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Rewrite of "Representational Qualia Theory" statement.
Thread Created at Apr 18th 2011, 6:21:44 am | Started by Brent_Allsop
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Brent_Allsop replied 13 years ago (Aug 22nd 2011, 9:59:23 am)
Mind Theoreticians, Junius and I are still working on an improved draft of the above statement which we hope will this time avoid being objected to by anyone. In addition to making, or at least moving towards, some of the requested improvements, we've also been improving the idea of 'effing' of the ineffable which isn't described very well in the above version that was objected to. Basically, there are 3 types of effing. The first weak version is: this theory predicts we will be able to reliably know whatever it is that has redness in my brain, and be able to objectively observe such in other's brains, (it may be their green) and in this way eff to them my redness. The problem with this weak way is, if we seek to eff a quale to a person which has never experienced it before, or if the person's brain doesn't have the required stuff and/or configuration to experience it, then some type of brain augmentation is required, to eff any such new qualia. Any such augmentation of the brain, and then throwing the switch to turn it on, to which someone might respond: 'oh THAT is what it is like to be a bat' would be this second type of effing. Such a demonstration by science would clearly falsify Nagal's famous assertion that it is impossible to know what it is like to be a bat, right? Finally, there is a 3rd type, the one First Proposed by V.S. Ramachandran, where we connect minds together via 'bundles of neurons' and so on, that can do what the corpus callosum can do.... This third type is a much stronger type of effing of the ineffable, since it can connect minds in such a way that both brains are experiencing the same whatever it has that has the same quale. (for an interesting example of how minds can be merged, where knowledge of two separate and independent spirits can share the same phenomenal knowledge of the world space, both seeing out of the other's eyes, and so on, see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWDsXa5nNbI surely they each know what the others 'redness' is like and in fact both experience the same redness) The first two types of effing, do not provably resolve the philosophical "problem of other minds", they only move in that direction. While the 3rd type of effing, if demonstrated, absolutely proves and resolves the issue. Such would also absolutely falsify such philosophies as idealism, and make it near impossible to rationally believe in most current religious views of spirituality and 'spirits' that consciousness exist independent of a brain... So, anyway, consider this post a validating survey of everyone. If anyone does not agree that 'Representational Qualia Theory' predicts all 3 types of effing will eventually be achieved or demonstrated by science, and that demonstrating the 3rd strong type will absolutely resolve the problem of other minds, absolutely falsify philosophies like 'idealism' and so on, or if you would object to statements describing such being added to the "Representational Qualia Theory" camp, make sure you speak up. Brent Allsop
Junius replied 13 years ago (Jul 17th 2011, 9:15:44 pm)
= Representational Qualia Theory = http://canonizer.com/files/epist2.gif July 8 2011 - latest alterations to master copy: 08/07/2011 Our working hypothesis is that redness is not a property of something like a red strawberry reflecting 650nm light, or the initial cause of a perception process. It is, instead, a property of the final result of a perception process. The world finally fully realizing this will be far more significant than when they switched from the working hypothesis of a geocentric solar system. This could lead to the most significant scientific revolution of all time. The early significant lead this collaboratively developed camp has ahead of all others is exciting evidence that, at least for some experts and hobbyists, we might have already made considerable progress in this direction. Information theory mandates that information or knowledge must be represented by something. If you know something, there must be something that is that knowledge. If you know lots of phenomenal stuff like the redness of some strawberries, together with the greenness of some leaves, and cognitive information about how sweet the reddest ones are, there must be something that is all this information, and it must be somehow bound together in the same world of awareness that we experience. All information that comes to us through our cause and effect based senses does so in the abstract. This type of abstract information suffers from a '''"Quale Interpretation Problem"'''. This problem is why redness is ineffable. The cause and effect way this type of abstracted information comes to us by properly interpreting our senses has three important related (dis) functionalities: # What this abstract information is represented by doesn't matter, as long as it is interpreted properly. # Anything that represents this abstract information must be properly interpreted to get the abstract information represented by it. # External abstractly represented information has no relationship to any fundamental properties the media doing the representation may or may not have. This type of problematic abstractness extends beyond our senses into any detection instruments, and includes all our current computational and simulation devices. If you are going to represent information, you must have some media which can assume distinguishable states. Abstracted information being communicated someplace is, by nature of its design, only concerned with detectible and distinguishable causal local properties of the media. Regardless of what the properties of this media are, or may be like, the only relevant part is your interpreting these behaviours properly to get the abstract information being represented. External abstract information has nothing to do with what any of the intermediate representations might be fundamentally like, either phenomenally or behaviourally. With the design of whatever represents red in a computer (say red is 1 and green is 0), the only important thing is that whatever is doing the representation should have possible differentiable states, and that such differences be interpreted properly so the machines abstract algorithms can pick the items represented by ones, while avoiding the zeros. The process of interpreting abstracted representations is a local process isolated from the information and abstract algorithms being processed on them. While with consciousness, what redness and greenness are like and how they are different in phenomenally motivating ways is a critical part of our conscious knowledge and is what enables us to consciously distinguish between different things so that we can choose the red over the green. These properties must have some way of being bound together and integrated with our cognitive reasoning ideas about them, memory of such, and so on. If we used traditional cause and effect observation that suffers from the "quale interpretation problem", in order to examine the surface of the brain, or even to examine individual neurons and groups of neurons, and by this means we managed to observe the physical correlate for redness, we might ourselves only observe grey light reflected from these surfaces. However, it would be incorrect to interpret the subjective experience as greyness rather than redness. If we are going to make any progress towards explaining consciousness, we must do more than just this. We must first have a clear understanding that there is more than just causal properties we should be looking for and understand this '''quale interpretation problem'''. We must understand just '''what''' to look for – qualia, '''where''' to look for it – a property of a neural correlate and finally '''how''' to look for it – via effing the ineffable or some type of repeatable and sharable binding or grounding process. The longer nuts and bolts neural researchers only do the former, and only focus on abstracted and incorrectly interpreted causal properties of neurons, the longer they will continue to have success regarding causal behaviour, but fail to achieve what could arguably be the greatest scientific discovery of all time, in uncovering the relationship of the phenomenal properties to the neural correlates. This discovery includes the mapping and sharing of all possible experiencable phenomenal properties to the behavioural properties we already know so much about, and with it the discovery of what physics is phenomenally like. == Reduction of unified complex knowledge to fundamental qualia == The final result of the perceptual process is the appearance of a visual sensation in the phenomenal visual field (A). This is associated with the acquisition of cognitive knowledge (B) correlating to an external physical object. Processes A and B are mediated by different brain mechanisms. In associative agnosia the patient has intact phenomenology but defective epistemology about visual objects. In blindsight the opposite occurs—no phenomenology but functioning epistemology. Visual phenomenology (A) and visual epistemology (B) are processed by different brain mechanisms and correspondingly lost by damage to these regions. The word 'red' can be used in its common sense mode as naming a causal property such as the surface of a strawberry reflecting 650 nm light. But this usage is ambiguous referring to both the property of an object reflecting 650 nm light and to the correlated but physically quite separate process of the phenomenal experience redness in the brain. It is possible to add a red/green inverter anywhere in the perception process of a strawberry patch. Whenever you do this, the still reflecting 650 nm light strawberry is then being represented with phenomenal green, and the leaves are represented with phenomenal red. Dreams, hallucinated strawberries, and other visual brain states can also be composed of phenomenal, red even when there is no 650 nm light coming to our retinas from the external world. http://canonizer.com/files/250px-Inverted_qualia_of_colour_strawberry.jpg We think that the redness of the phenomenal red strawberry amongst the green leaves is out beyond our eyes, and that we are directly aware of it. But this is a misrepresentation - an optimization selected by nature. In reality, these sensations only arise after the perception process, in the model of a unified conscious world* perceived by us as our everyday reality. At the center of this phenomenal 3D world modelling is our experience of the body-image. This is the model of the physical body that we experience and that is also constructed by a representative mechanism. All somatic sensations, including 'phantom' limbs and phantom limb pain, are located in the body image not in the physical body. Inside our experience of our body-image is an experience of our "self" or "spirit" or "I". This "I" is represented as looking out of our eyes within this body image. But of course, this spirit image, unlike everything else in this phenomenal world, has no referent in reality. However, though it has no referent in reality, this in no way means our spirit does not exist. This phenomenal "spirit" is what we really, literally, and spiritually are. During "out of body experiences" this image of our spirit* leaves our body-image, but remains in the unified phenomenal world of our conscious awareness. == Effing the Ineffable == Since this theory predicts that redness is not a property of the strawberry, but instead a property of our knowledge of such, we are faced with a communication problem. Currently we can't know if my redness is anything like yours or anyone else's redness. How can we eff that which is ineffable. If this theory is borne out, and we achieve any kind of ability to reliably predict just what it is that has redness, we'll be able to do things like use our traditional instruments to detect the same thing going on in others' brains. Any such would provide us tools to ground our abstract communication so that it could become phenomenally meaningful between brains. As an example, we could look for whatever it is that we reliably know has person A's redness in person B's brain. Then we could say to person B that this is person A's red. To which person B might say something like, 'No, that is my green', or maybe, 'Yes, that is very similar to my red', or any of many other possible responses that would enable us to map out and communicate, in a predictably reliable way, at least some of the more obvious differences between our brains. This would be a kind of weak effing of the ineffable, which can be achieved via any ability we may achieve to reliably ground what we mean by abstract words in such a personally experiencable way as this. The next section describes a stronger method of effing the ineffable. ==Gamma Synchrony, the Binding Problem and the Unity of Consciousness: Strongly Effing the Ineffable == When there is a red strawberry represented in the left hemisphere (right field of vision) and a green leaf represented in the right hemisphere (left field of vision), that we are aware of as a unified phenomenal world that bridges the corpus callosum, and unifies vision into a conscious whole where we can compare and contrast their phenomenal differences. Studies show that conscious percepts correlate to different types of brain activity from unconscious percepts. In particular consciousness is demonstrated to correlate with long-range or global synchronisation of gamma oscillations in widely separated neural assemblies, whereas unconscious signals correlate only to local synchrony. The approx. 30-80 Hz oscillation of neuronal spiking known as the gamma wave can become synchronised across large areas of the brain. It is suggested that the synchronisation of widely distributed neuronal activity meets some of the requirements for explaining how conscious experience arises in the brain. It is proposed that the processing of spatially separated neuronal assemblies is bound together by signalling between them. Neurons are known to be synchronised into coherent assemblies, and these assemblies are suggested to signal the presence or absence of particular features in them to other neural assemblies. This process is suggested to give rise to a distributed representation of an object or an environment. Neuronal assemblies are self-organising and form and dissolve rapidly, which could account for the easy shifting of consciousness from one focus to another. Synchronisation also allows better control of interactions between neurons. Thus the excitatory inputs are seen to be effective if they arrive at the depolarising slope of a neuronal oscillation cycle, but are ineffective at other times. This means that groups of neurons that oscillate in synchrony will be able to signal to one another, and groups that are out of synchrony will be ignored. This mechanism can function within neural assemblies, but also between spatially separated assemblies. The frequency and phase of oscillation can alter so as to influence signalling. Studies suggest that local processing is unconscious, whereas large scale activity such as reciprocal signalling between separate neural assemblies is a correlate of consciousness. It is these latter that can establish the global coordination that is correlated to consciousness. It is proposed that masking is a good way of studying consciousness, because this allows the same stimuli to either be used in unconscious brain processing, or to be translated into phenomenally experienced brain states, depending on how long the signal is sustained for (probably +/- 30 ms). In one study words could be perceived in some trials but not in others. Local gamma synchronisation was similar in both cases, but with consciously perceived words there was a burst of long-distance gamma synchrony between the occipital, parietal and frontal cortices. [1-3. Melloni, L. et al , 2007, Melloni, L. & Rodriguez, L. 2007, Melloni, L. & Woolf, S,] Also subsequent to this burst, there was activity that could have indicated a transfer of information to working memory, while an increase in frontal cortex theta wave operations may have indicated material being held in working memory. Whatever the actual relationship between the global gamma synchrony and consciousness, this spatially extended synchrony does appear to provide a plausible explanation of how conscious perceptions are unified. The redness of fruit in one neuronal assembly is synchronised with the greenness of leaves in another assembly, the blueness of the sky in still another, plus the humming of bees and song of birds in the more spatially distant but still synchronised assemblies of the auditory cortex. Given that in principle anything physical can be built, in the longest run, this theory predicts it will be possible to discover and use similar mechanisms to produce artificial hemisphere-like structures integrated into our visual fields that can reliably reproduce various phenomenal sensations upon command within one single phenomenal world of awareness with the red, green, and everything else we are already phenomenally aware of. With such an enhanced mind, we should be able to throw a switch and say something like: 'This is what my red is like'. To which the augmented person may say - "Yes, that is the same as red for me." Or, we might be surprised to find that she represents 650 nm light with something dramatically different. We refer to such a phenomenal communication ability as [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/102/2 'effing'] the ineffable. Various brain interface experiments are increasingly getting close to 'effing' abilities. Just one demonstration of such is documented in this [http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/10.09/vision.html wired article]. If we should achieve even a remote and rare but reliable ability to 'eff' the ineffable as predicted by this theory via any such methods, whether strong or weak, this will prove this theory to be the only sound theory, demonstrating the explanatory power that is hard to detect in functionalism and other mainstream consciousness thinking. ==Choice, Preference and the Emotional Brain: The Turing Test Isn't Enough == Certain aspects of emotional processing appear to be basis of choice and preference. As something that is not replicated in classical computing, they look to be the best way of distinguishing between a conscious entity and any classical computer or robot. Emotional processing in the brain revolves round a system of 'rewards' and 'punishers'. Representations of the external world are produced in the cortex, but these are initially neutral in terms of reward value, until they are projected to other regions, and particularly the orbitofrontal cortex, which samples the entire sensory range. The orbitofrontal is thought to encode the relative value of rewards. It responds more strongly to sensory inputs related to rewards than to neutral stimuli. Thus it responds more to the pressure of velvet than the pressure of wood. In particular, studies show that the level of orbitofrontal activity correlates to the subjective pleasantness of sensations rather than the strength of the signal being received [4-6. Rolls et al 2003c, 2003d, Anderson et al, 2003]. In responding to a face, activity increases in line with the subjectively assessed attractiveness of the face. The orbitofrontal also process shifts in preferences. In a choice of apples and carrots, apples may be preferred, but when bananas are added, the preference can shift to bananas. Thus some aspects of orbitofrontal processing could be argued to make sense only in terms of qualia, rather than any form of non-conscious communication from the external world. The orbitofrontal can be seen as a brain region that creates a common neural currency that weigh up the qualia of differing rewards, or even of rewards that have no common characteristic such as holiday or a healthy bank balance. The orbitofrontal projects to the subcortical basal ganglia, a region that lies upstream of actions and behaviour. The orbitofrontal also project to the dorsolateral frontal seen as the executive and long-term planning region of the brain. The basal ganglia integrate the reward assessment of the orbitofrontal, plus inputs from many other parts of the cortex, the amygdala and other parts of the limbic system. The basal ganglia are not thought to take any part in cognitive computation, but instead act as a form of mixer-tap for a wide spread of inputs, and as such select or gate for material processed by the cortex including the orbitofrontal. Dopamine and other neuromodulators play a role both in the processing of the basal ganglia and in the delivery of the qualia of subjective reward in the nucleus accumbens, which is itself part of the basal ganglia. The determining role of qualia in these processes can be seen as contradicting much of mainstream consciousness studies. It is absurd to think the only way to determine the nature of another's consciousness is through a "Turing Test", rooted as this test is in the more limited mid-twentieth century knowledge of neuroscience and artificial intelligence. To phenomenally know the nature of qualia, the most important question to ask is something like: "What is Red like?" And to know if the conscious entity is telling the truth, you must know something about the representations being used in the remote mind, and have the ability to at least causally observe the neural correlates responsible for these properties, and have something like 'effing' abilities to ground these abstracted cause and effect representations, in a way that reliably guarantees we are interpreting them correctly. In other words, you must really know what it is phenomenally like. If you ask an intelligent system that is based on abstract knowledge what its red knowledge is phenomenally like, depending on the level of self-referential information it has access to, it could reply that it is an abstracted knowledge based system in which the information is represented by, doesn't matter. It might provide some information about the specifics such as, red is represented with 0xFF0000, revealing depth and resolution information about its knowledge and so on. Some people might consider such system to be a non-phenomenal 'zombie' that could behave identically to a phenomenal system as far as easily picking red strawberries goes. Despite such, if it demands something like 'red is a property of the surface of a strawberry', it will simply be revealing its stupidity, or if it is smarter than that, and claiming it is a phenomenal system, perhaps in line with its attempt to pass a Turing test, it will be lying. And if it is really smart, like some humans are now becoming, it will be able to learn what a phenomenally wonderful and rewarding quality red is, what it is a property of, and that effing is required to communicate and be aware of such. Like intelligent humans that want to know what other's red is like, it will want to know what red is like for us. It will likely start looking for ways to eff such ineffable knowledge to itself, so it too can experience the same wonderful stuff and finally phenomenally say: "oh THAT is what red is like for you!". An example from Sci-Fi includes Commander Data in Star Trek, who is often asking about and seeking after obviously valuable phenomenal things. == Problems with other working hypothesis == Many people often compare the idea of qualia to many failed theories of the past such as vitalism, phlogiston, either and so on. The problem with many of these arguments is they entirely miss classify the nature of qualia as [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/81/16 John Gregg] states in his [http://home.comcast.net/~johnrgregg/hardprob.htm essay on the hard problem]: "The problem is that subjective consciousness (or qualia) is not something we drag into the picture to explain something or other that we observe, as elan vital was invoked to explain what we observe about life, or to use another example reductive physicalists like, as the luminiferous ether was invoked to explain light waves in the 19th century. Consciousness is the raw data, the observed thing that needs explaining. It is the light, not the ether." People like Daniel Dennett make similar categorical errors when they claim we don't have qualia "it just seems like we do" (7. Consciousness Explained P. 375). The very meaning of 'to seem' is to have knowledge that doesn't accurately represent its referent. Qualia have to do with the nature of our seeming. Whether or not they are mistaken representations of something else is irrelevant. A few people claim to be representationalists, while promoting the use of terribly confusing and ambiguous terms such as our representations are 'transparent' in a way that allows us to be aware of what we are looking at. Or they say things like "every quale is a representation". As soon as you say something ambiguous like our representations are 'transparent' this allows people to quickly jump to the obviously erroneous conclusion that phenomenal red is really on the surface of the strawberry, and that our representations, because of their 'transparency' allow us to be aware of such. See liberal usages of this word in the works of [https://webspace.utexas.edu/tyem/www/ Michel Tye], [http://www.philosophie.uni-mainz.de/metzinger/ Thomas Metzinger] and others. When you say something like 'every quale is a representation', again this confuses the issues and does not accurately mechanically portray what is the representation, and what is being represented. The key thing to grasp is that the qualia, subjective experience, or the fact that looking at a strawberry does seem like something rather than either nothing or a string of 0s and 1s is a brain state. It usually correlates to particular oscillations in the external world but bears little or no resemblance to them. Philosophers who say that we only seem to have the qualia of red strawberries miss the point or make a category error in that it is the seeming bit that they need to explain. If they are scientifically literate they already know that the qualia bear little actual resemblance to the external object. A few so called representationalists also name something they call the phenomenal principle - "That if there sensibly appears to a subject to be something which possesses a particular sensible quality then there is something of which the subject is aware which does possess that sensible quality." And they deny such a principle. We believe such a principle, but think it is much better to simply say our brains use qualia to represent things and that our knowledge is made of such. What these qualia are like, how they are different, and how we are aware of such in a unified way, is critically important to the process. The word representation has to be used because this is the normal way this form of brain processing is described in the literature. Nevertheless, this word is unfortunate in suggesting that our brain states bear some resemblance to the external world. It might be better to talk about 'mapping'. For instance, the two dimensional coloured lines that comprise the map of a metro system in a large city bear little physical resemblance to the reality of concrete tunnels and metal vehicles, but this map is adaptive for navigating the city. This is a very brief list of issues present here. Steve Lehar has a much more comprehensive review of the history of the epistemological debate, and the various problems and confusions that have and still do exist, working from an assumption that representational qualia theory is correct. This comprehensive academic presentation is contained in his [http://cns-alumni.bu.edu~slehar/webstuff/consc1a.htm#hist A History of the Epistemological Debate section of his "The Function of Conscious Experience" paper. It includes the following: "The critical realists all agreed on the fact that the sense data are independent of the object of perception itself. However the question of whether the sense data are part of the mind, or whether they are aspects of the external object is one on which critical realists differed in subtle ways. In a book on critical realism by a consortium of authors, Lovejoy, Pratt and Sellars claim that the senses are completely "the character of the mental existent . although its existence is not given", whatever that might possibly mean, while Drake, Rogers, Santayana and Strong agree that the data are characteristic of the apprehended object, although "the datum is qua datum, a mere essence, an inputed but not necessarily actually existent. It may or may not have existence", whatever that might possibly mean. So the critical realists solved the problem of sense-data by defining a unique kind of existent, which may either be part of the external object, or of the internal mental state, but in any case it has a status of quasi-existence, which supposedly escapes the problems inherent in identifying it explicitly as either an internal or external entity. Epistemological confusion inevitably leads to a confused philosophy." == Various types of Property Dualism == Everyone in this camp considers themselves to be 'property dualists', in that they believe qualia are not only important, but are different properties of nature than traditional causal properties we can know of abstractly. As David Chalmers refers to it, phenomenal qualities are "Part of the basic furniture of nature, just as the laws of physics are." Some theoreticians tend to call them 'physical properties' but we believe this is not a good name since subjective phenomenal properties are also best thought of as 'physical properties'. There are different types of property dualists. David Chalmers is probably the most famous property dualists and argues that phenomenal properties, in some 'hard' way, 'arise from any functional equivalent organization, from neurons to silicon transistors. This version of property dualism is currently the most well accepted, and is represented by the [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/88/8 Functional Property Dualism] sub camp. Recent gains in a competing camp that might be on the verge of taking the lead is very different in that it predicts that there is some neural correlate, or material substance that simply has the phenomenal properties our brains use to represent conscious knowledge with. Without the right stuff, you can't have the same quale. This theory is represented by the [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/88/7 Material Property Dualism] sub camp. If Material Property Dualism is effingly demonstrated to be true by science, it will falsify any theory or possibility that we might be in an abstracting simulation. There are also other supporting yet to be falsified theories such as [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/88/14 Higher Dimensional property dualism] first proposed by C.D. Broad, and currently supported by [http://canonizer.com/support_list.asp?nick_name_id=97 John Smythies] and Bernard Carr. This theory predicts phenomenal properties exist in the branes of string theory, or in some higher dimensions. In addition to these, there is an increasing number of other supporting sub camps indicating there is far less consensus on just what qualia are, as compared to how well accepted this more general Representational Qualia theory is. The supporters of such sub camps as the [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/88/17 Mind-Brain Identity Theory], and [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/88/9 Computational Functionalism] are subsets of the supporters of these general ideas. Some proponents of 'Mind-Brain Identity Theory', for example, do not believe in the importance of qualia, or that qualia are properties of our knowledge. The supporters of these particular camps, as indicated by the fact that these are sub camps to this camp, show that they do espouse these additional doctrines. We fully expect parallel branches of such camps to form outside of this Representational Qualia camp to properly represent the people that espouse these different versions of mind brain identity theory and functionalism. The [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/88/37 Detection, Reaction, and Association] camp being one example of a functionalist theory that ignores qualia that is a competitor to this camp. == What will the future be like if this theory turns out to be the one ? == Our brains and brain states are private from those of others, and give a first person experience, whereas what comes from other peoples' brains is public and third person. Though there are unified, grand and glorious phenomenal spirit* worlds within each of us, our spirits are still trapped behind this phenomenal veil of perception. Our cause and effect based senses and their extension via traditional scientific instruments and communication tools allow abstracted communication between these worlds, and about the causal behaviour of the world in general. But, beyond this abstracted information about the behaviour of what is outside, we are still phenomenally isolated and blind to any phenomenal properties beyond what is in our own world of conscious awareness. When we hug someone, we still only know half of what is important. We believe science could be on the verge of getting an objective handle on these blind to traditional cause-and-effect observation phenomenal properties that could enable technologies such as 'effing' the ineffable. This discovery will finally resolve how they work, how they are unified, and many other conundrums of self and epistemology philosophy has been struggling with for so long. We believe such a discovery will be the most significant, profound and world changing of scientific achievements to date. For such an achievement will literally ultimately enable the piercing of these spirit prison walls and eventually allow our phenomenally unified spirits to be freed into a world that is surely much more than just cause and effect behaviour. If this theory turns out to be true our spirit* worlds, in addition to being shared and merged, will soon be growing in resolution, extents, diversity of phenomenal qualities, and many way's we surely can't even fathom yet, let alone know what it will be like. """References:-""" 1.) Rolls et al, 2003c 2.) Rolls et al 2003d 3.)Anderson et al, 2003 – Dissociated neural representations of intensity and valence in human olfaction - Nature Neuroscience, 6, pp. 196-203 4.) Melloni, L. et al, 2007 - Synchronisation of cortical activity across cortical areas correlates with conscious perception - Journal of Neuroscience, 27, pp. 2858-65 5.) Melloni, L. & Rodriguez, L., 2007 - Non-perceived stimuli elicit local but not large scale neural synchrony - Perception, 36, (ECVP Abstract Supplement) 6.) Memory, Attention and Decision-Making - Edmund T. Rolls, Chapter 3, pp. 113-129 New Horizons in the Neuroscience of Consciousness - Chapter 2, pp. 17-26 – Lucia Melloni & Wolf Singer 7.) Dennett, Daniel, 1991 – Consciousness Explained, Brown and Co. '''More Info''' * Steven Lehar, an early leader in the [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/81/4 Mind Experts] topic maintains [http://cns-alumni.bu.edu/~slehar/Representationalism.html The Representationalism Web Site]. * That we know of [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V.S. Ramachandran V.S. Ramachandran] and [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William Hirstein] were the first to propose the idea of effing the ineffable (though they didn't call it such) in their seminal http://www.imprint.co.uk/rama/qualia.pdf Three Laws of Qualia in 1997. Some people think there is a better term to use than 'eff'. Please see [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/102 this survey topic] and 'vote' for what you think is the best term to describe this process of communicating that which is ineffable. * In Nov. 2009 David Chalmers et al did a [http://philpapers.org/surveys PhilPapers Survey]. Question number 21 of that survey was: "Perceptual Experience: Representationalism, Qualia Theory, Disjunctivism, Sense –Datum Theory?" Though this camp shares doctrines of many of the choices such as qualia and representationalism, the members of this camp consider the [http://canonizer.com/topic.asp/106/6 Sense-Datum Theory choice] to be the closest to what is described here. * There is a canonized list of the most favourite publications about representational qualia theory [http://canonizer.com/topoc.asp/85 here] * This theory makes profound predictions about what things like uploading and "escape from our mortal spirit* prison" will be like, should it turn out to be true. A detailed description of such predictions in story form is contained in chapters 5 and 6 of the short story by Brent Allsop entitled "1229 years after Titanic" available here: http://home.comcast.net/~brent.allsop '''*Note:''' It isn't easy to describe what we are talking about here with common English. Terms like 'phenomenal' and 'spiritual' get close, but can also be misleading because these terms are so often used to mean other things than we are talking about here. Though this 'world in our head' has many similarities to what people commonly think of when they use the term 'spirit world' it should be very clear that what we are talking about here is completely contained in our skull, and is dependent on, or a property of, the living matter that makes up our brain. We do believe in 'spirits' as defined here, but we do not believe in ghosts.
Brent_Allsop replied 13 years ago (Jul 17th 2011, 3:38:41 am)
Hi Everyone, I'd like to thank Junius, who, in addition to making the most significant new information additions, has done a great job managing the master copy of the new version of Representational Qualia Theory statement, and getting all the feedback and input by everyone integrated, and sending current draft versions of the master out to all the reviewers and so on. Things seem to finally have settled down, and I feel we are ready to submit, so unless we hear from anyone else soon, we'll go ahead and submit this latest version. Of course, camp supporters will receive a notification when it is submitted, indicating the start of the one week review process before it goes live. I'm definitely looking forward to that. Upwards, Brent Allsop
David Friend replied 13 years ago (May 11th 2011, 1:37:02 am)
I find Junius' statement on gamma synchrony totally acceptable, but it doesn't take us very far. We have to identify the critical network/s that generate consciousness and the major node/s involved. Then the precise mechanism of temporal encoding must be determined [representation has to be temporal, doesn't it?]. Once this has been achieved we are on our way to a sound representational qualia theory. One note of caution - let us not become obsessed with cortex in isolation and ignore the centres essential for affect. Every thought has its emotional component. David Friend
Junius replied 13 years ago (May 10th 2011, 11:26:07 pm)
I agree that indefinite pursuit of correlates of consciousness will not by itself yield a theory of consciousness, as correlation is not the same as identity. One of the benefits, if the gamma synchrony was seen to resolve the binding or unity of consciousness problem, would be to allow efforts to be concentrated on qualia or subjectivity which looks like the real hard problem. One of the difficulties in consciousness studies has been a tendency to get bogged down in areas that are not the essential problem. Anyway, I am now sending a shortened version of the bit on the gamma synchrony. You are welcome to integrate either version or some editing of either or both of them into your rewrite. The Gamma Synchrony Studies show that conscious perceptions produce different types of brain activity from unconscious percepts. In particular, consciousness is demonstrated to produce long-range synchronisation of gamma oscillations in spatially separated neuronal assemblies. The 30-80 Hz gamma oscillation of neuronal spiking can become synchronised across large areas of the brain binding together spatially separated neuronal assemblies. This connectivity is suggested to meet the requirements for binding together the unity of consciousness. Neurons are known to be synchronised into coherent assemblies, and these neuronal assemblies are suggested to signal the presence of particular features to other neuronal assemblies. This is proposed to give rise to a a distributed representation of the environment. Synchronisation also allows better control of interaction between neurons. Excitatory inputs are effective at a particular point of the oscillation cycle, and are ignored at other times. Groups of neurons that are not oscillating in synchrony are ignored. This can function both within and between neuronal assemblies. Studies suggest that local gamma processing is unconscious, but that longer range reciprocal signaling between spatially separate neuronal assemblies is a correlate of consciousness. Studies involving masking of stimuli have allowed the same stimuli to be either unconscious or conscious. In one study words could be perceived unconsciously in some trials but consciously in others. Local gamma synchronisation was similar in both cases, but with consciously perceived stimuli there was a long-range synchrony between the occipital, parietal and frontal cortices. The conscious stimuli also produced activity indicating a transfer of information to the working memory, and frontal cortex theta activity may indicate material being held in working memory. The gamma synchrony is just a correlate and does not explain how consciousness arises, however it does seem plausible that the physical basis of consciousness is in some way related to this process.
Brent_Allsop replied 13 years ago (May 9th 2011, 9:54:32 am)
Hi Junius, I now have a new version of the statement I feel ready to submit, unless someone else is willing to review it and help provide more feedback on it. I've made several improvements to the opening section posted in post # 14 above, including completely deleting the second to the last paragraph, and adding this shorter bottom line one at the end of that section that I'd love to find out what others think: -------------------------------------------- "The bottom line is, this theory predicts that if neural researchers are at all going to make any progress discovering consciousness, they must have an understand of '''what''' to look for - qualia, '''where''' to look for it - a property of a neural correlate, and finally '''how''' to look for it - via effing the ineffable. The longer nuts and bolts neural researchers ignore this, and only focus on abstracted and incorrectly interpreted behavior of neurons, the longer they will continue to fail to achieve what will arguably become the greatest scientific discovery of all time - something some of us think we already have the capability to do and should have done a long time ago. All that is required is the correct expert consensus theory of what, where, and how to look for it." -------------------------------------------- I also have organized things better and split them into titled sub sections. So, Junious, it might work out to just add what you've proposed above in yet one more titled sub section. Are you to a place where you'd be willing to take what I have, add your section, and then you do this all as a single submission, to avoid everyone having to review two proposed changes close together? If not, I'll just formally make my proposal sometime in the next few days. Brent Allsop
Brent_Allsop replied 13 years ago (May 2nd 2011, 4:23:24 am)
Theoretical Experts, Here is the opening part of the latest version of the rewrite I've been working on. It has changed significantly from the version I sent out to some of you on request. Other than this rewrite of the opening 3 paragraphs, most of the rest hasn't changed much - some has been removed, or consolidated and moved into this opening part. As always, I welcome any thoughts, pro, con, or whatever. I'd especially like to know what you think of giving a name to this '''"qualia interpretation principle"'''. I think this is an important way of thinking about the difference between computer knowledge and conscious knowledge. There are many "theories of consciousness" out there that completely fail to address this important issue, and to me, thereby, can't be valid. -------------------------------------------- = Representational Qualia Theory = http://canonizer.com/files/epist2.gif Our working hypothesis is that a phenomenal red property or quale is not a property of something like a red strawberry reflecting 650nm light, or the initial cause of a perception process. It is, instead, a property of the final result of a perception process. The world finally fully realizing this will be far more significant than when they switched from a geocentric solar system working hypothesis and such could lead to what could turn out to be the most significant scientific revolution / achievement of all time. The early significant lead this camp has ahead of all others is exciting evidence that, at least for some experts and hobbyists, we might have already made a great bit of progress in this direction. Information theory mandates that information or knowledge must be represented by something. If you know something, there must be something that is that knowledge. If you know lots of phenomenal stuff like the color of surfaces of some strawberries, together with the color of some leaves, and cognitive information like how sweet the most red ones are, there must be something that is all this information and it must be somehow bound together in the same world of awareness so we can distinguish between red and green, so that we might interpret them appropriately enabling us to choose the red ones. All information that comes to us through our cause and effect based senses is done so in the abstract based on a '''"Quale Interpretation Principle"'''. This principle is why qualia are ineffable. This type of abstracted information we get from interpreting our senses has two important related properties: # What this abstract information is represented by, by design, doesn't matter, as long as it is interpreted properly. # Anything that represents this abstract information must be properly interpreted to get the abstract information represented by it. This abstractness extends beyond our senses into any detection instruments, and includes all our current computational devices. What represents red in a computer, by design doesn't matter. The only important thing is that whatever is doing the representation have possible differentiable states, and that such differences be interpreted properly. With consciousness, on the other hand, information is represented and distinguished in a fundamentally different way. The red and green phenomenal properties of our knowledge of a strawberry patch, how they are bound together, and the fact that we know what they are phenomenally like and how they are different, is what allows us to be able to differentiate them and interpret each of them appropriately. Unlike all abstracted information coming to us through our senses, what this information is represented with, what they are phenomenally like, that we are aware of the difference is all important and what enables us to choose the red ones. We are interpreting the surface of the strawberry, the light, and all the other intermediate representations as something very different than what the original fundamentally is. There is no phenomenal color, taste, warmth, sound, or pain, beyond our senses, that we know of. There is only the abstracted information about their causal behavior of reflected electromagnetic radiation of a certain wavelength, chemical content, kinetic energy motion of molecules, acoustical vibrations, bodily damage or other cause and effect behavioral properties which our brain interprets and represents as something very fundamentally different. The above image by Steven Lehar is purposefully depicted with color only inside the head. The black and white lines of the outside world represent this type of abstracted information, for which we only know abstracted information about. All we can currently know of the external world is this kind of abstracted information about it. Because of this must be interpreted properly requirement, such perception cannot tell us what something is phenomenally like, beyond our ability to interpret it properly. This '''"Quale Interpretation Principle"''' is the reason for the veil of phenomenal perception and is why phenomenal properties are ineffable or blind to interpreted cause and effect based observation. Discovering and tracking ever more detailed and comprehensive abstracted information about the neural correlates that are our knowledge, alone, will never reveal to us what they are subjectively experienced as. Whatever neural correlate is that is responsible for a point of subjective red on the surface of the strawberry we are aware of, would be much more likely to reflect grey light (if it is 'grey matter'?) than 650nm light. So obviously interpreting it as grey, would not be the correct interpretation of a neural correlate that we experienced as a point of red. Scientists may already have far more abstract information about neural correlates, than required to discover a relationship between the abstracted information they are learning, and what they are subjectively like to experience. And as long as they continue to only look for ever more detailed abstracted information about such, and never ask what is it like to experience such, they could go on forever missing what is all important for consciousness, and how to properly interpret such. All we know of the surface of the strawberry, is how our cause and effect based senses are phenomenally representing it. If something in our brain is ineffably like something, there also exists the possibility that the surface of the strawberry, and much else in nature, has ineffable phenomenal properties we are blind to, along with their causal or behavior properties we only now just represent as something very different than what the original is truly like.
Brent_Allsop replied 13 years ago (May 2nd 2011, 1:57:12 am)
Hi Junius, You indicated that you could do a summary of the gamma synchrony write up and were asking how small to make it. Given the unanimous support for your work, I think everyone would agree that you can determine the size for this better than me or most of us. I always try to remind myself, that the purpose here is just a survey, and to provide an abstract, or even just a name of what our current working hypothesis are, with references to other more info. But of course, as you can see with what we have now, I've probably already added way to much stuff there now. You also mentioned not being able to get to this for some time. That's the nice thing about collaborative wikis. If some capable person gets to it before you, that is OK. Or whenever you have time that works to. If I had more time, I'd have all these people contacted, and so many more... hopefully many of them recruited and participating. Anything anyone can do to help, when they can, with whatever, benefits everyone. Small easy steps by everyone is where the power of crowd sourcing and wikis comes from. I think I'm getting close to the rewrite changes I'd like to propose soon. The opening section is where most of my proposed changes will be so I'm going to post that in a follow up post to this thread, to see if there is any objections or other possible feedback. If you have time to have me send a copy of what I'm working on, before I officially submit/propose it, perhaps we you can make your changes to this, and we can submit our changes together, reducing the amount of review everyone has to do for multiple submits. But if not, then feel free to just submit a modified statement, with your additions integrated in, any time you'd like. I don't expect anyone in our camp to object to any changes you would propose. Thanks, Brent Allsop
desidimona replied 13 years ago (Apr 30th 2011, 6:27:22 pm)
Thank you Junius. i shall give the link to my blog when i post the article. The tentative title: "Gamma Synchrony" by Junius. regards, ramesam
Junius replied 13 years ago (Apr 30th 2011, 5:56:05 pm)
I think desidimona asked for a couple of lines of my background. You can say that I run a website/blog on consciousness and fundamental physics www.quantum-mind.co.uk. I have also written a science fiction book 'Persephone Wakes' under the name Jack Junius with theories of consciousness as its theme, and am working on another fiction book (a sort of Dan Brown of the Cotswolds) with altered states of consciousness and religion as its theme. - Junius