Issue of qualia is highly controversial. I know that I am slipping from being proponent of qualia to opponent quite often within this blog. I feel like being wave and particle at the same time in relation to this issue.
Why is the question of qualia important?
But why on earth should this question be important at all? We are talking whether there are some kind of private entities, neural correlates somewhere within our brains or our bodies, that exist on the top of neurons and their firings. Why would such question be of any importance but to neuroscientists and philosophers?
What this blog aims to is to show how certain apparently obscure questions of philosophy are in fact important for anyone. One can take this from opposite point: if philosophy deals with the issue that cannot be of any importance for our lives, then such issue should be of no importance for philosophy as well. Such argument does not yet prove the importance of qualia question but at least hopefully connects philosophy back to life – and life forth to philosophy.
There are in fact many issues connected to qualia that are being addressed in this blog. Zombies are not humans because they do not have qualia. Are zombies possible? If qualia exists, then there should exist also corrupt, broken, damaged qualia, qualia that should have been treated by medical science. Another issue directly linked to qualia question is free will question and even more important the question “who acts” when we do or say something. If we are machines (without qualia) then many important question of ethics and morality arise. Well, they are present even if qualia exist, but answers are different in one or another case. All these and many other topics related to qualia are listed as tags to this blog.
This post is not going to resolve qualia question in one or another direction. My claim is that there is no one direction in relation to qualia.
Qualia and communication
The main argument against qualia comes from hard scientific standpoint. Science does not like subjectivity so qualia as subjective entity does not comply to scientific standards from the very beginning. How would hard science resolve qualia question? “You perceive this table as big, I perceive that same table is small. When we measure it we do not experience it as small or as big any more.” Does this mean that certain quality of our perception vanishes after the perceived object is (objectively) measured? Does this mean that neural correlates (and qualia) existed before the measurement if they vanish after it?
First we should notice, that even if we take that we lost something with measurement, that, what was “lost” was in fact communicable. So it was not supposed incommunicable qualia. There most probably is a neural correlate behind, one in my body (not only brain) and one in yours – but qualia is nothing that would be accessible only to you for yours and to me for mine, since we can share it in communication. We can fake it, but we cannot avoid to communicate it (if we want to communicate it).
Qualia as quantum entity?
And second: what if we take seriously that there exists no object to be measured. What if when dealing with qualia we face the situation like with electron measurement. If we measure (know) the position of electron to the point, we know nothing about its velocity, we cannot in principle measure its velocity; and vice versa. What if qualia is such quantum entity?
If qualia is quantum entity, unmeasurable but objective, then suddenly intersubjectivity comes into play. Qualia exists but is measured (communicated) only with its disappearance. Another important issue also gets easier with quantum qualia: fake news question disappears completely. Everything is fake from abstract point (of no measurement) while after measurement (intersubjective communication and agreement), everything (within discourse) becomes true. Reality is fake and true at the same time – objective only after intersubjectivity is resolved through measurement (communication). Multiverse exists as potentiality and dissolves into our Universe after being measured/communicated.
Dear reader of this blog: confusion most certainly piles up with this post. It is going to be at least partly resolved in Homonism.