Having finished Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, it was a toss-up between more Dennett or David Chalmers (or something completely different like Barbara Tuchman, still unread).
Chalmers name-drops an impressive list of acknowledgments, but is brave enough to point out that Hofstadter (his original mentor) and Dennett largely disagree with him. I think he overhypes the exciting mysetry angle, but he is right to distinguish the hard problem (the subjective “quality” of consciousness) from the easy problem (the physical “causality” of senses and actions), and in doing so admits to preserving an unfashionable duality. OK by me.
Lingusitically it gets tough because all the words are overloaded in this space. I actually believe his choice of phenomenal for the former and psychlogical for the latter seems somewhat perverse to me, but he explains his choice of terms. With similar caveats I would choose “mental ” and “causal”, but clearly previous use of the word mental is too overloaded for Chalmers to accept.
I’m going to have to read more to understand precisely how “qualia” are distinguished from immediate experience, but despite previously believing I disagreed with qualia, the parallel’s with Pirsig, Barfield, Peirce and Northrop are almost tangible. Now that is exciting, as is the use of quality and the root of qualia (phenomenal quality). Sadly none of those references makes it to Chalmers’ bibliography – but nothing new there – there is an academic mainstream that insulates itself from what it sees as non-academics. Still, we’re after quality, not fame here.
[Post Note : One thing I do agree with Chalmers on, that I forgot to mention, is the idea of consciousness being just some kind of “illusion” is not very helpful, in fact it’s a cop-out. Probably the point at which Dennett disagrees with him ?]