Posts Tagged ‘mind’

Can Materialism Explain Mary’s Room?

October 19, 2010

The thought experiment was originally proposed by Frank Jackson as follows [in 1982]:

Mary is a brilliant scientist who is, for whatever reason, forced to investigate the world from a black and white room via a black and white television monitor. She specializes in the neurophysiology of vision and acquires, let us suppose, all the physical information there is to obtain about what goes on when we see ripe tomatoes, or the sky, and use terms like ‘red’, ‘blue’, and so on. She discovers, for example, just which wavelength combinations from the sky stimulate the retina, and exactly how this produces via the central nervous system the contraction of the vocal cords and expulsion of air from the lungs that results in the uttering of the sentence ‘The sky is blue’. […] What will happen when Mary is released from her black and white room or is given a color television monitor? Will she learn anything or not? [4]

If she learns something new, then, supposedly, immaterial qualia exists. Check the arguments for and against on wikipedia, Mary’s Room.

Now, this is my materialist solution:

She has only received stimuli that affect neurochemistry telling her that the sound “blue”, how it is muscularly pronounced and all the other things she reads or hears about blueness belongs to 475 nm wavelength photons as reflected by objects. She has not received the photon itself so the neurochemistry will be completely novel and the experience therefore also novel. However, this doesn’t say anything about whether qualia is immaterial or not, it is stricly a material formulation of the dilemma. To me, qualia is knowledge, so it’s wrong to differentiate between the two and ask whether she knows about the qualia or not because the knowledge existing in the auditory neurochemistry is impossibly the same knowledge that exists in the visual neurochemistry, i.e. no matter how much you know about vision, that knowledge exists in neurons that are impossibly the same neurons as the neurons in the optic nerve. If the neurons in the optic nerve are never stimulated by the retina but used only in an auditory network, then they’re not really an optic nerve now are they. The quality of qualia relies on what the senses are capable of sensing because the mind IS the physical senses, so knowing/experiencing visual qualia of a blue car is an electrochemical activity behind the retina that is different from the visual qualia of reading a text about blue car visual qualia and different from the auditory qualia of being told what qualia is.

It’s actually just a matter of spotting the error in the premise. Knowing everything about anything is impossible, but even if Mary knows terribly much through all kinds of experiences she doesn’t know the experience of photons on the retina, not only does she not know what it “feels like” but she has never had the physical experience and thus not the physical knowledge of the photon hitting the retina. So, even though her brain has learned the word blue and all other things that have entered her brain, she hasn’t learned the blue photon hitting the retina because it has not hit yet. This means the premise is false, she doesn’t know everything there is to know about colour.

An interesting side note is that learning is a physical process of growing relative connections in the brain through sensing outside stimuli and working with internal stimuli (like the neurology constituting a memory that fires and causes happiness). The older you get the less of the original structure remains and the original structure [see Chomsky on language] is designed to make sense of colour stimuli so given enough time a monochrome or blind person can’t neurologically adapt to and make sense of colour stimuli. We see the same deterioration of ability to decipher auditory stimuli in grown-ups with cochlia implants. It might be too late for Mary to see colors well or at all.

A second side note is that she might be so well educated in photon wavelengths that she will think it folly that some people use so few words to describe the differences. Of course, learning means differentiating between stimuli so even assuming she still has the ability to learn colour vision at old age it will require some biological time for the neural pathways to build up connections with the linguistic centre and memories and so on, but once she’s done that, also given her extraordinary interest in the matter, she might refrain from using “simply red” to denote a colour and emphasize the differences between shades of red by giving each wavelength a unique name. Psychologically this seems like a likely response to someone who’s been locked-up in a monochromatic prison for a few years and learnt everything there is to know about colour.

Advertisements

black wind

January 1, 2010

black wind

i escaped the prison behind my windows
trailing a hidden treasure towards the beyond
white water of angels stretched my skin
4000 cubics tall I was erect
grabbing the atmosphere with thunderous fists
i charged the forests and the meadows
crushing only in my blue-lined mind

the wind from the darkness sang to me a tone
i stared into the shaping of light
gathering hints and flickers
filling my being with star dust
the whisper became a rumble as the solar wind formed a hand
a giant hand that bent space in reaching for mine
and i lept off Earth towards the black hole

i was placed on a rock to watch the heliosphere
convulsing, breathing, brushing against the shores of the interstellar
the black wind was roaring
the fatty cells had melted
the mineral skeleton crumbled
the limbs of my wormly body
the nerves of my material experience
had became dots of nothingness

i saw the torso of a dolphin in the stars
who is that i asked myself
i am your creation, remember the tar pit?
no, i dont, i thought to myself
you stared into the black pool
and the glimmer of your light shone me into being
you are my teacher
you are me

stars entangled themselves in my hair, round my feet
catching me and releasing me as if a gust of wind
i lept onto planets with winged feet
floating towards heaven untorn by space
by rivers and rivers of overflowing stenches
gloriously vapourizing into particles of infinite mystery
cows shattering as the colours faded out of rememberance
replaced by oceans of monochrome glitter, sparkling and fizzling

a black wind blew IT-ALL away
a forceful roar of deep blackness
showering my immaterial fingertips
breaking out of the geometrical framework
trickling down into an expanding black pool
swallowing bits of my nails
i shielded my eyes with my hand in vain to find the origin
but the black hole i could not see
the blackness consumptious as a wildfire
crushed me, bound me, solidified my essence
condensing my soul into the brightest gem
surrounding silver, blue and orange chaos with a diamond center
clinging to existence by mere persuasion
beaming radiant in the midst of oblivion

out of breath i lay on the shore of time
emptiness cooled one slow-motion wave at a time
rassled the sands from which plants grew
grew them into green humid intoxication
drawing substance from my diamond heart
bursting them into ever-stretching branches
and while i shrunk to a planet-size perspective
mountains shot up out of the molten atoms
and a chilling rain of water woke me up
i said farewell to my teacher
and walked the path back home

i sat down after my trip to spaceland
within a tree of light, with bark of blue mushrooms
exploding into balls of fire and lightning
decorating the heaven with grasshoppers, boom
electrifying my fingers, spreading through my body, boom
hands grasped at the neuron nests below the cap of my skull
wonders opened wide, paradisaical flowers in a brunette’s hair
so many lines flowing, swelling up the insides with liquids
heavy blue-white metamorphoses dancing all along the horizon
the watchtowers upon my open skull, IT-ALL pulsating, boom

Consciousness is only a fundamental label if we define it ad infinitum. -enleuk

Life; a) DNA is not in everything, it only exists on a tiny rock far away from the big bang, and there only as a few meters thick mold-layer on the silicon-clad ball of iron. b) Consciousness is what we share with these sentences, but that too is too narrow a label to pin-point existence or universe into a singular dot, the self. Mind, as well as God and Infinity et cetera are limited – true and false – they are human constructs and the only truth we know.

Transcendence and Dualism are Self-created and Illusory Products of the Matter (Reality an sich), which we Delusionally Call Ego (What You Know) or Invert and Call God (All That Is Not Within Your Knowledge).

June 29, 2009

So dualism is not reality – twofoldness is only in our minds – it is not in the reality, but we do see dualism in our own individual body, our personal matter, which usually defines the material reality. So, we didn’t get an answer here, because we should’ve asked which component is the falsifiable one. Either we perceive our bodies as mirrored or believe we watch it through a mirror or window, meaning self-consciousness is an act of the mind and an empty metaphysical metaphor and not a substantial matter. The idea of transcendence requires the preexistence of dualism, but they’re both transcendently constructed by the matter into the metaphysical mind (it flows the other way around, into reality from the spiritual, in Buddhism and similar beliefs) and this construction we label and say it’s a result of the act of transcendence, that which enables us, not just in a philosophical sense but also in mythology, where heroes transcend according to general(ized) traits among all stories of all kinds, and in text/voice/religion/heroism/stories free will and causation can be perceived in alternative ways.

The Huffington Post wrote:

“MOSCOW — How much would you pay for a ;-)? A Russian businessman has trademarked the emoticon _ or combination of punctuation marks _ used to convey a wink in text messages and e-mail.

Oleg Teterin, president of the mobile ad company Superfone, said Thursday he doesn’t plan on tracking down individual users following the decision by the federal patent agency.

“I want to highlight that this is only directed at corporations, companies that are trying to make a profit without the permission of the trademark holder,” he said in comments to NTV.”

😦

😦

😐

😐

😐

🙂

🙂

🙂

🙂

😀

😀

😀

😀

😀

:B

:B

:B

:  <–  really tiny eyes, just two black dots, these smileys are useless!!