Kim argues that unconscious beliefs, at least, have no qualia.
We do seem to have unconscious beliefs: Do you believe that some neurosurgeons wear hats? Yes. You had this belief before I asked the question, but were not aware of the belief, were not aware that you had the belief (are these the same thing?). My question made the belief occurrent.
Kim argues: We are not aware of such beliefs; therefore they have no qualia. But does this follow? What about a visual experience of the hour hand of a clock?
Relatedly: I can tell whether I am angry or embarrassed. Is that because anger and embarrassment have certain distinct qualia?
|Kind of phenomenon||Sometimes have qualia||Always have qualia||Have a common quale|
|Seeing a tomato|
We get a similar problem with mental phenomena in general. Suppose that mental phenomenon m supervenes upon (or merely correlates with) physical phenomenon p (i.e. p gives rise to m), and m' does not. Why does p give rise to m rather than m'?
For all x and m: if m is a mental property and x has m then there is a p such that p is a physical property and x has p and necessarily: for all y: if y has p then y has m.
But what about qualia - do they supervene upon physical phenomena?
Observe: it is conceptually possible that water is not H20, but it is not metaphysically possible.
Observe: it was epistemically possible that Hesperus is not Phosphorus, but it was not metaphysically possible.
Suppose I look at a ripe tomato and it looks red to me, so I have a visual experience with a certain quale. According to this view, my visual experience of the tomato represents that the tomato is red, and the quale that it has is the property of being red.
Proponents don't want to claim that the property of being red is instantiated by my experience (visual experiences are not the kind of thing that can be red), nor even by the tomato (the tomato might not actually be red). Is this a problem?
But does it?
I think this is a bad argument (see Breckenridge (2007)).
Possible reply: there is some other difference in what our experiences represent, hence the different qualia.
Possible reply: ditto.