Re: Searles' Fundamental Error

From: Brent Meeker <>
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2007 09:22:40 -0800

Stathis Papaioannou wrote:
> On 2/21/07, *Jesse Mazer* <
> <>> wrote:
> 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
> >like,
> >"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
> >were
> >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.
> Jesse
> A patient says that his leg is paralysed, behaves as if his leg is
> paralysed, but the clinical signs and investigations are not consistent
> with a paralysed leg. The diagnosis of hysterical paralysis is made. A
> patient claims to hear voices of people nobody else sees, responds to
> the voices as if they are there, but the clinical signs and response to
> antipsychotic treatment is not consistent with the auditory
> hallucinations experienced by peopel with psychotic illness. The
> diagnosis of hysterical hallucinations is made: that is, they aren't
> hearing voices that aren't there, they only *think* they're hearing
> voices that aren't there.

How is this diagnosis made? It sounds like an impossible distinction - a scientific resolution of the zombie question.

>As with the leg, some of these patients may be
> malingering for various reasons, but there will be some who genuinely
> experience the symptom.
> However, that's a digression. My point was simply that people can be
> deluded, for example thinking that they can see when they in fact are
> blind, despite extremely strong evidence that they are deluded. If this
> is the case, then surely it would be possible to maintain the delusion
> that nothing remarkable is happening as your qualia gradually fade if
> there were *no* external evidence of your blindness, because electronic
> chips are taking over your brain function. I don't actually think this
> is likely to happen, and the real examples I gave are presumably due to
> specific (though ill-understood) neurological dysfunction causing lack
> of insight, since generally we *do* notice when our perceptions are
> affected due to neurological lesions. Nevertheless, the examples do show
> that it is possible for qualia to fade away without the patient/victim
> noticing, and presumably without anyone else noticing if the unconscious
> component of the functionality of the neuron is replaced.

But how, exactly, do you know that the deluded person has NO visual qualia? as opposed to delusional visual qualia?

Brent Meeker

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Received on Wed Feb 21 2007 - 14:54:26 PST

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