Thursday, August 31, 2017
I am reading and (mostly) enjoying Jim Holt's book Why Does The World Exist. But the discussion of qualia on pages 190 to about 195 drives me nuts. I believe that qualia are just signals produced by sensors. Its true that a computer alone can not have qualia (except in a simulated world). But a computer WITH sensors attached (and actuators too) CAN experience qualia, just like people do. Load cells could give the computer a sense of force. Photocells can give the computer a sense of light and dark. A microphone can give the computer a sense of hearing. Clocks can give a computer a sense of time. PH and salinity and sugar sensors can give a computer a (crude) sense of taste. etc., etc. Grounding via sensors accounts for qualia. One could even try to "calibrate" a computer's sensations against those of some human being. The human and the computer could observe and measure the same stimuli using their various senses (sensors). And the qualia are, in general, vector quantities, not simple scalar labeled lines.