Good points. The contrast is usually qualia-v-quanta. I think color can be communicated and we have an "RGB" language for doing so that makes it more quanta than qualia. So extending your point to Schrodinger, if you're a wine connoisseur you have a language for communicating the taste of wine. Most of us don't speak it, but most people don't speak differential equations either. But those are all things that can be shared. The pain of a headache generally can't be perceived by two different people. But there are experiments that use small electric shocks to try to produce objective scales of pain. So I think you are right that it is a matter of having developed the language; I just don't think color is the best example.


On 10/25/2012 6:11 AM, Alberto G. Corona wrote:
I agree.

is there something that can be perceived that is not qualia?  It´s
less qualia  the shape and location of a circle in ha sheet of paper
than its color?.The fact that the position and radius of the circle
can be measured and communicated does not change the fact that they
produce a subjective perception. so they are also qualia. Then the
question becomes why some qualia are communicable (phenomena) and
others do not? It may be because shape and position involve a more
basic form of processing and the color processing is more complicated?
O is because shape and position processing evolved to be communicable
quantitatively between humans, while color had no evolutionary
pressure to be a quantitative and communicable ?

If everithig perceived is qualia, then the question is the opposite.
Instead of ¿what is qualia under a materialist stance?, the question
is why some qualia are measurable and comunicable in a mentalist
stance, where every perception is in the mind, including the
perception that I have a head with a brain?

2012/10/25 Roger Clough<>:
Dennett and others on qualia

1) Schroedinger on qualia.

"Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, the 
experience of taking a recreational drug,
or the perceived redness of an evening sky. Daniel Dennett writes that qualia is 
"an unfamiliar term for
something that could not be more familiar to each of us: the ways things seem to 
us."[1] Erwin Schrödinger,
the famous physicist, had this counter-materialist take: "The sensation of 
colour cannot be accounted for by
the physicist's objective picture of light-waves. Could the physiologist 
account for it, if he had fuller
knowledge than he has of the processes in
the retina and the nervous processes set up by them in the optical nerve bundles and 
in the brain? I do not think so." [2]

The importance of qualia in philosophy of mind comes largely from the fact that 
they are seen as posing a
fundamental problem for materialist explanations of the mind-body problem. Much 
of the debate over their
importance hinges on the definition of the term that is used,
as various philosophers emphasize or deny the existence of certain features of 
qualia. As such,
the nature and existence of qualia are controversial.

2) Dennett on qualia

"In Consciousness Explained (1991) and "Quining Qualia" (1988),[19] Daniel 
Dennett offers an argument against qualia that attempts to
show that the above definition breaks down when one tries to make a practical 
application of it. In a series of thought experiments,
which he calls "intuition pumps," he brings qualia into the world of 
neurosurgery, clinical psychology, and psychological experimentation.
His argument attempts to show that, once the concept of qualia is so imported, 
it turns out that we can either make no use of it in the
situation in question, or that the questions posed by the introduction of 
qualia are unanswerable precisely because of the special
properties defined for qualia."

Is this the height of arrogance or what ? Dennett essentially says
that qualia do not exist because he cannot explain them.

3) The Nagel argument. The definition of qualia is not what they are, but what 
they do..
what role they play ion consciusness. On the same page as above,

The "What's it like to be?" argument
Main article: Subjective character of experience

Although it does not actually mention the word "qualia," Thomas Nagel's
paper What Is it Like to Be a Bat?[4] is often cited in debates over qualia.
Nagel argues that consciousness has an essentially subjective character, a
what-it-is-like aspect. He states that "an organism has conscious mental states 
if and only i
if there is something that it is like to be that organism — something it is like for 
the organism."

  Nagel also suggests that the subjective
aspect of the mind may not ever be sufficiently accounted for by the objective 
methods of
reductionistic science (materialism). He claims that "[i]f we acknowledge that 
a physical theory of mind
  must account for the subjective character of experience, we must admit that 
no presently
available conception gives us a clue how this could be done."[6] Furthermore, 
he states that
"it seems unlikely that any physical theory of mind can be contemplated
until more thought has been given to the general problem of subjective and 

4) The zombie argument (from the link already given)

The zombie argument
Main article: Philosophical zombie

" A similar argument holds that it is conceivable that there could be physical 
duplicates of people,
called "zombies," without any qualia at all. These "zombies" would demonstrate 
outward behavior
precisely similar to that of a normal human, but would not have a subjective 
It is worth noting that a necessary condition for the possibility of 
philosophical zombies is that
there be no specific part or parts of the brain that directly give rise to 
qualia—the zombie can only
exist if subjective consciousness is causally separate from the physical brain."

Roger Clough,
"Forever is a long time, especially near the end." -Woody Allen

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