Sam Coleman – 'Unconscious Qualia and the Epiphenomenalist Threat'
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Sam Coleman (Herts) – 'Unconscious Qualia and the Epiphenomenalist Threat'
'We normally think of our sensations and feelings, or qualia, for example pains, itches, felt anger, as causing or contributing to the production of our actions and activities. This sort of causal story is routine in everyday life (e.g. 'I scratched my leg because it itched'). But philosophers, as well as scientists and laypeople, are exceedingly reluctant to entertain the existence of unconscious feelings (aka unconscious qualia). In this paper, via a case study involving 'restless leg syndrome', I aim to show that the causal efficacy of conscious qualia or feelings is threatened unless we posit causally efficacious unconscious feelings/qualia as well. So our choice is to embrace an unwelcome epiphenomenalism about feelings/qualia across the board, or to endorse the existence of unconscious qualia. It seems clear that the second alternative is preferable, so this is an argument for the existence of unconscious feelings/qualia.'
Please be aware that this will be a read-ahead session. To receive the paper and join the discussion on Zoom, please e-mail Jakub Mihalik at firstname.lastname@example.org.