We review existing strategies for bringing modal intuitions to bear against materialist theories of consciousness, and then propose a new strategy. Unlike existing strategies, which assume that imagination (suitably constrained) is a good guide to modal truth, the strategy proposed here makes no assumptions about the probative value of imagination. However, unlike traditional modal arguments, the argument developed here delivers only the conclusion that we should not believe that materialism is true, not that we should believe that it is false.
The objective of this paper is to defend the non-reductive thesis of phenomenal consciousness. This paper will give an overview of the arguments for the non-reductive explanation of phenomenal consciousness and justify why the reductionist approach is implausible in the context of explaining phenomenal subjective experience. The debate between reductionist and non-reductionist on the project of demystifying and mystifying phenomenal consciousness is driven by two fundamental assumptions-1) Reductive-Naturalistic Objectivism, 2) Phenomenal Realism. There are several arguments for the irreducibility of phenomenal (...) consciousness; this paper will focus on the inverted spectrum argument, knowledge argument, and the conceivability argument. (shrink)
This study asserts that W.V.O. Quine’s eliminative philosophical gaze into mereological composition affects inevitably his interpretations of composition theories of ontology. To investigate Quine’s property monism from the account of modal eliminativism, I applied to his solution for the paradoxes of de re modalities’ . Because of its vital role to figure out how dispositions are encountered by Quine, it was significantly noted that the realm of de re modalities doesn’t include contingent and impossible inferences about things. Therefore, for him, (...) all the intrinsic forces and elements of entities such as powers and causal or teleological dispositions for ontology demand to be seen necessarily as bound variables from a monist perspective. Although his denial of analyticity and the elimination of dispositional field of ontology, S. Mumford criticizes the monist perspective of Quine’s paradoxical approach to superveniences. Because superveniences create problems while determining type-type identities from a monist mereological perspective. It is observed that Quine faces with a reduction again in terms of his dispositional monism despite his critiques to repulse vagueness from the ontology in his well-known article Two Dogmas of Empiricism. -/- . (shrink)
Does consciousness exist? In “The Meta-Problem of Consciousness” (MPC) David Chalmers sketches an argument for illusionism, i.e., the view that it does not. The key premise is that it would be a coincidence if our beliefs about consciousness were true, given that the explanation of those beliefs is independent of their truth. In this article, I clarify and assess this argument. I argue that our beliefs about consciousness are peculiarly invulnerable to undermining, whether or not their contents are indubitable or (...) even obvious. However, the reason that they are peculiarly invulnerable to undermining points to a fundamental flaw in modal arguments for dualism. (shrink)
According to the scrutability argument against physicalism, an a priori gap between the physical and conscious experience entails a lack of necessitation and the falsity of physicalism. This paper investigates the crucial premise of the scrutability argument: the inference from an a priori gap to a lack of necessitation. This premise gets its support from modal rationalism, according to which there are important, potentially constitutive, connections between a priori justification and metaphysical modality. I argue against the strong form of modal (...) rationalism that underwrites the scrutability argument and suggest a more moderate rationalist view. I offer a novel demonstrative reply to the scrutability argument, according to which demonstratives play a vital role in the generation of meaning for our representations of conscious experience. This connection between conscious experience and demonstratives, rather than a metaphysical gap generated by the truth of dualism, is the source of the epistemic gap between consciousness and the physical. (shrink)
Chalmers (2002) argues against physicalism in part using the premise that no truth about consciousness can be deduced a priori from any set of purely structural truths. Chalmers (2012) elaborates a detailed definition of what it is for a truth to be structural, which turns out to include spatiotemporal truths. But Chalmers (2012) then proposes to define spatiotemporal terms by reference to their role in causing spatial and temporal experiences. Stoljar (2015) and Ebbers (Ms) argue that this definition of spatiotemporal (...) terms allows for the trivial falsification of Chalmers (2002)’s premise about structure and consciousness. I show that this result can be avoided by tweaking the relevant premise, and moreover that this tweak is well-motivated and not ad hoc. (shrink)
According to a posteriori physicalism, phenomenal properties are physical properties, despite the unbridgeable cognitive gap that holds between phenomenal concepts and physical concepts. Current debates about a posteriori physicalism turn on what I call “the perspicuity principle”: it is impossible for a suitably astute cognizer to possess concepts of a certain sort—viz., narrow concepts—without being able to tell whether the referents of those concepts are the same or different. The perspicuity principle tends to strike a posteriori physicalists as implausibly rationalistic; (...) further, a posteriori physicalists maintain that even if the principle is applicable to many narrow concepts, phenomenal concepts have unique features that render them inferentially isolated from other narrow concepts ). I argue, on the contrary, that the case for the perspicuity principle is quite strong. Moreover, not only have versions of the PCS repeatedly failed, likely, all versions will, given the strange combination of lucidity and opacity that the PCS has to juggle. I conclude that a posteriori physicalists currently lack a principled objection to classic anti-physicalist arguments. (shrink)
Famous examples of conceivability arguments include (i) Descartes’ argument for mind-body dualism, (ii) Kripke's ‘modal argument’ against psychophysical identity theory, (iii) Chalmers’ ‘zombie argument’ against materialism, and (iv) modal versions of the ontological argument for theism. In this paper, we show that for any such conceivability argument, C, there is a corresponding ‘mirror argument’, M. M is deductively valid and has a conclusion that contradicts C's conclusion. Hence, a proponent of C—henceforth, a ‘conceivabilist’—can be warranted in holding that C's premises (...) are conjointly true only if she can find fault with one of M's premises. But M's premises are modelled on a pair of C's premises. The same reasoning that supports the latter supports the former. For this reason, a conceivabilist can repudiate M's premises only on pain of severely undermining C's premises. We conclude on this basis that all conceivability arguments, including each of (i)–(iv), are fallacious. (shrink)
The paper examines Loar’s and Bach’s defence of Nominal Description Theory against Kripkean Modal Argument (MA). Using formal tools of hyperintensional logic, I discriminate three kinds of nominal description which are possible substitutes for a proper name, thus considering various readings of the MA. On its natural understanding, the MA is valid – contrary to what Loar and Bach say. On the other hand, the soundness of the MA remains doubtful, as pointed out already by Loar and Bach.
Alleged self-evidence aside, conceivability arguments are one of the main reasons in favor of the claim that there is a Hard Problem. These arguments depend on the appealing Kripkean intuition that there is no difference between appearances and reality in the case of consciousness. I will argue that this intuition rests on overlooking a distinction between cognitive access and consciousness, which has received recently important empirical support. I will show that there are good reasons to believe that the intuition is (...) misguided—at least on the reading that the conceivability arguments require—and hence that the arguments are unsupported. This, in turn, alleviates the Hard Problem but leaves us with what I think is a not easy problem. (shrink)
The Phenomenal Concept Strategy offers the physicalist perhaps the most promising means of explaining why the connection between mental facts and physical facts appears to be contingent even though it is not. In this article, we show that the large body of evidence suggesting that our concepts are often embodied and grounded in sensorimotor systems speaks against standard forms of the PCS. We argue, nevertheless, that it is possible to formulate a novel version of the PCS that is thoroughly in (...) keeping with embodied cognition, focuses on features of physical concepts, and succeeds in explaining the appearance of contingency. (shrink)
Both a priori physicalism and a posteriori physicalism combine a metaphysical and an epistemological thesis. They agree about the metaphysical thesis: our world is wholly physical. Most agree that this requires everything that there is must be necessitated by the sort of truths described by physics. If we call the conjunction of the basic truths of physics P, all physicalists agree that P entails for any truth Q. Where they disagree is whether or not this entailment can be known a (...) priori. The a priori physicalist says it can, the a posteriori physicalist says it cannot. Though a posteriori physicalism is probably the dominant view, it is really a surprising and somewhat unlikely stance. In this article, the nature of the view is discussed, and two arguments are presented that should cause us to look again at the potential of a priori physicalism. (shrink)
The textbook-like history of analytic philosophy is a history of myths, re-ceived views and dogmas. Though mainly the last few years have witnessed a huge amount of historical work that aimed to reconsider our narratives of the history of ana-lytic philosophy there is still a lot to do. The present study is meant to present such a micro story which is still quite untouched by historians. According to the received view Kripke has defeated all the arguments of Quine against quantified (...) modal logic and thus it became a respectful tool for philosophers. If we accept the historical interpreta-tion of the network between Quine, Kripke and modal logic, which is to be presented here, we have to conclude that Quine’s real philosophical animadversions against the modalities are still on the table: though Kripke has provided some important (formal-logical) answers, Quine’s animadversions are still viable and worthy of further consideration. (shrink)
Resumo O meu objetivo neste artigo é examinar criticamente o argumento de Kripke contra a teoria da identidade tipo-tipo. Assumindo a tese da necessidade da identidade, bem como a tese da designação rígida, Kripke sustenta que se a dor é idêntica à estimulação das fibras C, então a dor é necessariamente idêntica à estimulação das fibras C. No entanto, precisamente porque a proposição expressa pela frase “a dor não é idêntica à estimulação das fibras C” é uma possibilidade metafísica, Kripke (...) conclui, por modus tollens, que não há identidade entre dor e estimulação das fibras C. Por isso, a teoria da identidade tipo-tipo não é uma solução bemsucedida para o problema da mente-corpo. Este artigo tem duas partes. Na primeira parte, que é expositiva, apresento o argumento de Kripke contra a teoria da identidade tipo-tipo. Subsequentemente, ponho em causa o argumento de Kripke, argumentando que não é procedente, pois a nossa situação epistémica atual não nos permite determinar se é metafisicamente possível a dor não ser idêntica à estimulação das fibras C. Assim, Kripke não refuta a teoria da identidade tipo-tipo. Palavras-chave : designação rígida, filosofia da mente, identidade tipo-tipo, Kripke, necessidade da identidadeMy aim in this paper is to critically assess Kripke’s argument against the type-type identity theory. Assuming the thesis of the necessity of identity, as well as the thesis of rigid designation, Kripke holds that if pain is identical with C-fibre firing, then pain is necessarily identical with C-fibre firing. However, precisely because the proposition expressed by the sentence “pain is not identical with C-fibre firing” is a metaphysical possibility, Kripke concludes, by modus tollens, that pain and C-fibre firing are not identical. Therefore, the type-type identity theory is not a successful solution to the mind-body problem. So this paper has two parts. In the first part, which is expositive, I present Kripke’s argument against the type-type identity theory. After that, I will dispute Kripke’s argument, arguing that it is not sound, for our current epistemic situation does not allow us to determine whether it is a metaphysical possibility that pain is not identical with C-fibre firing. Thus, Kripke does not refute the type-type identity theory. Keywords : Kripke, necessity of identity, philosophy of mind, rigid designation, type-type identity. (shrink)
El libro "E-physicalism - A Physicalist Theory of Phenomenal Consciousness" presenta una teoría en el área de la metafísica de la conciencia fenomenal. Está basada en las convicciones de que la experiencia subjetiva -en el sentido de Nagel - es un fenómeno real, y de que alguna variante del fisicalismo debe ser verdadera.
In the standard thought experiments, dualism strikes many philosophers as true, including many non-dualists. This ‘striking’ generates prima facie justification: in the absence of defeaters, we ought to believe that things are as they seem to be, i.e. we ought to be dualists. In this paper, I examine several proposed undercutting defeaters for our dualist intuitions. I argue that each proposal fails, since each rests on a false assumption, or requires empirical evidence that it lacks, or overgenerates defeaters. By the (...) end, our prima facie justification for dualism remains undefeated. I close with one objection concerning the dialectical role of rebutting defeaters, and I argue that the prospects for a successful rebutting defeater for our dualist intuitions are dim. Since dualism emerges undefeated, we ought to believe it. (shrink)
This paper advances a version of physicalism which reconciles the “a priori entailment thesis” (APET) with the analytic independence of our phenomenal and physical vocabularies. The APET is the claim that, if physicalism is true, the complete truths of physics imply every other truth a priori. If so, “cosmic hermeneutics” is possible: a demon having only complete knowledge of physics could deduce every truth about the world. Analytic independence is a popular physicalist explanation for the apparent “epistemic gaps” between phenomenal (...) and physical truths. The two are generally seen as incompatible, since the demon’s deductions seem to presuppose analytic connections between physical and phenomenal terms. I begin by arguing, in support of the APET, that implications from the complete truths of physics to phenomenal truths cannot be a posteriori. Such implications are (according to the physicalist) necessarily true. But they cannot be Kripke-style a posteriori necessities, since (according to the physicalist) the complete truths of physics fix any relevant a posteriori facts about the reference of terms. I then show how the physicalist can turn the tables: the demon can exploit the physical fixing of reference to bridge the gap between the vocabularies, by deducing when phenomenal and physical terms co-refer. This opens the way for a “type-C” physicalism, which accepts in-principle deducibility while still appealing to analytic independence to explain why we (who are not demons) find it impossible to see phenomenal-physical connections a priori. (shrink)
In den vergangenen 40 Jahren haben Philosophen wie Saul Kripke (1980), George Bealer (1994) und David Chalmers (1996; 2010) versucht, auf Basis von Einsicht darein, was metaphysisch möglich ist, zu zeigen, dass der Materialismus falsch ist. Die Debatte um diese Argumente ist ausufernd, aber dennoch hat sich kaum ein Materialist von einem solchen Argument überzeugen lassen. Ich werde argumentieren, dass es gute Gründe hierfür gibt, da modale Argumente nur dadurch überzeugend wirken, dass sie zwei Konzeptionen von metaphysischer Modalität miteinander vermengen, (...) von denen die eine deren ontologische Relevanz, die andere ihre epistemische Zugänglichkeit sichert. Wenn man die Argumente jedoch genauer betrachtet, so lässt sich feststellen, dass nicht beides gleichzeitig zu haben ist, so dass Vertreter modaler Argumente vor einem Dilemma stehen. Entweder sie konzipieren metaphysische Modalität so, dass diese ausreichende ontologische Relevanz hat - dann können wir nicht wissen, was metaphysisch möglich ist. Oder sie sichern den epistemischen Zugang, wodurch wir jedoch nicht mehr von modalen Prämissen auf die Falschheit des Materialismus schließen dürfen. Im Folgenden werde ich dies anhand der modalen Argumente von Kripke und Chalmers zeigen, die Paradebeispiele für die beiden Hörner des Dilemmas darstellen. (shrink)
This work advances a theory in the metaphysics of phenomenal consciousness, which the author labels “e-physicalism”. Firstly, he endorses a realist stance towards consciousness and physicalist metaphysics. Secondly, he criticises Strong AI and functionalist views, and claims that consciousness has an internal character. Thirdly, he discusses HOT theories, the unity of consciousness, and holds that the “explanatory gap” is not ontological but epistemological. Fourthly, he argues that consciousness is not a supervenient but an emergent property, not reducible and endowed with (...) original causal powers, with respect to the micro-constituents of the conscious entity. Fifthly, he addresses the “zombie argument” and the “supervenience argument” within the e-physicalism framework. Finally, he elaborates on the claim that phenomenal properties are physical and discusses the “knowledge argument”. (shrink)
In the 1950’s and 1960’s, Feigl, Place and Smart offered an answer to the mind‑body problem called Identity Theory. According to Identity Theory, there are physical descriptions describing the same event as first‑person descriptions of experience. In this article, we address the criticism that mind‑body identity can be refuted on logical grounds, taken in the widest sense. Kripke’s criticism to this effect, as developed in Naming and Necessity, will be our central concern. Another notorious argument we will consider is Chalmers’s, (...) as developed in The Conscious Mind. The Identity Theorists originally held that identity statements could be contingently true. Kripke argues that all true identity statements are true necessarily. If the mind‑body identity is contingent, as Kripke thinks it must be, it cannot be true. Unlike Identity Theorists, I accept that body‑mind identity must be necessary, but unlike Kripke, I argue that it can be. Central to my refutation of Kripke and Chalmers is a more elaborate approach to thinking about reference. (shrink)
Physicalists about the mind are committed to claims about property identities. Following Kripke's well-known discussion, modal arguments have emerged as major threats to such claims. This paper argues that modal arguments can be resisted by adopting a counterpart theoretic account of modal claims, and in particular modal claims involving properties. Thus physicalists have a powerful motive to adopt non-Kripkean accounts of the metaphysics of modality and the semantics of modal expressions.
[Are We Necessarily Embodied?] The author concentrates on the relation between person and body in phenomenology and analytical philosophy. Both of these traditions are, in their own way, critical towards the Cartesian dualism. While phenomenology tries to overcome this dualism through the description of the experience of our corporeality from the first person point of view, analytic philosophy examines the metaphysical problem of the relation between person and body from the third person perspective and usually proposes a materialist answer in (...) the sense of an identity of person and body. The central part of the paper is a detailed analysis of Kripke's challenge to contemporary materialism. The author argues that it is possible to accept Kripke's modal and temporal arguments in favour of the dualism of person and body without being forced to accept the idea of dualism itself. It is the metaphysics of constitution that represents an alternative: the person is constituted by her body, but she is not identical with it. Surprisingly, it is the idea of the living body that is rediscovered in thsi solution -- the idea which, in a sense, is a part of the phenomenological heritage, even though it is devoid of phenomenological anti-scientism and idealism. (shrink)
This paper is divided into three sections. In the first section I briefly outline the background of the problem, i.e. Kripke’s modal argument (Kripke 1980). In the second section I present Chalmers’ account of two- dimensional semantics and two-dimensional argument against physicalism. In the third section I criticize Chalmers’ approach based on two crucial points, one is about necessity of identities and the other is about microphysi- cal descriptions and a priori derivation.
Zu den großen Rätseln der Philosophie des Geistes, ja der Philosophie überhaupt, gehört die folgende Frage: Wie lässt sich der qualitative oder phänomenale Charakter bewusster Erlebnisse beschreiben, erklären oder verstehen? Wie lässt sich beispielsweise erklären, wie es ist, eine Rose zu riechen? Einerseits erscheint angesichts der Erfolgsgeschichte der modernen Naturwissenschaften die Annahme plausibel, dass sich letztlich alles physikalisch erklären lässt, auch bewusste Erlebnisse. Bei dieser Annahme handelt es sich um die physikalistische Intuition, die in der analytischen Philosophie des Geistes die (...) Hauptmotivation der gegenwärtig dominierenden Position darstellt: der Position des Physikalismus. Andererseits stellt der nur subjektiv erfassbare qualitative Charakter bewusster Erlebnisse das Kernproblem für eine physikalische Erklärung des Bewusstseins dar: Wie sollte das Erlebnis von Rosenduft physikalisch erklärbar sein? Dabei handelt es sich um die antiphysikalistische Intuition, auf deren Grundlage in den letzten Jahren verschiedene Argumente gegen den Physikalismus vorgebracht worden sind. Indem in der vorliegenden Studie diesen beiden, zumindest auf den ersten Blick unvereinbar erscheinenden Intuitionen ausführlich und vorbehaltlos Rechnung getragen wird – sie stellen sowohl den Ausgangspunkt als auch den argumentativen Rahmen der Studie dar –, wird untersucht, wie sich der qualitative Charakter bewusster Erlebnisse im Rahmen einer Theorie des Bewusstseins fassen lässt. (shrink)
Kripke presented one of the most inuential modal arguments against psycho-physical identities. His argument as exemplified by the identity of pain and its respective neural correlates will be analysed in detail. It shall be argued that his reasoning relies on an implausible conception of introspection implying an implausible conception of mental phenomena such as pain. His account does not consider possible interaction of pain and attention as well as the interaction of pain with other psychological factors. Theoretical and empirical evidences (...) for a diferent account of pain, which represent a challenge for Kripke's argument, will be discussed. (shrink)
ABSTRACT: In this article we aim to see how far one can get in defending the identity thesis without challenging the inference from conceivability to possibility. Our defence consists of a dilemma for the modal argument. Either "pain" is rigid or it is not. If it is not rigid, then a key premise of the modal argument can be rejected. If it is rigid, the most plausible semantic account treats "pain" as a natural-kind term that refers to its causaI or (...) historical origin, namely, C-fibre stimulation. It follows that any phenomenon that is not C-fibre stimulation is not pain, even if it is qualitatively similar to pain. This means there could be phenomena that feel like pain butare not pain since they are not C-fibre stimulation. These possible phenomena can be used to explain away the apparent conceivability of pain without C-fibre stimulation. On either horn of the dilemma, the identity theorist has ample resources to respond to Kripke's argument, even without wandering into the contentious territory of conceivability and possibility.RÉSUMÉ: Nous souhaitons explorer ici dans quelle mesure il est possible de défendre la thèse de l'identité sans contester l'inférence de la concevabilité à la possibilité. Nous proposons un dilemme pour l'argument modal: soit «da souffrance» est sévère ou elle ne l'est pas. Dans le second cas, une des prémisses fondamentales de l'argument modal se voit rejetée. Dans le cas contraire, le traitement sémantique le plus plausible présente «la souffrance» comme un type naturel qui se réfère à son origine causale ou historique, c'est-à-dire à une stimulation de la fibre C. Il s'ensuit que tout phénomène qui ne résulte pas de la stimulation de la fibre C n'est pas souffrance, même s'il est qualitativement similaire. Il existerait donc des phénomènes qui créent une impression de souffrance mais qui ne le sont pas. Face à ce dilemme, le théoricien de l'identité a anlplenlent de quoi répondre à l'argument de Kripke, sans même toucher au domaine controversé de la concevabilité et de la possibilité. (shrink)
Kripke argued for the existence of necessary a posteriori truths and offered different accounts of why certain necessary truths seem to be contingent. One of these accounts was used by Kripke in an argument against the psychophysical identity thesis. I defend the claim that the explanatory force of Kripke's standard account of the appearance of contingency relies on the explanatory force of one of the more general accounts he also offers. But the more general account cannot be used to undermine (...) the psychophysical identity thesis. Specifically, a crucial feature in Kripke's standard account, which is needed to argue for dualism, is explanatorily superfluous. Alternative accounts that are similar to Kripke's original one but lack that trait would also explain the phenomenon. Consequently, the Kripkean dualist argument is blocked. /// Kripke ha argumentado que existen verdades necesarias a posteriori, y ha ofrecido diferentes explicaciones de por qué ciertas verdades necesarias parecen contingentes. Una de esas explicaciones se usaba en un argumento con el que Kripke criticaba la tesis de la identidad psicofísica. En este trabajo sostengo que la fuerza explicativa de la explicacion kripkeana estándar de la apariencia de contingencia depende de la fuerza explicativa de una de las otras explicaciones que Kripke también propone. Pero esa otra explicación, más general, no sirve para rechazar la identidad psicofísica. Con-cretamente, un rasgo crucial de la explicación kripkeana estandar resulta explicativamente superfluo. Explicaciones alternativas, similares a la de Kripke pero que carezcan de ese rasgo, explicarían también el fenómeno. Como consecuencia, el argumento dualista kripkeano queda bloqueado. (shrink)
Identity theorists make claims like ‘pain = C-fibre stimulation’. These claims must be necessary if true, given that terms like ‘pain’ and ‘C-fibre stimulation’ are rigid. Yet there is no doubt that such claims appear contingent. It certainly seems that there could have been C-fibre stimulation without pains or vice versa. So identity theorists owe us an explanation of why such claims should appear contingent if they are in fact necessary.
Es conocido que Kripke argumentó que la ilusión de contingencia en el caso de la conciencia no puede explicarse del modo en que se explica en el resto de casos familiares de enunciados necesarios a posteriori. En un artículo reciente, Pérez Otero (2002) argumenta que hay una explicación alternativa, en términos de mera aposterioridad. Argumento en contra de la corrección exegética y de la verdad de esta tesis.Kripke famously argued that the illusion of contingency cannot be explained away, in the (...) case of consciousness, in the way it is explained away in the rest of familiar cases of necessary aposteriori statements. In a recent paper, Pérez Otero (2002) argues that there is an alternative way of explaining it a way, in terms of mere aposteriority. I argue against the exegetical accuracy and the truth of this contention. (shrink)
In his "Materialism without Reductionism: What Materialism Does not Entail," Richard Boyd answers Kripke's challenge to materialists to come up with a way to explain away the apparent contingency of mind-brain identities. Boyd accuses Kripke of an imaginative myopia manifesting itself as a failure to realize that the more theoretical term in the identity is fixed by contingent descriptions - descriptions that might pick out otherworldly kinds of neural events where C-fibres are absent. If this is something we can confuse (...) in the imagination with actual C-fibre firings, then we have an explanation of the apparent contingency of the necessary identity 'Pain=C-fiber firings.' However, for this to succeed it must be the case that the reference of 'C-fiber firings' is fixed by some contingent description, which is false. Boyd, I submit, has failed to answer Kripke's challenge after all. (shrink)
In his (1977) "Anomalous Monism and Kripke's Cartesian Intuitions," Colin McGinn argues that Donald Davidson's anomalous monism is untouched by Kripke's (1980) argument against the identity theory. The type-identity of the physical with the mental may very well fall at the feet of Kripke's powerful arguments, but a token identification, argues McGinn, is left standing due to the simple fact that token physicalism countenances a kind of imagined separation of token mental states with their corresponding token physical states. If McGinn (...) is correct, a full-blooded physicalism is consistent with Kripke's Cartesian intuitions regarding the non-identity of the mental and the physical. But I think McGinn is mistaken. In particular, McGinn misunderstands the nature of an "epistemic counterpart" of a token pain. So contrary to McGinn, token physicalism does not seem to be able to defend against Kripke after all. (shrink)
Abstract. The dissertation defends the thesis that the mind-body problem arises against the background of the elimination of the manifest physical world, and that the only satisfactory response to it is to take back that elimination and thus to dissolve the problem. Various materialist and dualist responses are shown to be inadequate. They are only different forms of ontological fundamentalism – physics fundamentalism and consciousness fundamentalism – that lead to ultimately meaningless metaphysical constructions. By contrast, on the ontologically pluralist view (...) outlined here, the fact that the entire spatiotemporal world has a physical microstructure is compatible with a naive realism with regard to both the manifest physical world and to consciousness. We only need to ascribe physical microstructures to both while identifying neither with these structures. After an introduction that identifies the elimination of the manifest physical world in modernity as the metaphysical background of the mind-body problem and describes the dilemmatic situation created by the typical reactions to it, the first chapter attempts to clarify what consciousness is. The second chapter then discusses some of the standard formulations of the so-called “puzzle” or “mystery” of consciousness. It is shown that these cannot be transformed into a genuine, answerable question. The notion that other macrophenomena can be explained much better than consciousness, perhaps even in a completely transparent way, is revealed to be an illusion, an artefact of the tacit elimination of the manifest physical world. In the third chapter, the thesis that consciousness has spatial properties is defended against various forms of skepticism. The fourth chapter begins the debate with the mind-body identity theory by discussing various positions on identity statements in the philosophy of language. This discussion leads to the conclusion that the idea of informative identity statements is meaningless. On this basis, the notion of an empirically contentful so-called “scientific identification” of consciousness phenomena with their neuronal correlates is criticized in the fifth chapter. The sixth chapter argues that it is possible to dissolve the problem of mental causation if a physiological and ultimately also a microphysical structure is ascribed to consciousness. In a concluding reflection it is explained what it means that the present suggestion amounts to a dissolution rather than a solution of the traditional mind-body problem. Zusammenfassung. In dieser Arbeit wird die These vertreten, dass das Leib-Seele- Problem vor dem Hintergrund der Elimination der manifesten physischen Welt entsteht und die einzig befriedigende Reaktion darauf nur sein kann, diese Elimination wieder rückgängig zu machen und das Problem damit aufzulösen. Materialistische und dualistische Reaktionen werden als unzulänglich erwiesen. Sie sind nur verschiedene Formen eines ontologischen Fundamentalismus – Physikfundamentalismus und Bewusstseinsfundamentalismus – der zu letztlich sinnlosen metaphysischen Konstruktionen führt. Dagegen ist nach dem hier vertretenen ontologischen Pluralismus die Tatsache, dass die gesamte raumzeitliche Welt eine physikalische Mikrostruktur hat, mit einem naiven Realismus sowohl in Bezug auf die manifeste physische Welt als auch in Bezug auf das Bewusstsein vereinbar. Wir müssen nur beiden eine physikalische Mikrostruktur zuschreiben ohne sie mit dieser zu idenfizieren. Nachdem in der Einleitung die Elimination der manifesten physischen Welt in der Neuzeit als der metaphysische Hintergrund des Leib-Seele-Problems identifiziert und die durch die typischen Reaktionen darauf entstehende dilemmatische Aus- gangssituation beschrieben worden ist, klärt das erste Kapitel, was Bewusstsein ist. Im zweiten Kapitel werden dann einige gängige Formulierungen des so genannten „Bewusstseinsrätsels“ vorgestellt. Es wird gezeigt, dass diese sich nicht in eine wirklich beantwortbare Frage transformieren lassen. Die Vorstellung, dass sich andere Makrophänomene wesentlich besser erklären lassen als das Bewusstsein, oder gar in vollständig transparenter Weise, wird als Illusion, als Artefakt der stillschweigenden Elimination der manifesten Welt erwiesen. Im dritten Kapitel wird die These, dass das Bewusstsein räumliche Eigenschaften hat, gegen verschiedene Formen der Skepsis verteidigt. Im vierten Kapitel beginnt die Auseinandersetzung mit der Identitätstheorie mit einer Diskussion sprachphilosophischer Positionen zu Identitätsaussagen, die die These begründet, dass die Vorstellung informativer Identitätsaussagen sinnlos ist. Auf dieser Grundlage wird im fünften Kapitel die Vorstellung einer empirisch gehaltvollen so genannten „wissenschaftlichen Identifikation“ von Bewusstseinsphänomenen mit ihren neuronalen Korrelaten kritisiert. Im sechsten Kapitel wird gezeigt, dass sich das Problem mentaler Verursachung auflösen lässt, wenn man Bewusstseinsphänomenen eine physiologische und letztlich auch physikalische Mikrostruktur zuschreibt. In einer Schlussbetrachtung wird erläutert, warum der Vorschlag in dieser Arbeit eine Auflösung statt einer Lösung des Leib-Seele-Problems darstellt. (shrink)
Modal intuitions are the primary source of modal knowledge but also of modal error. According to the theory of modal error in this paper, modal intuitions retain their evidential force in spite of their fallibility, and erroneous modal intuitions are in principle identifiable and eliminable by subjecting our intuitions to a priori dialectic. After an inventory of standard sources of modal error, two further sources are examined in detail. The first source - namely, the failure to distinguish between metaphysical possibility (...) and various kinds of epistemic possibility - turns out to be comparatively easy to untangle and poses little threat to intuition-driven philosophical investigation. The second source is the local misunderstanding of one's concepts . This pathology may be understood on analogy with a patient who is given a clean bill of health at his annual check-up, despite his having a cold at the time of the check-up: although the patient's health is locally disrupted, his overall health is sufficiently good to enable him to overcome the cold without external intervention. Even when our understanding of certain pivotal concepts has lapsed locally, our larger body of intuitions is sufficiently reliable to allow us, without intervention, to ferret out the modal errors resulting from this lapse of understanding by means of dialectic and/or a process of a priori reflection. This source of modal error, and our capacity to overcome it, has wide-ranging implications for philosophical method - including, in particular, its promise for disarming skepticism about the classical method of intuition-driven investigation itself. Indeed, it is shown that skeptical accounts of modal error are ultimately self-defeating. (shrink)
In Knowledge, Possibility and Consciousness I argue that the Zombie Argument, the Knowledge Argument, and the Modal Argument do not provide people with broadly common-sensical views about consciousness and the mental, and an inclination towards physicalism, any reasons not to be physicalists. That is, they do not support the doctrine of neo-dualism, advocated by Chalmers, Jackson, and others: although the mind may be the brain, qualia, the what-its-like properties of experiences that makes them experiences, are not physical properties.
The capacity to represent things to ourselves as possible plays a crucial role both in everyday thinking and in philosophical reasoning; this volume offers much-needed philosophical illumination of conceivability, possibility, and the relations between them.
Saul Kripke’s modal essentialist argument against materialism remains an obstacle to any prospective Identity Theorist. This paper is an attempt to make room for an Identity Theory without dismissing Kripke’s analytic tools or essentialist intuitions. I propose an explanatory model that can make room for the Identity Theory within the constraints of Kripke’s view; the model is based on ideas from Alan Sidelle’s, “Identity and Identity-like” . My model explains the apparent contingency of some scientific identities by appealing to our (...) epistemic access to the conditions of identity for sensations and brain processes. Pace Kripke, the Identity Theorist can thus explain away the apparent contingency of mind-brain identity claims. (shrink)