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Qualia and sensate experience

qualia sensation emotion

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#1    Frank Merton

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 10:53 AM

I'm interested in whether or not anyone cares to have a conversation about whether the "qualia" debate pertains to the mind/body issue and has ideas as to how brain events become life experiences.


#2    CrimsonKing

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:07 AM

View PostFrank Merton, on 17 February 2013 - 10:53 AM, said:

I'm interested in whether or not anyone cares to have a conversation about whether the "qualia" debate pertains to the mind/body issue and has ideas as to how brain events become life experiences.

Kind of a confusing subject frank though im sure some will take you up on the conversation,i would try if not for this damn headach i have at the moment.Maybe a bit later on

"If it is not advantageous,do not move.If objectives can not be attained,do not employ the army.Unless endangered do not engage in warfare.The ruler cannot mobilize the army out of personal anger.The general can not engage in battle because of personal frustration.When it is advantageous,move;when not advantageous,stop.Anger can revert to happiness,annoyance can revert to joy,but a vanquished state cannot be revived,the dead cannot be brought back to life." Sun-Tzu

#3    Frank Merton

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 11:13 AM

Sorry 'bout your headache.

This is kinda the main reason I stay a Buddhist and don't go totally materialist.  I'm well aware there is no resolution to be had.


#4    StarMountainKid

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 01:53 PM

I've been reading the Wikipedia entry on qualia. For me there's  too much information there to grasp completely as yet. A lot to think about and consider.

On one hand, I think the mind and consciousness is a sort of recursive machine, constantly being aware of itself and observing itself, but there is no separate 'self' doing this. It may appear there is a 'self' or ego experiencing, but this is a convienent illusion the mind creates for its own efficiency.

I think this would be a sort of materialist view, considering this 'self image' as a reaction to external events. In this view even internal, subjective events would be related to objective experiences. Internal physical (pain) and emotional experiences would have their origin in external experiences, our subjective experiences of these would be the mind's interpretation of these external experiences.

In this sense, can the mind experience anything that does not have an objective, external origin? I think in this view, the mind would be only a physical entity, a sort of internal mimic of the external world.

The "on the other hand," part I'll have to think about further and come back later. :)

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#5    Frank Merton

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:11 PM

Well the sense of self-awareness -- that is, a "self" aware of its existence -- probably is an illusion.  When we sit quietly and watch our mind do its thing, basically all we do is look at our short-term memories of what our mind was doing a moment or so in the past.

The brain is a physical object.  The mind seems to be a process, kinda like a fire on a candle or a wave of water -- a self-propagating energy that flits here and there seemingly sometimes at random, sometimes caused by some incoming sense sensation or upwelling memory or whatever was being thought about earlier shifting in loose ways all over the place.

All of this is fascinating and sometimes enough to make a serious mystic out of someone, other times not so much.  The one aspect of this set of questions that I think is easiest to get a handle on is that of qualia and the essential mystery of what they are -- our experience rather than just occurrence of both the external world and our internal existence.


#6    redhen

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 02:34 PM

V.S. Ramachandran is an excellent neuroscience popularizer.




#7    solubus

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Posted 17 February 2013 - 08:03 PM

First it is important to note that the mind is not the individual and the brain is the organ. While the brain can interact with the mind in that the mind can be holding methods to interact with the brain, it would not make sense to say that the mind sprung forth from the brain. That is so because the mind is the higher object whereas the brain is something that the mind interfaces with such as a simple body part.

Thus qualia and sensate experience cannot possibly be a byproduct of a brain, which is a physical organ. The mind interfaces with the brain. A proof of this is in the way that the mind perceives the brain as an organ rather than itself. It would seem that if the mind naturally thinks of the brain as itself, then that would then make sense that the brain is actually a springer of the mind. However, the way the mind approaches and sees the brain naturally is that it is a physical object in the body.

It can be argued that that is how the brain developed to perceive itself, but that seems unlikely as the brain is actually small and the body is larger than the brain. That means that the body seems smaller than the mind and so if the brain was developed to perceive itself and can effect sensate experience would not it have developed a sense that the brain was more important than a small body part? In other words, why would the brain "sense" in such a way that it was not so important that it would be a pervading substance sensed in the man's life rather than just an object?

In terms of qualia experience, it can be considered that the very experience of the object can be given different sorts of interpretations and qualities. A person can say the same blue is cooling to him while another would say it is exciting. That it not to say that the very quality of the blue can have those things, but wouldn't it be possible that there are two created blues that can be seen by either people?

At the same way can it be seen that experience can be thus, that there are the objects outside, and the representation of the objects as perceived by the person and so there can be not just different objects outside and different worlds outside as seen by different people but also different representations as perceived by people?

There I also say that perception is not just the mind because there is the soul and the expression of people is possible in such a way that the very words are not thought about before they are spoken. If that is so, can it be considered that it is yet possible to speak without cognition, and thus where does the mind really exist?


#8    White Crane Feather

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Posted 18 February 2013 - 04:29 AM

The problem with the reductionist approach is that transcendence is real and if the self is a product of the brain, the self has transcended its parts. a threshold of sorts and feedback loop of awareness that extends into the deep deep places of infinity. I am aware of my self being aware of myself being aware of myself onto infinitum and birthing the mind. A hall of mirrors resulting from the harmony of energy.

This notion that self is an illusion is preposterous. It certainly exists regardless of how or why it arises. A fish does not not exist because it is a collection of cells made of proteins made of elements made of subatomic particles made of..... The fish is a transcendent identity greater and with more defining qualities and powers in nature than the sum of its parts. Indeed the mind itself is a tangled hierarchy. Tthere is no awareness without self and no self without awareness.

So where does it come from? How do I identify that another person has it? Well by their actions. I know I have it and if something is like me and acts the same then It probably has it to. But this is a complete assumption. But what about a sophisticated robot? What about a program designed to be self reflective, why dosnt a tree have it ( is it just because it dosnt or is incapable of acting like me). Is the definition of awareness rooted in something's actions, yet I do not need to act to be aware.

If the self is an evolved trait transcending its parts, one must consider the possibility that everything has been evolving for a very long time potentially infinite and there is a grander self arising out of the eveolution of everything for all time. Then this self is simply a cell in the make up of a much bigger self. A brain cell in the mind of god so to speak.

Edited by Seeker79, 18 February 2013 - 04:31 AM.

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#9    StarMountainKid

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Posted 19 February 2013 - 01:43 AM

Where does the subjective, conscious experience (qualia), like the subjective experience of color, exist? More broadly, where does consciousness (mind) exist?

Despite the excellent previous posts, I still maintain that mind exists in the brain as a result of brain function. I think consciousness of self evolved as a defense mechanism and a useful tool for survival.  I think self-consciousness as a separate entity is a naturally occurring illusion. The self as feedback loop is the brain being aware of its own function. This process is conscious awareness.

The fact that the experience of self-consciousness does not seem to have a connection to the brain is not remarkable. The self observing itself or observing its own mind is also no remarkable. This feeling that consciousness is floating somewhere, and not evidently having a direct physical connection to the brain is the nature of consciousness itself. How else could it be? There is no other way that the brain could be aware of itself than from this seemingly external perspective.

Qualia is the method the brain manifests its own self awareness.

Quote

A similar argument holds that it is conceivable that there could be physical duplicates of people, called "zombies," without any qualia at all. These "zombies" would demonstrate outward behavior precisely similar to that of a normal human, but would not have a subjective phenomenology. It is worth noting that a necessary condition for the possibility of philosophical zombies is that there be no specific part or parts of the brain that directly give rise to qualia—the zombie can only exist if subjective consciousness is causally separate from the physical brain.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Qualia

I have to go now, so this is all I have time for to say at the moment.

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