Smith and Jones see a dog that is in fact white but due to a trick of the electric lighting, seems blue. Smith is unaware of the facts about the lighting and so believes that the dog is blue. Jones is hip to the lighting situation and so believes the dog is white. Jones agrees, though, that in spite of his believing it to be white, the dog seems blue.
Is there something going on in the minds of Smith and Jones when they look at the dog that cannot be accounted for in terms of their various dispositions to make certain judgments?
We’ll come back to this in a bit.
Smith and Jones are playing Let’s Make a Deal with Monty Hall. There are three doors for Smith and three for Jones. Behind one of Smith’s doors is a car. Likewise for Jones. They each pick their door number one. Before door number one is opened, Monty Hall opens door number three and reveals that there is a goat behind it. Monty asks if they’d like to keep door number one or switch to door number two. Smith figures there is a fifty/fifty chance that the car is behind door number one, so he believes door number two to not be a superior choice. Jones is hip to the explanation of the relevant probabilities and so believes correctly that there is an advantage in switching. Jones admits, though, that while he trusts the explanation, he doesn’t totally understand it, and sympathizes with Smith’s urge to not switch.
Is there something going on in the minds of Smith and Jones when they play Let’s Make a Deal that cannot be accounted for in terms of their various dispositions to make certain judgments?
No. Here’s a straightforward and uncontroversial explanation of what is going on. Smith has a disposition to judge door number two to not be a superior choice and is aware of no overriding considerations against resisting his disposition. Jones similarly has a disposition to judge door number two to not be a superior choice, but is aware of overriding considerations in favor of resisting this disposition, so he resists. He believes door two to be superior but agrees that it seems not to be suprerior. In what does this latter seeming consist? It consists in his overridden disposition to make a certain judgment.
Answer 1 revisited:
No. Here’s a straightforward yet controversial explanation of what is going on. Smith has a disposition to judge the dog to be blue and is aware of no overriding considerations against resisting this disposition. Jones similarly has a disposition to judge the dog to be blue, but is aware of overriding considerations in favor of resisting this disposition, so he resists. He believes the dog to be white but agrees that it seems to be blue. In what does this latter seeming consist? It consists in his overridden disposition to make a certain judgment.
This leaves out phenomenal consciousness! It is obvious that there is something else going on in the minds of Smith and Jones besides their various dispositions to make judgments: they have conscious experiences with blue qualia! It is obvious that there is more to seeming than epistemic seeming. It is obvious that there is, additionally, phenomenal seeming.
Note that Objection 1, while containing many exclamation points, contains no arguments. What it does contain is an assertion that it seems like there are phenomenal seemings. Pending further argument, there’s no reason to not just assimilate this as more epistemic seeming. It epistemically seems to qualiophiles that there are phenomenal seemings. So what?
But Mandik, you have claimed elsewhere to love qualia. You have also claimed elsewhere to have a theory of phenomenal consciousness. What is your major malfunction?
So-called phenomenal seemings are reducible to a sub-class of epistemic seemings. There’s nothing going on in the mind in these scenarios that can’t be explained in terms of information bearing states (let’s call them sensations) and our conceptual reactions to them (let’s call them thoughts). So, what are qualia? They are introspectible properties of conscious states. What are conscious states? Not every thought is conscious. Nor is every sensation. Conscious states are hybrid states of mutually causally interacting thoughts and sensations. Dog triggers sensation which triggers thought? If that’s all that happens, neither thought nor sensation is conscious. Dog triggers sensation which triggers thought which feeds back and reactivates sensation? If that happens, both thought and sensation jointly comprise a conscious state. For more on this, see my “Phenomenal Consciousness and the Allocentric-Egocentric Interface“. What’s introspection? It’s the conceptual exploitation of the information that mental states carry about themselves. For more on this see “Churchlandik Introspection” and “The Instrospectibility of Brain States as Such“.