About this topic
Summary Qualia (singular: quale) are those properties of conscious mental states or events that determine 'what it is like' for the subject of those states or events to undergo them. Paradigm examples of qualia include the particular painfulness of some pain state, the sensation of being tickled, the taste of lemon, or the smell of fresh mown grass. Somewhat more contested examples might include 'primary qualities' presented in perception, such as shape or number; emotions such as feelings of elation or a sensation of creeping depression; or qualititive features that may accompany cognition (such as one's 'internal monologue', or the feeling of something being 'on the tip of one's tongue'). Even within the canonical range of qualia the notion is contested, and some argue that we cannot make clear sense of it at all. If it can be made sense of, then a key question is whether qualia are irreducibly nonphysical, or alternatively can be naturalised through reduction to or identification with some physical or functional property. Questions also arise about our knowledge of qualia (our own and others), and about the relationship between qualia and intentional content: qualia have often been thought of as non-intentional features of mental states, although this position has recently been widely challenged.
Key works C.I. Lewis is generally thought to have coined the term 'qualia' in Lewis 1956, while Dennett 1991 attempts to cast doubt on the coherence of the notion (and see also Rey 1998). Searle 1992 is a well known argument that all conscious mental states, including thoughts and occurrent beliefs, have a qualitative character (and see also Strawson 1994). Several lines of argument have been advanced to try and show that qualia cannot be physical, including the conceivability argument (Kripke 1980, Chalmers 1996), the knowledge argument (Nagel 1974Jackson 1982) and the explanatory gap argument (Levine 1983). Important physicalist responses include the proposal that qualia are naturalisable as a species of intentional property (e.g. Byrne 2001), and the 'phenomenal concepts' strategy that argues that the appearance of a gap between the physical and the phenomenal is merely conceptual and not ontological (Loar 1990).
Introductions Block 2004; Chalmers 1995Nagel 1974Harman 1990Dennett 1988; Shoemaker 1982
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119 found
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  1. added 2018-12-29
    The Concept of Experience in Husserl's Phenomenology and James' Radical Empiricism.Andrea Pace Giannotta - 2018 - Pragmatism Today 9 (2):33-42.
    In this paper, I develop a comparison between the philosophies of Husserl and James in relation to their concepts of experience. Whereas various authors have acknowledged the affinity between James’ early psychology and Husserl’s phenomenology, the late development of James’ philosophy is often considered in opposition to Husserl’s transcendental phenomenology. This is because James’ radical empiricism achieves a non-dual dimension of experience that precedes the functional division into subject and object, thus contrasting with the phenomenological analysis of the dual structure (...)
  2. added 2018-10-02
    Agency, Qualia and Life: Connecting Mind and Body Biologically.David Longinotti - 2018 - In Vincent C. Müller (ed.), Philosophy and Theory of Artificial Intelligence 2017. Cham: Springer. pp. 43-56.
    Many believe that a suitably programmed computer could act for its own goals and experience feelings. I challenge this view and argue that agency, mental causation and qualia are all founded in the unique, homeostatic nature of living matter. The theory was formulated for coherence with the concept of an agent, neuroscientific data and laws of physics. By this method, I infer that a successful action is homeostatic for its agent and can be caused by a feeling - which does (...)
  3. added 2018-08-29
    Cognitive Phenomenology and Metacognitive Feelings.Santiago Arango‐Muñoz - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    The cognitive phenomenology thesis claims that “there is something it is like” to have cognitive states such as believ- ing, desiring, hoping, attending, and so on. In support of this idea, Goldman claimed that the tip-of-the-tongue phe- nomenon can be considered as a clear-cut instance of non- sensory cognitive phenomenology. This paper reviews Goldman's proposal and assesses whether the tip-of-the- tongue and other metacognitive feelings actually constitute an instance of cognitive phenomenology. The paper will show that psychological data cast doubt (...)
  4. added 2018-04-10
    Solving Tye’s ‘Philosophical Problems of Consciousness’ (and Some More).J. H. Van Hateren - manuscript
    A recently developed computational and neurobiological theory of phenomenal consciousness is applied to a series of persistent philosophical problems of consciousness (in recent formulations by Tye, Searle, and Chalmers). Each problem has a clear solution, as is briefly explained here.
  5. added 2018-03-08
    Formally Stating the AI Alignment Problem.I. I. I. G. Gordon Worley - manuscript
  6. added 2018-02-20
    Qualia Ain't in the Head.David Armstrong - 1999 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 13 (1):12-15.
  7. added 2018-02-16
    Das Wesen des Erscheinens: Eine Untersuchung über Phänomenales Bewusstsein und die Intentionalität der Erfahrung.Dirk Franken - 2014 - Dissertation, Münster
    Wann immer wir etwas sehen, hören, fühlen oder riechen, erscheint uns etwas. Was aber bedeutet es, dass jemandem etwas erscheint? Was ist der mentale Zustand, in dem sich jemand befindet, wenn ihm etwas erscheint (der Zustand des Erscheinens)? Diese nur scheinbar harmlose Frage steht im Zentrum der vorliegenden Untersuchung. Die Antwort, die verteidigt wird, lautet: Zustände des Erscheinens sind ihrem Wesen nach transparent. D. h. in einem Zustand des Erscheinens sind dem Subjekt dieses Zustandes ausschließlich die Gegenstände dieser Zustände präsent, (...)
  8. added 2018-02-12
    Is Qualia Meaning or Understanding?Cosmin Visan - 2014 - Journal of Consciousness Exploration & Research 5 (8):729-745.
    By arguing that qualia is meaning or understanding, a new framework for understanding consciousness is developed. In this way, the meaning of yellow and red are uncovered. The suggested solutions are that yellow means “source of light” and red means “important”. Also, in the process of arguing that qualia is meaning, remarkable similarities in the structure of qualia are uncovered. In this way, a reason for why very hot and very cold water feel the same, is given. The same behaviour (...)
  9. added 2017-12-13
    Seeing Qualitons as Qualia: A Dialogue with Wittgenstein on Private Experience, Sense Data and the Ontology of Mind.Hilan Bensusan & Eros Moreira De Carvalho - 2013 - Papers of the 33rd International Wittgenstein Symposium.
    In this paper we put forward the thesis that qualia are tropes (or qualitons), and not (universal) properties. Further, we maintain that Wittgenstein hints in this direction. We also find in Wittgenstein elements of an account of language acquisition that takes the presence of qualia as an enabling condition. We conclude by pointing out some difficulties of this view.
  10. added 2017-11-21
    The Explanatory Gap Account and Intelligibility of Explanation.Daniel Kostic - 2011 - Theoria: Beograd 54 (3):27-42.
  11. added 2017-09-25
    Not in the Mood for Intentionalism.Davide Bordini - 2017 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 41 (1):60-81.
    According to intentionalism, the phenomenal character of experience is one and the same as the intentional content of experience. This view has a problem with moods (anxiety, depression, elation, irritation, gloominess, grumpiness, etc.). Mood experiences certainly have phenomenal character, but do not exhibit directedness, i.e., do not appear intentional. Standardly, intentionalists have re-described moods’ undirectedness in terms of directedness towards everything or the whole world (e.g., Crane, 1998; Seager, 1999). This move offers the intentionalist a way out, but is quite (...)
  12. added 2017-09-11
    There is Nothing It is Like to See Red: Holism and Subjective Experience.Anthony F. Peressini - 2017 - Synthese:1-30.
    The Nagel inspired “something-it-is-like” conception of conscious experience remains a dominant approach in philosophy. In this paper I criticize a prevalent philosophical construal of SIL consciousness, one that understands SIL as a property of mental states rather than entities as a whole. I argue against thinking of SIL as a property of states, showing how such a view is in fact prevalent, under-warranted, and philosophically pernicious in that it often leads to an implausible reduction of conscious experience to qualia. I (...)
  13. added 2017-07-07
    Did David Bourget (Forthcoming 2018) (Director, Centre for Digital Philosophy, Western University (or University of Western Ontario) Plagiarize My Ideas?Gabriel Vacariu - manuscript
    In this chapter, I will investigate the article “Anomalous Panpsychism: A Novel Approach to the Mind-Body Problem” (forthcoming 2018) by David Bourget . There are quite many important ideas UNBELIEVABLE similar to my ideas.
  14. added 2017-03-02
    Qualia That It Is Right to Quine.Manuel García-Carpintero - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 67 (2):357-377.
    Dennett provides a much discussed argument for the nonexistence of qualia, as conceived by philosophers like Block, Chalmers, Loar and Searle. My goal in this paper is to vindicate Dennett’s argument, construed in a certain way. The argument supports the claim that qualia are constitutively representational. Against Block and Chalmers, the argument rejects the detachment of phenomenal from information-processing consciousness; and against Loar and Searle, it defends the claim that qualia are constitutively representational in an externalist understanding of this. The (...)
  15. added 2017-03-02
    Por la" quineación" de los qualia cartesianos.M. García-Carpintero - 1999 - Análisis Filosófico 19 (2):101-142.
    Dennett (1988) provides a much discussed argument for the nonexistence of qualia, as conceived by philosophers like Block, Chalmers, Loar and Searle. My goal in this paper is to vindicate Dennett’s argument, construed in a certain way. The argument supports the claim that qualia are constitutively representational. Against Block and Chalmers, it rejects the detachment of phenomenal from information-processing consciousness; and against Loar and Searle, the argument defends that qualia are constitutively representational in an externalist understanding of this. The core (...)
  16. added 2017-03-02
    Putnam’s Dewey Lectures.Manuel Garcia-Carpintero - 1997 - Theoria: Revista de Teoría, Historia y Fundamentos de la Ciencia 12 (2):213-223.
    This paper points out several difficulties to understand Putnam’s views in his recent “Dewey Lectures”, which involve a certain move away from his “internal realism”. The main goal is to set into relief tensions in Putnam’s thinking probably provoked by his philosophical development. Two such tensions are touched upon. In the first place, Putnam wants to reject an account of phenomenal consciousness he had subscribed to during his realist times, which he calls “Cartesianism cum Materialism”, CM. He puts forward what (...)
  17. added 2017-01-04
    The Existential Quality Issue in Social Ontology: Eidetics and Modifications of Essential Connections.Francesca De Vecchi - 2016 - Humana Mente (16):187-204.
    The present work deals with the quality issue in social ontology: the fact that social entities not only can exist or not exist, but can also be more or less achieved and be subject to degrees of existence, and the fact that social entities can be bearers of varieties of ways of existence, that is, there are several ways in which a social entity of a certain type can be realized. In accordance with phenomenological eidetics, I show that modifications of (...)
  18. added 2016-12-19
    Heidegger and the Problem of Consciousness.McManus Denis - 2016 - In Consciousness and the Great Philosophers. London: pp. 209-216.
  19. added 2016-12-12
    Three Philosophical Problems About Consciousness and Their Possible Resolution.Nicholas Maxwell - 2003 - Open Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):1.
    Three big philosophical problems about consciousness are: Why does it exist? How do we explain and understand it? How can we explain brain-consciousness correlations? If functionalism were true, all three problems would be solved. But it is false, and that means all three problems remain unsolved (in that there is no other obvious candidate for a solution). Here, it is argued that the first problem cannot have a solution; this is inherent in the nature of explanation. The second problem is (...)
  20. added 2016-12-08
    Qualia Domesticated.Roberto Casati - 2002 - In Amita Chatterjee (ed.), Perspectives on Consciousness. New Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal.
    Consider the following argument If panpsychism is true, then the hard problem of consciousness is solved Physicalism is true Physicalism entails panpsychism. We conclude that The hard problem of consciousness is solved. This is a valid argument, and one whose conclusion has a certain appeal. What about the premisses? How exactly is panpsychism a solution to the problem of phenomenal consciousness? Who can take panpsychism seriously, and how can panpsychism be entailed by physicalism? A little forcing is assumed in suggesting (...)
  21. added 2016-12-08
    Qualia Realism.Amy Kind - 2001 - Philosophical Studies 104 (2):143 - 162.
  22. added 2016-12-08
    Qualifying Qualia Through the Skyhook Test.Tere Vadén - 2001 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 44 (2):149-169.
    If we are to preserve qualia, one possibility is to take the current academic, philosophical, and theoretical notion less seriously and current natural science and some pre-theoretical intuitions about qualia more seriously. Dennett (1997) is instrumental in showing how ideas of the intrinsicalness and privacy of qualia are misguided and those of ineffability and immediacy misinterpreted. However, by combining ideas of non-mechanicalness used in contemporary natural science with the pre-theoretical idea that qualia are special because they are unique, we get (...)
  23. added 2016-12-02
    So THAT'S What It's Like!Sean Allen-Hermanson - forthcoming - In Companion to the Philosophy of Animal Minds. Routledge.
    Many philosophers have held that we cannot say what it is like to be a bat as they present a fundamentally alien form of life. Another view held by some philosophers, bat scientists, and even many laypersons is that echolocation is, somehow, at least in part, a kind of visual experience. Either way, bat echolocation is taken to be something very mysterious and exotic. I utilize empirical and intuitive considerations to support an alternative view making a much more mundane contention (...)
  24. added 2016-09-17
    Attention to Mental Paint and Change Detection.Assaf Weksler - 2017 - Philosophical Studies 174 (8):1991-2007.
    According to the influential thesis of attentional transparency, in having or reflecting on an ordinary visual experience, we can attend only outwards, to qualities the experience represents, never to intrinsic qualities of the experience itself, i.e., to “mental paint.” According to the competing view, attentional semitransparency, although we usually attend outwards, to qualities the experience represents, we can also attend inwards, to mental paint. So far, philosophers have debated this topic in strictly armchair means, especially phenomenological reflection. My aim in (...)
  25. added 2016-07-31
    Artificial Qualia, Intentional Systems and Machine Consciousness.Robert James M. Boyles - 2012 - In Proceedings of the DLSU Congress 2012. pp. 110a–110c.
    In the field of machine consciousness, it has been argued that in order to build human-like conscious machines, we must first have a computational model of qualia. To this end, some have proposed a framework that supports qualia in machines by implementing a model with three computational areas (i.e., the subconceptual, conceptual, and linguistic areas). These abstract mechanisms purportedly enable the assessment of artificial qualia. However, several critics of the machine consciousness project dispute this possibility. For instance, Searle, in his (...)
  26. added 2016-07-12
    On Phenomenal Character and Petri Dishes.Gary Bartlett - 2014 - Journal of Philosophical Research 39:67-74.
    Michael Tye (2007) argues that phenomenal character cannot be an intrinsic microphysical property of experiences (or be necessitated by intrinsic microphysical properties) because this would entail that experience could occur in a chunk of tissue in a Petri dish. Laudably, Tye attempts to defend the latter claim rather than resting content with the counter-intuitiveness of the associated image. However, I show that his defense is problematic in several ways, and ultimately that it still amounts to no more than an appeal (...)
  27. added 2016-06-28
    The Feeling of Personal Ownership of One’s Mental States: A Conceptual Argument and Empirical Evidence for an Essential, but Underappreciated, Mechanism of Mind.Stan Klein - 2015 - Psychology of Consciousness: Research, Practice, and Theory 2 (4):355-376.
    I argue that the feeling that one is the owner of his or her mental states is not an intrinsic property of those states. Rather, it consists in a contingent relation between consciousness and its intentional objects. As such, there are (a variety of) circumstances, varying in their interpretive clarity, in which this relation can come undone. When this happens, the content of consciousness still is apprehended, but the feeling that the content “belongs to me” no longer is secured. I (...)
  28. added 2016-05-26
    Relationalism About Perception Vs. Relationalism About Perceptuals.Andrew Stephenson - 2016 - Kantian Review 21 (2):293-302.
    There is a tension at the heart of Lucy Allaiss transcendental idealism. The problem arises from her use of two incompatible theories in contemporary philosophy - relationalism about perception, or naïve realism, and relationalism about colour, or more generally relationalism about any such perceptual property. The problem is that the former requires a more robust form of realism about the properties of the objects of perception than can be accommodated in the partially idealistic framework of the latter. On Allaiss notorious (...)
  29. added 2016-02-29
    Review of "The Feeling Body: Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind" and "Feeling Extended: Sociality as Extended Body-Becoming-Mind". [REVIEW]Gary Bartlett - 2016 - Essays in Philosophy 17 (1):164-188.
  30. added 2016-02-25
    Changing Approaches to Blindsight: Relevant, but Not Decisive: Reply to Foley.Ema Sullivan-Bissett - 2012 - Philosophical Writings:56-60.
  31. added 2016-02-25
    Action in Perception. [REVIEW]Tobias Schlicht & Ulrike Pompe - 2007 - Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 61 (2):250-254.
  32. added 2016-01-18
    Hidden Qualia.Derek Shiller - 2017 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 8 (1):165-180.
    In this paper, I propose that those who reject higher-order theories of consciousness should not rule out the possibility of having conscious experiences that they cannot introspect. I begin by offering four arguments that such non-introspectible conscious experiences are possible. Next, I offer two arguments for thinking that we actually have such experiences. According to the first argument, it is unlikely that evolution would have furnished us with a faculty of introspection that worked flawlessly. According to the second argument, there (...)
  33. added 2016-01-11
    Gappiness and the Case for Liberalism About Phenomenal Properties.Tom McClelland - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly (264):536-558.
    Conservatives claim that all phenomenal properties are sensory. Liberals countenance non-sensory phenomenal properties such as what it’s like to perceive some high-level property, and what it’s like to think that p. A hallmark of phenomenal properties is that they present an explanatory gap, so to resolve the dispute we should consider whether experience has non-sensory properties that appear ‘gappy’. The classic tests for ‘gappiness’ are the invertibility test and the zombifiability test. I suggest that these tests yield conflicting results: non-sensory (...)
  34. added 2015-10-17
    The Puzzle of Consciousness.Erhan Demircioglu - 2015 - Cilicia Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):76-85.
    In this article, I aim to present some of the reasons why consciousness is viewed as an intractable problem by many philosophers. Furthermore, I will argue that if these reasons are properly appreciated, then McGinn's mysterianism may not sound as far-fetched as it would otherwise sound.
  35. added 2015-09-23
    Phenomenal Blending and the Palette Problem.Luke Roelofs - 2014 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 3 (1):59-70.
    I discuss the apparent discrepancy between the qualitative diversity of consciousness and the relative qualitative homogeneity of the brain's basic constituents, a discrepancy that has been raised as a problem for identity theorists by Maxwell and Lockwood (as one element of the ‘grain problem’), and more recently as a problem for panpsychists (under the heading of ‘the palette problem’). The challenge posed to panpsychists by this discrepancy is to make sense of how a relatively small ‘palette’ of basic qualities could (...)
  36. added 2015-09-04
    Pretty, Dead: Sociosexuality, Rationality and the Transition Into Zom-Being.Steve Jones - 2014 - In Steve Jones & Shaka McGlotten (eds.), Zombies and Sexuality: Essays on Desire and the Living Dead. McFarland. pp. 180-198.
    The undead have been evoked in philosophical hypotheses regarding consciousness, but such discussions often come across as abstract academic exercises, inapplicable to personal experience. Movie zombies illuminate these somewhat opaque philosophical debates via storytelling devices – narrative, characterization, dialogue and so forth – which approach experience and consciousness in an instinctively accessible manner. This chapter focuses on a particular strand of the subgenre: transition narratives, in which human protagonists gradually turn into zombies. Transition stories typically centralize social relationships; affiliations and (...)
  37. added 2014-11-20
    Two Types of Qualia Theory.Pär Sundström - 2014 - The Harvard Review of Philosophy 20:107-131.
    This paper distinguishes two types of qualia theory, which I call Galilean and non-Galilean qualia theories. It also offers considerations against each type of theory. To my mind the considerations are powerful. In any case, they bring out the importance of distinguishing the two types of theory. For they show that different considerations come into play—or considerations come into play in quite different ways—in assessing the two types of theory.
  38. added 2014-08-05
    Qualia Logic 2 Brief Notes on Qualia Logic.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    Some not quite random thoughts on the logic of qualia.
  39. added 2014-08-04
    Qualia Logic.Paul Merriam - manuscript
    The logic of qualia is different than classical logic. We take the first steps in defining it and applying it to the Hard Problem.
  40. added 2014-07-30
    From Chaos to Qualia: An Analysis of Phenomenal Character in Light of Process Philosophy and Self-Organizing Systems.Gaylen Moore - 2010 - Dissertation, Kent State University
    Recent advances in our understanding of complex dynamical systems may be of interest to philosophers seeking the best metaphysical grounds for understanding the qualitative character of subjective experience (qualia). In this thesis I will propose that qualia are not specifically brain processes, but are instead best thought of as world processes that can be characterized as distributed self-organizing networks of Whiteheadian actual entities. On this Whiteheadian model, different aspects of a quale that a subject experiences as a specific shade of (...)
  41. added 2014-06-13
    The Case for Qualia, E. Wright (Ed.), Oxford University Press, 2008. [REVIEW]Greg Janzen - forthcoming - Mind.
  42. added 2014-04-02
    Qualia.Robert Merrihew Adams - 1995 - Faith and Philosophy 12 (4):472-474.
  43. added 2014-03-31
    Qualia! (Now Showing at a Theater Near You).Eric Lormand - 1994 - Philosophical Topics 22 (1/2):127-156.
    Despite such widespread acclaim, there are some influential theater critics who have panned Qualia!
  44. added 2014-03-28
    Phenomenal Character.Sydney Shoemaker - 1994 - Noûs 28 (1):21-38.
  45. added 2014-03-27
    Phenomenal Consciousness: Epiphenomenalism, Naturalism and Perceptual Plasticity.Jan Sleutels - 1998 - Communication and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Journal 31 (1):21-55.
  46. added 2014-03-26
    Capturing Qualia: Higher-Order Concepts and Connectionism.Bryon Cunningham - 2001 - Philosophical Psychology 14 (1):29-41.
    Antireductionist philosophers have argued for higher-order classifications of qualia that locate consciousness outside the scope of conventional scientific explanations, viz., by classifying qualia as intrinsic, basic, or subjective properties, antireductionists distinguish qualia from extrinsic, complex, and objective properties, and thereby distinguish conscious mental states from the possible explananda of functionalist or physicalist explanations. I argue that, in important respects, qualia are intrinsic, basic, and subjective properties of conscious mental states, and that, contrary to antireductionists' suggestions, these higher-order classifications are compatible (...)
  47. added 2014-03-26
    Ineffability of Qualia: A Straightforward Naturalistic Explanation.Zoltan Jakab - 2000 - Consciousness and Cognition 9 (3):329-351.
    In this paper I offer an explanation of the ineffability (linguistic inexpressibility) of sensory experiences. My explanation is put in terms of computational functionalism and standard externalist theories of representational content. As I will argue, many or most sensory experiences are representational states without constituent structure. This property determines both the representational function these states can serve and the information that can be extracted from them when they are processed. Sensory experiences can indicate the presence of certain external states of (...)
  48. added 2014-03-26
    Commentary on Jakab's Ineffability of Qualia.Thomas Metzinger - 2000 - Consciousness and Cognition 9 (3):352-362.
    Zoltan Jakab has presented an interesting conceptual analysis of the ineffability of qualia in a functionalist and classical cognitivist framework. But he does not want to commit himself to a certain metaphysical thesis on the ontology of consciousness or qualia. We believe that his strategy has yielded a number of highly relevant and interesting insights, but still suffers from some minor inconsistencies and a certain lack of phenomenological and empirical plausibility. This may be due to some background assumptions relating to (...)
  49. added 2014-03-26
    Reply to Thomas Metzinger and Bettina Walde.Z. Jakab - 2000 - Consciousness and Cognition 9 (3):363-369.
  50. added 2014-03-24
    The Causal Potency of Qualia: Its Nature and its Source. [REVIEW]Ullin T. Place - 2000 - Brain and Mind 1 (2):183-192.
    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 (...)
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