Re: qualia, once and for all

From: Metaqualia (
Date: Sun Jun 20 2004 - 12:30:55 MDT

> Yes, the "overall subjective impression" is not to be continously replaced
> newer selves, but subjective impressions of humans are frequently
incorrect, for

point is, it doesn't matter. correct or incorrect _that_ is how we
experience existence. This is the datum.

> Shouldn't a theory about the nature of qualia predict a result of this
> experiment? If you don't actually have this kind of theory to explain what
> qualia are, how can you realistically draw conclusions about their

no because in this experiment you have a correspondence problem, which does
not need to be solved in order to do the kind of maximization/minimization I

> My method, treating qualia as a functional adaption, predicts the result
> trivially. According to it, if you duplicate a human, the two resulting

Still the third person perspective, which does not create an arrow of
morality but only bits floating around in trivially existing space.

> Why should I trust your understanding if you don't have a qualia
hypothesis that
> makes clear predictions about the result of relevant experiments?

I am not saying I have complete understanding of qualia and the "I", no one
does. The only thing I am saying is that the existence of subjective states,
whatever they are, creates an arrow of morality.

> I still don't know how you calculate the balance. You already stated that
> isn't calculated by simply adding the "goodness" (positive or negative) of
> qualia perceived anywhere in spacetime. I'd like to know the formula or at
> the basic principle you use to arrive at the conclusion that the balance
> "unfavorable".

1. For every being, positive qualia must greatly exceed negative qualia in
kind and intensity
2. Negative qualia above a certain threshold are not acceptable no matter
what kind of positive rewards are allotted in return.
3. The worst-off sentient is chosen as representative to evaluate the
system's score. Which means that 1 million happy people + 1 miserable person
= miserable score
4. Conundrums in which you have to choose between creating one wretched
person to satisfy millions of other beings must be avoided at all cost, this
is probably possible if you have atomic control over matter.
5. The least amount of interference is preferred. First level of
interference is with the being's environment. Only when the sentient's
neural substrate has been proven _incapable_ of substaining a favorable
qualia balance, no matter what the external conditions, is the System
allowed to perform small but crucial modifications to the being's qualia

As for the rest of the ideas that you have presented, I think you are
basically looking at the problem from a third person perspective; I can see
it from that perspective too and then all you are saying is correct. Just
qualia are subjective that's the whole point.

> "without you really existing" - What is existence? I don't see any reason

Existence is only observed directly. Existence manifests itself as pure
existence, it is not something you analyze from the outside. Existence
occurs when you perceive something consciously and it creates a quale.

> in "feeling concern for the state of another being" is just an emotion, a
> functional adaption of evolution. IIRC The Moral Animal stated that it was

Are you seriously misunderstanding the real meaning behind my usage of the
verb "to care"?

> While I don't share your opinion of certain qualia being objectively
> good or bad, I'm certainly not pleased with having a death clock of
> 150000humans/day ticking in the background. I agree that there are a lot
> serious problems, but rushing a solution with the potential to make
> orders of magnitude worse is not a good idea.

Who is rushing? We are discussing things here. We're all looking for a way
not to screw up. I just think I'm right that's all. I think that the
difference in basic stance between us (I accept and embrace the first person
perspective while you want to reduce it to 3rd person data) will lead to two
different currents of thought. And if you keep your stance and I keep mine
that's the end of it. The universe would be much simpler if I could also
take your stance however whenever I see RED I see the unexplained hit me in
the eye.

> I have no idea how you would calculate the balance of goodness given all
> but if we screw this up we lose our only chance of fixing everything. Food
> chains have existed for millions of years, and humans have existed for
> thousands, another hundred more is not going to cause any irreparable
damage. An

A lot of _independent_ qualia stream are going to be created during that
time. Your argument is equivalent to : since so many people have died of
hunger in the past, a million more or so won't make such a big difference.

> lost. Permanently. Rushing into this is gonna make things worse, for

Don't TOTALLY agree on the permanent, there may end up being one big (U)FAI
or there may be many, the known cosmos may end up being dominated by one
monolithic AI or there may be a diverse fauna of agents.

> And why do you suppose that's the case? I'd like a theory that allows me
> explain the good-/badness quotient of old qualia, and predict that of new
> given certain data about the qualia.

That's what Chalmers wants to do. We will find physical differences in the
processes that create different qualia, hopefully.


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