Re: When something impossible happens

From: Vladimir Nesov (
Date: Wed Jan 23 2008 - 03:58:42 MST

On Jan 23, 2008 9:49 AM, Robin Lee Powell <> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 22, 2008 at 11:04:20PM -0500, Mike Dougherty wrote:
> > On Jan 22, 2008 7:16 PM, Robin Lee Powell
> > <> wrote:
> > > Nope; I don't believe ants have (for lack of a better term)
> > > qualia.
> >
> > Is there any proof that we do?
> I know *I* experience suffering, which was all my point was. All
> the other humans I know claim to as well, and I have no reason to
> doubt them.

But don't you find reason in doubting yourself, in this case in asking
what it actually means to experience something? You are a
self-reflective system, and the fact that you experience something
tells you something about yourself, but it isn't obvious _what_ it
actually tells.

When you see an object, it doesn't mean that knowledge about that
object is magically manifested in your mind - you can trace pathways
to a certain degree by which interaction proceeds outside and then
inside your body. Experience of seeing an object tells you that
ultimately chain of events transitioned your brain in a state where it
reports this experience to other parts of itself, so that overall
behavior, internal (thoughts and imagery that you experience) and
external, can manifest properties of this experience. Likewise when
brain claims to experience other qualia, it just means that parts of
the brain talk to each other in a certain way, claiming that
experience is there, but that is all. In this sense, it _is_ there, by
definition, but is nothing special.

Vladimir Nesov                  

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