The Qualia Delusion

File:Inverted qualia of colour strawberry.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

Now that I’ve gotten your attention with that outrageous title, let me reassure you, I am not going to argue that qualia aren’t real. What I am going to do is suggest that while they’re real, they aren’t what you think they are. The “delusion” I am talking about here doesn’t concern the existence of qualia; rather, it concerns what they are and when they arise. It is vitally important that we get some clarity on this issue because until we do, we will never understand consciousness and how it fits into the world, meaning we will never understand ourselves. Hopefully this article, much of which arose directly out of a string of ongoing, intensely thought-provoking discussions I have enjoyed with a good friend, Luke Oliver, gets us a little closer to that clarity.

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