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Camp Statement

Go live Time : 17 January 2009, 11:38 PM

In January of 2009 at the Decade of the Mind conference, Christof Koch, Ph.D. gave a presentation entitled "Studying the Brain Basis of Consciousness: Present State and Future Challenges". His opening slide was nothing but a big patch of 'red'. 'Qualia', neural correlates and so on figured dominantly in his presentation.

Following this Robert Shulman, Ph.D. (Brain Energy Supports the State of Consciousness) and James Albus, PhD. (Engineering Perspective on Reverse Engineering the Brain) had presentations.

During the Moderated Discussion following these 3 presentations Brent Allsop asked a question referring to the 'models' of the world James Albus referred to as being used in reverse engineered intelligent systems based on the mind. He basically asked if he had ever considered 'phenomenal properties' or 'qualia' as possibly being an important part of these 'representations' of reality being reverse engineered from the brain.

During the responses a heated discussion insured on the topic and the audience became visibly restless. Brent Allsop then asked if he could get a show of hands from everyone about the importance of qualia. When he asked how many people thought the idea of Qualia would turn out to be unimportant, like the idea of phlogisten it appeared that about 10% to 20% of the people raised their hand including Dr. Shulman and Dr. Albus. It appeared that about an equal number of people raised their hand when asked if they thought Qualia was important to the Mind.

As this was going on, something like the following was also heard from the audience: 'Nobody wants to talk about that here'.

The purpose of this topic is an open survey to find out how many people do, indeed, think the topic of 'qualia' at conferences or other colloquia on the 'Mind' are appropriate or not. We would like to measure concisely and quantitatively, how much 'scientific consensus' there is both for and against this issue.

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