Re: qualia

Dan Fabulich (
Tue, 30 Nov 1999 01:09:36 -0500 (EST)

'What is your name?' 'Zeb Haradon.' 'IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT YOUR NAME IS!!!':

> You're starting to lead into the real issue. I can draw you a diagram of an
> earth and a sun, with the earth revolving around the sun, explain how the
> earth rotates, draw a little stick figure guy on the surface of the earth,
> and explain, in a way which would be comprehensible given a little insight,
> how although the earth revolves around the sun, it seems the other way
> around since the earth is rotating. Nobody can currently give a similar
> description of consciousness.

Reductive: Sure I can. You're only saying that because you insist on there being something spooky, something non-verifiable about consciousness. If I argue that none of the relevant spooky stuff exists, and define my terms entirely materialistically, then I can give you a verifiable physical description of the reasons you do the things you do; I can even explain why you believe that there are qualia.

Eliminative: The Reductivist could TRY to provide you with an explanation like that, but really, there's no reason to use words like "qualia," "consciousness," "belief," etc. [Well, MAYBE belief, but we should use a different word anyway, since belief is so muddled.] Nobody can give you a picture of consciousness because it doesn't exist; by that I mean there is no referent to the word "consciousness." Sure, the Reductivist could make up a definition of consciousness, and show how THAT exists, but it's my opinion that what you mean by "consciousness/qualia" doesn't exist, and that the Reductivist is just confusing the issue by using your terminology.

I would say qualia is "what it seems like", or, if qualia
> only seem to exist and don't really exist, I refine my definition saying
> qualia is ""what it seems like" seems like".

I don't understand your redefinition.


-unless you love someone-
-nothing else makes any sense-

e.e. cummings