Inner experiences are not the only things that matter, but they do matter. We would not plug into an experience machine, but we would not plug into an anesthetizing machine either.
Robert Nozick, ‘Emotions’, in The Examined Life, New York, 1989, p. 90
Future generations, I suspect, will wonder why it took us so long in the twentieth century to see the centrality of consciousness in the understanding of our very existence as human beings. Why, for so long, did we think that consciousness did not matter, that it was unimportant? The paradox is that consciousness is the condition that makes it possible for anything at all to matter to anybody. Only to conscious agents can there ever be a question of anything mattering or having any importance at all.
John Searle, The Mystery of Consciousness, New York, 1997, p. xiv
[I]t is true that ‘I seem to see a table’ does not entail ‘I see a table’; but ‘I seem to feel a pain’ does entail ‘I feel a pain’. So scepticism loses its force—cannot open up its characteristic gap—with regard to that which ultimately most concerns us, pleasure and pain.
Galen Strawson, Freedom and Belief, Oxford, 1986, p. 223, n. 29