A descriptivist theory of phenomenal concepts
Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||The aim of this paper is to put forward an alternative to what I shall call "the received view on phenomenal concepts". According to this view, our concepts of phenomenal states directly refer to these states. I claim, on the contrary, that phenomenal concepts are _descriptive, indirect_ _and_ _relational_. More precisely, I endorse a descriptivist analysis according to which phenomenal concepts are descriptive concepts having perceptual demonstratives as constituents. I introduce and discuss two distinctions: the distinction between the perceptible properties of objects and the qualitative characters of experiences on the one hand, and the corresponding distinction between perceptual demonstratives of perceptible properties and phenomenal concepts on the other. I then proceed as follows. Firstly, I state the main motivations behind the received view. Then, I try to show that every argument that can be advanced in favor of the received view is either powerless against my descriptivist position, or can be re-interpreted as an argument supporting it. In particular, I argue to the effect that some of the main motivations which are usually taken for granted when accepting the received view rest upon a fallacy, which I call the|
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