Wittgenstein and Qualia

Philosophical Perspectives 21 (1):73-115 (2007)
Abstract
(Wittgenstein, 1968) endorsed one kind of inverted spectrum hypothesis and rejected another. This paper argues that the kind of inverted spectrum hypothesis that Wittgenstein endorsed (the "innocuous" inverted spectrum hypothesis) is the thin end of the wedge that precludes a Wittgensteinian critique of the kind of inverted spectrum hypothesis he rejected (the "dangerous" kind). The danger of the dangerous kind is that it provides an argument for qualia, where qualia are (for the purposes of this paper) contents of experiential states which cannot be fully captured in natural language. I will pinpoint the difference between the innocuous and dangerous scenarios that matters for the argument for qualia, give arguments in favor of the coherence and possibility of the dangerous scenario, and try to show that some standard arguments against inverted spectra are ineffective against the version of the dangerous scenario I will be advocating. The leading idea of the paper is that an argument for qualia based on spectrum inversion does not require that the inversion be behaviorally indistinguishable. At one crucial point, I will rely on a less controversial version of an argument I gave in Block (1999). Wittgenstein's views provide a convenient starting point for a paper that is much more about qualia than about Wittgenstein.
Keywords Wittgenstein   qualia   perception
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Citations of this work BETA
Ned Block (2010). Attention and Mental Paint1. Philosophical Issues 20 (1):23-63.
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