Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (11-12):236-255 (2016)

James Tartaglia
Keele University
I endorse the central message of Keith Frankish's 'Illusionism as a Theory of Consciousness': if physicalism is true, phenomenal consciousness must be an illusion. Attempts to find an intermediate position between physicalist illusionism and the rejection of physicalism are untenable. Unlike Frankish, however, I reject physicalism, while still endorsing illusionism. My misgivings about physicalist illusionism are that it removes any rational basis from our judgment inclinations concerning consciousness, undermines the epistemic basis required to explain the genesis of our physical conception of the world, and leads to a widespread scepticism about the basis of philosophical reflection. I endorse the core of physicalist intuition, but not its metaphysic, and sketch my alternative illusionism, which resists physicalism's merging of philosophy with science without thereby impinging on science. I conclude that physicalism is fostered by inattention to metaphilosophy and threatens philosophy's distinctive voice; but that illusionism itself is an important insight.
Keywords eliminative materialism   identity theory   illusionism   metaphilosophy   phenomenal concept strategy  phenomenal consciousness   physicalism   transcendence
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