All of Ashwin Kumar's Comments + Replies

The only problem is these examples render the very idea of experience superfluous.

And your test case about molestation is such a morally charged issue that I would not hazard logic chopping on it yet. (Hint: if the victim has some way of making sense of the event, it is an experience. If the victim has not emerged from the shock of it, then it is a trauma, a raw event, and not an experience).

Knowledge vs. Phenomenon is the basic distinction. Now we need to do a sorting exercise. Where would I put sensations? Broadly under phenomena. Where would I put experience? Broadly under knowledge. There is more to be said about what we consider as experience and what as knowledge. But I'm not equipped to do that.

If I have experience playing the violin, I have some knowledge of it. It also helps me in acquiring new knowledge, like playing the cello.

The distinction you are talking about becomes important when we are talking about "knowing that" o... (read more)

The Boltzman brain that floats around space can have all the neurons wired in a way so that it has knowledge of cycling but it didn't went through the process of cycling. The claim that going through the process of cycling is the only way to acquire the neurological patterns that represent the experience of cycling is wrong. Additionally, different people who learn to cycle have quite different experiences of cycling and it's not clear that those share a common core that can't be learned without engaging in cycling. To add another test case: Do you think a person who remembers being sexually molested as a child because of the suggestions of a therapist has an "experience of sexual molestation"?

But I don't think I'm arguing against Multiple Worlds Theory.

Not knowing about x is no proof for the non existence of x. (That's one part of the multiple world claim).

But my claim is this. Either there are some common, (or relatable) set of distinctions in our deeds and words and therefore I can recognize it as an experience. Or, I can only see it as an event needing some explanation.

Either the contortions on someone's face are indications of grief (assuming I know grief), or, if I don't know what grief is, then, they are merely some physiological events needing some explanation. We don't have a way out of this either/or situation.

Thank you very much for this detailed and careful response. Probably, this requires another post altogether to respond. But a few clarifications for now:

1. I have corrected the sentence beginning "If we can maneuver an automobile..." Sorry about the shoddy editing.

2. Comportment: You had me there! I've mostly encountered that word in Heidegger translations. And clearly, the ambiguity shows. Let me change that.

3. Now, a few substantive issues:

Take the case of an astronaut returning from space travel and reporting things. Let’s assume, ... (read more)

Eliezer wrote in the sequences a long argument about why he believes that it's meaningful to speak about Multiple World Theory even when there's no way of verifying what happens in other worlds. I think it's fair to start an argument against that thesis, but if you come to LessWrong and want to take part in this discourse I don't think it's good to simply assert that are argued in the sequences are wrong.

Some people argue that their experiences are unique and therefore others cannot be privy to it. In politics and issues relating to righting historical wrongs, such arguments then become a conversation stopper. So we need an understanding of experience which is sensitive to the fact that others' experiences are different while not allowing for it to be claimed as unique and private.

Experience is also a way to acquire knowledge. The crucial distinction is that experience is not a psychological event, like say, trauma or neurosis, could be a psychological eve... (read more)

That sounds to me like you are setting up moat-and-bailey, where you sometimes want to speak about a type of knowledge and sometimes about a way to acquire knowledge but don't have a clear distinction between the two.