Materialism and the Subjectivity of Experience

Philosophia 39 (1):39-49 (2011)
Abstract
The phenomenal properties of conscious mental states happen to be exclusively accessible from the first-person perspective. Consequently, some philosophers consider their existence to be incompatible with materialist metaphysics. In this paper I criticise one particular argument that is based on the idea that for something to be real it must (at least in principle) be accessible from an intersubjective perspective. I argue that the exclusively subjective access to phenomenal contents can be explained by the very particular nature of the epistemological relation holding between a subject and his own mental states. Accordingly, this subjectivity does not compel us to deny the possibility that phenomenal contents are ontologically objective properties. First, I present the general form of the argument that I will discuss. Second, I show that this argument makes use of a criterion of reality that is not applicable to the case of subjective experience. Third, I discuss a plausible objection and give an argument for rejecting observation models of self-knowledge of phenomenal contents. These models fall prey to the homunculus illusion
Keywords Consciousness  Explanatory gap  Materialism  Subjectivity  Metaphysics of mind
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 10,747
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Frank Jackson (1986). What Mary Didn't Know. Journal of Philosophy 83 (May):291-5.

View all 7 references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Bosuk Yoon (2008). What is the Subjectivity of Perceptual Experience? Proceedings of the Xxii World Congress of Philosophy 42:215-222.
Paul Noordhof (2003). Something Like Ability. Australian Journal of Philosophy 81 (1):21-40.
Peter Carruthers (2004). Suffering Without Subjectivity. Philosophical Studies 121 (2):99-125.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2010-11-18

Total downloads

71 ( #19,352 of 1,098,829 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #114,125 of 1,098,829 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


Discussion
Start a new thread
Order:
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.