Metaphysics of Quantity and the Limit of Phenomenal Concepts


Authors
Derek Lam
University of Virginia
Abstract
Quantities like mass and temperature are properties that come in degrees. And those degrees (e.g. 5 kg) are properties that are called the magnitudes of the quantities. Some philosophers (e.g., Byrne 2003; Byrne & Hilbert 2003; Schroer 2010) talk about magnitudes of phenomenal qualities as if some of our phenomenal qualities are quantities. The goal of this essay is to explore the anti-physicalist implication of this apparently innocent way of conceptualizing phenomenal quantities. I will first argue for a metaphysical thesis about the nature of magnitudes based on Yablo’s proportionality requirement of causation. Then, I will show that, if some phenomenal qualities are indeed quantities, there can be no demonstrative concepts about some of our phenomenal feelings. That presents a significant restriction on the way physicalists can account for the epistemic gap between the phenomenal and the physical. I’ll illustrate the restriction by showing how that rules out a popular physicalist response to the Knowledge Argument.
Keywords Quantity  Proportionality of Causation  Phenomenal Concept Strategy
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DOI 10.1080/0020174x.2018.1446049
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References found in this work BETA

The Contents of Visual Experience.Susannah Siegel - 2010 - Oxford University Press USA.
Epiphenomenal Qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.
Consciousness, Color, and Content.Michael Tye - 2003 - Philosophical Studies 113 (3):233-235.
Knowlegde and the Flow of Information.F. Dretske - 1989 - Trans/Form/Ação 12:133-139.

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