Re: q***** (and incorrigibility)
Tue, 14 Dec 1999 06:40:42 EST

In a message dated 12/11/1999 11:28:05 PM EST, writes:

<< This touches on the idea of direct access, or incorrigibility - the idea
that you cannot be mistaken about what you are feeling. I am going on the assumption that it is indisputable that you can be wrong when you think you feel something. You cannot think you are in pain and "not really be" in pain. Regarding the example someone might bring up of phantom pain felt by amputees - these people really do "feel pain", they are mistaken in the fact that they have an appendage which is undergoing some damage, but they are not mistaken in the fact that they "feel pain". Some philosophers (for example both of the Churchlands) believe it is possible to be mistaken about what you are feeling. Paul Churchland gives the example of being tied in a chair and tortured by someone who keeps pressing hot coals into your back - one of the times he presses an ice cube into your back - according to Churchland, you think you feel a burn, but you actually feel cold. Churchland is very confused on this issue - you actually DO feel burn - you are mistaken about the cause of it, but you cannot be mistaken about what you are feeling.
So, a zombie might deceive others in convincing them that he is conscious, but you cannot be a zombie and deceive yourself into believing that you are not, because you know (in a deeper sense, you are) your feelings. I would indeed "say exactly that", but I wouldn't think exactly that. You are looking for evidence that I can convince you that I am not a zombie. There is none. This is an entirely different issue from that of what evidence you can present yourself that you are not. >>

I agree with Zeb. From my understanding of "feeling", it is impossible to feel something you don't "really" feel. The act of feeling is feeling. Now, you can very easily have an inaccurate model of what any given feeling actually means. Sensory information can be misinterpreted so as to produce feelings they normally would not, and concepts about what certain sensations represent could be completely mistaken.

Glen Finney