Re: The return of the revenge of qualia, part VI.

From: Tennessee Leeuwenburg (
Date: Thu Jul 28 2005 - 22:54:21 MDT

It it trivial to prove that experience is not descriptively reducible
to physics for humans. The thought experiment that I put shows that.

Materialists are given to reducing this to their own position: that
all experiential descriptions are equivalent to a materialist

Their claim is rooted in faith that there is no difference between the
material brain and mind, other perhaps that a purely nominative debate
what what names to give to what things.

There is no way to prove this claim other without begging the question
given current physics and theory of mind. It is nothing more than a
leap of faith to believe a materialist position, because we have a
significant lack in both our theory and our empirical abilities in
this area. There is no true science which establishes either position.

The suggestion is that the mind is capable of producing experience,
which is essentially a dualist position if pure materialism is taken
to be the thruth - viz. matter is the only existing thing.

It is certainly unclear that the resolution to this problem could not
be an expansion of materialism to include new kinds of non-matter
materials, or matter of a fundamentally different quality to that
which constitutes unconscious objects.

One could pose a positions whereby qualia are not a necessity of
consciousness, but allow me to proceed as though they were : there is
an analogous argument even if this is not accepted.

Humans are conscious. We know this from "I think therefore I am" and
extent this by analogy to other similar organisms. This is not
philosophically necessitated by our knowledge of our own
consciousness, but is an acceptable epistemological risk.

We can distinguish our consciousness from our materialist knowledge
precisely because, as has already been put, "learning to do something"
is different from "knowing how to do something".

It is not possible, given current states of science, to proceed either
in our own minds or purely in terms of prediction of the actions of
others, from a materialist world-description to a description of
qualia. In a very real sense, the names given to qualia are primitive
in the sense that they are not made up of other, composite entities.
They are "simples".

"Hatred" for example, is not intuitively deemed to describe anything
which can be broken into parts.

If hatred is truly reducible to a materialist description, there
should be something about hatred which is in conflict -- it should not
be true that it is a "simple".

Even if you accept a matter-based description of brains, it is
impossible to reduce the meaning of the word hatred to any definition
which is made up purely of other components. Hatred is neither complex
nor describable in terms of other things.

The position of the materialist is that this, while true, is a
function of our minds rather than something which is genuinely true.
The problem with the materialist position is that they provide no
justification for truth other than positions which are entirely
confined to the materialist positions.

How is it that materialists can justify their truths? Is it practical
verifiability of predictions? If so, then we can clearly not come to a
good conclusion about minds and brains - it is simple *bad science* to
conclude from our current state of knowledge that minds are reducible
to predictable models in terms of our existing physics. If it is the
in-principle verifiability of predictions, then we clearly have
excellent reasons to doubt the quality of our existing physics.

Adopting a materialist position which denies the value of qualia seems
to me to be simple stupidity, or perhaps at best gullibility.


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