Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

The origins of the imperative, "know thyself", are lost in the sands of time, but the age-old examination of human consciousness continues here.

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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Ierrellus » Sun Apr 03, 2016 2:21 pm

Ierrellus wrote:A quale is a quantum of sensation. It is a process that cannot be reduced to something other than its activity, from its formation from neurochemicals and neurons.

The problem of defining qualia comes fro seeing a process as an entity.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Stephen C Pedersen » Sun Apr 16, 2017 5:40 pm

Ierrellus wrote:
Ierrellus wrote:A quale is a quantum of sensation. It is a process that cannot be reduced to something other than its activity, from its formation from neurochemicals and neurons.

The problem of defining qualia comes fro seeing a process as an entity.

If we see a man running, "running" is the process, correct? However, we would see a man running, otherwise known as a runner. The point of the Mary Problem, is that she experiences something new, the color blue for the first time. That new experience is knowledge. The process has to work upon something though, mustn't it? So we have to identify what the process is doing to things, and those things are elementary quale, aren't they? Thoughts?
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sun Apr 16, 2017 6:36 pm

The problem is created by the degenerate tendency to reduce multiplicity (particulars) to singularity (one universal.)

For example, color and wave-length are two different objects neither of which can be reduced to the other for that would confuse, which is to say eliminate distinction between, the two. On the other hand, that does not mean there is no relation between the two. We know, for example, that there is a strong type of correlation between the two that we refer to as causation. We know that when wave-length changes that the color changes too.

There is nothing mysterious regarding qualia. What there is is an illusion of mystery created by the inability to comprehend that categories are man-made and that whether we are going to categorize some object of experience as physical or qualitative does not make that object any more or less mysterious.

The so-called "physical realm" is quite simply a category that includes some objects of experience and excludes others. In its most abstract from, it includes only formulas, viewing physical sensations as merely "subjective" (in other words, it puts them in a category that is called "subjective realm".)

Someone may ask "if it doesn't belong to physical realm then where does it belong?" And to be able to answer that question one would have to enumerate every known category and make sure that each one is sufficiently defined so that we can unambiguously determine whether any given object of experience belongs to it or not. Then, we would simply compare our non-physical object against the requirements of every category and note where it belongs, if it belongs anywhere. And what if it belongs nowhere? Then we would simply categorize it as "uncategorized". Simple.

So, yes, qualitative objects such as color, smell, taste, etc do not belong to or exist in physical realm. No matter how deep you look into a physical brain or perform calculations in order to predict its behavior, you will never experience any colors, tastes, smells, etc. So where do they belong or exist? They belong to or exist in . . . qualitative realm. Realm being nothing but a fancy word for category, class, set and other container objects.

"Oh my god, that's so deep!"

Yeah, it is deep as hell.

Qualitative objects such as color can have their physical correlates such as wavelength.

No need to confuse the two.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Sun Apr 16, 2017 8:43 pm

Dennett finally concludes that the existence of color as “qualia” is null and void, for there is no actual objective evidence of it, only our own reports of allegedly private perceptual experiences.

[..]

While Dennett is correct in claiming that humans can't "objectively” prove the existence of qualia-- I can't help but feel Dennett is missing an essential ingredient of consciousness, if qualia are left out. To dilate on this, is it not self-refuting to deny one's own sensations?


You say that Dennett is correct in asserting that there is no "objective" evidence of qualia. This implies you know what kind of evidence he's looking for. I, personally, do not, so I would appreciate it if you could help me. What kind of evidence is he asking for?

I would say qualia, e.g. colors, are evident. Whoever denies this, his intelligence must be questioned.

Is he saying that qualia must be something other than qualia in order to be able to accept them as evidently something other than qualia? Wouldn't such a remark be irrelevant?

Or is he saying that qualia, in the form of qualia, cannot be evident?

Very bizarre.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Amorphos » Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:34 pm

This implies you know what kind of evidence he's looking for. I, personally, do not, so I would appreciate it if you could help me. What kind of evidence is he asking for?


A slight tangent on this if I may; Dennet is looking for ‘qualia’ when he could just say ‘what is [light and] color’. in other words he maybe looking for something that’s not there and not finding anything lol, but color is there and optical illusions reveal them to be changed perceptually. Ergo you have color as the mind sees it, and color as a camera sees it ~ but they are both the same thing, color. I doubt even Dennet would argue that ‘there is no color there’ or would he lol.
This just leaves us with the fact then, that there is color, and which exists perceptually and physically as light and yet one variant is not defined as being a property of light [the perceptual].
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Tue Apr 18, 2017 3:18 pm

I think Dennett would say that color is not qualia but something within the brain, some neurochemical configuration. But this too would be a confusion, since qualitative object that is color is different from, is not the same as, neurochemical object that is . . . however you decide to call it. They are related but not the same.

Physical realm isn't an all-encompassing category. It excludes certain objects -- such as qualia. That, however, does not mean these excluded objects do not exist. You can say they don't exist physically but not more than that.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Ultimate Philosophy 1001 » Tue Apr 18, 2017 8:56 pm

The failure is saying that we see no evidence of qualia when we see evidence of qualia.
If a doctor scans a patient's brain, saying "I see no evidence of qualia in the brain" this is a fallacy.
Because he is seeing Qualia, the photograph of the brain scan is a Qualia in his brain. Thus he sees evidence of qualia in the brain.

Thus we should reduce this convolution by talking about smells.
If a doctor scans a brain, and cannot smell the smell the patient is smelling, then it means that smell is something not apparent in the physical structure of the brain.

Thus we must ask...what about the brain is producing this essence of smell?
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:11 pm

Brain is a category. That means it includes certain objects and excludes others. By definition, brain refers to neurochemical processes. Within these processes, there may be neurochemical correlates of qualia but qualia themselves are nowhere to be found. This is because the category brain, by definition, excludes these objects of experience.

In other words, the photograph of the brain scan we are looking at is NOT inside our brain. Its neurochemical correlate is -- whatever it is, if it exists at all -- but the photograph itself, as we see it, is not. You can say it is in our mind. Mind being a different category.

Just because two objects are correlated does not mean they are one and the same object.

Is light bulb the same as light switch?
Simply because they are correlated?

And is light bulb an illusion simply because it is passive in relation to light switch?
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Amorphos » Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:45 pm

I agree with Magnus that color in the mind is different to color in the thing ~ that is, the light reflecting off a thing. Same with smell or anything that’s a representative of something out there I.e. sensory and memory information.

The photograph will only reveal physical tissue ~ the light reflecting off it. A deep scan would reveal something more psychedelic. ..but we still have the fact that something is given color, or smells. Far simpler organisms still get the smells for example, so this is not a ‘lost in the complexity’ issue.

The qualia is most likely the reflection of a thing upon the observers eye. There is something about the act of observing which yields info about something. But more, that info makes the color happen ~ the quality of the thing exist. A quality must be ‘real’ such to be passed around by particles, that is how a photo and ‘you’ [an observer] can observe the properties of color. I don’t see how we can say the quality of red is one of mind, especially when it is also a property of light and photo-cells, which are not of mind.

Sounds like there must be observers in all things. You can probably build a human/oid from the ground up, switch it on, and there will be an experienced observing individual there, just like we are. No difference between the photo and the red flower, and the minds vision of that, nature is doing the same thing all round.

hmm, or maybe I just contradicted myself, lol. is there color in the given physical thing the same as in us, or is that property different in a brain somehow?
what is 'the other thing' to the physics occurring here?
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Ultimate Philosophy 1001 » Wed Apr 19, 2017 12:00 am

A deep scan would, at most, display identical imagery of the mind as in the brain.

And that is why the phenomenon of smell is so important.
Visual phenomenon, can be explained by A=A, it is what it is.

But with smell phenomenon, there is clearly a transforming going on.
Elecritical signals, manefesting as smell phenomenon for consciousness.


In terms of awareness, would building a synthetic human guarantee Sentience in the form?
No it would not.
We are actually uncertain there is Sentience in other beings.
Sentience can only be verified by local-sentience.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:05 am

Sounds like there must be observers in all things.


Very strange conclusion.

Light isn't color. Neurochemicals aren't color. Color is color. Once again tautology saves the day.

Light and neurochemicals are correlated with color in the same way light switch is correlated with light bulb.

There is no redness in light and I'm sure no redness in neurochemicals either unless we are speaking of their visual form, seeing them with our eyes, instead of simply representing them mathematically, but then that redness is not redness they are correlated with in the manner that we're speaking of here.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Apr 19, 2017 3:19 am

Ultimate Philosophy 1001 wrote:We are actually uncertain there is Sentience in other beings.
Sentience can only be verified by local-sentience.


What we cannot see, is hidden from us, we interpret. Using induction. Such as analogical induction. If things are observed to have a lot of similarities, we assume they have some more. That's how it works. I cannot make an attempt to immerse myself in your consciousness. Thus I cannot see for myself whether you do or do not have consciousness. But because you show many traits I possess that are tightly related to consciousness, I assume you also possess consciousness.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Amorphos » Thu Apr 20, 2017 5:48 pm

Mr Reasonable wrote:I have a question about qualia.

Can we count them and measure their interactions with one another?

Maybe that's 2 questions. But you get what I'm asking right?


they are what happens when info interacts, if you could make a count it would be of the physical objects - the info. but this does not deny that there is the quality of that, e.g. color, e.g. red. mary would see red just like a camera would, the whole argument is ridiculous.


And that is why the phenomenon of smell is so important.
Visual phenomenon, can be explained by A=A, it is what it is.

But with smell phenomenon, there is clearly a transforming going on.
Elecritical signals, manefesting as smell phenomenon for consciousness.


Not sure, smells can be made to happen with tech which yields the same electrical impulses, so is also a 1:1 thing. For me the smell is real, and the physical information is transitory. So why do they say that physics are more real or the only real, when clearly the quality is at least as real?
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Stephen C Pedersen » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:00 am

[quote="Amorphos
Not sure, smells can be made to happen with tech which yields the same electrical impulses, so is also a 1:1 thing. For me the smell is real, and the physical information is transitory. So why do they say that physics are more real or the only real, when clearly the quality is at least as real?[/quote]
Hello Amorphos,

I don't quite understand your criticism so far. Where does the Mary argument fall short for you in that Mary finding new information out when she finally enters into the sunlight world seeing red for the first time? Let's stick with vision for your rebuttle, ill be able to follow more easily if you don't mind. Do you think a camera would be able to experience a quale (the color red) in the same regard as a human being does? When I dilate on this issue i think where the camera and the human part is where consciousness pick up. I think an intereting question is if to ask ourselves if zombies can experience qualia. Philosophical zombies have no consciousness, they just take in information like a like a camera does and lives a life of an AI unconsciously.

What do you think?
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Amorphos » Fri Apr 21, 2017 2:57 am

Where does the Mary argument fall short for you in that Mary finding new information out when she finally enters into the sunlight world seeing red for the first time?


Because she will see red just like a camera would, given that red is a quality and her brain the instrument observing it. red is observed or is in the object [transparent photons].

Do you think a camera would be able to experience a quale (the color red) in the same regard as a human being does?


I think it digitally or chemically copies the color red yes. Equally I think that in optical illusions, the inquirer is shown some color, but the brain inputs the color it expects to see. so when the object with the color is moved to an area which is another color, it is revealed that the object is indeed that color. This says to me that the brain composes color perhaps not unlike a camcorder can ~ the brain can do graphics. The problem with qualia then, is that you get red when it isn’t there physically in the light info.

The philosophical zombie is all of the above, what it means; that the human machine will do what cameras can do. Even with mental qualia.

I saw a documentary where a scientist made a blind man see [very blurred though] by re-routing info from his tongue [thus acting like eyes], so it appears that the brain just needs enough info to say something is e.g. red, and there will be the quality red.


- it all means that qualities [red] are a fundamental element of the real world - but are not physical.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:25 am

I don't see how any of that suggests that qualities are the fundamental element of the world and I don't even know what "the fundamental element" means.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby James S Saint » Tue Apr 25, 2017 9:25 pm

The dog doesn't see any color.
Some people see a little color.
Some people see a lot of color.

How much color was there before they looked?
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Amorphos » Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:11 am

Magnus Anderson wrote:I don't see how any of that suggests that qualities are the fundamental element of the world and I don't even know what "the fundamental element" means.


Ah yes, well I didn’t mean like the elements in the periodic table, just that qualities/qualia are as real as information. Where there is info about a colour you get the quality, if one thing is real then the thing it delivers or exchanges is surely as real.

Come to think of it, colour even in optical illusions is probably a faculty of light. I just don’t get how we can see photons inside the cells of our brain? Like in dreams also, where the colours are purely mental - made by the brain making photons.

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The dog doesn't see any color.
Some people see a little color.
Some people see a lot of color.

How much color was there before they looked?


Jellyfish with a simple orifice for an eye can see red. The example I saw on a documentary had only 4 neuron bundles. I suppose it doesn’t take much to see. People with colour blindness or who see lower/higher hues, just means their brain is fucked or they don’t have as strong visual dept.
The camera will tell you how much colour was there before they looked.

Either you are saying that colour is mental, or that there is no such thing as colour qualia - colour which is not of light and is purely mental whatever that is?
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby James S Saint » Wed Apr 26, 2017 6:58 am

James S Saint wrote:
Amorphos wrote:ok, so what is colour in the brain then? more to the point about water, how can we think about something like the qualities, water, colour, heat, smell. heat for example is merely a measure of the vibrations of particles, but we feel the quality of heat.

Color is not in the brain. The brain contains electrochemical pulses that have been triggered by stimuli. When external light is the stimulus that triggered some of the electrochemical pulses, the brain deduces that there is light "out there" somewhere. Different light triggers different pulses and the brain distinguishes them with the idea of "color". The same kind of thing is true for all of the other senses.

We say that the apple "has redness" or "is red" when we mean that the light reflecting off of the apple triggers the particular electrochemical pulses that we associate with "red" light. We could have called it "mergoin colored light". We merely mean that the light coming from the apple is of a specific type out of many other possible types. We learn to call it "red" so as to communicate the sensation to others.

We give names to different affects upon our senses for sake of communication. The affect that water has upon our senses is what we call "wetness". Because all or at least most water triggers that same affect upon us, we categorize wetness as a "quality" of water in the same way that we categorize color as a quality of certain apples.

The quality of a thing tells us what affect to expect from that thing. The quality is not the thing itself, but rather an affect stemming from it. That is just the way the language works.
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It is not merely "do what works", but "to accomplish what purpose in what time frame at what cost".
As long as the authority is secretive, the population will be subjugated.

Amid the lack of certainty, put faith in the wiser to believe.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Apr 26, 2017 1:56 pm

Ah yes, well I didn’t mean like the elements in the periodic table, just that qualities/qualia are as real as information. Where there is info about a colour you get the quality, if one thing is real then the thing it delivers or exchanges is surely as real.


The word "real" refers to a category (or more exactly, a set of related categories, since there is no single category it refers to and since these multiple categories it refers to cannot be reduced to a single category) and this category it refers to has certain rules that determine what is included in it and what is excluded from it. You need to tell me what these rules are before I can agree or disagree with your claim that qualities are real. In simple terms, define the word "real".
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Apr 26, 2017 2:16 pm

Come to think of it, colour even in optical illusions is probably a faculty of light. I just don’t get how we can see photons inside the cells of our brain? Like in dreams also, where the colours are purely mental - made by the brain making photons.


What exactly are you saying? Are you saying that the color we perceive is the color of . . . light? Light is made out of colored corpuscles that when hit the eye determine, based on their color and not on how they move, what kind of image we see?
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:02 pm

What was experienced in the past is real. That's one of the categories associated with the word "real". Since each one of us has an experience of colors, each one of us will categorize them as real. But then, is that what you mean by "real"?
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Amorphos » Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:49 am

Color is not in the brain. The brain contains electrochemical pulses that have been triggered by stimuli. When external light is the stimulus that triggered some of the electrochemical pulses, the brain deduces that there is light "out there" somewhere. Different light triggers different pulses and the brain distinguishes them with the idea of "color". The same kind of thing is true for all of the other senses.
We say that the apple "has redness" or "is red" when we mean that the light reflecting off of the apple triggers the particular electrochemical pulses that we associate with "red" light. We could have called it "mergoin colored light". We merely mean that the light coming from the apple is of a specific type out of many other possible types. We learn to call it "red" so as to communicate the sensation to others.
We give names to different affects upon our senses for sake of communication. The affect that water has upon our senses is what we call "wetness". Because all or at least most water triggers that same affect upon us, we categorize wetness as a "quality" of water in the same way that we categorize color as a quality of certain apples.
The quality of a thing tells us what affect to expect from that thing. The quality is not the thing itself, but rather an affect stemming from it. That is just the way the language works


This doesn’t tell us what colour qualia is though. Reasonably and after seeing a paper [that I posted a while ago] stating that there is a ton of light in the brain, and that cells release photons, I can only imagine that those electrical signals are being converted to light. How else do we see colour?

The problem is that as you know, photons are merely a point of energy and physicists say they are transparent. Red is simply a stream of photons moving in that particular wavelength, - this doesn’t tell us what the quality of redness is.

When we observe what stuff is made of we loose sight of the holistic entity, what colour is, what water is, and what we are.

The word "real" refers to a category (or more exactly, a set of related categories, since there is no single category it refers to and since these multiple categories it refers to cannot be reduced to a single category) and this category it refers to has certain rules that determine what is included in it and what is excluded from it. You need to tell me what these rules are before I can agree or disagree with your claim that qualities are real. In simple terms, define the word "real".


I divide it into what is existent [physical objects] and what is non existent [infinity, mind, qualities, etc]. if something is there in any way at all then it is in some way real, even a dream is a reality in that our minds are acting like computers and composing the images we see. Can we say that there is something which isn’t real? We can say something isn’t true or is an illusion, but an illusion is real graphics.

What exactly are you saying? Are you saying that the color we perceive is the color of . . . light? Light is made out of colored corpuscles that when hit the eye determine, based on their color and not on how they move, what kind of image we see?


Indeed, and I do know all of that btw; the light is turned into electrical impulses which at the back of the eye is more akin to a kaleidoscopic image, and it then gets calibrated even before it moves to the optical cortex where the image is processed. So what I was saying above is that once the image has been processed we then see it, ergo the brain is making colour happen, which reasonably can only be done with light. But like what I am saying to james [above], there is an issue even with colour as a property of light ^^.

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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Thu Apr 27, 2017 3:34 am

Amorphos wrote:I divide it into what is existent [physical objects] and what is non existent [infinity, mind, qualities, etc].


So mind is not real? Qualities are not real?

if something is there in any way at all then it is in some way real, even a dream is a reality in that our minds are acting like computers and composing the images we see. Can we say that there is something which isn’t real? We can say something isn’t true or is an illusion, but an illusion is real graphics.


Yes, we can say there are things that are not real.

Dreams are real.
Why? Because we have an experience of them.

Imaginary dreams are not real.
Why? Because we have no experience of them.

Imaginations of dreams are real.
Why? Because we have an experience of them.

Robot, cartoon and imaginary unicorns are real.
Biological unicorns are not real.
And you know the reasons: the former have been experienced whereas the latter have not.

Why do we say dreams are not real when they are in fact real?
Because dreams do not have all the properties wakeful experience has. That is what is meant by the statement. Not that they are literally unreal.
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Re: Qualia and the Mystery of Colors

Postby Magnus Anderson » Thu Apr 27, 2017 4:12 am

Indeed, and I do know all of that btw; the light is turned into electrical impulses which at the back of the eye is more akin to a kaleidoscopic image, and it then gets calibrated even before it moves to the optical cortex where the image is processed. So what I was saying above is that once the image has been processed we then see it, ergo the brain is making colour happen, which reasonably can only be done with light. But like what I am saying to james [above], there is an issue even with colour as a property of light ^^.


Color is real, and qualities in general, whether or not color is a property of light (in other words, whether or not our experience of color is correlated with the color of light corpuscles that hit our eyes.)
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