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Summary The phenomenal concepts are supposed to be the first-person-specific concepts that we use to think about our own phenomenal experiences. Phenomenal concepts have mostly been discussed in relation with the debates surrounding physicalism, where certain theories of phenomenal concepts have been thought to provide an answer to conceivability arguments against physicalism. This is known as the phenomenal concept strategy.
Key works The phenomenal concept strategy was introduced in Loar 1990. It is also defended in Papineau 2002 and Tye 2003Chalmers 2004 offers a response. Chalmers 2003 offers a broader discussion of phenomenal concepts. 
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  1. Torin Alter, Introduction to Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism (Oup, 2007).
    This volume presents thirteen new essays on phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge: twelve by philosophers and one by a scientist. In this introduction, we provide some background and summarize the essays.
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  2. Torin Alter (2013). Social Externalism and the Knowledge Argument. Mind 122 (486):fzt072.
    According to social externalism, it is possible to possess a concept not solely in virtue of one’s intrinsic properties but also in virtue of relations to one’s linguistic community. Derek Ball (2009) argues, in effect, that (i) social externalism extends to our concepts of colour experience and (ii) this fact undermines both the knowledge argument against physicalism and the most popular physicalist response to it, known as the phenomenal concept strategy. I argue that Ball is mistaken about (ii) even granting (...)
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  3. Torin Alter (2011). Tye's New Take on the Puzzles of Consciousness. [REVIEW] Analysis 71 (4):765-775.
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  4. Torin Alter (2007). On the Conditional Analysis of Phenomenal Concepts. Philosophical Studies 134 (2):235 - 253.
    Zombies make trouble for physicalism. Intuitively, they seem conceivable, and many take this to support their metaphysical possibility – a result that, most agree, would refute physicalism. John Hawthorne (2002) [Philosophical Studies 109, 17–52] and David Braddon-Mitchell (2003) [The Journal of Philosophy 100, 111–135] have developed a novel response to this argument: phenomenal concepts have a conditional structure – they refer to non-physical states if such states exist and otherwise to physical states – and this explains the zombie intuition. I (...)
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  5. Torin Alter (2006). On the Conditional Analysis of Phenomenal Concepts. Philosophical Studies 131 (3):777-778.
    Zombies make trouble for physicalism. Intuitively, they seem conceivable, and many take this to support their metaphysical possibility – a result that, most agree, would refute physicalism. John Hawthorne (2002) [Philosophical Studies 109, 17–52] and David Braddon-Mitchell (2003) [The Journal of Philosophy 100, 111–135] have developed a novel response to this argument: phenomenal concepts have a conditional structure – they refer to non-physical states if such states exist and otherwise to physical states – and this explains the zombie intuition. I (...)
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  6. Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.) (2007/2009). Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.
    What is the nature of consciousness? How is consciousness related to brain processes? This volume collects thirteen new papers on these topics: twelve by leading and respected philosophers and one by a leading color-vision scientist. All focus on consciousness in the "phenomenal" sense: on what it's like to have an experience. Consciousness has long been regarded as the biggest stumbling block for physicalism, the view that the mind is physical. The controversy has gained focus over the last few decades, and (...)
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  7. Peter Alward (2004). Is Phenomenal Pain the Primary Intension of 'Pain'? Metaphysica 5 (1):15-28.
    two-dimensional modal framework introduced by Evans [2] and developed by Davies and Humberstone. [3] This framework provides Chalmers with a powerful tool for handling the most serious objection to conceivability arguments for dualism: the problem of..
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  8. Michael V. Antony (2006). Papineau on the Vagueness of Phenomenal Concepts. Dialectica 60 (4):475-483.
    Papineau’s argument in "Thinking About Consciousness" for the vagueness or indeterminacy of phenomenal concepts is discussed. Several problems with his argument are brought out, and it is concluded that his argument fails to establish his desired conclusion.
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  9. István Aranyosi, Papineau's (in)Determinacy Problem.
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  10. István Aranyosi (2008). Review of Torin Alter and Sven Walter (Eds.) Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge. [REVIEW] Mind 117 (467):665-669.
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  11. Murat Aydede, Is the Experience of Pain Transparent? Introspecting Phenomenal Qualities.
    I distinguish between two claims of transparency of experiences. One claim is weaker and supported by phenomenological evidence. This I call the Transparency Datum (TD). Pain experiences are consistent with TD. I formulate a stronger transparency thesis (ST) that is entailed by (strong) representationalism about phenomenology. I argue that pain experiences (as well as some other similar experiences) are not transparent in this strong sense. Hence I argue that representationalism is false. Then, I outline a framework about how the introspection (...)
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  12. Murat Aydede & Guven Guzeldere (2005). Concepts, Introspection, and Phenomenal Consciousness: An Information-Theoretical Approach. Noûs 39 (2):197-255.
    This essay is a sustained attempt to bring new light to some of the perennial problems in philosophy of mind surrounding phenomenal consciousness and introspection through developing an account of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Building on the information-theoretic framework of Dretske (1981), we present an informational psychosemantics as it applies to what we call sensory concepts, concepts that apply, roughly, to so-called secondary qualities of objects. We show that these concepts have a special informational character and semantic struc-ture that closely (...)
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  13. Derek Ball (2009). There Are No Phenomenal Concepts. Mind 118 (472):935-962.
    It has long been widely agreed that some concepts can be possessed only by those who have undergone a certain type of phenomenal experience. Orthodoxy among contemporary philosophers of mind has it that these phenomenal concepts provide the key to understanding many disputes between physicalists and their opponents, and in particular offer an explanation of Mary’s predicament in the situation exploited by Frank Jackson's knowledge argument. I reject the orthodox view; I deny that there are phenomenal concepts. My arguments exploit (...)
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  14. Katalin Balog (2012). In Defense of the Phenomenal Concept Strategy1. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):1-23.
    During the last two decades, several different anti-physicalist arguments based on an epistemic or conceptual gap between the phenomenal and the physical have been proposed. The most promising physicalist line of defense in the face of these arguments – the Phenomenal Concept Strategy – is based on the idea that these epistemic and conceptual gaps can be explained by appeal to the nature of phenomenal concepts rather than the nature of non-physical phenomenal properties. Phenomenal concepts, on this proposal, involve unique (...)
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  15. Katalin Balog (2012). Acquaintance and the Mind-Body Problem. In Simone Gozzano & Christopher S. Hill (eds.), New Perspectives on Type Identity: The Mental and the Physical. Cambridge University Press. 16.
    In this paper I begin to develop an account of the acquaintance that each of us has with our own conscious states and processes. The account is a speculative proposal about human mental architecture and specifically about the nature of the concepts via which we think in first personish ways about our qualia. In a certain sense my account is neutral between physicalist and dualist accounts of consciousness. As will be clear, a dualist could adopt the account I will offer (...)
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  16. Katalin Balog (2009). Phenomenal Concepts. In Brian McLaughlin, Ansgar Beckermann & Sven Walter (eds.), Oxford Handbook in the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press. 292--312.
    This article is about the special, subjective concepts we apply to experience, called “phenomenal concepts”. They are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. Conscious experience strike many philosophers as philosophically problematic and difficult to accommodate within a physicalistic metaphysics. Second, PCs are widely thought to be special and unique among concepts. The sense that there is something special about PCs (...)
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  17. Katalin Balog (2008). Review of Torin Alter, Sven Walter (Eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (5).
    The book under review is a collection of thirteen essays on the nature phenomenal concepts and the ways in which phenomenal concepts figure in debates over physicalism. Phenomenal concepts are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences (aka “qualia”) whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. There are recent arguments, originating in Descartes’ famous conceivability argument, that purport to show that phenomenal experience is irreducibly non-physical. Second, phenomenal (...)
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  18. Katalin Balog (2004). Review: Thinking About Consciousness. [REVIEW] Mind 113 (452):774-778.
    Papineau in his book provides a detailed defense of physicalism via what has recently been dubbed the “phenomenal concept strategy”. I share his enthusiasm for this approach. But I disagree with his account of how a physicalist should respond to the conceivability arguments. Also I argue that his appeal to teleosemantics in explaining mental quotation is more like a promissory note than an actual theory.
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  19. Katalin Balog (1999). Conceivability, Possibility, and the Mind-Body Problem. Philosophical Review 108 (4):497-528.
    This paper was chosen by The Philosopher’s Annual as one of the ten best articles appearing in print in 2000. Reprinted in Volume XXIII of The Philosopher’s Annual. In his very influential book David Chalmers argues that if physicalism is true then every positive truth is a priori entailed by the full physical description – this is called “the a priori entailment thesis – but ascriptions of phenomenal consciousness are not so entailed and he concludes that Physicalism is false. As (...)
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  20. Katalin Balog, Illuminati, Zombies and Metaphysical Gridlock.
    In this paper I survey the landscape of anti-physicalist arguments and physicalist responses to them. The anti-physicalist arguments I discuss start from a premise about a conceptual, epistemic, or explanatory gap between physical and phenomenal descriptions and conclude from this – on a priori grounds – that physicalism is false. My primary aim is to develop a master argument to counter these arguments. With this master argument in place, it is apparent that there is a puzzling symmetry between dualist attacks (...)
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  21. Michael Beaton (2009). Qualia and Introspection. Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (5):88-110.
    The claim that behaviourally undetectable inverted spectra are possible has been endorsed by many physicalists. I explain why this starting point rules out standard forms of scientific explanation for qualia. The modern ‘phenomenal concept strategy’ is an updated way of defending problematic intuitions like these, but I show that it cannot help to recover standard scientific explanation. I argue that Chalmers is right: we should accept the falsity of physicalism if we accept this problematic starting point. I further argue that (...)
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  22. Dave Beisecker (2010). Zombies, Phenomenal Concepts, and the Paradox of Phenomenal Judgment. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (3-4):3-4.
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  23. Dave Beisecker (2009). Zombies and the Phenomenal Concept Strategy. Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):207-216.
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  24. Jose Luis Bermudez (2004). Vagueness, Phenomenal Concepts and Mind-Brain Identity. Analysis 64 (2):131-139.
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  25. Stephen Biggs (2009). Phenomenal Concepts in Mindreading. Philosophical Psychology 22 (6):647 – 667.
    In an earlier paper (Biggs, 2007) I argue that those attributing mental states sometimes simulate the phenomenal states of those to whom they are making attributions (i.e., targets). In this paper I argue that such phenomenal simulation plays an important role in some third-person mental state attributions. More specifically, I identity three important roles that phenomenal simulation could play in third-person mental state attributions: phenomenal simulation could cause attributions, facilitate attributions, or deepen simulators' understanding of targets. I then argue that (...)
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  26. Simon W. Blackburn (1975). How to Refer to Private Experience. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 75:201-213.
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  27. Tomas Bogardus (2013). Undefeated Dualism. Philosophical Studies 165 (2):445-466.
    In the standard thought experiments, dualism strikes many philosophers as true, including many non-dualists. This ‘striking’ generates prima facie justification: in the absence of defeaters, we ought to believe that things are as they seem to be, i.e. we ought to be dualists. In this paper, I examine several proposed undercutting defeaters for our dualist intuitions. I argue that each proposal fails, since each rests on a false assumption, or requires empirical evidence that it lacks, or overgenerates defeaters. By the (...)
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  28. Robert B. Brandom, No Experience Necessary: Empiricism, Noninferential Knowledge, and Secondary Qualities.
  29. Richard Brown (ed.) (2013). Consciousness Inside and Out: Phenomenology, Neuroscience, and the Nature of Experience. Springer Studies in Brain and Mind.
    This volume is product of the third online consciousness conference, held at http://consciousnessonline.com in February and March 2011. Chapters range over epistemological issues in the science and philosophy of perception, what neuroscience can do to help us solve philosophical issues in the philosophy of mind, what the true nature of black and white vision, pain, auditory, olfactory, or multi-modal experiences are, to higher-order theories of consciousness, synesthesia, among others. Each chapter includes a target article, commentaries, and in most cases, a (...)
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  30. Filip Buekens (2001). Essential Indexicality and the Irreducibility of Phenomenal Concepts. Communication and Cognition 34 (1-2):75-97.
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  31. Darragh Byrne, The Contents of Phenomenal Concepts.
    1 I shall mainly concentrate on Loar (1997, 1999), Tye (1999), Papineau (1998, 2002), Levine (1998, 2001) and Chalmers (2003). Only the first three of these authors endorse the claim that the proposal supports materialism. Levine.
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  32. Peter Carruthers (2003). Phenomenal Concepts and Higher-Order Experiences. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):316-336.
    Relying on a range of now-familiar thought-experiments, it has seemed to many philosophers that phenomenal consciousness is beyond the scope of reductive explanation. (Phenomenal consciousness is a form of state-consciousness, which contrasts with creature-consciousness, or perceptual-consciousness. The different forms of state-consciousness include various kinds of access-consciousness, both first-order and higher-order--see Rosenthal, 1986; Block, 1995; Lycan, 1996; Carruthers, 2000. Phenomenal consciousness is the property that mental states have when it is like something to possess them, or when they have subjectively-accessible feels; (...)
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  33. Peter Carruthers & Benedicte Veillet (2007). The Phenomenal Concept Strategy. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (s 9-10):212-236.
    A powerful reply to a range of familiar anti-physicalist arguments has recently been developed. According to this reply, our possession of phenomenal concepts can explain the facts that the anti-physicalist claims can only be explained by a non-reductive account of phenomenal consciousness. Chalmers (2006) argues that the phenomenal concept strategy is doomed to fail. This article presents the phenomenal concept strategy, Chalmers' argument against it, and a defence of the strategy against his.
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  34. David J. Chalmers (2007). Phenomenal Concepts and the Explanatory Gap. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.
    Confronted with the apparent explanatory gap between physical processes and consciousness, there are many possible reactions. Some deny that any explanatory gap exists at all. Some hold that there is an explanatory gap for now, but that it will eventually be closed. Some hold that the explanatory gap corresponds to an ontological gap in nature.
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  35. David J. Chalmers (2004). Phenomenal Concepts and the Knowledge Argument. In Peter Ludlow, Yujin Nagasawa & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), There's Something About Mary: Essays on Phenomenal Consciousness and Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument. MIT Press. 269.
    *[[This paper is largely based on material in other papers. The first three sections and the appendix are drawn with minor modifications from Chalmers 2002c (which explores issues about phenomenal concepts and beliefs in much more depth, mostly independently of questions about materialism). The main ideas of the last three sections are drawn from Chalmers 1996, 1999, and 2002a, although with considerable revision and elaboration. ]].
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  36. David J. Chalmers (2003). The Content and Epistemology of Phenomenal Belief. In Quentin Smith & Aleksandar Jokic (eds.), Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press. 220--72.
    Experiences and beliefs are different sorts of mental states, and are often taken to belong to very different domains. Experiences are paradigmatically phenomenal, characterized by what it is like to have them. Beliefs are paradigmatically intentional, characterized by their propositional content. But there are a number of crucial points where these domains intersect. One central locus of intersection arises from the existence of phenomenal beliefs: beliefs that are about experiences.
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  37. David Cole (2011). Michael Tye, Consciousness Revisited: Materialism Without Phenomenal Concepts. [REVIEW] Minds and Machines 21 (1):103-106.
  38. Sam Coleman (2010). Review of Michael Tye's Consciousness Revisited: Materialism Without Phenomenal Concepts. [REVIEW] Philosophy 85 (3):413-418.
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  39. Sam Coleman (2010). Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Philosophical Psychology 23 (1):133-136.
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  40. Sam Coleman (2010). Reviews Consciousness Revisited: Materialism Without Phenomenal Concepts . By Michael Tye. Cambridge, Ma.: The Mit Press, 2009, Pp. 256, £25.95. [REVIEW] Philosophy 85 (3):413-418.
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  41. Tim Crane (2012). Tye on Acquaintance and the Problem of Consciousness. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):190-198.
  42. Tim Crane (2005). Papineau on Phenomenal Concepts. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):155-162.
    Over the past decade or so, David Papineau has given an account of the content and motivation of a physicalist conception of the world with more thoroughness and argumentative defence than many physicalists have thought necessary. In doing this, he has substantially advanced the debate on physicalism, and physicalists and non-physicalists alike should be grateful to him.1 At the heart of Papineau’s defence of physicalism in his recent book (2002) is his theory of phenomenal concepts. Like many physicalists, Papineau diagnoses (...)
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  43. Craig DeLancey (2007). Phenomenal Experience and the Measure of Information. Erkenntnis 66 (3):329 - 352.
    This paper defends the hypothesis that phenomenal experiences may be very complex information states. This can explain some of our most perplexing anti-physicalist intuitions about phenomenal experience. The approach is to describe some basic facts about information in such a way as to make clear the essential oversight involved, by way illustrating how various intuitive arguments against physicalism (such as Frank Jackson.
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  44. Erhan Demircioglu (2013). Physicalism and Phenomenal Concepts. Philosophical Studies 165 (1):257-277.
    Frank Jackson’s famous Knowledge Argument moves from the premise that complete physical knowledge is not complete knowledge about experiences to the falsity of physicalism. In recent years, a consensus has emerged that the credibility of this and other well-known anti-physicalist arguments can be undermined by allowing that we possess a special category of concepts of experiences, phenomenal concepts, which are conceptually independent from physical/functional concepts. It is held by a large number of philosophers that since the conceptual independence of phenomenal (...)
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  45. Erhan Demircioglu (2012). Christopher Hill: Consciousness. [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 77 (1):149-154.
    Christopher Hill: Consciousness Content Type Journal Article Category Book Review Pages 1-6 DOI 10.1007/s10670-012-9373-8 Authors Erhan Demircioglu, Koc University, Rumeli Feneri Yolu, 34450 Sariyer, Istanbul, Turkey Journal Erkenntnis Online ISSN 1572-8420 Print ISSN 0165-0106.
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  46. E. Diaz-Leon (2010). Can Phenomenal Concepts Explain The Epistemic Gap? Mind 119 (476):933-951.
    The inference from conceivability to possibility has been challenged in numerous ways. One of these ways is the so-called phenomenal concept strategy, which has become one of the main strategies against the conceivability argument against physicalism. However, David Chalmers has recently presented a dilemma for the phenomenal concept strategy, and he has argued that no version of the strategy can succeed. In this paper, I examine the dilemma, and I argue that there is a way out of it. I conclude (...)
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  47. E. Diaz-Leon (2008). Defending the Phenomenal Concept Strategy. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):597 – 610.
    One of the main strategies against conceivability arguments is the so-called phenomenal concept strategy, which aims to explain the epistemic gap between physical and phenomenal truths in terms of the special features of phenomenal concepts. Daniel Stoljar has recently argued that the phenomenal concept strategy has failed to provide a successful explanation of this epistemic gap. In this paper my aim is to defend the phenomenal concept strategy from his criticisms. I argue that Stoljar has misrepresented the resources of the (...)
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  48. E. Diaz‐Leon (2014). Do a Posteriori Physicalists Get Our Phenomenal Concepts Wrong? Ratio 27 (1):1-16.
    A posteriori physicalism is the combination of two appealing views: physicalism (i.e. the view that all facts are either physical or entailed by the physical), and conceptual dualism (i.e. the view that phenomenal truths are not entailed a priori by physical truths). Recently, some philosophers such as Goff (2011), Levine (2007) and Nida-Rümelin (2007), among others, have suggested that a posteriori physicalism cannot explain how phenomenal concepts can reveal the nature of phenomenal properties. In this paper, I wish to defend (...)
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  49. Andreas Elpidorou (forthcoming). A Posteriori Physicalism and Introspection. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly.
    Introspection presents our phenomenal states in a manner otherwise than physical. This observation is often thought to amount to an argument against physicalism: if introspection presents phenomenal states as they essentially are, then phenomenal states cannot be physical states, for we are not introspectively aware of phenomenal states as physical states. In this paper, I examine whether this argument threatens a posteriori physicalism. I argue that as along as proponents of a posteriori physicalism maintain that phenomenal concepts present the nature (...)
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  50. Andreas Elpidorou (2013). Having It Both Ways: Consciousness, Unique Not Otherworldly. Philosophia 41 (4):1181-1203.
    I respond to Chalmers’ (2006, 2010) objection to the Phenomenal Concept Strategy (PCS) by showing that his objection is faced with a dilemma that ultimately undercuts its force. Chalmers argues that no version of PCS can posit psychological features that are both physically explicable and capable of explaining our epistemic situation. In response, I show that what Chalmers calls ‘our epistemic situation’ admits either of a phenomenal or of a topic-neutral characterization, neither of which supports Chalmers’ objection. On the one (...)
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