Synthese:1-28 (forthcoming)

Gabriel Rabin
New York University, Abu Dhabi
According to the scrutability argument against physicalism, an a priori gap between the physical and conscious experience entails a lack of necessitation and the falsity of physicalism. This paper investigates the crucial premise of the scrutability argument: the inference from an a priori gap to a lack of necessitation. This premise gets its support from modal rationalism, according to which there are important, potentially constitutive, connections between a priori justification and metaphysical modality. I argue against the strong form of modal rationalism that underwrites the scrutability argument and suggest a more moderate rationalist view. I offer a novel demonstrative reply to the scrutability argument, according to which demonstratives play a vital role in the generation of meaning for our representations of conscious experience. This connection between conscious experience and demonstratives, rather than a metaphysical gap generated by the truth of dualism, is the source of the epistemic gap between consciousness and the physical.
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DOI 10.1007/s11229-019-02174-0
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