Conceivability, explanation, and defeat

Philosophical Studies 108 (3):327-338 (2002)

Abstract
Hill and Levine offer alternative explanations of these conceivabilities, concluding that these conceivabilities are thereby defeated as evidence. However, this strategy fails because their explanations generalize to all conceivability judgments concerning phenomenal states. Consequently, one could defend absolutely any theory of phenomenal states against conceivability arguments in just this way. This result conflicts with too many of our common sense beliefs about the evidential value of conceivability with respect to phenomenal states. The general moral is that the application of such principles of explanatory defeat is neither simple nor straightforward.
Keywords Conceivability  Defeat  Explanation  Materialism  Metaphysics  Hill, C  Levine, J
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