Conceptualizing physical consciousness

Philosophical Psychology 26 (6):817-838 (2013)
Authors
James Tartaglia
Keele University
Abstract
Theories that combine physicalism with phenomenal concepts abandon the phenomenal irrealism characteristic of 1950s physicalism, thereby leaving physicalists trying to reconcile themselves to concepts appropriate only to dualism. Physicalists should instead abandon phenomenal concepts and try to develop our concepts of conscious states. Employing an account of concepts as structured mental representations, and motivating a model of conceptual development with semantic externalist considerations, I suggest that phenomenal concepts misrepresent their referents, such that if our conception of consciousness incorporates them, it needs development. I then argue that the ?phenomenal concept strategy? (PCS) of a purely cognitive account of the distinction between phenomenal and physical concepts combines physicalism with phenomenal concepts only by misrepresenting physical properties. This is because phenomenal concepts carry ontological commitment, and I present an argument to show the tension between this commitment and granting ontological authority to physical concepts only. In the final section, I show why phenomenal concepts are more ontologically committed than PCS theorists can allow, revive U.T. Place's notion of a ?phenomenological fallacy? to explain their enduring appeal, and then suggest some advantages of functional analyses of concepts of conscious states over the phenomenal alternative
Keywords Consciousness  Qualia  Phenomenal  Phenomenal Concepts Strategy  Identity Theory
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DOI 10.1080/09515089.2013.770940
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References found in this work BETA

Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.R. Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.
The Concept of Mind.Gilbert Ryle - 1949 - Hutchinson & Co.
What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.

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Do Phenomenal Concepts Misrepresent?Darragh Byrne - 2016 - Philosophical Psychology 29 (5):669-678.

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