Qualia and Consciousness

A public interest presenation in conjunction with the Consciousness Consensus Project

Are You Qualia Blind?
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Are there issues with Jack Gallant's experiments?
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The brilliant experimentalist Jack Gallant has observed knowledge in the brains of people watching movies while in an fMRI as reported here.

This knowledge of color they are detecting is displayed in color on a TV screen.

Is there a problem with the particular colors they are displaying?

A) No
(he is accurately detecting, and displaying, the color the person is seeing.)

B) Yes
(the fMRI machine is providing only abstract data describing the knowledge the fMRI is observing. He needs a dictionary to determine what color to present on the screen, for different physics detected. He has different models for each individual which ‘correct’ for any physical differences detected. Then he just uses the color map from the original movie to determine what color to display on the TV. In other words, he is using one word, ‘red’ for all things red. Even when he detects different physical knowledge, he ‘corrects’ for such, making his experimental results blind to any possible different intrinsic physical properties he may be detecting. He is unable to detect inverted physical qualities with this qualia blind method.)

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