concepts have in common such that that commonality makes them count as being phenomenal, whereas the non phenomenal concepts do not have/share this same common denominator or set thereof?
    — creativesoul

    Phenomenal are creature dependent.
    Marchesk

    All concepts are creature dependent.
  • Relativist
    862
    The quale "green" is not ontologically identical to the scientific concept of green (e.g. the range of wavelengths), but the two are related to one another: objects that we perceive as matching the green quale of experience are also known (through science) to reflect light in a specific range of wavelengths. — Relativist


    Right, but this presents an ontological problem. For physicalists, anyway.
    Marchesk
    I showed how qualia fit into a physicalist account (I did not originate this; I'm relating Michael Tye). I realize this isn't a complete account, but it's a piece of the puzzle.
  • schopenhauer1
    3.5k
    The ability to discriminate objects by color has a utility, and this particular means of discriminating color just happens to be what developed as a consequence of genetic drift and environmental factors.Relativist

    You are answering the hard question with easy question answers. The question is WHY is it that there is such thing as a subjective feeling of quale in the first place? Or rather WHAT is this subjective feeling of color? If we say it is X, Y, Z physical phenomena, how is it that a physical phenomena IS this quale feeling.. The easy questions deal with simply causal explanations... neural architecture, evolution, correlates of consciousness.. that is not what I am asking though..
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    I showed how qualia fit into a physicalist account (I did not originate this; I'm relating Michael Tye). I realize this isn't a complete account, but it's a piece of the puzzle.Relativist

    Okay, but the hard problem is showing how a brain state of seeing red is a red experience, or results in a red experience. Saying they're identical is one way to go that would fit with physicalism. But it doesn't explain why some brain states are experiential and others are not.

    Does Type support an identity theory of mind?
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    All concepts are creature dependent.creativesoul

    Alright, yes, nature isn't conceptual. So I'll rephrase:

    Some of our concepts are about the structure, function and properties of the world. Others reflect our experiences of the world. Since there's a big difference between the two, at least when we get to science, then there's a hard problem, since we are part of the world science seeks to explain.

    Our experience of the world differs considerably from our explanation of the world.
  • creativesoul
    6.6k


    We can certainly draw and maintain a meaningful distinction between non linguistic thought/belief and linguistic. That distinction is between two things that exist in their entirety prior to our account of them. Therefore, we can get it wrong. If we reach a logical end to a train of thought by arriving at thought/belief that we have no knowledge base upon which to draw a distinction between Data and ourselves, well...

    Consciousness is not the problem. Our account of it is.
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    Consciousness is not the problem. Our account of it is.creativesoul

    Agreed, so what is the correct account?
  • creativesoul
    6.6k
    Not phenomenology...
  • jorndoe
    730
    It's not a problem if you're down with dualism, or you're an idealist.Marchesk

    Right, they'll just say that qualia etc are fundamental (cf atomic) in the first place.
    Given what we already know, I'm not sure how much explanatory force there is in that, though.

    On a separate note, synesthesia seems to muddle things up further.
  • Relativist
    862
    Does Type support an identity theory of mind?Marchesk
    Yes.. See below.

    Okay, but the hard problem is showing how a brain state of seeing red is a red experience, or results in a red experience. Saying they're identical is one way to go that would fit with physicalism. But it doesn't explain why some brain states are experiential and others are not.Marchesk
    Here's Tye's basic answer (partly copied, partly paraphrased, from his book, "Consciousness Revisited"):

    1. Red = physical property R (e.g. so-and-so reflectance of light wavelengths)
    2. Experiencing red = standing in physical relation M to physical property R

    Tye then asks, "why, once so-and-so physical facts are in place, am I experiencing anything? His answer is the following identity:

    3. Having an experience = having physical property P

    Next he asks, "How could phenomenal consciousness just be a certain physical property? Surely if something SEEMS phenomenally conscious, it IS phenomenally conscious. "

    His answer: we are not aware OF phenomenal consciousness at all. What we are aware of are the qualities (like redness) of which phenomenally conscious states make us aware.

    Since the bearers of phenomenal consciousness are experiences of which they are composed, this means that nothing SEEMS phenomenally conscious to us. hence, the idea that if something seems phenomenally conscious it IS phenomenally conscious, rests on a false presupposition.
  • Relativist
    862
    You are answering the hard question with easy question answers. The question is WHY is it that there is such thing as a subjective feeling of quale in the first place? Or rather WHAT is this subjective feeling of color? If we say it is X, Y, Z physical phenomena, how is it that a physical phenomena IS this quale feeling.. The easy questions deal with simply causal explanations... neural architecture, evolution, correlates of consciousness.. that is not what I am asking though..schopenhauer1

    I don't have a complete answer, but see my above response to Marchesk for a partial answer. The hard question is....HARD, no doubt. But Michael Tye at least chips away at it, I think.
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    3. Having an experience = having physical property P

    Next he asks, "How could phenomenal consciousness just be a certain physical property? Surely if something SEEMS phenomenally conscious, it IS phenomenally conscious. "

    His answer: we are not aware OF phenomenal consciousness at all. What we are aware of are the qualities (like redness) of which phenomenally conscious states make us aware.
    Relativist

    Hmmm, so then it becomes a matter of explaining physical property P, which is a matter left up to neuroscience, I take it. I like it better than saying red experience is an illusion.
  • Harry Hindu
    2.5k
    Phenomenal are creature dependent. We see red not because the world is colored in, but because our visual system evolved to discriminate photons that reflect off surfaces in combination of three primary values. But that still leaves out the experience of red, because a detector or robot can make that discrimination without supposing there is any experience.Marchesk
    Phenomenal is dependent upon senses and a sensory information processor.

    The reason you suppose there is an experience with brains is because you have experiences and you have similar hardware as other creatures that behave similarly, so based on inductive reasoning, you suppose there is an experience associated with brains.

    If a robot has a similar shape and therefore behavior as you, then why not suppose that it has experiences as well? It seems to me you think that one's hardware (carbon-based vs. Silicon-based) is what determines whether or not there is an experience, and similar behaviors by different hardware are only the result of simulated consciousness.

    So the question is, "what makes carbon-based creatures conscious and any other type of creature not?"

    It seems that it is our limited experiences and our "humans are special creations" bias that lends us to think in such ways, which really puts our ideas about consciousness in this inductive box that we cant get out of without reflecting on our own biases and the reasons we have them.
  • Janus
    8.5k
    Also, what was interesting is that when she thinks of a roof, she thinks of the set of all roofs she's ever seen, and not some abstract roof concept. Therefore, particulars and not universals, with the ability to translate to universals for the purpose of communication.Marchesk

    OK, Grandin says she thinks in images, but she can't be forming simultaneous images of every roof she's ever seen.
  • Terrapin Station
    13.8k
    What I thought was a funny conclusion from much of these philosophies, is that neurons themselves seem to have a sort of magical quality.. If one does not bite the bullet on PANpscyhism, one bites the bullet on NEUROpsychism. In other words, the "Cartesian theater", the "hidden dualism", and the "ghost in the machine" (or whatever nifty term you want to use) gets put into the equation at SOME point. It just depends on exactly what point you want to put it in the equation.schopenhauer1

    Obviously consciousness is a property of something, no? Why would you think of it as being "magic"?
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    OK, Grandin says she thinks in images, but she can't be forming simultaneous images of every roof she's ever seen.Janus

    Probably not. It's just interesting that she's describing a set and when I think of a roof, it's a universal concept.
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    f a robot has a similar shape and therefore behavior as you, then why not suppose that it has experiences as well? It seems to me you think that one's hardware (carbon-based vs. Silicon-based) is what determines whether or not there is an experience, and similar behaviors by different hardware are only the result of simulated consciousness.Harry Hindu

    I don't know what determines consciousness and I would be fine with saying Data is conscious. It's the epistemological problem that Block explains which is we can't know either it's the hardware or the functions the hardware performs. It doesn't matter whether Data is convincing. We still have the same philosophical problem.

    And in the case or Data, I'm pretty sure it would also be an ethical problem. There was an episode where Data is put on trial to determine whether he's a person, or can be treated like a product and used for mass production. We would want to know whether he can really feel pain or sadness as part of making an ethical determination as to whether Data deserved rights.

    This issue has come up in the real world with the treatment of animals.
  • Janus
    8.5k
    Im not sure what 2 identical to 2 would mean. In the strict, technical way we are talking about here nothing can truly identical to anything else.DingoJones

    It's semantic identity, which doesn't change over time or in different instantiations. I would go as far as to say that there is no identity other than semantic identity.
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    It's semantic identity, which doesn't change over time or in different instantiations. I would go as far as to say that there is no identity other than semantic identity.Janus

    Things are identical to themselves. Is that semantic identity also?
  • schopenhauer1
    3.5k
    Obviously consciousness is a property of something, no? Why would you think of it as being "magic"?Terrapin Station

    Again, the Cartesian Theater is the "magic".. not literal of course. At some point, there is a hidden dualism or a Cartesian Theater whereby the physical processes happening get "transformed" into "experience" first-person style. Thus, nothing is explained.. experience explodes onto the scene.. words such as "emerges" then mean little except for.. I don't know "magic".
  • Janus
    8.5k
    Identicality is not precisely the same idea as identity. You are not identical from one moment to the next, and yet you are the same identity. Not understanding this is, I think, the source of Terrapin's incoherent position. There may be no ontological identity unless it consists in something like a changeless soul or essence. There may be no ontological identicality either simply because all things are, as far as we know, always changing.
  • Marchesk
    2.9k
    There may be no ontological identicality either simply because all things are, as far as we know, always changing.Janus

    What about for patterns, functions, and processes? If we consider an object to be a certain patten of molecular arrangement, where pattern can allow for some changes to take place. You can even have the same pattern from an entirely different particle swarm as long as it's arranged in a way that satisfies the pattern. A pattern just needs to meet certain criteria for being a chair or a person. And yes, the murky boundary conditions are unavoidable.
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