How to Explain the Explanatory Gap

Dialectica 67 (2):117-135 (2013)
Neil Mehta
Yale-NUS College
I construct a tempting anti-physicalist argument, which sharpens an explanatory gap argument suggested by David Chalmers and Frank Jackson. The argument relies crucially on the premise that there is a deep epistemic asymmetry (which may be identified with the explanatory gap) between phenomenal truths and ordinary macroscopic truths. Many physicalists reject the argument by rejecting this premise. I argue that even if this premise is true, the anti-physicalist conclusion should be rejected, and I provide a detailed, physicalist-friendly explanation of the relevant premise. Along the way, I sketch an account of a priori conceptual knowledge that is compatible with naturalistic accounts of intentionality. I conclude by noting that the resulting view is a version of the popular phenomenal concept strategy that avoids a potentially worrying dilemma facing earlier incarnations of this strategy
Keywords explanatory gap  physicalism  phenomenal concepts  phenomenal concept strategy  consciousness  materialism
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DOI 10.1111/1746-8361.12016
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References found in this work BETA

New Work for a Theory of Universals.David Lewis - 1983 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 61 (4):343-377.

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Citations of this work BETA

Phenomenal, Normative, and Other Explanatory Gaps: A General Diagnosis.Neil Mehta - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

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