Qualia, (Private) Language and Experience


  • Igor Janković




The purpose of this paper is to analyze the relationship between qualia and language. Author will begin with the explanation of the nature of qualia using the negative method (second and third chapter), which will reveal that qualia are neither ontological properties in a traditional sense, viewed as instances of subjective experience, nor that they possess any epistemological value as such. In the fourth chapter, qualia will be confronted with language on the grounds of experience which we understand as holistic. Experience as such is not differential, which means it does not contain subject-object relationship in an ontological sense. Afterwards, phenomenologically analyzed, experience will be shown in two modes: pre-personal and personal. Pre-personal experience as unreflective cannot produce a subject-object relationship and as such is a birthplace of qualia as a stimuli-response structure. On the other hand, the possibility of personal experience depends only on consciousness. Consciousness is an active function of experience which produces the subject-object relationship by objectifying the relations between itself and the other. Such objectification is only possible within the boundaries of language which is constituted as a relationship of meanings; which is to say that without meaning there is no object at all. The final conclusion of the paper refers to the bridge connection between qualia and language (pre-personal and personal) which is established by consciousness.