Functionalism And The Inverted Spectrum

1545 WordsApr 27, 20157 Pages
Imagine walking past a garden with an assortment of flowers. Now close your eyes and take in each distinguishing familiar smell. As you take a whiff you smell the differences between the roses, lilies, and even tulips. We can tell the sound of a drum from that of a gong; the touch of cool, smooth marble as we run our fingers over it distinctively feeling the difference from that of sandpaper. Our everyday lives are continuous experiences of sensations. These sensations have characteristic qualitative features, which are called “phenomenal”, “phenomenological” or “sensory” qualities. In philosophical terms these sensations can be referred to as qualia, which are defined as properties of experiences that type them in phenomenological respects . The understanding on the knowledge of other minds has provided a puzzle known as the inverted spectrum. This possibility has emerged as an important challenge to functionalist accounts of qualia. Functionalism is committed to defining mental states in terms of their cause and effects . By identifying sensory events with casual roles, however, functionalism appears to be missing qualitative aspects all together. The topic of spectrum inversion has often been raised as a contradiction to functionalism, as well as other materialist theories about consciousness. These negates to functionalism show that even when all the relevant physical facts are held constant, the facts about qualia can still vary, hence that the phenomenal must be over

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