On 3/20/2013 4:51 PM, Tom Bayley wrote:


    There is not a "direct link" between the light switch and the light going 
on either,
    the closing of the light switch just caused a current to flow in the wire, 
the
    current flow didn't cause the light either it just caused the filament in 
the light
    bulb to get hot, it was the hot electrons in the filament that caused the
    electromagnetic waves to be produced.


I think explanations are important to prove causation ;-) and it's interesting that you can break this example down. Each explanatory step is materially plausible (it has a satisfactory public explanation), right up to the perception of the light. But the qualia (qualium?) itself doesn't have a public description, and there isn't any sense of satisfaction that it has been explained. It's tempting to believe that's because it's a complicated step, but there seems no obvious way to reduce it. So as far as I can see it is still only an assumption, with the hope/faith that some plausible explanation will one day be found. I'm not sure there are many other widely-held scientific explanations like this one?

I don't think you have considered carefully enough explanations that you do think are plausible: Did Newton explain gravity? Did Gell-Mann explain quarks. Is life explained by chemistry? An explanation is satisfying when we can used it to predict or manipulate. When we can build robots that act just like people and report their qualia to us - then we'll think we've explained qualia, and questions like "Yes, but what is it really?" will seem anachronistic.

Brent

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