Qualia and Meaning – Critique to Paul Churchland

  • Alberto Carrillo Canán
  • María Denisse Vásquez Recinos


In Scientific Realism and the Plasticity of Mind (1979), Paul Churchland defends semantic holism through a series of arguments and thought-experiments with which he seeks to prove that the intrinsic qualitative identity of sensation or qualia, have no semantic significance at all. He argues that the meaning of terms used to describe sensations is not related to the sensation itself, but that the network of sentences in which they are contained is what determines their position in semantic space. The thought-experiments with which he seeks to develop his thesis are based on a series of both linguistic and epistemic assumptions which we argue need to be questioned. In developing Churchland’s thought-experiment we reject his claim the qualia has nothing to do with the semantic of sense terms.