Re: Uploading, that's needed !! -Reply -Reply -Reply

Brent Allsop (
Tue, 25 Nov 1997 10:53:02 -0700

Damien Broderick <> replied:

> What Brent is talking about is allegorised by David Chalmers in his
> Fading Qualia model (which, as I recall, that metaphysical dualist
> rather surprisingly declines to accept).

I like a lot of Chalmer's stuff but I don't like the usage of
"Fading" for something like this. This phenomenal stuff isn't
something that fades. When something is in you conscious visual
awareness it is definitely there, and when the neurons start failing
to fire, it clearly goes away, is switched off, and you then have a
blind spot in your awareness. You either see red or you don't.

> Brent's opinion is an act of faith (as, of course, is James's and
> mine to the contrary), and I guess we'll have to wait for some
> GregEganist experiment to learn which turns out to be the case. But
> I judge that James's position is more firmly consistent with
> everything else we already know about the material world.

I think it is much more than an "act of faith" if you just
think about it properly. Our brain has evolved in a way that makes us
think that color qualia are things that exist beyond our eyes, when in
reality they are in our brain simply representing what is beyond our
eyes. It is "common sense" to think that 700 nm radiation has a "red"
quality to it but this is completely wrong. All we know about 700 nm
radiation is it's causal properties and how we "abstractly" represent
such causal properties with phenomenal red.

> Surely Brent would allow a single atom to be replaced, or a single
> molecule (since, after all, this is always happening).

Only because actual atoms, though different, would probably
have the same phenomenal qualities resulting in identical conscious
sensations. It may be that other physical things like electromagnetic
radiation have phenomenal qualities that we simply haven't yet known
how to look for since all we're looking for is causal properties and
not actual fundamental qualities. Evolution has learned how to
harness such phenomenal qualities to represent information in our
consciousness producing our very powerful intelligence and awareness.
We must know this more than we know that there is a real physical
world beyond our eyes. We know absolutely that we are conscious, we
can only infer that there is a real world beyond the cause and effect
process that our eyes use to see. We know absolutely what red is
like, we can only abstractly infer what 700nm light's causal
properties are and only abstractly represent them with phenomenal red
in our brain. We don't really yet know what light is fundamentally

Many of you seem to be claiming that we know everything about
neurons and how they work, to the point that we can simulate
everything that goes on. But I completely disagree with this. Sure
we can track the red light, representing the strawberry, landing on
our retina, through the optic nerve, to specific locations in our
visual cortex. Sure we can see what causes our muscles to move our
hand towards that strawberry, and trace this cause back to the brain.
But, in between these two we don't yet have any idea what is going on.
We are still learning much about all the electro chemical processes
involved and there is still much we do not know.

The important thing is to get over the "common sense" lie,
evolution has taught us, thinking that red is something out beyond our
eyes that we already know about. It is not! Red is something in our
brain that we don't yet objectively know anything about. It isn't
light, it only abstractly represents light. There is more to this
world than the causal properties we only abstractly know about. There
are also phenomenal qualities. Because we are only aware of these
phenomenal properties inside our brain, we haven't yet learned how to
properly look for them. Once we start looking for more than causal
properties, and realize that phenomenal qualites are something very
real, and intelligently powerful, and that they really exist in our
brain, we will finally be able to properly look for them and only
thereby discover and understand them.

As long as we think there are some unexplicable, non existent
thing that some how abstractly "arises from" "hypercomplex
relatedness" in some incomprehensible way or that red is something
beyond our eyes, we will never discover what things fundamentally are
really phenomenally like. In order to find consciousness, we must
start looking in the right place and accept the fact that it is built
out of something fundamentally and phenomenally real and

Brent Allsop