The Q word

John Clark (
Sat, 11 Dec 1999 12:45:38 -0500

Zeb Haradon <> Wrote:

> Qualia are REAL. This is undeniable.

Yes but I would go further, qualia are (is?) the only thing that I "know" to be real. By "know" I mean being certain I understand the essence of a thing and also being correct.

>People who deny their existence remind me of the Mr. Spock
>stereotyped scientist portrayed on tv who will put forth some
>argument like "love doesn't really exist, it's simply a series of
>biochemical reactions"

I've never met anybody who said qualia didn't exist, at least nobody who was serious. I have met and agreed with those who say that if, despite the strong evidence from evolution to the contrary, behavior and qualia are nevertheless totally independent then there is absolutely nothing of importance anyone can ever say on the subject except red is exactly like red.

Put it another way, I you think the Turing Test can not be used to detect qualia in another entity then you should retire the word "qualia" from your vocabulary because it becomes a meaningless string of ASCII characters. You just can't express the inexpressible. I however have confidence in the Turing Test so I can use the q word without (much) embarrassment.

John K Clark