John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Tue, 1 Jul 1997 20:15:28 -0700 (PDT)


On Mon, 30 Jun 1997 Brent Allsop <allsop@swttools.fc.hp.com> Wrote:

>Most "representations" are abstract.

All representations are abstract.

>though a representation can "abstractly" model or represent other
>physical phenomenon

All models are abstract.

>if the two are not the same fundamental physical phenomenon that is
>all they are is abstract representations of each other.

Then you have not seen any of my posts, only "abstract" representations
(a redundant phrase) of them. Perhaps that's why I haven't convinced you,
my "original" post was much better on my computer.

>the sensations representing color text on a cathode ray tube are
>drastically different than the sensations of hearing a voice
>synthesizer read it.

What about the difference between reading text on my cathode ray tube and
reading it on yours, would that make it different text and a different post?

>They are not fundamentally precisely the same.

My post does not need to be precisely the same for it to be my post. My
uploaded brain would not need to be precisely the same for it to be me, some
aspects of my brain are not important, like its color or taste or the sound
it would make when dropped from a 5 story building.

>An abstract machine's "favorite" color would simply be an arbitrary
>abstract representation or a setting of a bit,

I see no evidence that the way you determine your favorite color is any

>not having anything to do with the fundamental value of any actual
>feeling or the actual nature of the way the bit is represented.

If the value of a bit was determined by the way it was represented then the
concept of "bit" would be completely useless. The computer revelation started
when people discovered this is not true and information exists independent of
the thing that represents it.

>When we try to figure out our favorite color we don't consult the
>setting of some abstract bit like an abstract machine must, we try
>to emotionally feel the various color sensations and see which is of
>most value to us.

When we look at a color we feel a lot of pleasure or a little pleasure or
no pleasure at all. I don't know how many levels the human mind needs but
I'll bet a 32 bit number could cover it.

>I would much rather only be able to feel a single red sensation (and
>no other color sensation) than to have all my representations be
>completely abstract and valueless.

If I have always seen the world in black and red that would be no different
from seeing the world in black and white, and if I only saw the world in red
and red I would be as blind as if I saw it in black and black. Also, I don't
see how any sensation can be anything but " completely abstract" and I'm
totally confused why you equate abstract with valueless.

>Have you never heard of the blind person that could only remember a
>patch of blue and how they cherished that memory even though they
>could no longer really experience or remember any other seeing

They could remember blue but not black or white or light or dark or any other
color? No, I've never heard of that.

>Some day we may discover other as yet unexperienced quale [...] We
>do not require such additional contrasting qualia to know what red
>is like.

If I discovered a new color then my understanding of red would change too,
into something much richer.

>Are you claiming that your subjective experience would be identical
>since your behavior could be identical whether you wear color
>inverting glasses or not?

Yes, if I wore the glasses from birth. I can't prove it but I'm convinced
that's true.

>If such an absurd notion is what you are claiming this is where the
>burden of proof should lie I would think.

All you have done is assume that the subjective experience is different and
then claim you have proven it. I'm saying we can never prove or disprove
anything about subjectivity unless we accept the axiom that behavior is
linked to experience.

>You should try putting on some colored glasses some day and see how
>different things feel

Why, what would that prove? My behavior would be different as well as my
experience, at least for a while. I do remember reading about an experiment
where people wore glasses that reversed up and down, after a few days they
said they hardly noticed the glasses and their behavior was not unusual.
When the experiment was over and they took the glasses off things looked odd,
it took several more days to get back to normal. By the way, the image the
human eye produces on the retina is upside down, our brain just compensates
for it.

>As I said before, an identical duplicate of a physical phenomenon is
>more than just "knowledge of" or a "model of" a physical behavior,
>it is the same physical phenomenon.

Then I don't have knowledge of anything. I thought I "knew" that the earth
went around the sun and the moon went around the earth but I am not the earth,
I am not the sun and I am not the moon.

>This kind of real, non abstract, knowledge is the best kind of
>knowledge and the only real or non abstract knowledge.

Do you just mean subjective experience? If not can you give me a specific
example of "non abstract knowledge"?

>Why would you ever lack the faith that we can figure it out? What
>evidence is there that says it is any more difficult than any other
>physical phenomenon we now finally understand?

Because the only tool we have to investigate consciousness, or even determine
that any exists other than our own, is behavior, if you reject that you have
nothing left.

>>OK, it's the year 2525 and you have just thought up a bright shiny
>>new theory explaining exactly what subjective experience is all
>>about. How do I know if it's even approximately correct?

>Just like any other law of physics: it accurately predicts what is
>occuring and enables us to control it.

If it accurately predicts behavior that would be good enough for me, but not
you, you want more proof but you will never get it. How will you ever know if
your theory accurately predicts subjective experience when you have no way of
independently knowing what that subjective experience is?

>If we objectively and reliably know that a particular neural
>corelate (as Crick likes to call it) corresponds to a salty

How on Earth could we ever know that? It might correlate to 2 people making
a noise with their mouth that sounds like "that tastes salty" and I think
it's reasonable to assume that they also subjectively experience a salty
sensation, but I thought you didn't accept that. You're assuming the very
thing you're trying to prove.

>then we will know if two people use the same sensation to represent
>the taste of salt by whether or not there is the identical neural

If true then you can be certain it is NOT the same sensation because it can
not possibly be the identical neural correlate, they are different brains,
and in your same post you said " Only identical physical phenomenon can
perfectly model every single quality and attribute of another."

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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