Questions On Self And Organism

1678 Words7 Pages
Any satisfactory account of the senses should allow that typically functioning humans are the sorts of things that have them. To my knowledge, there is absolutely no dispute about whether I, as a normal adult person, possess senses. I would go so far as to say that any account that failed to claim I have senses would be discussing something else entirely. There may exist the fair question, however, as to what exactly is meant by this ‘I’ to which we necessarily grant senses. In what follows I will propose that there are two ways of defining this ‘I’: Self and Organism. I will give an explanation of these two notions, and along the way defend the possibility of a qualia requirement for what it means to have a sense. In order to accomplish…show more content…
Each of us is intimately acquainted with exactly one Self, and through this Self one is aware of a correlated Organism. We are also aware of other Organisms that are not ‘I’ but are very similar. We are directly aware of no further Selves, but it seems a reasonable assumption that these other organisms each possess one as well. We can easily see that qualia, insofar as they are qualia and not some possible physical correlate of qualia, need not be considered when discussing whether the Organism has sense. As we are considering the Organism from the objective view of the natural sciences, we simply have no real way of getting at the existence of qualia “from the outside,” and this alone should convince us that qualia have no role to play in such an account of the senses. As tempting as it might be to fully ignore qualia when discussing the senses, however, the fact is that there is some “what it’s like” to the senses when it comes to the Self, to our every-day experiences, and to folk-psychological accounts. The idea that qualia might be a requirement of sensation is not presently a popular one, as best I can tell, presumably due to its utter incoherence when it comes to an objective account of the senses. It seems to me, however, that the position is not weak as we may be led to believe by popular assumptions. I have granted that qualia qua qualia cannot have a place in the
Open Document