How to Explain the Explanatory Gap

Dialectica 67 (2):117-135 (2013)
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
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/1746-8361.12016
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
Edit this record
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Mark as duplicate
Request removal from index
Revision history
Download options
Our Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 32,587
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Constructing the World.David Chalmers - 2012 - Oxford University Press.

View all 31 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
Phenomenal, Normative, and Other Explanatory Gaps: A General Diagnosis.Neil Mehta - forthcoming - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
In Defense of the Phenomenal Concept Strategy1.Katalin Balog - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):1-23.
Papineau on Phenomenal Concepts. [REVIEW]Tim Crane - 2005 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):155-162.
Defending the Phenomenal Concept Strategy.E. Diaz-Leon - 2008 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):597 – 610.
Cosmic Hermeneutics Vs. Emergence: The Challenge of the Explanatory Gap.Tim Crane - 2010 - In Cynthia Macdonald & Graham Macdonald (eds.), Emergence in Mind. Oxford University Press.
How Many Explanatory Gaps Are There?E. Diaz-Leon - 2009 - APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 8 (2):33-35.
The Epistemic/Ontic Divide.Barbara Montero - 2003 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (2):404 - 418.
Added to PP index

Total downloads
63 ( #95,503 of 2,235,686 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #122,344 of 2,235,686 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads
My notes
Sign in to use this feature