Re: Human mind Turing computable according to Eliezer

From: Mitchell Porter (
Date: Wed Oct 06 2004 - 21:30:09 MDT

>Mitchell Porter wrote:
> >
> > Eliezer, I've often asked myself what your new, non-mysterious
> > theory of consciousness *is*. You tell us to embrace mundane
> > reductionism, but that doesn't answer the question. Everything
> > that is, is physical, you seem to say. So: does consciousness
> > exist or not? If it does exist, what sort of physical entity
> > is it, and how are the various subjective attributes of
> > consciousness explained? If it does not exist, then in what
> > terms am I to interpret the fact of my own existence, and my
> > awareness of it?

Eliezer replied:

>But briefly: Qualia are not ontologically basic. "Qualia" are the result
>of the human brain doing something weird in how it processes reflectivity.
>For any puzzle that is apparently about qualia, you need to replace it with
>a puzzle about the behavior of intelligent minds in talking about qualia or
>discussing qualia. If I ask "Why does Mitchell claim the sky is blue,
>rather than green?" I can transparently eliminate Mitchell's cognition from
>the problem and the question reduces directly to "Why is the sky blue,
>rather than green?" You can't do this with problems that appear to be
>about something called qualia. "Why do I think qualia are unitary?" does
>not reduce to "Why are qualia unitary?"

Look, do you agree that blue patches, loud noises, etc., exist, or not?
If yes, explain what's blue about a bunch of cortical neurons. If not,
explain how I can interpret my experience without blueness, loudness,
etc. In my world, these things are *epistemically* basic, whether or
not they're ontologically basic.

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