Re: Searles' Fundamental Error

From: Jesse Mazer <>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 00:17:40 -0500

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
>It is a complicated issue. Patients with psychotic illnesses can sometimes
>reflect on a past episode and see that they were unwell then even though
>they insisted they were not at the time. They then might say something
>"I don't know I'm unwell when I'm unwell, but when I'm well I know I'm
>well". OK, but then how do you know that you're not unwell now? How do I
>know I'm not unwell now? We rely on other people telling us (although of
>course we won't believe them if we lack insight into our own illness), but
>in the example of fading qualia we would (a) not notice that the qualia
>fading, a kind of delusion or anosognosia, and (b) no-one else would notice
>either, because by whatever mechanism the external appearance of conscious
>behaviour would be kept up. So how do I know I'm not that special kind of
>zombie or partial zombie now? I feel absolutely sure that I am not but then
>I would think that, wouldn't I? The fact is, it happens all the time, to at
>least 1% of the population.
>Stathis Papaioannou

But are you claiming that psychotic patients not only are mistaken about
what's going on in the external world, but are mistaken about the actual
qualia they experience? i.e. if a psychotic says he's hearing voices and
thinks they are martians sending him messages via microwaves, not only is he
mistaken that the voices come from martians as opposed to being
hallucinations, but he's mistaken that he's having the subjective experience
of hearing voices in the first place? I've never heard of a condition like
that...your example of recognizing one was unwell in the past is more like
recognizing the things one was hearing and seeing were hallucinatory rather
than accurate perceptions of the external world, not recognizing that one
was not hearing and seeing anything at all, even hallucinations.


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Received on Wed Feb 21 2007 - 00:17:53 PST

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