What is qualia?

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Nemba pemba
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What is qualia?

Post by Nemba pemba » Fri May 15, 2015 7:30 pm

Qualia seems to puzzle many philosophers and people. They say it is 'the how things look'. A person wishing to express it will often ask you to describe such things as colors, hunger smell etc. He might ask you a case where in you are trying to describe say color 'blue' to a blind man. If you lack words, then hopefully you have grasped what the quale of 'blue' means. It is the phantasm.

But I find this way of pointing to quale problematic. If I was to ask you to describe a sphere, you will say something like: a collection of all points equidistant from a given point. And so because a sphere has some realy nice description, one may be tempted to say sphere doesn't come as a quale in our awareness in much the same way as colors does. But this is not the case. Sphere is analogous to say color purple and points is analogous to colors red and blue. And so color purple is nicely descripable as a blueish-reddish color.

Perharps a truely amazing question is how different color ends up being interelated. But I am calling it just that; interelationship of qualia. Many are tempted to think of one quale causing the other. It is perharps due to thinking of the couser as not to be a quale itself when it is infact a quale. This is due to the misleadings we saw above. A good example is Isaach Newton and latter Schrodinger wonders how the mind forms the phantasm of colors from say vibrations of light waves. But you should be able to note that it is equally legitimate to wonder how mind forms the phantasm we call 'vibration'.

An interesting case of such a relation of qualia would be the quale of the brain and that of awareness. It is much symmetrical to the relation between color and vibration. We don't see how one logically follow from the other but facts strongly suggest corelation. I guess it is a contingent one.

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hammock
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by hammock » Sat May 16, 2015 5:01 pm

Nemba pemba wrote:Qualia seems to puzzle many philosophers and people.
As Galen Strawson has pointed out, manifestations and their properties (qualia) only became puzzling with the dawn of certain materialist views, whose microphysical components seemed to make it impossible for such introspective and extrospective manifestations to arise. Even with the more liberal take on matter today, there's really still nothing posited in physics that relieves experience of being a last minute addon to patterns of electrochemical interactions in the brain (seemingly conjured via performing the correct choreography). "Information" is a pleasing, neutral-sounding expression for hand-waving, but it is neither synonymous with "sentient showings" nor by definition inherently supposed to sport appearances, other than that of the matter / energy organizations which the concept supervenes over (IF physics' normally invisible entities themselves have appearances other than illustrations and abstract description / symbol datum representing measurements).
. . . good example is Isaach Newton and latter Schrodinger wonders how the mind forms the phantasm of colors from say vibrations of light waves. But you should be able to note that it is equally legitimate to wonder how mind forms the phantasm we call 'vibration'.

In the context of eternalism, the flow commonly attributed to time might even be regarded as another potential property of experience. Shut it down via death or unconsciousness to speciously glimpse what matter / energy around the universe is normally like to itself (minus consciousness) and there's not even the presentation and cognition of nothingness. Much less changing states (also necessarily retained in a memory) to derive the notion of a "flow" from (needless to say also no intellectual activity anymore to make such conclusions). Even if the skeptical physicists suddenly took to endorsing a literal flow, that objectifying of it would be another mathematical construct rather than the original human feeling of it transpiring (the experience-grounded version of flux, validated not only by its own manifested changes but also the reflective thoughts / cognitive activity of the individual human such applied to).

Obvious Leo
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by Obvious Leo » Sat May 16, 2015 11:16 pm

You make some good points, hammock. As I see it the "problem" of qualia is a non-existent one which is rooted in the Newtonian reductionist doctrine of eternalism, which essentially mistakes the map for the territory. In the more Leibnizian doctrine of presentism consciousness can be more readily understood as a non-linear dynamic process and non-linear dynamic processes self-organise information into progressively more complex emergent forms simply because they cannot do otherwise. It means, for example that we do not "observe" the colour red at all. We CONSTRUCT the colour red in the way that we process the information received by our senses within our neural architecture. There is no valid reason to suppose that we do this in the same way as anybody else, as well as a stack of evidence from neuroscience which suggests that we don't, so to ask the question "is your colour red the same as my colour red?" is a meaningless question. Even to ask the question "is your colour red today the same colour red as your colour red will be tomorrow?" is a meaningless question because there is no valid reason to suppose that when you observe the colour red tomorrow you will process the same information in exactly the same way. In fact it would be quite impossible for you to do so since a shitload of things will change in your neural networks in the course of 24 hours. As far as as I'm concerned Chalmers' "hard problem" of consciousness is a Newtonian myth.

Ginkgo
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by Ginkgo » Sun May 17, 2015 10:48 am

Obvious Leo wrote:You make some good points, hammock. As I see it the "problem" of qualia is a non-existent one which is rooted in the Newtonian reductionist doctrine of eternalism, which essentially mistakes the map for the territory. In the more Leibnizian doctrine of presentism consciousness can be more readily understood as a non-linear dynamic process and non-linear dynamic processes self-organise information into progressively more complex emergent forms simply because they cannot do otherwise. It means, for example that we do not "observe" the colour red at all. We CONSTRUCT the colour red in the way that we process the information received by our senses within our neural architecture. There is no valid reason to suppose that we do this in the same way as anybody else, as well as a stack of evidence from neuroscience which suggests that we don't, so to ask the question "is your colour red the same as my colour red?" is a meaningless question. Even to ask the question "is your colour red today the same colour red as your colour red will be tomorrow?" is a meaningless question because there is no valid reason to suppose that when you observe the colour red tomorrow you will process the same information in exactly the same way. In fact it would be quite impossible for you to do so since a shitload of things will change in your neural networks in the course of 24 hours. As far as as I'm concerned Chalmers' "hard problem" of consciousness is a Newtonian myth.
Even though I am sympathetic towards Leibniz I find his solution to the mind/body problem less appealing than the dualism of Chalmers.

I am not clear in terms of the relationship between Chalmers and Newton. Are you saying that Newtonian mechanics is promoting some type of dualism?

Obvious Leo
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by Obvious Leo » Sun May 17, 2015 11:52 am

Ginkgo wrote: I am not clear in terms of the relationship between Chalmers and Newton. Are you saying that Newtonian mechanics is promoting some type of dualism?
Very much so. Newtonian reductionism is an entirely dualist notion because it places the observer external to his observation. This defines the observation as a timeless snapshot of the world. The monist perspective of Leibniz, however defines the observer as intimately interwoven into his observation as part of a dynamic process which occurs in time. Process philosophy is non-Newtonian and thus the "hard problem" does not exist. I've actually met David Chalmers and he's a charming bloke but we operate in different magisteria when it comes to matters to do with cognition.

marjoram_blues
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun May 17, 2015 12:33 pm

Obvious Leo wrote:
Ginkgo wrote: I am not clear in terms of the relationship between Chalmers and Newton. Are you saying that Newtonian mechanics is promoting some type of dualism?
Very much so. Newtonian reductionism is an entirely dualist notion because it places the observer external to his observation. This defines the observation as a timeless snapshot of the world. The monist perspective of Leibniz, however defines the observer as intimately interwoven into his observation as part of a dynamic process which occurs in time. Process philosophy is non-Newtonian and thus the "hard problem" does not exist. I've actually met David Chalmers and he's a charming bloke but we operate in different magisteria when it comes to matters to do with cognition.
I'm curious as to what it means to be a process philosopher. It seems to chime with my thoughts of 'qualia' as a nonsense term for Western academic philosophers to squabble over. I don't get why there is a problem. When I studied this, a few years ago, I settled on the functionalist view.
Are the two perspectives compatible?

I found this:
Process philosophers claim that there are many sound philosophical reasons to take the processual aspects of nature, cognition, and action as fundamental features of the real. The perhaps most powerful argument for process philosophy is its wide descriptive or explanatory scope. If we admit that the basic entities of our world are processes, we can generate better philosophical descriptions of all the kinds of entities and relationships we are committed to when we reason about our world in common sense and in science: from quantum entanglement to consciousness, from computation to feelings, from things to institutions, from organisms to societies, from traffic jams to climate change, from spacetime to beauty. Moreover, results in cognitive science, some philosophers have claimed, show that we need a process metaphysics in order to develop a naturalist theory of the mind and of normativity. These arguments form the background for the processist criticism of the focus on substance in Western philosophy.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/process-philosophy/
Functionalism is the view that individual qualia have functional natures, that the phenomenal character of, e.g., pain is one and the same as the property of playing such-and-such a causal or teleofunctional role in mediating between physical inputs (e.g., body damage) and physical outputs (e.g., withdrawal behavior). On this view (Lycan 1987), qualia are multiply physically realizable. Inner states that are physically very different may nonetheless feel the same. What is crucial to what it is like is functional role, not underlying hardware.
http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia/#Functional

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun May 17, 2015 12:43 pm

There is an excellent thought experiment, sometimes called Monochrome Mary which clearly demonstrates the phenomenon of Qualia most clearly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_argument

If you get this, then you get qualia.

marjoram_blues
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun May 17, 2015 1:04 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:There is an excellent thought experiment, sometimes called Monochrome Mary which clearly demonstrates the phenomenon of Qualia most clearly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_argument

If you get this, then you get qualia.
Yes. That experiment exasperates me to death.
How would Mary experiencing something for the first time, not go 'Wow!' - that's like 'Wow!' - I never knew that apples could be so...red :roll:

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun May 17, 2015 1:07 pm

marjoram_blues wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:There is an excellent thought experiment, sometimes called Monochrome Mary which clearly demonstrates the phenomenon of Qualia most clearly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_argument

If you get this, then you get qualia.
Yes. That experiment exasperates me to death.
How would Mary experiencing something for the first time, not go 'Wow!' - that's like 'Wow!' - I never knew that apples could be so...red :roll:
The point is that she could not tell if a red apple was a red one or a green one.

marjoram_blues
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun May 17, 2015 1:17 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
marjoram_blues wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:There is an excellent thought experiment, sometimes called Monochrome Mary which clearly demonstrates the phenomenon of Qualia most clearly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knowledge_argument

If you get this, then you get qualia.
Yes. That experiment exasperates me to death.
How would Mary experiencing something for the first time, not go 'Wow!' - that's like 'Wow!' - I never knew that apples could be so...red :roll:
The point is that she could not tell if a red apple was a red one or a green one.
AaaaaaaH ! Dear God, Now I feel so stoopid :oops:
You should have been my tutor :wink:

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun May 17, 2015 1:30 pm

marjoram_blues wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
marjoram_blues wrote:
Yes. That experiment exasperates me to death.
How would Mary experiencing something for the first time, not go 'Wow!' - that's like 'Wow!' - I never knew that apples could be so...red :roll:
The point is that she could not tell if a red apple was a red one or a green one.
AaaaaaaH ! Dear God, Now I feel so stoopid :oops:
You should have been my tutor :wink:
What are you talking about?

marjoram_blues
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by marjoram_blues » Sun May 17, 2015 2:08 pm

I had thought that you had enlightened me as to a problem I had with the experiment and all things related to 'qualia'.
So - felt stupid for my long-standing stoopidity.

Now, I am not so sure...


What did you think I was talking about?
Last edited by marjoram_blues on Sun May 17, 2015 2:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wyman
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by Wyman » Sun May 17, 2015 2:26 pm

dynamic processes self-organise information into progressively more complex emergent forms simply because they cannot do otherwise. It means, for example that we do not "observe" the colour red at all. We CONSTRUCT the colour red in the way that we process the information received by our senses within our neural architecture.
This is exactly how I see it. :idea: The problem shifts from 'what is consciousness' or 'what is qualia' to 'how is knowledge possible' or 'how is meaningful communication possible.'

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HexHammer
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by HexHammer » Sun May 17, 2015 5:40 pm

Nemba pemba wrote:Qualia seems to puzzle many philosophers and people. They say it is 'the how things look'. A person wishing to express it will often ask you to describe such things as colors, hunger smell etc. He might ask you a case where in you are trying to describe say color 'blue' to a blind man. If you lack words, then hopefully you have grasped what the quale of 'blue' means. It is the phantasm.

But I find this way of pointing to quale problematic. If I was to ask you to describe a sphere, you will say something like: a collection of all points equidistant from a given point. And so because a sphere has some realy nice description, one may be tempted to say sphere doesn't come as a quale in our awareness in much the same way as colors does. But this is not the case. Sphere is analogous to say color purple and points is analogous to colors red and blue. And so color purple is nicely descripable as a blueish-reddish color.
Qualia is an predecessor to cognitive abilities, perception.

Some has miswireing so they may get smells when hearing music. Some will hallucinate etc.

Else it's a carrot for very stupid people/cozy chatters that can spend months discussing back and forth, not really having a fucking clue what they are talking about.

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: What is qualia?

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun May 17, 2015 6:16 pm

marjoram_blues wrote:I had thought that you had enlightened me as to a problem I had with the experiment and all things related to 'qualia'.
So - felt stupid for my long-standing stoopidity.

Now, I am not so sure...


What did you think I was talking about?
I thought you were being cheeky and ironic.

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