In “Absent Qualia and the Mind-Body Problem,” Michael Tye (2006) presents an argument by which he claims to show the inconceivability of beings that are functionally equivalent to phenomenally conscious beings but lack any qualia. On that basis, he concludes that qualia can be fully defined in functional terms. The argument does not suffice to establish the claimed results. In particular it does not show that such absent qualia cases are inconceivable. Tye’s argument relies on a principle P according to (...) which the exchange of isomorphic states between functionally equivalent systems will preserve their equivalence. If they were functionally equivalent before the exchange, they will also be so after. Consideration of the contextual nature of realization shows that Principle P is not a general truth as Tye claims, and his argument against the possibility of absent qualia thus fails. (shrink)
Subjective consciousness and self-representation Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-9 DOI 10.1007/s11098-011-9765-7 Authors Robert Van Gulick, Department of Philosophy, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY, USA Journal Philosophical Studies Online ISSN 1573-0883 Print ISSN 0031-8116.
Consciousness and self-awareness seem intuitively linked, but how they intertwine is less than clear. Must one be self-aware in order to be consciousness? Indeed, is consciousness just a special type of self-awareness? Or perhaps it is the other way round: Is being self-aware a special way of being conscious? Discerning their connections is complicated by the fact that both the main relata themselves admit of many diverse forms and levels. One might be conscious or self- aware in many different ways (...) or respects, and to varying degrees. Thus the real questions of linkage must be posed more specifically. We need to ask not whether the two are bound in general, but whether and how being conscious in some specific sense and degree relates to some particular sort of self-awareness. Only those more specific questions are likely to have fully determinate answers. (shrink)
The reflectance types that Byrne & Hilbert identify with colors count as types only in a way that is more dependent on, and more relative to color perceivers, than their account suggests. Their account of perceptual content may be overly focused on input conditions and distal causes.
One can support O'Regan & Noë's (O&N's) commitment to the active nature of vision and the importance of sensorimotor contingencies without joining them in rejecting any significant role for neurally realized visual representations in the process.
The isomorphism constraint places plausible limits on the use of third-person evidence to explain color experience but poses no difficulty for functionalists; they themselves argue for just such limits. Palmer's absent qualia claim is supported by neither the Color Machine nor Color Room examples. The nature of color experience depends on relations external to the color space, as well as internal to it.
O'Brien & Opie unfairly restrict the classicist's range of options for explaining phenomenal consciousness. Alternative approaches that rely upon differences among representation types offer better prospects of success. The authors rely upon two distinctions: one between symbol processing and connectionist models, the other between process and vehicle models. In this context, neither distinction may be as clear as they assume.
Pessoa, Thompson & Noë present compelling evidence in support of their central claims about the diversity of filling-in, but they embed those claims within a larger framework that rejects analytical isomorphism and uses the personal/subpersonal distinction to challenge the explanatory importance of filling-in. The latter views seem more problematic.