A brood comb

….philosophical and other notes….

Phenomenal Fishiness

Posted by Tanas Gjorgoski on October 8, 2006

In a previous post I asked if mind is phenomenal or theoretical concept. My own opinion is  that while the roots of the usage of that word are connected to direct observation of specific kind of phenomena, the philosophy is usually mixing theoretical content into it, and in lot of cases using mind not as referring to specific phenomena, but connected to the possibility of “conscious phenomenal experience” in general. In such usage, mind isn’t something that we discern as specific phenomenon in the world (phenomenal), but tends to be tightly connected to the subject and subject’s first person experience. For example it is said, that we can’t know for sure that other people have minds.

But it is not just the word “mind” whose usage is changed in this way in philosophy – from using it to refer to specific phenomena, to a different theoretical usage. The meaning of the words like “consciousness” and “experience” seems to be tweaked in this way also, both not used to refer to phenomena, but to something which is genuinely first-person (and accessible only from first person), and which is some kind of background for possibility of phenomena, awareness and thinking of them.

And then there is that word “qualia”, and also “phenomena” used in the phrases like “phenomenal experience”, “phenomenal world” and so on.
 I experience a quale of phenomenal fishiness.

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