Against qualia theory

Philosophical Studies 147 (3):323 - 346 (2010)
James John
University of Toronto, St. George Campus
Representational theorists identify experiences’ phenomenal properties with their representational properties. Qualia theorists reject this identity, insisting that experiences’ phenomenal properties can come apart from and completely outrun their representational properties. Qualia theorists account for phenomenal properties in terms of “qualia,” intrinsic mental properties they allege experiences to instantiate. The debate between representational theorists and qualia theorists has focused on whether phenomenal properties really can come apart from and completely outrun representational properties. As a result, qualia theorists have failed (1) to explain how experiences owe their phenomenal properties to their instantiation of qualia and (2) to clarify the nature of subjects’ epistemic access to qualia. I survey qualia theorists’ options for dealing with each issue and find them all wanting.
Keywords Consciousness  Phenomenal character  Representational content  Qualia  Perception  Introspection  Awareness  Self-knowledge
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-008-9274-5
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