RE: Objective versus subjective reality: which is primary?

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Wed Jul 20 2005 - 22:58:37 MDT

> > Well, as a moderately relevant side point, the hypothesis of
> invisible pink
> > unicorns (like the hypothesis of aether) seems not to lead to useful
> > verifiable hypotheses. The hypothesis of qualia (much like
> "force") does
> > seem to...
> Like what? You never provided that in the earlier message.
> Martin

This is actually a tricky topic...

Consider for instance Benjamin Libet's very interesting empirical work on
free will and determinism.

As is clear from Libet's book on his research, this work was motivated by
Libet's belief in qualia, and probably would not have arisen otherwise...

For instance, the description of Libet's experiment in the above-linked
wikipedia page includes language like

the subject would be asked to note the position of the dot on the
oscilloscope timer when “he/she was first aware of the wish or urge to act.”

So we have valuable experiments that are designed by someone who thinks in
terms of qualia, and that make use of experimental subjects'
thinking-in-terms-of-qualia ...

However, you could argue of course that the scientific results are
interesting *in spite of* the silly qualia-infested ideas of the researcher
and the subjects... ;-p

-- Ben

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