Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Winner of the Sound-Color Qualia Inversion Contest

... is Edmond Wright.

The aim of the contest was to find a published discussion of the possibility of sound-color qualia inversion, that is, the possibility of someone linguistically and behaviorally practically indistinguishable from normal people but who has auditory experiences when stimulated by light and visual experiences when stimulated by sonic vibrations. Several satisfactory citations were submitted in the comments thread and by email, so the contest rules required that I select what I judged to be the best example (as of the June 14 deadline). This was, I thought, Edmond Wright's article in Synthese (1993, vol. 97, p. 365-382, esp. p. 370-371), which Wright himself mentioned in an email to me. Per the terms of the contest, I owe Wright a drink of his choice next time we are in the same town.

Honorable mention goes to Jeremy Goodman, both for being the first to mention Adam Wager's excellent 1999 article in Philosophical Psychology (vol. 12, p. 263-281, esp. p. 269) and for his insightful comments and references throughout the discussion thread.

If you saw the original post announcing the contest, you may recall that the contest was prompted by Saul Kripke's claim, made twice in a two oral presentations at U.C. Riverside, that no philosopher had ever suggested the possibility of sound-color qualia inversion. If only it were always so easy to definitely refute what Kripke says!

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