More Brain

Another chapter of The Subjective Brain is up.

Link: Ch 1. The Metaphysics of the Neuron

5 Responses to “More Brain”

  1. R Brown says:

    Hey Pete,

    I like this chapter (for the most part). I look forward to seeing the rest of it…one quick question about FGS. Suppose that I am having a conscious sensation of red, but not as any particulr shade of red (though presumably it is an experience of some shade or other). That seems to qualify as a doubled qualia by your definition (there is a sense in which I instantiate two distinct mental properties without a physical difference; the first-order determinate shade of red experience and my consciousness of it as merely being generic red)…or do you think that this isn’t a case of doubled-qualia?

    Second, you are really begging the question when you assert that blindsighters lack conscious states (at least for people like Block this conclusion doesn’t follow) and lack transitive conscious. As we have been arguing about in the earlier post, it is the heart and soul of the HOT theory that some (not all) tranitive conscious states are not state conscious states. You need an aegument that doesn’t simply trade on conflating the various senses of ‘conscious’

    You again beg the same questions in your discussion of motioninduced blindness, in particular with respect to the question of whther what you call ‘no transitive consciousness of the dots’ is really just the same as ‘unconscious state that represents the dots’.

    Also, it is not clear how blindsight or motioninduced blindness are supoosed to support FGS (at least not clear to me…)

  2. R Brown says:

    ‘the rest of it’='rest of the book’

  3. Pete Mandik says:


    Thanks for the feedback on the book so far. It’s quite helpful. Here are some responses.

    1. Re doubled qualia indeterminate color consciousness. Assuming for the moment that I believe in HOR, I would say that the first order state represents a determinate shade (crimson) and the higher order state represents the first order state as being a represetion of a determinable (red). I would say that the two different states are two different physical states. So the unconscious perception of scarlet and the consciousness of myself as simply seeing red are instantiated in terms of distinct phsycial states. So no FGS violation. Or did I miss something? Also, HOR is false, so it wouldn’t provide an FGS violation anyway. (ha ha!)But seriously, assuming it’s true, why is it trouble for FGS?

    2. You say: “You need an aegument that doesn’t simply trade on conflating the various senses of ‘conscious’” I agree. The full argument is the full book. Stay tuned.

    3. “it is not clear how blindsight or motioninduced blindness are supoosed to support FGS (at least not clear to me…)” yeah, I’m not super happy with that section so far. But the point is supposed to be that since, for instance, motion induced blindness can be modulated by very localized trans cranial magnetic stimulation, or, for instance, what pops in and out depends on stimulus grouping that happens only coritically, then the conscious/non conscious distinction depends on separable brain regions.

  4. A.G. says:

    The two chapters you’ve put up have been really helpful for me to understand where you’re coming from. I was wondering if you’re going to say anything about reduction vs. eliminating of qualia, and if not, do you have a post in your archives on the subject and if not, could you do a post sometime on why you’re a reductionist and not an elimitivist?

  5. Pete Mandik says:

    Hi AG,

    If qualia are to be defined simply as properties in virtue of which there is something it’s like to be in a conscious state, then I am a qualia reductionist and the case for the reducitonism will be developed in chapters 4, 5, and 6. If, however, qualia are regarded as essentially subjective, then a consequence of the subjectivity eliminativism I’ll argue for in ch 9 will be qualia eliminativism.