[ExI] consciousness and perception

Damien Broderick thespike at satx.rr.com
Sat Jan 24 23:34:27 UTC 2009

At 03:46 PM 1/24/2009 -0700, Brent wrote:

> From how you described what I tried to say, you clearly didn't 
> understand what I was trying to say.

But you wrote:

>>in addition to these behavioral properties, something about atoms 
>>also has phenomenal qualities like red, green, the taste of salt....

A "phenomenal quality" can only be something that gives rise to an 
experience of a thing or process *in an experiencer* (if you are 
using the terminology of phenomenology). If a thrown sugar cube hits 
you in the eye and gives rise to pain, it is the inertia and certain 
crystal properties of the rigidly arranged atoms that have done this 
in combination with nerves in the vicinity of your eye, and further 
processing by your nervous system. But there are no "pain" qualities 
in the sugar cube; neither are there "taste of sweetness" qualities. 
Are there, then, "white" qualities? No, except as part of the 
transaction of the cube's atoms and your atoms.

I happen to see slightly different shades of any given color from the 
same object depending on whether I use my right or left eye. It's not 
the "phenomenal quality" of the apple that changes. But you might 
argue that this is beside the point, since if the apple entirely 
lacked "phenomenal qualities" I wouldn't be able to see it at all (or 
something). You might propose that "dark matter" (actually 
*transparent* matter) is like that, except for its gravity. I think 
all this would just be a muddle.

Damien Broderick 

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