Re: failure of debate

From: Dan Fabulich (
Date: Tue Feb 22 2000 - 15:19:11 MST

'What is your name?' '' 'Do you deny having written the

> It seems by this definition that you either don't perceive qualia, or
> only perceive qualia and nothing else. You can't say that you perceive
> flowers and that you perceive qualia, because one is the mechanism by
> which you accomplish the other. Saying that you perceive both qualia
> and flowers sounds like a misuse of "perceive".

<trivia> This very argument is the one Berkeley attempted to use to
disprove the existence of mind-independent flowers. All we perceive, he
argued, are sense impressions, or ideas. For something to exist, it must
be conceivable in the mind. But if we conceive of something, we're just
imagining a sense impression or an idea, (imagining, say, the visual sense
impression of the flower, or it's smell, etc.) Thus, everything that is
conceivable is a sense impression, and thus, everything is an idea.
Objects have permanence, according to Berkeley, only because God has these
ideas in his mind as well.</trivia>

It might be rather difficult to accept the idea that you only have access
to qualia without falling into idealism, which claims that only ideas
exist. At best you'll reach a stage where all you know of are ideas, but
nonetheless you can't help but believe that there's this strange
unknowable world beyond your qualia, something totally unlike your sense
impressions of it. (For how could that world be "like" your sensations of
it? In particular, which properties would they share?)

If this isn't your picture of what the world is like, a qualia-based
metaphysical picture may not be for you.


      -unless you love someone-
    -nothing else makes any sense-
           e.e. cummings

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