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Qualia (the singular form is quale), is a term proposed by philosophers to designate those subjective or phenomenal properties of experience that resist a purely materialistic explanation. (The notion is an attempt to capture that aspect of consciousness that, say some, could never be reproduced by a ‘thinking machine’.) In short, qualia refer to the way things seem. ‘Look at a glass of milk at sunset; the way it looks to you — the particular, personal, subjective visual quality of the glass of milk is the quale of your visual experience at the moment. The way the milk tastes to you then is another, gustatory quale’ (Dennett, 1992, p. 42). As it is never possible to communicate exactly how things appear to us (how could we ever know whether your experience of red is precisely the same as mine?), qualia are construed as essentially private, ineffable, and irreducible properties of experience.
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