Why are We Still Being Hornswoggled? Dissolving the Hard Problem of Consciousness

Topoi 36 (1):67-79 (2017)
Authors
Glenn Carruthers
Charles Sturt University
Abstract
In this paper we try to diagnose one reason why the debate regarding the Hard Problem of consciousness inevitably leads to a stalemate: namely that the characterisation of consciousness assumed by the Hard Problem is unjustified and probably unjustifiable. Following Dennett : 4–6, 1996, Cognition 79:221–237, 2001, J Conscious Stud 19:86, 2012) and Churchland :402–408, 1996, Brainwise: studies in neurophilosophy. MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2002), we argue that there is in fact no non-question begging argument for the claim that consciousness is a uniquely Hard Phenomenon. That is; there is no non-question begging argument for the claim that consciousness is necessarily in explicable in terms of the structure and function of mental states. Unfortunately the debate has not moved on because the majority of materialists feel the pull of the at least one of, what we call, the ‘key’ intuitions that supposedly support dualism and the existence of a Hard Phenomenon and so try to accommodate them rather than denying them. Although this a possible response to the intuitions it tends to mask the fact that there is in fact no argument for the existence of a Hard Phenomenon. So we end up participating in our own hornswoggling :402–408, 1996) and chasing our tails trying to answer a question we should in fact ignore. We have no reason to think there is a Hard Problem of consciousness because we have no reason to think the Hard Phenomenon exists.
Keywords Consciousness  Hard Problem  Hornswoggle
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DOI 10.1007/s11245-014-9266-3
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References found in this work BETA

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.Thomas S. Kuhn - 1962 - University of Chicago Press.
What Do Philosophers Believe?David Bourget & David J. Chalmers - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):465-500.
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Does Conceivability Entail Possibility?David J. Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar S. Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.

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