Re: Searle

Brent Allsop (
Tue, 10 Feb 1998 17:20:32 -0700

John K Clark <> continued:

> And objectively observe that observation of that particular
> phenomenon going on in your brain really is objective, and
> objectively observe that the observation of the observation of that
> particular phenomenon going on in your brain really is objective,
> and objectively observe that ...

> We'll never get anywhere with that approach, we need to use a
> different tactic and we have one, behavior.

No. Something physically real and objectively (or abstractly)
observable is going on in our brain that is producing conscious
sensations or qualia. We simply must figure out how and why this is.
Once we do this we will have, or be able to produce, a one to one
mapping between particular objective physical phenomenon observed by
scientific instruments in our brain and the real qualia sensations we
introspectively feel. With such we will be able to perfectly predict
what a person is seeing and/or eventually produce sensations in the
mind and know what the experiencer will sense.

Someone will say, I'm going to manipulate/stimulate a part of
your brain in such a way that it will produce precisely the sensation
I experience or use to represent salt in your mind. The experiencer
might respond with, that's not what salt tastes like to me. You would
be able to verify that this person isn't lying, and that he uses a
different sensation to represent salt because you will be able to
objectively observe the physical phenomenon that is producing his
sensation and see that it is different. You could then reverse the
process so you would both be able to understand both sensations both
objectively and subjectively or introspectively. You would then know
what both salt sensations were like and how they were different just
as you now know that salty is very different than, say, a warm or
painful... sensation.

We will be able to eff the currently ineffable and this will
finally get us around all such problems.

> As you say this can have practical considerations, but I can find
> absolutely no evidence that the way information is represented has
> any philosophical ramifications at all.

Are you saying that abstractly representing 700 nm light with
an array of transistors in a particular state could reproduce the same
phenomenally glorious "red" qualia your consciousness use to represent
700 nm light? The proof is in the introspection. You know what red
is like and how it is different than other qualia. You can't ignore
the importance and realness of these representations and what they are

> I don't understand your objection, all information is abstract.

In order to represent any abstract information, there must be
some physically real phenomenon that can reliably assume various
different distinguishable states. Light can exist in various
distinguishable wavelengths. Thereby it can abstractly represent
information. 700 nm light can represent a red quale. Our mind can
produce various different color qualia. In the same way it can
thereby abstractly represent information. Even though red can
represent 700 nm light and visa versa, the two are not anything "like"
each other. The fundamental nature of any particular physical
phenomenon and all it's attributes are what they are "like". Though
certain physical phenomenon can model different physical phenomenon,
they will never be precisely, fundamentally, like each other. The
actual true fundamental base nature of whatever is doing the physical
representation is important and can never be completely duplicated,
other than abstractly, by some other physical phenomenon.

> I agree, some things can not be reduced further, and I can give
> another example. Intelligence produces consciousness, no explanation
> why is required or possible.

You are as smart as I am. But if you use a drastically
different sensation to represent a salty taste than I do, this
matters. A purely abstract machine can achieve the same ability to be
aware of salt. But again, the fact that there is no real subjective
salty that is representing salt still matters.

> I'll never be able to prove it, but I think the best way to make
> progress in this area is to just forget about consciousness and
> concentrate on intelligence, because you'll get consciousness anyway
> and free of charge.

I believe this is exactly why we have not yet made progress.
People think that red is something out beyond our eyes, some quality
of light or something. Therefore, they don't realize how real it is,
how important it is, and how our conscious/intelligent worlds are
built out of this real subjective physical phenomenon. Forget all the
intelligence for the moment! A stupid human with no other intelligent
ability other than the ability to tell what color something is is what
is really important. If we could figure out what this stupid person
is using to represent this red knowledge and what it is like for him
to have this knowledge, why and how all this works, how this stupid
person is different than an abstract color detecting machine..., we
could then, finally, figure out all the rest of the intelligence.

Brent Allsop