Fine-grained functionalism: Prospects for defining qualitative states

Philosophical Psychology 22 (6):765 – 783 (2009)
Inverted spectrum and absent-qualia arguments have at least shown that giving the functional role of a qualitative state is challenging, as it is arguable that the same functional organization among one's inputs, outputs, and mental states can be preserved despite having one's qualia radically altered or eliminated. Sydney Shoemaker has proposed a promising strategy for the functionalist: defining a given qualitative state as being disposed to cause a belief that one is in such a state. Such beliefs would be different or not obtain should the qualitative state be altered or absent—showing that the qualitative state is in fact functionally relevant. I will argue that this approach, and a similar one by David Chalmers, face a difficulty in accounting for qualia at a fine grain, particularly those that do not readily fit our linguistic concepts and/or occur in peripheral awareness. I then show how the problem can be solved by incorporating certain conditional statements into functional definitions of qualia, and by relying on two theoretical resources I will discuss: qualitative beliefs with nonlinguistic content and QSMs (qualia-structuring mental phenomena)
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1080/09515080903430792
 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: 15,865
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
John Haugeland (1978). The Nature and Plausibility of Cognitivism. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 1 (2):215-26.
David M. Rosenthal (2002). How Many Kinds of Consciousness? Consciousness and Cognition 11 (4):653-665.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

17 ( #156,876 of 1,724,906 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

1 ( #349,164 of 1,724,906 )

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.