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Consciousness and color (split from darkness defined)


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#41 StephenH

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 03:11 AM

We also have no sensation of breathing (most of the time) and dozen other functions of the human body but I fail to see how this correlates to my assertion which is that color perception in living organisms does not require conscious though. If narrowing the question down to humans - its impossible to answer because there is no clear definition of what consciousness is.

 

Let's focus on one point at a time.

Do you now agree that detection of some stimulus does not necessarily correlate with an internal sensation? That some stimuli are processed by the autonomic system in humans, or reflexes, or just don't have obvious internal qualia separate to other senses (e.g. proprioception)?


Edited by StephenH, 19 April 2017 - 03:33 AM.

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#42 koti

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:04 AM

 
Let's focus on one point at a time.
Do you now agree that detection of some stimulus does not necessarily correlate with an internal sensation? That some stimuli are processed by the autonomic system in humans, or reflexes, or just don't have obvious internal qualia separate to other senses (e.g. proprioception)?

We are talking about color and consciousness here. Im asserting that an organism which detects color has an evolutionary reason for that detection thus it experiences a "sensation" of that color within its own perception capabilities. There is clearly no correlation between consciousness and color perception in primitive organisms because primitive organisms are incapable of conscious thought. A human on the other hand can be completely color blind (or better yet completely blind since birth) and obviously can be capable of conscious thought. Whether or not a human who is not capable of conscious thought could process/perceive/interpret colors is unclear to me and Im afraid we wont find an answer to this question. It looks to me like color perception and conscious thought are not correlated in humans as well but this is realy a pointless statement from me as the term "consciousness" is so vague.

Color perception in humans is a very complex subject though.

Edited by koti, 19 April 2017 - 03:53 PM.

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#43 StephenH

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 02:35 AM

Im asserting that an organism which detects color has an evolutionary reason for that detection thus it experiences a "sensation" of that color within its own perception capabilities. 

 

Yes I know that's what you're asserting, I even gave it the special label Molecule's Conjecture before demonstrating why it doesn't work with example after example.

Either the statement is outright false, or "within its own perception capabilities" necessarily includes includes no perception whatsoever.

 

 

There is clearly no correlation between consciousness and color perception in primitive organisms because primitive organisms are incapable of conscious thought. 

 

The point is: we don't even know if primitive organisms have color perception, period. The human autonomic system is far more complex that a bee's brain, for example. And detects, and responds to, various stimuli. It does not result in any kind of "perception" however.

The fact that a bee responds to EM stimuli doesn't in itself tell us anything about whether it experiences color qualia.


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#44 koti

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 07:09 AM

 
The point is: we don't even know if primitive organisms have color perception, period.


Yes we do. Most of living organisms have color perception (within their own capabilities) The fact that their color perception is less advanced than that of a human is irrelevant.


Edited by koti, 20 April 2017 - 09:35 AM.

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#45 Manticore

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Posted 20 April 2017 - 07:19 AM

From: http://currentaffair...7201414231.html

 

As per a scientific study, Bumblebees select most nutritious flowers for providing best food for their young simply by looking at the colour of the petals even before landing on the flower. As bees do not ingest pollen unlike nectar while foraging on flowers, it has been unclear whether they are able to form associative relationships between what a flower looks like and the quality of its pollen.  The study used bumblebee foragers housed under controlled conditions to test whether they do learn about flowers during pollen collection.

The findings showed that bumblebees can individually evaluate pollen samples and differentiate between them during collection, quickly forming preferences for a particular type of pollen.  They are able to detect differences in pollen, even before landing, which means they may be able to discriminate, just from the colour of the petals, which flowers are richer in nutritious content.


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#46 StephenH

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 05:47 AM

Yes we do. Most of living organisms have color perception (within their own capabilities) 

 

This is a thread discussing inner experiences of color. You yourself have used phrases like "inner sensation", which is appropriate because that's the topic.

So if by "color perception" what you now mean is just "animals can see colors" then yes, very obviously they can. They have eyes. Their eyes have color cones. This is very clear and not disputed at all. But it's also not what we were talking about.

 

If you're saying that they have an inner experience of color, color qualia, AKA what we were talking about, then my response is that I see no reason to presuppose that is true. Your attempt to prove that it logically follows is flawed, as I have explained in detail such as in post #38.

If you think you've found an error in that argument, then please point it out. Genuinely I'd love to hear that and learn something. Otherwise just concede the point so we can advance the discussion.


 

From: http://currentaffair...7201414231.html

 

As per a scientific study, Bumblebees select most nutritious flowers for providing best food for their young simply by looking at the colour of the petals even before landing on the flower. As bees do not ingest pollen unlike nectar while foraging on flowers, it has been unclear whether they are able to form associative relationships between what a flower looks like and the quality of its pollen.  The study used bumblebee foragers housed under controlled conditions to test whether they do learn about flowers during pollen collection.

The findings showed that bumblebees can individually evaluate pollen samples and differentiate between them during collection, quickly forming preferences for a particular type of pollen.  They are able to detect differences in pollen, even before landing, which means they may be able to discriminate, just from the colour of the petals, which flowers are richer in nutritious content.

 

See my previous post.

The fact that bees can see colors is a readily-demonstrable fact disputed by no-one. 


Edited by StephenH, 21 April 2017 - 05:49 AM.

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#47 Manticore

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 06:03 AM

The point is not that bees can see colour.

It is that they can remember colours and make judgements based on those memories. To do that they must have an 'inner experience' of colour. No way can you put this down to reflex.


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#48 koti

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 09:33 AM

 
This is a thread discussing inner experiences of color. You yourself have used phrases like "inner sensation", which is appropriate because that's the topic.
So if by "color perception" what you now mean is just "animals can see colors" then yes, very obviously they can. They have eyes. Their eyes have color cones. This is very clear and not disputed at all. But it's also not what we were talking about.
 
If you're saying that they have an inner experience of color, color qualia, AKA what we were talking about, then my response is that I see no reason to presuppose that is true. Your attempt to prove that it logically follows is flawed, as I have explained in detail such as in post #38.
If you think you've found an error in that argument, then please point it out. Genuinely I'd love to hear that and learn something. Otherwise just concede the point so we can advance the discussion.

See my previous post.
The fact that bees can see colors is a readily-demonstrable fact disputed by no-one. 

 
If "inner experience" is equivalent to "consciousness" then indeed that is what we are discussing. I certainly don't know if that is the case. I used the term "sensation" as a subjective term specific to the capability of a given organism, it seems obvious to me that both a human and a bee have "sensation" when perceiving color. I think its pointless to explain that bee's "sensation" of color is a lot more crude that that of a human but thats, like I said before - irrelevant.
You seem to be using human consciousness as a reference point for judging the perception of other animals, for me this stance is just wrong. In your post #38 you attempt to prove (please tell me what you are actually trying to prove) that because  humans have no ability to sense oxygen levels in their blood  that somehow correlates to this discussion about color perception. I'm not sure what you want me to concede, please enlighten me.

Edited by koti, 21 April 2017 - 10:32 AM.

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#49 Delta1212

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 01:04 PM

 
If "inner experience" is equivalent to "consciousness" then indeed that is what we are discussing. I certainly don't know if that is the case. I used the term "sensation" as a subjective term specific to the capability of a given organism, it seems obvious to me that both a human and a bee have "sensation" when perceiving color. I think its pointless to explain that bee's "sensation" of color is a lot more crude that that of a human but thats, like I said before - irrelevant.
You seem to be using human consciousness as a reference point for judging the perception of other animals, for me this stance is just wrong. In your post #38 you attempt to prove (please tell me what you are actually trying to prove) that because  humans have no ability to sense oxygen levels in their blood  that somehow correlates to this discussion about color perception. I'm not sure what you want me to concede, please enlighten me.

I think it might help to dial the discussion down a level and build up from there, because animals are always going to be a philosophically fuzzy subject when discussing internal experience.

So let's look at a camera instead. Digital cameras include a light-sensitive sensor. It can detect color. Putting aside more modern ones that have facial recognition and whatnot for a moment and just going with an older basic model, there is no real processing of the content of the image. It is very basic input-output, action-reaction stuff.

Does such a camera have an internal experience of what it "sees"? I think that the straightforward answer is likely "no." If it did, it would mean that pretty much every chemical, physical or quantum interaction would generate an internal experience in something. Based on the demonstrated importance our nervous system and brain play in our own internal experience of the world, I feel safe in saying that this is not the case, or at the very least that if some internal sensation exists in all things in the universe, it is of a completely different kind and with a different basic mechanism than our own.

So then an internal experience is not merely the result of perception of a stimulus, but is the result of the brain processing that perception and constructing a mental model of the world based on the information that stimulus provides (in conjunction with all of the other stimuli being received). This is why, for instance, color perception varies significantly based on context and you can get things like the black-blue/white-gold dress.

The qualia are not faithful representations of what is detected by the eye, but generated by the brain as part of its modeling process. Different people may receive the same input and have very different internal experiences based on how the brain winds up collating all of the information and building its model.

Because of this, I consider it probable that most organisms with a complex central nervous system have some kind of internal experience of their senses with the odds of this more or less increasing with the complexity of their interactions with the world.

I think it is likely, for instance, that anything capable of displaying problem-solving skills when faced with a novel problem, especially when any degree of tool use is involved, most likely has the ability to do some level of predictive modeling in order to recognize what the likely results of different actions it can take will be. And I find it unlikely that anything would obtain the ability to model future states of a system without having a brain that maintains some degree of modeling of the active state of their environment based on sensory input.

If the internal model is the thing that provides us with qualia, then it seems reasonable that such creatures also have an internal experience. And I think at least the basic modeling of the environment spreads much father out in the animal kingdom than just the obvious tool-users and problem-solvers. Those are just the ones I'm most confident likely have an internal experience of their senses.

In general, I think it's likely that anything with seriously complex sensory input probably has an internal model of it. So single photo receptor that detects day/night cycles? That may just alter certain functions within the organism in response to amount of light received without any direct perception by the organism itself. The compound eye of an insect where the input from each sensor needs to be put together in order to facilitate object recognition for the detection of food, threats and family? I'm pretty sure that that requires a degree of internal modeling and thus, probably, qualia.

This is also the major reason why I'm curious as to whether some of our most advanced AIs have started having some degree of limited experience because they are essentially performing a degree of internal modeling on sensory input including that very same object recognition I was talking about.

Ultimately, though, we don't really fundamentally know where subjective experience comes from, and so everything and nothing having it is technically within the realm of possibility. In my more existentialist moments, I'm even open to the possibility that I don't have a subjective experience of anything either and that this is a delusion generated in my brain telling me that I have subjective experience. I could even quibble a bit with cogito ergo sum, although not very strenuously.

Anyway, there are no hard answers available as far as the internal experiences of others, including other species and even other objects, but I do think what indirect evidence we have points more or less in the direction outlined above.

Edited by Delta1212, 21 April 2017 - 05:53 PM.

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#50 koti

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 03:47 PM

Great post Delta. +1
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#51 StephenH

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 03:20 AM

Great post Delta1212, really helps clarify the discussion.

 

In your post #38 you attempt to prove (please tell me what you are actually trying to prove) that because  humans have no ability to sense oxygen levels in their blood  that somehow correlates to this discussion about color perception. I'm not sure what you want me to concede, please enlighten me.

 

The thing being refuted in post #38 is the line of yours that I quoted verbatim, and gave a special label (Molecule's Conjecture) in bold, and that I explicitly say I'm refuting. 
And your reading comprehension would have to be pretty appalling to think I was saying humans cannot sense oxygen levels in their blood.

 

Post #38 was not even the first (or last) time in this thread that I've explained the problem with that argument. So quit playing dumb and actually try to respond to it.


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#52 koti

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 09:45 AM

Great post Delta1212, really helps clarify the discussion.
 
 
The thing being refuted in post #38 is the line of yours that I quoted verbatim, and gave a special label (Molecule's Conjecture) in bold, and that I explicitly say I'm refuting. 
And your reading comprehension would have to be pretty appalling to think I was saying humans cannot sense oxygen levels in their blood.
 
Post #38 was not even the first (or last) time in this thread that I've explained the problem with that argument. So quit playing dumb and actually try to respond to it.

 

I still don't understand what problem you are having with my reasoning. Is it the word "sensation" ?
I assume you agree that organisms do things for evolutionary reasons ?

You can plugin as many stimuli to your thought experiments as you like and still the only problem I see that you might be having is the word "sensation" which I addressed in my original post with "within its own level of perception"

As for what you said about me playing dumb, I genuinely don't know what your stance is hence I asked. You are refuting my post #18 based on the word "sensation" which we can't seem to agree might mean different things for different species. I don't think that insults are of any help here. More respect would be advisable.
 


Edited by koti, 22 April 2017 - 10:23 AM.

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#53 StephenH

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 03:27 PM

 

I still don't understand what problem you are having with my reasoning. Is it the word "sensation" ?
I assume you agree that organisms do things for evolutionary reasons ?

You can plugin as many stimuli to your thought experiments as you like and still the only problem I see that you might be having is the word "sensation" which I addressed in my original post with "within its own level of perception"

As for what you said about me playing dumb, I genuinely don't know what your stance is hence I asked. You are refuting my post #18 based on the word "sensation" which we can't seem to agree might mean different things for different species. I don't think that insults are of any help here. More respect would be advisable.
 

The point is simply this: you reasoned that if an organism has some evolutionary reason for detecting some stimulus then it must have an inner sensation of that stimulus. And from context, and the topic of this thread, by "inner sensation" both you and I surely agree that we're talking about qualia: subjective, first-person phenomena like pain, colors, smells etc. The problem is, this line of reasoning is demonstrably false, because we can give examples of stimuli that humans detect, and respond to, and have good evolutionary reason for doing so, and yet would all agree are not associated with any qualia.

The autonomic system, for example, is by definition part of the brain that processes stimuli without associated subjective states.

 

The "within its own level of perception" thing is meaningless. It's essentially saying: They have as much inner experience as they have. Obviously I'd agree with that tautology. However I don't see any grounds for assuming that that amount of inner experience is any greater than that of a digital camera, or my autonomic system, or a rock i.e. none whatsoever.
I'm not saying they don't have inner experiences, only that you have not given any reason to suppose they do, since your argument doesn't work. 


Edited by StephenH, 23 April 2017 - 03:30 PM.

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#54 koti

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 03:54 PM

The point is simply this: you reasoned that if an organism has some evolutionary reason for detecting some stimulus then it must have an inner sensation of that stimulus. And from context, and the topic of this thread, by "inner sensation" both you and I surely agree that we're talking about qualia: subjective, first-person phenomena like pain, colors, smells etc. The problem is, this line of reasoning is demonstrably false, because we can give examples of stimuli that humans detect, and respond to, and have good evolutionary reason for doing so, and yet would all agree are not associated with any qualia.

The autonomic system, for example, is by definition part of the brain that processes stimuli without associated subjective states.

 

The "within its own level of perception" thing is meaningless. It's essentially saying: They have as much inner experience as they have. Obviously I'd agree with that tautology. However I don't see any grounds for assuming that that amount of inner experience is any greater than that of a digital camera, or my autonomic system, or a rock i.e. none whatsoever.
I'm not saying they don't have inner experiences, only that you have not given any reason to suppose they do, since your argument doesn't work. 

Substitute "sensation" with "reason" - better ?

Obviously we disagree on a fundamental level and were only a thread or so away from a full on flame war on ethics and religion so I will leave it here.


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#55 StephenH

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 02:28 AM

Substitute "sensation" with "reason" - better ?

Obviously we disagree on a fundamental level and were only a thread or so away from a full on flame war on ethics and religion so I will leave it here.

No, that would be a completely different argument from the one you've given, and would be off-topic for this thread anyway. Also it would still be false for basically the same reason. 

 

What I'm waiting for is: "OK, my argument about 'good evolutionary reasons' implying they must have inner sensations doesn't work" or "No Stephen, the reason the autonomic system, reflexes, proprioception etc don't refute my point is _________"


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#56 koti

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 08:10 AM

No, that would be a completely different argument from the one you've given, and would be off-topic for this thread anyway. Also it would still be false for basically the same reason. 
 
What I'm waiting for is: "OK, my argument about 'good evolutionary reasons' implying they must have inner sensations doesn't work" or "No Stephen, the reason the autonomic system, reflexes, proprioception etc don't refute my point is _________"

Try reading my last post again Stephen. Maybe someone else will be able to explain to you that the autonomic system and reflexes cannot be used to refute my argument. I tried and failed. I'm withdrawing from this debate because the crux of our disagreement is ethical and not really resolvable. Sensation has clearly different meaning to me and you. You are obviously inteligent and Im sure you are more knowledgeable on neuroscience than I am so the fact that you are incapable of parsing my argument: "sensation within their own perception capabilities" has to have some moral and/or religious ground - and I choose to not talk religion.

Edited by koti, 24 April 2017 - 08:55 AM.

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#57 StephenH

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Posted Yesterday, 07:01 AM

Try reading my last post again Stephen. Maybe someone else will be able to explain to you that the autonomic system and reflexes cannot be used to refute my argument. I tried and failed. I'm withdrawing from this debate because the crux of our disagreement is ethical and not really resolvable. Sensation has clearly different meaning to me and you. You are obviously inteligent and Im sure you are more knowledgeable on neuroscience than I am so the fact that you are incapable of parsing my argument: "sensation within their own perception capabilities" has to have some moral and/or religious ground - and I choose to not talk religion.

Your last post said Substitute "sensation" with "reason" - better ? and that was it. 

What explanation did I miss in that single short question? How does this address the point being put to you?

 

Possibly my language in threads like this can be a little harsh, and make people defensive -- I know possibly I need to dial it back, it's true. 

But you've now taken defensiveness to the next level: so many attempts to avoid the point, culminating in now claiming you can't continue because the discussion has become religious, when no-one has mentioned religion but you...wow.


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