Monday, May 30, 2022

How can the perception of quale have a finite duration?

There is a philosophical problem related to the fact that the experience of, say, color has a duration. One could argue that the idea that color sensations correspond to SFRs, that is, a single moment of consciousness, is not consistent with this. One can imagine two ways to overcome this objection.

First option

One could argue as follows.

  1. It is not possible to experience that one is not conscious so that the illusion of finite duration of sensory quale is created.
  2. The "small" SFR as the TGD counterpart of a weak measurement in quantum measurement theory based on zero energy ontology (ZEO) begins as a cognitive measurement cascade in a Galois group of extension of rationals associated with a rational polynomial defining a given space-time region (see this andthis ). This cascade corresponds to a decomposition of the representation of Galois group for a functional composite polynomial P1○ ... ○ Pn for which Galois group of the algebraic extension has decomposition to a semidirect product of relative Galois groups Gi associated with pairs Pi,Pi+1. This yields a product of irreps of Gi.
  3. The cognitive cascade as a quantum correlate of analysis, is followed by measurements in quark spin and momentum degrees of freedom for the quark states defining the irreps of Gi. One can argue that the duration of the qualia mental image corresponds to the geometric lifetime of this sequence since eventually a BSFR, which means the death of the qualia mental image occurs. By the above argument, the steps in this sequence would not be experienced separately.
  4. There is an objection against this view. ZEO (see this, this and this) motivates the proposal is that we are during sleep living in an opposite direction of time and classically it is impossible to receive signals from that period since the signals travel in an opposite time direction (TGD predicts that also signals with "wrong" time direction can be received and sent but are rare and the process involves BSFR at the level of system representing mental images as subself). However, when we wake up in the morning, we remember that we were conscious yesterday and realize that we do not remember anything about the period of sleep. Could the same argument apply to mental images related to qualia?

Second option

One could also argue as follows.

  1. State function reductions (SFRs) (actually "small" SFRs responsible for the "flow of consciousness"") initiate a conscious experience of say some quale realized as subself, mental image. The next "small" SFR would end this experience and initiate a new one. If SFR is "big", the mental image dies and reincarnates with the opposite arrow of time and experience disappears from the consciousness of self.

    Mathematicians would say that a delta function is replaced with a step function as far as interpretation is considered. Nothing at the level of mathematical formalism has changed.

    The structure of conscious experiences reflects the structure of the physical states. In this spirit, one could argue that SFRs serve as a holographic data at the ends of the duration of the conscious experience, which determine the conscious experience associated with the duration itself. One would have have holography of consciousness.

  2. Is this interpretation consistent with the fact that change is necessary for qualia as already basic physiological facts show? For instance, if the saccadic motion of the eye is prevented, the perceptive field becomes dark first and after that the visual consciousness disappears. This finding can be consistent with the new view since the lifetimes of the qualia mental images as subselves are certainly finite.
Critical reader could ask whether the two options are only slightly different verbalizations of the same basic intuition and perhaps regard the latter verbalization as mathematically clearer. The latter option looks clearer than the first one although it does not literally conform with what I have been telling for three decades about SFRs as basic building bricks of conscious experience! It can take decades to express really clearly what you have understood!

See the article Some objections against TGD inspired view of qualia or the chapter General Theory of Qualia.

For a summary of earlier postings see Latest progress in TGD.

Articles and other material related to TGD. 

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