Abstract Details

Key Errors in the Philosophy of Mind Debate  Cicero Cortel (Philosophy, De la Salle Zobel School/ University of Sto.Tomas, Las Pi?as, METRO MANILA Philippines)   P1

There are key errors in important models in the philosophy of mind debate in the present time. First, is the well-known- Mary's Room Argument by Frank Jackson (1982). In ?Epiphenomenal Qualia? (The Philosophical Quarterly, April, 1982) aside from Fred- who could see twice the number of colors than any man or woman can, there was also Mary, who by a very unfortunate event was born in a black and white room, and became a brilliant neuro-scientist, and learned all there is to know about how one sees the red tomato and the blue sky through a black and white monitor. And that is the error! Frank Jackson- cannot claim that Mary learned how one sees red if all she had was black and white! Hence, if she saw only black and white, then she did not really understand how red is seen. If she fully understood how one sees red in the black and white room, then she already saw red, which begs the question. The Mary?s Room Argument is incoherent. The second is the "inverted qualia" argument. It is erroneous, not because of a fallacy but due to its psychology and physics. It is not "physically" possible for twins to have inverted spectrum orientation because colors are defined according to electromagnetic frequency (physics)- red being the lowest and violet the highest. Hence red has a frequency much lower than green and so the difference is mechanical quantitative and not qualitative. In short, the physical brain cannot accommodate red and green in equal terms. Which should point out that the inverted qualia argument is a physically impossible set up. The third erroneous idea- is in the debate between the Churchlands and John Searle- can computers ever become conscious? John Searle's biological naturalism, in opposition to a computer's syntax or is it purely so? is off-centered and is bound to be a dead-end. Let me use Tom Nagel?s ?What it is Like to be Bat?? (1974)- what is it like to be a computer? However, John Searle's point of view- by emphasizing biological naturalism, should point out that the debate should not be about consciousness (computers may be conscious someday) but should be about "life" (biology). His point, against computers, is not about semantics but more about ?life?- which computers can never have. And this will open a new discussion in philosophy of mind.