Conceptual analysis, dualism, and the explanatory gap

Philosophical Review 108 (1):1-46 (1999)
Authors
Ned Block
New York University
Robert Stalnaker
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Abstract
The explanatory gap . Consciousness is a mystery. No one has ever given an account, even a highly speculative, hypothetical, and incomplete account of how a physical thing could have phenomenal states. Suppose that consciousness is identical to a property of the brain, say activity in the pyramidal cells of layer 5 of the cortex involving reverberatory circuits from cortical layer 6 to the thalamus and back to layers 4 and 6,as Crick and Koch have suggested for visual consciousness. .) Still, that identity itself calls out for explanation! Proponents of an explanatory gap disagree about whether the gap is permanent. Some say that we are like the scientifically naive person who is told that matter = energy, but does not have the concepts required to make sense of the idea. If we can acquire these concepts, the gap is closable. Others say the gap is uncloseable because of our cognitive limitations. Still others say that the gap is a consequence of the fundamental nature of consciousness.
Keywords Conceptual Analysis  Dualism  Epistemology  Truth  Chalmers, D  Levine, J
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DOI 10.2307/2998259
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