The causal potency of qualia: Its nature and its source [Book Review]

Brain and Mind 1 (2):183-192 (2000)
There is an argument whichshows conclusively that if qualia are causallyimpotent we could have no possible grounds forbelieving that they exist. But if, as this argumentshows, qualia are causally potent with respect to thedescriptions we give of them, it is tolerably certainthat they are causally potent in other morebiologically significant respects. The empiricalevidence, from studies of the effect of lesions of thestriate cortex shows that what is missing inthe absence of visual qualia is the ability tocategorize sensory inputs in the visual modality. This would suggest that the function of privateexperience is to supply what Broadbent callsthe evidence on which the categorization ofproblematic sensory inputs are based. At the sametime analysis of the causal relation shows that whatdifferentiates a causal relation from an accidentalspatio-temporal conjunction is the existence ofreciprocally related dispositional properties of theentities involved which combine to make it true thatif one member of the conjunction, the cause, had notexisted, the other, the effect, would not haveexisted. The possibility that qualia might bedispositional properties of experiences which, as itwere, supply the invisible glue that sticks cause toeffect in this case is examined, but finallyrejected
Keywords Brain  Causation  Consciousness  Qualia  Science
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1023/A:1010023129393
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,631
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Zack Robinson, Corey J. Maley & Gualtiero Piccinini (2015). Is Consciousness a Spandrel? Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2):365--383.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Daniel C. Dennett (1988). Quining Qualia. In Anthony J. Marcel & E. Bisiach (eds.), [Book Chapter]. Oxford University Press
Amy Kind (2001). Qualia Realism. Philosophical Studies 104 (2):143-162.
Peter J. Taylor (1994). Shifting Frames: From Divided to Distributed Psychologies of Scientific Agents. PSA: Proceedings of the Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association 1994:304-310.
Ned Block (2004). Qualia. In Richard L. Gregory (ed.), Oxford Companion to the Mind. Oxford University Press

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

76 ( #60,175 of 1,938,712 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

10 ( #55,051 of 1,938,712 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.