(A laconic exposition of) a method by which the internal compositional features of qualitative experience can be made evident to subjective awareness
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Philosophical Psychology 18 (6):767-783 (2005)
In this paper I explicate a technique which can be used to make subtle relational features of experience more evident to awareness. Results of this method could be employed to diffuse one intuition that drives the common critique of functionalist-information theoretic accounts of mind that "qualia" cannot be exhaustively characterized in information theoretic-functional terms. An intuition that commonly grounds this critique is that the qualitative aspects of experience do not entirely appear in consciousness as informational-functional structures. The first section of the paper is a schematic overview of nature of the qualitative and the problem that qualia are taken to create for information theoretic-functionalist theories of mind. §2 contains a précis of the concept of different levels of functional scale in mental activity that was developed by Armstrong and the Churchlands and that is needed to interpret (possible) results of the proposed experiment. In §3, I outline a method whereby analogies would be generated between purely relational forms, structures, configurations, etc. and purely qualitative aspects of experience. These analogies would be created by subjects through forced choice selection of presented images of structures that "most resembled" a pure quality. Repeated choices would then be shaped by a genetic program into the structural configuration that "most resembled" the pure quality. The final section of the paper explores how consistent, reliable results from the experiment would make information-theoretic functionalism more intuitively plausible in spite of the "fact" that the qualitative aspects of experience do not immediately appear as entirely relational/structural
|Keywords||Experience Functionalism Metaphysics Qualitative Subjective|
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Ned Block (1990). Inverted Earth. Philosophical Perspectives 4:53-79.
Joseph Levine (1983). Materialism and Qualia: The Explanatory Gap. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 64 (October):354-61.
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