From: Kate Distin (email@example.com)
Date: Sun 17 Apr 2005 - 08:27:32 GMT
Scott Chase wrote:
> --- Kenneth Van Oost <firstname.lastname@example.org>
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: Scott Chase <email@example.com>
>>>Instead of the solipsistic private illusion, I
>>>it's better to think of this in terms of the
>>>idealistic shared illusion. The categories of
>>>we all share due to genetic or cultural
>>>might influence the manner in which we perceive
>>Ok, but than a few conditions has to be fullfilled,
>>1_ we must perceive any sensation in the same way
>>or at least have the notion that we all feel the
>>Do we !?
> Maybe not so much across cultures, but more so within
> a culture (or a nation). We could each perceive the
> world through lenses similar to others in our
> respective countries when it comes to matters of
> patritotism and national pride. Taking it down a few
> notches, we might perceive sports similarly to fellow
> fans of a certain team. The sports franchise is a
> social institution and we identify with it and get
> pulled in by emblems, mascots and songs and share
> these socifacts with fellow fans, just as we share a
> comon flag and national anthem with other citizens.
> There's much room for differentiation in this context,
> but stll there are some commonalities.
Even within cultures there is a question about whether we perceive
sensations in the same way as each other. Philosophers talk about
"qualia": the subjective qualities of our conscious experiences - e.g. the way chocolate tastes, the way it feels to cut your knee. The problem with qualia is that other people's are inaccessible. So how do we know that your chocolate-tasting quale is the same as mine? There is a spectrum of liking for the tastes of certain foods: does one of us tolerate, another loathe and a third love the taste of brussels sprouts because each is reacting to the *same* tasting experience in a different way - or because sprouts actually taste different to each of us?
Here's another example. A few years ago I needed an operation: in pain
when I came round from the anaesthetic I was asked by the
morphine-wielding nurse whether my pain was "mild, moderate or severe"
and was overwhelmed by questions about what she meant by each of those
terms - how should I know whether what I felt was what is generally
accepted as "moderate"? But then it turned out that she didn't care
about my philosophical quandry (surprise!) - she wanted to know what it
felt like *to me* at that moment. This still interests me: the
objective amount of painkiller we need is dependent on our subjective
experiences of pain. Presumably we could inflict precisely the same
injury on a selection of people, and each would need a different level
of painkiller as a result.
Not that I would advocate such an experiment!
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