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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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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 5th, 2019, 1:41 am

Gertie wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 11:47 am
Are you claiming experiential states have a distinct pattern which isn't present in non-experiential processes? What pattern is that?

Well, sorta, but it’s not the pattern you’re thinking of. The pattern which defines experiential states includes the causal history of the mechanism that is doing the processing and the causal history of the input to the mechanism. If you just looked at the physical attributes of the mechanism and its states you would not have enough information to say if it was an experience or not.
But you can only predict an experience based on observation of physical correlation. It's the physical processes we can predict, and then attach the correlated experiential outcome to.
Yes, but it may not be enough to observe that input x produces output y. You need to know why the Mechanism was set up to produce that output in response to that input. And you need to know that, because that is how the subject will reference that experience. When asked, the subject won’t refer to x or y. The subject will refer to “tiger” or “hide”.
This is because, as I said, we have a physical model of how the world works. Stuff and forces. A model which encompasses reduction in one direction, and how physical processes can result in 'emergent' new properties. But there is no place in that model for experience, it doesn't address experience at all.
Sure it does, if it explains how an experience is a physical process that happens to a subject and that subject includes a mechanism to reference that process.
There is no list of its [the experience’s] component parts, no laws of experience.
How about ... an experience is a process wherein
Part 1: a Mechanism, which has been organized to respond to x by outputting y, actually responds to
Part 2: input x by generating
Part 3. output y
and wherein input x constitutes a symbolic sign and
output y constitutes a valuable response with respect to the meaning associated with the symbolic sign.
So it's a leap to extrapolate that experience is reducible or emergent.
Consider me leapt.
We can say this is how the physical universe works , and experience correlates with certain physical processes, but we're missing the link, perhaps some bridging law, or more fundamental model which includes both the physical and experiential.
I believe the link/bridging law you’re looking for involves the relation between the purpose built into the mechanism and the meaning of the symbolic sign.

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Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 5th, 2019, 5:54 am

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 12:19 am
I lose you here. It is information in the world which the subject meets, and information which is generated from the subject’s meeting the world is generated in the world.
I disagree. There is no information in the world. In the world there are only events, physical processes, something happening. Information is how we describe those events, in everyday life or in science, or how we meet the world in general. Qualia can be interpreted as the basic units of information: 'redness', 'a binary digit', 'an electron', 'fear' and so on, ie. the "concepts" we have at our disposal at the time. They get their content from the world, but they are interpretations of the world, and there is no straight conceptual bridge between them and the world. I think this is the essential difference between matrialism and the kind of ontological idealism I represent.

As to 'structure of qualia', see my example a few posts ago.

Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 5th, 2019, 12:14 pm

@JamesOfSeattle
JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 12:19 am
I’m not completely okay with this. I don’t see how Consciousness is a system, unless you mean Consciousness is a set of (information processing) capabilities, and each of these capabilities requires “meeting the world”.
I lose you here. It is information in the world which the subject meets, and information which is generated from the subject’s meeting the world is generated in the world.
Lost me here. It sounds nice, but I don’t know what a “structure of qualia” means. Also not sure of you understanding of “information”.
I think if you read these you can get a picture of what I was thinking, especially concerning 'structures of qualia'.

viewtopic.php?p=326535#p326535
viewtopic.php?p=326681#p326681
viewtopic.php?p=326715#p326715
viewtopic.php?p=326766#p326766

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 5th, 2019, 4:20 pm

Tam, I think I understand.

What you call information is what I call Abstraction or pattern. For me, Information is a pattern discernible in physical stuff, so, the world. But I’ll try to keep your definition in mind when I read your stuff, and you should keep my definition in mind when you read my stuff. If I say something about information, I’m using my definition, and it’s not fair to say I’m wrong just because I would be wrong if I said the same thing using your definition.

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Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 5th, 2019, 4:44 pm

In short, a particular individual's consciousness consists of qualia and their mutual relationships: colors in relation to other colors in the “color space” of the particular individual and so on. The totality of these relationships is the consciousness of that individual. Each individual's consciousness has a specific structure of qualia, and none of those qualia can be compared with other individuals' qualia even if their structures were the same, ie. exactly isomorphic. But this identical structure makes understanding and language possible, and with language the qualia become concepts with common denotations and meanings.

The structure of qualia, with or without language, makes it possible for an individual to get information from the world. Information is information about something, and above all it is information about the world. The world is something we can describe with concepts, and concepts are information, but the world itself does not consist of information. This is the ontological gap between consciousness and the world.

Consciousness, seen in this way, is the subject's relationship with the world, the way it meets the world. The structure of its qualia gets filled with information from the world it meets. And of course the structure changes all the time in the course of life, especially in the course of our common doings and discourse in our common world. And the very existence of consciousness has its physical basis of course, which means that there are correlations between mind and body.

So what are qualia? They are constituents of consciousness in the same way as elementary particles are constituents of matter. Particles are defined in the language of physics, qualia are defined in our common everyday language. But qualia cannot be explained by the concepts of physics or physiology, neither their existence nor their “qualities” or “properties”. They are something fundamental, constituting a self-contained but constantly changing information structure.

Gertie
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Gertie » January 5th, 2019, 4:49 pm

Felix wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 7:35 pm
Gertie, "Evidence suggests that specific mental experience correlates to specific physical brain states"
To give a more intelligible reply, I'll need you to know exactly what you mean by "specific brain state" since in empirical terms, the phrase is incoherent.

For example we, we can measure brain waves, no experiental correlation seen there. We can map the functional centers of the brain, no correlation there - etc.
wiki neural correlates of consciousness. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neural_co ... sciousness

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 5th, 2019, 5:04 pm

[Donning “Tamminen glasses”]
Tamminen wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 4:44 pm
In short, a particular individual's consciousness consists of qualia and their mutual relationships: colors in relation to other colors in the “color space” of the particular individual and so on. The totality of these relationships is the consciousness of that individual. Each individual's consciousness has a specific structure of qualia, and none of those qualia can be compared with other individuals' qualia even if their structures were the same, ie. exactly isomorphic. But this identical structure makes understanding and language possible, and with language the qualia become concepts with common denotations and meanings.
Yup
The structure of qualia, with or without language, makes it possible for an individual to get information from the world. Information is information about something, and above all it is information about the world. The world is something we can describe with concepts, and concepts are information, but the world itself does not consist of information. This is the ontological gap between consciousness and the world.
Yup
Consciousness, seen in this way, is the subject's relationship with the world, the way it meets the world. The structure of its qualia gets filled with information from the world it meets. And of course the structure changes all the time in the course of life, especially in the course of our common doings and discourse in our common world. And the very existence of consciousness has its physical basis of course, which means that there are correlations between mind and body.
Yup
So what are qualia? They are constituents of consciousness in the same way as elementary particles are constituents of matter. Particles are defined in the language of physics, qualia are defined in our common everyday language.
[squinting hard] Ummm .... qualia are defined in our common everyday language? Not so sure.
But qualia cannot be explained by the concepts of physics or physiology, neither their existence nor their “qualities” or “properties”.
And ... we trip at the finish line. There’s no reason qualia or other abstractions cannot be explained by the concepts of physics or physiology along with some other concepts, namely, semiotics.
They are something fundamental, constituting a self-contained but constantly changing information structure.
... which can be explained using the concepts of physics and physiology plus semiotics.

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Gertie
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Gertie » January 5th, 2019, 5:11 pm

Tamminen wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 5:28 pm
Gertie wrote:
January 4th, 2019, 3:04 pm
An identical physical copy would presumably have her own identical experiential states.
So you do not believe in this:

"The identity of indiscernibles is an ontological principle that states that there cannot be separate objects or entities that have all their properties in common."
In the real/ontological world, but this is a thought experiment.

Re 'the identity of indiscernibles' - from my quick reading up there would inevitably be 'relational' differences between any two Subjects or objects, it's kinda tortological eg Original Tam is located north of Replica Tam is a 'relational' property.

But that's a different issue to the intrinsic physical properties of both being identical, as in my thought experiment. And my claim is that if neural correlation holds, then their intrinsic physical identicality would result in identical mental experience.

Tamminen
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Tamminen » January 5th, 2019, 5:22 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 4:20 pm
Tam, I think I understand.

What you call information is what I call Abstraction or pattern. For me, Information is a pattern discernible in physical stuff, so, the world. But I’ll try to keep your definition in mind when I read your stuff, and you should keep my definition in mind when you read my stuff. If I say something about information, I’m using my definition, and it’s not fair to say I’m wrong just because I would be wrong if I said the same thing using your definition.

*
Okay, I think I understand. I just would not call that 'information'. You are free to criticise my view as much as I have criticised yours.

I think physical processes are just that, not information. Patterns are detected, though. That is what physics is. I am an epistemic realist and something like ontological idealist. Perhaps our different views are based on the fact that you are a materialist and I am not.

Gertie
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Gertie » January 5th, 2019, 6:05 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 1:41 am
Gertie wrote:
January 2nd, 2019, 11:47 am
Are you claiming experiential states have a distinct pattern which isn't present in non-experiential processes? What pattern is that?

Well, sorta, but it’s not the pattern you’re thinking of. The pattern which defines experiential states includes the causal history of the mechanism that is doing the processing and the causal history of the input to the mechanism. If you just looked at the physical attributes of the mechanism and its states you would not have enough information to say if it was an experience or not.
But you can only predict an experience based on observation of physical correlation. It's the physical processes we can predict, and then attach the correlated experiential outcome to.
Yes, but it may not be enough to observe that input x produces output y. You need to know why the Mechanism was set up to produce that output in response to that input. And you need to know that, because that is how the subject will reference that experience. When asked, the subject won’t refer to x or y. The subject will refer to “tiger” or “hide”.
This is because, as I said, we have a physical model of how the world works. Stuff and forces. A model which encompasses reduction in one direction, and how physical processes can result in 'emergent' new properties. But there is no place in that model for experience, it doesn't address experience at all.
Sure it does, if it explains how an experience is a physical process that happens to a subject and that subject includes a mechanism to reference that process.
There is no list of its [the experience’s] component parts, no laws of experience.
How about ... an experience is a process wherein
Part 1: a Mechanism, which has been organized to respond to x by outputting y, actually responds to
Part 2: input x by generating
Part 3. output y
and wherein input x constitutes a symbolic sign and
output y constitutes a valuable response with respect to the meaning associated with the symbolic sign.
So it's a leap to extrapolate that experience is reducible or emergent.
Consider me leapt.
We can say this is how the physical universe works , and experience correlates with certain physical processes, but we're missing the link, perhaps some bridging law, or more fundamental model which includes both the physical and experiential.
I believe the link/bridging law you’re looking for involves the relation between the purpose built into the mechanism and the meaning of the symbolic sign.

*


The two explanatory bits I can see relate to meaningful symbolic signs and purpose. Both of which I'd claim are qualities only found in conscious critters. So to say only physical processes which entail purpose and meaningful symbols result in experiential states is invoking features of consciousness to explain consciousness -
Yes, but it may not be enough to observe that input x produces output y. You need to know why the Mechanism was set up to produce that output in response to that input.


We know how evolution works via natural selection, it doesn't involve reasons. Evolution which created the 'human mechanism' doesn't have goals, didn't have a reason to create conscious critters, only conscious critters have desires and goals and reasons. If they are attributes of consciousness only, they can't be part of the explanation for them.
How about ... an experience is a process wherein
Part 1: a Mechanism, which has been organized to respond to x by outputting y, actually responds to
Part 2: input x by generating
Part 3. output y
and wherein input x constitutes a symbolic sign and
output y constitutes a valuable response with respect to the meaning associated with the symbolic sign
.
Value and meaning are properties only of conscious critters. So to me this is just saying... experience is a process wherein experience occurs



In your OP scenario, there was a conscious programmer required for the system to not just create an x (eg a series of electrical changes to a substrate creating an x on a screen) but crucially to make that x be symbolic, by attaching a different meaning to it - cat. Symbolism and meaning are attributes of consciousness only, they can't be part of the explanation for them.

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 5th, 2019, 6:44 pm

Gertie wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 6:05 pm
The two explanatory bits I can see relate to meaningful symbolic signs and purpose. Both of which I'd claim are qualities only found in conscious critters. So to say only physical processes which entail purpose and meaningful symbols result in experiential states is invoking features of consciousness to explain consciousness
But it’s not true that those qualities are found only in conscious critters. They can be found separately in things we do not consider conscious. Well, purpose (in the sense I am using) can. Purpose can be found in an eyeball, but we don’t consider the eyeball to be conscious.
We know how evolution works via natural selection, it doesn't involve reasons.
No, but it involves purposes. Some philosophers refer to purpose associated with natural selection as teleonomic purpose. Dawkins referred to it as archeo-purpose.
Evolution which created the 'human mechanism' doesn't have goals, didn't have a reason to create conscious critters, only conscious critters have desires and goals and reasons. If they are attributes of consciousness only, they can't be part of the explanation for them.
Natural selection is needed to explain teleonomic/archeo purpose.
Purpose (either teleonomic/archeo purpose or teleological/neo purpose) is needed to explain “meaning”.
“Meaning” is needed to explain symbolic signs.
Symbolic signs are needed to explain qualia.
In your OP scenario, there was a conscious programmer required for the system to not just create an x (eg a series of electrical changes to a substrate creating an x on a screen) but crucially to make that x be symbolic, by attaching a different meaning to it - cat. Symbolism and meaning are attributes of consciousness only, they can't be part of the explanation for them.
Yes, for the OP I used neo-purpose instead of archeo-purpose. Sorry. I was focusing on the semiotic part (symbolic sign) while glossing over the other parts.

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Gertie
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Gertie » January 5th, 2019, 7:16 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 6:44 pm
Gertie wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 6:05 pm
The two explanatory bits I can see relate to meaningful symbolic signs and purpose. Both of which I'd claim are qualities only found in conscious critters. So to say only physical processes which entail purpose and meaningful symbols result in experiential states is invoking features of consciousness to explain consciousness
But it’s not true that those qualities are found only in conscious critters. They can be found separately in things we do not consider conscious. Well, purpose (in the sense I am using) can. Purpose can be found in an eyeball, but we don’t consider the eyeball to be conscious.
We know how evolution works via natural selection, it doesn't involve reasons.
No, but it involves purposes. Some philosophers refer to purpose associated with natural selection as teleonomic purpose. Dawkins referred to it as archeo-purpose.
Evolution which created the 'human mechanism' doesn't have goals, didn't have a reason to create conscious critters, only conscious critters have desires and goals and reasons. If they are attributes of consciousness only, they can't be part of the explanation for them.
Natural selection is needed to explain teleonomic/archeo purpose.
Purpose (either teleonomic/archeo purpose or teleological/neo purpose) is needed to explain “meaning”.
“Meaning” is needed to explain symbolic signs.
Symbolic signs are needed to explain qualia.
In your OP scenario, there was a conscious programmer required for the system to not just create an x (eg a series of electrical changes to a substrate creating an x on a screen) but crucially to make that x be symbolic, by attaching a different meaning to it - cat. Symbolism and meaning are attributes of consciousness only, they can't be part of the explanation for them.
Yes, for the OP I used neo-purpose instead of archeo-purpose. Sorry. I was focusing on the semiotic part (symbolic sign) while glossing over the other parts.

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I don't believe it's legit to call non-conscious processes meaningful or purposeful or valuable - you have to invoke a conscious critter into the scenario to inject meaning, value or purpose or other attitudinal experiential states. Otherwise you're really talking about something else, or sliding between meanings, or anthropomorphising.

So in your example of an evolved eyeball, it only has purpose for the conscious critter who uses it to see (experience). If I die (stop experiencing), my eyeball has no purpose.

Do you have a link or something which might explain how I'm wrong?

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 5th, 2019, 8:18 pm

Gertie wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 7:16 pm
I don't believe it's legit to call non-conscious processes meaningful or purposeful or valuable - you have to invoke a conscious critter into the scenario to inject meaning, value or purpose or other attitudinal experiential states.
Let’s leave meaning aside for now and just talk about purpose. Would you say wings have a purpose?

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JamesOfSeattle
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by JamesOfSeattle » January 5th, 2019, 8:22 pm

Gertie wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 7:16 pm
. Do you have a link or something which might explain how I'm wrong?
To start I would look up (google) teleonomy and/or “Dawkins archeo purpose”

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Gertie
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Re: Qualia as bare difference

Post by Gertie » January 5th, 2019, 9:00 pm

JamesOfSeattle wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 8:18 pm
Gertie wrote:
January 5th, 2019, 7:16 pm
I don't believe it's legit to call non-conscious processes meaningful or purposeful or valuable - you have to invoke a conscious critter into the scenario to inject meaning, value or purpose or other attitudinal experiential states.
Let’s leave meaning aside for now and just talk about purpose. Would you say wings have a purpose?

*
Only for a conscious critter with goals and desires - in this case the goal/desire being to fly.

Maybe we need to define our terms here - purpose, meaning, value. For me they all have to contain what I'd call an 'attitudinal stance' (I think I just made that up), which is a subjective state of mind, so to speak.

If they don't contain that, then I can describe a wing in purely physical terms, and adding the term 'purpose' adds nothing extra.

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