Questions for the friends of qualia.

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AMod
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by AMod » Tue Jun 02, 2015 6:10 pm

Nope, just can't 'see' Jesus in that gif.

Wyman
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Tue Jun 02, 2015 7:32 pm

Lawrence Crocker wrote:Dennett does indeed say that Mary would know, specifically when presented with a blue banana when just out of the room, that "You tried to trick me! Bananas are yellow, but this one is blue" . . .You have to remember that I know everything -- absolutely everything -- that could ever be known about the physical causes and effects of color vision. So of course before your brought the banana in. I had already written down, in exquisite detail, exactly what physical impression a yellow object or a blue object . . .would make on my nervous system. So I already knew exactly what thoughts I would have . . ." Consciousness Explained" pp. 399-400.

Dennett's claim is that neither Jackson, nor anyone else but Churchland and himself, take Jackson's description "all physical facts" seriously. We assume that Mary is only a very good color vision scientist, not a physical-fact-omniscient one. Dennett, however, would, I think take as basically friendly Wyman's suggestion that the Mary thought experiment doesn't make because "all physical facts" is a defective expression. Perhaps Dennett-Wyman: either Mary's room makes no sense or its proper conclusion is that Mary would learn nothing new when let out of the room.

I am not inclined to think that it is a problem for the thought experiment that "all physical facts" would be an infinite set, and so beyond any real Mary. That there may be some important ambiguities in "physical facts" worries me more.

Some of the qualia-friendly reaction to Dennett's blue banana has been to grant that it Mary knows everything about the the physical facts, including her own neurophysiology, that she will be able to do what Dennett says, but that there will still be something that she didn't know about blue when she saw the blue banana i.e. what the blue experience was like -- the qualia. This has then gone into discussions of different kinds of knowledge and whether one of them is properly called "knowledge" at all.

Insofar as this brings front and center just what qualia are, my questions about how they are to be individuated might turn out to be important. An entity that cannot be defined in a way that works with its role in an argument is a serious problem.
Right, once you isolate just what they are speaking - 'qualia' - in the Mary context, it boils down to her immediate contact with something new more than knowledge of new facts. Knowledge by acquaintance, as you alluded to earlier, was something that sense data theorists counted on to build up a foundational theory of knowledge - the foundation being direct knowledge (by acquaintance) of sense data. This is a terrible paraphrase of early Bertrand Russell but, as I said with the Dennett paraphrase, that's the gist of it.

Couching a direct acquaintance with qualia in terms of propositional knowledge by calling it 'what it is like to be _____ ' is disingenuous. For how do you know that a scientific theorem (proposition) is true? Through an intricate, long process of learning an entire theory and applying it to a complicated set of circumstances - applying it 'in context.' In contrast, how do you know that a proposition of the form 'what it is like to be ____ ' is true or false? The only way to know it (since they've discarded all knowledge of 'physical facts') is to experience it/be acquainted with it/come into contact with it. The latter harkens back to pre-Kantian ideas of knowledge as non-propositional.

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Rilx
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Rilx » Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:34 pm

AMod wrote:Nope, just can't 'see' Jesus in that gif.
Neither can I. No Jesus, no man, no woman. What could be the explanation?

Wyman
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Wed Jun 03, 2015 8:47 pm

Rilx wrote:
AMod wrote:Nope, just can't 'see' Jesus in that gif.
Neither can I. No Jesus, no man, no woman. What could be the explanation?
Look at the upper third of the picture right in the middle - that's where his face is; it's white.

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Rilx
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Rilx » Wed Jun 03, 2015 9:09 pm

Thanks Wyman, now I see him. Interesting.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by raw_thought » Fri Jun 05, 2015 6:18 pm

Lawrence Crocker wrote:Dennett does indeed say that Mary would know, specifically when presented with a blue banana when just out of the room, that "You tried to trick me! Bananas are yellow, but this one is blue" . . .You have to remember that I know everything -- absolutely everything -- that could ever be known about the physical causes and effects of color vision. So of course before your brought the banana in. I had already written down, in exquisite detail, exactly what physical impression a yellow object or a blue object . . .would make on my nervous system. So I already knew exactly what thoughts I would have . . ." Consciousness Explained" pp. 399-400.

.
How is that even remotely possible?
http://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS ... .html#blue
So if I have never seen anything blue and only know that its wave length is 475 nm, and I see something with a wavelength of 475 I will know that it is called blue??????
But according to Dennett,( if he is consistent. But of course he is not) Mary has NO experiences, period. As I mentioned previously, the definition of qualia is the same for experiences. Since Dennett denies the existence of qualia , he must ( if he is consistent) deny that experiences exist.*
I am sorry for constantly picking on Dennett. However, he came to my university and basically confessed ( while socializing and wine) that he says outrageous things because it gets him publicity and that he does not really believe that an "on" light switch knows that the light is on. Also, as i pointed out in the qualia thread his arguments are at best tautologies. At worst ridiculous, https://danielmiessler.com/blog/dennett-wrong-freewill/
* How can she experience blue in the first place? How can she know anything without being aware of what she knows?
http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/dpitt/whatsit.pdf

Ginkgo
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Ginkgo » Sat Jun 06, 2015 12:30 am

raw_thought wrote:
Lawrence Crocker wrote:Dennett does indeed say that Mary would know, specifically when presented with a blue banana when just out of the room, that "You tried to trick me! Bananas are yellow, but this one is blue" . . .You have to remember that I know everything -- absolutely everything -- that could ever be known about the physical causes and effects of color vision. So of course before your brought the banana in. I had already written down, in exquisite detail, exactly what physical impression a yellow object or a blue object . . .would make on my nervous system. So I already knew exactly what thoughts I would have . . ." Consciousness Explained" pp. 399-400.

.
How is that even remotely possible?
http://science-edu.larc.nasa.gov/EDDOCS ... .html#blue
So if I have never seen anything blue and only know that its wave length is 475 nm, and I see something with a wavelength of 475 I will know that it is called blue??????
But according to Dennett,( if he is consistent. But of course he is not) Mary has NO experiences, period. As I mentioned previously, the definition of qualia is the same for experiences. Since Dennett denies the existence of qualia , he must ( if he is consistent) deny that experiences exist.*
I am sorry for constantly picking on Dennett. However, he came to my university and basically confessed ( while socializing and wine) that he says outrageous things because it gets him publicity and that he does not really believe that an "on" light switch knows that the light is on. Also, as i pointed out in the qualia thread his arguments are at best tautologies. At worst ridiculous, https://danielmiessler.com/blog/dennett-wrong-freewill/
* How can she experience blue in the first place? How can she know anything without being aware of what she knows?
http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/dpitt/whatsit.pdf
I don't think it is possible. How can one imagine the colour of light beyond the visible spectrum? Can one talk about the bluest of all possible imaginable blues when talking about ultra violet. Would it make sense to even talk about colours in this respect?

Why do have the free will debate in the middle of a knowledge argument?

Wyman
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Sat Jun 06, 2015 9:46 pm

I don't think it is possible. How can one imagine the colour of light beyond the visible spectrum? Can one talk about the bluest of all possible imaginable blues when talking about ultra violet. Would it make sense to even talk about colours in this respect?

Why do have the free will debate in the middle of a knowledge argument?
The question is not whether one can imagine a color, it is about whether one will learn (know) something new. As my above post pointed out, you and the 'friends of qualia' are equating knowledge with experience. You, with rawthought, ask how can one know something without experiencing it. Mary may have a new experience when she steps out of the room, but that does not mean she gains new knowledge.

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Lawrence Crocker
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Lawrence Crocker » Sun Jun 07, 2015 1:49 pm

Dennett sometimes sounds as if he has a “disappearance” theory of consciousness, and this does, no doubt, come from the PR advantage, and the pleasure, of saying things that shock. Insofar as he denies qualia, however, I don’t think he is denying that he has an experience like you do in seeing a yellow banana, any more than those who said there is no such thing as sense data were denying that there are color blob sensations when you close your eyes. The sense data critics were attacking a theory on which, as the critics saw it, the sense data were ascribed two incompatible attributes. Dennett is not denying the existence of experience, but a particular theory of what experience is.

If one is physical visual fact omniscient in the strong sense that includes knowledge of counterfactuals, then of course Mary knows in advance what the configuration of her visual system will be when confronted with yellow and blue bananas. She would then be able to do exactly what Dennett says she could.

It may be objected that this level of physical omniscience is too strong. Jackson doesn’t need to have Mary physically omniscient of counterfactuals to make his metaphysical point. This, however, seems to me a difficult area.

The Jacksonians would need to explain what it is to know all the physical facts about color vision if knowledge of counterfactuals is excluded. Knowing how a system will react is knowing counterfactuals.

Even if a clean distinction can be made of physical vision system omniscience with and without knowledge of counterfactuals, it remains to be argued that physicalism as an explanation of color vision falls to something like dualism if Mary is a good color scientist but not one good enough to know how a neuron will react to any stimulus other than the one to which it was actually presented.

Now that we have some subjects who have had before and after recognition experiences of the Jesus figure, I still would be interested in responses as to whether there is one quale here or two qualia.

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Sun Jun 07, 2015 4:49 pm

No amount of description gets you to the experience of redness, as against greenness.

Image

Nothing could allow Mary to choose between these which was red and which was green.

I don't think Dennett can get over that.

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hammock
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by hammock » Sun Jun 07, 2015 6:54 pm

Lawrence Crocker wrote:. . . Now that we have some subjects who have had before and after recognition experiences of the Jesus figure, I still would be interested in responses as to whether there is one quale here or two qualia.

Again, this is actually asking for interpretations of an image or extended spatial pattern rather the supposed elemental qualities composing it. If the picture was uniformly and completely filled with an undeviating white [#FFFFFF] or black [#000000], then one might ask: "Can you discern a structure in this quale, and if so, how would you describe it? Is this supposed primary property intersubjectively stable (public) for all of us (who have normal vision) or is open to multiple personal conceptions?"

But as soon as the homogeneous block of such an image is corrupted with the heterogeneity of either another color or its opposite rival at the other end of the grayscale, it emerges from being the extended blotch of a putative color "quale" to becoming a composite shape or or random pattern or object. For which there is no need to wonder if it is effable in terms of details. "Oh, there's a spiral of black on the white background's upper right corner and a triangle-like patch of black at yata-yata coordinates, etc." Since there are spatial relations between such differences, they also become susceptible to variable interpretations by human observers. "Oh, that looks like stars in the sky or that looks like Elvis Presley."

The bottom line is that if the majority of people with properly or fully functioning senses have come to so much agreement over the centuries about spring foliage being some shade of green, and piercing thorns produce sharp pain, and old eggs having a rotten smell... Then these are arguably interpersonal properties (of primates at least) rather than purely subjective characteristics of experience (unique to one person). If the plural / singular terms qualia and quale are firmly locked-in to the definition of being utterly private, then that would be one reason for eliminating them; but that wouldn't make the "rose" itself identified by the old or new name disappear.

Experience has qualitative properties which can be discriminated from each other as much as a chair can be distinguished from a table; and if isolated unto themselves (that is, where their differences don't combine to form higher-level entities like an image of the Eiffel Tower or a guitar riff), then some seem to be ineffable in terms of providing any further details about having a structure. Where a person could communicate more than "Oh, that's red" or "Oh, that's a bitter taste". If the receiver of those messages is an achromatic space alien who lacks a gustatory mode of sensation, then the visitor would lack any familiar elemental qualities in its own extrospective and introspective manifestations to correlate to such human reports, as a phenomenal meaning for them.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:21 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:No amount of description gets you to the experience of redness, as against greenness.

Image

Nothing could allow Mary to choose between these which was red and which was green.

I don't think Dennett can get over that.
I'm not a scientist, but I thought that whether one sees red rather than green depends on how light stimulates the nerve endings in the retina? Couldn't a scientist, in theory, view the retina of an animal with color vision and determine, at least roughly, which color it was seeing at a given moment?

Isn't our color vision partly determined by the wavelength of light? If not, how do video recorders match the colors of things with how we see them?

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Hobbes' Choice
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Mon Jun 08, 2015 2:47 pm

Wyman wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:No amount of description gets you to the experience of redness, as against greenness.

Image

Nothing could allow Mary to choose between these which was red and which was green.

I don't think Dennett can get over that.
I'm not a scientist, but I thought that whether one sees red rather than green depends on how light stimulates the nerve endings in the retina? Couldn't a scientist, in theory, view the retina of an animal with color vision and determine, at least roughly, which color it was seeing at a given moment?

Isn't our color vision partly determined by the wavelength of light? If not, how do video recorders match the colors of things with how we see them?
I'm not sure you are getting the point.
What you say is obviously true but does not get us to the solution.

Wyman
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Mon Jun 08, 2015 3:53 pm

The thought experiment, if I understand it, does not claim just that Mary has a new experience upon leaving the room. We all have new experiences everyday throughout our lives.

It says that she gains some knowledge that she did not previously have - that is, assuming that she had all knowledge there can possible be about colors, she still gains something extra by her experience of it. And whatever it is that she thereby gains, that knowledge is necessary in order for her to discriminate between green and red.

I'm saying that another possible way to discriminate between green and red is by measuring wavelengths. In her knowing 'everything' about color, does that include knowing how to discriminate wavelengths other than our normal method - that is, seeing with our eyes? Is she allowed other instruments or is she stuck with just her eyes? I presume also that besides measuring the wavelengths of light coming off a particular object, a scientist could theoretically observe the object and discover which wavelengths it absorbs and which it reflects, thereby giving a determination as to how a human will 'see' the object.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by raw_thought » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:01 pm

Lawrence Crocker wrote:Dennett does indeed say that Mary would know, specifically when presented with a blue banana when just out of the room, that "You tried to trick me! Bananas are yellow, but this one is blue" . . .You have to remember that I know everything -- absolutely everything -- that could ever be known about the physical causes and effects of color vision. So of course before your brought the banana in. I had already written down, in exquisite detail, exactly what physical impression a yellow object or a blue object . . .would make on my nervous system. So I already knew exactly what thoughts I would have . . ." Consciousness Explained" pp. 399-400.
This “argument” is so silly that it would be hard to believe that a first year philosophy student came up with it, let alone a famous philosopher.
According to Dennett since Mary knows everything about brain physiology she will know that a wave length of 475 will make her neurons fire in a particular pattern. I agree! Therefore, (according to Dennett) she will not be tricked because she knows her brain. This is where Dennett makes a fundamental category error. I may know everything about dogs, but that does not mean that I know everything about a particular dog. For example, I do not know that Spot has a kidney infection. Similarly, I may know that a wavelength of 475 will cause certain neurons to fire, but that does not mean that I know what neurons are firing.
Let’s go further than Dennett did and suppose that Mary knows (forgetting for the moment that for Dennett there is no knowledge, only neurons firing *) what every neuron is doing at every moment. Even then Dennett’s “argument” is rubbish!
OK, Mary knows that particular neurons in her brain are firing and that corresponds to seeing a 475 ( blue) wavelength. She then knows that the banana is the wrong color.
What?! So Mary knows something with a very advanced MRI
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magnetic_resonance_imaging
that I already know without one ( that the banana is the wrong color) . So how is my knowledge (based on qualia, the experience of blue) less legitimate????Why would anyone need an MRI to tell if the banana is blue???
* If Dennett is consistent he must say that if we knew everything about Einstein’s brain (when Einstein was thinking about Relativity) we would understand relativity. Once again Dennett commits an obvious category error. If one knows the position of every atom in a Mozart CD that does not mean that one knows what Mozart’s music sounds like.

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