Qualia…an introduction of sorts


“Most of each lobe is employed in the grand human saga of making associations among events, ideas, personal experiences, strategies and people.  It seems absurd to lump all that tempest together, but we do: thought.  The word even sounds like a thick knot.  Endless raveling and unraveling, thought combines colorful yarns to clothe each moment”

-Diane Ackerman-

“This is why we create: to keep our demons down without banishing them entirely”

-Marie Palermo-

“It is hard to seize what is”

-Laurie Scheck-

“Raw feel, a name for the peculiar quale of experience”

-E.C. Tolman-

“It is possible to hold that certain properties of certain mental states, namely those I’ve called qualia, are such that their possession or absence makes no difference to the physical world”

-Philosophical Quarterly 32/133-

“an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us: the ways things seem to us”
-Daniel Dennett-

“[Qualia are] the whole ensemble of consciousness or experiences”

-Gerald Edelman-

“When I do not know the ‘quid’ of anything how can I know the ‘quale’?”

-Plato, The Dialogues-

“The quale is directly intuited, given, and is not the subject of any possible error because it is purely subjective”

-C.I. Lewis-

“’what kind,’ ‘that sort,’ unobservable in others and unquantifiable in us”


“…a proposition flaunts every logical scratch that follows from it…

Then I saw you were trying to lean against the weight of missing words, a wall at the end of the world”

-Rosmarie Waldrop-

Inescapable Intersubjectivity

Ineffaceable Tentativeness

“No self is thus separate from the total venture of language”

(Wikipedia entry – “Qualia”)

“Inside the workings of language clear vision is impossible”

-Rosmarie Waldrop-

“The brain is embodied and the body is embedded” (Gerald Edelman, 2006).  A phrase like that implies mysteries.  As if something might be explained or described.  At least.  Scribbling maps at random: entailment, entangled.

She said, “memory – a mirror with ambition,” I questioned the memory and the mirror both.  A quail quickly turns tail, coveys away, Blanchot’s ever-ultimate (as in final), question: questioning itself.

That is, what is unquestionable?

Or, everything unfinished.


I’ve introduced this all before, and now I’m building with logical scratches.  Sketching plans.

I meant to address this before, but someone’s former second grade teacher (actually only a substitute), assigned his class a writing as a way to pass the time.  “Write about the process of choosing.”

Entailment, entanglement, words with activity in me, like haunting.  The concept of selection.  What must be going on.

I must be moving on.


Earlier and consistently, the lusting of language toward the intrinsic, the ineffable.  What is private and immediate.  What cancels out in signs or symbols.  Gordian knot of tricker, Ouroborous.  So much so as to seem identified.  Inherent.

What is not possible.


My wife’s eyes swell large in a blue as yet reproduced.  This elicits in me what science designates “raw feels.”  By the time I’ve gazed enough to start cooking them, they’re a meal in themselves.  Or, “knowledge as illusion (delusion).”  At any instant, process.

Accepting awards from strangers one strangely respects.  Not profound enough for tears, significant enough to change.

I can’t explain it.

(Meaning: it doesn’t accord my theories, or, “what’s wired together, fires…”)

Entanglement.  Arbitrary associations.  Blips and bits.  Intention.

You (can’t) get the picture.

What we mean is like this.


When I first stood in the grandeur of Il Duomo, Milan.  First naked body different from mine own.  Learning differance.  Similarity.  Metaphor versus analogue.  Random maps of light and entropy.

In ambiguity lies possibilities.

Where we’ve doubted.

Those final questions.


All those books I’ve written, published under others’ names.


N Filbert 2012

2 thoughts on “Qualia…an introduction of sorts

  1. Daniel Dennett tries to argue that we shouldn’t care about qualia when thinking about the constitution of the mind and that even if qualia did exist (which he doubts) they would have no causal bearing; I think he’s wrong! But, if you wanted to check out his piece you can find it in the text ‘Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings’ ed. David Chalmers. His piece is titled “Quining Qualia”.

    Nice post!

  2. yep i’ve got that one! thanks for the reference though. I have found Gerald Edelman’s “second nature” to be a very compelling assessment of the field up to now… love this stuff!

"A word is a bridge thrown between myself and an other - a territory shared by both" - M. Bakhtin

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