On Thu, Dec 10, 2009 at 5:17 AM, Bruno Marchal <marc...@ulb.ac.be> wrote:
>
> On 09 Dec 2009, at 20:51, Rex Allen wrote:
>
>> We "see" evolution...but it only
>> exists in our minds, as a tool for our understanding.  It's not
>> something that exists "in the world".  Again, taking the physicalist
>> view.
>
> We see "space, time, and energy", but it only exists in our minds ...
> Actually, we don't see those things. Physicists share only number
> relations, and we lived uncommunicable qualia.


So communication depends on common experiences. All fundamental
concepts are ineffable, and unless both parties in the conversation
have the same set of fundamental concepts, then nothing that derives
from those building blocks can be discussed.

So it's not the case that there's something special about the
ineffability of qualia. What makes them ineffable is the fact that
they are fundamental. They can't be expressed in terms of anything
else. So, if you don't already have knowledge of them, gained from
experience, then I can't communicate with you about them.

For instance, my brother and I can use the fundamental concept of red
in our conversations because we both know what red is. We both have
experience of red. So when he talks about red sunsets, and red apples,
and red cars, I have a good idea of what he means. We have yet to
encounter difficulties due to a difference of understanding about red.

However, I cannot communicate clearly with my color-blind cousin about
red, because he has no experience of red. So I know that when we
discuss red sunsets, we are not communicating with perfect mutual
understanding.

The limits of language in this regard has nothing to do with the
nature of experience, or consciousness. The problem is that
fundamental concepts can't be described in terms of other things...if
they could be, then by definition they wouldn't be fundamental.
Fundamental things can only be pointed at...and if you can't see what
I'm pointing at, then we can't really talk about it.

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