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First published Wed Aug 20, 1997; substantive revision Thu Aug 20, 2015
Feelings and experiences vary widely. For example, I run my fingers over sandpaper, smell a skunk, feel a sharp pain in my finger, seem to see bright purple, become extremely angry. In each of these cases, I am the subject of a mental state with a very distinctive subjective character. There is something it is like for me to undergo each state, some phenomenology that it has. Philosophers often use the term ‘qualia’ (singular ‘quale’) to refer to the introspectively accessible, phenomenal aspects of our mental lives. In this broad sense of the term, it is difficult to deny that there are qualia. Disagreement typically centers on which mental states have qualia, whether qualia are intrinsic qualities of their bearers, and how qualia relate to the physical world both inside and outside the head. The status of qualia is hotly debated in philosophy largely because it is central to a proper understanding of the nature of consciousness. Qualia are at the very heart of the mind-body problem.
A point would be that Consciousness cannot be identified otherwise to how it is interactive with reality and even outside of human awareness or knowledge. I mean that after a downer heart transplant a person develops an urge for food they never ate before but the downer did ? That is suspect to consider that consciousness is an altogether experience that could effectively transcend human comprehension of what we really are.
originally posted by: Andy1144
a reply to: jonnywhite
Because if cause and effect rule above all else, our present decisions are mostly the combined sum of all prior events in history. And how mcuh do we control all events in history? Very little.
The type of free will you're talking about is completely different to the one that I'm talking about. I am talking about absolute free will, you are talking about the desire to make certain choices.
So the illusion stems from the fact that we believe our choices are somehow rational and consciously derived. Should I eat or not? What should I eat? Yet, we are bounded by both the physical reality of our existence and the logical reality of our brains [mind].
We cannot venture outside of that domain and declare ourselves to be free of that existence. I can no more will myself to stop breathing, than I can to will myself to ignore the information in my mind. Yet, this is precisely what is required if one is to claim access to "free will". The point is quite simple.Unless we can divorce ourselves from our minds, then any claim of "free will" is nothing more than the rationalization of that same mind that we somehow possess it. It is simply a circular argument.
As a result, we cannot claim to be "free" of the very same organ and process that is making the claim of freedom. Everything we do originates in our brain, including the notion that somehow we can behave independently of that same brain. To suggest otherwise would require some independent "seat of power", a homonculus [or "little man"] that is capable of overriding the decisions originating in our brains. It is an illusion.
I think this is pretty fascinating. I think it gives us a clue at how organs can affect the brain. But still it doesn't take us any bit closer to concluding where consciousness is located. It's truly a perplexing phenomenon.
I do believe there is a full spectrum though. Some choices can be made entirely freely - others, weighing possibilities/probabilities. In those, we don't necessarily make the "best" choice, but we do analyze them - consciously or subconsciously. Other choices are practically no choice at all - you can be very much "compelled" to certain choices, based on circumstances and brain chemistry.
The organ transplant quandary is suggesting that we dont have free will - why cant you see that rather than suggest the location of consciousness? I
originally posted by: DeadMoonJester
I find it rather arrogant of you to be so certain of something you possibly couldn't know about.
You think that YOU the little human with your pathetic little perspective have enough information to be so sure about a universal question like this?
So, your argument is basically based on determinism I take it?
I hear quantum dickery has a big problem with that.