How to Explain the Explanatory Gap

Dialectica 67 (2):117-135 (2013)
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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



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Neil Mehta
Yale-NUS College

Citations of this work

Phenomenal, Normative, and Other Explanatory Gaps: A General Diagnosis.Neil Mehta - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):567-591.

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