Perception and thought are often, although not exclusively, concerned with information about the world. In the case of perceiving though, unlike thinking, it is widely believed that there is an additional element involved, a subjective feeling or, as it is often put, something that it is like to be perceiving. Qualia are these characteristic feelings that accompany perceiving. One motivation for the idea that we experience qualia is that there is a clear difference between seeing a red tomato and thinking that a tomato is red and that the difference has to do with some extra element present in the case of seeing that is absent in the case of thinking. Philosophical attempts to understand qualia and their place in the world have played a central role in recent debates about the nature of mind and its place in the world. Before getting to those debates, we will take a more detailed look at the distinction between the content of perceptual experiences,what they tell us about the world, and their qualitative or phenomenal character, what it is like to experience them.
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