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Consciousness in Contemporary Science$
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A. J. Marcel and E. Bisiach

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198522379

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198522379.001.0001

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Quining qualia

Quining qualia

(p.42) 3 Quining qualia
Consciousness in Contemporary Science

Daniel C. Dennett

Oxford University Press

‘Qualia’ is an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to everyone. This chapter examines the origin and coherence of a certain candidate notion of qualia. Qualia are supposed to be special properties, in some hard-to-define way. By exposing the groundlessness of qualia-based insights, this chapter undermines the notion of qualia as absolute (non-relational), atomic properties of phenomenal experience. Whether such notions of the properties of phenomenal experience are the same as those countenanced by others is a moot point. That is, most psychologists would argue that they do not assume that qualities of percepts and sensations are free of inference, attitude or memory. However if one considers the tacit assumptions underlying much classical psychophysics, the discussion presented here has some force.

Keywords:   qualia, atomic properties, phenomenal experience, psychologists, classical psychophysics

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