David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
One of the driving questions in philosophy of mind is whether a person can be understood in purely physical terms. In this presentation, I wish to continue the project initiated by Donald Davidson, whose subtle position on this question has left many more perplexed than enlightened. The main reason for this perplexity is Davidson’s rather obscure pronouncements about the normativity of intentionality and its role in supporting psychophysical anomalism – the claim that there are no laws bridging our intentional states with states of our brain. Insofar as Davidson’s thesis is an ontological one – about the existence of laws or otherwise modally significant connections between the mental and the physical – I think his critics are correct: Davidson has not provided us with a successful argument for psychophysical anomalism. There is, however, a different argument, also based upon considerations about the normativity of intentionality that lead to an equally important conclusion. The conclusion is not ontological but rather epistemic: if thoughts do indeed display normativity, it is hard to understand how they would arise out of mere mechanical occurrences in the brain. To borrow a well-worn phrase, there is an “explanatory gap” between the mental and the physical. Originally coined to capture the epistemic darkness we confront in our attempt to understand phenomenal experiences in purely physical terms, the idea has yet to be explored in the area of contentful mental states or intentionality in general. My argument shall be this: considerations about the normativity of intentionality demonstrate that there is an explanatory gap between the intentional and the physical. In fact, if there were laws of the kind Davidson denies, then the world be more mysterious than if no such laws existed. The presence of an explanatory gap explains why this is so.
|Keywords||No keywords specified (fix it)|
|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
Robert Klee (1992). Anomalous Monism, Ceteris Paribus, and Psychological Explanation. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 43 (3):389-403.
Neil Campbell Manson (2002). Consciousness-Dependence and the Explanatory Gap. Inquiry 45 (4):521-540.
Neil Campbell (2009). Why We Should Lower Our Expectations About the Explanatory Gap. Theoria 75 (1):34-51.
Uriah Kriegel (2010). Intentionality and Normativity. Philosophical Issues 20 (1):185-208.
J. T. Whyte (1990). The Psycho-Physical Laws of Intentionality. International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4 (3):295 – 304.
M. Scheele (2002). Never Mind the Gap: The Explanatory Gap as an Artifact of Naive Philosophical Argument. Philosophical Psychology 15 (3):333-342.
David J. Chalmers (2007). Phenomenal Concepts and the Explanatory Gap. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.
Noa Latham (1999). Davidson and Kim on Psychophysical Laws. Synthese 118 (2):121-44.
Barbara Montero (2003). The Epistemic/Ontic Divide. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (2):404-418.
Barbara Montero (2003). The Epistemic/Ontic Divide. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (2):404 - 418.
Added to index2010-08-19
Total downloads96 ( #18,561 of 1,696,561 )
Recent downloads (6 months)20 ( #25,156 of 1,696,561 )
How can I increase my downloads?