Questions for the friends of qualia.

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raw_thought
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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by raw_thought » Mon Jun 08, 2015 6:03 pm

Ginkgo wrote:
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?

?
I am confused. I do not understand how this is related to my point.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Mon Jun 08, 2015 7:40 pm

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.
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.
He didn't say your knowledge was less legitimate. The claim of the thought experiment is that even given all knowledge of physical facts, there is something left over (qualia) that Mary does not know. Dennett disputes that there is any such 'knowledge' left over.

I think he would say that if we had the capacity and time to 'know everything' about Einstein's brain, then we would understand relativity.

As for the Mozart CD, when a master musician reads a written score, can't he or she be said to know what the symphony sounds like as well as if he heard it? Again, you seem to equate knowledge with experience.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Rilx » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:15 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.
Are you asking for a definition of qualia? For this case the best form of definition is subjective experience. You cannot show a picture and ask someone analyse what objective "qualia" there are. Qualia include a lot of hidden ("subjective") contextual information which give every subject his/her specific experience. As in your "a friend in a crowd" example.

First I couldn't find Jesus in the picture, and now, after Wyman having told where to find him, I can honestly say that I see a man but I cannot experience it as Jesus. If someone had told me that the person is a woman, I probably would see a woman. It's all subjective.

What you have written about the Necker cube hints that you may not speak of qualia but phenomena. The Necker cube picture makes it possible to perceive three phenomena: an ambiguous drawing and two cubes. The Jesus picture has one phenomenal figure, Jesus/man/woman. Etc. If my belief is right, it explains why your concept of qualia seemed a little peculiar.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:35 pm

Wyman wrote: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.
It's not so much about "knowledge" but about experience. The idea that there is a quality in the subjective realm that cannot be expressed objectively. All she can do is nominate the colour from a wavelength. SEEING "red" is wholly different.
The experiment point to the fact that all knowledge has to be mediated through the subject, and no matter how clever we think we are, objective knowledge is a negotiation with other subjects, in which criteria have to be agreed.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:38 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Wyman wrote: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.
It's not so much about "knowledge" but about experience. The idea that there is a quality in the subjective realm that cannot be expressed objectively. All she can do is nominate the colour from a wavelength. SEEING "red" is wholly different.
The experiment point to the fact that all knowledge has to be mediated through the subject, and no matter how clever we think we are, objective knowledge is a negotiation with other subjects, in which criteria have to be agreed.
No, it's about knowledge(from wiki):
In other words, Jackson's Mary is a scientist who knows everything there is to know about the science of color, but has never experienced color. The question that Jackson raises is: once she experiences color, does she learn anything new?

Ontologically, the following argument is contained in the thought experiment:

Premise: Any and every piece of physical knowledge in regard to human color vision has been obtained (by the test subject, Mary) prior to her release from the black-and-white room. She has all the physical knowledge on the subject.
Premise: Upon leaving the room and witnessing color first-hand, she obtains new knowledge.
Conclusion: There was some knowledge about human color vision she did not have prior to her release. Therefore, not all knowledge is physical knowledge.
Most authors who discuss the knowledge argument cite the case of Mary, but Frank Jackson used a further example in his seminal article: the case of a person, Fred, who sees a color unknown to normal human perceivers. We might want to know what color Fred experiences when looking at things that appear to him in that particular way. It seems clear that no amount of knowledge about what happens in his brain and about how color information is processed in his visual system will help us to find an answer to that question. In both cases cited by Jackson, an epistemic subject A appears to have no access to particular items of knowledge about a subject B: A cannot know that B has an experience of a particular quality Q on certain occasions. This particular item of knowledge about B is inaccessible to A because A never had experiences of Q herself.

Implications[edit]

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:42 pm

Rilx wrote:
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.
Are you asking for a definition of qualia? For this case the best form of definition is subjective experience. You cannot show a picture and ask someone analyse what objective "qualia" there are. Qualia include a lot of hidden ("subjective") contextual information which give every subject his/her specific experience. As in your "a friend in a crowd" example.

First I couldn't find Jesus in the picture, and now, after Wyman having told where to find him, I can honestly say that I see a man but I cannot experience it as Jesus. If someone had told me that the person is a woman, I probably would see a woman. It's all subjective.

What you have written about the Necker cube hints that you may not speak of qualia but phenomena. The Necker cube picture makes it possible to perceive three phenomena: an ambiguous drawing and two cubes. The Jesus picture has one phenomenal figure, Jesus/man/woman. Etc. If my belief is right, it explains why your concept of qualia seemed a little peculiar.

I don't know if any of us here have the same definition of qualia. That's why I don't like it as a concept. Whatever definition you come across is so long and convoluted that it allows many interpretations, often conflicting. I think of it as 'phenomena' also. What, to you is the difference between phenomena and qualia?

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Mon Jun 08, 2015 8:48 pm

Wyman wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Wyman wrote: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.
It's not so much about "knowledge" but about experience. The idea that there is a quality in the subjective realm that cannot be expressed objectively. All she can do is nominate the colour from a wavelength. SEEING "red" is wholly different.
The experiment point to the fact that all knowledge has to be mediated through the subject, and no matter how clever we think we are, objective knowledge is a negotiation with other subjects, in which criteria have to be agreed.
No, it's about knowledge(from wiki):
Then Wiki is not expressing it well, or failing to understand the semantic nuance. When you see a red apple, you "know" what colour it is, but you cannot tell someone what red is like, except by pointing to something red. You can only experience redness - that is HOW YOU KNOW.
Knowing what red looks like is far more than all the scientific shite associated with it.

On leaving the room she has new knowledge - the knowledge of the experience of red. Not just the ability to nominate a colour.
Another example you might like to think about is how does a bat conceive of the world around him, We can never "know" that. When we think of it we are forced to use a simulated visual description, because we can see, but can't actually echo -locate.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Mon Jun 08, 2015 9:57 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Wyman wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
It's not so much about "knowledge" but about experience. The idea that there is a quality in the subjective realm that cannot be expressed objectively. All she can do is nominate the colour from a wavelength. SEEING "red" is wholly different.
The experiment point to the fact that all knowledge has to be mediated through the subject, and no matter how clever we think we are, objective knowledge is a negotiation with other subjects, in which criteria have to be agreed.
No, it's about knowledge(from wiki):
Then Wiki is not expressing it well, or failing to understand the semantic nuance. When you see a red apple, you "know" what colour it is, but you cannot tell someone what red is like, except by pointing to something red. You can only experience redness - that is HOW YOU KNOW.
Knowing what red looks like is far more than all the scientific shite associated with it.

On leaving the room she has new knowledge - the knowledge of the experience of red. Not just the ability to nominate a colour.
Another example you might like to think about is how does a bat conceive of the world around him, We can never "know" that. When we think of it we are forced to use a simulated visual description, because we can see, but can't actually echo -locate.
Well then maybe you'll believe the Stanford site - they actually call it the 'knowledge argument':
2. The Basic Idea
Frank Jackson (1982) formulates the intuition underlying his Knowledge Argument in a much cited passage using his famous example of the neurophysiologist Mary:

Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like ‘red’, ‘blue’, and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal chords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence ‘The sky is blue’.… What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color television monitor? Will she learn anything or not? It seems just obvious that she will learn something about the world and our visual experience of it. But then is it inescapable that her previous knowledge was incomplete. But she had all the physical information. Ergo there is more to have than that, and Physicalism is false.
The argument contained in this passage may be put like this:

(1) Mary has all the physical information concerning human color vision before her release.
(2) But there is some information about human color vision that she does not have before her release.

Therefore

(3) Not all information is physical information.

Most authors who discuss the knowledge argument cite the case of Mary, but Frank Jackson used a further example in his seminal article: the case of a person, Fred, who sees a color unknown to normal human perceivers. We might want to know what color Fred experiences when looking at things that appear to him in that particular way. It seems clear that no amount of knowledge about what happens in his brain and about how color information is processed in his visual system will help us to find an answer to that question. In both cases cited by Jackson, an epistemic subject A appears to have no access to particular items of knowledge about a subject B: A cannot know that B has an experience of a particular quality Q on certain occasions. This particular item of knowledge about B is inaccessible to A because A never had experiences of Q herself.

3. Some Clarifications
Where you will have difficulties in your account is in defining and explaining what you mean by 'knowledge of the experience of red.'
When you see a red apple, you "know" what colour it is, but you cannot tell someone what red is like, except by pointing to something red. You can only experience redness - that is HOW YOU KNOW.
What is this telling someone what red is 'like?' I can tell them what red is and is not, but what do you mean by telling someone what it is 'like?' It makes no sense. Perhaps it is 'like' purple except that it is a different color - with a little less blue.

Think of all the times you have explained past experiences you have had to other people. You have seen things that no one else has seen in a way that no one else can copy. And yet you have little problem describing it all to them even though they did not experience the 'qualia' that you experienced.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Mon Jun 08, 2015 10:59 pm

Wyman wrote: Well then maybe you'll believe the Stanford site - they actually call it the 'knowledge argument':
Jesus - I don't give a rat's arse about your semantic incomprehension. Figure it out for yourself.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Mon Jun 08, 2015 11:32 pm

Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Wyman wrote: Well then maybe you'll believe the Stanford site - they actually call it the 'knowledge argument':
Jesus - I don't give a rat's arse about your semantic incomprehension. Figure it out for yourself.

Ha! Because my comprehension of Jackson's argument is the same as Wiki and Stanford, it's me who needs to figure it out? Why don't you read the original and stop embarrassing yourself.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Hobbes' Choice » Tue Jun 09, 2015 4:46 pm

Wyman wrote:
Hobbes' Choice wrote:
Wyman wrote: Well then maybe you'll believe the Stanford site - they actually call it the 'knowledge argument':
Jesus - I don't give a rat's arse about your semantic incomprehension. Figure it out for yourself.

Ha! Because my comprehension of Jackson's argument is the same as Wiki and Stanford, it's me who needs to figure it out? Why don't you read the original and stop embarrassing yourself.
Duh. If "knowledge" excludes experience, then the Mary experiment if completely meaningless.
If you can't get that then that's your problem.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Tue Jun 09, 2015 7:33 pm

If you can't get that then that's your problem.
You're really talking yourself around in circles. Let's get off this merry-go-round and talk about Mary.

When Mary steps out of the room and sees something that is red:

1) She has an experience;
2) She gains knowledge;
3) She gains non-physical knowledge (knowledge of a non-physical fact)

I think most would agree with 1) - that she has a subjective experience which some people call a 'quale.'

Whether or not she gains knowledge is an age-old question in philosophy. In experience, there is a dichotomy between stimulus and conceptual scheme (to use Quine's terms, Kant might say 'intuition' and 'judgment'). Knowledge - propositional knowledge - is usually said to be about experience, not the experience itself - though this could be an argument point.

When we perceive a red thing, we unconsciously interpret the stimulus that we come in contact with. I don't think the 'friends of qualia' are saying that the unconscious interpretation of stimulus (experience) is itself knowledge. That would create big problems in their theory of knowledge (basically the problems pointed out by Plato in the Theaetetus of Protagorus' theory of knowledge as perception). I believe they are maintaining the distinction between experience and knowledge where knowledge is a proposition (or belief) about experience. However, they are claiming that 'how it feels' to have a perception is a part of the bundle of true propositions about an experience. They claim that the proposition '______ is what it feels like to see red' belongs in the category of beliefs that are either true or false about a perception and therefore a candidate for a piece of knowledge. What's more, the truth or falsity of the statement 'This is what it feels like to experience red' can only be determined subjectively and without regard to any 'physical' facts.

There are many ways to attack this position:

1) such knowledge may be subjective, but physical nonetheless;
2) it is both objective and physical in theory but we have not the scientific acumen at present to analyse it
3) propositions of the form 'what it feels like to be a ____' make no sense because they do not really describe a fact - i.e. they cannot be determined to be true or false. Since knowledge is true belief with justification, such claims are not knowledge candidates as they fail to constitute 'true beliefs' (or false beliefs).

I take the 3rd course. But that does not prove that we do not experience qualia (a non-causal, non-physical happening), it only shoots a large hole through Jackson's argument as his argument is based on assuming that 'what it feels like' statements can constitute knowledge.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Rilx » Tue Jun 09, 2015 9:21 pm

Wyman wrote:I don't know if any of us here have the same definition of qualia. That's why I don't like it as a concept. Whatever definition you come across is so long and convoluted that it allows many interpretations, often conflicting. I think of it as 'phenomena' also. What, to you is the difference between phenomena and qualia?
I agree with your opinion that hardly any of us (or generally any person) have the same definition of qualia. It's better to use descriptions of aspects in question until we know and understand more of the structural and functional basis of qualia.

As to phenomena, I rely mostly on Kant who describes them as "objects of [possible] experience". I.e., phenomena are empirical information of objects we perceive directly or indirectly by our senses. Perception gives them a phenomenal form which, as a part of our phenomenal reality, derives their meaning from the said reality. Due to living in the same reality we can understand phenomenal objects similarly enough and communicate about them.

Qualia instead adds phenomena the subjective "colour" which is generally due to our lifetime experiences about them, their contexts and everything that has ever - directly or indirectly - touched them. If we have ever loved, hated, feared, etc, something, it has coloured that something and many other things associated with it in an unique, subjective way; no one else has the same qualia and will never have.

Colours, sounds and other "sensory attributes" are commonly called qualia because of their strictly subjective nature. I don't see it contradicting the more general view to qualia described above.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by Wyman » Wed Jun 10, 2015 2:22 pm

Rilx wrote:
Qualia instead adds phenomena the subjective "colour" which is generally due to our lifetime experiences about them, their contexts and everything that has ever - directly or indirectly - touched them. If we have ever loved, hated, feared, etc, something, it has coloured that something and many other things associated with it in an unique, subjective way; no one else has the same qualia and will never have.

Colours, sounds and other "sensory attributes" are commonly called qualia because of their strictly subjective nature. I don't see it contradicting the more general view to qualia described above.
As I suspected, our definitions are very different, so our whole conceptual framework is different. I think every phenomena is a mixture of subjective and objective (empirical stimulus) and to attempt to parse out which part of it is the one and which part is the other is a fool's errand - Locke made a heroic effort to do so, I think, and failed.

So if qualia is seen as the part of perception/experience which is subjective, I see that as meaningless and senseless. Any time you try to isolate the subjective from the objective, you will fail and be drawn into contradictions and paradoxes. It's like trying to get a grip on a slippery balloon - any time you grab one area firmly a bulge appears at another location (I'll have to try and work on that analogy!) - or maybe like measuring quantum attributes where the more accurately you measure one attribute, the less accurately (by law - the uncertainty principle - so necessarily) you can measure other attributes.

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Re: Questions for the friends of qualia.

Post by raw_thought » Wed Jun 10, 2015 5:15 pm

“I still would be interested in responses as to whether there is one quale here or two qualia.”
Lawrence Crocker
See Tractatus (Wittgenstein) 5.5423
Two different facts are experienced differently. Therefore there are 2 different quales. As I said previously, the Necker cube is an argument for qualia.
….
“"Qualia" is an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us: the ways things seem to us. As is so often the case with philosophical jargon, it is easier to give examples than to give a definition of the term. Look at a glass of milk at sunset; the way it looks to you--the particular, personal, subjective visual quality of the glass of milk is the quale of your visual experience at the moment. The way the milk tastes to you then is another, gustatory quale, and how it sounds to you as you swallow is an auditory quale; These various "properties of conscious experience" are prime examples of qualia….At first blush it would be hard to imagine a more quixotic quest than trying to convince people that there are no such properties as qualia; hence the ironic title of this chapter. But I am not kidding.
FROM
http://cogprints.org/254/1/quinqual.htm

“… and the pleasure, of saying things that shock’
Lawrence Crocker
Are you saying that Dennett didn’t really mean what he said? If he meant what he said, how does his definition of “qualia’ differ from the definition of “experience”?
Xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
“Again , you seem to equate knowledge with experience.”
Wyman
I am saying that knowledge is an experience http://web.calstatela.edu/faculty/dpitt/whatsit.pdf .
Similarly, I might say that all dogs are mammals. That does not imply that all mammals are dogs.
….

"As for the Mozart CD , when a master musician reads a written score, cant he or she be said to know what the symphony sounds like as well as if he heard it?”
Wyman
Similarly, if one put the CD in a CD player one would hear Mozart’s music. However, the knowledge would be different.
Dennett makes a category error. (He likes doing that!) He combines the signifier with the signified. http://changingminds.org/explanations/c ... nified.htm The pattern of neurons are the signifier ( There is nothing abstract about neurons firing) and the concept “blue” is the signified. Of course Dennett can claim that there are no such things as concepts and that signifiers are signifieds. But then his whole position is absurd because it relies on concepts.
I understand Dennett’s objection to the Mary’s room argument. I have explained above why his objection is absurd. However, lets for the moment pretend that his argument is valid. Ironically, unless he wants to say that I cannot identify blue without a MRI he must admit that quales are real!
I think that it is fairly obvious that knowing which neurons are firing when I love my wife is different than knowing that I love my wife. My neurons firing are the signifiers and my love is the signified. *
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qM-gZintWDc
Dennett is like the Mat Damon character above. He understands the signifiers but not the meaning (signified).

* I am using the term signifier because the neurons facilitate meaning.

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