Explanatory Perspectivalism: Limiting the Scope of the Hard Problem of Consciousness

Topoi 36 (1):119-125 (2017)
Daniel Kostic
CNRS/ Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne
I argue that the hard problem of consciousness occurs only in very limited contexts. My argument is based on the idea of explanatory perspectivalism, according to which what we want to know about a phenomenon determines the type of explanation we use to understand it. To that effect the hard problem arises only in regard to questions such as how is it that concepts of subjective experience can refer to physical properties, but not concerning questions such as what gives rise to qualia or why certain brain states have certain qualities and not others. In this sense we could for example fully explain why certain brain processes have certain subjective qualities, while we still don’t have a viable theory of concepts that explains co-referentiality of phenomenal and physical concepts. Given this limitation, the hard problem doesn’t pose a problem for the empirical study of consciousness.
Keywords Hard problem of consciousness  Explanatory perspectivalism  Topological explanations  Transparency of explanations  Conceptual analysis  Conceivability arguments  Semantic view of explanations  Descriptions of the causal roles
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DOI 10.1007/s11245-014-9262-7
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References found in this work BETA

Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness.Joseph Levine - 2001 - Oxford University Press USA.
Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.David J. Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.

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