Mystery, mind, and materialism

Philosophical Psychology 8 (3):255-64 (1995)
Abstract
McGinn claims that (1) there is nothing “inherently mysterious” about consciousness, even though (2) we will never be able to understand it. The first claim is no more than a rhetorical flourish. The second may be read either as a claim (1) that we are unable to construct an explanatory theory of consciousness, or (2) that any such theory must strike us as unintelligible, in the sense in which quantum mechanics is sometimes said to be unintelligible. On the first reading, McGinn's argument is based on a false premiss (the “homogeneity constraint"). On the second reading, it suffers from the shortcoming that the central notion of intelligibility is too obscure to permit any definite conclusion. I close with a brief discussion of the contemporary tendency to reject non-physicalist approaches to consciousness on a priori grounds
Keywords Materialism  Mind  Mystery  Science  Mcginn, C
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