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One last roll of the dice

Just to clarify, I don't really consider my position to be eliminative towards green, only that what we are talking about when we talk about green 'qualia' is nothing more than a certain type of sentient experience. This may eliminate what you think you are talking about what you say green, but not what I think I am talking about when I say green. I am willing to say that the part of a functional pattern of neural activity that is experienced as green qualia is identical to green in the sense that people generally mean when they talk about seeing something green. But there is no way to separate the green from the experience of seeing green.

Do you think that green is something separate from or independent of the experience of seeing green? Do you believe that seeing green is some sort of causal relationship between 'green' and a conscious mind similar to what a content externalist believes about the relationship between intentional states and external content? I don't understand why you believe so strongly that green has to be something beyond a conscious experience.

ETA: For a position that I believe to be more extreme/eliminativist than mine, see Frank Jackson's paper Mind and Illusion, where he argues that seeing red is being in a representational state that represents something non-physical(and also not real), in the same way that someone could be in a representational state representing a fairy.

From that paper:

Intensionalism means that no amount of tub-thumping assertion by dualists (including by me in the past) that the redness of seeing red cannot be accommodated in the austere physicalist picture carries any weight. That striking feature is a feature of how things are being represented to be, and if, as claimed by the tub thumpers, it is transparently a feature that has no place in the physicalist picture, what follows is that physicalists should deny that anything has that striking feature. And this is no argument against physicalism. Physicalists can allow that people are sometimes in states that represent that things have a non-physical property. Examples are people who believe that there are fairies. What physicalists must deny is that such properties are instantiated.

I think he is basically saying that if you can imagine the concept of something that isn't physically real (like a fairy), why couldn't you have a state representing redness, even though redness is not physically real? Or, for an example involving something ontologically unreal, one could have beliefs about the vitalist's élan vital even though it is not made of any ontological entities from the physical universe, so why not have conscious states about red even though it has no place in physical ontology. I'm not sure I agree with his belief that colors can't be considered to have physical ontology, but he seems to agree with you on that point.

State your physical account of experienced color

I would essentially deny that anything is actually green, but assert that there is a mental state of "experiencing green", which is a certain functional state of a mind. You say that reductionists believe "...the green shape that you are seeing is the same thing as some aspect of all those billions of colorless atoms in motion." I do not think that most reductionsts would (or should) take this position. There is nothing "the same" in the mental state of experiencing green as in the green object, there is only some property of the green object that causes us to have a green experience. My response to "If your theory still makes sense to you, then please tell us in comments what aspect of the atoms in motion is actually green." is that the atoms in motion comprise a mental state which is the experience of seeing green, and that this is all there is to our idea of the color green. Certainly, no aspect of the green object itself is identical to any brain state. So, I deny the existence of any such thing "green" which is both a property of green objects and a mental state, but claim that what we are talking about when we say we see green is nothing more than a mental state.

I posted the following about a JJC Smart quote on the issue in your last thread, but I'll repost it here in case you didn't see:

JJC Smart responds to people who would conflate experiences of seeing things with the actual things which are being seen in his 1959 paper "Sensations and Brain Processes". Here he's talking about the experience of seeing a yellow-green after image, and responding to objections to his theory that experiences can be equivalent to mental states.

Objection 4. The after-image is not in physical space. The brain-process is. So the after-image is not a brain-process.

Reply. This is an ignoratio elenchi. I am not arguing that the after-image is a brain-process, but that the experience of having an after-image is a brain-process. It is the experience which is reported in the introspective report. Similarly, if it is objected that the after-image is yellowy-orange but that a surgeon looking into your brain would see nothing yellowy-orange, my reply is that it is the experience of seeing yellowy-orange that is being described, and this experience is not a yellowy-orange something. So to say that a brain-process cannot be yellowy-orange is not to say that a brain-process cannot in fact be the experience of having a yellowy-orange after-image. There is, in a sense,no such thing as an after-image or a sense-datum, though there is such a thing as the experience of having an image, and this experience is described indirectly in material object language, not in phenomenal language, for there is no such thing. We describe the experience by saying, in effect, that it is like the experience we have when, for example, we really see a yellowy-orange patch on the wall. Trees and wallpaper can be green, but not the experience of seeing or imagining a tree or wallpaper. (Or if they are described as green or yellow this can only be in a derived sense.)

The theory he is defending in the paper is an identity theory where brain states are identical to mental states, but the point still holds for functionalist theories where mental states supervene on functional states.

Does functionalism imply dualism?

JJC Smart responds to people who would conflate experiences of seeing things with the actual things which are being seen in his 1959 paper "Sensations and Brain Processes". Here he's talking about the experience of seeing a yellow-green after image, and responding to objections to his theory that experiences can be equivalent to mental states.

Objection 4. The after-image is not in physical space. The brain-process is. So the after-image is not a brain-process.

Reply. This is an ignoratio elenchi. I am not arguing that the after-image is a brain-process, but that the experience of having an after-image is a brain-process. It is the experience which is reported in the introspective report. Similarly, if it is objected that the after-image is yellowy-orange but that a surgeon looking into your brain would see nothing yellowy-orange, my reply is that it is the experience of seeing yellowy-orange that is being described, and this experience is not a yellowy-orange something. So to say that a brain-process cannot be yellowy-orange is not to say that a brain-process cannot in fact be the experience of having a yellowy-orange after-image. There is, in a sense,no such thing as an after-image or a sense-datum, though there is such a thing as the experience of having an image, and this experience is described indirectly in material object language, not in phenomenal language, for there is no such thing. We describe the experience by saying, in effect, that it is like the experience we have when, for example, we really see a yellowy-orange patch on the wall. Trees and wallpaper can be green, but not the experience of seeing or imagining a tree or wallpaper. (Or if they are described as green or yellow this can only be in a derived sense.)

The theory he is defending in the paper is an identity theory where brain states are identical to mental states, but the point still holds for functionalist theories where mental states supervene on functional states.

Quixey Challenge - Fix a bug in 1 minute, win $100. Refer a winner, win $50.

If you didn't put a colon between 0 and return, it's invalid syntax.

Rationality Quotes October 2011

Unlike statements of fact, which require no further work on our part, lies must be continually protected from collisions with reality. When you tell the truth, you have nothing to keep track of. The world itself becomes your memory, and if questions arise, you can always point others back to it. You can even reconsider certain facts and honestly change your views. And you can openly discuss your confusion, conflicts, and doubts with all comers. In this way, a commitment to the truth is naturally purifying of error.

Sam Harris, "Lying"

Bayesian Minesweeper

For anyone trying to play this, you need to run it from terminal, running it from IDLE won't work.

I don't have any experience in medicine or expertise in writing personal statements, so take this with a grain of salt.

Overall, I'd say it needs to be more specific. In the first paragraph for example you should talk about some specific research you worked on, and how that experience makes better prepared for medical school/ to be a doctor. Even though you don't want to go into research, being specific helps differentiate you since everyone is going to write that they did a bunch of research and liked it. The same goes for writing about empathizing well. Everyone can say that they empathize well and like working with patients, but it's much harder to give a specific example backing this up, so this could set your statement apart from the rest.

In the third paragraph, it's good that you give some evidence that you work well in high-stress environments. I'd not write "Few people would find such a workload appealing, but I relish it." since there are probably a lot of doctors who do thrive in this environment. The rest of the paragraph after that sentence is also problematic, since it makes you sound like a workaholic or someone who will not react well mentally under certain conditions. You shouldn't write "I feel slothful and unproductive" or "I am disgusted with myself" because it will make whoever is reading associate you with someone who is slothful unproductive and has self esteem issues. Also "I wouldn't be happy with myself" in paragraph 2. Try to rephrase those in a more positive way; working hard and helping people makes you happy/fulfilled instead of not working hard enough or failing to help people makes you miserable.

The part about your reaction to your girlfriend's illness is probably OK since it's an example where you show that you can empathize well with and help sick people.

The last paragraph seems a bit redundant, you could probably pare it down to leave more room for specific examples elsewhere. It would be helpful if the first paragraph started with a better hook since "I've always wanted to be a doctor" is probably the most common and least original way to start SOPs.

People who want to save the world

I praise you for acting rightly.

How should I help us achieve immortality?

I agree that if we're only considering the person who dies and the replacement person, that preventing someone's death and creating another person are pretty much the same, but I think the pain caused to others by someone dying is usually outweighs the happiness caused by bringing another person into existence. In any case, the costs of death to the people who are still alive need to be taken into account.

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