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Summary The phenomenal concepts are supposed to be the first-person-specific concepts that we use to think about our own phenomenal experiences. Phenomenal concepts have mostly been discussed in relation with the debates surrounding physicalism, where certain theories of phenomenal concepts have been thought to provide an answer to conceivability arguments against physicalism. This is known as the phenomenal concept strategy.
Key works The phenomenal concept strategy was introduced in Loar 1990. It is also defended in Papineau 2002 and Tye 2003Chalmers 2004 offers a response. Chalmers 2003 offers a broader discussion of phenomenal concepts. 
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  1. Torin Alter, Introduction to Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism (OUP, 2007).
    This volume presents thirteen new essays on phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge: twelve by philosophers and one by a scientist. In this introduction, we provide some background and summarize the essays.
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  2. Torin Alter (2013). Social Externalism and the Knowledge Argument. Mind 122 (486):fzt072.
    According to social externalism, it is possible to possess a concept not solely in virtue of one’s intrinsic properties but also in virtue of relations to one’s linguistic community. Derek Ball (2009) argues, in effect, that (i) social externalism extends to our concepts of colour experience and (ii) this fact undermines both the knowledge argument against physicalism and the most popular physicalist response to it, known as the phenomenal concept strategy. I argue that Ball is mistaken about (ii) even granting (...)
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  3. Torin Alter (2011). Tye's New Take on the Puzzles of Consciousness. [REVIEW] Analysis 71 (4):765-775.
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  4. Torin Alter (2007). On the Conditional Analysis of Phenomenal Concepts. Philosophical Studies 134 (2):235 - 253.
    Zombies make trouble for physicalism. Intuitively, they seem conceivable, and many take this to support their metaphysical possibility – a result that, most agree, would refute physicalism. John Hawthorne (2002) [Philosophical Studies 109, 17–52] and David Braddon-Mitchell (2003) [The Journal of Philosophy 100, 111–135] have developed a novel response to this argument: phenomenal concepts have a conditional structure – they refer to non-physical states if such states exist and otherwise to physical states – and this explains the zombie intuition. I (...)
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  5. Torin Alter (2006). On the Conditional Analysis of Phenomenal Concepts. Philosophical Studies 131 (3):777-778.
    Zombies make trouble for physicalism. Intuitively, they seem conceivable, and many take this to support their metaphysical possibility – a result that, most agree, would refute physicalism. John Hawthorne (2002) [Philosophical Studies 109, 17–52] and David Braddon-Mitchell (2003) [The Journal of Philosophy 100, 111–135] have developed a novel response to this argument: phenomenal concepts have a conditional structure – they refer to non-physical states if such states exist and otherwise to physical states – and this explains the zombie intuition. I (...)
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  6. Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.) (2006). Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.
    What is the nature of consciousness? How is consciousness related to brain processes? This volume collects thirteen new papers on these topics: twelve by leading and respected philosophers and one by a leading color-vision scientist. All focus on consciousness in the "phenomenal" sense: on what it's like to have an experience. Consciousness has long been regarded as the biggest stumbling block for physicalism, the view that the mind is physical. The controversy has gained focus over the last few decades, and (...)
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  7. Peter Alward (2004). Is Phenomenal Pain the Primary Intension of 'Pain'? Metaphysica 5 (1):15-28.
    two-dimensional modal framework introduced by Evans [2] and developed by Davies and Humberstone. [3] This framework provides Chalmers with a powerful tool for handling the most serious objection to conceivability arguments for dualism: the problem of..
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  8. Michael V. Antony (2006). Papineau on the Vagueness of Phenomenal Concepts. Dialectica 60 (4):475-483.
    Papineau’s argument in "Thinking About Consciousness" for the vagueness or indeterminacy of phenomenal concepts is discussed. Several problems with his argument are brought out, and it is concluded that his argument fails to establish his desired conclusion.
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  9. István Aranyosi, Papineau's (in)Determinacy Problem.
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  10. István Aranyosi (2008). Review of Torin Alter and Sven Walter (Eds.) Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge. [REVIEW] Mind 117 (467):665-669.
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  11. Murat Arıcı (2014). Materialism, Phenomenal Subject and Its Ontological Status. Beytulhikme An International Journal of Philosophy 4 (2):01.
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  12. Murat Aydede, Is the Experience of Pain Transparent? Introspecting Phenomenal Qualities.
    I distinguish between two claims of transparency of experiences. One claim is weaker and supported by phenomenological evidence. This I call the Transparency Datum. Introspection of standard perceptual experiences as well as bodily sensations is consistent with, indeed supported by, the Transparency Datum. I formulate a stronger transparency thesis that is entailed by (strong) representationalism about experiential phenomenology. I point out some empirical consequences of strong transparency in the context of representationalism. I argue that pain experiences, as well as some (...)
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  13. Murat Aydede & Guven Guzeldere (2005). Concepts, Introspection, and Phenomenal Consciousness: An Information-Theoretical Approach. Noûs 39 (2):197-255.
    This essay is a sustained attempt to bring new light to some of the perennial problems in philosophy of mind surrounding phenomenal consciousness and introspection through developing an account of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Building on the information-theoretic framework of Dretske (1981), we present an informational psychosemantics as it applies to what we call sensory concepts, concepts that apply, roughly, to so-called secondary qualities of objects. We show that these concepts have a special informational character and semantic struc-ture that closely (...)
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  14. Derek Ball (2013). Consciousness and Conceptual Mastery. Mind 122 (486):fzt075.
    Torin Alter (2013) attempts to rescue phenomenal concepts and the knowledge argument from the critique of Ball 2009 by appealing to conceptual mastery. I show that Alter’s appeal fails, and describe general features of conceptual mastery that suggest that no such appeal could succeed.
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  15. Derek Ball (2009). There Are No Phenomenal Concepts. Mind 118 (472):935-962.
    It has long been widely agreed that some concepts can be possessed only by those who have undergone a certain type of phenomenal experience. Orthodoxy among contemporary philosophers of mind has it that these phenomenal concepts provide the key to understanding many disputes between physicalists and their opponents, and in particular offer an explanation of Mary’s predicament in the situation exploited by Frank Jackson's knowledge argument. I reject the orthodox view; I deny that there are phenomenal concepts. My arguments exploit (...)
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  16. Katalin Balog, Hard, Harder, Hardest.
    In this paper I discuss three problems of consciousness. The first two have been dubbed the “Hard Problem” and the “Harder Problem”. The third problem has received less attention and I will call it the “Hardest Problem”. The Hard Problem is a metaphysical and explanatory problem concerning the nature of conscious states. The Harder Problem is epistemological, and it concerns whether we can know, given physicalism, whether some creature physically different from us is conscious. The Hardest Problem is a problem (...)
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  17. Katalin Balog, Illuminati, Zombies and Metaphysical Gridlock.
    In this paper I survey the landscape of anti-physicalist arguments and physicalist responses to them. The anti-physicalist arguments I discuss start from a premise about a conceptual, epistemic, or explanatory gap between physical and phenomenal descriptions and conclude from this – on a priori grounds – that physicalism is false. My primary aim is to develop a master argument to counter these arguments. With this master argument in place, it is apparent that there is a puzzling symmetry between dualist attacks (...)
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  18. Katalin Balog (2012). In Defense of the Phenomenal Concept Strategy1. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):1-23.
    During the last two decades, several different anti-physicalist arguments based on an epistemic or conceptual gap between the phenomenal and the physical have been proposed. The most promising physicalist line of defense in the face of these arguments – the Phenomenal Concept Strategy – is based on the idea that these epistemic and conceptual gaps can be explained by appeal to the nature of phenomenal concepts rather than the nature of non-physical phenomenal properties. Phenomenal concepts, on this proposal, involve unique (...)
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  19. Katalin Balog (2012). Acquaintance and the Mind-Body Problem. In Simone Gozzano & Christopher S. Hill (eds.), New Perspectives on Type Identity: The Mental and the Physical. Cambridge University Press. pp. 16.
    In this paper I begin to develop an account of the acquaintance that each of us has with our own conscious states and processes. The account is a speculative proposal about human mental architecture and specifically about the nature of the concepts via which we think in first personish ways about our qualia. In a certain sense my account is neutral between physicalist and dualist accounts of consciousness. As will be clear, a dualist could adopt the account I will offer (...)
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  20. Katalin Balog (2009). Phenomenal Concepts. In Brian McLaughlin, Ansgar Beckermann & Sven Walter (eds.), Oxford Handbook in the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press. pp. 292--312.
    This article is about the special, subjective concepts we apply to experience, called “phenomenal concepts”. They are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. Conscious experience strike many philosophers as philosophically problematic and difficult to accommodate within a physicalistic metaphysics. Second, PCs are widely thought to be special and unique among concepts. The sense that there is something special about PCs (...)
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  21. Katalin Balog (2008). Review of Torin Alter, Sven Walter , Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. [REVIEW] Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (5).
    The book under review is a collection of thirteen essays on the nature phenomenal concepts and the ways in which phenomenal concepts figure in debates over physicalism. Phenomenal concepts are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. There are recent arguments, originating in Descartes’ famous conceivability argument, that purport to show that phenomenal experience is irreducibly non-physical. Second, phenomenal concepts are (...)
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  22. Katalin Balog (2004). Review: Thinking About Consciousness. [REVIEW] Mind 113 (452):774-778.
    Papineau in his book provides a detailed defense of physicalism via what has recently been dubbed the “phenomenal concept strategy”. I share his enthusiasm for this approach. But I disagree with his account of how a physicalist should respond to the conceivability arguments. Also I argue that his appeal to teleosemantics in explaining mental quotation is more like a promissory note than an actual theory.
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  23. Katalin Balog (1999). Conceivability, Possibility, and the Mind-Body Problem. Philosophical Review 108 (4):497-528.
    This paper was chosen by The Philosopher’s Annual as one of the ten best articles appearing in print in 2000. Reprinted in Volume XXIII of The Philosopher’s Annual. In his very influential book David Chalmers argues that if physicalism is true then every positive truth is a priori entailed by the full physical description – this is called “the a priori entailment thesis – but ascriptions of phenomenal consciousness are not so entailed and he concludes that Physicalism is false. As (...)
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  24. Kati Balog (2009). Phenomenal Concepts. In Brian McLaughlin, Ansgar Beckermann & Sven Walter (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press.
    This article is about the special, subjective concepts we apply to experience, called “phenomenal concepts”. They are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. Conscious experience strike many philosophers as philosophically problematic and difficult to accommodate within a physicalistic metaphysics. Second, PCs are widely thought to be special and unique among concepts. The sense that there is something special about PCs (...)
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  25. James Bardis (forthcoming). The Lake Glass House: Exploring the Architeconic Plates of a Lake-Glass Psycho-Georgraphy. Configurations 1.
    A two part presentation beginning with a short fictive and imaginal setting on the grounds of a glass house by a lake where an artist conducts psycho-dramas with his audience that explore the interface between the observer and the observed, interiority and exteriority and patiency and agency. Followed by a second part exploring a proto-dialectical logic that deals with the fundamentals of cerebral thought's claim to rationally order and process the "world," phenomenal, scientific or otherwise.
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  26. Wolfgang Barz (2016). Infallibility, Acquaintance, and Phenomenal Concepts. Dialectica 70 (2):139-168.
    In recent literature, there is a strong tendency to endorse the following argument: There are particular judgments about one's current phenomenal experiences that are infallible; if there are particular judgments about one's current phenomenal experiences that are infallible, then the infallibility of those judgments is due to the relation of acquaintance; therefore, acquaintance explains why those particular judgments about one's current phenomenal experiences are infallible. The aim of this paper is to examine critically both the first and the second premise (...)
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  27. Bass Bass (1953). RIDGMAN'S The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 14:415.
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  28. C. Battersby (1999). The Phenomenal Woman (PA Sayre). Philosophical Books 40:113-114.
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  29. Michael Beaton (2009). Qualia and Introspection. Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (5):88-110.
    The claim that behaviourally undetectable inverted spectra are possible has been endorsed by many physicalists. I explain why this starting point rules out standard forms of scientific explanation for qualia. The modern ‘phenomenal concept strategy’ is an updated way of defending problematic intuitions like these, but I show that it cannot help to recover standard scientific explanation. I argue that Chalmers is right: we should accept the falsity of physicalism if we accept this problematic starting point. I further argue that (...)
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  30. Dave Beisecker (2010). Zombies, Phenomenal Concepts, and the Paradox of Phenomenal Judgment. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (3-4):3-4.
    This paper explores the viability of rejecting a largely unchallenged third premise of the conceivability argument against materialism. Fittingly labeled 'type-Z' , this reply essentially grants to the zombie lover, not just the possibility of zombies, but also their actuality. We turn out to be the very creatures Chalmers has taken such great pains to conceive and more conventional materialists have tried to wipe off the face of the planet. So consciousness is a wholly material affair. What is conceivable but (...)
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  31. Dave Beisecker (2009). Zombies and the Phenomenal Concept Strategy. Southwest Philosophy Review 25 (1):207-216.
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  32. JosÉ Luis BermÚdez (2004). Vagueness, Phenomenal Concepts and Mind-Brain Identity. Analysis 64 (282):134-139.
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  33. José Luis Bermúdez (2004). Vagueness, Phenomenal Concepts and Mind-Brain Identity. Analysis 64 (2):134 - 139.
    In Thinking about Consciousness David Papineau develops a position that combines the following four theses: A) Phenomenal properties exist. B) Any phenomenal property is identical to some material property. C) Phenomenal concepts refer to material properties that are identical to phenomenal properties. D) Phenomenal concepts are vague. The overall position is intended to do justice to materialism (in virtue of (B) and (C)), while at the same time accommodating the concerns both of those impressed by the Knowledge Argument and related (...)
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  34. Paul Bernier (2000). Fonctionnalisme et similarité phénoménale. Philosophiques 27 (1):99-114.
    Dans la foulée de divers arguments antiphysicalistes visant à montrer que les qualia ne sont pas fonctionnalisables, Ned Block a proposé un autre argument de ce type, qui repose sur son expérience de pensée de la Terre inversée. L’argument de Block montrerait qu’un sujet peut avoir deux expériences de couleur du même type « phénoménal » qui seraient de deux types fonctionnels distincts puisque, selon lui, elles auraient des contenus intentionnels distincts. Il existerait donc une différence fondamentale entre le contenu (...)
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  35. Stephen Biggs (2009). Phenomenal Concepts in Mindreading. Philosophical Psychology 22 (6):647 – 667.
    In an earlier paper (Biggs, 2007) I argue that those attributing mental states sometimes simulate the phenomenal states of those to whom they are making attributions (i.e., targets). In this paper I argue that such phenomenal simulation plays an important role in some third-person mental state attributions. More specifically, I identity three important roles that phenomenal simulation could play in third-person mental state attributions: phenomenal simulation could cause attributions, facilitate attributions, or deepen simulators' understanding of targets. I then argue that (...)
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  36. Simon W. Blackburn (1975). How to Refer to Private Experience. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 75:201-213.
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  37. Ned Block (2002). Some Concepts of Consciousness. In D. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. pp. 206-219.
    Consciousness is a mongrel concept: there are a number of very different "consciousnesses". Phenomenal consciousness is experience; the phenomenally conscious aspect of a state is what it is like to be in that state.
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  38. Rudolf Boehm (1991). Le Phénoménal Et le Politique. Analecta Husserliana 35:159.
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  39. Tomas Bogardus (2013). Undefeated Dualism. Philosophical Studies 165 (2):445-466.
    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 (...)
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  40. David Bourget (2015). Representationalism, Perceptual Distortion and the Limits of Phenomenal Concepts. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 45 (1):16-36.
    This paper replies to objections from perceptual distortion against the representationalist thesis that the phenomenal characters of experiences supervene on their intentional contents. It has been argued that some pairs of distorted and undistorted experiences share contents without sharing phenomenal characters, which is incompatible with the supervenience thesis. In reply, I suggest that such cases are not counterexamples to the representationalist thesis because the contents of distorted experiences are always impoverished in some way compared to those of normal experiences. This (...)
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  41. Robert B. Brandom, No Experience Necessary: Empiricism, Noninferential Knowledge, and Secondary Qualities.
  42. P. W. Bridgman (1951). The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts--II. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2 (5):25-44.
  43. P. W. Bridgman (1951). The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts. III. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 2 (6):142-160.
  44. P. W. Bridgman (1951). The Nature of Some of Our Physical Concepts. I. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 1 (4):257-272.
  45. Richard Brown (ed.) (2013). Consciousness Inside and Out: Phenomenology, Neuroscience, and the Nature of Experience. Springer Studies in Brain and Mind.
    This volume is product of the third online consciousness conference, held at http://consciousnessonline.com in February and March 2011. Chapters range over epistemological issues in the science and philosophy of perception, what neuroscience can do to help us solve philosophical issues in the philosophy of mind, what the true nature of black and white vision, pain, auditory, olfactory, or multi-modal experiences are, to higher-order theories of consciousness, synesthesia, among others. Each chapter includes a target article, commentaries, and in most cases, a (...)
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  46. Filip Buekens (2001). Essential Indexicality and the Irreducibility of Phenomenal Concepts. Communication and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Journal 34 (1-2):75-97.
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  47. Darragh Byrne, The Contents of Phenomenal Concepts.
    1 I shall mainly concentrate on Loar (1997, 1999), Tye (1999), Papineau (1998, 2002), Levine (1998, 2001) and Chalmers (2003). Only the first three of these authors endorse the claim that the proposal supports materialism. Levine.
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  48. Darragh Byrne (2016). Do Phenomenal Concepts Misrepresent? Philosophical Psychology 29 (5):669-678.
    Many contemporary physicalists concede to dualists that conscious subjects have distinctive “phenomenal concepts” of the phenomenal qualities of their experiences. Indeed, they contend that idiosyncratic characteristics of these concepts facilitate responses to influential anti-physicalist arguments. Like some some other critics of this approach, James Tartaglia maintains that phenomenal concepts express contents that conflict with physicalism, but as a physicalist, the moral he distinctively draws from this is that phenomenal concepts misrepresent. He contends further that the contemporary physicalists’ account cannot accommodate (...)
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  49. Peter Carruthers (2003). Phenomenal Concepts and Higher-Order Experiences. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):316-336.
    Relying on a range of now-familiar thought-experiments, it has seemed to many philosophers that phenomenal consciousness is beyond the scope of reductive explanation. (Phenomenal consciousness is a form of state-consciousness, which contrasts with creature-consciousness, or perceptual-consciousness. The different forms of state-consciousness include various kinds of access-consciousness, both first-order and higher-order--see Rosenthal, 1986; Block, 1995; Lycan, 1996; Carruthers, 2000. Phenomenal consciousness is the property that mental states have when it is like something to possess them, or when they have subjectively-accessible feels; (...)
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  50. Peter Carruthers & Benedicte Veillet (2007). The Phenomenal Concept Strategy. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (s 9-10):212-236.
    A powerful reply to a range of familiar anti-physicalist arguments has recently been developed. According to this reply, our possession of phenomenal concepts can explain the facts that the anti-physicalist claims can only be explained by a non-reductive account of phenomenal consciousness. Chalmers (2006) argues that the phenomenal concept strategy is doomed to fail. This article presents the phenomenal concept strategy, Chalmers' argument against it, and a defence of the strategy against his.
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