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PH100 Lecture Notes

My claimis that conscious experience has no

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My claim...is that conscious experience has no properties that are special in any of the ways qualia have been supposed to be special” (277). - Dennett Two-fold claim: 1) The philosophical notion of qualia is confused: there are no such things as qualia 2) The pre-theoretical notion (common understanding) of qualia is also confused What is special about qualia? Specifically, what are some of their most important properties? 1. Ineffable or indescribable ( intuition pump #15 – the guitar string) 2. Intrinsic – any particular quale is independent of anything else; any particular quale can be described in isolation of other properties. (Intrinsic =/= relational) – intrinsic to our experiences ( intuition pump #9 – experienced beer drinker) 3. Private – interpersonal comparison are impossible – can't know anyone else's experiences ( intuition pump #3 – the inverted spectrum) 4. Directly or immediately apprehensible (know that you're having a certain experience) Dennett says: No qualia/quale that has all four properties. Qualia are not even something. Structure of the essay: a series of intuition pumps (thought experiments) Section 2: Presentation of the traditional notion/idea of qualia Section 3: Presentation of a problem with qualia Section 4 & 5: Rejection of qualia Section 6: Suitable replacements Intuition pump #1: Watching you eat cauliflower You like cauliflower; I hate it. → hypothesis: Cauliflower tastes different to me that to you. → It's okay to talk of the way something (x) tastes to me and ask whether it is the same way for you. p. 228 (left column) Intuition pump #2: the wine-tasting machine p. 228 (right column); “Whatever information, dispositional, functional properties its internal states have, none of them will be special in the way qualia are.” Presents this saying that posing that a wine-tasting machine is accurate lacks experience Intuition pump #3: the inverted spectrum* Cannot tell our private experiences apart Dennett's question: Could science or technology (in principle) discriminate between the two cases? Dennett says no → intuition pump #4 Intuition pump #4: the Brain-storm machine* Your sky looks yellow; mine looks blue There is a machine that feeds your visible experience into my brain “With eyes closed I accurately report everything you are looking at, except that I marvel at how the sky is yellow, the grass red and so forth” (230, right column). Have we demonstrated that our qualia are different? Dennett: How do we know that it isn't the machine which is responsible for the inversion? There is no independent way of verifying that the machine is working properly. The machine must be calibrated. That is, someone has to test the machine and determine whether it
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is inverting the spectrum or not.
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