How to study folk intuitions about phenomenal consciousness

Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):21 – 35 (2009)

Abstract
The assumption that the concept of phenomenal consciousness is pretheoretical is often found in the philosophical debates on consciousness. Unfortunately, this assumption has not received the kind of empirical attention that it deserves. We suspect that this is in part due to difficulties that arise in attempting to test folk intuitions about consciousness. In this article we elucidate and defend a key methodological principle for this work. We draw this principle out by considering recent experimental work on the topic by Joshua Knobe and Jesse Prinz (2008). We charge that their studies do not establish that the folk have a concept of phenomenal consciousness in part because they compare group agents to individuals . The problem is that group agents and individuals differ in some significant ways in terms of functional organization and behavior. We propose that future experiments should establish that ordinary people are disposed to ascribe different mental states to entities that are given behaviorally and functionally equivalent descriptions.
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DOI 10.1080/09515080802703653
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References found in this work BETA

Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.David J. Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.
Intuitions About Consciousness: Experimental Studies.Joshua Knobe & Jesse Prinz - 2008 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):67-83.
Qualia.Ned Block - 2004 - In Richard L. Gregory (ed.), Oxford Companion to the Mind. Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Two Conceptions of Subjective Experience.Justin Sytsma & Edouard Machery - 2010 - Philosophical Studies 151 (2):299-327.
Why Intuition?Jennifer Nado - 2014 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 89 (1):15-41.
Unfelt Pain.Kevin Reuter & Justin Sytsma - forthcoming - Synthese.

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