David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Canadian Journal of Philosophy 29 (Supplement):63-92 (2003)
In his book The Conscious Mind David Chalmers introduced a by now familiar distinction between the hard problem and the easy problems of consciousness. The easy problems are those concerned with the question of how the mind can process information, react to environmental stimuli, and exhibit such capacities as discrimination, categorization, and introspection (Chalmers, 1996, 4, 1995, 200). All of these abilities are impressive, but they are, according to Chalmers, not metaphysically baffling, since they can all be tackled by means of the standard repertoire of cognitive science and explained in terms of computational or neural mechanisms. This task might still be difficult, but it is within reach. In contrast, the hard problem—also known as the problem of consciousness (Chalmers, 1995, 201)—is the problem of explaining why mental states have phenomenal or experiential qualities. Why is it like something to ‘taste coffee’, to ‘touch an ice cube’, to ‘look at a sunset’ etc.? Why does it feel the way it does? Why does it at all feel like anything? Chalmers’s distinction confronts us with a version of the so-called ‘explanatory gap’. On the one hand, we have certain cognitive functions, which can apparently be explained reductively, and on the other hand, we have a number of experiential qualities, which seem to resist this reductive explanation. We can establish that a certain function is accompanied by a certain experience, but we have no idea why that happens, and regardless of how closely we scrutinize the neural mechanisms we don’t seem to be getting any closer at an answer. In his book, Chalmers also distinguished two concepts of mind: a phenomenal concept and a psychological concept. The first captures the conscious aspect of mind: Mind is understood in terms of conscious experience. The second concept understands mind in functional terms as the causal or explanatory basis for behavior..
|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
Evan Thompson (2005). Sensorimotor Subjectivity and the Enactive Approach to Experience. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (4):407-427.
Rajesh Kasturirangan, Nirmalya Guha & Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad (2011). Indian Cognitivism and the Phenomenology of Conceptualization. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (2):277-296.
Similar books and articles
Filip Radovic (1998). Towards a Proper Monism. In Philosophical Communications. Gothenburg University
David Papineau (1998). Mind the Gap. Philosophical Perspectives 12 (S12):373-89.
David John Chalmers (2010). The Character of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.
W. R. Webster (2006). Human Zombies Are Metaphysically Impossible. Synthese 151 (2):297-310.
Max Velmans (1995). The Relation of Consciousness to the Material World. Philosophical Explorations 2 (3):255-65.
Daniel C. Dennett (1996). Facing Backwards on the Problem of Consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):4-6.
Piotr Boltuc (2009). The Philosophical Issue in Machine Consciousness. International Journal of Machine Consciousness 1 (1):155-176.
Timothy J. Bayne (2001). Chalmers on the Justification of Phenomenal Judgments. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (2):407-19.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads104 ( #35,544 of 1,789,938 )
Recent downloads (6 months)19 ( #42,046 of 1,789,938 )
How can I increase my downloads?