There is nothing it is like to see red: holism and subjective experience

Synthese:1-30 (2017)
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The Nagel inspired “something-it-is-like” conception of conscious experience remains a dominant approach in philosophy. In this paper I criticize a prevalent philosophical construal of SIL consciousness, one that understands SIL as a property of mental states rather than entities as a whole. I argue against thinking of SIL as a property of states, showing how such a view is in fact prevalent, under-warranted, and philosophically pernicious in that it often leads to an implausible reduction of conscious experience to qualia. I then develop a holistic conception of SIL for entities and argue that it has at least equal pre-empirical warrant, is more conservative philosophically in that it decides less from the a priori “armchair,” and enjoys a fruitful two-way relationship with empirical work.



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Anthony F. Peressini
Marquette University

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References found in this work

Philosophical Investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1953 - New York, NY, USA: Wiley-Blackwell. Edited by G. E. M. Anscombe.
Facing up to the problem of consciousness.David Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.
What is it like to be a bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
On a confusion about a function of consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.

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