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Summary Eliminativism about qualia is the view that qualia--at least as they are commonly and influentially understood--do not exist. Qualia eliminativists typically do not deny the existence of conscious experience, such as colour perception; however they deny that such experience involves the tokening of qualitative properties of mental states, such as the redness of red sensations. Qualia eliminativists often attack conceptions of qualia that involve committment to features that are prima facie problematic for naturalism about consciousness, such as qualia's putative intrinsicness, ineffability, privacy, or incorrigibility.
Key works The two philosophers most associated with qualia eliminativism are Daniel Dennett (Dennett 1988Dennett 1994) and Georges Rey (Rey 1986). Paul and Patricia Churchland have also argued strongly against most of our 'folk' understandings of mentality, including qualia (e.g. Churchland 1985).
Introductions Dennett 1991; Dennett 1991; Seager 1993; Garcia-Carpintero 2003Levine 1994
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  1. Marcus Arvan (1998). Out with Qualia and in with Consciousness: Why the Hard Problem is a Myth. Dissertation, Tufts Honours Thesis
    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).
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  2. Jay E. Bachrach (1990). Qualia and Theory Reduction: A Criticism of Paul Churchland. Iyyun 281.
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  3. Andrew R. Bailey (2005). What is It Like to See a Bat? A Critique of Dretske's Representationalist Theory of Qualia. Disputatio 1 (18):1 - 27.
    This paper critiques the representationalist account of qualia, focussing on the Representational Naturalism presented by Fred Dretske in Naturalizing the Mind. After laying out Dretske�s theory of qualia and making clear its externalist consequences, I argue that Dretske�s definition is either too liberal or runs into problems defending its requirements, in particular �naturalness� and �mentalness.� I go on to show that Dretske�s account of qualia falls foul of the argument from misperception in such a way that Dretske must either admit (...)
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  4. Paul M. Churchland (1989). A Neurocomputational Perspective: The Nature of Mind and the Structure of Science. MIT Press.
    A Neurocomputationial Perspective illustrates the fertility of the concepts and data drawn from the study of the brain and of artificial networks that model the...
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  5. Paul M. Churchland (1989). Knowing Qualia: A Reply to Jackson. In Yujin Nagasawa, Peter Ludlow & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), A Neurocomputational Perspective. MIT Press. 163--178.
  6. Paul M. Churchland (1985). Reduction, Qualia and the Direct Introspection of Brain States. Journal of Philosophy 82 (January):8-28.
  7. Paul M. Churchland & Patricia Smith Churchland (1981). Functionalism, Qualia, and Intentionality. Philosophical Topics 12 (1):121-145.
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  8. David de Leon (2001). The Qualities of Qualia. Communication and Cognition 34 (1):121-138.
    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.
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  9. Daniel C. Dennett, Review of Varela, "Review of F. Varela, E. Thompson and E. Rosch, The Embodied Mind ," American Journal of Psychology, 106, 121-6, 1993. [REVIEW]
    Cognitive science, as an interdisciplinary school of thought, may have recently moved beyond the bandwagon stage onto the throne of orthodoxy, but it does not make a favorable first impression on many people. Familiar reactions on first encounters range from revulsion to condescending dismissal--very few faces in the crowd light up with the sense of "Aha! So that's how the mind works! Of course!" Cognitive science leaves something out , it seems; moreover, what it apparently leaves out is important, even (...)
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  10. Daniel C. Dennett, Two Black Boxes: A Fable.
    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 (...)
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  11. Daniel C. Dennett (1991). Lovely and Suspect Qualities. In Enrique Villanueva (ed.), [Book Chapter]. Ridgeview. 37-43.
    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 (...)
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  12. Daniel C. Dennett (1988). Quining Qualia. In Anthony J. Marcel & E. Bisiach (eds.), [Book Chapter]. Oxford University Press.
    "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. (...)
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  13. Daniel C. Dennett (1981). Wondering Where the Yellow Went. The Monist 64 (January):102-8.
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  14. Fred Dretske (1996). Phenomenal Externalism, or If Meanings Ain't in the Head, Where Are Qualia? Philosophical Issues 7:143-158.
  15. Anthony Everett (1996). Qualia and Vagueness. Synthese 106 (2):205-226.
    In this paper I present two arguments against the thesis that we experience qualia. I argue that if we experienced qualia then these qualia would have to be essentially vague entities. And I then offer two arguments, one a reworking of Gareth Evans' argument against the possibility of vague objects, the other a reworking of the Sorites argument, to show that no such essentially vague entities can exist. I consider various objections but argue that ultimately they all fail. In particular (...)
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  16. Delia Graff Fara (2001). Phenomenal Continua and the Sorites. Mind 110 (440):905-935.
    I argue that, contrary to widespread philosophical opinion, phenomenal indiscriminability is transitive. For if it were not transitive, we would be precluded from accepting the truisms that if two things look the same then the way they look is the same and that if two things look the same then if one looks red, so does the other. Nevertheless, it has seemed obvious to many philosophers (e.g. Goodman, Armstrong and Dummett) that phenomenal indiscriminability is not transitive; and, moreover, that this (...)
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  17. Manuel Garcia-Carpintero (2003). Qualia That It is Right to Quine. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):357-377.
    Dennett (1988) provides a much discussed argument for the nonexistence of qualia, as conceived by philosophers like Block, Chalmers, Loar and Searle. My goal in this paper is to vindicate Dennett's argument, construed in a certain way. The argument supports the claim that qualia are constitutively representational. Against Block and Chalmers, the argument rejects the detachment of phenomenal from information-processing consciousness; and against Loar and Searle, it defends the claim that qualia are constitutively representational in an externalist understanding of this. (...)
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  18. Richard L. Gregory (1996). What Do Qualia Do? Perception 25:377-79.
  19. R. S. Hacker (2005). Goodbye to Qualia and All What? A Reply to David Hodgson. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (11):61-66.
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  20. Richard J. Hall (2007). Phenomenal Properties as Dummy Properties. Philosophical Studies 135 (2):199 - 223.
    Can the physicalist consistently hold that representational content is all there is to sensory experience and yet that two perceivers could have inverted phenomenal spectra? Yes, if he holds that the phenomenal properties the inverts experience are dummy properties, not instantiated in the physical objects being perceived nor in the perceivers.
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  21. David Hodgson (2005). Goodbye to Qualia and All That? Review Article. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (2):84-88.
    Max Bennett is a distinguished Australian neuroscientist, Peter Hacker an Oxford philosopher and leading authority on Wittgenstein. A book resulting from their collaboration, Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience, has received high praise. According to the Blackwell website, G.H. von Wright asserts that it 'will certainly, for a long time to come, be the most important contribution to the mind-body problem that there is'; and Sir Anthony Kenny says it 'shows that the claims made on behalf of cognitive science are ill-founded'. (...)
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  22. H. Jacoby (1985). Eliminativism, Meaning, and Qualitative States. Philosophical Studies 47 (March):257-70.
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  23. Amy Kind (2001). Qualia Realism. Philosophical Studies 104 (2):143-162.
    Recent characterizations of the <span class='Hi'>qualia</span> debate construe the point at issue in terms of the existence of intrinsic properties of experience. I argue that such characterizations mistakenly ignore the epistemic dimension of the notion of <span class='Hi'>qualia</span>. Using Ned Block.
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  24. Michael E. Levin (1981). Phenomenal Properties. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 42 (March):42-58.
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  25. Joseph Levine (1994). Out of the Closet: A Qualophile Confronts Qualophobia. Philosophical Topics 22 (1/2):107-126.
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  26. Danielle Mason (2005). Demystifying Without Quining: Wittgenstein and Dennett on Qualitative States. South African Journal of Philosophy 24 (1):33-43.
    In his 1991 book ‘Consciousness Explained', Daniel Dennett presents his “Multiple Drafts” model of consciousness. Central to his theory is the rejection of the notion of ‘qualia'; of the existence of the purported ‘qualitative character' of conscious experience that many argue rules out the possibility of a purely materialist theory of mind. In eliminating qualia from his theory of consciousness, Dennett claims to be following in the footsteps of Wittgenstein, who also had much to say regarding the nature of ‘private' (...)
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  27. Drakon Nikolinakos (2000). Dennett on Qualia: The Case of Pain, Smell and Taste. Philosophical Psychology 13 (4):505 – 522.
    Dennett has maintained that a careful examination of our intuitive notion of qualia reveals that it is a confused notion, that it is advisable to accept that experience does not have the properties designated by it and that it is best to eliminate it. Because most scientists share this notion of qualia, the major line of attack of his project becomes that of raising objections against the ability of science to answer some basic questions about qualia. I try to show (...)
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  28. P. (2000). Naturalizing Qualia, Destroying Qualia. Dialogos 35 (76):65-83.
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  29. Eugene Park (1997). Against Dennett's Eliminativism: Preserving Qualia as a Coherent Concept. The Dualist 4.
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  30. R. C. Pradhan (2002). Why Qualia Cannot Be Quined. Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 19 (2):85-102.
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  31. Erich Rast (2012). De Se Puzzles, the Knowledge Argument, and the Formation of Internal Knowledge. Analysis and Metaphysics 11 (December):106-132.
    ABSTRACT. Thought experiments about de se attitudes and Jackson’s original Knowledge Argument are compared with each other and discussed from the perspective of a computational theory of mind. It is argued that internal knowledge, i.e. knowledge formed on the basis of signals that encode aspects of their own processing rather than being intentionally directed towards external objects, suffices for explaining the seminal puzzles without resorting to acquaintance or phenomenal character as primitive notions. Since computationalism is ontologically neutral, the account also (...)
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  32. William S. Robinson (1994). Orwell, Stalin, and Determinate Qualia. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 75 (2):151-64.
  33. Don Ross (1993). Quining Qualia Quine's Way. Dialogue 32 (3):439-59.
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  34. William E. Seager (1993). The Elimination of Experience. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 53 (2):345-65.
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  35. Sydney Shoemaker (1984). Churchland on Reduction, Qualia, and Introspection. Philosophy of Science Association 1984:799 - 809.
  36. Nora Stigol (2001). Representacionalismo y qualia. Teorema 20 (3):31-38.
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  37. Michael Tye (2007). New Troubles for the Qualia Freak. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell Pub..
    The phenomenal character of an experience is what it is like subjectively to undergo the experience. Experiences vary in their phenomenal character, in what it is like to un- dergo them. Think, for example of the subjective differences between feeling a burning pain in a toe, experiencing an itch in an arm, smelling rotten eggs, tasting Marmite, having a visual experience of bright purple, running one’s fingers over rough sandpaper, feeling hungry, experiencing anger, feeling elated. Insofar as what it is (...)
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  38. Michael Tye (2002). Visual Qualia and Visual Content Revisited. In David J. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Oxford University Press.
    Experiences vary widely. For example, I run my fingers over sandpaper, smell a skunk, feel a sharp pain in my finger, seem to see bright purple, become extremely angry. In each of these cases, I am the subject of a mental state with a very distinctive subjective character. There is something it is _like_ for me to undergo each state, some phenomenology that it has. Philoso- phers often use the term 'qualia' to refer to the introspectively accessible properties of experiences (...)
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  39. Tere Vadén (2001). Qualifying Qualia Through the Skyhook Test. Inquiry 44 (2):149-169.
    If we are to preserve qualia, one possibility is to take the current academic, philosophical, and theoretical notion less seriously and current natural science and some pre-theoretical intuitions about qualia more seriously. Dennett (1997) is instrumental in showing how ideas of the intrinsicalness and privacy of qualia are misguided and those of ineffability and immediacy misinterpreted. However, by combining ideas of non-mechanicalness used in contemporary natural science with the pre-theoretical idea that qualia are special because they are unique, we get (...)
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  40. Edmond Wright (ed.) (2008). The Case for Qualia. The Mit Press.
    He is the author of two books: Colours: The Nature and Representation (Cambridge ... He is the author of the entry “Color” in the Stanford Encyclopedia of ..
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  41. Edmond L. Wright, The Defence of Qualia.
    In view of the excellent arguments that have been put forth recently in favour of qualia, internal sensory presentations, it would strike an impartial observer - one could imagine a future historian of philosophy - as extremely odd why so many philosophers who are opposed to qualia, that is, sensory experiences internal to the brain, have largely ignored those arguments in their own. There has been a fashionable assumption that any theory of perception which espouses qualia has long since been (...)
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  42. Edmond L. Wright (1989). Querying "Quining Qualia". Acta Analytica 4 (5):9-32.
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