Philosophical and scientific defenses of Indirect Realism and counterarguments to the attacks of qualiaphobes.
Many philosophers and cognitive scientists dismiss the notion of qualia, sensory experiences that are internal to the brain. Leading opponents of qualia (and of Indirect Realism, the philosophical position that has qualia as a central tenet) include Michael Tye, Daniel Dennett, Paul and Patricia Churchland, and even Frank Jackson, a former supporter. Qualiaphiles apparently face the difficulty of establishing philosophical contact with the real when their access to it is seen by qualiaphobes to be second-hand and, worse, hidden behind a "veil of sensation"—a position that would slide easily into relativism and solipsism, presenting an ethical dilemma. In The Case for Qualia, proponents of qualia defend the Indirect Realist position and mount detailed counterarguments against opposing views.
The book first presents philosophical defenses, with arguments propounding, variously, a new argument from illusion, a sense-datum theory, dualism, "qualia realism," qualia as the "cement" of the experiential world, and "subjective physicalism." Three scientific defenses follow, discussing color, heat, and the link between the external object and the internal representation. Finally, specific criticisms of opposing views include discussions of the Churchlands' "neurophilosophy," answers to Frank Jackson's abandonment of qualia (one of which is titled, in a reference to Jackson's famous thought experiment, "Why Frank Should Not Have Jilted Mary"), and refutations of Transparency Theory.
ContributorsTorin Alter, Michel Bitbol, Harold I. Brown, Mark Crooks, George Graham, C.L. Hardin, Terence E. Horgan, Robert J. Howell, Amy Kind, E.J. Lowe, Riccardo Manzotti, Barry Maund, Martine Nida-Rümelin, John O'Dea, Isabelle Peschard, Matjaž Potrc, Diana Raffman, Howard Robinson, William S. Robinson, John R. Smythies, Edmond Wright