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Camp Statement

Go live Time : 11 April 2010, 09:18 PM

Qualia are the Most Important Part of Consciousness Research

We believe that the pursuit of a scientific explanation for the existence of mind and consciousness in the physical universe, is by far the most important endeavor of today. We believe that such has a good probability of leading to the greatest scientific discovery of all time - what and how consciousness is. We believe more scientific funding should be applied to this field of study than any other field of science.

In addition to the above, we believe there are 3 critical questions that any scientist or anyone interested in such must be cognizant of, or at least well educated about, when doing any kind of real science of the mind.

First, they must understand how important the issue of qualia is, when it comes to consciousness. Even if a scientific researcher holds no value for the idea of quale in their work, they should be at least educated about qualia, and be aware of how much scientific consensus there is for some of the theories surrounding qualia. They should understand what kinds of things could prove or falsify such theories.

Second, they must know where to look for qualia. When we are looking at a red strawberry, the red quale is not a property of the surface of the strawberry, nor is it a properly of the 700nm light being reflected. A red quale is a property of our knowledge of such - the final result of the cause and effect based perception process.

Finally, everyone must know how to look for qualia. By definition, that which is ineffable, is blind to traditional cause and effect based observation. Whatever it is that is the neural correlate of, or has a phenomenal red property in our brain, we shouldn't expect it to reflect 700 nm light, though it will likely reflect light of some kind. One way of finding a quale is finding some type of neural correlate that reliably predicts when someone is experiencing a red sensation. But one must be aware that some people's phenomenal red, may be someone else's phenomenal green, or something else entirely different.

Ultimately, as V.S. Ramachandran proposed in the seminal "3 Laws of Qualia" paper, we must find some way to unify such qualia across brains, as the corpus callosum must do when we are aware of red and green at the same time - something that will allow someone to say something like: 'oh THAT is what red is like for you, that is different than what I experience.' We must find some way to do this by connecting brains with a 'bundle of neurons', or some such as is predicted will be possible by the theories most well accepted by the theoretical experts.

In summary, everyone should realize the most important thing to look for (qualia or phenomenal properties). Where we should be looking for them (not on the surface of the strawberry), and how (by effing the ineffable.)

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