On Oct 13, 11:04 am, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> On Thu, Oct 13, 2011 at 9:39 AM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>wrote:
> > On Oct 13, 12:52 am, Jason Resch <jasonre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> > > On Oct 12, 2011, at 9:44 PM, Craig Weinberg <whatsons...@gmail.com>
> > > wrote:
> > > >http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/1676
> > > > "As stated above, blindsight is seen clinically as a contrast between
> > > > a lack of declarative knowledge about a stimulus and a high rate of
> > > > correct answers to questions about the stimulus (1). People suffering
> > > > from blindsight claim to see nothing, and are therefore unable to
> > > > reach spontaneously for stimuli, cannot decide whether or not stimuli
> > > > are present, and do not know what objects look like. In this sense,
> > > > they are blind. However, they are able to give correct answers when
> > > > asked to decide between given alternatives (1). Studies done with
> > > > subjects that exhibit blindsight have shown that they are able to
> > > > guess reliably only about certain features of stimuli having to do
> > > > with motion, location and direction of stimuli. They are also able to
> > > > discriminate simple forms, and can shape their hands in a way
> > > > appropriate to grasping the object when asked to try. Some may show
> > > > color discrimination as well (2). Subjects also show visual
> > > > capacities, including reflexes (e.g. the pupil reacts to changes in
> > > > light), implicit reactions and voluntary responses (3). "
> > > > Sounds like absent qualia to me.
> > > > "people suffering from blindsight claim to see nothing"
> > > > So Stathis, Jason, Bruno... how do you know that your computer brain
> > > > doesn't have blindsight if it's eyes seem to work? Is it lying when it
> > > > says it can't see, or is it seeing without being able to look at what
> > > > it is seeing?
> > > It seems blindsight is the result of some modules receiving visual
> > > information but not all the modules which would normally receive it.
> > > In any event, one with blind sight is not functionally equivalent to a
> > > normally sighted person.
> > It doesn't matter whether they are functionally equivalent. The point
> > is that the function of sight is in some ways independent from the
> > qulaia of visual perception.
> I don't think you have established this.  See below.
> > This is the big deal about absent qualia,
> > that it would be too crazy if we could somehow see without seeing, yet
> > this is evidence of just that.
> All we learn when we interview someone is what level of access their verbal
> center of the brain has to other perceptual functions

I think it's too simplistic to talk about a verbal center acting on
it's own. There is no suggestion that a sightblind patient has been
reduced to a talking parrot by their condition. We have no reason to
doubt the authenticity of the condition that they describe. If there
were no such condition, that would tend to support functionalism, so
even the existence of reports of sightblindness are somewhat
contrafactual for functionalism.

> of the brain.
> Therefore we cannot use the claim of blindness to assert that no processes
> in the person's brain are receiving processed visual information.  

There is no question that parts of the brain are making sense of
optical experiences through the eyes but there is no reason to assume
that it is processed as visual qualia.

> instance, a person with blind sight might still be able to catch a thrown
> ball, because the motor section of the brain is receiving visual
> information.

There is no such thing as information. It is only the subjective
capacity to be informed. To talk about visual information without a
subjective experience is like saying that your video card could be
watching a movie.

 Likewise, someone with Anton's syndrome may have the opposite
> defect in wiring, where the verbal center of the brain does receive visual
> information, but the parts of the brain that integrates it to control motion
> and reflexes do not.
> > It is not necessary for any of the
> > qualia of vision to be present to achieve some of the functional
> > benefit of sight.
> This is somewhat of a leap.

Why? If we believe the reports of blindsight, what other conclusion
can we make?

> > Qualia may or may not assist us functionally at all.
> Replace qualia with "awareness of information", and you can see how
> necessary it is for certain processes to be aware of some piece of
> information in order to function properly.

Qualia is not awareness of information. We are informed by qualia, but
we can be informed more effectively through unconscious processes.
Replace information with experiences instead.

> > Blindsight shows the potential from an unconscious form of vision to
> > develop in the same way that our digestion or immune system operates
> > within a complex, survival intensive environment without conjuring up
> > a world of top-level qualia with voluntary control.
> I think your conclusion from the phenomenon of blindsight is premature.
> Imagine a coinjoined twin who just had one very big head and two brains.
> One brain controlled walking and received input from the eyes, the other
> brain received input from the ears and controlled talking.  What could you
> conclude from this twin's insistence that it was unable to see?

I conclude that the blind twin is telling the truth. It's no different
than a passenger in a car asserting that they aren't driving.

> > > If a robot does things that only something that can see can do, then
> > > there must be something within it that sees.
> > Not at all. I can make a ventriloquist dummy respond to things that
> > only something can see can do but there is nothing within it that
> > sees.
> You are not considering the whole system, which includes both the
> ventriloquist dummy and the ventriloquist.  Obviously there is something in
> that system which sees (the ventriloquist).  Take the ventrioliquist away
> and the dummy can no longer behave as if it sees.  This example only
> confirms my original statement.

Your argument is that if something acts like it sees then that means
that thing must see. If you acknowledge that a dummy can't see then
why not extend the same logic to a computer? The programmer is the
ventriloquist who has recorded his act in advance so that a switching
system routes inputs with recorded outputs.

> > > That some person maintains they cannot see is not proof that nothing
> > > in their head is seeing.
> > I agree. That's why my idea is that all cells potentially 'see' to
> > some extent, it's just our top level brain-scale sight which sees in a
> > human visual experience which is relevant to the world in which our
> > body functions as a single entity.
> What's the point of the brain if nerve cells can simply sense what all the
> other cells want to do and respond appropriately?

The point is to have a deeper cache of sensorimotive experiences to
draw from and enjoy. Some species liked swimming fast, ours liked
playing with memories. Lots of organisms survive as well as we do
without having developed a brain..worms, plankton, etc.

> > >Consider split brain patients, when you hold
> > > a conversation with a split brain patient, which hemisphere are you
> > > talking to? What might the other hemisphere be aware of that the other
> > > is not?
> > Sure, there are probably many interior subjects and proto subjects
> > within the psyche. That's who we experience in our dreams. If the top
> > dog gets whacked on the head, then next dream they have may feature
> > their former self as a supporting character while the primary identity
> > is promoted from the undamaged ranks. It may not be discretely
> > modular, the overall personality can just shift, and this happens
> > naturally as we mature. We pay attention to different voices and it
> > shapes our identity and expression more.
> Interesting ideas.
> Jason

You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups 
"Everything List" group.
To post to this group, send email to everything-list@googlegroups.com.
To unsubscribe from this group, send email to 
For more options, visit this group at 

Reply via email to