Monday, October 12, 2015

Qualia: A Short Legged View

Our neighbor tells the story of bringing home a new chew toy to replace the one her dachshund had reduced a tattered wreck. When she presented it to him, he didn't take it, but seemed to be bothered. He then ran off, found the once identical mate to the new chew toy and brought it back and placed it on the ground next to the new one.

Pretty clearly, he had some notion of similarity of the chew toys and thought it worthy of bringing to the attention of his mistress.

The qualia question, we might recall, is whether my experience of green is like your experience of green (for example). My reductionist answer is yes, because your experience of green, like mine, is simply excitation of a label - some neuron or cluster of neurons in your brain. My other reductionist answer is no, because one set of neurons is in my brain and has its set of connections and the other is in yours, with its not entirely parallel set of connections.

Wolfgang, who is probably not not quite so reductionist, has stated "I am not my brain," to which I would agree by saying "of course your aren't - you are more like a transient excitation of that brain."