Re: Geddes's 'Moral Perturbation Theory'

From: Thomas Buckner (
Date: Thu Jul 01 2004 - 16:32:11 MDT

--- BillK <> wrote:
> On Thu, 1 Jul 2004 20:47:59 +0800, Metaqualia <> wrote:
> >
> > >Why are you using the term 'qualia' to describe some perfectly ordinary
> > >physical processes?
> >
> > Because I am not describing ordinary physical processes, but, qualia.
> >
> Of course, but you are making the very big assumption that qualia
> actually exist.
> I am quite entitled to say that they are only a figment of your imagination.
> Because, by definition, that is what you claim that your 'qualia' are.
> Daniel Dennett seems to be the main opponent of the qualia school at present.
> See:
> Dennett's argument revolves around the central objection that, for
> qualia to be taken seriously as a component of experience—for them to
> even make sense as a discrete concept—it must be possible to show that
> a) it is possible to know that a change in qualia has occurred, as
> opposed to a change in something else;
> or that
> b) there is a difference between having a change in qualia and not
> having one.
> Dennett attempts to show that we cannot satisfy (a) either through
> introspection or through observation, and that qualia's very
> definition undermines its chances of satisfying (b).
> BillK

I had the impression that 'qualia' was simply an umbrella label for the sum of our innser
sensation, the existence of which is undeniable (all we know, in fact). Dennett argues that there
is no such thing as 'consciousness', simply a number of parallel processing operations which are
lashed together in real time, none being the center or essence. I sorta suspect Dennett is
committing the 'fallacy of the beard' with relation to consciousness. For those unfamiliar, the
fallacy of the beard is as follows: how many whiskers does it take before you have a beard? One's
not enough, nor two, nor three... The fallacy is to say that therefore beards do not exist. Just
because we have never agreed on the dividing line does not mean there is none; eventually you have
x whiskers which all agree are enough to call a beard. Likewise qualia: how many sensory
processing events is enough to say that there is a mind, or consciousness, or qualia? Not one, nor
two... but eventually you have a suite of internal processes which creates the sum of your mental
Tom Buckner


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