David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Consciousness Studies 4 (4-5):429-57 (1998)
Neurological syndromes in which consciousness seems to malfunction, such as temporal lobe epilepsy, visual scotomas, Charles Bonnet syndrome, and synesthesia offer valuable clues about the normal functions of consciousness and ‘qualia’. An investigation into these syndromes reveals, we argue, that qualia are different from other brain states in that they possess three functional characteristics, which we state in the form of ‘three laws of qualia’ based on a loose analogy with Newton's three laws of classical mechanics. First, they are irrevocable: I cannot simply decide to start seeing the sunset as green, or feel pain as if it were an itch; second, qualia do not always produce the same behaviour: given a set of qualia, we can choose from a potentially infinite set of possible behaviours to execute; and third, qualia endure in short-term memory, as opposed to non-conscious brain states involved in the on-line guidance of behaviour in real time. We suggest that qualia have evolved these and other attributes because of their role in facilitating non-automatic, decision-based action. We also suggest that the apparent epistemic barrier to knowing what qualia another person is experiencing can be overcome simply by using a ‘bridge’ of neurons; and we offer a hypothesis about the relation between qualia and one's sense of self
|Keywords||Biology Consciousness Metaphysics Neurology Qualia Science|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
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.
Citations of this work BETA
Emmanuel Tannenbaum (2009). Speculations on the Emergence of Self-Awareness in Big-Brained Organisms: The Roles of Associative Memory and Learning, Existential and Religious Questions, and the Emergence of Tautologies. Consciousness and Cognition 18 (2):414-427.
Richard J. Stevenson (2009). Phenomenal and Access Consciousness in Olfaction. Consciousness and Cognition 18 (4):1004-1017.
Similar books and articles
Leopold Stubenberg (1998). Consciousness and Qualia. John Benjamins.
Torin Alter (2003). Qualia. In L. Nadel (ed.), The Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Nature Publishing Group.
John O'Dea (2007). A Higher-Order, Dispositional Theory of Qualia. Annals of the Japan Association for Philosophy of Science 15 (2):29-41.
Joseph J. Fins & F. Plum (2004). Neurological Diagnosis is More Than a State of Mind: Diagnostic Clarity and Impaired Consciousness. Archives of Neurology 61 (9):1354-1355.
Jeffrey Hershfield (2002). A Note on the Possibility of Silicon Brains and Fading Qualia. Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (7):25-31.
Richard Gray (2004). What Synaesthesia Really Tells Us About Functionalism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (9):64-69.
Semir Zeki (2004). The Neurology of Ambiguity. Consciousness and Cognition 13 (1):173-196.
David de Leon (2001). The Qualities of Qualia. Communication and Cognition 34 (1):121-138.
William J. Greenberg (1998). On Chalmers' "Principle of Organizational Invariance" and His "Dancing Qualia" and "Fading Qualia" Thought Experiments. Journal of Consciousness Studies 5 (1):53-58.
Sydney Shoemaker (1991). Qualia and Consciousness. Mind 100 (399):507-24.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads133 ( #8,530 of 1,410,004 )
Recent downloads (6 months)11 ( #20,579 of 1,410,004 )
How can I increase my downloads?