Hello, Everythinglisters! The below text is a philosophical essay on what qualia may represent. I doubt you'll manage to finish reading it (it's kind of long, and translated from anoter language), but if you do I'll be happy to hear your opinion about what it says.
Thanks! <<<A simpler model of the world with different points of view>>> It can often get quite amusing watching qualophiles' self-confidence, mutual assurance and agreement when they talk about something a priori defined as inherently private and un-accessible to third-party analysis (i.e. qualia), so they say, but they somehow agree on what they're discussing about even though as far as I've been able to understand they don't display the slightest scant of evidence which would show that they believe there will ever be a theory that could bridge the gap between the ineffable what-it-is-likeness (WIIL) of personal experience and the scientific, objective descriptions of reality. They don’t even try to brainstorm ideas about such a theory. How are we to explain this what-it-is-likeness (WIIL) if we can't subject it to what science has been and will always be? Third-party analysis. So, here it is: Qualia, one of the last remaining unresolved quandaries for us to splinter and rise on the pedestals of science, but we must stop, qualophiles say, because, .... “Because what?” I ask. “Because the what-it-is-likeness of qualia” most of them will respond. And believe me that is the whole argument from which they sprout all of the other awkward deductions and misconstrued axioms if we are to succinctly resume their rigorous, inner-gut, “aprioristic analysis”. I'll try to expose the absurdity of their stance by making some analogies while telling the story of how architects and designers build 3D models of reality with the help of 3D modeling software. The 1s and 0s that make the large variety of 3D design software on the market today are all we need in order to bring to virtual-reality whatever model of our real world we desire. Those 1s and 0s, which are by the way as physical as the neurons in your brain though not of the same assortment (see below), are further arranged into sub-modules that are further integrated into other different parts and subsystems of the computer onto which the software they are part of is running on, so their arrangement is obviously far from aleatory. One needs to adopt the intentional stance in order to understand the intricacies, details and roles that these specific particular modules play in this large and complex computer programs. If you had the desire you could bring to virtual reality any city of the world you want. Let's for example take the city of Rome. Every monument, restaurant, hospital, park, mall and police department can be accounted for in a detailed, virtual replica which we can model using one of these 3D modeling programs. Every car, plane and boat, even the people and their biomechanics are so well represented that we could easily mistake the computer model for the real thing. Here we are looking at the monitor screen from our God-like-point-of-view. All the points, lines, 2D-planes and 3D objects in this digital presentation have their properties and behavior ruled by simulated laws of physics which are identical to the laws encountered in our real world. These objects and the laws that govern them are 100% traceable to the 1s and 0s, that is, to the voltages and transistors on the silica chips that make up the computer onto which the software is runs on. We have a 100% description of the city of Rome in our computer in the sense that there is no object in that model that we can't say all there is to say about it and the movement of the points, lines and planes which compose it because they're all accounted for in the 0s and 1s saved on the hard-drive and then loaded into the RAM and video-RAM of our state of the art video graphics card. Let's call that perspective, the perspective of knowing all there is to know about the 3D-model, the third-person perspective (the perspective described by using only third-party objective data). What's interesting is that all of these 3D design programs have the option to add cameras to whatever world model you are currently developing. Cameras present a scene from a particular point-of-view (POV – or point of reference, call it how you will). Camera objects simulate still-image, motion picture, or video cameras in the real world and have the same usage here. The benefit of cameras is that you can position them anywhere within a scene to offer a custom view. You can imagine that camera not only as a point of view but also as an area point of view (all the light reflected from the objects in your particular world model enter the lens of the camera), but for our particular mental exercise this doesn't matter. What you need to know is that our virtual cameras can perfectly simulate real world cameras and all the optical science of the lens is integrated in the program making the simulated models similar to the ones that are found real life. We’ll use POVs and CPOVs interchangeably from now on; they mean the same thing in the logic of our argumentation. The point-of-view (POV) of the camera is obviously completely traceable and mathematically deducible from the third-person perspective of the current model we are simulating and from the physical characteristics of the virtual lens built into the camera through which the light reflected of the objects in the model is projected (Bare in mind that the physical properties and optics of the lens are also simulated by the computer model). Of course, the software does all that calculation and drawing for you. But if you had the ambition you could practically do all that work for yourself by taking the 3D-model’s mathematical and geometric data from the saved computer file containing your particular model description and calculate on sheets of paper how objects from it would look and behave from a particular CPOV, and more to that, you could literally draw those objects yourself by using the widely known techniques of descriptive geometry (the same as the ones used by the 3D modeling software). But what point would that make when we already have computers that achieve this arduous task for us? Maybe living in a period of time without computers would make this easily relentless task one worth considering. So, we can basically take a virtual trip to whatever part of Rome we want by just jumping inside a CPOV provided to us by the software. We can see, experience what it is like to be in Rome by adopting whatever CPOV which will be calculated and drawn to us by this complex but 100% describable and understandable computer program. The software would be no mystery to us if we were sufficiently trained programmers, architects and mathematicians. The WIIL of experiencing Rome will never be a mystery to us also if we’ll let the 3D design software do the job of calculating and drawing the CPOV for us. Of course, as said above, we can achieve the same WIIL by making strenuous calculations and draw ourselves on sheets of paper exactly the same POV “painted” to us by the computer program. Whatever our choice one thing stands to pure reason: We will achieve to experience the what-it-is-likeness (WIIL) of Rome by deducing it from objective, third-party data that we can all share by accessing the program file that contains the 3D-model third-person description; so there is nothing special about it. The whole point is that the experience of the WIIL can be achieved and built by/for us using third-person data). The WIIL only seems to be some kind of metaphysical thing because of its circumstantial relatedness with the idiosyncrasies of the POV. No need to squander energy contriving not-worth-considering meanings because of this relatedness. The WIIL is the intentional interpretation of the mathematical description of the physical objects' properties and relationships to each other which the POV describes; it is the richness and detail of the description of the POV taken as a whole by whatever is on the other side of the lens. On the other hand the POV can be accounted for by its mathematical and geometrical description; it’s all data, 0s and 1s. The WIIL and the POV represent the same thing but each are different interpretations of a specific slice of the 3D model: one is a reducible, mathematical and geometric description of a set of objects and how their would appear from a certain vantage point (i.e. the POV), the other one is the non- reducible, intentional, apparently immediate interpretation of all that data contained in the POV taken as a whole. The WIIL is all accounted for, we know all about it: how it comes to existence, how it is 100% physical but non-reducible because of its intentionality, and how the circumstantial relation to its POV makes it seem as if it’s something separate from it but that's an illusion. The what-it-is-likeness (WIIL) of points-of-view (POVs) in our model of Rome are unique in the sense that they each have idiosyncrasies in the arrangement of points, lines, planes, colors and light reflectance that make up the objects in the model, idiosyncrasies caused by the perspective that we randomly chose to be a point or a certain area (lens of the camera) on the map of our 3D model onto which the light reflected by some of the objects contained in it is projected through. The WIIL is 100% mathematically, geometrically described and accounted for by the calculations and drawings done in order to design the POV that we experience the WIIL through. To make it more clearly lets describe the relationship between the WIIL and the POV a little more. The WIIL is not something separate from the POV in one important sense and here sits the crux of my argumentation: The POV which was inferred and created from the objective, third-person perspective of the computer model is the WIIL in the sense that all we need to know if we are to describe the WIIL is the mathematical description of the POV and that is all. For someone (or something) to experience objects contained in the city model through a specific CPOV that is how WIILs come into existence. The sole act of accessing that POV (i.e, its mathematical description) is the WIIL. The question "And then what happens?" has no meaning here because nothing happens next. As I've said above you can think of POVs as reducible in the sense that they can be accounted for mathematically by knowing each coordinate of every point belonging to every object in its description, and you can think at WIIL as a non-reducible, intentional representation of the objects described by that POV taken as a whole by the observer sitting on the other side of the lens. The sole act of acknowledging the mathematical and geometric descriptive richness of a piece of the world through the lens of the camera-point-of-view (CPOV) by whatever remains on the other side of the lens is the WIIL and nothing more is there to be said; the story is complete. Acknowledging the richness in description of the mathematical and geometric data does not mean that the observer needs to understand all the intricate equations, elaborate calculations and geometric deductions; all there needs to be done is for that observer is to be hit with all that idiosyncratic data ". “Can you describe this WIIL?" Of course, by providing you with all the mathematical relations between all the points, planes and surface properties that describe the POV through which this wholeness of experience (WIIL) comes to reality. How did i get those points and planes and their properties? Again, I got them from the third-party, objective data contained in the 3D-model of the city located on the 1s and 0s hardwired on the hard-drive of the computer. Something on privateness now. The WILL is only private in the sense that only something which experiences a certain POV can experience its WIIL but that is all. Can this POV be shared with others? Of course. After we create that CPOV in the computer program we can save it to a file and send it via email to whatever part of the globe you want for someone else to experience its WIIL. So, the possibility of sharing it with others makes it a not very good candidate for privateness. POVs are only unique, but hardly private so let's not confuse the terms. The same reasons as above I should say go for the qualia of color, smells, etc. So, I doubt there is any difference with these types of experiences. What it is like to see a color is just experiencing the complete model from a slice of the world from a certain POV. Why can't that POV be deduced and inferred from the widely agreed-upon, sufficient, scientific data as qualophiles’ plea for metaphysics suggest eludes me so far as i can see, so that's why the they haven't proved anything yet. I doubt they'll ever will. If we knew almost everything there is to know about the particles and forces that make up our world we could be able to build models of whatever brains we'd like that could experience all there is to be possible designable as an experience. Daniel Dennett's RoboMarry shouldn't have a hard job at building color into herself without access to the already build in color-modules that are part of her 100% silica made brain. And that's our next story. <<<RoboMarry has a busy afternoon>>> In one of his more recent books, Daniel Dennett answered critics whom do not share his position on the possibility that John Searle's color- bereft Mary, recently liberated from the black&white, grey-shaded Chinese room which she inhabited in the course of her lifetime, could not be fooled into believing that a blue-colored banana shown to her by her masters is in fact yellow. Even though Mary did not experience any colors in her lifetime she somehow managed to put herself into the dispositional states of yellowness and blueness with the help of scientific data she gathered and made sense of in her black&white room. Mary would not be at all fooled by the cheap trick her masters tried on her, but Dan's critics said Mary wouldn't be able to pull this task off. So, Dennett devised another but more ingenious intuition pump: Locked RoboMary. From now on my story will differ a bit from Dennett's in order to make my point clearer (You can check the original story in Dan’s 2006 book, Sweet Dreams). Let's replace Mary with RoboMary: a robot just as adroit in cognitive skills as any other human being but much more rapid in thinking and with a greater bandwidth for information acquiring than any of us could ever imagine would be possible in the future even by today's standards of technological advancement. Even if she's a standard Mark 19 model, RoboMary was stripped of her HD Color Cameras and was equipped with bulk black&white CCDs that have the same performance and resolution but cannot compute colors. Also, RoboMary had been restricted access to her color-experience modules that were part of her silica-made brain using some set of plug-ins installed into her by her masters before her brain’s conscious capabilities were activated. So, RoboMary has no experience of colors in her memory, and could neither experience them through her black&white electronic eyes because they can't render color, nor would she ever be able to put herself into the state of experiencing them because she was denied access to the color memory stack that was accessible by her color- experience modules now blocked by the plug-ins. So, Locked-RoboMary, trapped in her black&white room, with her black&white CCDs, without her color rendering parts of her mechanized brain could apparently never be able to experience colors. Or would she? Even though her electronic color-experience brain modules were blocked by the plug-ins installed at birth into her kernel software, the design plans for that part of her electronic brain could be accessed by her if she was trained enough to hack into the servers of the corporation that happens to hold the patents for Mark 19 robots. Being trapped in a room that has non-stop general-level access into the network of the corporation and having access to the Internet this makes her task so much easier. More to that she can converse with other Mark 19 and Mark 20 robots. Low and behold, RoboMary managed to hack into one of her robotic friends' computer some months ago by installing a version of a Trojan horse that she managed to program in her spare time; the fun part is that his friend which is now part of the developing team for Mark 21 models thanks to the months of training and million-dollar software installed into him has two levels higher network access to the complete design files for Mark 19 robots. That's how RoboMary managed to educate herself about the hardware and software that makes up her brain, about her robot mechanics and the design of the electronics from which her currently missing HD Color Cameras are build. She now completely understands the functionality of all the subsystems that make her color-experiencing modules even though she still cannot access them directly. Having access to Moogle, which is now the greatest and most used search engine on the Internet network, she can easily access all information having to do with vision and vision systems. By accessing the web she understands the physics and chemistry of color, acquires vast knowledge about the biomechanics of vision in humans with all the details on how their color detection systems are wired into their brains, etc. Nothing about vision and the world of physics, biology, artificial- intelligence and bio-technology is un-known to her. She has an almost complete third-person perspective on everything there is to know from the world (also on everything there is to know from the design of Mark 19 robots) that has anything to do with colors. But how could she build into herself the phenomenal, personal, ineffable experience of colors having only third-party data about these phenomena? How could she do that when, in the first place, one needs to have been in that state of first-person experiencing sometime in the past, privilege she was denied off at birth? So, on Sunday afternoon, having some hours off because her training has ended prematurely due to failure of all the Design and Development server farms in the building complex she happened to be installed, RoboMary put herself onto the task of building into herself the experience of colors which were described by her robotic friends as very awkward and unusual tools used to study the surface properties of objects. She was now ready to do this because she gathered all the data which was needed in order achieve this task. All she lacked up until now was the computing power from the supercomputer located in her building and which she now had access to because its processors are not as stressed in this afternoon "thanks" to the cessation in normal operation of the server clusters; she could now use that those extra flops for herself in order to see what's so special about these colors. Being locked inside her room RoboMary had no colored object she could study. Nothing colored ever touched her senses so she had to make use of the ingenuity which always made her the adroitful robot she proved to be. Having access to the higher level network though the trojan virus she installed in her robotic friend's computer she could replicate and simulate a complete digital model of her brain (and the original HD Color Cameras that usually equip Mark 19 robots) inside the currently laid-off supercomputer located in her building; that would be no problem to her because she managed to steal all the Mark 19 design files; all she needed now was a few hours in order to built the replica model into the system of the supercomputer and to make a few thousand simulations on it using as input the few terabytes of video-data gathered from all the security cameras spread inside the corporation building complex she was living in (all those stolen video recordings were in color format but that was no use to her because the LCD screen inside her room was black&white) plus the gigabytes of scientific information on vision systems, optics, colors, etc. But how was she going to put herself into the state of experiencing colors if there were no color that tickled her senses? All was black& white around her. Well, if you remember the story of how architects create specific camera-points-of-view (CPOVs) inside their 3D modeling software in order to experience a certain point-of-view (POV) of whatever model of reality or of their imagination they are designing, maybe building color experience inside oneself without ever having experienced colors may not seem that unbelievable after all. Remember that RoboMary knows everything about the physical world there is to be known. Couldn't she simulate (that is by a third-person perspective of course) what the brain state of a Mark 19 robot would be upon experiencing colors using a computer model of this type of robot and subjecting it to a completely digital replica of a LCD monitor screen onto which the stolen colorized security videos would be projected onto? The CAD/CAM software for integration of optical and electronic mechanics in 2050 is highly advanced so this wouldn’t be at all an impossible task; it's would be quite ordinary in fact. Having access to the brain states (i.e. the color-experiencing modules) of the simulated Mark 19 brain while its mind experiences colors that would mean RoboMary could easily make some print-screens of those brain states and then put herself into the specific mental point-of-view (POV – or mental point of reference) that would allow her to experience what-it-is-likeness of colors by building into her RAM a complete replica of those color- experiencing modules and setting them up with the data captures in the print-screens. Also, having a complete list of all the belongings of the corporation, their GPS position, their colors, that means she could easily deduce from their position in the stolen videos how a specific object's color is named so that she could easily build into herself the color-verbal associations that every other Mark 19 robot and human being has already built in. So, when the "playful" scientists release RoboMary from here color bereft room and give her a blue banana they will be the ones amazed by the lack of non- astonishment in her behavior; RoboMary will completely call their spoof. Many will deny that the above story could ever be true or, more interestingly, some will retort that what RoboMary did was cheating. But would that be true in any sense of the word? Is it failure of imagination on the side of the party-popper philosophers perhaps? Some may retort that what may be a true fact for architecture and 3D computer modeling is not even close at explaining special phenomenal qualities like colors, pains, etc. But then again, why would that be a possibility worth taking into consideration? What qualia is, this what- it-is-likeness, is not something metaphysical (at least that is what we should a priori consider it if we ever wish to explain it), indescribable by third-party objective data; it is in fact just the intentional interpretation of the apparent immediateness in understanding of the sumptuousness (which is 100% accountable) of whatever particular POV’s description we are acknowledging at the moment. The richness in the description of the POV and its acknowledgement is the what-it-is-likeness; there is nothing metaphysical about it. By using only third-party, objective data RoboMary built into herself the experience of color so how could she be cheating? How was she able to put herself into experiencing the so- called ineffable, private phenomenal qualities of colors by only using data provided by science? Would that be because colors are from this world, not so ineffable, not so private qualities after all? Qualophiles may retort by further stating that the POV's description doesn't explain the specialness of the WIIL because my explanation misses the enjoyer, the analyzer, but, as I've stated above, that is just an illusion because there is an analyzer: the virtual machine in the brain takes care of all those tasks of acknowledging and discrimination. So, there should be no mystery about who the enjoyer is and the means by which it achieves the acknowledgement of POV’s mathematical description. Others think otherwise. Consider what Torin Alter has to say about Dennett's Locked RoboMary intution pump: "Why does putting herself in state B enable RoboMary to know what it’s like to see red? B is a dispositional and (let us assume) nonphenomenal state; there is nothing it’s like to be in B. Nevertheless, B involves color phenomenology in that it contains the relevant phenomenal information. Therein lies the problem for Dennett’s argument. By putting herself in a state that involves color phenomenology, RoboMary cheats. Pre-release Mary should be no less puzzled about B than she is about seeing red. If she lacks phenomenal information about seeing red, then she lacks the phenomenal information that B contains. If there are open epistemic possibilities about the nature of phenomenal redness that she cannot eliminate, then there are open epistemic possibilities about the content of B that she cannot eliminate. RoboMary comes by her phenomenal knowledge of color experience not by a priori deduction from physical information but rather by putting herself in a nonphenomenal dispositional state that contains the relevant phenomenal information. (The case for Qualia, p252-253)" So Torin Alter's argumentation goes like this: "Why would architects that adopt certain camera-points-of-view (CPOVs) in their 3D model of Rome come to experience the what-it-is-likeness (WIIL) of Rome? There is nothing like experiencing something that would be born from a point- of-view (POV), is it? POVs are from-this-world, non-phenomenal (not- metaphysical) descriptions of reality so how can they account for the WIIL of Rome? By accessing the POV and practically acknowledging its "sudden" mathematical and geometrical description architects cheat because even though they've accepted and recognized all the above they are missing something important. There is more to the WIIL of the POV than the intentional interpretation of its mathematical description." That's nonsense of course! The arguments don't line up and are obviously self-contradictory. Saying that the specialness of POVs could not be accounted for by their mathematical description only, but also by the fact that they possess something special, out of this world is just plain old unmotivated fantasy and sky-hook anchoring of an illusion as old as debates about brain an mind. A brain only needs its virtual machine and its specialized intentional discrimination devices in order to process the description of the POV and that discrimination done by the brain is the WIIL. So, to finish my deductive reasoning, what Alter is actually saying is that if color- bereft RoboMary could manage to achieve the task of putting herself into the state of experiencing colors only by using third-party, scientific data that would mean qualia is just a messed-up term invented by science-deprived, imagination-bereft philosophers, and that would make the mystery go away! Quales would be from-this-world, 100% explainable, non-magical tools used by the brain to discriminate different properties from their external world. The magic of phenomenal experience would fade away like the blink of an eye, at least that's what qualophiles fear. How else could RoboMary build into herself the experience of colors she now enjoys, only by using objective data, if this so-called "color quales" weren't completely accountable and traceable by that data? So, RoboMary has got to cheat, Alter says, otherwise color quales wouldn't be out of this world. Alter's got an agenda all right but I doubt it is finding out the truth if he keeps postulating things out of this world which will, by definition, always defy scientific explanation. Let's not confuse failures in imagination with truths about reality. To take the analogy with 3D computer modeling a little farther we can say that just like an architect enjoys objects from a computer model through the custom CPOV (having whatever custom properties its designer want it to have) created by its 3D modeling software, by the same line of reasoning we could say that Mark 19 robots are given “immediate” representations of color experiences through the HD color cameras they posses and are able to acknowledge that richness of information through their color-experiencing modules (there are another sort of CPOV). In the case of RoboMary that couldn’t be possible because she was bereft of the HD color cameras and her color- experience modules. But she managed to get around this problem by building a complete digital replica of a Mark 19 robot and calculating how her color discriminating systems would functionally look and behave from third-person perspective; just like architects that can calculate and draw camera-points-of-view (CPOVs) without the help of computers RoboMary managed to "calculate" and "draw" to herself the WIIL of colors. If was just that it took a lot more time, but it was worth it: she could now appreciate the mechanisms that bring colors to reality; and oddly enough, colors are so much more interesting because she now knows that what brings them to reality are just physical subsystems build onto bigger modules that are further arranged into intricate discrimination systems of which's functionality is all that matters. -- You received this message because you are subscribed to the Google Groups "Everything List" group. To post to this group, send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. 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