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Individual instances of subjective, conscious experience / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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In philosophy of mind, qualia (/ˈkwɑːliə/ or /ˈkwliə/; singular form: quale) are defined as instances of subjective, conscious experience. The term qualia derives from the Latin neuter plural form (qualia) of the Latin adjective quālis (Latin pronunciation: [ˈkʷaːlɪs]) meaning "of what sort" or "of what kind" in a specific instance, such as "what it is like to taste a specific applethis particular apple now".

The "redness" of red is a commonly used example of a quale.

Examples of qualia include the perceived sensation of pain of a headache, the taste of wine, and the redness of an evening sky. As qualitative characteristics of sensation, qualia stand in contrast to propositional attitudes,[1] where the focus is on beliefs about experience rather than what it is directly like to be experiencing.

Philosopher and cognitive scientist Daniel Dennett suggested that qualia was "an unfamiliar term for something that could not be more familiar to each of us: the ways things seem to us".[2]

Much of the debate over the importance of qualia hinges on the definition of the term, and various philosophers emphasize or deny the existence of certain features of qualia. Consequently, the nature and existence of qualia under various definitions remain controversial. While some philosophers of mind, like Daniel Dennett, argue that qualia do not exist and are incompatible with neuroscience and naturalism,[3] some neuroscientists and neurologists, like Gerald Edelman, Antonio Damasio, Vilayanur Ramachandran, Giulio Tononi, Christof Koch, and Rodolfo Llinás, state that qualia exist and that the desire by some philosophers to disregard qualia is based on an erroneous interpretation of what constitutes science.[4]