Evolutionary explanation and the hard problem of consciousness

Authors
Steven Horst
Wesleyan University
Abstract
Chalmers and others have argued that physicalist microexplanation is incapable of solving the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness. This article examines whether evolutionary accounts of the mind, such as those developed by Millikan, Dretske and Flanagan, can add anything to make up for the possible short falls of more reductionist accounts. I argue that they cannot, because evolutionary accounts explain by appeal to a selectional history that only comes into the picture if consciousness can first arise due to spontaneous mutation in some individual organism, and explaining this emergence of consciousness from DNA and embryology calls for precisely the kind of structurally-based supervenience account that Chalmers et al. have objected to. Not only does an evolutionary account not succeed where a reductionist account fails; the evolutionary account presupposes the possibility of a reductionist account
Keywords Consciousness  Evolution  Explanation  Metaphysics  Chalmers, D
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Citations of this work BETA

Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C 42 (3):344-355.
Naturalisms in Philosophy of Mind.Steven Horst - 2009 - Philosophy Compass 4 (1):219-254.
Probabilistic Causation and the Explanatory Role of Natural Selection.Pablo Razeto-Barry & Ramiro Frick - 2011 - Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 42 (3):344-355.

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