Unsolvable problems, visual imagery, and explanatory satisfaction

Journal of Mind and Behavior 16 (3):235-54 (1995)
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Abstract

It has been suggested that certain problems may be unsolvable because of the mind's cognitive structure, but we may wonder what problems, and exactly why. The ultimate origin of the universe and the mind-body problem seem to be two such problems. As to why, Colin McGinn has argued that the mind-body problem is unsolvable because any theoretical concepts about the brain will be observation-based and unable to connect to unobservable subjective experience. McGinn's argument suggests a requirement of imagability -- an observation basis -- for physical causal explanation that cannot be met for either of these problems. Acausal descriptions may be possible but not the causal analyses that provide the greatest explanatory satisfaction, a psychological phenomenon that seems tied to the strength of the underlying observation basis but is affected by other factors as well

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Marc Krellenstein
Northeastern University

References found in this work

How the laws of physics lie.Nancy Cartwright - 1983 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The View From Nowhere.Thomas Nagel - 1986 - New York: Oxford University Press.
The emperor’s new mind.Roger Penrose - 1989 - Oxford University Press.
A Treatise of Human Nature (1739-40).David Hume - 1969 - Mineola, N.Y.: Oxford University Press. Edited by Ernest Campbell Mossner.
The Modularity of Mind.Robert Cummins & Jerry Fodor - 1983 - Philosophical Review 94 (1):101.

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