Review of David J. Chalmers, Constructing the World

British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 65 (2):419-423 (2014)
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David Chalmers burst onto the philosophical scene in the mid-1990s with his work on consciousness, which awakened slumbering zombie arguments against physicalism and transformed the explanatory gap into the hard problem of consciousness. The distinction between hard and easy problems of consciousness became a central dogma of the movement. Chalmers’ influence in philosophy and consciousness studies is unquestionable. But enthusiasts of Chalmers’ work on consciousness may be excused for not fully appreciating his own justification for drawing the hard/easy distinction, or even exactly which distinction he is drawing. Consequently, it is not clear that the ‘Chalmers’ hard problem’ that has been widely influential is Chalmers’ ‘hard problem’ of consciousness. Chalmers’ ‘hard problem’ rests on, among other things: a methodological view about how philosophy—metaphysics, especially—ought to be conducted; a view about the requirements for explanation and reduction in philosophy and in the sciences; and a theory of the semantics of concepts.1 Although Chalmers writes that the present book is not intended as a foundation for his



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Tom Polger
University of Cincinnati

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