Philosophy Dictionary of Arguments

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Inverted Spectra, Philosophy of Mind: A term used to describe a thought experiment showing that we cannot be sure that stimuli (here light wavelengths) will be translated into similar mental states by all subjects. It is possible that a color is not localized at the same place on the color spectrum for all subjects, e.g. in an extreme case one may see something as red which another person considers to be green. Since the use of language is based on both having learned public language, they would use the same word despite their differing subjective experience. See also knowledge how, private language, qualia, skepticism.

Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Sydney Shoemaker on Inverted Spectra - Dictionary of Arguments

Stalnaker I 19
Qualia / exchanged spectra / Shoemaker / Stalnaker : tried to reconcile the visibility reversed spectra with a functionalist and materialist theory of the mind - StalnakerVsShoemaker : per old-fashioned view that comparisons of the qualitative character of experience are possible.
Stalnaker I 233f
exchanged spectra / Shoemaker Paradox / Stalnaker : four people , partly differently wired / without backup system. - Paradox: it follows that in a person two qualia would be the same and different at the same time . - Solution / Stalnaker : two different identity criteria. - Functional Theory: provides intrapersonal criteria. - Identity of the physical realization: provides criteria for interpersonal identity - Problem : the two equivalence relations can not go together - I 236 the addition of the back-up system changes the qualitative character because it changes the memory mechanisms . - Problem : subsequent changes in the system, but also unrealized possibilities change the qualitative character . - I 237/8 The paradox can be solved by the asymmetry. - But only if we allow that intentionality plays a role in the individuation of qualia .

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Shoemaker I
S. Shoemaker
Identity, Cause, and Mind: Philosophical Essays Expanded Edition 2003

Stalnaker I
R. Stalnaker
Ways a World may be Oxford New York 2003

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2022-06-26
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