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The Case for Qualia. Notify me. Description Philosophical and scientific defenses of Indirect Realism and counterarguments to the attacks of qualiaphobes. Many philosophers and cognitive scientists dismiss the notion of qualia, sensory experiences that are internal to the brain. Leading opponents of qualia and of Indirect Realism, the philosophical position that has qualia as a central tenet include Michael Tye, Daniel Dennett, Paul and Patricia Churchland, and even Frank Jackson, a former supporter.

Qualiaphiles apparently face the difficulty of establishing philosophical contact with the real when their access to it is seen by qualiaphobes to be second-hand and, worse, hidden behind a "veil of sensation"-a position that would slide easily into relativism and solipsism, presenting an ethical dilemma. In The Case for Qualia, proponents of qualia defend the Indirect Realist position and mount detailed counterarguments against opposing views.

The aim of critical realism. In Perception and the Physical World, ed. Hirst, — Sellars, W. The lever of Archimedes; Naturalism and process; Is consciousness physical? The Carus Lectures. Monist 64, 1: 3— Phenomenal character. Smythies, J. Analysis of Perception. Tye, M.

Qualia, content, and the inverted spectrum. Blindsight, orgasm, and representational overlap. Behavioural and Brain Sciences — Consciousness, Color, and Content. Nonconceptual content, richness, and fineness of grain. Ward, A. Direct and indirect realism. American Philosophical Quarterly 13, 4: — Warnock, G.

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society — Woodworth, R. Reinforcement of perception.

The Case for Qualia -

American Journal of Psychology — Wright, E. New representationalism. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 20, 1: 65— New Representationalisms: Essays in the Philosophy of Perception. Narrative, Perception, Language, and Faith. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

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Brown There is a troubling gap between the current philosophical and scientific literatures on perception. Le Morvan provides a recent review. When direct arguments are given they typically consist of analyses of everyday concepts which, we can happily concede, embody direct realism. But we should no more expect a correct account of perception from conceptual analysis than expect to establish relativity theory or the principles of statistics in this manner.

Many proponents of indirect realism recognize that the main evidence for their position comes from empirical considerations. I develop this approach in section 1, beginning with illusions. Illusions provide initial support for the thesis that we perceive qualia and, I argue, illusions should push philosophers to examine the scientific literature on perception; doing so enhances this support.

The Case for Qualia (MIT Press) (A Bradford Book)

It is also commonly held that indirect realism undermines our ability to learn about the world. I reply to that objection in section 2. This is an assumption only in the sense that I will not argue for it here. It is not particularly controversial and is accepted by both direct and indirect realists. This assumption does eliminate phenomenalism from the discussion, but phenomenalism is hardly in play at present, although phenomenalism was the default view in Anglo-American philosophy for much of the twentieth century.

I also want to introduce some terminology. I use item as an ontologically neutral term involving no commitments about whether I am discussing an endur- 46 Harold I. Brown ing object, process, event, and so forth. My hand is external with respect to vision and my eyes are external with respect to touch. I refer to the immediate items of perceptual awareness as a perceptual display. In this terminology, the central question of section 1 is whether a given perceptual display is numerically identical with the external arrangement that causes it.

I use illusion broadly to describe any qualitative mismatch between a perceptual display and the external arrangement that causes it. Describing something as an illusion does not imply that anyone is deceived by it. Let us examine some illusions. Consider a class of illusions known as subjective contours; two examples are given in figure 1. In these illusions the perceptual display includes lines that do not correspond to any lines in the external arrangement. We can be confident of this because we can draw that arrangement ourselves and thus know that these contours are not included.

Although the external arrangement plays a causal role in generating our awareness of these lines, our visual system also plays a causal role. We have, then, cases in which the perceptual display is qualitatively different from the external arrangement. But, as Leibniz taught us, qualitative difference implies numerical difference. It is not yet clear how far we should push this familiar point. A minimal proposal is that our visual system adds something to the perceptual display, but that other aspects of that display are numerically identical with the external arrangement.

Let us explore some other cases.