Are Mental States Reducible to Brain States? Or The Quale is Dead: Long Live the Quale!


Each of the various philosophical positions on the mind-body problem has grown out of the perceived shortcomings of one or more of its predecessors. One fertile source of aggravation to many of the -isms has been the problem of qualia: the ostensibly irreducible, qualitative character of many of our mental states. An argument is presented here that solves the qualia problem within the context of a otherwise functionalist theory of mind. The proposed solution is unusual in that it both resolves the mystery of qualia and allows it to stand: there is in this an implied reconciliation between functionalism and epiphenomenalism. Along the way, two other issues are discussed: the putative distinction between functionalism and the identity thesis, and the role of such terms as 'reduction', 'explanation' and 'meaning' in the science of psychology.



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