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Tuesday, September 29, 2015


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By "data" does Russell mean what appears in experience or the appearance of it? You are saying that he means what appears in experience, which is some part of a physical object, whereas its appearance in experience, on the other hand, is a quale -- not a physical, but a mental object. Is that right?

He means what appears. You have to distinguish between the sensing and the datum sensed. The former is mental, the latter physical. It is something like a trope. I'll bet that D.C. Williams got some of his ideas from those 1915 essays of Russell.

It is a curious doctrine; I am not endorsing it; and R. later dropped it if memory serves. R. changed his mind a lot.

Is an appearing of blue a quale? I would say No since the appearing or sensing seems to have no introspctible phenomenal quality at all -- unlike a pain which does have an introspectible phenomal quality.

Borrowing a term from Moore, the sensing of blue appears to be "diaphanous."

Is the introspectible phenomenal quality of pain that it hurts (or is otherwise unpleasant)?

We ought to distinguish in a pain the felt sensation from its painfulness.

Suppose at the start of a hike my hands are cold. I say to myself: Look, man, it's only a sensation. Man up! The painfulness goes down and sometimes disappears but the sensation remains. I would say that both are introspectible, that both are phenomenal characters of the experience, and that therefore both together make up the sensory quale.

So it is not just the hurtingness or unpleasantness of a pain that is the quale, but that together with the felt sensation itself precisely as it felt by a particular perceiver at a particular time.

Thanks for clarifying. So if the unpleasantness of pain is introspectible, as well as the sensation of pain itself, why isn't the blueness of blue introspectible?

I always understood colors to be at least partially or perhaps only qualia, and I thought for instance that the inverted spectrum argument was meant to prove that.

I suppose the short answer is that no mental state is blue in the way some mental states are painful.

Do a little phenomenology. Stare at a blue coffee cup. The blueness appears at the cup. The sensing, which is distinct from the datum sensed, does not appear as blue.

It is not by introspection that I know that the cup is blue but by extrospection.

I see your point; however, I think it's a little controversial (i.e. substantive). Many philosophers (going, as you certainly know, all the way back to Descartes) would claim that the cup is blue, if at all, in quite a different way than my experience of it as being blue would lead me to believe. Given such a claim, what else can the blueness as I experience it be but something mental? Granting it's not a quale, what other kind of mental items are there? What is the difference between a quale and what the empiricists called "images"?

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