David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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In Alessio Plebe & Vivian De La Cruz (eds.), Philosophy in the Neuroscience Era. Squilibri (2008)
This article tackles problems concerning the reduction of phenomenal consciousness to brain processes that arise in consideration of specifically epistemological properties that have been attributed to conscious experiences. In particular, various defenders of dualism and epiphenomenalism have argued for their positions by assuming special epistemic access to phenomenal consciousness. Many physicalists have reacted to such arguments by denying the epistemological premises. My aim in this paper is to take a different approach in opposing dualism and argue that when we correctly examine both the phenomenology and neural correlates of phenomenal consciousness we will see that granting the epistemological premises of special access are the best hope for a scientific study of consciousness. I argue that essential features of consciousness involve both their knowability by the subject of experience as well as their egocentricity, that is, their knowability by the subject as belonging to the subject. I articulate a neuroscientifically informed theory of phenomenal consciousness
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