Re: Objective versus subjective reality: which is primary?

From: Martin Striz (
Date: Wed Jul 20 2005 - 22:26:25 MDT

On 7/21/05, Ben Goertzel <> wrote:

> > You have to demonstrate that
> > qualia can be detected from outside the system. They can't be. They
> > don't exist.
> Interestingly, my reaction to this statement of yours is about the same as
> your initial reaction to my paper.
> In other words, in these sentences, you seem to me to be stringing together
> words in a completely meaningless, empty and useless way ;-)

Empty and useless? Then I guess the entire scientific method is empty
and useless. My statement reformulated the same clear premise.

> Basically, what you do here is to implicitly define "exist" in a way that
> rules out qualia, and then say qualia don't exist. Big deal! The
> interesting question is: what is the right definition of "exist" ...

Yes, it also rules out invisible pink unicorns. And until you can put
forth a reasoned and recurrently verifiable way to distinguish between
the two from an objective perspective, I can continue to treat them as
the same kind of thing.

> > There is no way that we could infer "redness" from any
> > empirical observations if we didn't experience it ourselves.
> I am not certain this is true, you certainly haven't proved it.

I can't prove it any more than I can prove invisible pink unicorns
don't exist. It's a matter of induction. Once I've made the same
observation enough times, I can make a confident (albeit temporary)
> > **Assuming** the electron exists? If a bear walks into a cave, I
> > don't have to substitute a "pattern" token in its place to do anything
> > useful with the information. Inference is about finding out **what's
> > really there** from indirect evidence.
> No, inference is about inferring propositions from other propositions, in
> fact. This is standard logic. The definition of inference has nothing to
> do with any theory of "reality", unless your theory is that reality consists
> of logical propositions (as in John Wheeler's "it from bit" approach to
> quantum-gravity pregeometry...)

That's the definition of inference within the narrow domain of
propositional calculus. Think beyond that.


I was using 1.b.

Anyway, since you admit it was only a first draft, perhaps I shouldn't
be so hard on you. I look forward to your new thoughts on the


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