The explanatory gap is not an illusion: A reply to Michael Tye

Mind 110 (439):689-694 (2001)
Brie Gertler
University of Virginia
The claim that there is an explanatory gap between physical and phenomenal properties is perhaps the leading current challenge to materialist views about the mind. Tye tries to block this challenge, not by providing an explanation to bridge the gap but by denying that phenomenalphysical identities introduce an explanatory gap. Since an explanatory gap exists only if there is something unexplained that needs explaining, and something needs explaining only if it can be explained , there is no gap. Tyes strategy differs crucially from the claim that identities never stand in need of explanation because they constitute ultimate explanations; for he allows that identities such as water = H?O are explainable. Unlike WATER and H?O, which are descriptive concepts, phenomenal concepts are perspectival and hence irreducible to descriptive concepts, according to Tye. The fact that something picked out by a perspectival concept is identical to something picked out by a non-perspectival concept cannot be explained.1 So, he concludes, phenomenalphysical identities need not be explained
Keywords Concept  Explanation  Metaphysics  Mind  Phenomenon  Tye, M
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1093/mind/110.439.689
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 34,484
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Explanation in Metaphysics?Johannes Persson - 2011 - Metaphysica 12 (2):165-181.
Under What Conditions Can Formal Models of Social Action Claim Explanatory Power?Nathalie Bulle - 2009 - International Studies in the Philosophy of Science 23 (1):47-64.
Kim on Reductive Explanation.Neil Campbell - 2015 - Acta Analytica 30 (2):149-156.
Defending the Phenomenal Concept Strategy.E. Diaz-Leon - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):597 – 610.
Explaining Understanding (or Understanding Explanation).Wesley Van Camp - 2014 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 4 (1):95-114.
How to Explain the Explanatory Gap.Neil Mehta - 2013 - Dialectica 67 (2):117-135.
Explanatory Unification and the Early Synthesis.Anya Plutynski - 2005 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (3):595-609.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
432 ( #7,471 of 2,268,045 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
7 ( #55,459 of 2,268,045 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature