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Department
Philosophy
Course
Philosophy 1020
Professor
John Thorp
Semester
Fall

Description
Qualia  Wednesday, November 20, 2013 1. What is consciousness? • First answer: coordination of outputs with inputs o Objection 1: is Watson conscious? o Objection 2: the Chinese Room  The thought­experiment: Suppose that I know English perfectly well, and that I  am completely ignored of Chinese. Imagine that I am put into a room by myself  and given a piece of Chinese script. He has a book in English that teaches him  how to manipulate the language. The people outside of the room receiving  outputs and putting inputs think the person inside the room understands and  speaks Chinese.  But the person inside the room doesn’t understand the meaning  of the Chinese characters. The moral: A mind that understands has to be more  than a machine which gives the right outputs for the inputs. • Second answer: o A distinction: A­consciousness and P­consciousness o (Access consciousness and Phenomenal consciousness)  The concept of consciousness seems to be a bit obscure and confused  A­consciousness is the kind of awareness that we ascribe to anything that reacts  appropriately to its environment  P­consciousness is the awareness of awareness that is bound up with private,  internal states • Interim result: o Machines can A­think, but they can't P­think 2. Qualia (=P­conscious states) • The smell of coffee • The taste of asparagus • The drone of a bagpipe… How can a brain, which is material, have a smell of coffee, a taste of asparagus, and the colour green? • Three arguments why materialism cannot capture qualia:  1. The 'conceivability' argument: we can imagine brain states without mind­states and vice versa.
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