From: Mitchell J Porter (mjporter@U.Arizona.EDU)
Date: Fri Jul 27 2001 - 11:27:39 MDT

On Fri, 27 Jul 2007, Evan Reese wrote:

> What I'd really like to know is why people think this word "qualia" has any
> meaning? Is there such a thing as "qualia"? Just because some ancient
> philosopher(s) assert something is no reason to take it seriously.

You can find Daniel Dennett, no friend of "mysterian" theories of
the mind, defining qualia in the first paragraph here:


Dennett's basic definition of qualia is "the way things seem to us".
The most frequently discussed examples of qualia are perceived colors.
What is phenomenal redness (the experience of red), as opposed to
physical redness (the emission of ~650nm-wavelength light)?
Something in the brain (http://www.psywww.com/discuss/chap02/redness.htm).
But why does "having a representation" feel like anything or seem
like anything? Enter Chalmers's "hard problem of conscious experience".

The widespread currency of the term "qualia" is fairly recent.
In the first half of the 20th century all the talk was about
"sense-data", which is a very similar concept.

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