Consciousness and modal empiricism

Philosophia 37 (2):281-306 (2009)

Abstract
David Chalmers supports his contention that there is a possible world populated by our zombie twins by arguing for the assumption that conceivability entails possibility. But, I argue, the modal epistemology he sets forth, ‘modal rationalism,’ ignores the problem of incompleteness and relies on an idealized notion of conceivability. As a consequence, this epistemology can’t justify our quotidian judgments of possibility, let alone those judgments that concern the mind/body connection. Working from the analogy that the imagination is to the possible as perception is to the actual, I set forth a competing epistemology, ‘modal empiricism.’ This epistemology survives the incompleteness objection and allows some of our everyday modal judgments to be justified. But this epistemology can’t justify the claim that Zombie World is possible, which leaves Chalmers’s property dualism without the support it needs.
Keywords Possibility  Conceivability  Consciousness  Zombies
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-008-9168-y
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References found in this work BETA

Naming and Necessity.Saul A. Kripke - 1980 - Harvard University Press.
Does Conceivability Entail Possibility.David Chalmers - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 145--200.
Reason, Truth and History.Hilary Putnam - 1981 - Cambridge University Press.
Naming and Necessity.Saul Kripke - 1980 - In Darragh Byrne & Max Kölbel (eds.), Philosophy. Routledge. pp. 431-433.
Naming and Necessity.S. Kripke - 1972 - Tijdschrift Voor Filosofie 45 (4):665-666.

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Citations of this work BETA

Empirically-Informed Modal Rationalism.Tuomas Tahko - 2017 - In Robert William Fischer & Felipe Leon (eds.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Synthese Library. pp. 29-45.
Can Modal Skepticism Defeat Humean Skepticism?Peter Hawke - 2017 - In Bob Fischer Felipe Leon (ed.), Modal Epistemology After Rationalism. Dordrecht: Synthese Library. pp. 281-308.
Structural Realism or Modal Empiricism?Quentin Ruyant - 2019 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 70 (4):1051-1072.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

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Van Inwagen’s Modal Skepticism.Peter Hawke - 2011 - Philosophical Studies 153 (3):351-364.
Understanding and Essence.Anand Jayprakash Vaidya - 2010 - Philosophia 38 (4):811-833.
Modal Epistemology and the Rationalist Renaissance.George Bealer - 2002 - In Tamar Szabo Gendler & John Hawthorne (eds.), Conceivability and Possibility. Oxford University Press. pp. 71-125.

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