, Volume 124, Issue 2, pp 239–255 | Cite as

Physicalism, Qualia Inversion, And Affective States

  • Neil Campbell


I argue that the inverted spectrum hypothesis is nota possibility we should take seriously. The principlereason is that if someone's qualia were inverted inthe specified manner there is reason to believe thephenomenal difference would manifest itself inbehaviour. This is so for two reasons. First, Isuggest that qualia, including phenomenal colours, arepartly constituted by an affective component whichwould be inverted along with the connected qualia. Theresulting affective inversions will, given theintimate connections that exist between emotions andbehaviour, likely manifest themselves in behaviour, inwhich case the underlying phenomenal differences canbe functionally captured. Second, I argue that othersense modalities lack the structural featuresnecessary for undetectable inversion which, because oftheir analogy with colour qualia, weakens theplausibility of such an inversion in the original caseof vision.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Ackerman, D.: 1990, A Natural History of the Senses, Random House, New York.Google Scholar
  2. Block, N.: 1980, 'Are Absent Qualia Impossible?', Philosophical Review LXXXIX, 257–274.Google Scholar
  3. Block, N.: 1980, 'Troubles with Functionalism.', in N. Block Readings in Philosophy of Psychology, Vol. 1, Harvard University Press Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  4. Damasio, A. R.: 1994, Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain, G. P. Putnam, New York.Google Scholar
  5. Fernald, A.: 1989, 'Intonation and Communicative Intent in Mothers' Speech', Child Development 60, 1497–1510.Google Scholar
  6. Fernald, A.: 1991, 'Prosody and Focus in Speech to Infants and Adults', Developmental Psychology 27 209–221.Google Scholar
  7. Fernandez, E. and D. C. Turk: 1992, 'Sensory and Affective Components of Pain: Separation and Synthesis', Psychological Bulletin 112(2), 205–217.Google Scholar
  8. Harvey, J.: 1979, 'Systematic Transposition of Colours', Australasian Journal of Philosophy 57211–219.Google Scholar
  9. Kivy, P.: 1980, The Corded Shell: Reflections on Musical Expression, Princeton University Press, Princeton.Google Scholar
  10. Levenhal, H. and D. Everhart: 1979, 'Emotion, Pain, and Physical Illness', in C. E. Izard, Emotions in Personality and Psychopathology, Plenum Press, New York.Google Scholar
  11. Lewis, M. M.: 1951, Infant Speech: A Study of the Beginnings of Language, Routledge and Kegan Paul, London.Google Scholar
  12. Locke, J. and P. H. Nidditch: 1975, An essay Concerning Human Understanding, Clarendon Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  13. Pain, I. A. f. t. S. o.: 1986, 'Classification of Chronic Pain: Descriptions of Chronic Pain Syndromes and Definition of Pain Terms', Pain, Vol. Suppl. 3: pp. S1–S226.Google Scholar
  14. Sherrington, C. S.: 1900, 'Cutaneaous Sensations', in E. A. Schafer, Textbook of Physiology, Pentland, London.Google Scholar
  15. Shoemaker, S.: 1981, 'Absent Qualia Are Impossible - A Reply To Block', Philosophical Review XC, 581–599.Google Scholar
  16. Shoemaker, S.: 1981, 'Functionalism and Qualia', In N. Block Readings in Philosophy of Psychology, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Vol. 1, pp. 581–599.Google Scholar
  17. Shoemaker, S.: 1982, 'The Inverted Spectrum', Journal of Philosophy LXXIX, 357–381.Google Scholar
  18. Simpson, E.: 1989, 'Sensation Deconstructed', in D. Stewart, Entities and Individuation: Studies in Ontology and Language in Honour of Neil Wilson. Edwin Mellin Press, New York.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Neil Campbell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of CalgaryCalgaryCanada

Personalised recommendations