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The Case for Qualia$
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Edmond Wright

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780262232661

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262232661.001.0001

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The Ontological Status of Qualia and Sensations: How They Fit into the Brain

The Ontological Status of Qualia and Sensations: How They Fit into the Brain

Chapter:
(p.191) 10 The Ontological Status of Qualia and Sensations: How They Fit into the Brain
Source:
The Case for Qualia
Author(s):

John Smythies

Publisher:
The MIT Press
DOI:10.7551/mitpress/9780262232661.003.0011

This chapter presents arguments against the definition of qualia as “what it’s like” to have a particular experience. This definition focuses on the wrong issue; the real problem of conscious perception is the relation between our sensations themselves and their correlated brain states—in other words, not one of “what it is like to have a certain sensation” but “what it is to have a certain sensation.” A common error is the idea that we can only use data from neurophysiology to solve this problem, ignoring the large amount of existing relevant data in the field of introspectionist psychology. It is argued here that a study of the nature of experience should start with a survey of this data.

Keywords:   conscious perception, sensations, brain states, neurophysiology, introspectionist psychology, nature of experience

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