Ken Re: >H Dictionary--Advice of Doubtful Merit

Robert Owen (
Sat, 27 Nov 1999 01:20:50 -0500

Ken Clements wrote:

> Just say "no" to qualia.

And say "yes" to what? Surely you don't mean to suggest that "subjective experience" is a quantitative state. Do you experience your color "red" as an extensive magnitude? How "large" would you say "red" is? Compared to the size of, say, "yellow"? Or as an intensive magnitude? Which is heavier: blue or green?

While you're at it, work out your definition of the sensation red (i.e. the COLOR red -- not the wavelength of the light associated with it--we already know that). We will need this definition to program our AI mechanism so it will know when it is experiencing "red". Otherwise it will fail to stop for the light! [No spectrometric devices permitted here -- we are concerned with the process of color-perception, not color discrimination or the frequency analysis of radiation. Spectrometers don't know about "red" because they don't know about anything)].

To say a spectrometer sees red is exactly the same as asserting that a submarine swims.

In case you missed it Ken, I defined "qualia" for Robert in an earlier post:[1] "> What in the blazes is a "qualia"?"


The intrinsic phenomenal features of subjective consciousness, or sense data. Thus, qualia include what it is like to see green grass, to taste salt, to hear birds sing, to have a headache, to feel pain, etc. Providing an adequate account of qualia is sometimes held to be a difficult problem for functionalist explanations of mental states.

Also see , Daniel Dennett, David J. Chalmers, and Eric Lormand.

I believe it is in order to assert with some emphasis that those who cannot distinguish the experiential reality denoted by the metaphor "Mind" from a manufactured assemblage of material components designed to perform predetermined operations called a "Machine" should confine themselves to discussing mechanics. I don't mean to be rude -- but 18thcentury science should be discussed using 18th-century concepts - don't you agree?

[1]    Re: Transhumanist Dictionary [was Re: Is vs. Ought]
     Date: Fri, 26 Nov 1999 18:17:11 -0500
     From: Robert Owen <>

Robert M. Owen
The Orion Institute
57 W. Morgan Street
Brevard, NC 28712-3659 USA