Qualia

Is the mind the same as the body? What is consciousness? Can machines have it?

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Arising_uk
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Re: Qualia

Post by Arising_uk » Tue May 26, 2015 11:40 pm

raw_thought wrote:I am not saying that there might be people that can make themselves not feel pain. ...
How do you know they are feeling pain in the first place?
I am saying that it is ridiculous to say that the feeling of pain does not exist anywhere.
But that's what I keep asking you? Where do you think it is existing if not in the mechanisms of the body?

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Re: Qualia

Post by Ginkgo » Wed May 27, 2015 10:16 am

raw_thought wrote: It is about the existence of qualia. However, one step (among others is to disprove the eliminatavist's arguments). I have shown how Dennett's arguments are at best tautologies. Pure functionalism is bankrupt because it says that only behaviour exists and if we explain behaviour we have explained everything concerning the human experience. That is false because pain hurts and we do have feelings. Also, functionalism (see my quote about symbol grounding) can explain computations but not the mystery of meaning.
There is no purist interpretation of functionalism. Functionalism comes in a variety of types. All we can say in general is that mental states states define a functional or casual role.

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Re: Qualia

Post by Ginkgo » Wed May 27, 2015 10:43 am

raw_thought wrote: http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/dpitt/whatsit.pdf
Phenomenology is the study of qualia. What does something feel like (a quale)?
“Phenomenology is the study of structures of consciousness as experienced from the first-person point of view.”
FROM
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/phenomenology/
All mental states are qualia. Qualia includes both the cognitive and the sensory.
I think i mentioned this as a contentious claim very early on. It all depends on how you choose to do your phenomenology. Your "Stanford' reference doesn't isn't relevant in this respect.

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Re: Qualia

Post by raw_thought » Thu May 28, 2015 11:50 pm

Make a first person statement that does not refer to what the person is experiencing. In other words a quale.

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Re: Qualia

Post by raw_thought » Fri May 29, 2015 12:32 am

Arising_uk wrote:
raw_thought wrote:I am not saying that there might be people that can make themselves not feel pain. ...
How do you know they are feeling pain in the first place?
I am saying that it is ridiculous to say that the feeling of pain does not exist anywhere.
But that's what I keep asking you? Where do you think it is existing if not in the mechanisms of the body?
I am not talking about an objective case of qualia. That is a contradiction. I am saying that each of us knows that pain hurts from personal subjective experience.
Show me pain. Note that C fibers firing is not the definition of pain.
As I said previously, I do not have to explain what pain is. My point is that it cannot be physical. Similarly, I may not know what a platypus is, but I can still say that I know that it is not an elephant.

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Re: Qualia

Post by Ginkgo » Fri May 29, 2015 1:01 am

raw_thought wrote:Make a first person statement that does not refer to what the person is experiencing. In other words a quale.
First person experience is not another word for qualia when it comes to some people, especially materialists and physicalists. As I said above, it all depends on who is doing the phenomenology. Like yourself, I happen to believe that experiential states contain qualia. As much as I would like this to be the case, your claim is by no means a given. If you look into the literature you will see that some people argue for non-experiential mental states.
Last edited by Ginkgo on Fri May 29, 2015 1:02 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Qualia

Post by raw_thought » Fri May 29, 2015 1:01 am

Ginkgo wrote:
raw_thought wrote: It is about the existence of qualia. However, one step (among others is to disprove the eliminatavist's arguments). I have shown how Dennett's arguments are at best tautologies. Pure functionalism is bankrupt because it says that only behaviour exists and if we explain behaviour we have explained everything concerning the human experience. That is false because pain hurts and we do have feelings. Also, functionalism (see my quote about symbol grounding) can explain computations but not the mystery of meaning.
There is no purist interpretation of functionalism. Functionalism comes in a variety of types. All we can say in general is that mental states states define a functional or casual role.
Functionalism is the proposition that mental states are defined by what they do and not by what they are. In other words, if they are or not experiential is irrelevant. I think that is a disingenuous redefinition of mental state. It is like saying, " pain is me saying ouch."
However, this post is irrelevant to the topic. Asking if an eliminative materialist is a functionalist is like aaking if he is a Republican or Democrat.

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Re: Qualia

Post by raw_thought » Fri May 29, 2015 1:02 am

Ginkgo wrote:
raw_thought wrote:Make a first person statement that does not refer to what the person is experiencing. In other words a quale.
First person experience is not another word for qualia when it comes to some people, especially materialists and physicalists. As I said above, it all depends on who is doing the phenomenology. Like yourself, I happen to believe that experiential states contain qualia. As much as I would like this to be the case, your claim is by no means a given. If you look into the literature you will see that some people argue that some mental states are non-experiential.
Prove me wrong by showing me a first person statement that does not refer to a personal experience or perspective.

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Re: Qualia

Post by Ginkgo » Fri May 29, 2015 1:13 am

raw_thought wrote:
Ginkgo wrote:
raw_thought wrote:Make a first person statement that does not refer to what the person is experiencing. In other words a quale.
First person experience is not another word for qualia when it comes to some people, especially materialists and physicalists. As I said above, it all depends on who is doing the phenomenology. Like yourself, I happen to believe that experiential states contain qualia. As much as I would like this to be the case, your claim is by no means a given. If you look into the literature you will see that some people argue that some mental states are non-experiential.
Prove me wrong by showing me a first person statement that does not refer to a personal experience or perspective.
Lets go back to Chalmers.

The hard problem of consciousness is the problem of explaining how and why we have qualia or phenomenal experiences—how sensations acquire characteristics, such as colors and tastes.[1] David Chalmers, who introduced the term "hard problem" of consciousness,[2] contrasts this with the "easy problems" of explaining the ability to discriminate, integrate information, report mental states, focus attention, etc. Easy problems are easy because all that is required for their solution is to specify a mechanism that can perform the function. That is, their proposed solutions, regardless of how complex or poorly understood they may be, can be entirely consistent with the modern materialistic conception of natural phenomena. Chalmers claims that the problem of experience is distinct from this set, and he argues that the problem of experience will "persist even when the performance of all the relevant functions is explained".[3]

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Re: Qualia

Post by raw_thought » Fri May 29, 2015 1:17 am

I am confused. How is that related to the fact that ALL first person narratives are statements referring to subjective experience (qualia)?

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Re: Qualia

Post by raw_thought » Fri May 29, 2015 1:25 am

Note that inter-subjective has subjectivity as its foundation. If I think "mouse" and say "mouse" you do not know if I am thinking of a rodent or part of a computer.

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Re: Qualia

Post by raw_thought » Fri May 29, 2015 2:31 am

As for your Chalmer's quote,it shows that most of the arguments against qualia have nothing to do with qualia. Qualia is the hard problem. How the brain computes is the easy problem.
Many here keep repeating that I am denying that the brain does computations. I never said that!!! I am saying that this thread is about qualia (the hard problem) not the easy problem!

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Re: Qualia

Post by hammock » Fri May 29, 2015 7:48 pm

raw_thought wrote:. . . Functionalism is the proposition that mental states are defined by what they do and not by what they are. In other words, if they are or not experiential is irrelevant. I think that is a disingenuous redefinition of mental state. It is like saying, " pain is me saying ouch."
However, this post is irrelevant to the topic. Asking if an eliminative materialist is a functionalist is like aaking if he is a Republican or Democrat.

And functionalism should not be not an open invitation for magic or miracles. For instance, it would be "useful" for an organism to be able to teleport away from a pouncing predator. However, the primal properties of physics don't permit teleportation to emerge from their combinations for macroscopic organizations via biological evolution. This or that physical substrate does place constraints on what is functionally possible. Schemes dealing with function are employing abstract concepts; they not introducing a new, potent level that can seize causal responsibility for experience / qualia from brain tissue, electronic hardware, hydraulic networks of pipes and valves, etc. Another way to put this:

Clocks can be physically realized in a variety of ways, but their generic function is to indicate what time it is. Nevertheless, that function is abstract and should have no causal powers in and of itself (fallacy of reification, of treating abstract entities as real or concrete). One can contend that the "idea of designing something with the purpose of indicating what time it is" is needed beforehand to initiate the construction of such a device. But in materialism, is it some floating non-physical concept (this function _X_) that is really the stimulating / guiding cause (what makes something possible)? Or instead what physically realizes such ideas on each specific occasion (like a memory substantiated by a substrate of neural structure, writing on paper, exploded diagram, etc). Should be the latter in materialism.

Accordingly, if the "function" of a bitter taste quale for the human body is supposed to be the responsible agency that brings said quale about (or even what constitutes the quale), that would not be part of a literal level of abstract entities which float independently of all physical substrates, but the very organization of a specific physical substrate which concretely realizes such use. Which therefore does not truly introduce a new party to assume responsibility for engendering a "bitter taste" quale, etc (i.e., a functional level). It still boils down to explaining what there is about the nature of biological tissue and chemistry, and an elementary physics below that, which can have a phenomenal property fall out of it as a consequence rather than as a brute addon.
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Re: Qualia

Post by hammock » Fri May 29, 2015 8:16 pm

raw_thought wrote:Note that inter-subjective has subjectivity as its foundation. . . .

Unfortunately that seems close to the situation. In an epistemological context a pecking order of phenomenal --> subjective --> intersubjective --> objective might be entertained. The usual nothingness (of the common anti-panpsychism stance about general existence) has to be pierced by the presence of phenomenal occurrences. Then native instinct, gradual conditioning or reasoning conceive those primal properties of experience as constituting objects. Some of the latter are further judged to be introspective showings / feelings belonging to a bounded owner [mind, self, etc] and the rest taken to concern an extrospective realm. Similar beings to "this one" inhabit it and at the age of three an emerging theory also attributes individual minds to them (i.e., the outer half of the experiences of other people sport sensations of the same cosmos). In turn, objectivity is ascribed to that outer realm since it doesn't obey personal wishes (seems regulated by something beyond the observing / conscious agents, if not the cooperating sum of them [collective virtual reality]). Afterwards we can produce a metaphysical doctrine declaring that the subjective --> intersubjective --> objective order is actually the opposite in an ontological context. But that's sort of like climbing to the roof of a building and kicking away the ladder; pretending we've always been invincibly up there as an immediate fact, as if no prior [potentially vulnerable] stages of development were necessary.

To truly "get outside of one's head" would ironically mean leaving behind all the experiential and intellectual evidence for the world which the brain generates (from tissue receptor stimulations and reasoning). IOW, a literal obtainment of objectivity as something other than a concocted model or a feat of descriptive imagination would perversely amount to the absence of everything encountered after death -- the maximum freedom from or elimination of consciousness, subjectivity, etc.

The reports exchanged between people, as well as their inner/outer body reactions - together shaping a group consensus - is what warrants belief in the interpersonal nature of events and circumstances of the external environment; that they appear in each person's perceptions. There's also the formulated presupposition that entities of the same ilk should share the same cognitive / sentient abilities ("their bodily structure / organization, yours, and mine follow an in-common blueprint").

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Re: Qualia

Post by Ginkgo » Sat May 30, 2015 12:15 am

raw_thought wrote: Functionalism is the proposition that mental states are defined by what they do and not by what they are.
Yes, that is what I said. Mental states are not the same as brain states they are defined by the casual or functional role.
raw_thought wrote: In other words, if they are or not experiential is irrelevant. I think that is a disingenuous redefinition of mental state. It is like saying, " pain is me saying ouch."
No, what you have here is behaviourism , not functionalism. The difference being that functionalism acknowledges there is something in between the input of a stimulus and the output. Something in between the pain and saying ouch.
raw_thought wrote:
However, this post is irrelevant to the topic. Asking if an eliminative materialist is a functionalist is like aaking if he is a Republican or Democrat.
I wasn't saying that eliminative materialism is functionalism. The whole idea is to point out that they are not.

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