On Tue, Feb 03, 2004 at 02:55:53PM -0800, Pete Carlton wrote: > But even this goes way out in front of what we can possibly know. You > say we have no idea what these feelings are like to experience--but why > should we assume we even are entitled to ask this question?
Here's my basic philosophy: we're entitled to ask any question whose answer is relevant to making a decision. As far as qualia is concerned, consider this thought experiment: Two subjects labeled A and B and placed in separate rooms. They're each given a button and told to choose between pushing it and not pushing it. If subject A pushes the button, he is rewarded. If subject B doesn't push the button, he is rewarded. While they consider their choices, they're both given a real-time high-resolution brain scan of subject A. So if they can answer the question "is the person being scanned having the same subjective experiences that I am having?" then they can both obtain the rewards for sure, otherwise they can only choose blindly. Does this convince you that it makes sense to ask what other people experience?