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Erkenntnis

, Volume 84, Issue 1, pp 145–167 | Cite as

Four Meta-methods for the Study of Qualia

  • Lok-Chi ChanEmail author
  • Andrew James LathamEmail author
Article

Abstract

In this paper, we describe four broad ‘meta-methods’ (as we shall call them) employed in scientific and philosophical research of qualia. These are the theory-centred metamethod, the property-centred meta-method, the argument-centred meta-method, and the event-centred meta-method. Broadly speaking, the theory-centred meta-method is interested in the role of qualia as some theoretical entities picked out by our folk psychological theories; the property-centred meta-method is interested in some metaphysical properties of qualia that we immediately observe through introspection (e.g., intrinsic, non-causal, ineffable); the argument-centred meta-method is interested in the role of qualia in some arguments for non-physicalism; the event-centred metamethod is interested in the role of qualia as some natural events whose nature is hidden and must be uncovered empirically. We will argue that the event-centred metamethod is the most promising route to a comprehensive scientific conception of qualia because of the flexibility of ontological and methodological assumptions it can provide. We also reveal the hidden influences of the different meta-methods and in doing so show why consideration of meta-methods has value for the study of consciousness.

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors would like to acknowledge David Braddon-Mitchell, Graham Oppy, Frank Jackson, Justine Kingsbury, Lei Zhong, Kristie Miller, Waihung Wong, Jakob Hohwy, John Bigelow, Luke Roelofs, Ryoji Sato, Wei Fang, Michael Duncan, James Norton, Luke Thompson, Belinda Calderone, the metaphysics group at the University of Sydney, and two anonymous referees for their useful discussions or comments. Special thanks are due to Belinda Rickard.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V., part of Springer Nature 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentMonash UniversityMelbourneAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Brain and Mind CentreUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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