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Abstract: The subjective features of conscious mental processes--as opposed to their physical causes and effects--cannot be captured by the purified form of thought suitable for dealing with the physical world that underlies appearances." (Nagel, in Dennett, 1991, p. 372)
Abstract: This essay is a defence of the traditional notion of qualia - as properties of consciousness that are ineffable, intrinsic, private and immediately apprehensible - against the eliminative attempts of Daniel Dennett in the influential article "Quining Qualia." It is suggested that a thorough exploration of the concept is an appropriate starting point for future explanations of qualia, and the essay ends with some possible explanations of the four traditional properties
Abstract: A family of compelling intuitions work to keep "the problem of consciousness" systematically insoluble, and David Rosenthal, in a series of papers including the one under discussion, has been resolutely driving these intuitions apart, exposing them individually to the light, and proposing alternatives. In this instance the intuition that has seemed sacrosanct, but falls to his analysis, is the intuition that "sensory quality" and consciousness are necessarily united: that, for instance, there could not be unconscious pains, or unconscious subjective shades of blue, or unconscious aromas of freshly roasted coffee beans. The particular airborne polymers that are the vehicles of freshly roasted coffee beans could exist, of course, in the absence of any observer, and hence of any consciousness, but the sensory quality of that aroma requires--according to well-entrenched intuition--not only an observer but a conscious observer. Such properties have no esse except as percipi
Abstract: "Qualia" is an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us: the ways things seem to us. As is so often the case with philosophical jargon, it is easier to give examples than to give a definition of the term. Look at a glass of milk at sunset; the way it looks to you--the particular, personal, subjective visual quality of the glass of milk is the quale of your visual experience at the moment. The way the milk tastes to you then is another, gustatory quale, and how it sounds to you as you swallow is an auditory quale; These various "properties of conscious experience" are prime examples of qualia. Nothing, it seems, could you know more intimately than your own qualia; let the entire universe be some vast illusion, some mere figment of Descartes' evil demon, and yet what the figment is made of (for you) will be the qualia of your hallucinatory experiences. Descartes claimed to doubt everything that could be doubted, but he never doubted that his conscious experiences had qualia, the properties by which he knew or apprehended them
Abstract: Once upon a time, there were two large black boxes, A and B, connected by a long insulated copper wire. On box A there were two buttons, marked *a* and *b*, and on box B there were three lights, red, green, and amber. Scientists studying the behavior of the boxes had observed that whenever you pushed the *a* button on box A, the red light flashed briefly on box B, and whenever you pushed the *b* button on box A, the green light flashed briefly. The amber light never seemed to flash. They performed a few billion trials, under a very wide variety of conditions, and found no exceptions. There seemed to them to be a causal regularity, which they conveniently summarized thus