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Qualia eduction, not discussion. This is so we're all on the same page.

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I saw a sound qualia thread and wanted to post but discovered it was locked after 5 days! I have a bit to contribute given my background in philosophy. As Noam Chomksy has said, most arguments arise not because people have a fundamental disagreement over core ideas, but are instead merely experiencing taxonomic errors. In other words, we're arguing because we have a misalignment of our mutual understanding of language, not concept.

The next two videos are really helpful and should get us all on the same page.

Hopefully these videos are compelling, entertain, and help in the search for aural bliss!

post #2 of 3

Well my complaint with thinking in terms of qualia is it never seems to get you anywhere you cannot get without it.  Just to cut through the murky discussion, the wikipedia article on qualia describes my opinion of it reasonably well in the section about J. B. Maund's view of the issues of qualia.


So I guess I wonder why you bring it up?  Is it to say the subjective experience of music can never be approached objectively or on measurement approaches?  If I agree to that (and I don't think I am), I don't see where that gets us with anything. Or do you have something else in mind?

post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 

My viewing of the material I posted leads me a similar conclusion that you've found. Essentially, although there is no way I can actually experience what you do when we listen to the same song on the same headphones, there are enough objective commonalities that I can trust much of what you (or anyone) says.

One strange thing I've found is that certain headphones that are described as "warm", "energetic", or "playful/engaging" are truly a description of someone's unknowable qualia. I get by "warm" it generally means that there is less emphasis on treble or that the treble is articulate without being overly powerful/bright and that perhaps the bass is "slower" and therefore has more extension/impact as so often found on closed-ear headphones. Yet I've experienced headphones that make material that sounds harsh on one pair morph into something that is simply more pleasing on another, and I'd call that feeling "warmth".

And to throw a curveball, I've also simply felt different about the same music through the same speakers/headphones on different days. Stress, dehydration, poor nutrition, and bad news can all blunt one's affect enough that their consciousness is impacted.

Why do I bring it up? Ultimately I hope that in some small way that consideration of the subjective would aid a potential reviewer in eliminating any bias that would lead someone to buy a set of poor sounding cans based on their recommendation. In a nutshell, I hope watching the videos I posted are a safety guard against hype. I bought a pair of $7 Monoprice earbuds because there's currently a meme going around that these are "diamonds in the rough", superior sounding IEMs made possible by cheap Chinese labor/materials. I'm not impressed by them, I've returned them, and my guess is that this forum is prone to the proliferation of memes or groupthink about finding products who's price/performance is exceptional. This might be the case with the ATH-M50, so I'm reading each review from this perspective of potential placebo effect.


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