Re: On The Nature Of Qualia

From: Tennessee Leeuwenburg (
Date: Wed Dec 07 2005 - 23:03:49 MST


This is the most rational thing you have posted in some time. I wish you
would be so careful with all your posts.

Does that mean you are a Platonic Idealist?

I am convinced, through introspection, that Qualia "is something",
however, I am not an idealist. I use the existence of Qualia, which I am
committed to by trusting my own observation. Clearly, Qualia is not
reducible to physics /for me/ because I do not believe I could ever
progress from a physical description of Qualia to an understanding of
the sensation.

Some time ago, I posted something describing the "red rose" thought

The response, which I found convincing (I think from Eliezer) was than
an AGI with a full understanding of physics in fact /would/ be able to
progress from a physical description of Qualia to an understanding of
the sensation.

This is not inconsistent with materialism, nor is it inconsistent with
your suggestion that Qualia are real and possibly observable objectively.

I would say that (unless the AGI became a perfect actor) that an AGI
should in fact be able to determine whether there is a conflict between
materialism and Qualia. I do not think much more can be established
about the topic given (at least my) current understandings of science.

Personally, I also strongly query the validity of a physical reductivist
in principle. I believe in an Objective Reality, but I also believe we
see only a projection of it, much like the metaphor of the cave. It
seems philosophically obvious that such thing is possible, and if
possible, then one could reasonably suggest that Qualia objectively
exists, but cannot be reduced into our understanding of physics due to
limitations in our projection. The question is, simply, unanswered until
we can make some concrete experiments to establish the facts.

The broad terms of the experiment are simple: that some other experiment
is not invariant under the experience of qualia, all else being equal.

Your thoughts on this appreciated,

p.s. how about a drink sometime :

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