David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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The topic of the essay is the “explanatory gap” between, on one side, descriptions of conscious states from 1st person perspective, termed as phenomenal (P-) consciousness; and on the other side, the descriptions of conscious states in representational theories of mind, from 3rd person perspective, termed as access (A-) consciousness. The main source of the explanatory gap between P-consciousness and A-consciousness is the methodology of functionalism, accepted in almost contemporary representational theories. I argue for the following: (1) The principles of materialist ontology, accepted in representational theories of mind, are true. But materialism is not necessary linked with functionalist research methods. The only reasonable consequence from the existence of the “explanatory gap” is that functionalism should be replaced with more adequate methodological approaches. (2) One such non-functionalist approach, termed as “aesthesionomic approach”, is proposed. The central idea is that phenomenal conscious states should be first described in objective terms (from 3rd person perspective). Only on base of such a preliminary objective description of phenomenal conscious states, the description of representational mechanisms (able to realize these states) will not give rise to an “explanatory gap”
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