From: Mikko Särelä (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Thu Jul 21 2005 - 01:41:29 MDT
On Thu, 21 Jul 2005, Tennessee Leeuwenburg wrote:
> An intelligent scientist in the future is born on, and living in a
> space ship. The inside of the spaceship is not devoid of light, but
> the colouring of all the internal surfaces happens to be
> black-and-white in appearance. However, she has a huge amount of
> information about physics. In this experiment, she is not capable of
> reproducing anything that is coloured for her to see, but she is able
> intellectually to fully understand the nature of light, its effects on
> the human eyeball, brain, nervous system etc.
> One day she lands on Earth at the end of her mission. Upon opening the
> hatch, she casts her eyes first on an enormous bunch of red roses
> which have been given to her.
> "Oh", she says, "so that's what it's like".
> Has she learnt anything new about colour? If you accept that she has,
> then qualia must be real, because she already knew everything that
> science could inform her about the world and about colour. There must,
> therefore, be something real about colour which is not addressed by
Consider this issue in another way. Human brain is a huge computer
designed for pattern recognition. There's a difference between having the
scientific knowledge of colors and knowing about their existence and
having your brainware learning to do pattern recognition between different
light wavelength combinations.
The difference comes purely from the fact that doing the pattern
recognition for latter is a different problem from understanding the
differences intellectually. (And it is different, because thats how our
brains teach themselves). Nothing magical in here, nor is qualia needed
-- Mikko Särelä "I find that good security people are D&D players" - Bruce Schneier
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