• Isaac
    3.3k
    No it's the same old why. Just this time it's harder to answer. Because we cannot gather data about something private.khaled

    Consciousness is not private. It's exact components might be pragmatically so, but there's no reason at all why some highly specific limits to the granularity of our data should prevent us from developing some very compelling models. If you ask 'why do objects fall earthward' we don't need the details of Higg's Bosons to give a very compelling and fairly exhaustive model - there's no 'hard problem' just because we don't know the exact pathways of all the fundamental particles involved - (apologies to any physicists who might be reading if that example is complete nonsense - reaching for an example from another field). The point is that just because the exact state you're aware of right now is not pragmatically reportable that's no reason why we can't have a good enough general impression of it to make extremely accurate models of consciousness - incomplete accuracy doesn't lead to a 'hard problem' in any other field.

    That's not what I'm saying. I said that things seem to me a way. That is a fact. You keep saying things like "there is no phenomenological layer" or "you do not see red" but those are false. I do, in fact, have an experience. There is, in fact, a phenomenological layer. Me knowing how my brain works does not remove the phenomenological layer.khaled

    We're talking about the cause of your experience here. Claiming to have "an experience of redness" puts 'redness' as the cause of your experience. It's not. Some hidden state of the external world is the cause of your experience - 'red' is a public concept you apply later to define it. And in the case of "an experience of redness" we can trivially show that such an application is very removed (ie, it's not what anyone would reach for without introspection aimed at reaching a specific conclusion like that).

    Put a temporal aspect in. Let's say this morning the world seems some way to you. Later in the afternoon you want to tell someone how the world seemed to you that morning, so you consult your memory. But your memory is flawed and filters stuff by prior expectations, so your report this afternoon is not accurate, it's not the way the world seemed to you this morning, it's an inaccurate recollection of it, yes?

    Now contract the timescale. Even in the milliseconds between the conscious awareness of some state and the formation of a report of that state (especially a linguistic one), that report has already become inaccurate.
    I know when the stimuli is removed, the experience is removed.khaled

    Nope. All manner of experiments can show that when the stimuli is removed you can continue to experience is as you brain still expects it to be there and the new data isn't yet sufficient to overcome the expectation that the stimuli is still there.

    I therefore conclude that the brain processing of stimuli is causing the experience. Where is the issue with this line of logic?khaled

    Nothing. Experiences are caused by brains. That doesn't say anything about what experiences are experiences of.

    Ok so my experience is largely shaped by my language and culture. First off, no one is disagreeing (at least I'm not). Secondly, how does this undermine the claim that there is a phenomenological layer? It doesn't.khaled

    Again, no-one's denying that we have something we could call experiences. It's the nature of the experiences that's at issue - what they are experiences of, how private they are, the degree to which they're in flux, the extent to which they reduce to function (p-zombies), the extent to which a person knows any more about them than a third-party...etc
  • Isaac
    3.3k
    I have long believed that culture and language influence experience. For instance, there's nothing in the visual information I get from standing in front of a tree that tells me it's a tree. It's all just shapes and colors. The tree is an idea.

    So yeah, I see ideas. I think we all do. This doesn't conflict with the idea of qualia, though.

    If your view does, how so?
    frank

    The place it purportedly plays in the process of perception. Mostly hidden state>qualia>introspective perception (of qualia). The colours and shapes are processed sub-consciously (ie not available to introspection), so the first part of the process available to introspection is the model 'tree'. Any further introspection is only going to reveal what colour 'trees' are, not what your V1 neurons actually responded to. So looking at grass, you do not get a 'green' quale. Even if the V1 neurons which usually code for what you call 'blue' actually fired, your introspection of the experience would tell you you experienced 'green' because you're expecting grass to be green and what you 'saw' was grass.

    Even if we put it later it's problematic. We could get around the first problem by positing hidden state> model>qualia (of model). Here we run into the problem I outline to Khaled above (the timescale issue).

    Also, all the issues of privacy, ineffability, availability which have already been discussed are not thus removed.
  • Isaac
    3.3k
    The way the world seems is not a theory, is it? To try and put it another way, the biological machinery produces some end-product of consciousness, and that end-product is not theoretical, is it? It's a real end-product.Luke

    Yes, but the mere existence of an end product of some sort is not what's in question. It's properties are. 'Qualia' does not simply mean 'some mental state'.
  • khaled
    1.6k
    Phenomenology is a philosophical position that aims to explain conscious experience. It is an explanation.creativesoul

    I don't think so. "Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view" -the standard encyclopedia of philosophy. Saying that phenomenology is an attempt at explaining consciousness is like saying that newtonian mechanics is an attempt at explaining why "forces" and "energy" exist. Newtonian mechanics doesn't care about why its components exist, it is a study of how they interact. Same with phenomenology.

    I mean, I certainly cancreativesoul

    You said before that you disagree with Dennett and that the neurology does not explain why we have a conscious experience. So are you proposing that you have a solution to that problem? If so what is it?

    By the way, you're committing an equivocation fallacy with the word qualia.creativesoul

    What distinct meanings of the word am I being ambiguous about?
  • Isaac
    3.3k
    "Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view"khaled

    So. What's the difference between a 'study' and a 'report'?
    One would expect a 'study' of baking a cake to have some kind of hypothesis in mind, data, conclusion - something of that sort. One learns something new from it.
    A 'report' might simply be "I dropped the mixture on the floor". One learns nothing new from it, it's merely a conversion of what you already knew to written (or spoken) form.

    To claim that phenomenology is the 'study' of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view, rather than merely the report of them you'd need to be able to learn something new from it. But if you can't possibly be wrong about what the structures of consciousness are from this perspective (they are exactly how they seem to you to be), then how is it a 'study' and not a mere 'report'?
  • khaled
    1.6k
    Claiming to have "an experience of redness" puts 'redness' as the cause of your experience.Isaac

    Incorrect. I do not know where you get that impression.

    Now contract the timescale. Even in the milliseconds between the conscious awareness of some state and the formation of a report of that state (especially a linguistic one), that report has already become inaccurate.Isaac

    Cool. Has nothing to say about whether or not we have experiences (as usual).

    Even if we put it later it's problematic. We could get around the first problem by positing hidden state> model>qualia (of model). Here we run into the problem I outline to Khaled above (the timescale issue).Isaac

    The timescale issue amounts to "Things are not how you remember them to be or exactly how you describe them to be". This is not an issue of the model. The model is fine, all you have said is that when trying to report this last step (qualia) we give inaccurate reports. I think everyone here already knew that.

    Experiences are caused by brains.Isaac

    We at least agree on something. Now, about these "experiences", can you imagine a robot that acts identically to a human but doesn't have these "experiences" (note I am not saying it is possible to construct such a thing, I'm just asking if you can imagine it). That would be a p-zombie. I don't think p-zombies are possible because I think consciousness is a product of function.

    Again, no-one's denying that we have something we could call experiences.Isaac

    Well you seemed to be denying for the longest time. What with "You don't see colors" and all. This whole time I've just been trying to get you to openly say this.

    what they are experiences ofIsaac

    I'm not sure what this question means.

    how private they areIsaac

    We know experiences are caused by brains. But we do not know that the same experiences are caused by everyone's brains. As in I don't know if when I look at a red apple and you look at a red apple we both have the same expereince. I know we both call it "red" and it has largely the same relationship in our brains. As in mostly everything I call red you also call red or orange or something around there (assuming neither is colorblind). That does not give evidence that we are experiencing the same thing. Neurology can only study the relationship between brainstates and behavior, not brainstates and mental states.

    the degree to which they're in fluxIsaac

    I don't think anyone disagrees with experiences being in constant flux. Quiner or not.

    To claim that phenomenology is the 'study' of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view, rather than merely the report of them you'd need to be able to learn something new from it. But if you can't possibly be wrong about what the structures of consciousness are from this perspective (they are exactly how they seem to you to be), then how is it a 'study' and not a mere 'report'?Isaac

    How shall we study conscious experience? We reflect on various types of experiences just as we experience them. That is to say, we proceed from the first-person point of view. However, we do not normally characterize an experience at the time we are performing it. In many cases we do not have that capability: a state of intense anger or fear, for example, consumes all of one’s psychic focus at the time. Rather, we acquire a background of having lived through a given type of experience, and we look to our familiarity with that type of experience: hearing a song, seeing a sunset, thinking about love, intending to jump a hurdle. The practice of phenomenology assumes such familiarity with the type of experiences to be characterized. Importantly, also, it is types of experience that phenomenology pursues, rather than a particular fleeting experience—unless its type is what interests us.

    -Standard Encyclopedia of philosophy
  • frank
    5.8k
    The place it purportedly plays in the process of perception. Mostly hidden state>qualia>introspective perception (of qualia). The colours and shapes are processed sub-consciously (ie not available to introspection), so the first part of the process available to introspection is the model 'treeIsaac

    I think you're interpreting ”qualia" as "sensory data."

    I'm aware that when I tell the story about standing before a tree, "green" and "shape" are also ideas (or models?).

    It's as if models are involved in grabbing things out of the stream of sensory information. There's no way to remember anything of that stream without modelling grabbies (grabbies means "little hands")

    But the above is also just a story. And we could talk about what all the stories seem to have in common.

    The point with regard to this thread though, is this:. qualia isn't a word for sense data. A quale is an instance of a type of consciousness. "Instance" connotes an event here. As Luke put it, it's the end product, which is seamless and unified. That is what we mean by "qualia".

    Also, all the issues of privacy, ineffability, availability which have already been discussed are not thus removed.Isaac

    Those properties aren't as defining as Dennett makes them out to be. Privacy is just related to the idea that people aren't telepathic. Obviously, in a non-woo sense, we are. I'm trying to read your mind now. The technology I'm using is the written word. So here the discussion would pass into the topic of meaning and truth.
  • frank
    5.8k
    or at lest spooky emergentism. I recently listened to a podcast where a physicist explained why she thought information strongly emerged. But it was fundamental to understanding life:Marchesk

    We should talk about multiple realizability. That's the stuff that hammers home that some aspects of consciousness have to be emergent. More later..
  • Wayfarer
    10.4k
    Husserl, who was basically the founder of phenomenology, anticipated these kind of objections to his methodology.

    In fact there's a line between the sceptics and phenomenology, namely, that of 'epoché', being 'the suspension of judgement regarding what is not evident'. This was interpreted by Husserl as 'bracketing' (German: Einklammerung; also called phenomenological reduction, transcendental reduction or phenomenological epoché) which describes the suspension of judgment about the the objects of experience so as to develop a detached awareness of the nature of immediate experience.

    As Frank points out above, the 'raw' nature of experience is generally straighaway incorporated into 'stories' which attempts to situate it in so-called 'objective' terms. We generally do that instinctively, immediately, without noticing. The point of the phenomenological suspension is to notice that.
  • Wayfarer
    10.4k
    We should talk about multiple realizability.frank

    agree! I've started drafting a post on that. Interesting topic, on which I have an interesting angle.
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    Concepts like qualia, p-zombies and the hard problem are purely philosophical inventions that derive from Cartesian dualism.
    — Andrew M

    Is non-reductive physicalism a form if Cartesian dualism?
    frank

    To the extent it endorses a private theater conception of mind, yes. (Though it might not do so - see the third quote below.)

    As some support for my initial claim above, I came across the following interesting passage about the history of qualia:

    Skepticism about the existence of qualia derives from several sources. One source is historical. Prior to the seventeenth century, people did not endorse a private conception of mental phenomena. Most philosophers claimed that psychological discourse was expressive of the ways animals like us interact with each other and the environment. So entrenched was this idea in the philosophical culture of the time that Descartes felt compelled to argue for a different, private conception of mental phenomena. Descartes' audience did not believe the existence of qualia was too obvious to require argument, and neither did Descartes. He came to endorse a private conception of mental phenomena not because of its alleged obviousness, but because it played a central role in his broader project. He was concerned with establishing an indubitable foundation for the natural sciences. As a first step, he sought to establish that the contents of his mind were better known than anything else, and argued on behalf of that claim. Historical considerations of this sort raise questions about whether the existence of qualia is really too obvious to require any argument.Philosophy of Mind: A Comprehensive Introduction, p216-218 - William Jaworski

    And also as a theory-laden commitment:

    Another source of qualia skepticism derives from a competing explanation for the alleged obviousness of qualia. It claims that the existence of qualia only seems obvious to exponents of qualia because they have been indoctrinated in post-Cartesian ways of thinking - they have been trained to see mental phenomena through the lens of a post-Cartesian theory. On this skeptical view, our intuitions are theory-laden: what seems obvious to us is shaped in part by the kinds of theories we endorse. If intuitions are theory-laden, this suggests that qualia are not pre-theoretical data that a theory of mind must try to explain; they instead represent a particular kind of theoretical commitment; they are entities postulated by a private conception of mental phenomena. But if the existence of qualia seems obvious to people who endorse a private conception of mental phenomena, this does not automatically imply that a private conception of mental phenomena is true. It seems true to the people who endorse it, but it does not seem true to people who reject it - it would not have seemed true to philosophers prior to the seventeenth century, for instance, or to Descartes' contemporaries. In that case, however, it will not do for exponents of qualia to claim that their ideas are too obvious to require argument. If qualia represent a particular kind of theoretical commitment, then exponents of qualia must argue for their theory, and that means they have to argue that qualia exist.Philosophy of Mind: A Comprehensive Introduction, p216-218 - William Jaworski

    With respect to physicalism, emergentism and hylomorphism (which is my own position):

    A fourth source of qualia skepticism derives from the failure of a private conception of mental phenomena to cohere with a naturalistic picture of human mental life. This argument stands the epiphenomenalist argument on its head: if Premise (2) of the argument is true [*], say qualia skeptics, if it is true that qualia cannot be explained in physical terms, then there must be something wrong with the very idea of qualia. Nor are physicalists the only ones inclined to argue this way. Emergentists, hylomorphists, and anyone else who demands a naturalistic or scientifically respectable account of human psychological capacities might be skeptical of qualia for the same reason: the alleged disconnect between qualia and physical explanation.Philosophy of Mind: A Comprehensive Introduction, p216-218 - William Jaworski

    --

    [*] The argument for epiphenomenalism:
    1. There are qualia
    2. Qualia cannot be physically described or explained
  • Andrew M
    1.1k
    The connection between this "internal" experience and the "external" world is consequently mysterious.
    — Andrew M

    Loosely speaking, 'the connection' is the experience, on my view.

    It consists of both internal and external, physical and non physical, subjective and objective. The problem I seem to see is that both sides miss this. Experience is neither objective, nor subjective; neither internal nor external; neither physical nor non physical...

    It is both.
    creativesoul

    Or neither. I think the divisions themselves, as understood in their Cartesian sense, are misleading and unnecessary. They don't arise in normal communication.
  • Isaac
    3.3k
    Incorrect. I do not know where you get that impression.khaled

    Because otherwise you have an experience 'which is red' (Cartesian theatre gone mad), or an experience 'which you called red' (non-private, you can misuse the word). I'm taking the most charitable interpretation of what might be meant by 'an experience of redness', which would be something like - there was some redness>I experienced it. If instead you want to say "the experience I just had is called 'redness'", then I don't know how you'd ever come to learn the word.

    Basically, being least charitable "an experience of redness" doesn't make any sense at all. I'm trying to work with a meaning which at least makes sense.

    Cool. Has nothing to say about whether or not we have experiences (as usual).khaled

    Yep, because no-one's denying that (as usual).

    The timescale issue amounts to "Things are not how you remember them to be or exactly how you describe them to be". This is not an issue of the model. The model is fine, all you have said is that when trying to report this last step (qualia) we give inaccurate reports. I think everyone here already knew that.khaled

    You said the the way things seem to you is a fact and that some philosophical work can be done with that fact. Well it can't. The way things seem to you (as such a fact is available to form part of any philosophical investigation) is not an unarguable fact. The moment you enter it into discourse or consideration it is already wrong, not how things actually did seem to you.

    If indeed "everyone here already knew that", then no-one can claim to be having an experience of redness with any more authority than I can claim you're not. You are no more accurate a reporter of the way an event actually felt than I am.

    can you imagine a robot that acts identically to a human but doesn't have these "experiences"khaled

    It depends entirely on what you mean by identical. And before you're tempted to say 'exactly identical', have a glance at Wittgenstein on what we could possibly mean by 'exactly'.

    Well you seemed to be denying for the longest time. What with "You don't see colors" and all.khaled

    I really can't see why people are finding it so hard to tell the difference between "we don't have experiences" and "we don't have experiences of colours".

    what they are experiences of — Isaac


    I'm not sure what this question means.
    khaled

    Do you experience a red cup, or 'redness' and 'cupness', or the mental activities resulting from external stimuli (presumed to be a red cup), or something else? What is the subject matter of this experience.

    When I use the term 'experience', I'm just meaning the recollected results of introspection about an event I was just involved in.

    we do not know that the same experiences are caused by everyone's brains.khaled

    Agreed, to a certain level of accuracy.

    I don't know if when I look at a red apple and you look at a red apple we both have the same expereince.khaled

    Unlikely. Again, depending entirely on the accuracy required.

    I know we both call it "red" and it has largely the same relationship in our brains. As in mostly everything I call red you also call red or orange or something around there (assuming neither is colorblind). That does not give evidence that we are experiencing the same thing.khaled

    ...and here we go with the 'red' nonsense again. We were talking about experiences - whole events. You don't experience red. You can't it's neurologically impossible. And, as we've just established, you telling me you do has no validity because we've all just agreed that you cannot give an accurate account of you experiences.


    As to phenomenology, nothing in that section tells me what it's studying. It says nothing more than "make a list of all the things you think you felt and sort them into groups". What new information is being learned?
  • Isaac
    3.3k
    I think you're interpreting ”qualia" as "sensory data."frank

    If I was, the process would be unproblematic.

    A quale is an instance of a type of consciousness. "Instance" connotes an event here. As Luke put it, it's the end product, which is seamless and unified. That is what we mean by "qualia".frank

    Then how can we have a 'red' quale? Red is not the end result of any stimuli at all. If qualia are now being reduced to just another word for experience where we mean just the recollection of mental states, then it's a) useless, we already have a word, and b)very confusing because there's already a word 'qualia' which is used to talk about subsets of perception (like 'red').

    Privacy is just related to the idea that people aren't telepathic. Obviously, in a non-woo sense, we are. I'm trying to read your mind now. The technology I'm using is the written word. So here the discussion would pass into the topic of meaning and truth.frank

    I don't think it's that simple. I think privacy is at the heart of the irreducibility claim, which is far more important for the extent to which neuroscience can investigate. Nonetheless, if I'm wrong, I still struggle to see what properties qualia do have, if not those listed by Dennett.
  • Isaac
    3.3k
    describes the suspension of judgment about the the objects of experience so as to develop a detached awareness of the nature of immediate experience.

    As Frank points out above, the 'raw' nature of experience is generally straighaway incorporated into 'stories' which attempts to situate it in so-called 'objective' terms. We generally do that instinctively, immediately, without noticing. The point of the phenomenological suspension is to notice that.
    Wayfarer

    I appreciate the explanation, but I'm still not seeing the 'study'. If one performs this 'bracketing' then one has list of experiences which one just accepts unquestioningly as being what they are. Great. What have we learned that we didn't previously know?
  • frank
    5.8k
    Skepticism about the existence of qualia derives from several sources. One source is historical. Prior to the seventeenth century, people did not endorse a private conception of mental phenomena. Most philosophers claimed that psychological discourse was expressive of the ways animals like us interact with each other and the environmenPhilosophy of Mind: A Comprehensive Introduction, p216-218 - William Jaworski

    In Descartes' time there was very little freedom of thought. The Church decided what kinds of problems could and couldn't be pondered. Literally, they forbade math problems that they found anti-church.

    The debt we owe Descartes (other than the groovy math) is that he helped slam the door open (with the help of a lot of pissed off rich Protestants) to the freedom science and philosophy need to flourish.

    We've come a long way since Descartes, but where his outlook lingers is in the shadow of 20th century attempts to push materialism to it's limit: to remove all of the things Descartes labeled as internal.

    It lingers in the discomfort we might feel when we affirm phenomenal consciousness and then realize what that means about the universe.

    IOW, yes, the concept of qualia is partly rooted in Descartes, but so is the notion that there is no qualia.

    What i think we're looking for is some kind of synthesis.
  • frank
    5.8k
    Then how can we have a 'red' quale? Red is not the end result of any stimuli at all. If qualia are now being reduced to just another word for experience where we mean just the recollection of mental states, then it's a) useless, we already have a word, and b)very confusing because there's already a word 'qualia' which is used to talk about subsets of perception (like 'red').Isaac

    Yes. This thread started by collecting ideas about qualia that make it easier to attack. People do that when they're less interested in exploring and wondering and more interested in pushing a certain agenda.

    That's one of the things I look for in engaging people. Is there anything to you but primate aggression in the guise of a philosophical discussion?

    Qualia is experience, or an aspect of experience. Whether it's constructed of memory, models, woo, or moon cheese is relavent only to our attempts to explain it.

    It's that thing cognitive science is trying to explain.

    If you understand the term differently, please share.
  • Isaac
    3.3k
    Qualia is experience, or an aspect of experience.frank

    'Experience' is no less slippery a term unless pinned down. Equivocation is the weapon of choice for most woo-merchants.
  • frank
    5.8k
    Experience' is no less slippery a term unless pinned down. Equivocation is the weapon of choice for most woo-merchants.Isaac

    I use a shiver-shooter.
  • khaled
    1.6k
    If instead you want to say "the experience I just had is called 'redness'", then I don't know how you'd ever come to learn the word.Isaac

    This. As to how I learned, I looked at all the situations where people said "red" and found out the common factor in my experience, that is "redness".

    The way things seem to you (as such a fact is available to form part of any philosophical investigation) is not an unarguable fact.Isaac

    I didn't claim they are. This is the second time now. I claimed I am experiencing things. That is an unarguable fact.

    when trying to report this last step (qualia) we give inaccurate reports. I think everyone here already knew that.khaled

    then no-one can claim to be having an experience of redness with any more authority than I can claim you're not. You are no more accurate a reporter of the way an event actually felt than I am.Isaac

    You exaggerate greatly. The reason we agreed that qualia are not accurately reported is because our memory is fallable. So if someone says "20 years ago, I remember we went to the taco shop down the street, it had a blue sign" and his friend that was there with him said "actually it was a red sign" then yes, neither really has the authority here. But as we decrease the time frame the inaccuracies decrease as well. So no, I am a way more accurate reporter of the way an event seemed to me as opposed to you, who has no idea. Inaccuracies are not the end of the world, as you said yourself.

    I really can't see why people are finding it so hard to tell the difference between "we don't have experiences" and "we don't have experiences of colours".Isaac

    Because you claim at the same time that we have experiences which "we later reach for the word 'red' to describe". People say "we have experiences of colours" as a shorthand for that.

    'Experience' is no less slippery a term unless pinned down. Equivocation is the weapon of choice for most woo-merchants.Isaac

    Yet you and all fellow Quiners seem to love it.

    Agreed, to a certain level of accuracy.Isaac

    So if, hypothetically, we could take a screen shot of what I'm seeing and show it to you, how big of a difference do you think can exist? Can you imagine a situation where you remark: "Why is the sky red?"

    I said hypothetically. I read the intuition pumps, I know it is impossible.

    And, as we've just established, you telling me you do has no validity because we've all just agreed that you cannot give an accurate account of you experiences.Isaac

    We didn't. You agreed with yourself. You seem to like exaggerating. Again, an inaccuracy is not the end of the world. If someone measures something as 5cm then you can't say "That's not valid at all because there is always a measurement error"

    We were talking about experiences - whole events. You don't experience red.Isaac

    When looking at a red apple I experience something that I later reach for the word "red" to describe. You also experience something that you reach for the word "red" to describe. How big of a difference can there be in these "somethings"? Can we compare these "somethings"?

    What new information is being learned?Isaac

    Which group each belongs to for one. How they're related. And other stuff.
  • Marchesk
    3.9k
    I discussed this previously here. Cartesian dualism has no practical application in everyday life or in scientific inquiry. Concepts like qualia, p-zombies and the hard problem are purely philosophical inventions that derive from Cartesian dualism.Andrew M

    That's not entirely true, since ancient skepticism and idealism proposed similar issues based on the problem of perception.
  • Marchesk
    3.9k
    'Experience' is no less slippery a term unless pinned down. Equivocation is the weapon of choice for most woo-merchants.Isaac

    But one could say the same thing for using words like model for sensation.
  • Marchesk
    3.9k
    We should talk about multiple realizability. That's the stuff that hammers home that some aspects of consciousness have to be emergent. More later..frank

    That's what makes me wonder about functionalism.
  • Marchesk
    3.9k
    @Isaac@fdrake
    I did start a thread a year or so ago where neuroscientists Anil Seth discussed in a podcast his research into consciousness and marking progress on the hard problem.

    https://philosophybites.com/2017/07/anil-seth-on-the-real-problem-of-consciousness.html

    And:



    Starting at 6:57:

    How can the structure and dynamics of the brain, in connection with the body and environment, account for the subjective phenomenological properties of consciousness. — anil seth

    So not just a few misguided philosophers.
  • Isaac
    3.3k
    As to how I learned, I looked at all the situations where people said "red" and found out the common factor in my experience, that is "redness".khaled

    What evidence do you have that that's what you did? You learnt to use 'red' at, what, two, three? Are you suggesting you have a clear memory of the method you used?

    I claimed that that I am experiencing things in the first place is an unarguable fact.khaled

    You said...

    I want to emphasize that the statement "the world seems like X to me" is not negated by any neurological evidence you can throw at it. The world still seems the way it seems.khaled

    You didn't say 'the world seems like something'. You said ''...seems like X". I'm saying, for example, that the evidence from cognitive science suggests that it cannot have seemed like X. It must have seemed like Y, or Z. You're simply reporting, post hoc, that it seemed like X because of your cultural models which encourage you to talk about experiences in this way.

    No-one is denying you have experiences. I'm trying to argue that they are not as you, seconds later, think they were.

    as we decrease the time frame the inaccuracies decrease as well.khaled

    In long term memory, yes. I'm talking about sensory and working memories here. They don't work the same way, the inaccuracies are built in to the mechanism, it happens instantly, as a result of hippocampus function, not long term as a result of action potential changes.

    Because you claim at the same time that we have experiences which "we later reach for the word 'red' to describe". People say "we have experiences of colours" as a shorthand for that.khaled

    No, they don't just use it as shorthand. Conscious experience is invoked in AI, physicalism, the limits of knowledge... This is exactly the eqivocation I referred to. You make specific claim about the nature of 'experiences', and then, when pushed on them, revert to "oh it's all just another way of saying exactly what you just said". Having an experience of something and, as Parr of that experience, reaching for the word 'red' is not the same as having an experience of colour. The two have radically different implications.

    So if, hypothetically, we could take a screen shot of what I'm seeing and show it to you, how big of a difference do you think can exist? Can you imagine a situation where you remark: "Why is the sky red?"khaled

    No, it's absolutely impossible, thats just not how colour and language is processed in the brain (the link between photon hitting the retina and vocal muscles making the word 'red'). At no point do I have a 'feeling of a colour' which I then select the name for from some internal pantone chart.

    What new information is being learned? — Isaac


    Which group each belongs to for one. How they're related.
    khaled

    But each group belongs to whatever category you feel like it belongs to, and they're related in whatever way you feel like they're related, either one of which might change from one second to the next.
  • Isaac
    3.3k
    But one could say the same thing for using words like model for sensation.Marchesk

    I don't think so. The idea of sensation being filtered through Bayesian models is expounded in great detail in the various papers on the subject. Not everyone agrees that it's a good or even accurate way of modelling cognition, but I haven't read anyone suggest there's a problem with equivocation on terms. I can't even think what that might consist of, did you have something specific in mind?

    I did start a thread a year or so ago where neuroscientists Anil Seth discussed in a podcast his research into consciousness and marking progress on the hard problem.Marchesk

    Cool, I'll have a read sometime.

    So not just a few misguided philosophers.Marchesk

    You know Anil has categorically said there's no hard problem of consciousness, right? You've possibly misunderstood his line of research. He's attempting to answer that very question using neuroscience - specifically a Bayesian inference model. That means he believes a) it's possible to explain phenomenological experience using neuroscience, b) the cause of phenomenological experience is not introspectively available, and c) that phenomenological experience can be studied third party.

    I'm not sure how that sets him in the same gang as people like Chalmers (whom he's openly said is wrong about consciousness).

    Read some of Seth's papers, he's a lot less circumspect than he is in public lectures.
  • Marchesk
    3.9k
    You know Anil has categorically said there's no hard problem of consciousness, right?Isaac

    Yeah, but he doesn't dismiss the problem as just a philosophical misuse of language. Rather, it's a topic for neuroscience to resolve. I'm open to that if it actually explains how colors and pains arise from brain processes.
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