Open Access

Tell me what it feels like”: On the verbal interface of the phenomenal

   | Feb 27, 2022


Despite the several decades of intense scrutiny, the problem of the “explanatory gap” remains one of the most widely debated topics in today’s philosophy of mind. This paper argues that, if re-iterated as the relative ineffability of phenomenal properties of sensory experiences (qualia), it can become an object of linguistic treatment to a sensible effect. The paper proceeds from discussing the general ineffability of sensory experiences to a brief overview of phenomenal mental states. The strong ineffability thesis is then relativized by positing that the mental contents in question can be communicated indirectly through phenomenal judgments, or “phenomemes”, i.e. discursive units that involve reference to the speaker’s qualia. In the concluding section, the paper suggests that phenomemes constitute a narrative dimension of their own and highlights the potential of further research on the subject for the pragmatics of communication, cognitive stylistics, and other areas of the language-related scholarship.

Publication timeframe:
2 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Linguistics and Semiotics, Theoretical Frameworks and Disciplines, Linguistics, other