Naturalism, Explanation, and Identity

Some people believe that there is an “explanatory gap” between the facts of physics and certain other facts about the world—for example, facts about consciousness. The gap is presented as a challenge to any thoroughgoing naturalism or physicalism. We believe that advocates of the explanatory gap have some reasonable expectations that cannot be merely dismissed. We also believe that naturalistic thinkers have the resources to close the explanatory gap, but that they have not adequately explained how and why these resources work. In this paper we isolate the legitimate explanatory demands in the gap reasoning, as it is defended by Chalmers and Jackson (2001). We then argue that these demands can be met. Our solution involves a novel proposal for understanding the relationship between theories, explanations, and scientific identities
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