Monday, June 1, 2015
Qualia is a term used in philosophy to refer to individual instances of subjective, conscious experience. The term derives from a Latin word meaning for "what sort" or "what kind." Examples of qualia are the pain of a headache, the taste of wine, the experience of taking a recreational drug, or the perceived redness of an evening sky. Daniel Dennett writes that qualia is "an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us: the ways things seem to us." Erwin Schrödinger, the famous physicist, had this counter-materialist take: "The sensation of colour cannot be accounted for by the physicist's objective picture of light-waves. Could the physiologist account for it, if he had fuller knowledge than he has of the processes in the retina and the nervous processes set up by them in the optical nerve bundles and in the brain? I do not think so."