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Qualia as bare difference

Discuss any topics related to metaphysics (the philosophical study of the principles of reality) or epistemology (the philosophical study of knowledge) in this forum.
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Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 8th, 2019, 5:22 am

Consul wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 6:06 pm
Tamminen wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 9:30 am
As I said, structures of qualia are independent of language, but the qualia themselves get their "objective quality" or "essence" in language. There are no private qualities "in themselves", or private "essences". No private "redness" for instance.
I disagree. Qualia are private in the sense that they are unsharable (as particulars/individuals), unobservable by others, and not (directly) accessible to others. They are also unknowable by others in the sense of knowledge by acquaintance, but they are not unknowable by others in the sense of knowledge by description, because others can indirectly come to know that I am experiencing a certain (kind of) quale, e.g. by observing certain patterns of neural activity in my brain.

Knowledge by Acquaintance vs. Description: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/know ... indescrip/

There is a distinction between phenomenal qualities (qualia) and phenomenal concepts thereof. The former are ways of experiencing (sensing, feeling) and the latter are ways of thinking of ways of experiencing. (Phenomenal predicates are ways of speaking about ways of experiencing.)
Correlations between neural activity and qualia can only be verified by means of language. We find correlations between brain processes and phenomenal qualities as we denote them in our language. As I said in my reply to Gertie, there is a subtle difference here. Qualities themselves, as components of a self-contained relational structure, have no fixed "properties", internal or external. They become fixed in language, where we can denote them and say that objects are "such and such".

Gertie
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Gertie » January 8th, 2019, 6:23 am

I'm still not understanding how the difference between public/shared/third-person pov and private/subjective/first-person pov doesn't fully account for what you're saying.
Tamminen wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 4:56 am
Gertie wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 10:06 pm
If you accept what I'm saying, then to say experiential states don't have any properties without language is misleading. In our Shared Model it's a problem knowing if your Private experiences match mine, but that doesn't mean each of our experiences don't have intrinsic properties.
There is a subtle difference between my view and yours (and perhaps Consul's): you say experiential states have private properties, I say there cannot be such things. There is only a private structure of phenomenal relations, not comparable with others' private structures.

I'm not sure what you mean by the 'private structure of phenomenal relations'? And how can their be a structure of relations, if there aren't actual things (experiential states) to relate?
What do you mean by "properties"? In philosophy, as in ordinary language, we must have some use for the concept 'property' in our "language game". What would it be in this case? Denoting an intrinsic quality somehow? How?
And sorry I'm not familiar with much Wittgenstein, such as his 'language games', so you'll need to spell out what you mean.

But I do know for certain that experiential states have properties. They are phenomenal 'what it's like' type properties, which I'm sure you're aware of.

There are loads, some are sensory, some involve remembering or imagining, emotions, sensations like hunger, pain or lust, cognitive thinking (that talky voice in your head which uses language), etc. I can describe them because there's something to describe. I can differentiate between hunger and red, because they have different properties, and so I describe them differently. The language is referring to the properties of the actual experience.

When I have the experience of seeing a red apple, there is a particular 'what it's like' 'flavour' to that experience. We talk about it in terms of 'seeing' to represent one aspect of that experiential event, also the colour 'red', and 'apple'. Those are our shared ways of denoting some of the properties of that experiential event.

When I have the experience of feeling a pain in my toe, that's an experience of unpleasant sensation in a particular part of my body I can point to. You can agree you see the physical toe, we can agree on the properties of my toe, but you can't feel the sensation-experience I'm having, so you can't know for sure what the properties of the sensation I'm describing are.

Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 8th, 2019, 9:06 am

Gertie wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 6:23 am
I'm not sure what you mean by the 'private structure of phenomenal relations'? And how can their be a structure of relations, if there aren't actual things (experiential states) to relate?
Good question. If there is a relation aRb and a relation xRy, constituting the consciousnesses of Gertie and Greta, respectively, Gertie and Greta can establish mutual understanding and language based on relation R. But a, b, x and y taken apart from R have no intrinsic properties. They are just "places" in the structure that R defines. Seeing a red apple may fill the "place" a if Gertie sees it, and the "place" x if Greta sees it. Reminds us of Kant. The most important consequence of this is that qualia cannot in principle be described by means of physical concepts, and I guess this is why Consul opposes this interpretation. Am I right?

So the correlation between mind and body is not a correlation between a physical structure and an experiential state but a correlation between a physical structure and a phenomenal structure. There is a difference between these two ways of seeing the situation.

Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 8th, 2019, 1:01 pm

@Consul
What do you think "private redness" means? If I see a red apple, this is an example of knowledge by acquaintance: I know there is a red apple in front of me. But how can I get acquainted with the "redness" I experience as I see a red apple? I see the apple as red, that is all. And it is red, because we have established the concept 'red' in our language to represent the way I see red objects, which is the same way in which also others see red objects. And 'red object' of course denotes something real in the real world. But there is no subjective "redness". How could we denote something like that? We cannot compare two persons' ways of seeing a red apple by saying that there is "redness" in their minds. There is no such thing in their minds. There is a "color space", and that "space" gets filled with the appropriate "color" when we see colored objects. A quale is a variable.

Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 8th, 2019, 1:45 pm

Gertie wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 6:23 am
And sorry I'm not familiar with much Wittgenstein, such as his 'language games', so you'll need to spell out what you mean.
I just referred to this:
viewtopic.php?p=326715#p326715

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Consul
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Consul » January 8th, 2019, 4:31 pm

Tamminen wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 5:22 am
Consul wrote:
January 7th, 2019, 6:06 pm
There is a distinction between phenomenal qualities (qualia) and phenomenal concepts thereof. The former are ways of experiencing (sensing, feeling) and the latter are ways of thinking of ways of experiencing. (Phenomenal predicates are ways of speaking about ways of experiencing.)
Correlations between neural activity and qualia can only be verified by means of language. We find correlations between brain processes and phenomenal qualities as we denote them in our language. As I said in my reply to Gertie, there is a subtle difference here. Qualities themselves, as components of a self-contained relational structure, have no fixed "properties", internal or external. They become fixed in language, where we can denote them and say that objects are "such and such".
We certainly cannot think and talk about qualia or any kind of attributes/properties/qualities/features/characteristics without concept or predicates representing them. It is true that many so-called properties are nothing but semantic "shadows" of concepts and predicates, but—endorsing the so-called "sparse" conception of properties—I'm not referring to those language-dependent pseudoproperties, but to real, natural ones that are independent of mental or linguistic representations of them.

Experiential qualia are such real, natural qualities. You needn't have a concept of or a predicate for them in order to have them; and their qualitative nature is determined intrinsically, in and through themselves.
"We may philosophize well or ill, but we must philosophize." – Wilfrid Sellars

Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 8th, 2019, 5:04 pm

Consul wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 4:31 pm
Experiential qualia are such real, natural qualities. You needn't have a concept of or a predicate for them in order to have them; and their qualitative nature is determined intrinsically, in and through themselves.
For a long time I thought in the same way as you and Gertie, that there is a simple correlation between the physical body and consciousness that consists of qualia, and that qualia are intrinsic qualities. Now I think they are only relational qualities, as I tried to show. I am not sure if you really got the point I was making.

Belindi
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Belindi » January 8th, 2019, 5:27 pm

Consul quoted from Christopher Hill:
First premise: Introspection provides no basis for applying neural concepts to qualitative states. On the contrary, when we are introspectively aware of qualitative states, it seems to us that the objects of awareness have properties, such as the property of being resolvable into minimally discriminable components that are absolutely simple, that preclude the application of neural concepts.

Second premise: Because there is no appearance/reality distinction for qualitative states, introspection provides us with full cognitive access to the essential natures of such states.
Criticism of first premise. Whatever the object of one's awareness or of its discriminable properties one can be persuaded that what one has perceived is not the case. It follows that in the absence of any neural evidence or theoretical concepts the only reality that can be called 'reality' is social reality. Then powerful persuaders could control others by way of changing social reality to suit themselves. It follows that the wholest truth that we can have access to is the truth wherein the physical and the mental aspects harmonise.

Criticism of second premise. But there is an appearance/reality distinction for qualitative, introspective states. The essential natures of such states are as amenable to empirical evidence as are neuronal states. One can cause a pain to happen or to cease by a change of position or by placing or removing the irritant , or whatever. True, some qualia are not amenable to voluntary control , outstanding examples being nightmares, intractable pain,and hallucinations. However so many qualia can be voluntarily controlled that appearance and reality are usually distinguishable by common consensus . In cases of mass delusion the result is that a lot of people die of mass delusion. The essential nature of introspective qualitative states is therefore that neuronal reality and introspective reality are aspects of one and the same whole reality.

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 8th, 2019, 8:41 pm

Gertie wrote:
January 6th, 2019, 5:41 am

Our physical model which can in principle explain both the rock and acorn, doesn't address consciousness, or the relationship between the physical and mental.
These physical models can explain an acorn, but if you don’t include purpose, nowhere in that explanation will you find “tree” or “oak”. Physical explanations of your brain will not explain consciousness in the exact same sense. “Consciousness” is a word for a pattern (of processes) just like “tree” is a word for a pattern (of molecular arrangements).

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 8th, 2019, 9:50 pm

Gertie wrote:
January 8th, 2019, 6:23 am
I'm not sure what you mean by the 'private structure of phenomenal relations'? And how can their be a structure of relations, if there aren't actual things (experiential states) to relate?
[reads thread]
[reads OP]
[points at OP]
Tamminen has this point exactly right. The structure of relations is that physically, everything that causes an experience is exactly the same. The only difference between seeing red and seeing green is that “this wire” is for the red one and “that wire” is for the green one. But the mechanism does not “see” the wires, it only responds to them.
But I do know for certain that experiential states have properties.
But you cannot describe the property other than saying it’s different from other experiential states. Maybe because that is the only property it has. [In point of fact, there may be some other actual properties you can distinguish, such as the property of being associated with vision as opposed to touch. But for now let’s stick with red and green.]
They are phenomenal 'what it's like' type properties, which I'm sure you're aware of.

There are loads, some are sensory, some involve remembering or imagining, emotions, sensations like hunger, pain or lust, cognitive thinking (that talky voice in your head which uses language), etc.
[or let’s not stick with red and green] All just different wires.
I can describe them because there's something to describe. I can differentiate between hunger and red, because they have different properties, and so I describe them differently.
You can describe them because you can attach words to wires. You can tell which wires come from your eye (colors, shapes, objects) and which come from inside your body (hunger, pain, boredom). They each have the unique property of not being the other wires.
The language is referring to the properties of the actual experience.
Actually, the language seems to be referring to the probable cause of the actual experience.
When I have the experience of seeing a red apple, there is a particular 'what it's like' 'flavour' to that experience.
Every experience has a unique “flavour”, because every experience has a unique wire..
When I have the experience of feeling a pain in my toe [...] you can't feel the sensation-experience I'm having, so you can't know for sure what the properties of the sensation I'm describing are.
I can’t feel the experience because I’m not the one responding to the experience. But if I know where all the wires lead, I can watch the experience happening to you, and know as much or more about it (unless you also are watching it at the same time you are responding to it).

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Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 9th, 2019, 5:36 am

Consul and Gertie:

We live in the same world, so our structures of consciousness are similar, and correspondingly we behave in similar ways. This is the basis of our understanding each other and establishing a language that connects us as a communication community.

As we meet the world, our experiences are very concrete and real, like feeling pain or seeing red. There is no disagreement on this. And we reach full agreement if you answer "no" to the question: "Can we meaningfully ask if my pain and your pain are similar, or if my red and your red are similar?" Structures are pre-linguistic, but sameness or similarity of qualia are defined in language. There is no pre-linguistic "essence" of qualia that we can denote independent of whose qualia they are. Can we agree on this?

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Greta
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Greta » January 9th, 2019, 5:07 pm

Tamminen wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 5:36 am
There is no pre-linguistic "essence" of qualia that we can denote independent of whose qualia they are. Can we agree on this?
No. Your approach in focusing on human examples seems to either ignore or deny the qualia of simpler organisms, as if qualia is just a matter of intelligent processing rather than just being an attribute of being a living being (Consul would qualify that as a living being with a nervous system and brain).

Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 9th, 2019, 5:33 pm

Greta wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 5:07 pm
Tamminen wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 5:36 am
There is no pre-linguistic "essence" of qualia that we can denote independent of whose qualia they are. Can we agree on this?
No. Your approach in focusing on human examples seems to either ignore or deny the qualia of simpler organisms, as if qualia is just a matter of intelligent processing rather than just being an attribute of being a living being (Consul would qualify that as a living being with a nervous system and brain).
What I wrote applies even more obviously to simple organisms. What is the "essence" of what a spider sees when it sees a red apple? Is its "red" the same "red" as what another spider sees (or whatever qualities they see)? Also saying that qualia are attributes of organisms is problematic.

So you slightly missed the point.

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Greta
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Greta » January 10th, 2019, 1:58 am

Tamminen wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 5:33 pm
Greta wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 5:07 pm
No. Your approach in focusing on human examples seems to either ignore or deny the qualia of simpler organisms, as if qualia is just a matter of intelligent processing rather than just being an attribute of being a living being (Consul would qualify that as a living being with a nervous system and brain).
What I wrote applies even more obviously to simple organisms. What is the "essence" of what a spider sees when it sees a red apple? Is its "red" the same "red" as what another spider sees (or whatever qualities they see)? Also saying that qualia are attributes of organisms is problematic.

So you slightly missed the point.
Maybe I have missed the point, which seems rather Dennettesque.

Most qualities attributed to humans are actually those handed down by non-human ancestors, but we do like to think we are special.

Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 10th, 2019, 4:23 am

Greta wrote:
January 10th, 2019, 1:58 am
Tamminen wrote:
January 9th, 2019, 5:33 pm
What I wrote applies even more obviously to simple organisms. What is the "essence" of what a spider sees when it sees a red apple? Is its "red" the same "red" as what another spider sees (or whatever qualities they see)? Also saying that qualia are attributes of organisms is problematic.

So you slightly missed the point.
Maybe I have missed the point, which seems rather Dennettesque.

Most qualities attributed to humans are actually those handed down by non-human ancestors, but we do like to think we are special.
To avoid misunderstanding: I am sure spiders see colors if they have appropriate cells to receive various wavelengths of light, and if they have a central nervous system. And these colors are what we call qualia.

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