Daniel Stoljar, Ignorance and Imagination: The epistemic Origin of the problem of Consciousness [Book Review]
Philosophical Review 118 (2):269-273 (2009)
Stoljar’s book has three parts. In the first part, he discusses the “problem of experience”: though we have experiences, it isn’t clear that the experiential fits into the actual world, given that the actual world is fundamentally non-experiential. Stoljar focuses on what he views as one facet of the problem of experience, the “logical problem”, which consists of three jointly inconsistent claims: (T1) there are experiential truths; (T2) if there are experiential truths, every experiential truth is entailed by some non-experiential truth; and (T3) if there are experiential truths, not every experiential truth is entailed by some non-experiential truth. The logical problem is a problem, according to Stoljar, because each of T1–T3 is prima facie plausible. In the second part, Stoljar sets out his solution to the logical problem, the “epistemic view”, and defends it against various objections. According to the epistemic view, (i) we’re ignorant of a special type of empirical experience-relevant non-experiential truth; (ii) were we to come to understand truths of this type, we would see that the modal arguments against physicalism (i.e. the zombie and knowledge arguments) fail; and (iii) given (i) and (ii), we should reject T3 in order to resolve the logical problem. In the third part Stoljar argues that alternative solutions to the logical problem either fail or collapse into the epistemic view. While this is certainly the most careful and extended defense of the epistemic view to date (a view, by the way, in various forms, with which many seem to find sympathy), the epistemic view as Stoljar develops it faces a formidable problem. The central problem..
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