Explaining the Qualitative Dimension of Consciousness: Prescission Instead of Reification

Dialogue 48 (1):145-183 (2009)
Abstract
This paper suggests that it is largely a want of notional distinctions which fosters the “explanatory gap” that has beset the study of consciousness since T. Nagel’s revival of the topic. Modifying Ned Block’s controversial claim that we should countenance a “phenomenal-consciousness” which exists in its own right, we argue that there is a way to recuperate the intuitions he appeals to without engaging in an onerous reification of the facet in question. By renewing with the full type/token/tone trichotomy developed by C. S. Peirce, we think the distinctness Block calls attention to can be seen as stemming not from any separate module lurking within the mind, but rather from our ability to prescind qualities from occurrences.
Keywords Qualia  Consciousness  Phenomenal qualities
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DOI 10.1017/S0012217309090088
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