[FoRK] Why is there any experience of it, at all? (was: GEB, etc.)

Lion Kimbro <lionkimbro at gmail.com> on Mon Jul 9 22:41:19 PDT 2007

On 7/9/07, Elias Sinderson <elias at soe.ucsc.edu> wrote:
> So therein lies the rub, doesn't it? Unfortunately, I believe that this
> is a false distinction, if ever there was one*, akin to trying to make a
> distinction between the motion of atoms and heat -- the motion of the
> atoms /is/ the heat. Qualia do not exist, except as a construct of our
> own convention and comfort. The neural correlate of an experience /is/
> the experience; without the neural correlate, there is no experience.

  But we can't conceive of the motion of atoms (in the pattern that is
  heat,) without heat.

  But we can conceive of the motions of neurons without an experience.

  That is, if you understand the notion of heat,
  and then you understand the notion of the atoms moving like that,
  and you see some atoms moving like that,
  still remembering what heat is,
  you can't conceive that the motion of those atoms is not heat.

  Not with a straight face, at least, or not holding your fingers crossed,
  behind your back.

  But we CAN conceive of neurons firing like when there is an
associated experience,
  but we can ALSO conceive of there not being an experience on the
other end of it.

  Ergo, there's an explanatory gap.

  They are not coupled-in-identity, like the atoms and heat,
  or (to use the classical example,) the water atoms and "wet."
  You need some explanation for, "Ok, and what is it that makes for
  the conscious experience, whenever we see a pattern like that?"

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