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