Re: Transhumanist Dictionary [was Re: Is vs. Ought]
Fri, 26 Nov 1999 17:06:37 -0800

Robert J. Bradbury, <>, writes:
> What in the blazes is a "qualia"?

My dictionary doesn't have it either, but it is the plural of "quale" and my dictionary has that one (it doesn't show the plural form though). Basically it refers to sensory impressions, with an emphasis on conscious perception. I believe Eliezer's usage would also work with reference to consciousness, self-consciousness, awareness, etc. It is all related to the philosophical question of what it means to be conscious and how consciousness could relate to the actions of the physical world.

> And, how can we lower the barriers to entry for people coming into
> this list if we do not have a dictionary of terms for the newbies
> (or even the middle-aged-bies)?

Qualia is a technical term in the philosophy of consciousness, which does occasionally enter our discussions. For example we have talked about whether machines can be conscious and whether we can retain our conscious identity as we upload. However I don't think these issues are central to Extropian thought. When we do bring in a technical term, whether from physics, economics or philosophy, it is probably enough to say where it comes from if that is not clear from the context (as in this case).