Posted: Aug 12, 2017 3:14 pm
by zoon
DavidMcC wrote:
zoon wrote:In summary, I think that for most practical purposes in everyday life, when considering our thoughts and other people’s thoughts (including colour qualia), those mental events can be taken to be private to individuals, and originated by them, but that there is no need to suppose that the privacy or the origination, both of which contradict science, are aspects of ultimate reality. If they are treated instead as useful approximations (like Newtonian mechanics), they can be useful without being misleading illusions.

Wow! Where to begin?!
A. Colour vision is not a thought, even if the qualia that may be associated with it are. It is merely something to think ABOUT. Vision occurs in the visual cortex, not the prefrontal cortex.
B. "...privacy or the origination, both of which contradict science"?? How so? The origination of our own ideas may be mainly through stimulation by sensory input (either before or during the idea). In my experience, at least.
C. "treated as useful approximations" to what, exactly?

A. I don’t think I’ve claimed that colour vision is a thought. In the paragraph of mine which you quote above, I said that colour qualia are thoughts, things that we’ve evolved to categorise as mental events. You appear to be agreeing with that categorisation?

B. Again, as far as I can tell I’m agreeing with you. You are saying that ideas are caused by physical events, which is the usual modern view, based on science, and I agree with it. The older view of dualism, which can still feel persuasive, is that mental events are essentially different from physical ones, and are not part of the physical causal chain. Both of us disagree with dualism (at least, I think you do?). Romansch was asking whether colour is an illusion. I think Romansch was referring to colour qualia, the way colours seem to us, taken as thoughts or mental events. I’m arguing that we’ve evolved to think about other people’s minds (and by extension our own) in a different way from ordinary physical objects, and that we still use this evolved trick for thinking about minds because science hasn’t yet come up with anything better. Without neuroscience, it does appear that mental events and physical events are very different, which was why Descartes (writing before neuroscience got going) proposed dualism. My answer to Romansch’s question is that in my view we still need to use the prescientific evolved distinction between thoughts and things, but we don’t need to suppose that thoughts are as different from physical events as they seem. If we go along with the way that thoughts, or qualia, seem, and suppose that they are essentially non-physical, then qualia are an illusion. If we recognise qualia as useful constructs of our brains, then they are not illusions. We can just discard gods, they are now useless concepts, but we can’t yet discard qualia, because we still need to use the ancient evolved way of thinking about other people until neuroscience catches up.

C. Approximations to dualism, but not actually dualism, as discussed above.