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Cognitive Phenomenology$
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Tim Bayne and Michelle Montague

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199579938

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579938.001.0001

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On Behalf of Cognitive Qualia

On Behalf of Cognitive Qualia

Chapter:
(p.215) On Behalf of Cognitive Qualia
Source:
Cognitive Phenomenology
Author(s):

Christopher Shields

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199579938.003.0010

Philosophers of mind have shown a marked reluctance to countenance cognitive qualia; they deny the existence of mental states which are both intentional and available to phenomenal consciousness. This reluctance is surprising: if we think that being curious as to whether p is true qualifies as a single mental state, as we should, then on the assumption that curiosity has a distinctive phenomenology, as it seems to have, then we should need a special reason for thinking that there are no states—that there cannot be states—appropriately regarded as exhibiting cognitive qualia. Needless to say, eliminativists about qualia in general will be unimpressed with the putatively qualitative character of such states. In this, they are wholly consistent and also wholly extreme. Still, they occupy a perfectly stable position. By contrast, those philosophers, the vast majority, who countenance at least some qualia, for perceptual and emotional states, do not enjoy the stability purchased by extremity. They are thus liable to a series of parity arguments which establish that any reason we might have for countenancing non‐cognitive qualia equally counts as a reason for countenancing cognitive qualia.

Keywords:   qualia, curiosity, propositional attitudes, willing, eliminativism

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