Explanation and the Hard Problem

Philosophical Studies 132 (2):301-330 (2007)

Authors
Wayne Wright
California State University, Long Beach
Abstract
This paper argues that the form of explanation at issue in the hard problem of consciousness is scientifically irrelevant, despite appearances to the contrary. In particular, it is argued that the 'sense of understanding' that plays a critical role in the form of explanation implicated in the hard problem provides neither a necessary nor a sufficient condition on satisfactory scientific explanation. Considerations of the actual tools and methods available to scientists are used to make the case against it being a necessary condition, and work by J.D. Trout that exploits psychological research on the hindsight and overconfidence biases is used to show that it is not a sufficient condition. It is argued, however, that certain intellectual and moral concerns give us good reason to still try to meet the hard problem's explanatory challenge, despite its extrascientific nature.
Keywords Philosophy   Philosophy of Religion   Philosophy of Mind   Epistemology   Logic   Philosophy
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DOI 10.1007/s11098-005-2220-x
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References found in this work BETA

Epiphenomenal Qualia.Frank Jackson - 1982 - Philosophical Quarterly 32 (April):127-136.
Thinking About Mechanisms.Peter K. Machamer, Lindley Darden & Carl F. Craver - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (1):1-25.
Rethinking Mechanistic Explanation.Stuart Glennan - 2002 - Proceedings of the Philosophy of Science Association 2002 (3):S342-353.

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Citations of this work BETA

The Psychology of Scientific Explanation.J. D. Trout - 2007 - Philosophy Compass 2 (3):564–591.
Are Sensations Still Brain Processes?Thomas W. Polger - 2011 - Philosophical Psychology 24 (1):1-21.
Why Naturalize Consciousness?Wayne Wright - 2007 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):583-607.

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