Kim on Qualia

I stumbled accross this blog the other day. Looks like one of Kim’s former students posts here and Jaegwon Kim himself is responding. So it’s been fun to read. I hadn’t got into Kim’s latest position on physicalism yet. David Chalmers a few months ago delighted in Kim’s rejection of physicalism on his blog but I wasn’t sure what that entailed.

Kim’s rejection appears to be (from one or two blog entries I’m reading) weaker than Chalmers’. Kim holds that qualia aren’t reducible but he thinks that there are relations between qualia that are. Dr. Kim argues:

But I don’t see any obvious inconsistency in the claim that although X and Y are each physically irreducible, that X stands in R to Y is physically reducible.

Interesting position huh? His reviewers on the blog claim this position doesn’t make any sense. They say something along the lines that if we get burned, we feel pain, we react to the pain, therefore pain plays a causal role. Kim prefers an example with less going than in the above, a simple scenario where we can’t discern the difference between two quale, q1 and q2 – the colors of two lemons – and that this indescernibility is functionalizable (reducible) even if q1 and q2 aren’t.


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