more from A.J. Ayer

Single Idea 5325

[catalogued under 16. Persons / B. Nature of the Self / 5. Self as Associations]

Full Idea

Is the character of being an item of experience one that can accrue to a quale through its relation to other qualia, or must it consist in a relation to a subject, which is conscious of these elements and distinct from them?


A 'quale' is a raw feeling, such as the redness of red

Gist of Idea

Is something an 'experience' because it relates to other experiences, or because it relates to a subject?


A.J. Ayer (The Central Questions of Philosophy [1973], §VI.B)

Book Reference

Ayer,A.J.: 'The Central Questions of Philosophy' [Penguin 1976], p.118

A Reaction

When nicely put like this, it is hard to see how qualia could be experiences just because they relate to one another. It begs the question of what is causing the relationship. There seems to be a Cogito-like assumption of a thinker.