Do you think Qualia are Epiphenomenal?

Have you ever woken up at night wondering what epiphenomenal qualia are? All right, I admit it, I haven’t… yet. But I might, having just come across this article by Frank Jackson which reminds me why I only half enjoyed studying philosophy of mind.

Thanks to Kim, who sent me this link to a smorgasbord of papers in cognitive science, philosophy of mind, artificial intelligence etc etc.

Oh, still curious about epiphenomenal qualia? Qualia refers to the “whatness” of “whats” – the itchiness of itches, the painness of pains, the noise-ness of noise… what it’s like to feel those whatnesses through our senses as living beings. And epiphenomenality? THAT claims that such feelings of whatness are not a pure product of cause-effect stimulation of our bodies by the outside world.

Which is all very boring really. MUCH more interesting is that wonderful turn of phrase… even if I forget the definition, must add it to my list of Must-Use impressive phrases in a conference presentation, ranking even higher than Lateral Synchronous Excitation.

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