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Effing Billiard Ball's Colors
Thread Created at Sep 15th 2011, 8:26:16 am | Started by Brent_Allsop
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Brent_Allsop replied 12 years ago (Sep 18th 2011, 1:22:22 am)
Hi Junius, Help me understand why or what you are alarmed about. You and John Clem have clearly helped me know that this doesn't belong at the Representational Qualia level, so I'm 100% supportive of that consensus. The higher level, more well supported theories are the most important and where everyone should focus most of their effort. So getting that right, according to consensus, is where I think we should go. Perhaps you could send me (and anyone else who requests such) the latest draft of the updated Representational Qualia Theory statement? I'm sure what you have now is, if not all ready great for submission, very close, to what we all agree on. After we get that successfully submitted, I might consider adding some of this clasic qualia billiard ball stuff to my camp, since I still seem to be the only one supporting such. Does your alarm have anything to do with this, and my inquiries along these lines about how best to capture what you and I believe, and how our beliefs differ, at this very low sub camp level? Brent Allsop
Junius replied 12 years ago (Sep 16th 2011, 3:26:56 pm)
I am a bit alarmed at the idea that we are launching a new billiard ball theory. The reference to billiard balls is simply a widely used image for how classical physics works. It also neatly contains the idea of a complete explanation for the behaviour of macroscopic objects. The purpose of science is to explain behaviour in the universe and in respect of the macroscopic world, classical physics is completely succesful. As Laplace, I think, is supposed to said to Napoleon, there was no place for the concept of a God. Any addition to the properties of classical/billiard ball type particles puts one completely outside of science. In classical physics, you can run but you can't hide. This is the reason that the serried ranks of biologists, neuroscientists and reductionist philosophers think they can be so dismissive of consciousness. The suggestion that people are generally happy with this, if I read that right is surprising. Surely the very existence of this site indicates a lack of general happiness. Would we expend as much effort debating weights on a pulley or steam pressure in a boiler? There is an issue in terms of what our perception process can see. We know we are conscious or that it is like something to have the perception of red strawberries. For many this defeats the strange 'qualia don't exist' argument, but I can't see the fact of perception tells us anything about how it arises or if you prefer what it is. Science has narrowed the field of search a bit. It's not a property of the strawberries, it does correlate to brain states. Beyond that it's so far not possible to say what it does derive from. I think the issue about your yellow being my red is scientifically interesting but not the core question, which is why it is like something to perceive red strawberries, green leaves or anything else.
Brent_Allsop replied 12 years ago (Sep 16th 2011, 9:21:55 am)
Hi John Clem, Ah, yes, of course. Now that you remind me, it probably really doesn't belong at the Representational Qualia level at all. Possibly not even at the mind brain identity theory? Do any of you leading consensus at that level "Functional Property Dualism dudes" think there is any validity to this billiard ball idea? It's amazing how I completely blank out all the other theories I'm trying so hard to learn about and keep track of with this system. Does anyone else have problems loosing track of other theories like this? Thanks so much for taking the effort to point this out and remind me. Junius and I are currently both in the Material Property Dualism super camp, way below that level, yet it is appearing that it doesn't even belong at that level. In fact, is there any other person besides me that thinks this classical billiard ball theory is a possibility, or yet to be falsified? Junius was asking why it's so difficult to think about consciousness in terms of the quantum. I would reply that it is not. In my mind, It is definitely a very real possibility, and one of the only camps I think is not yet completely falsified. After all, I am also a supporter of the Orch OR camp, secondarily, after my current Macro Property Dualism first choice (probably where the billiard ball stuff goes?). Junious, how can we best capture our differences of beliefs, and get this canonized or represented in both of our camps, so we can rigorously measure for how many people, if any, agree with either of us? I think it should be very clearly represented, that we both agree that quantum is a very real possibility, and I understand at least some of the good arguments that support this view. Junius, you say: "Its weakness is mainly the failure to yield a theory of consciousness that leaves enquirers generally happy." I disagree with this, and think this is the primary disagreement? I see a very real possibility that classical stuff, in addition to having the regular classical cause and effect behavioral properties, could also have phenomenal properties. Our perception process can even see this, it's just that we are still obviously miss interpreting what they are phenomenally like, as described when we think the number one billiard ball is like 'yellowness' just because we interpret it as being yellow, and represent it with such. When in reality it is like redness. I also think you are making a mistake when you say: "If we are blind to something phenomenal in these then we should admit that we're probably looking at something supernatural and learn to live with that." Even if there is some magic or spark, down at the quantum level, you will still eternally be faced with the same identical problem, no matter how quantumly deep and mystical it becomes. Causally, you'll be able to observe the spark, randomness, or whatever, but you could still be miss interpreting that spark's causal properties as yellowness, when it is really redness, right? If science demonstrably proves anything like the billiard ball simplification, and achieves the ability to eff the true nature of whatever classical, or quantum stuff it is in our brain that has redness, and so on, then it will completely falsify your theory right? And anyone that once would consider themselves as not satisfied with any such explanation, must then be completely satisfied in the Billiard Ball camp, once they experience for themselves, what it is like, and they know how to properly interpret what they are causally observing, right? Thanks for all the conversations, everyone. All your participation helps immensely! So, one final query. Does anyone else besides me believe this billiard ball theory is a real possibility yet to be falsified, and worthy of consideration? Brent Allsop
Junius replied 12 years ago (Sep 15th 2011, 10:33:43 pm)
The operative thing here is the claim that we are blind to the phenomenal properties of oscillations in electrical potential or possibly the transmission of amino acids between neurons. In looking at this, we need to confront the strengths and weaknesses of classical physics. Its weakness is mainly the failure to yield a theory of consciousness that leaves enquirers generally happy. Its strengths should be seen as something of a wonder in that classical physics plus quanta understood in a more or less classical way explain the behaviour of macroscopic matter in a manner that entirely eluded all previous generations. Because of the very small scale to which more than a century of very exhaustive experimentation has penetrated the chances of finding some classical feature in or attached to electrical oscillations and amino acids is so remote as to be not worth considering. If we are blind to something phenomenal in these then we should admit that we're probably looking at something supernatural and learn to live with that. The other thing I would ask is why it's so difficult to think about consciousness in terms of the quantum or spacetime levels. I do think this is a cultural problem inflicted on us by mainstream science. The discoveries of quantum theory early in the last century contradicted the concepts of what appeared to be an almost complete classical theory. The response to this was essentially 'don't bother your pretty little head with this.' Quantum theory was marginalised as an abstruse calculation used for certain special cases, whereas the truth was that it described the fundamental nature of matter and energy. Quantum theory was largely excluded from popular knowledge and education even science education. The evil consequence of this was that it gradually seeped out in the late 20th century as a word that could be attached to almost any claim, which in turn allowed the mainstream to ridicule and marginalise the whole area. But the fact is that the theory and its interrelation with spacetime theory are central to understanding our universe. Simon
John Clem replied 12 years ago (Sep 15th 2011, 5:03:49 pm)
Doesn't the billard ball analysis belong in the mind-brain identity camp?
Brent_Allsop replied 12 years ago (Sep 15th 2011, 8:26:16 am)
Theoreticians, As Simon and I continue our work on the new version of the Representational Qualia Theory statement we branched out into a discussion on whether qualia are or could be based on classical, vs non classical (quantum?) physics/phenomenon. Simon pointed out that the original 'classical' theories were billiard ball's bouncing into each other, according to classical laws of physics. This was turning into a very educational conversation for me. The idea of thinking of this using classical billiard balls really crystallized many of my thoughts, and I wanted to open this conversation up to the public, here, in hopes of getting more input from everyone. The following is the way I think about all this, and I'd like to know what all of you think about thinking of phenomenal properties in this kind of classical billiard ball way. Simon mentioned he thought the difference between "something has qualia" vs "qualia arise from something" as merely "a bit of a meaning of words thing". But I think there is a subtle difference between these that is critically important to clearly understand and fully model. While talking of redness, Simon said: "We can certainly agree that the surface of the strawberries don't have it." From this he continued on even further with neuronal "Oscillations in electrical potential do not have redness. Our science gives a full description in that respect." and this is where it seems to me things have completely fallen off the track - at least according to the way I currently think of things. It is true that we can both agree that 'redness' is not a property of the strawberry. But, we must also acknowledge the very real possibility that the surface of the strawberry does have phenomenal properties. As far as "oscillations in electrical potential", these are abstracted words describing the causal properties of electrical potentials of certain sets of matter. These words are mere interpretations of what all is really going on and there is a very real possibility that these types of abstracted words are being miss-interpreted when thinking they do not representing something that could have phenomenal properties. Causal properties of matter are categorically different than phenomenal properties, and this is clearly making the classic mistake of failing to distinguish between the two. In my mind, it is a very real possibility that this stuff does have phenomenal properties, we are just still blind to these properties, or it would be better to say, we could be simply misinterpreting what these "oscillation in electrical potential" are phenomenally like and what all phenomenal properties such might additionally include. To better get at this idea, I'd like to consider a possibility of how classic billiard balls could have phenomenal properties, and how these properties would be categorically different than their causal properties, and how their phenomenal properties could be miss interpreted. In this thought experiment, let's consider a 3D array of neurons that can each represent or model voxel elements of a 3D volume of space we can see. Say we have a cube of 1000 X 1000 X 1000 such neurons. Each of these neurons can communicate with their neighbors and the dendrites of neurons organized in hierarchical layers of neural networks capable of pattern recognition, leading out of the 3D matrix and providing the hierarchical cognitive meaning of what we are seeing. Let's model this communication interaction as being accomplished by the neurons firing billiard balls at their neighbors, across synapses. Let's pick 2 neurotransmitters at random as example possibilities, such as glutamate and glycine. Let's say our number 1 billiard balls are made of glutamate and number 2 billiard balls are made of glycine. In this thought experiment when a neuron fires number one billiard balls at its neighbors, the absorption of it is experienced as that voxel element of visual space having the property of redness. Let's say when number 2 billiard balls are fired, we experience a greenness at that location. The most important part of this 'classical' system, is that it is just that. Everything about it, is nothing more than the classical cause and effect operation of synapses we've been observing for the longest time. Now, let's say we take a bunch of number one billiard balls, and shine some light on them. Let's say the number one balls have a causal property in that they reflect yellow light. And the number 2 balls causally reflect blue light just like normal 1 and 2 billiard balls that are yellow and blue respectively. Of course, if we say we know everything, causally, about the number one balls, and claim that redness isn't one of their properties, we are obviously completely miss interpreting the causal information we are getting or we are blind to what is most important. If we say these number one balls have yellowness, simply since they reflect yellow light and we represent their color with yellow knowledge, we are at least getting closer. Now the only remaining issue required to correctly eff the ineffable, is to get the interpretation right. Rather than thinking the balls are phenomenally like what we represent them with, we must experiment with, discover and reliably map all this out appropriately, according to how we reliably experience them, so we can properly interpret the number one balls that reflect yellow light as having phenomenal redness, and the number 2 balls that reflect blue light as being experienced as having greenness. Of course, phenomenal reality is not anywhere near this simple, just as classical physics is quite a bit more than simple billiard balls bouncing around. But thinking of classical physics as something like billiard balls bouncing around gives one a powerful intuitive insight into the nature of classical physics. Similarly, thinking of effing of the ineffable in this simplified classical way, helps one gain an intuitive knowledge of what it might mean to eff, ineffable properties of stuff and how it could be done classically, not requiring any physical weirdness or uncertainty. Let's get back to the subtle difference of saying things like "something has qualia" vs "qualia arise from something". Let's also consider similar possible differences between explaining qualia vs discovering qualia. If you want to 'explain' how we perceive the strawberry patch, you paint or construct the 3d volume space with things that have phenomenal properties. This conscious phenomenal knowledge of the strawberry patch arises from, or can be reduced to, the pallet of myriads of individual phenomenal colors and feels we can experienced in our 3d visual knowledge. But, at the fundamental level, there are irreducible elements that have irreducible phenomenal properties that aren't explained and don't arise from anything, they are simply the fundamental phenomenal building block properties which can be unified together to produce what consciousness is phenomenally like. You don't explain these fundamental irreducible properties as arising from anything, they simply are to be discovered and most importantly, properly interpreted as such. Something like this is what you build consciousness out of, and what it can be reduced to. As long as we consider phenomenal properties as not being among all the causal properties we interpret stuff as having, or thinking they somehow arises from them, we are clearly being blind to and ignoring what they could be phenomenally like. So, what does everyone think? Is this kind of classic effing thinking worthy of including in Representational Qualia Theory? Brent Allsop