The easy and hard problems of consciousness: A cartesian perspective
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of Mind and Behavior 19 (2):119-40 (1998)
This paper contrasts David Chalmers’s formulation of the easy and hard problems of consciousness with a Cartesian formulation. For Chalmers, the easy problem is making progress in explaining cognitive functions and discovering how they arise from physical processes in the brain. The hard problem is accounting for why these functions are accompanied by conscious experience. For Descartes, the easy problem is knowing the essential features of conscious experience. The hard problem is verifying our knowledge of the mathematical—physical world. While Chalmers admits that consciousness as subjective experience has something irreducible about it, he also presupposes that conscious experience arises from physical processes. These physical processes are posited as objectively real entities given prior to human experience. The knowledge of such entities is assumed without theoretical justification. This assumption arguably invites a reductive materialist theory of mind. I suggest that employing the Cartesian method to articulate the representational theory of knowledge provides an antidote to reductive materialism and illuminates the conceptual gap between physical processes and conscious experience. To illustrate this I contrast Dennett’s heterophenomenology with the Cartesian method of crossing the conceptual gap. I suggest that the hard problem is attaining a knowledge of the extra-mental physical objects, not of conscious experience
|Keywords||Cartesianism Consciousness Metaphysics Science Chalmers, D|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Daniel C. Dennett (2003). Explaining the "Magic" of Consciousness. Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology 1 (1):7-19.
Daniel C. Dennett (1996). Facing Backwards on the Problem of Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):4-6.
David John Chalmers (2010). The Character of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
Eugene O. Mills (1996). Giving Up on the Hard Problem of Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):26-32.
Piotr Boltuc (2009). The Philosophical Issue in Machine Consciousness. International Journal of Machine Consciousness 1 (01):155-176.
Kieron O'Hara & Tom Scutt (1996). There is No Hard Problem of Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (4):290-302.
Daniel C. Dennett (1996). Commentary on Chalmers "Facing Backwards on the Problem of Consciousness". Philosophical Explorations.
Benjamin W. Libet (1996). Solutions to the Hard Problem of Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):33-35.
Gregg H. Rosenberg (1996). Rethinking Nature: A Hard Problem Within the Hard Problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):76-88.
David Hodgson (1996). The Easy Problems Ain't so Easy. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):69-75.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads2 ( #397,806 of 1,410,004 )
Recent downloads (6 months)2 ( #107,552 of 1,410,004 )
How can I increase my downloads?