Brent Meeker wrote:
> 1Z wrote:
> >
> > Brent Meeker wrote:
> >
> >
> >>In other words it is not justified, based on our limited understanding of 
> >>brains, to say we'll never
> >>be able to know how another feels based on observation of their brain.
> >
> >
> >
> > We don't know how insects or amoebae feel, either.
> > It is not just an issue of complexity.
> > We don't knw where to *start* with qualia.
>
> We know where to start when it comes to knowing how other people feel, i.e. 
> we empathize.  If we
> knew how our brain worked and how the brain of our friend worked, then we 
> could correlate the
> empathized feeling with the brain events.

Correlation isn't explanation.

>  This doesn't mean we would experience our friends
> feeling, but we could produce a mapping between his brain processes and his 
> (inferred) feelings.  Of
> course we wouldn't *know* this was right - but scientific knowledge is always 
> uncertain, so I don't
> see that as a objection to calling it knowledge.

I think you have skated past an important point. Being explanatory
is not all the same as being certain. All scientific knowledge
is uncertain; all knowledge worthy of the name is explanatory --
meaning it can provide answers (however uncertain) to "how" and "why"
questions.

> Then there are homologous structures in our
> friends brain to those in a chimpanzee's brain and there are similar 
> behavoirs - so I think we could
> extend our map to the feelings of a chimpanzee.  Of course with some really 
> alien life form, say an
> octopus, this would be difficult to test empirically - but not, I think, 
> impossible.

At best, this anwers questions about the circumstances under which an
organism might feel a quale. It doesn't say anything about what qualia
are -- why red seems red. ("oh well, of course we can't answer that
question..")


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