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Philosophical Studies

, Volume 147, Issue 3, pp 323–346 | Cite as

Against qualia theory

  • James John
Article
  • 413 Downloads

Abstract

Representational theorists identify experiences’ phenomenal properties with their representational properties. Qualia theorists reject this identity, insisting that experiences’ phenomenal properties can come apart from and completely outrun their representational properties. Qualia theorists account for phenomenal properties in terms of “qualia,” intrinsic mental properties they allege experiences to instantiate. The debate between representational theorists and qualia theorists has focused on whether phenomenal properties really can come apart from and completely outrun representational properties. As a result, qualia theorists have failed (1) to explain how experiences owe their phenomenal properties to their instantiation of qualia and (2) to clarify the nature of subjects’ epistemic access to qualia. I survey qualia theorists’ options for dealing with each issue and find them all wanting.

Keywords

Consciousness Phenomenal character Representational content Qualia Perception Introspection Awareness Self-knowledge 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank the members of the University of Toronto Metaphysics and Epistemology Working Papers Group for very helpful discussion of a previous version of this paper. Special thanks are due to Benj Hellie, Peter Ludlow, Mohan Matthen, Gurpreet Rattan, and Jessica Wilson.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada

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