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The Important Questions about raw sensory feel

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Question 1: The neural origin

How can a neural mechanism generate raw sensory feel? This is the basic "explanatory gap" question. There seems to be an unbridgeable rift between the physico-chemical processes in the brain and the psychological, "felt" quality of feel.

Question 2: "Presence". Why there is "something it is like" to feel

Raw sensory feels clearly have a special experienced quality that one might call sensory presence which makes them different from the majority of neural processes. Thus for example brain states involved in most of the body's regulatory processes, like adjusting the oxygen in our blood, are not accompanied by any feel at all. In fact even conscious processes like thinking or deciding or remembering are not generally considered to be accompanied by any kind of "feel". Perhaps there is something like a "mental feel", but at any rate it is quite different from the obvious "presence" that accompanies sensory stimulation. It is presumably this sensory presence which accounts for the fact that, as some philosophers say, there is something it is like to experience feels.

Question 3: Sensory Quality. Why feels have the particular qualities they have

Given that there is something it is like to have a feel, what exactly is it like? For example there is a difference between the feel of seeing versus the feel of hearing, and within seeing, there is a difference in the feel associated with different things that are seen: red is quite different from green. Exactly what differences in the operation or activation of the neural mechanisms involved in generating feel could account for these differences?

Question 4: Ineffability. Why the "something it is like" seems impossible to describe!

A characteristic of feels is that although they are very real and precise to each of us, we also know that we cannot communicate to others exactly what they are like. In particular there seems to be no way of knowing if our own experience of red, say, is the same as another person's experience of red. Why is this?

Other important questions?

Perhaps there are other Important Questions that should figure here. Subjectivity? The fact it makes no sense to suppose you might be wrong about your own feels? Others??

Contributors to this page: KevinORegan and admin .
Page last modified on Sunday 30 of April, 2006 [19:43:25 UTC] by KevinORegan.


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