The defence of qualia


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In view of the excellent arguments that have been put forth recently in favour of qualia, internal sensory presentations, it would strike an impartial observer - one could imagine a future historian of philosophy - as extremely odd why so many philosophers who are opposed to qualia, that is, sensory experiences internal to the brain, have largely ignored those arguments in their own. There has been a fashionable assumption that any theory of perception which espouses qualia has long since been overcome by a number of 'formidable' objections, in particular, the Homunculus/Infinite Regress Objection, the Solipsism Objection, Austin's Illusion/Delusion Objection, the Ludicrousness-of-Colours-in-the-Brain Objection, the Indirect-Realist-has-to-assume-Direct-Realism Objection, the Impossibility-of-Comparing-Internal-with-External Objection, the Impossibility of Intrinsic Experience, and several more minor varieties of these. It is uncanny how they continue to be repeated, indeed, with a kind of automatism, evidenced by the fact that none of those who repeat them appear to have taken note of the answers to the objections. Indeed, they only appear to refer to those philosophers with whom they agree: it has long been insisted upon in the study of rhetoric that one of the weakest things to do in an argument is to ignore the main points made by one's opponent: [it is] the wisest plan _to state Objections in their full force_ ; at least, wherever there does exist a satisfactory answer to them; otherwise, those who hear them stated more strongly than by the uncandid advocate who had undertaken to repel them, will naturally enough conclude that they are unanswerable. It is but a momentary and ineffective triumph that can be obtained by man
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