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1.2. Explaining Consciousness? (Explaining Consciousness? on PhilPapers)

Fodor, Jerrold A. (1991). Too hard for our kind of mind? London Review of Books 13 (12):12.   (Google)
Thomas, Nigel J. T. (2009). Visual Imagery and Consciousness. In William P. Banks (ed.), Encyclopedia of Consciousness.   (Google)
Abstract: Defining Imagery: Experience or Representation?
Historical Development of Ideas about Imagery
Subjective Individual Differences in Imagery Experience
Theories of Imagery, and their Implications for Consciousness
Picture theory
Description theory
Enactive theory
Velmans, Max (2009). Understanding Consciousness Edition 2. Routledge/Psychology Press.   (Google)
Abstract: A current, comprehensive summary of Velmans' theoretical work that updates and deepens the analysis given in Edition 1. Part 1 reviews the strengths and weaknesses of all currently dominant theories of consciousness in a form suitable for undergraduates, postgraduates and researchers focusing mainly on dualism, physicalism, functionalism and consciousness in machines. Part 2 gives a new analysis of consciousness, grounded in its everyday phenomenology, which undermines the basis of the dualism versus reductionist debate. It also examines the consequences for realism versus idealism, subjectivity, intersubjectivity and objectivity, and the relation of consciousness to brain processing. Part 3 gives a new synthesis, with a novel approach to understanding what consciousness is and what consciousness does. It also introduces Reflexive Monism, an alternative to dualism and reductionism that is consistent with the findings of science and with common sense.

1.2a What is it Like?

Akins, Kathleen (1993). A bat without qualities? In Martin Davies & Glyn W. Humphreys (eds.), Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays. Blackwell.   (Cited by 24 | Annotation | Google)
Akins, Kathleen (1993). What is it like to be Boring and myopic? In B. Dahlbom (ed.), Dennett and His Critics. Blackwell.   (Cited by 22 | Annotation | Google)
Alter, Torin (2002). Nagel on imagination and physicalism. Journal of Philosophical Research 27:143-58.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Abstract: In "What is it Like to be a Bat?" Thomas Nagel argues that we cannot imagine what it is like to be a bat or presently understand how physicalism might be true. Both arguments have been seriously misunderstood. I defend them against various objections, point out a problem with the argument against physicalism, and show how the problem can be solved
Beisecker, David (2005). Phenomenal consciousness, sense impressions, and the logic of 'what it's like'. In Ralph D. (Ed) Ellis & Natika (Ed). Newton (eds.), Consciousness & Emotion: Agency, Conscious Choice, and Selective Perception. John Benjamins.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Blackmore, Susan J. (2003). What is it like to be...? In Susan J. Blackmore (ed.), Consciousness: An Introduction. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
BonJour, Laurence A. (ms). What is it like to be human (instead of a bat).   (Google)
Abstract: My purpose in this paper is to discuss and defend an objection to physicalist or materialist accounts of the mind
Evnine, Simon J. (2008). Kinds and conscious experience: Is there anything that it is like to be something? Metaphilosophy 39 (2):185–202.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In this article I distinguish the notion of there being something it is like to be a certain kind of creature from that of there being something it is like to have a certain kind of experience. Work on consciousness has typically dealt with the latter while employing the language of the former. I propose several ways of analyzing what it is like to be a certain kind of creature and find problems with them all. The upshot is that even if there is something it is like to have certain kinds of experience, it does not follow that there is anything it is like to be a certain kind of creature. Skepticism about the existence of something that it is like to be an F is recommended
Flanagan, Owen J. (1985). Consciousness, naturalism and Nagel. Journal of Mind and Behavior 6:373-90.   (Cited by 2 | Annotation | Google)
Foss, Jeffrey E. (1989). On the logic of what it is like to be a conscious subject. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 67 (June):305-320.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Hacker, P. M. S. (2002). Is there anything it is like to be a bat? Philosophy 77 (300):157-174.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The concept of consciousness has been the source of much philosophical, cognitive scientific and neuroscientific discussion for the past two decades. Many scientists, as well as philosophers, argue that at the moment we are almost completely in the dark about the nature of consciousness. Stuart Sutherland, in a much quoted remark, wrote that
Hanna, Patricia (1992). If you can't talk about it, you can't talk about it: A response to H.o. Mounce. Philosophical Investigations 15 (2):185-190.   (Google)
Hanna, Patricia (1990). Must thinking bats be conscious? Philosophical Investigations 13 (October):350-55.   (Google)
Harmon, Justin L. (2009). What Is It Like to Be Mysterious, Alienated, and Wildly Rich through Less Than Savory Means? Phenomenal Consciousness and Aesthetic Experience. Consciousness, Literature, and the Arts 10 (2).   (Google)
Hellie, Benj (2004). Inexpressible truths and the allure of the knowledge argument. In Yujin Nagasawa, Peter Ludlow & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), There's Something About Mary. The Mit Press.   (Google)
Abstract: I argue on linguistic grounds that when Mary comes to know what it's like to see a red thing, she comes to know a certain inexpressible truth about the character of her own experience. This affords a "no concept" reply to the knowledge argument. The reason the Knowledge Argument has proven so intractable may be that we believe that an inexpressible concept and an expressible concept cannot have the same referent.
Hellie, Benj (2007). 'There's something it's like' and the structure of consciousness. Philosophical Review 116 (3):441--63.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: I discuss the meaning of 'There's something e is like', in the context of a reply to Eric Lormand's 'The explanatory stopgap'. I argue that Lormand is wrong to think it has a specially perceptual meaning. Rather, it has one of at least four candidate meanings: (a) e is some way as regards its subject; (b) e is some way and e's being that way is in the possession of its subject; (c) e is some way in the awareness of its subject; (d) e's subject is the "experiencer" of e. I provide additional argumentation for the view in this paper that in the context, 'like this' functions as a predicate variable.
Hill, Christopher S. (1977). Of bats, brains, and minds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 38 (September):100-106.   (Google | More links)
Kulvicki, John (2007). What is what it's like? Introducing perceptual modes of presentation. Synthese 156 (2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The central claim of this paper is that what it is like to see green or any other perceptible property is just the perceptual mode of presentation of that property. Perceptual modes of presentation are important because they help resolve a tension in current work on consciousness. Philosophers are pulled by three mutually inconsistent theses: representational externalism, representationalism, and phenomenal internalism. I throw my hat in with defenders of the first two: the externalist representationalists. We are faced with the problem of explaining away intuitions that favor phenomenal internalism. Perceptual modes of presentation account for what it is like to see properties in a way that accommodates those intuitions without vindicating phenomenal internalism itself. Perceptual MoPs therefore provide a new way of being an externalist representationalist
Lewis, David (1983). Postscript to "mad pain and Martian pain". Philosophical Papers 12:122-133.   (Cited by 23 | Annotation | Google)
Lormand, Eric (2004). The explanatory stopgap. Philosophical Review 113 (3):303-57.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Is there an explanatory gap between raw feels and raw material? Some philosophers argue, and many other people believe, that scientific explanations of conscious experience cannot be as satisfying as typical scientific explanations elsewhere, even in our wildest dreams. The underlying philosophical claims are
Macpherson, Fiona (2006). Ambiguous figures and the content of experience. Noûs 40 (1):82-117.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Representationalism is the position that the phenomenal character of an experience is either identical with, or supervenes on, the content of that experience. Many representationalists hold that the relevant content of experience is nonconceptual. I propose a counter-example to this form of representationalism that arises from the phenomenon of Gestalt switching, which occurs when viewing ambiguous figures. First, I argue that one does not need to appeal to the conceptual content of experience or to judge- ments to account for Gestalt switching. I then argue that experiences of certain ambiguous figures are problematic because they have different phenomenal characters but that no difference in the nonconceptual content of these experiences can be identified. I consider three solutions to this problem that have been proposed by both philosophers and psychologists and conclude that none can account for all the ambiguous figures that pose the problem. I conclude that the onus is on representationalists to specify the relevant difference in content or to abandon their position
Macpherson, Fiona (2000). Representational Theories of Phenomenal Character. Dissertation, University of Stirling   (Google | More links)
Maloney, J. Christopher (1986). About being a bat. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 64 (March):26-49.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Malatesti, Luca (2004). Knowing what it is like and knowing how. In Alberto Peruzzi (ed.), Mind and Causality. John Benjamins.   (Google)
McCulloch, Gregory (1988). What it is like. Philosophical Quarterly 38 (January):1-19.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google | More links)
McMullen, C. (1985). 'Knowing what it's like' and the essential indexical. Philosophical Studies 48 (September):211-33.   (Cited by 12 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Medina, Jeffrey A. (2002). What it's like and why: Subjective qualia explained as objective phenomena. [Journal (on-Line/Unpaginated)] 12:12.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Notably spurred into the philosophical forefront by Thomas Nagel's 'What Is It Like To Be a Bat?' decades ago, and since maintained by a number of advocates of dualism since that critical publication, is the assertion that our inability to know 'what it's like' to be someone or something else is inexplicable given physicalism. Contrary to this well-known and central objection, I find that a consistent and exhaustive physicalism is readily conceivable. I develop one such theory and demonstrate that not only is it consistent with the private and varied nature of subjective experience, it, in fact, entails it
Mellor, D. H. (1993). Nothing like experience. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 63:1-16.   (Cited by 14 | Annotation | Google)
Nagasawa, Yujin (2003). Thomas versus Thomas: A new approach to Nagel's bat argument. Inquiry 46 (3):377-395.   (Google | More links)
Nagel, Thomas (1974). What is it like to be a bat? Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.   (Cited by 1354 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Nelkin, Norton (1987). What is it like to be a person? Mind and Language 2:220-41.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Nemirow, Laurence (1990). Physicalism and the cognitive role of acquaintance. In William G. Lycan (ed.), Mind and Cognition. Blackwell.   (Cited by 55 | Annotation | Google)
Nemirow, Laurence (1980). Review of Nagel's mortal questions. Philosophical Review 89:473-7.   (Cited by 6 | Annotation | Google)
Pugmire, David R. (1989). Bat or Batman. Philosophy 64 (April):207-17.   (Annotation | Google)
Rowlatt, Penelope (2009). Consciousness and Memory. Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (5):68-78.   (Google)
Abstract: Defining consciousness along the lines of Nagel, an organism has consciousness iff there is something it is like to be that organism, I relate three types of consciousness (phenomenal, access and reflexive) to the three types of short-term memory (sensory memories, short-term working memory and the central executive). The suggestion is that these short-term memory stores may be a key feature of consciousness.
Rudd, Anthony J. (1999). What it's like and what's really wrong with physicalism: A Wittgensteinian perspective. Journal of Consciousness Studies 5 (4):454-63.   (Google)
Russow, L. (1982). It's not like that to be a bat. Behaviorism 10:55-63.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google)
Simoni-Wastila, Henry (2000). Particularity and consciousness: Wittgenstein and Nagel on privacy, beetles and bats. Philosophy Today 44 (4):415-425.   (Google)
Spencer, Cara (ms). Indexical Knowledge and Phenomenal Knowledge.   (Google)
Abstract: A familiar story about phenomenal knowledge likens it to indexical knowledge, i.e. knowledge about oneself typically expressed with sentences containing indexicals or demonstratives. The popularity of this sort of story owes in part to its promise of resolving some longstanding puzzles about phenomenal knowledge. One such puzzle arises from the compelling arguments that we can have full objective knowledge of the world while lacking some phenomenal knowledge. I argue that the widespread optimism about the indexical account on this score is unwarranted.
Teller, Paul R. (1992). Subjectivity and knowing what it's like. In Ansgar Beckermann, Hans Flohr & Jaegwon Kim (eds.), Emergence or Reduction?: Prospects for Nonreductive Physicalism. De Gruyter.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Tilghman, B. R. (1991). What is it like to be an aardvark? Philosophy 66 (July):325-38.   (Cited by 1 | Annotation | Google)
Wider, Kathleen (1989). Overtones of solipsism in Nagel's 'what is it like to be a bat?' And 'the view from nowhere'. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 49:481-99.   (Annotation | Google)
Wright, Edmond L. (1996). What it isn't like. American Philosophical Quarterly 33 (1):23-42.   (Cited by 4 | Google)

1.2b Subjectivity and Objectivity

Biro, John I. (2006). A point of view on points of view. Philosophical Psychology 19 (1):3-12.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: A number of writers have deployed the notion of a point of view as a key to the allegedly theory-resistant subjective aspect of experience. I examine that notion more closely than is usually done and find that it cannot support the anti-objectivist's case. Experience may indeed have an irreducibly subjective aspect, but the notion of a point of view cannot be used to show that it does
Biro, John I. (1993). Consciousness and objectivity. In Martin Davies & Glyn W. Humphreys (eds.), Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays. Blackwell.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Biro, John I. (1991). Consciousness and subjectivity. Philosophical Issues 1:113-133.   (Cited by 12 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Chrisley, Ronald L. (2001). A view from anywhere: Prospects for an objective understanding of consciousness. In Paavo Pylkkanen & Tere Vaden (eds.), Dimensions of Conscious Experience. John Benjamins.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Christofidou, Andrea (1999). Subjectivity and the first person: Some reflections. Philosophical Inquiry 21 (3-4):1-27.   (Google)
Decker, Kevin S. (2008). The evolution of the psychical element: George Herbert Mead at the university of chicago: Lecture notes by H. Heath Bawden 1899–1900: Introduction. Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society 44 (3):pp. 469-479.   (Google)
Abstract: George Herbert Mead's early lectures at the University of Chicago are more important to understanding the genesis of his views in social psychology than some commentators, such as Hans Joas, have emphasized. Mead's lecture series "The Evolution of the Psychical Element," preserved through the notes of student H. Heath Bawden, demonstrate his devotion to Hegelianism as a method of thinking and how this influenced his non-reductionistic approach to functional psychology. In addition, Mead's breadth of historical knowledge as well as his commitments in the natural and social sciences are on display here, culminating in the Darwinian observation that human animals only achieve the degree of control they have over their environment by the achievement of social organization
Dennett, Daniel C. (1988). Review of Fodor, psychosemantics. [Journal (Paginated)] 85:384-389.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In Word and Object, Quine acknowledged the "practical indispensability" in daily life of the intentional idioms of belief and desire but disparaged such talk as an "essentially dramatic idiom" rather than something from which real science could be made in any straightforward way.Endnote 1 Many who agree on little else have agreed with Quine about this, and have gone on to suggest one or another indirect way for science to accommodate folk psychology: Sellars, Davidson, Putnam, Rorty, Stich, the Churchlands, Schiffer and myself, to name a few. This fainthearted consensus is all wrong, according to Fodor, whose new book is a vigorous--even frantic--defense of what he calls Intentional Realism: beliefs and desires are real, causally involved, determinately contentful states. "We have no reason to doubt," Fodor says, "that it is possible to have a scientific psychology that vindicates commonsense belief/desire explanation." (p.16)
Eilan, Naomi M. (1997). Objectivity and the perspective of consciousness. European Journal of Philosophy 5 (3):235-250.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Foss, Jeffrey E. (1993). Subjectivity, objectivity, and Nagel on consciousness. Dialogue 32 (4):725-36.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google)
Francescotti, Robert M. (1993). Subjective experience and points of view. Journal of Philosophical Research 18:25-36.   (Annotation | Google)
Gunderson, Keith (1970). Asymmetries and mind-body perplexities. Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 4:273-309.   (Cited by 34 | Annotation | Google)
Haksar, V. (1981). Nagel on subjective and objective. Inquiry 24 (March):105-21.   (Cited by 1 | Annotation | Google)
Harre, Rom (1999). Nagel's challenge and the mind-body problem. Philosophy 74 (288):247-270.   (Google | More links)
Harmon, Justin L. (2009). What Is It Like to Be Mysterious, Alienated, and Wildly Rich through Less Than Savory Means? Phenomenal Consciousness and Aesthetic Experience. Consciousness, Literature, and the Arts 10 (2).   (Google)
Hiley, David R. (1978). Materialism and the inner life. Southern Journal of Philosophy 16:61-70.   (Annotation | Google)
Johnston, Mark (2007). Objective mind and the objectivity of our minds. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 75 (2):233–268.   (Google | More links)
Jones, Philip C. (1949). Subjectivity in philosophy. Philosophy of Science 16 (January):49-57.   (Google | More links)
Kekes, John (1977). Physicalism and subjectivity. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 37 (June):533-6.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Lycan, William G. (1987). Subjectivity. In Consciousness. MIT Press.   (Annotation | Google)
Lycan, William G. (1990). What is the "subjectivity" of the mental? Philosophical Perspectives 11 (2):229-238.   (Cited by 34 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Malcolm, Norman (1988). Subjectivity. Philosophy 63 (April):147-60.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google)
Mandik, Pete (2000). Chapter 1: Subjective and Objective Judgments. Dissertation, Washington University   (Google)
Abstract: Many philosophical issues concern questions of objectivity and subjectivity. Of these questions, there are two kinds. The first considers whether something is objective or subjective; the second what it _means_ for something to be objective or subjective
Mandik, Pete (2001). Mental representation and the subjectivity of consciousness. Philosophical Psychology 14 (2):179-202.   (Cited by 11 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Many have urged that the biggest obstacles to a physicalistic understanding of consciousness are the problems raised in connection with the subjectivity of consciousness. These problems are most acutely expressed in consideration of the knowledge argument against physicalism. I develop a novel account of the subjectivity of consciousness by explicating the ways in which mental representations may be perspectival. Crucial features of my account involve analogies between the representations involved in sensory experience and the ways in which pictorial representations exhibit perspectives or points of view. I argue that the resultant account of subjectivity provides a basis for the strongest response physicalists can give to the knowledge argument
Mandik, Pete (2008). The Neural Accomplishment of Objectivity. In Pierre Poirier & Luc Faucher (eds.), Des Neurones a La Philosophie: Neurophilosophie Et Philosophie Des Neurosciences. Éditions Syllepse.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Philosophical tradition contains two major lines of thought concerning the relative difficulty of the notions of objectivity and subjectivity. One tradition, which we might characterize as
Mandik, Pete (2009). The neurophilosophy of subjectivity. In John Bickle (ed.), Oxford Handbook of Philosophy and Neuroscience. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: The so-called subjectivity of conscious experience is central to much recent work in the philosophy of mind. Subjectivity is the alleged property of consciousness whereby one can know what it is like to have certain conscious states only if one has undergone such states oneself. I review neurophilosophical work on consciousness and concepts pertinent to this claim and argue that subjectivity eliminativism is at least as well supported, if not more supported, than subjectivity reductionism
McClamrock, Ron (1992). Irreducibility and subjectivity. Philosophical Studies 67 (2):177-92.   (Cited by 4 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: ...the problem of...how cognition...is possible at all...can never be answered on the basis of a prior knowledge of the transcendent [i.e. the external, spatio-temporal, empirical]...no matter whence the knowledge or the judgments are borrowed, not even if they are taken from the exact sciences.... It will not do to draw conclusions from existences of which one knows but which one cannot "see". "Seeing" does not lend itself to demonstration or deduction. [Husserl 1964a, pp. 2-3]
Metzinger, Thomas (1994). Subjectivity and mental representation. In Analyomen. Hawthorne: De Gruyter.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Metzinger, Thomas (2004). The subjectivity of subjective experience: A representationalist analysis of the first-person perspective. Networks.   (Cited by 39 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Before one can even begin to model consciousness and what exactly it means that it is a subjective phenomenon one needs a theory about what a first-person perspective really is. This theory has to be conceptually convincing, empirically plausible and, most of all, open to new developments. The chosen conceptual framework must be able to accommodate scientific progress. Its ba- sic assumptions have to be plastic as it were, so that new details and empirical data can continuously be fed into the theoretical model as it grows and becomes more refined. This paper makes an attempt at sketching the outlines of such a theory, offering a representationalist analysis of the phenomenal first-person perspective. Three phenomenal target properties are centrally relevant:
Mounce, H. O. (1992). On Nagel and consciousness. Philosophical Investigations 15 (2):178-84.   (Google)
Muscari, Paul G. (1992). Subjective experience. Philosophical Inquiry 14 (3-4).   (Google)
Muscari, Paul G. (1985). The subjective character of experience. Journal of Mind and Behavior 6:577-97.   (Google)
Muscari, Paul G. (1987). The status of humans in Nagel's phenomenology. Philosophical Forum 19:23-33.   (Annotation | Google)
Nagel, Thomas (1994). Consciousness and objective reality. In Richard Warner & Tadeusz Szubka (eds.), The Mind-Body Problem: A Guide to the Current Debate. Blackwell.   (Cited by 9 | Google)
Nagel, Thomas (1979). Subjective and objective. In Mortal Questions. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 20 | Annotation | Google)
Nagel, Thomas (1986). The View From Nowhere. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 1108 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: Human beings have the unique ability to view the world in a detached way: We can think about the world in terms that transcend our own experience or interest, and consider the world from a vantage point that is, in Nagel's words, "nowhere in particular". At the same time, each of us is a particular person in a particular place, each with his own "personal" view of the world, a view that we can recognize as just one aspect of the whole. How do we reconcile these two standpoints--intellectually, morally, and practically? To what extent are they irreconcilable and to what extent can they be integrated? Thomas Nagel's ambitious and lively book tackles this fundamental issue, arguing that our divided nature is the root of a whole range of philosophical problems, touching, as it does, every aspect of human life. He deals with its manifestations in such fields of philosophy as: the mind-body problem, personal identity, knowledge and skepticism, thought and reality, free will, ethics, the relation between moral and other values, the meaning of life, and death. Excessive objectification has been a malady of recent analytic philosophy, claims Nagel, it has led to implausible forms of reductionism in the philosophy of mind and elsewhere. The solution is not to inhibit the objectifying impulse, but to insist that it learn to live alongside the internal perspectives that cannot be either discarded or objectified. Reconciliation between the two standpoints, in the end, is not always possible
Pasztor, Ana (1998). Subjective experience divided and conquered. Communication and Cognition 31 (1):73-102.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Peacocke, Christopher (2009). Objectivity. Mind 118 (471).   (Google)
Abstract: Some of our most important mental states and events have a minimal objectivity, in this intuitive sense: a thinker’s being in the state, or enjoying the event, does not in general make the content of the state or event correct. In general, making a judgement is one thing, the correctness of what is judged is another. Having a perceptual experience as of something’s being the case does not in general make it the case. Valuing things that have a certain property does not in general make possession of that property something of value. What explains this minimal objectivity? How is it possible?
Prinz, Wolfgang (2003). Emerging selves: Representational foundations of subjectivity. Consciousness and Cognition 12 (4):515-528.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: A hypothetical evolutionary scenario is offered meant to account for the emergence of mental selves. According to the scenario, mental selves are constructed to solve a source-attribution problem. They emerge when internally generated mental contents (e.g., thoughts and goals) are treated like messages arising from external personal sources. As a result, mental contents becomes attributed to the self as an internal personal source. According to this view, subjectivity is construed outward-in, that is, one's own mental self is derived from, and is secondary to, the mental selves perceived in others. The social construction of subjectivity and selfhood relies on, and is maintained in, various discourses on subjectivity
Ratcliffe, Matthew (2002). Husserl and Nagel on subjectivity and the limits of physical objectivity. Continental Philosophy Review 35 (4):353-377.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Thomas Nagel argues that the subjective character of mind inevitably eludes philosophical efforts to incorporate the mental into a single, complete, physically objective view of the world. Nagel sees contemporary philosophy as caught on the horns of a dilemma
Rorty, Richard (1993). Holism, intrinsicality, and the ambition of transcendence. In B. Dahlbom (ed.), Dennett and His Critics. Blackwell.   (Cited by 12 | Annotation | Google)
Rosen, Steven M. (2004). Dimensions of Apeiron: A Topological Phenomenology of Space, Time, and Individuation. Editions Rodopi, Value Inquiry Book Series.   (Google)
Abstract: This book explores the evolution of space and time from the apeiron—the spaceless, timeless chaos of primordial nature. Steven M. Rosen examines Western culture’s past efforts to deny the apeiron, and the present possibility that lifting the repression of apeiron might serve to advance the process of human individuation. In proposing a radical rethinking of science’s underlying notions of space and time, Rosen employs phenomenological philosophy (primarily Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger), supplemented by an original application of the qualitative field of mathematics known as topology.
Rosen, Robert (1993). Drawing the boundary between subject and object: Comments on the mind-brain problem. Theoretical Medicine 14 (2):89-100.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Physics says that it cannot deal with the mind-brain problem, because it does not deal in subjectivities, and mind is subjective. However, biologists (among others) still claim to seek a material basis for subjective mental processes, which would thereby render them objective. Something is clearly wrong here. I claim that what is wrong is the adoption of too narrow a view of what constitutes objectivity, especially in identifying it with what a machine can do. I approach the problem in the light of two cognate circumstances: (a) the measurement problem in quantum physics, and (b) the objectivity of standard mathematics, even though most of it is beyond the reach of machines. I argue that the only resolution to such problems is in the recognition that closed loops of causation are objective; i.e. legitimate objects of scientific scrutiny. These are explicitly forbidden in any machine or mechanism. A material system which contains such loops is called complex. Such complex systems thus must possess nonsimulable models; i.e. models which contain impredicativities or self-references which cannot be removed, or faithfully mapped into a single coherent syntactic time-frame. I consider a few of the consequences of the above, in the context of thus redrawing the boundary between subject and object
Rosen, Steven M. (2000). Focusing on the Flesh: Merleau-Ponty, Gendlin, and Lived Subjectivity. Lifwynn Correspondence 5 (1):1-14.   (Google)
Rosen, Steven M. (1986). On Whiteheadian Dualism: A Reply to Professor Griffin. Journal of Religion and Psychical Research 9 (1):11-17.   (Google)
Abstract: In this article, the author defends his claim that a subtle form of metaphysical dualism can be found in Alfred North Whitehead's central notion of the "actual occasion." Rosen contends that phenomenological philosophers such as Martin Heidegger go further than Whitehead in challenging traditional dualism.
Rosen, Steven M. (2008). Quantum Gravity and Phenomenological Philosophy. Foundations of Physics 38 (6):556-582.   (Google)
Abstract: The central thesis of this paper is that contemporary theoretical physics is grounded in philosophical presuppositions that make it difficult to effectively address the problems of subject-object interaction and discontinuity inherent to quantum gravity. The core objectivist assumption implicit in relativity theory and quantum mechanics is uncovered and we see that, in string theory, this assumption leads into contradiction. To address this challenge, a new philosophical foundation is proposed based on the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty and Martin Heidegger. Then, through the application of qualitative topology and hypernumbers, phenomenological ideas about space, time, and dimension are brought into focus so as to provide specific solutions to the problems of force-field generation and unification. The phenomenological string theory that results speaks to the inconclusiveness of conventional string theory and resolves its core contradiction.
Rosen, Steven M. (1994). Science, Paradox, and the Moebius Principle: The Evolution of a "Transcultural" Approach to Wholeness. State University of New York Press; Series in Science, Technology, and Society.   (Google)
Abstract: This book confronts basic anomalies in the foundations of contemporary knowledge. Rosen deals with paradoxes that call into question conventional ways of thinking about space and time, and the nature of human experience. In the course of bringing together theoretical science and phenomenological thought, the author offers a process theory in which space, time, and consciousness undergo continuous internal transformation and organic growth. The work is “transcultural” in the sense of bridging the “two cultures” of science and the humanities.
Rosen, Steven M. (2006). Topologies of the Flesh: A Multidimensional Exploration of the Lifeworld. Ohio University Press, Series in Continental Thought.   (Google)
Abstract: The concept of “flesh” in philosophical terms derives from the writings of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. This was the word he used to name the concrete realm of sentient bodies and life processes that has been eclipsed by the abstractions of science, technology, and modern culture. Topology, to conventional understanding, is the branch of mathematics that concerns itself with the properties of geometric figures that stay the same when the figures are stretched or deformed. "Topologies of the Flesh" is a blend of continental thought and mathematical imagination that proposes a new area of philosophical inquiry: topological phenomenology. Through the application of qualitative mathematics, the work extends the approaches of Merleau-Ponty and Heidegger so as to offer a detailed exploration of previously uncharted dimensions of human experience and the natural world.
Rosen, Steven M. (2008). The Self-Evolving Cosmos: A Phenomenological Approach to Nature's Unity-in-Diversity. World Scientific Publishing, Series on Knots and Everything.   (Google)
Abstract: This book offers an original way of thinking about two of the most significant problems confronting modern theoretical physics: the unification of the forces of nature and the evolution of the universe. In bringing out the inadequacies of the prevailing approach to these questions, the author demonstrates the need for more than just a new theory. The meanings of space and time themselves must be radically rethought, which requires a whole new philosophical foundation. To this end, the book turns to the phenomenological writings of Martin Heidegger and Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Their insights into space and time bring the natural world to life in a manner well-suited to the dynamic phenomena of contemporary physics.
Rosen, Steven M. (1997). Wholeness as the Body of Paradox. The Journal of Mind and Behavior 18 (4):391-423.   (Google)
Abstract: This essay is written at the crossroads of intuitive holism, as typified in Eastern thought, and the discursive reflectiveness more characteristic of the West. The point of departure is the age-old human need to overcome fragmentation and realize wholeness. Three basic tasks are set forth: to provide some new insight into the underlying obstacle to wholeness, to show what would be necessary for surmounting this blockage, and to take a concrete step in that direction. At the outset, the question of paradox is addressed, examined in relation to Zen meditation, the problem of language, and the thinking of Heidegger. Wholeness is to be realized through paradox, and it is shown that a complete realization requires that paradox be embodied. Drawing from the fields of visual geometry and qualitative mathematics, three concrete models of paradox are offered: the Necker cube, the Moebius surface, and the Klein bottle. In attempting to model wholeness, an important limitation is recognized: a model is a symbolic representation that maintains the division between the reality represented and the act of symbolizing that reality. It is demonstrated that while the first two models are subject to this limitation, the Klein bottle, possessing higher dimensionality, can express wholeness more completely, provided that it is approached in a radically nonclassical way. The final question of this essay concerns its own capability as an essay. It is asked whether the present text is restricted to affording a mere abstract reflection on wholeness, or whether wholeness can tangibly be delivered.
Baker, Lynne Rudder (1998). The first-person perspective: A test for naturalism. American Philosophical Quarterly 35 (4):327-348.   (Cited by 24 | Google)
Abstract: Self-consciousness, many philosophers agree, is essential to being a person. There is not so much agreement, however, about how to understand what self- consciousness is. Philosophers in the field of cognitive science tend to write off self- consciousness as unproblematic. According to such philosophers, the real difficulty for the cognitive scientist is phenomenal consciousness--the fact that we (and other organisms) have states that feel a certain way. If we had a grip on phenomenal consciousness, they think, self-consciousness could be easily handled by functionalist models. For example, recently Ned Block commented,
Spencer, Cara (ms). Indexical Knowledge and Phenomenal Knowledge.   (Google)
Abstract: A familiar story about phenomenal knowledge likens it to indexical knowledge, i.e. knowledge about oneself typically expressed with sentences containing indexicals or demonstratives. The popularity of this sort of story owes in part to its promise of resolving some longstanding puzzles about phenomenal knowledge. One such puzzle arises from the compelling arguments that we can have full objective knowledge of the world while lacking some phenomenal knowledge. I argue that the widespread optimism about the indexical account on this score is unwarranted.
Sprigge, Timothy L. S. (1982). The importance of subjectivity: An inaugural lecture. Inquiry 25 (June):143-63.   (Cited by 4 | Annotation | Google)
Sturgeon, Scott (1994). The epistemic basis of subjectivity. Journal of Philosophy 91 (5):221-35.   (Cited by 37 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Sundström, Pär (2002). Nagel's case against physicalism. Sats 3 (2):91-108.   (Google | More links)
Sundstrom, Par (1999). Psychological Phenomena and First-Person Perspectives: Critical Discussions of Some Arguments in Philosophy of Mind. Acta University Umensis.   (Google)
Sytsma, Justin, Experiments on the folk theory of consciousness.   (Google)
Abstract: It is not uncommon to find assumptions being made about folk psychology in the discussions of phenomenal consciousness in philosophy of mind. In this article I consider one example, focusing on what Dan Dennett says about the “folk theory of consciousness.” I show that he holds that the folk believe that the sensory qualities that we are acquainted with in ordinary perception are phenomenal qualities. Nonetheless, the shape of the folk theory is an empirical matter and in the absence of empirical investigation there is ample room for doubt. Fortunately, experimental evidence on the topic is now being produced by experimental philosophers and psychologists. This article contributes to this growing literature, presenting the results of six new studies on the folk view of colors and pains. I argue that the results indicate against Dennett’s theory of the folk theory of consciousness
Taliaferro, Charles (1988). Nagel's vista or taking subjectivity seriously. Southern Journal of Philosophy 26:393-401.   (Annotation | Google)
Taliaferro, Charles (1997). The perils of subjectivity. Inquiry 40 (4):475-480.   (Google | More links)
van Gulick, Robert (1985). Physicalism and the subjectivity of the mental. Philosophical Topics 13 (3):51-70.   (Cited by 12 | Annotation | Google)
Xu, Xiangdong (2004). Consciousness, subjectivity and physicalism. Philosophical Inquiry 26 (1-2):21-39.   (Google)

1.2c The Explanatory Gap

Balog, Katalin (forthcoming). In Defense of the Phenomenal Concept Strategy. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research.   (Google)
Abstract: During the last two decades, several different anti-physicalist arguments based on an epistemic or conceptual gap between the phenomenal and the physical have been proposed. The most promising physicalist line of defense in the face of these arguments – the Phenomenal Concept Strategy – is based on the idea that these epistemic and conceptual gaps can be explained by appeal to the nature of phenomenal concepts rather than the nature of non-physical phenomenal properties. Phenomenal concepts, on this proposal, involve unique cognitive mechanisms, but none that could not be fully physically implemented. David Chalmers has recently presented a Master Argument to show that the Phenomenal Concept Strategy – not just this or that version of it, but any version of it – fails. Chalmers argues that the phenomenal concepts posited by such theories are either not physicalistically explicable, or they cannot explain our epistemic situation with regard to qualia. I argue that it is his Master Argument that fails. My claim is his argument does not provide any new reasons to reject the Phenomenal Concept Strategy. I also argue that, although the Phenomenal Concept Strategy is successful in showing that the physicalist is not rationally compelled to give up physicalism in the light of the anti-physicalist arguments, the anti-physicalist is not rationally compelled to give up the anti-physicalist argument in the light of the Phenomenal Concept Strategy either.
Beckermann, Ansgar (2000). The perennial problem of the reductive explainability of phenomenal consciousness: C. D. broad on the explanatory gap. In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Neural Correlates of Consciousness. MIT Press.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: At the start of the 20th century the question of whether life could be explained in purely me- chanical terms was as hotly debated as the mind-body problem is today. Two factions opposed each other: Biological mechanists claimed that the properties characteristic of living organisms (metabolism, perception, goal-directed behavior, procreation, morphogenesis) could be ex- plained mechanistically, in the way the behavior of a clock can be explained by the properties and the arrangement of its cogs, springs, and weights. Substantial vitalists, on the other hand, maintained that the explanation envisaged by the mechanists was impossible and that one had to postulate a special nonphysical substance in order to explain life
Benbaji, Hagit (2008). Constitution and the explanatory gap. Synthese 161 (2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Proponents of the explanatory gap claim that consciousness is a mystery. No one has ever given an account of how a physical thing could be identical to a phenomenal one. We fully understand the identity between water and H2O but the identity between pain and the firing of C-fibers is inconceivable. Mark Johnston [Journal of philosophy (1997), 564–583] suggests that if water is constituted by H2O, not identical to it, then the explanatory gap becomes a pseudo-problem. This is because all “manifest kinds”—those identified in experience—are on a par in not being identical to their physical bases, so that the special problem of the inconceivability of ‘pain = the firing of C-fibers’ vanishes. Moreover, the substitute relation, constitution, raises no explanatory difficulties: pain can be constituted by its physical base, as can water. The thesis of this paper is that the EG does not disappear when we substitute constitution for identity. I examine four arguments for the EG, and show that none of them is undermined by the move from constitution to identity
Bengtsson, David (2003). The nature of explanation in a theory of consciousness. Lund University Cognitive Studies 106.   (Google)
Bieri, Peter (1995). Why is consciousness puzzling? In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience. Ferdinand Schoningh.   (Cited by 10 | Annotation | Google)
Block, Ned & Stalnaker, Robert (1999). Conceptual analysis, dualism, and the explanatory gap. Philosophical Review 108 (1):1-46.   (Cited by 119 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The explanatory gap . Consciousness is a mystery. No one has ever given an account, even a highly speculative, hypothetical, and incomplete account of how a physical thing could have phenomenal states. (Nagel, 1974, Levine, 1983) Suppose that consciousness is identical to a property of the brain, say activity in the pyramidal cells of layer 5 of the cortex involving reverberatory circuits from cortical layer 6 to the thalamus and back to layers 4 and 6,as Crick and Koch have suggested for visual consciousness. (See Crick (1994).) Still, that identity itself calls out for explanation! Proponents of an explanatory gap disagree about whether the gap is permanent. Some (e.g. Nagel, 1974) say that we are like the scientifically naive person who is told that matter = energy, but does not have the concepts required to make sense of the idea. If we can acquire these concepts, the gap is closable. Others say the gap is uncloseable because of our cognitive limitations. (McGinn, 1991) Still others say that the gap is a consequence of the fundamental nature of consciousness
Byrne, Alex (online). Tye on color and the explanatory gap.   (Google)
Abstract: It will not have escaped notice that the defendant in this afternoon
Campbell, Neil (2009). Why we should lower our expectations about the explanatory gap. Theoria 75 (1):34-51.   (Google)
Abstract: I argue that the explanatory gap is generated by factors consistent with the view that qualia are physical properties. I begin by considering the most plausible current approach to this issue based on recent work by Valerie Hardcastle and Clyde Hardin. Although their account of the source of the explanatory gap and our potential to close it is attractive, I argue that it is too speculative and philosophically problematic. I then argue that the explanatory gap should not concern physicalists because it makes excessive demands on physical theory
Carruthers, Peter & Schechter, Elizabeth (2006). Can panpsychism bridge the explanatory gap? Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (10-11):32-39.   (Google | More links)
Carruthers, Peter (2004). Reductive explanation and the "explanatory gap". Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (2):153-174.   (Cited by 10 | Google)
Abstract: Can phenomenal consciousness be given a reductive natural explanation? Exponents of an
Chalmers, David J. (2006). Phenomenal concepts and the explanatory gap. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 13 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Confronted with the apparent explanatory gap between physical processes and consciousness, there are many possible reactions. Some deny that any explanatory gap exists at all. Some hold that there is an explanatory gap for now, but that it will eventually be closed. Some hold that the explanatory gap corresponds to an ontological gap in nature
Clark, Thomas W. (1995). Function and phenomenology: Closing the explanatory gap. Journal of Consciousness Studies 2:241-54.   (Cited by 13 | Annotation | Google)
Clark, Austen (online). I am Joe's explanatory gap.   (Google)
Abstract: _tableau_ can be given a full and satisfying explanation, while others cannot. We can explain in a full and satisfying way why the water in the mug is identical with H2O, why its liquidity is identical with a state of its molecular bonds, and why its heat is identical with its molecules being in motion. But we cannot explain in the same way why the neural processes which Joe undergoes when he looks at the mug are such as to make the mug look green, and not red. The latter explanations have gaps
Coleman, Sam (ms). Chalmers's Master Argument and Type Bb Physicalism.   (Google)
Abstract: Chalmers has provided a dilemmatic master argument against all forms of the phenomenal concept strategy. This paper explores a position that evades Chalmers's argument, dubbed Type Bb: it is for Type B physicalists who embrace horn b of Chalmers's dilemma. The discussion concludes that Chalmers fails to show any incoherence in the position of a Type B physicalist who depends on the phenomenal concept strategy.
Crane, Tim (online). Cosmic hermeneutics vs emergence: The challenge of the explanatory gap.   (Google)
Abstract: This paper is a defence of Terence Horgan’s claim that any genuinely physicalist position must distinguish itself from (what has been traditionally known as) emergentism. I argue that physicalism is necessarily reductive in character -- it must either give a reductive account of apparently non-physical entities, or a reductive explanation of why there are non-physical entities. I argue that many recent ‘nonreductive’ physicalists do not do this, and that because of this they cannot adequately distinguish their view from emergentism. The conclusion is that this is the real challenge posed by Joseph Levine’s ‘explanatory gap’ argument: if physicalists cannot close the explanatory gap in Levine’s preferred way, they must find some other way to do it. Otherwise their view is indistinguishable from emergentism
Dalton, Thomas C. (1998). The developmental gap in phenomenal experience: A comment on J. G. Taylor's "cortical activity and the explanatory gap''. J:Consciousness and cognition 7 (2):159-164. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):159-164.   (Google)
Abstract: J. G. Taylor advances an empirically testable local neural network model to understand the neural correlates of phenomenal experience. Taylor's model is better able to explain the presence (i.e., persistence, latency, and seamlessness) and unity of phenomenal consciousness which support the idea that consciousness is coherent, undivided, and centered. However, Taylor fails to offer a satisfactory explanation of the nonlinear relationship between local and global neural systems. In addition, the ontological assumptions that PE is immediate, intrinsic, and incorrigible limit an understanding of the different experiential forms consciousness takes during neurobehavioral development. Recent studies suggest that neurobehavioral development is discontinuous and that judgment emerges under conditions of uncertainty to render feeling and perception in equivalent terms of energy and behavior. Approaching the problem of phenomenal experience from a developmental perspective may help resolve the paradox of feeling infinitely close as well as distant from one's self
Dempsey, L. (2004). Conscious experience, reduction and identity: Many gaps, one solution. Philosophical Psychology 17 (2):225-246.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper considers the so-called explanatory gap between brain activity and conscious experience. A number of different, though closely related, explanatory gaps are distinguished and a monistic account of conscious experience, a version of Herbert Feigl's "dual-access theory," is advocated as a solution to the problems they are taken to pose for physicalist accounts of mind. Although dual-access theory is a version of the mind-body identity thesis, it in no way "eliminates" conscious experience; rather, it provides a parsimonious and explanatorily fruitful theory of the consciousness-body relation which faithfully preserves the nature of conscious experience while going quite far in "bridging" the various explanatory gaps distinguished below
Diaz-Leon, Esa (online). Can phenomenal concepts explain the explanatory gap?   (Google)
Abstract: One of the most important arguments against physicalism is the so-called conceivability argument. Intuitively, this argument claims that since certain statements concerning the separation of the physical and the phenomenal are conceivable, they are possible. This inference from conceivability to possibility has been challenged in numerous ways. One of these ways is the so-called phenomenal concept strategy, which has become one of the main strategies against the conceivability argument. David Chalmers says it “is perhaps the most attractive option for a physicalist to take in responding to the problem of consciousness”.2 Certainly, in the recent years, a multitude of proposals of that sort have been proposed and developed.3 However, Chalmers (2006) has recently argued that no version of the phenomenal concept strategy can succeed. In what follows, I will examine his argument for that conclusion, and I will argue that it is not sound. I will conclude that he has not posed any serious problem for the phenomenal concept strategy to succeed..
Diaz-Leon, Esa (2009). How many explanatory gaps are there? APA Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers 8 (2):33-35.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: According to many philosophers, there is an explanatory gap between physical truths and phenomenal truths. Someone could know all the physical truths about the world, and in particular, all the physical information about the brain and the neurophysiology of vision, and still not know what it is like to see red (Jackson 1982, 1986). According to a similar example, someone could know all the physical truths about bats and still not know what it is like to be a bat (Nagel 1974). We can conceive of an individual that is physically identical to me, molecule per molecule, but does not have any phenomenally conscious state whatsoever (Chalmers 1996). Some philosophers have argued that the explanatory gap shows that we cannot explain consciousness in physical terms (Levine 2001), or even that phenomenal consciousness is not physical and therefore physicalism is false (Chalmers 1996, 2002)
D'Oro, Giuseppina (2007). The gap is semantic, not epistemological. Ratio 20 (2):168�178.   (Google | More links)
Draganescu, M. (1998). Taylor's bridge across the explanatory gap and its extension. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):165-168.   (Google | More links)
Ellis, Ralph D. & Newton, Natika (1998). Three paradoxes of phenomenal consciousness: Bridging the explanatory gap. Journal of Consciousness Studies 5 (4):419-42.   (Cited by 52 | Google)
Fischer, Eugen (2001). Unfair to physiology. Acta Analytica 16 (26):135-155.   (Google)
Garson, James W. (1998). A commentary on "cortical activity and the explanatory gap". Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):169-172.   (Google)
Gertler, Brie (2001). The explanatory gap is not an illusion: A reply to Michael Tye. Mind 110 (439):689-694.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The claim that there is an explanatory gap between physical and phenomenal properties is perhaps the leading current challenge to materialist views about the mind. Tye tries to block this challenge, not by providing an explanation to bridge the gap but by denying that phenomenalphysical identities introduce an explanatory gap. Since an explanatory gap exists only if there is something unexplained that needs explaining, and something needs explaining only if it can be explained (whether or not it lies within the power of human-beings to explain it), there is no gap. (Tye ????, p. ???) Tyes strategy differs crucially from the claim that identities never stand in need of explanation because they constitute ultimate explanations; for he allows that identities such as water = H?O are explainable. Unlike WATER and H?O, which are descriptive concepts, phenomenal concepts are perspectival and hence irreducible to descriptive concepts, according to Tye. The fact that something picked out by a perspectival concept is identical to something picked out by a non-perspectival concept cannot be explained.1 So, he concludes, phenomenalphysical identities need not be explained
Gois, I. (2001). Understanding consciousness. Disputatio 10.   (Google)
Griesmaier, Franz-Peter (2003). On explaining phenomenal consciousness. Journal of Experimental and Theoretical Artificial Intelligence 15 (2):227-242.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Gustafson, Donald F. (1998). Pain, qualia, and the explanatory gap. Philosophical Psychology 11 (3):371-387.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Abstract: This paper investigates the status of the purported explanatory gap between pain phenomena and natural science, when the “gap” is thought to exist due to the special properties of experience designated by “qualia” or “the pain quale” in the case of pain experiences. The paper questions the existence of such a property in the case of pain by: (1) looking at the history of the conception of pain; (2) raising questions from empirical research and theory in the psychology of pain; (3) considering evidence from the neurophysiological systems of pain; (4) investigating the possible biological role or roles of pain; and (5) considering methodological questions of the comparable status of the results of the sciences of pain in contrast to certain intuitions underpinning “the explanatory gap” in the case of pain. Skepticism concerning the crucial underlying intuitions seems justified by these considerations
Hanfling, Oswald (2003). Wittgenstein and the problem of consciousness. Think 3.   (Google)
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (1998). Assuming away the explanatory gap. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):173-179.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Harman, Gilbert (online). Explaining an explanatory gap.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: Discussions of the mind-body problem often refer to an
Hardin, C. L. (1992). Physiology, phenomenology, and Spinoza's true colors. In Ansgar Beckermann, Hans Flohr & Jaegwon Kim (eds.), Emergence or Reduction?: Prospects for Nonreductive Physicalism. De Gruyter.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Hardin, C. L. (1987). Qualia and materialism: Closing the explanatory gap. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 48 (December):281-98.   (Cited by 14 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Harnad, Stevan (1994). Why and how we are not zombies. Journal of Consciousness Studies 1:164-67.   (Cited by 65 | Google | More links)
Abstract: A robot that is functionally indistinguishable from us may or may not be a mindless Zombie. There will never be any way to know, yet its functional principles will be as close as we can ever get to explaining the mind
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (1997). Why science is important for philosophy. Psycoloquy.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Levine (1997) claims that Locating Consciousness (1995) does not seriously address the problem of the explanatory gap; instead it merely provides lots of data. Here I argue that, contrary to the intuitions of some philosophers, the best remedy for our gaps in explanation and understanding is in fact through empirical investigation
Honderich, Ted (2000). Consciousness and inner tubes. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (7).   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Horgan, Terence E. (2006). Review of Levine's Purple Haze. Noûs 40 (3).   (Google | More links)
Kline, J. P. (1998). Another opening in the explanatory gap. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):185-189.   (Google | More links)
Krellenstein, Dr Marc (ms). Point of view: A modern nihilism.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Presents the author’s view of the best current positions on certain core philosophical and psychological problems. These positions together suggest a traditional nihilist perspective modified by evolutionary psychology and other contemporary thinking that accepts limitations on our understanding (rather than the conclusive non-existence of certain explanations), the psychological (if not absolute) reality of values, free will and other phenomena and our desire to live as best we can. The positions presented are: (1) the origin of the universe cannot be understood, (2) morality has no absolute rational foundation, (3) some people have unquestioned beliefs they view as absolute, (4) we don’t really have free will but can act as if we do, (5) brains are conscious but we don’t know how, (6) we live by relative values, biological dispositions, upbringing, habit and choice and (7) we don’t know how much we can modify ourselves, what makes us happy or what we value
Kriegel, Uriah (forthcoming). Self-Representationalism and the Explanatory Gap. In J. Liu & J. Perry (eds.), Consciousness and the Self: New Essays. Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: According to the self-representational theory of consciousness – self- representationalism for short – a mental state is phenomenally conscious when, and only when, it represents itself in the right way. In this paper, I consider how self- representationalism might address the alleged explanatory gap between phenomenal consciousness and physical properties. I open with a presentation of self- representationalism and the case for it (§1). I then present what I take to be the most promising self-representational approach to the explanatory gap (§2). That approach is threatened, however, by an objection to self-representationalism, due to Levine, which I call the just more representation objection (§3). I close with a discussion of how the self-representationalist might approach the objection (§4).
Levin, Janet (1991). Analytic functionalism and the reduction of phenomenal states. Philosophical Studies 61 (March):211-38.   (Cited by 5 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Levine, Joseph (1983). Materialism and qualia: The explanatory gap. Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 64 (October):354-61.   (Cited by 235 | Annotation | Google)
Levine, Joseph (1993). On leaving out what it's like. In Martin Davies & Glyn W. Humphreys (eds.), Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays. Blackwell.   (Annotation | Google)
Levine, Joseph (1993). On Leaving Out What It's Like. In Martin Davies & Glyn W. Humphreys (eds.), Consciousness: Psychological an Philosophical Essays.   (Google)
Levine, Joseph (2001). Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 56 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Conscious experience presents a deep puzzle. On the one hand, a fairly robust materialism must be true in order to explain how it is that conscious events causally interact with non-conscious, physical events. On the other hand, we cannot explain how physical phenomena give rise to conscious experience. In this wide-ranging study, Joseph Levine explores both sides of the mind-body dilemma, presenting the first book-length treatment of his highly influential ideas on the "explanatory gap," the fact that we can't explain the nature of phenomenal experience in terms of its physical realization. He presents a careful argument that there is such a gap, and, after providing intriguing analyses of virtually all existing theories of consciousness, shows that recent attempts to close it fall short of the mark. Levine concludes that in the foreseeable future consciousness will remain a mystery
Loar, Brian (1999). Should the explanatory gap perplex us? In The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Volume 2: Metaphysics. Philosophy Documentation Center.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Lonky, M. L. (1998). Commentary on "cortical activity and the explanatory gap". Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):190-192.   (Google)
Lutz, Antoine (2004). Introduction—the explanatory gap: To close or to bridge? Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 3 (4).   (Google)
Macdonald, C. (2004). Mary meets Molyneux: The explanatory gap and the individuation of phenomenal concepts. Noûs 38 (3):503-24.   (Google | More links)
Manson, Neil Campbell (2002). Consciousness-dependence and the explanatory gap. Inquiry 45 (4):521-540.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Contrary to certain rumours, the mind-body problem is alive and well. So argues Joseph Levine in Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness . The main argument is simple enough. Considerations of causal efficacy require us to accept that subjective experiential, or 'phenomenal', properties are realized in basic non-mental, probably physical properties. But no amount of knowledge of those physical properties will allow us conclusively to deduce facts about the existence and nature of phenomenal properties. This failure of deducibility constitutes an explanatory problem - an explanatory gap - but does not imply the existence of immaterial mental properties. Levine introduced this notion of the explanatory gap almost two decades ago. Purple Haze allows Levine to situate the explanatory gap in a broader philosophical context. He engages with those who hold that the explanatory gap is best understood as implying anti-materialist metaphysical conclusions. But he also seeks to distance himself from contemporary naturalistic philosophical theorizing about consciousness by arguing that reductive and eliminative theories of consciousness all fail. Levine's work is best seen as an attempt to firmly establish a definite status for the mind-body problem, i.e. that the mind-body problem is a real, substantive epistemological problem but emphatically not a metaphysical one. Because Levine's work is tightly focused upon contemporary Anglophone analytic philosophy of mind, there is little discussion of the broader conceptual background to the mind-body problem. My aim here is to place Levine's work in a broader conceptual context. In particular, I focus on the relationship between consciousness and intentionality in the belief that doing so will allow us better to understand and evaluate Levine's arguments and their place in contemporary theorizing about mentality and consciousness
Montero, Barbara (2003). The epistemic/ontic divide. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 66 (2):404-418.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Morris, A. C. (1998). Commentary on ''cortical activity and the explanatory gap''. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):193-195.   (Google | More links)
Moyal-Sharrock, Daniele (2000). Words as deeds: Wittgenstein's ''spontaneous utterances'' and the dissolution of the explanatory gap. Philosophical Psychology 13 (3):355 – 372.   (Google)
Abstract: Wittgenstein demystified the notion of ''observational self-knowledge''. He dislodged the long-standing conception that we have privileged access to our impressions, sensations and feelings through introspection, and more precisely eliminated knowing as the kind of awareness that normally characterizes our first-person present-tense psychological statements. He was not thereby questioning our awareness of our emotions or sensations, but debunking the notion that we come to that awareness via any epistemic route. This makes the spontaneous linguistic articulation of our sensations and impressions nondescriptive. Not descriptions, but expressions that seem more akin to behaviour than to language. I suggest that Wittgenstein uncovered a new species of speech acts. Far from the prearranged consecration of words into performatives, utterances are deeds through their very spontaneity. This gives language a new aura: the aura of the reflex action. I argue, against Peter Hacker, that spontaneous utterances have the categorial status of deeds. This has no reductive consequences in that I do not suggest that one category is reduced to another, but that the boundary between them is porous. This explodes the myth of an explanatory gap between the traditionally distinct categories of saying (or thinking) and doing, or of mind and body
Musacchio, J. M. (2002). Dissolving the explanatory gap: Neurobiological differences between phenomenal and propositional knowledge. Brain and Mind 3 (3):331-365.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The explanatory gap and theknowledge argument are rooted in the conflationof propositional and phenomenal knowledge. Thebasic knowledge argument is based on theconsideration that ``physical information'' aboutthe nervous system is unable to provide theknowledge of a ``color experience'' (Jackson,1982). The implication is that physicalism isincomplete or false because it leaves somethingunexplained. The problem with Jackson'sargument is that physical information has theform of highly symbolic propositional knowledgewhereas phenomenal knowledge consists in innateneurophysiological processes. In addition totheir fundamental epistemological differences,clinical, anatomical, pathological and brainimaging studies demonstrate that phenomenal andpropositional knowledge are fundamentallydifferent neurobiological processes. Propositional knowledge is phylogeneticallynew, highly symbolic, culturally acquired,exclusively human and expressible in differentnatural and artificial languages. By contrast,phenomenal knowledge (i.e.: knowingwhat-it-is-like to see a color) consists inqualitative experiences and phenomenal conceptsthat provide an internal, language-independentreference to the properties of objects and theneeds of the organism. Language andpropositional knowledge are exclusively humanattributes implemented in specific regions ofthe dominant hemisphere. This contrastssharply with the phylogenicallysensory areas that are common to animals andhumans, which implement qualitativeexperiences. Experiences are hard-wiredneurobiological processes that can neither betransmitted nor re-created through thesymbolism of propositions. Thus, I concludethat the fallacy in the explanatory gap and inthe knowledge argument is a fallacy ofequivocation that results from ignoringfundamental neurobiological differences betweenphenomenal and propositional knowledge
Nagasawa, Yujin (web). Formulating the explanatory gap. American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and Computers. Harman
Neta, Ram (2004). Skepticism, abductivism, and the explanatory gap. Philosophical Perspectives 14 (1):296-325.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Fiala, Brian; Arico, Adam & Nichols, Shaun (ms). On the psychological origins of dualism: Dual-process cognition and the explanatory gap.   (Google)
Abstract: Consciousness often presents itself as a problem for materialists because no matter which physical explanation we consider, there seems to remain something about conscious experience that hasn't been fully explained. This gives rise to an apparent explanatory gap. The explanatory gulf between the physical and the conscious is reflected in the broader population, in which dualistic intuitions abound. Drawing on recent empirical evidence, this essay presents a dual-process cognitive model of consciousness attribution. This dual-process model, we suggest, provides an important part of the explanation for why dualism is so attractive and the explanatory gap so vexing
Nikolic, D. (1998). Commentary on ''cortical activity and the explanatory gap'' by John G. Taylor. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):196-201.   (Google | More links)
Oberauer, Klaus (2001). The explanatory gap is still there. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (5):996-997.   (Google)
Abstract: I argue that O'Regan & Noë's (O&N's) theory is in a no better position than any other theory to solve the “hard problem” of consciousness. Getting rid of the explanatory gap by exchanging sensorimotor contingencies for neural representations is an illusion
Papineau, David (1998). Mind the gap. Philosophical Perspectives 12:373-89.   (Cited by 25 | Google | More links)
Abstract: On the first page of The Problem of Consciousness (1991), Colin McGinn asks "How is it possible for conscious states to depend on brain states? How can technicolour phenomenology arise from soggy grey matter?" Many philosophers feel that questions like these pose an unanswerable challenge to physicalism. They argue that there is no way of bridging the "explanatory gap" between the material brain and the lived world of conscious experience (Levine, 1983), and that physicalism about the mind can therefore provide no answer to the "hard problem" of why brains give rise to consciousness (Chalmers, 1996)
Pauen, Michael (1998). Is there an empirical answer to the explanatory gap argument? Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):202-205.   (Google | More links)
Polger, Thomas W. & Sufka, Kenneth J. (ms). Closing the gap on pain.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: A widely accepted theory holds that emotional experiences occur mainly in a part of the human brain called the amygdala. A different theory asserts that color sensation is located in a small subpart of the visual cortex called V4. If these theories are correct, or even approximately correct, then they are remarkable advances toward a scientific explanation of human conscious experience. Yet even understanding the claims of such theories
Polger, Thomas W. & Skipper, Robert B. (online). Naturalism, explanation, and identity.   (Google | More links)
Polcyn, Karol (2006). Phenomenal consciousness and the explanatory gap. Diametros 6:49-69.   (Google)
Polger, Thomas W. (ms). What the tortoise dreamt.   (Google)
Price, Mark C. (1996). Should we expect to feel as if we understand consciousness? Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (4):303-12.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google)
Robinson, William S. (1998). A gap not bridged. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):210-211.   (Google | More links)
Robbins, Philip & Jack, Anthony I. (2006). The phenomenal stance. Philosophical Studies 127 (1):59-85.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Cognitive science is shamelessly materialistic. It maintains that human beings are nothing more than complex physical systems, ultimately and completely explicable in mechanistic terms. But this conception of humanity does not ?t well with common sense. To think of the creatures we spend much of our day loving, hating, admiring, resenting, comparing ourselves to, trying to understand, blaming, and thanking -- to think of them as mere mechanisms seems at best counterintuitive and unhelpful. More often it may strike us as ludicrous, or even abhorrent. We are
Schilhab, T. S. S. (1998). Comments on ''cortical activity and the explanatory gap''. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):212-213.   (Google | More links)
Scheele, M. (2002). Never mind the gap: The explanatory gap as an artifact of naive philosophical argument. Philosophical Psychology 15 (3):333-342.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: It is argued that the explanatory gap argument, according to which it is fundamentally impossible to explain qualitative mental states in a physicalist theory of mind, is unsound. The main argument in favour of the explanatory gap is presented, which argues that an identity statement of mind and brain has no explanatory force, in contrast to "normal" scientific identity statements. Then it is shown that "normal" scientific identity statements also do not conform to the demands set by the proponent of the explanatory gap. Rather than accept all such gaps, it is argued that we should deny the explanatory gap in a physicalist theory of mind
Schroer, Robert (forthcoming). Where's the Beef? Phenomenal Concepts as both Demonstrative and Substantial. The Australasian Journal of Philosophy.   (Google)
Abstract: One popular materialist response to the explanatory gap identifies phenomenal concepts with type-demonstrative concepts. This kind of response, however, faces a serious challenge: Our phenomenal concepts seem to provide a richer characterization of their referents than just the demonstrative characterization of ‘that quality’. In this paper, I develop a materialist account that beefs up the contents of phenomenal concepts while retaining the idea that these contents contain demonstrative elements. I illustrate this account by focusing on our phenomenal concepts of phenomenal colour. The phenomenal colours stand in a similarity space relative to one another in virtue of being complex qualities—qualities that contain saturation, lightness, and various aspects of hue as component elements. Our phenomenal concepts, in turn, provide a demonstrative characterization of each of these component elements as well as a description of how much of that element is present in a given phenomenal colour. The result is an account where phenomenal concepts contain demonstrative elements and yet provide a significantly richer characterization of the intrinsic nature of their referents than just ‘that quality’.
Seeger, Max (ms). The Reductive Explanation of Boiling Water in Levine's Explanatory Gap Argument.   (Google)
Abstract: This paper examines a paradigm case of allegedly successful reductive explanation, viz. the explanation of the fact that water boils at 100°C based on facts about H2O. The case figures prominently in Joseph Levine’s explanatory gap argument against physicalism. The paper studies the way the argument evolved in the writings of Levine, focusing especially on the question how the reductive explanation of boiling water figures in the argument. It will turn out that there are two versions of the explanatory gap argument to be found in Levine’s writings. The earlier version relies heavily on conceptual analysis and construes reductive explanation as a process of deduction. The later version makes do without conceptual analysis and understands reductive explanations as based on theoretic reductions that are justified by explanatory power. Along the way will be shown that the bridge principles — which are being neglected in the explanatory gap literature — play a crucial role in the explanatory gap argument.
Silberstein, Michael (2002). Reductive physicalism and the explanatory gap: A dilemma. In Peter K. Machamer & Michael Silberstein (eds.), Guide to the Philosophy of Science. Blackwell.   (Google)
Smith, D. J. (1998). Commentary on ''cortical activity and the explanatory gap'' by J. G. Taylor. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):214-215.   (Google)
Spencer, Cara (ms). Indexical Knowledge and Phenomenal Knowledge.   (Google)
Abstract: A familiar story about phenomenal knowledge likens it to indexical knowledge, i.e. knowledge about oneself typically expressed with sentences containing indexicals or demonstratives. The popularity of this sort of story owes in part to its promise of resolving some longstanding puzzles about phenomenal knowledge. One such puzzle arises from the compelling arguments that we can have full objective knowledge of the world while lacking some phenomenal knowledge. I argue that the widespread optimism about the indexical account on this score is unwarranted.
Stoyanov, Drozdstoj; Machamer, Peter & Schaffner, Kenneth, In Quest for scientific psychiatry: Towards bridging the explanatory gap.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The contemporary epistemic status of mental health disciplines does not allow the cross validation of mental disorders among various genetic markers, biochemical pathway or mechanisms, and clinical assessments in neuroscience explanations. We attempt to provide a meta-empirical analysis of the contemporary status of the cross-disciplinary issues existing between neuro-biology and psychopathology. Our case studies take as an established medical mode an example cross validation between biological sciences and clinical cardiology in the case of myocardial infarction. This is then contrasted with the incoherence between neuroscience and psychiatry in the case of bipolar disorders. We examine some methodological problems arising from the neuro-imaging studies, specifically the experimental paradigm introduced by the team of Wayne Drevets. Several theoretical objections are raised: temporal discordance, state independence, and queries about the reliability and specificity, and failure of convergent validity of the inter-disciplinary attempt. Both modern neuroscience and clinical psychology taken as separate fields have failed to reveal the explanatory mechanisms underlying mental disorders. The data acquired inside the mono-disciplinary matrices of neurobiology and psychopathology are deeply insufficient concerning their validity, reliability, and utility. Further, there haven’t been developed any effective trans-disciplinary connections between them. It raises the requirement for development of explanatory significant multi-disciplinary “meta-language” in psychiatry (Berrios, 2006, 2008). We attempt to provide a novel conceptual model for an integrative dialogue between psychiatry and neuroscience that actually includes criteria for cross-validation of the common used psychiatric categories and the different assessment methods. The major goal of our proactive program is the foundation of complementary “bridging” connections of neuroscience and psychopathology which may stabilize the cognitive meta-structure of the mental health knowledge. This entails bringing into synergy the disparate discourses of clinical psychology and neuroscience. One possible model accomplishment of this goal would be the synergistic (or at least compatible) integration of the knowledge under trans-disciplinary convergent cross-validation of the commonly used methods and notions
Sundstrom, Par (2007). Colour and consciousness: Untying the metaphysical knot. Philosophical Studies 136 (2):123-165.   (Google | More links)
Sundström, Pär (2008). Is the mystery an illusion? Papineau on the problem of consciousness. Synthese 163 (2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: A number of philosophers have recently argued that (i) consciousness properties are identical with some set of physical or functional properties and that (ii) we can explain away the frequently felt puzzlement about this claim as a delusion or confusion generated by our different ways of apprehending or thinking about consciousness. This paper examines David Papineau’s influential version of this view. According to Papineau, the difference between our “phenomenal” and “material” concepts of consciousness produces an instinctive but erroneous intuition that these concepts can’t co-refer. I claim that this account fails. To begin with, it is arguable that we are mystified about physicalism even when the account predicts that we shouldn’t be. Further, and worse, the account predicts that an “intuition of distinctness” will arise in cases where it clearly does not. In conclusion, I make some remarks on the prospects for, constraints on, and (physicalist) alternatives to, a successful defence of the claim (ii)
Taylor, John G. (1998). Cortical activity and the explanatory gap. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):109-48.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Abstract: An exploration is given of neural network features now being uncovered in cortical processing which begins to go a little way to help bridge the ''Explanatory Gap'' between phenomenal consciousness and correlated brain activity. A survey of properties suggested as being possessed by phenomenal consciousness leads to a set of criteria to be required of the correlated neural activity. Various neural styles of processing are reviewed and those fitting the criteria are selected for further analysis. One particular processing style, in which semiautonomous and long-lasting cortical activity ''bubbles'' are created by input, is selected as being the most appropriate. Further experimental criteria are used to help narrow the possible neural styles involved. This leads to a class of neural models underpinning phenomenal consciousness and to a related set of testable predictions
Tye, Michael (2001). Oh yes it is. Mind 110 (439):695-697.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Tye, Michael (1999). Phenomenal consciousness: The explanatory gap as a cognitive illusion. Mind 108 (432):705-25.   (Cited by 35 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The thesis that there is a troublesome explanatory gap between the phenomenal aspects of experiences and the underlying physical and functional states is given a number of different interpretations. It is shown that, on each of these interpretations, the thesis is false. In supposing otherwise, philosophers have fallen prey to a cognitive illusion, induced largely by a failure to recognize the special character of phenomenal concepts
Unwin, Nicholas (ms). Explaining Colour Phenomenology: Reduction versus Connection.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: A major part of the mind–body problem is to explain why a given set of physical processes should give rise to qualia of one sort rather than another. Colour hues are the usual example considered here, and there is a lively debate between, for example, Hardin, Levine, Jackson, Clark and Chalmers as to whether the results of colour vision science can provide convincing explanations of why colours actually look the way they do. This paper examines carefully the type of explanation that is needed here, and it is concluded that it does not have to be reductive to be effective. What needs to be explained more than anything is why inverted hue scenarios are more intuitive than other sensory inversions: and the issue of physicalism versus dualism is only of marginal relevance here.
van Gulick, Robert (2000). Closing the gap? Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):93-97.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
van Gulick, Robert (2003). Maps, gaps, and traps. In Quentin Smith & Aleksandar Jokic (eds.), Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
van der Heijden, A. H. C.; Hudson, P. T. W. & Kurvink, A. G. (1997). On widening the explanatory gap. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 20 (1):157-158.   (Google)
Abstract: The explanatory gap refers to the lack of concepts for understanding “how it is that . . . a state of consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue.” By assuming that there are colours in the outside world, Block needlessly widens this gap and Lycan and Kitcher simply fail to see the gap. When such assumptions are abandoned, an unnecessary and incomprehensible constraint disappears. It then becomes clear that the brain can use its own neural language for representing aspects of the outside world. While this may not close the gap, it becomes clearer where we need new concepts
van Gulick, Robert (1999). Taking a step back from the gap. In The Proceedings of the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, Volume 2: Metaphysics. Bowling Green: Philosophy Doc Ctr.   (Google)
Webster, W. R. (2002). A case of mind/brain identity: One small bridge for the explanatory gap. Synthese 131 (2):275-287.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Webster, W. R. (2003). Revelation and transparency in colour vision refuted: A case of mind/brain identity and another bridge over the explanatory gap. Synthese 133 (3):419-39.   (Google)
Abstract:   Russell (1912) and others have argued that the real nature of colour is transparentto us in colour vision. It's nature is fully revealed to us and no further knowledgeis theoretically possible. This is the doctrine of revelation. Two-dimensionalFourier analyses of coloured checkerboards have shown that apparently simple,monadic, colours can be based on quite different physical mechanisms. Experimentswith the McCollough effect on different types of checkerboards have shown thatidentical colours can have energy at the quite different orientations of Fourierharmonic components but no energy at the edges of the checkerboards, thusrefuting revelation. It is concluded that this effect is not explained by a superveniencedispositional account of colour as proposed by McGinn (1996). It was argued that theMcCollough effect in checkerboards was an example of a local mind/body reduction(Kim 1993), by which the different characteristics of identical colours falsifies revelation. This reduction being based on both physical and neurological mechanisms led to a clear explanation of the perceive phenomenal effects and thus laid a small bridge over the explanatory gap

1.2d `Hard' and `Easy' Problems

Alter, Torin (forthcoming). The hard problem of consciousness. In T. Bayne, A. Cleeremans & P. Wilken (eds.), Oxford Companion to Consciousness. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: As I type these words, cognitive systems in my brain engage in visual and auditory information processing. This processing is accompanied by subjective states of consciousness, such as the auditory experience of hearing the tap-tap-tap of the keyboard and the visual experience of seeing the letters appear on the screen. How does the brain's activity generate such experiences? Why should it be accompanied by conscious experience in the first place? This is the hard problem of consciousness
Arvan, Marcus (1998). Out with Qualia and in with Consciousness: Why the Hard Problem is a Myth. Dissertation, Tufts Honours Thesis   (Google)
Abstract: The subjective features of conscious mental processes--as opposed to their physical causes and effects--cannot be captured by the purified form of thought suitable for dealing with the physical world that underlies appearances." (Nagel, in Dennett, 1991, p. 372)
Bilodeau, D. (1996). Physics, machines, and the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (5-6):386-401.   (Cited by 6 | Google)
Block, Ned (2002). The harder problem of consciousness. Journal of Philosophy 99 (8):391-425.   (Cited by 23 | Google | More links)
Abstract: consciousness comes about as a result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of Djin when Aladdin rubbed his lamp
Brooks, David (2000). How to solve the hard problem: A predictable inexplicability. Psyche 6 (4):5-20.   (Google)
Chalmers, David J. (1996). Can consciousness be reductively explained? In The Conscious Mind. Oxford University Press.   (Annotation | Google)
Chalmers, David J. (1995). Facing up to the problem of consciousness. [Journal (Paginated)] 2 (3):200-19.   (Cited by 499 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: To make progress on the problem of consciousness, we have to confront it directly. In this paper, I first isolate the truly hard part of the problem, separating it from more tractable parts and giving an account of why it is so difficult to explain. I critique some recent work that uses reductive methods to address consciousness, and argue that such methods inevitably fail to come to grips with the hardest part of the problem. Once this failure is recognized, the door to further progress is opened. In the second half of the paper, I argue that if we move to a new kind of nonreductive explanation, a naturalistic account of consciousness can be given. I put forward my own candidate for such an account: a nonreductive theory based on principles of structural coherence and organizational invariance, and a double-aspect theory of information
Chalmers, David J. (1997). Moving forward on the problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 4 (1):3-46.   (Cited by 37 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper is a response to the 26 commentaries on my paper "Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness". First, I respond to deflationary critiques, including those that argue that there is no "hard" problem of consciousness or that it can be accommodated within a materialist framework. Second, I respond to nonreductive critiques, including those that argue that the problems of consciousness are harder than I have suggested, or that my framework for addressing them is flawed. Third, I address positive proposals for addressing the problem of consciousness, including those based in neuroscience and cognitive science, phenomenology, physics, and fundamental psychophysical theories. Reply to: Baars, Bilodeau, Churchland, Clark, Clarke, Crick & Koch, Dennett, Hameroff & Penrose, Hardcastle, Hodgson, Hut & Shepard, Libet, Lowe, MacLennan, McGinn, Mills, O'Hara & Scutt, Price, Robinson, Rosenberg, Seager, Shear, Stapp, Varela, Velmans
Chalmers, David J. (2007). The hard problem of consciousness. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Chalmers, David J. (1995). The puzzle of conscious experience. Scientific American 273 (6):80-86.   (Cited by 89 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: Conscious experience is at once the most familiar thing in the world and the most mysterious. There is nothing we know about more directly than consciousness, but it is extraordinarily hard to reconcile it with everything else we know. Why does it exist? What does it do? How could it possibly arise from neural processes in the brain? These questions are among the most intriguing in all of science
Chalmers, David J. (1998). The problems of consciousness. In H. Jasper, L. Descarries, V. Castellucci & S. Rossignol (eds.), Consciousness: At the Frontiers of Neuroscience. Lippincott-Raven.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper is an edited transcription of a talk at the 1997 Montreal symposium on "Consciousness at the Frontiers of Neuroscience". There's not much here that isn't said elsewhere, e.g. in "Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness" and "How Can We Construct a Science of Consciousness?"]]
Churchland, Patricia S. (1996). The hornswoggle problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (5-6):402-8.   (Cited by 20 | Annotation | Google)
Clark, Thomas W. (1995). Function and phenomenology: Closing the explanatory gap. Journal of Consciousness Studies 2:241-54.   (Cited by 13 | Annotation | Google)
Cleeremans, Axel (1998). The other hard problem: How to bridge the gap between subsymbolic and symbolic cognition. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (1):22-23.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The constructivist notion that features are purely functional is incompatible with the classical computational metaphor of mind. I suggest that the discontent expressed by Schyns, Goldstone and Thibaut about fixed-features theories of categorization reflects the growing impact of connectionism, and show how their perspective is similar to recent research on implicit learning, consciousness, and development. A hard problem remains, however: How to bridge the gap between subsymbolic and symbolic cognition
Cotterill, Rodney M. J. (2003). Conscious unity, emotion, dreaming, and the solution of the hard problem. In Axel Cleeremans (ed.), The Unity of Consciousness. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Crick, Francis & Koch, Christof (1995). Why neuroscience may be able to explain consciousness. Scientific American 273 (6):84-85.   (Cited by 17 | Annotation | Google)
Dempsey, L. (2002). Chalmers's fading and dancing qualia: Consciousness and the "hard problem". Southwest Philosophy Review 18 (2):65-80.   (Google)
Dennett, Daniel C. (1996). Commentary on Chalmers "facing backwards on the problem of consciousness". [Journal (Paginated)].   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The strategy of divide and conquer is usually an excellent one, but it all depends on how you do the carving. Chalmer's attempt to sort the "easy" problems of consciousness from the "really hard" problem is not, I think, a useful contribution to research, but a major misdirector of attention, an illusion-generator. How could this be? Let me describe two somewhat similar strategic proposals, and compare them to Chalmers' recommendation
Dennett, Daniel C. (2003). Explaining the "magic" of consciousness. Journal of Cultural and Evolutionary Psychology 1 (1):7-19.   (Google)
Dennett, Daniel C. (1996). Facing backwards on the problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):4-6.   (Cited by 29 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Dournaee, Blake H. (2010). Comments on “the replication of the hard problem of consciousness in ai and bio-ai”. Minds and Machines 20 (2).   (Google)
Abstract: In their joint paper entitled “ The Replication of the Hard Problem of Consciousness in AI and BIO - AI ” (Boltuc et al. Replication of the hard problem of conscious in AI and Bio- AI: An early conceptual framework 2008 ), Nicholas and Piotr Boltuc suggest that machines could be equipped with phenomenal consciousness, which is subjective consciousness that satisfies Chalmer’s hard problem (We will abbreviate the hard problem of consciousness as “H-consciousness”). The claim is that if we knew the inner workings of phenomenal consciousness and could understand its’ precise operation, we could instantiate such consciousness in a machine. This claim, called the extra - strong AI thesis, is an important claim because if true it would demystify the privileged access problem of first-person consciousness and cast it as an empirical problem of science and not a fundamental question of philosophy. A core assumption of the extra-strong AI thesis is that there is no logical argument that precludes the implementation of H-consciousness in an organic or in-organic machine provided we understand its algorithm. Another way of framing this conclusion is that there is nothing special about H-consciousness as compared to any other process. That is, in the same way that we do not preclude a machine from implementing photosynthesis, we also do not preclude a machine from implementing H-consciousness. While one may be more difficult in practice, it is a problem of science and engineering, and no longer a philosophical question. I propose that Boltuc’s conclusion, while plausible and convincing, comes at a very high price; the argument given for his conclusion does not exclude any conceivable process from machine implementation. In short, if we make some assumptions about the equivalence of a rough notion of algorithm and then tie this to human understanding, all logical preconditions vanish and the argument grants that any process can be implemented in a machine. The purpose of this paper is to comment on the argument for his conclusion and offer additional properties of H-consciousness that can be used to make the conclusion falsifiable through scientific investigation rather than relying on the limits of human understanding
Duch, Włodzisław (2001). Facing the hard question. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 24 (1):187-188.   (Google)
Abstract: The following questions are considered: Why is it difficult to create a theory of consciousness? What are the contents of consciousness? What kind of theory is acceptable as transparent? and, What is the value of conscious experience?
Dupre, John (2009). Hard and easy questions about consciousness. In P. M. S. Hacker, Hans-Johann Glock & John Hyman (eds.), Wittgenstein and Analytic Philosophy: Essays for P.M.S. Hacker. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Eilan, Naomi M. (2000). Primitive consciousness and the 'hard problem'. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):28-39.   (Google)
Elitzur, Avshalom C. (2009). Consciousness makes a difference: A reluctant dualist’s confession. In A. Batthyany & A. C. Elitzur (eds.), Irreducibly Conscious: Selected Papers on Consciousness.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper’s outline is as follows. In sections 1-3 I give an exposi¬tion of the Mind-Body Problem, with emphasis on what I believe to be the heart of the problem, namely, the Percepts-Qualia Nonidentity and its incompatibility with the Physical Closure Paradigm. In 4 I present the “Qualia Inaction Postulate” underlying all non-interactionist theo¬ries that seek to resolve the above problem. Against this convenient postulate I propose in section 5 the “Bafflement Ar¬gument,” which is this paper's main thesis. Sections 6-11 critically dis¬cuss attempts to dismiss the Bafflement Argument by the “Baf¬flement=Mis¬perception Equation.” Section 12 offers a refutation of all such attempts in the form of a concise “Asymmetry Proof.” Section 13 points out the bearing of the Bafflement Argument on the evolutionary role of consciousness while section 14 acknowledges the price that has to be paid for it in terms of basic physical principles. Section 15 summarizes the paper, pointing out the inescapability of interactionist dualism.
Gao, Mr Shan (ms). Quantum, consciousness and panpsychism: A solution to the hard problem.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: We analyze the results and implications of the combination of quantum and consciousness in terms of the recent QSC analysis. The quantum effect of consciousness is first explored. We show that the consciousness of the observer can help to distinguish the nonorthogonal states under some condition, while the usual physical measuring device without consciousness can’t. The result indicates that the causal efficacies of consciousness do exist when considering the basic quantum process. Based on this conclusion, we demonstrate that consciousness is not reducible or emergent, but a new fundamental property of matter. This provides a quantum basis for panpsychism. Furthermore, we argue that the conscious process is one kind of quantum computation process based on the analysis of consciousness time and combination problem. It is shown that a unified theory of matter and consciousness should include two parts: one is the complete quantum evolution of matter state, which includes the definite nonlinear evolution element introduced by consciousness, and the other is the psychophysical principle or corresponding principle between conscious content and matter state. Lastly, some experimental suggestions are presented to confirm the theoretical analysis of the paper
Gray, Jeffrey A. (2004). Consciousness: Creeping Up on the Hard Problem. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 24 | Google | More links)
Gray, Jeffrey A. (1998). Creeping up on the hard question of consciousness. In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II. MIT Press.   (Cited by 7 | Google)
Gray, Jeffrey A. (2005). Synesthesia: A window on the hard problem of consciousness. In Lynn C. Robertson & Noam Sagiv (eds.), Synesthesia: Perspectives From Cognitive Neuroscience. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Harnad, Stevan (2000). Correlation vs. causality: How/why the mind-body problem is hard. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):54-61.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The Mind/Body Problem (M/BP) is about causation not correlation. And its solution (if there is one) will require a mechanism in which the mental component somehow manages to play a causal role of its own, rather than just supervening superflously on other, nonmental components that look, for all the world, as if they can do the full causal job perfectly well without it. Correlations confirm that M does indeed "supervene" on B, but causality is needed to show how/why M is not supererogatory; and that's the hard part
Harnad, Stevan (2001). Explaining the mind: Problems, problems. [Journal (Paginated)] 41:36-42.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The mind/body problem is the feeling/function problem: How and why do feeling systems feel? The problem is not just "hard" but insoluble (unless one is ready to resort to telekinetic dualism). Fortunately, the "easy" problems of cognitive science (such as the how and why of categorization and language) are not insoluble. Five books (by Damasio, Edelman/Tononi, McGinn, Tomasello and Fodor) are reviewed in this context
Harnad, Stevan (2001). No easy way out. [Journal (Paginated)].   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The mind/body problem is the feeling/function problem: How and why do feeling systems feel? The problem is not just "hard" but insoluble (unless one is ready to resort to telekinetic dualism). Fortunately, the "easy" problems of cognitive science (such as the how and why of categorization and language) are not insoluble. Five books (by Damasio, Edelman/Tononi, McGinn, Tomasello and Fodor) are reviewed in this context
Harnad, Stevan (1998). The hardships of cognitive science. [Journal (Paginated)].   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Comments on David Chalmers's "hard problem" and some unsuccessful attempts to solve it
Hodgson, David (1996). The easy problems ain't so easy. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):69-75.   (Cited by 8 | Annotation | Google)
Hodes, Greg P. (2005). What would it "be like" to solve the hard problem?: Cognition, consciousness, and qualia zombies. Neuroquantology 3 (1):43-58.   (Google)
Hohwy, Jakob (2004). Evidence, explanation, and experience: On the harder problem of consciousness. Journal of Philosophy 101 (5):242-254.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Creatures that have different physical realizations than human beings may or may not be conscious. Ned Block’s ‘harder problem of consciousness’ is that naturalistic phenomenal realists have no conception of a rational ground for belief that they have or have not discovered consciousness in such a creature. Drawing on the notion of inference to the best explanation, it appears the arguments to these conclusions beg the question and ignore that explanation may be a guide to discovery. Thus, best explanation can both validate an interpretation of the evidence and lead to the discovery of consciousness.
Horst, Steven (1999). Evolutionary explanation and the hard problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 6 (1):39-48.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Horgan, Terry (2009). Materialism, minimal emergentism, and the hard problem of consciousness. In Robert C. Koons & George Bealer (eds.), The Waning of Materialism: New Essays. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Howell, Robert J. (online). The Hard Problem of Consciousness. Scholarpedia.   (Google)
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Abstract: Much of the dif?culty in assessing theories of consciousness stems from their advo- cates not supplying adequate or convincing characterisations of the phenomenon (or data) they hope to explain. Yet, to make any reasonable assessment this is precisely what is required, for it is not as if our
Hut, Piet & Shepard, Roger N. (1996). Turning the "hard problem" upside-down and sideways. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (4):313-29.   (Cited by 15 | Annotation | Google)
Ismael, Jenann (1999). Science and the phenomenal. Philosophy of Science 66 (3):351-69.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Jack, Anthony; Robbins, Philip & Roepstorff, and Andreas (online). The genuine problem of consciousness.   (Google)
Abstract: Those who are optimistic about the prospects of a science of consciousness, and those who believe that it lies beyond the reach of standard scientific methods, have something in common: both groups view consciousness as posing a special challenge for science. In this paper, we take a close look at the nature of this challenge. We show that popular conceptions of the problem of consciousness, epitomized by David Chalmers’ formulation of the ‘hard problem’, can be best explained as a cognitive illusion, which arises as a by-product of our cognitive architecture. We present evidence from numerous sources to support our claim that we have a specialized system for thinking about phenomenal states, and that an inhibitory relationship exists between this system and the system we use to think about physical mechanisms. Even though the ‘hard problem’ is an illusion, unfortunately it appears that our cognitive architecture forces a closely related problem upon us. The ‘genuine problem’ of consciousness shares many features with the hard problem, and it also represents a special challenge for psychology. Nonetheless, researchers should be careful not to mistake the hard problem for the genuine problem, since the strategies appropriate for dealing with these problems differ in important respects
Kirsh, Marvin Eli, The hard problem of consciousness studies.   (Google)
Abstract:      The question addressed by the hard problem of philosophy (3), how cognitive representation is acquired from the physical properties of self and the external, is examined from a perspective originating with Boethius(14) that knowledge is dependant on the nature of the perceiver and discussed with respect to the philosophy of George Berkeley (1,2,7) concerning the existence of matter with respect to perception. An account of the trails of history, scientific method, with respect to the naming and delineation of the hard problem suggest that its topic of address is a factor of plural elements-perceived as singular, a monism, only an aspect of its universality is perceived. A surface aspect is what seduces scientifically and, as a result, a confusion involving excessive abstraction and perceptually absent empirical fact, is postulated to accompany a false morality-an inclination to conquer it from scientific method is attributed to a seduction by naturally existing perplexity that is intermingled with unknown physical elements, themselves rooted from the same singular perplexity such that an ensuing interrogation targeted at the physical world and unavoidingly overlapping with the strictly philosophical has taken place. An invisible paper thin but sharp and self denigrating third facet to the commonly known philosophical walls, within the perplexing and the logical incongruence's, an artifact of perception and modeling of nature, results in a combined scientific (physical) and philosophical (reflective) assailing of natural paradox in a pursuit to summit human sufferings that are suggested to be, at least in part, of an unnatural and physical origin. Included as a conceptual tool is a section that discusses all possible human behavior as intuitively contained by the set of all the possible paths of nature emerged up to present and continued to emerge
Lewis, Harry A. (1998). Consciousness: Inexplicable - and useless too? Journal of Consciousness Studies 5 (1):59-66.   (Google)
Libet, Benjamin W. (1996). Solutions to the hard problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):33-35.   (Cited by 6 | Annotation | Google)
Lipkin, Michael (2005). The field concept in current models of consciousness: A tool for solving the hard problem? Mind and Matter 3 (2):29-85.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Lloyd, Peter (online). Berkeley revisited: The hard problem considered easy.   (Google)
Abstract: The philosophical mind-body problem, which Chalmers has named the 'Hard Problem', concerns the nature of the mind and the body. Physicalist approaches have been explored intensively in recent years but have brought us no consensual solution. Dualistic approaches have also been scrutinised since Descartes, but without consensual success. Mentalism has received little attention, yet it offers an elegantly simple solution to the hard problem
Lowe, E. J. (1995). There are no easy problems of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 2:266-71.   (Cited by 11 | Annotation | Google)
MacLennan, Bruce J. (1996). The elements of consciousness and their neurodynamical correlates. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (5):409-424.   (Cited by 10 | Google | More links)
Mandik, Pete (2008). An epistemological theory of consciousness? In Alessio Plebe & Vivian De La Cruz (eds.), Philosophy in the Neuroscience Era. Squilibri.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This article tackles problems concerning the reduction of phenomenal consciousness to brain processes that arise in consideration of specifically epistemological properties that have been attributed to conscious experiences. In particular, various defenders of dualism and epiphenomenalism have argued for their positions by assuming special epistemic access to phenomenal consciousness. Many physicalists have reacted to such arguments by denying the epistemological premises. My aim in this paper is to take a different approach in opposing dualism and argue that when we correctly examine both the phenomenology and neural correlates of phenomenal consciousness we will see that granting the epistemological premises of special access are the best hope for a scientific study of consciousness. I argue that essential features of consciousness involve both their knowability by the subject of experience as well as their egocentricity, that is, their knowability by the subject as belonging to the subject. I articulate a neuroscientifically informed theory of phenomenal consciousness
Mashour, George A. & LaRock, Eric (forthcoming). Inverse Zombies, Anesthesia Awareness, and the Hard Problem of Unconsciousness. Consciousness and Cognition.   (Google)
Abstract: Philosophical (p-) zombies are constructs that possess all of the behavioral features and responses of a sentient human being, yet are not conscious. P-zombies are intimately linked to the hard problem of consciousness and have been invoked as arguments against physicalist approaches. But what if we were to invert the characteristics of p-zombies? Such an inverse (i-) zombie would possess all of the behavioral features and responses of an insensate being yet would nonetheless be conscious. While p-zombies are logically possible but naturally improbable, an approximation of i-zombies actually exists: individuals experiencing what is referred to as “anesthesia awareness.” Patients under general anesthesia may be intubated (preventing speech), paralyzed (preventing movement), and narcotized (minimizing response to nociceptive stimuli). Thus, they appear—and typically are—unconscious. In 1-2 cases/1000, however, patients may be aware of intraoperative events, sometimes without any objective indices. Furthermore, a much higher percentage of patients (22% in a recent study) may have the subjective experience of dreaming during general anesthesia. P-zombies confront us with the hard problem of consciousness—how do we explain the presence of qualia? I-zombies present a more practical problem—how do we detect the presence of qualia? The current investigation compares p-zombies to i-zombies and explores the “hard problem” of unconsciousness with a focus on anesthesia awareness.
McFadden, J. (2002). The conscious electromagnetic information (cemi) field theory: The hard problem made easy? Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (8):45-60.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
McFadden, J. (2002). The conscious electromagnetic field: The hard problem made easy? Journal of Consciousness Studies.   (Google)
McLaughlin, Brian P. (2003). A naturalist-phenomenal realist response to Block's harder problem. Philosophical Issues 13 (1):163-204.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: widely held commitments: to phenomenal realism and to naturalism. Phenomenal realism is the view that (a) we are phenomenally consciousness, and that (b) there is no a priori or armchair sufficient condition for phenomenal consciousness that can be stated (non- circularly) in nonphenomenal terms (p.392).1,2 Block points out that while phenomenal realists reject
Mills, Eugene O. (1996). Giving up on the hard problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):26-32.   (Cited by 4 | Annotation | Google)
Mills, Frederick B. (1998). The easy and hard problems of consciousness: A cartesian perspective. Journal of Mind and Behavior 19 (2):119-40.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
O'Hara, Kieron & Scutt, Tom (1996). There is no hard problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (4):290-302.   (Annotation | Google)
Peterson, Gregory R. (2009). A hard problem indeed. Zygon 44 (1):19-29.   (Google)
Abstract: Owen Flanagan's The Really Hard Problem provides a rich source of reflection on the question of meaning and ethics within the context of philosophical naturalism. I affirm the title's claim that the quest to find meaning in a purely physical universe is indeed a hard problem by addressing three issues: Flanagan's claim that there can be a scientific/empirical theory of ethics (eudaimonics), that ethics requires moral glue, and whether, in the end, Flanagan solves the hard problem. I suggest that he does not, although he provides much that is of importance and useful for further reflection along the way
Pharoah, Mark (ms). 'Thing-in-itself' - Exploring the relationship between phenomenal experience and the phenomenon of consciousness.   (Google)
Abstract: If one were to provide a reductive explanation of phenomenal experience one would explain why there could be a phenomenal experience that identifies itself as an individual that possesses ‘consciousness’. Although not a requirement of reduction, such an explanation would be consistent with our understanding of evolution and, consequently, explain the physical origins and purpose of phenomenal experience. However, this explanation would not explain why a particular conscious individual identifies itself as itself rather than any other individual - Why is ‘my’ consciousness ‘mine’ (materially, or otherwise, irrespective of experiential detail and content) rather than anyone else? What is consciousness outside of phenomenal experience and phenomenal conceptualization? In this paper, I argue that the indeterminacy of quantum mechanics makes it a suitable candidate for exploring the answers to these questions.
Platchias, Dimitris (2008). Experiencing a Hard Problem? Teorema (3):115-30.   (Google)
Polger, Thomas W. & Flanagan, Owen J. (online). Explaining the evolution of consciousness: The other hard problem.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Recently some philosophers interested in consciousness have begun to turn their attention to the question of what evolutionary advantages, if any, being conscious might confer on an organism. The issue has been pressed in recent dicussions involving David Chalmers, Todd Moody, Owen Flanagan and Thomas Polger, Daniel Dennett, and others. The purpose of this essay is to consider some of the problems that face anyone who wants to give an evolutionary explanation of consciousness. We begin by framing the problem in the context of some current debates. Then we
Robinson, William S. (1996). The hardness of the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):14-25.   (Cited by 8 | Google)
Rockwell, Teed, Commentary on a hard problem thought experiment.   (Google)
Abstract: In the seventh paragraph of the post, you say "This question [which machine, if any or both, is conscious/] seems to be in principle unfalsifiable, and yet genuinely meaningful." (I'm assuming that you mean that any answer to it is unfalsifiable.) My neo-Carnapian intuitions diagnoses the problem right at this point. Forget about attributions of meaningless and all that stuff. Replace it in your statement with more pragmatically-oriented evaluative notions: theoretically fruitless, arbitray without even being helpful for any theoretical, experimental, or practical purpose, and so on. Any answer to the question will be those. Thus the question is not worth pursuing, especially since the thought experiment is science fiction right now. A much more useful way to spend one's time is addressing frutiful questions, like the ones involved in constructing your postulated robots, or investigating neural mechanisms, and so on. So acknowledge the connection between unfalsifiability/verifiability/confirmability and theoretical and practical worthlessness (rather than "meaningless"). Then get on with the theoretically and empirically worthwhile questions. Many of the latter are quiter abstract and "philosophical," anyway (about the scope and limits of various methodologies, existing theories, and so on). Aren't those enough to occupy even the most abstract theorist's attention? Why puzzle about questions whose answers can't be rationally justified?
Rockwell, Teed (ms). The hard problem is dead: Long live the hard problem.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: I have assumed that consciousness exists, and that to redefine the problem as that of explaining how certain cognitive and behavioral functions are performed is unacceptable. . . .Like many people (materialists and dualists alike), I find this premise obvious, although I can no more "prove" it than I can prove that I am conscious. . . .there is no denying that such arguments - on either side - ultimately come down to a bedrock of intuition at some point. (Chalmers undated)
Rosenberg, Gregg H. (1996). Rethinking nature: A hard problem within the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):76-88.   (Cited by 6 | Annotation | Google)
Samsonovich, Alexei V.; Ascoli, Giorgio A.; Morowitz, Harold & Kalbfleisch, M. Layne (forthcoming). A scientific perspective on the hard problem of consciousness. In Benjamin Goertzel & Pei Wang (eds.), Advances in Artificial General Intelligence: Concepts, Architectures and Algorithms. Proceedings of the AGI Workshop 2008. Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications. IOS Press: Amsterdam.   (Google)
Shear, Jonathan (ed.) (1997). Explaining Consciousness: The Hard Problem. MIT Press.   (Cited by 60 | Annotation | Google)
Abstract: In this book philosophers, physicists, psychologists, neurophysiologists, computer scientists, and others address this central topic in the growing discipline...
Shear, Jonathan (1996). The hard problem: Closing the empirical gap. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):54-68.   (Cited by 13 | Annotation | Google)
Smart, J. J. C. (2004). Consciousness and awareness. Journal of Consciousness Studies 11 (2):41-50.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Stapp, Henry P. (1997). Science of consciousness and the hard problem. Journal of Mind and Behavior 18 (2-3):171-93.   (Cited by 18 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Quantum theory can be regarded as a rationally coherent theory of the interaction of mind and matter and it allows our conscious thoughts to play a causally e cacious and necessary role in brain dynamics It therefore provides a natural basis created by scientists for the science of consciousness As an illustration it is explained how the interaction of brain and consciousness can speed up brain processing and thereby enhance the survival prospects of conscious organisms as compared to similar organisms that lack consciousness As a second illustration it is explained how within the quantum framework the consciously experi enced I directs the actions of a human being It is concluded that contemporary science already has an adequate framework for incorporat ing causally e cacious experiential events into the physical universe in a manner that puts the neural correlates of consciousness into the theory in a well de ned way explains in principle how the e ects of consciousness per se can enhance the survival prospects of organisms that possess it allows this survival e ect to feed into phylogenetic de velopment and explains how the consciously experienced I can direct human behaviour..
Stapp, Henry P. (1995). The hard problem: A quantum approach. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (3):194-210.   (Cited by 25 | Google | More links)
Thomas, Nigel J. T. (2001). Color realism: Toward a solution to the "hard problem". Consciousness And Cognition 10 (1):140-145.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This article was written as a commentary on a target article by Peter W. Ross entitled "The Location Problem for Color Subjectivism" [Consciousness and Cognition 10(1), 42-58 (2001)], and is published together with it, and with other commentaries and Ross's reply. If you or your library have the necessary subscription you can get PDF versions of the target article, all the commentaries, and Ross's reply to the commentaries here. However, I do not think that it is by any means essential for you to have read Ross's piece in order to understand this one. Ross defends a view called "color physicalism" or color realism that holds (simplifying somewhat) that colors are real physical properties (in typical cases, spectral reflectances of object surfaces). This is in opposition to what is probably a more widely held "subjectivist" view of color, holding that color qualities really exist only in the mind. In my commentary I suggest that a realist view of qualitative properties, such as Ross's, together with a direct, active view of perception, and a concept of "extended mind" (Clark & Chalmers, 1998) may provide the materials for a real solution to the notorious hard problem of consciousness. I sketch this solution in outline. - N.J.T.T
Varela, F. (1995). Neurophenomenology: A methodological remedy for the hard problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (4):330-49.   (Cited by 248 | Annotation | Google)
Vasilyev, Vadim V. (2009). The Hard Problem of Consciousness and Two Arguments for Interactionism. Faith and Philosophy 26 (5):514-526.   (Google)
Abstract: The paper begins with a restatement of Chalmers's "hard problem of consciousness". It is suggested that an interactionist approach is one of the possible solutions of this problem. Some fresh arguments against the identity theory and epiphenomenalism as main rivals of interactionism are developed. One of these arguments has among its colloraries a denial of local supervenience, although not of the causal closure principle. As a result of these considerations a version of "local interactionism" (compatible with causal closure) is proposed.
Velmans, Prof Max (2007). How to separate conceptual issues from empirical ones in the study of consciousness. In Rahul Banerjee & Bikas Chakrabarti (eds.), [Book Chapter] (in Press). Elsevier.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Modern consciousness studies are in a healthy state, with many progressive empirical programmes in cognitive science, neuroscience and related sciences, using relatively conventional third-person research methods. However not all the problems of consciousness can be resolved in this way. These problems may be grouped into problems that require empirical advance, those that require theoretical advance, and those that require a re-examination of some of our pre-theoretical assumptions. I give examples of these, and focus on two problems—what consciousness is, and what consciousness does—that require all three. In this, careful attention to conscious phenomenology and finding an appropriate way to relate first-person evidence to third-person evidence appears to be central to progress. But we may also need to re-examine what we take to be “natural facts” about the world, and how we can know them. The same appears to be true for a trans-cultural understanding of consciousness that combines classical Indian phenomenological methods with the third-person methods of Western science
Velmans, Max (1995). The relation of consciousness to the material world. [Journal (Paginated)] 2 (3):255-65.   (Cited by 28 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Abstract: Many of the arguments about how to address the hard versus the easy questions of consciousness put by Chalmers (1995) are similar to ones I have developed in Velmans (1991a,b; 1993a). This includes the multiplicity of mind/body problems, the limits of functional explanation, the need for a nonreductionist approach, and the notion that consciousness may be related to neural/physical representation via a dual-aspect theory of information. But there are also differences. Unlike Chalmers I argue for the use of neutral information processing language for functional accounts rather than the term "awareness." I do not agree that functional equivalence cannot be extricated from phenomenal equivalence, and suggest a hypothetical experiment for doing so - using a cortical implant for blindsight. I argue that not all information has phenomenal accompaniments, and introduce a different form of dual-aspect theory involving "psychological complementarity." I also suggest that the hard problem posed by "qualia" has its origin in a misdescription of everyday experience implicit in dualism
Vranas, Peter B. M. (2008). Review of Owen Flanagan, The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (9).   (Google)
Warner, Richard (1996). Facing ourselves: Incorrigibility and the mind-body problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (3):217-30.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Wilber, Ken (online). The hard problem and integral psychology.   (Google)
Abstract: Although far from unanimous, there seems to be a general consensus that neither mind nor brain can be reduced without remainder to the other. This essay argues that indeed both mind and brain need to be included in a nonreductionistic way in any genuinely integral theory of consciousness. In order to facilitate such integration, this essay presents the results of an extensive cross-cultural literature search on the "mind" side of the equation, suggesting that the mental phenomena that need to be considered in any integral theory include developmental levels or waves of consciousness, developmental lines or streams of consciousness, states of consciousness, and the self (or self-system). A "master template" of these various phenomena, culled from over one-hundred psychological systems East and West, is presented. It is suggested that this master template represents a general summary of the "mind" side of the brain-mind integration. The essay concludes with reflections on the "hard problem," or how the mind-side can be integrated with the brain-side to generate a more integral theory of consciousness
Wright, Wayne (2007). Explanation and the hard problem. Philosophical Studies 132 (2):301-330.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
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
Zahavi, Dan (2003). Intentionality and phenomenality: A phenomenological take on the hard problem. Canadian Journal of Philosophy 29:63-92.   (Cited by 6 | Google)

1.2e Cognitive Closure

Allen, Sophie R. (online). A space oddity: McGinn on consciousness and space.   (Google | More links)
Brueckner, Anthony L. & Beroukhim, E. (2003). McGinn on consciousness and the mind-body problem. In Quentin Smith & Aleksandar Jokic (eds.), Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Dauer, Francis W. (2001). McGinn's materialism and epiphenomenalism. Analysis 61 (2):136-139.   (Google | More links)
Davies, W. M. (1999). Sir William Mitchell and the "new mysterianism". Australasian Journal of Philosophy 77 (3):253-73.   (Google | More links)
de Leon, David (1995). The limits of thought and the mind-body problem. Lund University Cognitive Studies 42.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper gives an account of Colin McGinn's essay: "Can We Solve the Mind-Body Problem?". McGinn's answer to his own essay title is that the problem is forever beyond us due to the particular nature of our cognitive abilities.The present author offers a number of criticisms of the arguments which support this conclusion
Dietrich, Eric & Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (2004). Sisyphus's Boulder: Consciousness and the Limits of the Knowable. John Benjamins.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In Sisyphus's Boulder, Eric Dietrich and Valerie Hardcastle argue that we will never get such a theory because consciousness has an essential property that...
Garcia, Robert K. (2000). Minds sans miracles: Colin McGinn's naturalized mysterianism. Philosophia Christi 2 (2):227-242.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Garvey, J. C. (1997). What does McGinn think we cannot know? Analysis 57 (3):196-201.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Hanson, Philip P. (1993). McGinn's cognitive closure. Dialogue 32 (3):579-85.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Jäger, Christoph (online). Skepticism, information, and closure.   (Google)
Kirk, Robert E. (1991). Why shouldn't we be able to solve the mind-body problem? Analysis 51 (January):17-23.   (Cited by 2 | Annotation | Google)
Kraemer, Eric Russert (2006). Moral mysterianism. Southwest Philosophy Review 22 (1):69-77.   (Google)
Krellenstein, Marc F. (1995). Unsolvable problems, visual imagery, and explanatory satisfaction. Journal of Mind and Behavior 16 (3):235-54.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: It has been suggested that certain problems may be unsolvable because of the mind's cognitive structure, but we may wonder what problems, and exactly why. The ultimate origin of the universe and the mind-body problem seem to be two such problems. As to why, Colin McGinn has argued that the mind-body problem is unsolvable because any theoretical concepts about the brain will be observation-based and unable to connect to unobservable subjective experience. McGinn's argument suggests a requirement of imagability -- an observation basis -- for physical causal explanation that cannot be met for either of these problems. Acausal descriptions may be possible but not the causal analyses that provide the greatest explanatory satisfaction, a psychological phenomenon that seems tied to the strength of the underlying observation basis but is affected by other factors as well
Kriegel, Uriah (2004). The new mysterianism and the thesis of cognitive closure. Acta Analytica 18 (30-31):177-191.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The paper discusses Colin McGinn’s mysterianist approach to the phenomenon of consciousness. According to McGinn, consciousness is, in and of itself, a fully natural phenomenon, but we humans are just cognitively closed to it, meaning that we cannot in principle understand its nature. I argue that, on a proper conception of the relation between an intellectual problem and its solution, we may well not know what the solution is to a problem we understand, or we may not understand exactly what the problem is, but it is incoherent to suppose that we cannot understand what would count as a solution to a problem we can and do understand. The argument appeals to certain accepted assumption in the logic of questions, developed in the early sixties, mainly by Stahl. I close with a general characterization of mysterianism as such, and formulate a form of mysterianism which is in some sense more optimistic and in another more pessimistic than McGinn’s
Kukla, Andr (1995). Mystery, mind, and materialism. Philosophical Psychology 8 (3):255-64.   (Google)
Abstract: McGinn claims that (1) there is nothing “inherently mysterious” about consciousness, even though (2) we will never be able to understand it. The first claim is no more than a rhetorical flourish. The second may be read either as a claim (1) that we are unable to construct an explanatory theory of consciousness, or (2) that any such theory must strike us as unintelligible, in the sense in which quantum mechanics is sometimes said to be unintelligible. On the first reading, McGinn's argument is based on a false premiss (the “homogeneity constraint"). On the second reading, it suffers from the shortcoming that the central notion of intelligibility is too obscure to permit any definite conclusion. I close with a brief discussion of the contemporary tendency to reject non-physicalist approaches to consciousness on a priori grounds
McDonough, Richard M. (1992). The last stand of mechanism. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 6 (3):206-25.   (Google)
McGinn, Colin (1995). Consciousness and space. In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience. Imprint Academic.   (Cited by 28 | Google)
McGinn, Colin (1991). Consciousness and the natural order. In The Problem of Consciousness. Blackwell.   (Annotation | Google)
McGinn, Colin (1989). Can we solve the mind-body problem? Mind 98 (July):349-66.   (Cited by 138 | Annotation | Google | More links)
McGinn, Colin (1993). Problems in Philosophy. Blackwell.   (Cited by 47 | Google | More links)
McGinn, Colin (1991). The hidden structure of consciousness. In The Problem of Consciousness. Blackwell.   (Cited by 2 | Annotation | Google)
McGinn, Colin (1999). The Mysterious Flame: Conscious Minds in a Material World. Basic Books.   (Cited by 61 | Google | More links)
McGinn, Colin (1991). The Problem of Consciousness: Essays Toward a Resolution. Blackwell.   (Cited by 185 | Annotation | Google)
McGinn, Colin (2003). What constitutes the mind-body problem. Philosophical Issues 13 (1):148-62.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Megill, Jason L. (2005). Locke's mysterianism: On the unsolvability of the mind-body problem. Locke Studies 5:119-147.   (Google)
Murphy, Peter (2006). A strategy for assessing closure (epistemic closure principle). Erkenntnis 65 (3):365-383.   (Google)
P, (2005). Mysteries and scandals: Transcendental naturalism and the future of philosophy. Critica 37 (110):35-52.   (Google)
Rowlands, Mark (2007). Mysterianism. In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell.   (Google)
Sacks, Mark (1994). Cognitive closure and the limits of understanding. Ratio 7 (1):26-42.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Taliaferro, Charles (1999). Mysterious flames in philosophy of mind. Philosophia Christi 1 (2):21-31.   (Google)
Whitely, C. H. (1990). McGinn on the mind-body problem. Mind 99 (394):289.   (Google | More links)
Worley, Sara (2000). What is property p, anyway? Analysis 60 (1):58-62.   (Google | More links)

1.2f Conceptual Analysis and A Priori Entailment

Balog, Katalin (2001). Commentary on Frank Jackson's from metaphysics to ethics. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):645–652.   (Google)
Abstract: Discussion of Frank Jackson’s a priori entailment thesis – which he employs to connect metaphysics and conceptual analysis. In From Metaphysics to Ethics. (2001) he develops this thesis within the two-dimensional framework and also proposes a formal argument for the existence of a priori truths. I argue that the two-dimensional framework doesn’t provide independent support for the a priori entailment thesis since one has to build into the framework assumptions as strong as the thesis itself.
Beaton, Michael (2009). Qualia and Introspection. Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (5):88-110.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: The claim that behaviourally undetectable inverted spectra are possible has been endorsed by many physicalists. I explain why this starting point rules out standard forms of scientific explanation for qualia. The modern ‘phenomenal concept strategy’ is an updated way of defending problematic intuitions like these, but I show that it cannot help to recover standard scientific explanation. I argue that Chalmers is right: we should accept the falsity of physicalism if we accept this problematic starting point. I further argue that accepting this starting point amounts to at least implicitly endorsing certain theoretical claims about the nature of introspection. I therefore suggest that we allow ourselves to be guided, in our quest to understand qualia, by whatever independently plausible theories of introspection we have. I propose that we adopt a more moderate definition of qualia, as those introspectible properties which cannot be fully specified simply by specifying the non-controversially introspectible ‘propositional attitude’ mental states (including seeing x, experiencing x, and so on, where x is a specification of a potentially public state of affairs). Qualia thus defined may well fit plausible, naturalisable accounts of introspection. If so, such accounts have the potential to explain, rather than explain away, the problematic intuitions discussed earlier; an approach that should allow integration of our understanding of qualia with the rest of science.
Blackburn, Simon (2000). Critical notice of Frank Jackson, from metaphysics to ethics: A defence of conceptual analysis. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 78 (1):119 – 124.   (Google | More links)
Block, Ned & Stalnaker, Robert (1999). Conceptual analysis, dualism, and the explanatory gap. Philosophical Review 108 (1):1-46.   (Cited by 119 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The explanatory gap . Consciousness is a mystery. No one has ever given an account, even a highly speculative, hypothetical, and incomplete account of how a physical thing could have phenomenal states. (Nagel, 1974, Levine, 1983) Suppose that consciousness is identical to a property of the brain, say activity in the pyramidal cells of layer 5 of the cortex involving reverberatory circuits from cortical layer 6 to the thalamus and back to layers 4 and 6,as Crick and Koch have suggested for visual consciousness. (See Crick (1994).) Still, that identity itself calls out for explanation! Proponents of an explanatory gap disagree about whether the gap is permanent. Some (e.g. Nagel, 1974) say that we are like the scientifically naive person who is told that matter = energy, but does not have the concepts required to make sense of the idea. If we can acquire these concepts, the gap is closable. Others say the gap is uncloseable because of our cognitive limitations. (McGinn, 1991) Still others say that the gap is a consequence of the fundamental nature of consciousness
Bloomfield, Paul (2005). Let's be realistic about serious metaphysics. Synthese 144 (1):69-90.   (Google)
Brown, Richard (2010). Deprioritizing the A Priori Arguments against Physicalism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 17 (4-5).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: In this paper I argue that a priori arguments fail to present any real problem for physicalism. They beg the question against physicalism in the sense that the argument will only seem compelling if one is already assuming that qualitative properties are nonphysical. To show this I will present the reverse-zombie and reverse-knowledge arguments. The only evidence against physicalism is a priori arguments, but there are also a priori arguments against dualism of exactly the same variety. Each of these parity arguments has premises that are just as intuitively plausible, and it cannot be the case that both the traditional scenarios and the reverse-scenarios are all ideally conceivable. Given this one set must be merely prima facie conceivable and only empirical methods will tell us which is which. So, by the time a priori methodology will be of any use it will be too late.
Byrne, Alex (1999). Cosmic hermeneutics. Philosophical Perspectives 13:347--84.   (Cited by 18 | Google | More links)
Carruthers, Peter (2004). Reductive explanation and the "explanatory gap". Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (2):153-174.   (Cited by 10 | Google)
Abstract: Can phenomenal consciousness be given a reductive natural explanation? Exponents of an
Chalmers, David J. & Jackson, Frank (2001). Conceptual analysis and reductive explanation. Philosophical Review 110 (3):315-61.   (Cited by 86 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Is conceptual analysis required for reductive explanation? If there is no a priori entailment from microphysical truths to phenomenal truths, does reductive explanation of the phenomenal fail? We say yes (Chalmers 1996; Jackson 1994, 1998). Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker say no (Block and Stalnaker 1999)
Crane, Tim (online). Cosmic hermeneutics vs emergence: The challenge of the explanatory gap.   (Google)
Abstract: This paper is a defence of Terence Horgan’s claim that any genuinely physicalist position must distinguish itself from (what has been traditionally known as) emergentism. I argue that physicalism is necessarily reductive in character -- it must either give a reductive account of apparently non-physical entities, or a reductive explanation of why there are non-physical entities. I argue that many recent ‘nonreductive’ physicalists do not do this, and that because of this they cannot adequately distinguish their view from emergentism. The conclusion is that this is the real challenge posed by Joseph Levine’s ‘explanatory gap’ argument: if physicalists cannot close the explanatory gap in Levine’s preferred way, they must find some other way to do it. Otherwise their view is indistinguishable from emergentism
Dowell, Janice (2008). A priori entailment and conceptual analysis: Making room for type-c physicalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (1):93 – 111.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: One strategy for blocking Chalmers's overall case against physicalism has been to deny his claim that showing that phenomenal properties are in some sense physical requires an a priori entailment of the phenomenal truths from the physical ones. Here I avoid this well-trodden ground and argue instead that an a priori entailment of the phenomenal truths from the physical ones does not require an analysis in the Jackson/Chalmers sense. This is to sever the dualist's link between conceptual analysis and a priori entailment by showing that the lack of the former does not imply the absence of the latter. Moreover, given the role of the argument from conceptual analysis in Chalmers's overall case for dualism, undermining that argument effectively undermines that case as a whole in a way that, I'll argue, undermining the conceivability arguments as stand-alone arguments does not
Dowell, J. L. (2008). A priori entailment and conceptual analysis: Making room for type-c physicalism. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (1):93 – 111.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: One strategy for blocking Chalmers's overall case against physicalism has been to deny his claim that showing that phenomenal properties are in some sense physical requires an a priori entailment of the phenomenal truths from the physical ones. Here I avoid this well-trodden ground and argue instead that an a priori entailment of the phenomenal truths from the physical ones does not require an analysis in the Jackson/Chalmers sense. This is to sever the dualist's link between conceptual analysis and a priori entailment by showing that the lack of the former does not imply the absence of the latter. Moreover, given the role of the argument from conceptual analysis in Chalmers's overall case for dualism, undermining that argument effectively undermines that case as a whole in a way that, I'll argue, undermining the conceivability arguments as stand-alone arguments does not
Dowell, Janice (ms). Serious metaphysics and the vindication of explanatory reductions.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Gertler, Brie (2002). Explanatory reduction, conceptual analysis, and conceivability arguments about the mind. Noûs 36 (1):22-49.   (Cited by 5 | Google | More links)
Abstract: The current stand-off between reductionists and anti-reductionists about the mental has sparked a long-overdue reexamination of key issues in philosophi- cal methodology.1 The resulting debate promises to advance our understand- ing of how empirical discoveries bear on the numerous philosophical problems which involve the analysis or reduction of kinds. The parties to this debate disagree about how, and to what extent, conceptual facts contribute to justify- ing explanatory reductions
Hornsby, Jennifer (2009). Physicalism, conceptual analysis, and acts of faith. In Ian Ravenscroft (ed.), Minds, Ethics, and Conditionals: Themes from the Philosophy of Frank Jackson. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Jackson, Frank (2007). A priori physicalism. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell.   (Google)
Jackson, Frank (2003). From H2O to water: The relevance to A Priori passage. In Hallvard Lillehammer & Gonzalo Rodriguez-Pereyra (eds.), Real Metaphysics. Routledge.   (Google)
Jackson, Frank (1998). From Metaphysics to Ethics. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 508 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Frank Jackson champions the cause of conceptual analysis as central to philosophical inquiry. In recent years conceptual analysis has been undervalued and widely misunderstood, suggests Jackson. He argues that such analysis is mistakenly clouded in mystery, preventing a whole range of important questions from being productively addressed. He anchors his argument in discussions of specific philosophical issues, starting with the metaphysical doctrine of physicalism and moving on, via free will, meaning, personal identity, motion, and change, to ethics and the philosophy of color. In this way the book not only offers a methodological program for philosophy, but also casts new light on some much-debated problems and their interrelations
Jackson, Frank (1994). Finding the Mind in the Natural World. In Roberto Casati, B. Smith & Stephen L. White (eds.), Philosophy and the Cognitive Sciences. Holder-Pichler-Tempsky.   (Cited by 27 | Annotation | Google)
Jackson, Frank (2006). On ensuring that physicalism is not a dual attribute theory in sheep's clothing. Philsophical Studies 131 (1):227-249.   (Google)
Abstract: Physicalists are committed to the determination without remainder of the psychological by the physical, but are they committed to this determination being a priori? This paper distinguishes this question understood de dicto from this question understood de re, argues that understood de re the answer is yes in a way that leaves open the answer to the question understood de dicto
Jackson, Frank (2001). Responses. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 62 (3):653-664.   (Google | More links)
Jackson, Frank (2005). The Case for a Priori Physicalism. In Christian Nimtz & Ansgar Beckermann (eds.), Philosophy-Science -Scientific Philosophy, Main Lectures and Colloquia of GAP 5, Fifth International Congress of the Society for Analytical Philosophy. Mentis.   (Cited by 4 | Google)
Kirk, Robert E. (2006). Physicalism and strict implication. Synthese 151 (3):523-536.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Suppose P is the conjunction of all truths statable in the austere vocabulary of an ideal physics. Then phsicalists are likely to accept that any truths not included in P are different ways of talking about the reality specified by P. This ‘redescription thesis’ can be made clearer by means of the ‘strict implication thesis’, according to which inconsistency or incoherence are involved in denying the implication from P to interesting truths not included in it, such as truths about phenomenal consciousness. Commitment to the strict implication thesis cannot be escaped by appeal to a posteriori necessary identities or entailments. A minimal physicalism formulated in terms of strict implication is preferable to one based on a priori entailment
Kriegel, Uriah (forthcoming). Self-Representationalism and the Explanatory Gap. In J. Liu & J. Perry (eds.), Consciousness and the Self: New Essays. Cambridge University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: According to the self-representational theory of consciousness – self- representationalism for short – a mental state is phenomenally conscious when, and only when, it represents itself in the right way. In this paper, I consider how self- representationalism might address the alleged explanatory gap between phenomenal consciousness and physical properties. I open with a presentation of self- representationalism and the case for it (§1). I then present what I take to be the most promising self-representational approach to the explanatory gap (§2). That approach is threatened, however, by an objection to self-representationalism, due to Levine, which I call the just more representation objection (§3). I close with a discussion of how the self-representationalist might approach the objection (§4).
Levin, Janet (2002). Is conceptual analysis needed for the reduction of qualitative states? Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 64 (3):571-591.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Lycan, William G. (2009). Serious metaphysics: Frank Jackson's defense of conceptual analysis. In Ian Ravenscroft (ed.), Minds, Ethics, and Conditionals: Themes from the Philosophy of Frank Jackson. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Marras, Ausonio (2005). Consciousness and reduction. British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 56 (2):335-361.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: among them Joseph Levine, David Chalmers, Frank Jackson and Jaegwon Kim?have claimed that there are conceptual grounds sufficient for ruling out the possibility of a reductive explanation of phenomenal consciousness. Their claim assumes a functional model of reduction (regarded by Kim as an alternative to the traditional Nagelian model) which requires an a priori entailment from the facts in the reduction base to the phenomena to be explained. The aim of this paper is to show that this is an unreasonable requirement?a requirement that no reductive explanation in science should be expected to satisfy. I argue that the functional model is not substantively different from the Nagelian model properly understood, and that the question whether consciousness is reductively explainable?in a sense involving property identifications or in some weaker sense compatible with Nagelian reduction?is a fundamentally empirical question, not one that can be settled on conceptual grounds alone. Introduction Kim's critique of the Nagelian model of reduction The functional model of reduction Is consciousness reducible? Psychophysical reduction: concluding remarks
McLaughlin, Brian P. (2007). On the limits of A Priori physicalism. In Brian P. McLaughlin & Jonathan D. Cohen (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell.   (Google)
Polger, Thomas W. (2008). H2O, 'water', and transparent reduction. Erkenntnis 69 (1).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Do facts about water have a priori, transparent, reductive explanations in terms of microphysics? Ned Block and Robert Stalnaker hold that they do not. David Chalmers and Frank Jackson hold that they do. In this paper I argue that Chalmers
Schroeter, Laura (2006). Against A Priori reductions. Philosophical Quarterly 56 (225):562-586.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: From Plato down to the logical empiricists, philosophers assumed that all empirical knowledge must rest on apriori semantic foundations. According to this philosophical tradition, empirical knowledge is possible only if the subject has an implicit apriori understanding of what it is her words and concepts refer to. You can
Witmer, D. Gene (2001). Conceptual analysis, circularity, and the commitments of physicalism. Acta Analytica 16 (26):119-133.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Witmer, D. Gene (2006). How to be a (sort of) A Priori physicalist. Philosophical Studies 131 (1):185-225.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: What has come to be known as “a priori physicalism” is the thesis, roughly, that the non-physical truths in the actual world can be deduced a priori from a complete physical description of the actual world. To many contemporary philosophers, a priori physicalism seems extremely implausible. In this paper I distinguish two kinds of a priori physicalism. One sort – strict a priori physicalism – I reject as both unmotivated and implausible. The other sort – liberal a priori physicalism – I argue is both motivated and plausible. This variety of a priori physicalism insists that the necessitation of non-physical truths by the physical facts must be underwritten in a certain fashion by a priori knowledge, but the a priori knowledge need not amount to a simple deduction of the non-physical truths from a complete physical description of the world. Further, this sort of liberal a priori physicalism has the advantage that it offers hope for a genuinely satisfying account of how the physical facts manage to necessitate the facts about phenomenal consciousness – thereby in effect solving the “hard problem” of consciousness. The first half of the paper sets out the motivation for liberal a priori physicalism and its superiority to the strict version; the second half presents one strategy available to the liberal a priori physicalist for showing how consciousness can be accommodated in a purely physical world

1.2g Explaining Consciousness, Misc

Tson, M. E. (ms). A Brief Explanation of Consciousness.   (Google)
Abstract: This short paper (4 pages) demonstrates how subjective experience, language, and consciousness can be explained in terms of abilities we share with the simplest of creatures, specifically the ability to detect, react to, and associate various aspects of the world.
Brook, Andrew (2005). Making consciousness safe for neuroscience. In Andrew Brook & Kathleen Akins (eds.), Cognition and the Brain: The Philosophy and Neuroscience Movement. Cambridge University Press.   (Google | More links)
Cheruvalath, Reena & Baiju, (2001). Can consciousness be explained? Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 18 (3):222-226.   (Google)
Churchland, Paul M. (1996). The rediscovery of light. Journal of Philosophy 93 (5):211-28.   (Cited by 17 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Churchland, Patricia S. (1998). What Should We Expect From a Theory of Consciousness? In H. Jasper, L. Descarries, V. Castellucci & S. Rossignol (eds.), Consciousness: At the Frontiers of Neuroscience. Lippincott-Raven.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Within the domain of philosophy, it is not unusual to hear the claim that most questions about the nature of consciousness are essentially and absolutely beyond the scope of science, no matter how science may develop in the twenty-first century. Some things, it is pointed out, we shall never _ever_ understand, and consciousness is one of them (Vendler 1994, Swinburne 1994, McGinn 1989, Nagel 1994, Warner 1994). One line of reasoning assumes that consciousness is the manifestation of a distinctly nonphysical thing, and hence has no physical properties that might be explored by techniques suitable to physical things. Dualism, as this view is known, is still to be found among those within the tradition of Kant and Hegel, as well as among some with religious convictions. Surprisingly, however, strenuous foot-dragging is evident even among philosophers of a materialist conviction. Indeed, one might say that it is the philosophical fashion of the 90's to pronounce consciousness unexplainable, and to find the explanatory aspirations of neurobiology to be faintly comic if not rather pitiful. The very word, "reductionism" has come to be used more or less synonymously with "benighted-scientism-run-amok", where scientistm apparently means "applying scientific techniques to domains where they are inapplicable." McGinn, perhaps the most unblushing of the naysayers, insists that we cannot expect even to make any headway on the problem. (p. 114) Ironically perhaps, here we are at a conference in honor of Dr. Herbert Jasper who was a great pioneer in moving neuroscience forward on this problem, and where results will be presented allegedly _showing_ additional progress on the problem. Because I am quite optimistic about future scientific progress on the nature of consciousness, my aim here, as a philosopher, is to address the most popular and influential of the skeptical arguments, and to explain why I find them unconvincing. Thus the overall form of the paper is negative, in the sense that I want to show why a set of naysaying arguments fail..
Clark, Austen (online). How to respond to philosophers on raw feels.   (Google)
Abstract: I address this talk to anyone who believes in the possibility of an informative empirical science about sensory qualities. Potentially this is a large audience. By "sensory quality" I mean those qualities manifest in various sensory experiences: color, taste, smell, touch, pain, and so on. We should include sensory modalities humans do not share, such as electro-reception in fish, echolocation in bats, or the skylight compass in birds. Those pursuing empirical science about this large domain might pursue it in the halls of experimental psychology, psycho-physics, psychometrics, psycho-physiology, sensory physiology, neuroscience, neuro-biology, comparative psychology, neuro-anatomy, and so on and on. These days even molecular genetics has kicked in with some notable recent contributions to the sequencing of genes for photopigments and for olfactory receptors. But to all those investigators in all those halls I bring bad news. Your discipline is _a priori_ impossible. Philosophers whom you do not know have uncovered _a priori_ proofs that empirical investigation which proceeds along the lines currently underway, or which will proceed along lines that are currently _imaginable_, does not, will not, and cannot explain the sensory qualities of experience. Or at least so they say. You might as well give up now
Copenhaver, Rebecca (2006). Is Thomas Reid a mysterian? Journal of the History of Philosophy 44 (3).   (Google)
Abstract: : Some critics find that Thomas Reid thinks the mind especially problematic, "hid in impenetrable darkness". I disagree. Reid does not hold that mind, more than body, resists explanation by the new science. The physical sciences have made great progress because they were transformed by the Newtonian revolution, and the key transformation was to stop looking for causes. Reid's harsh words are a call for methodological reform, consonant with his lifelong pursuit of a science of mind and also with his frequent (though overlooked) optimism about such a science
Cottrell, Allin (1995). Tertium datur? Reflections on Owen Flanagan's consciousness reconsidered. Philosophical Psychology 8 (1):85-103.   (Google)
Abstract: Owen Flanagan's arguments concerning qualia constitute an intermediate position between Dennett's “disqualification” of qualia and the thesis that qualia represent an insurmountable obstacle to constructive naturalism. This middle ground is potentially attractive, but it is shown to have serious problems. This is brought out via consideration of several classic areas of dispute connected with qualia, including the inverted spectrum, Frank Jackson's thought experiment, Hindsight, and epiphenomenalism. An attempt is made to formulate the basis for a less vulnerable variant on the “middle ground”
DeLancey, Craig (2007). Phenomenal experience and the measure of information. Erkenntnis 66 (3).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper defends the hypothesis that phenomenal experiences may be very complex information states. This can explain some of our most perplexing anti-physicalist intuitions about phenomenal experience. The approach is to describe some basic facts about information in such a way as to make clear the essential oversight involved, by way illustrating how various intuitive arguments against physicalism (such as Frank Jackson
de Weg, Henk bij (ms). Explaining consciousness and the duality of method.   (Google)
Abstract: In consciousness studies, the first-person perspective, seen as a way to approach consciousness, is often seen as nothing but a variant of the third-person perspective. One of the most important advocates of this view is Dennett. However, as I show in critical interaction with Dennett’s view, the first-person perspective and the third-person perspective are different ways of asking questions about themes. What these questions are is determined by the purposes that we have when we ask them. Since our purposes are different according to the perspective we take, each perspective has a set of leading questions of its own. This makes that the first-person perspective is an approach of consciousness that is substantially different from the third-person perspective, and that one cannot be reduced to the other. These perspectives are independent, although complementary approaches of the mind.
Elpidorou, Andreas (2010). Alva noë: Out of our heads: Why you are not your brain, and other lessons from the biology of consciousness. Minds and Machines 20 (1).   (Google)
Fingelkurts, Andrew A.; Fingelkurts, Alexander A. & Neves, Carlos F. H. (2010). Natural World Physical, Brain Operational, and Mind Phenomenal Space-Time. Physics of Life Reviews 7 (2):195-249.   (Google)
Abstract: Concepts of space and time are widely developed in physics. However, there is a considerable lack of biologically plausible theoretical frameworks that can demonstrate how space and time dimensions are implemented in the activity of the most complex life-system – the brain with a mind. Brain activity is organized both temporally and spatially, thus representing space-time in the brain. Critical analysis of recent research on the space-time organization of the brain’s activity pointed to the existence of so-called operational space-time in the brain. This space-time is limited to the execution of brain operations of differing complexity. During each such brain operation a particular short-term spatio-temporal pattern of integrated activity of different brain areas emerges within related operational space-time. At the same time, to have a fully functional human brain one needs to have a subjective mental experience. Current research on the subjective mental experience offers detailed analysis of space-time organization of the mind. According to this research, subjective mental experience (subjective virtual world) has definitive spatial and temporal properties similar to many physical phenomena. Based on systematic review of the propositions and tenets of brain and mind space-time descriptions, our aim in this review essay is to explore the relations between the two. To be precise, we would like to discuss the hypothesis that via the brain operational space-time the mind subjective space-time is connected to otherwise distant physical space-time reality.
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (1993). The naturalists versus the skeptics: The debate over a scientific understanding of consciousness. Journal of Mind and Behavior 14 (1):27-50.   (Cited by 7 | Annotation | Google)
Hardcastle, Valerie Gray (1996). The why of consciousness: A non-issue for materialists. Journal of Consciousness Studies 3 (1):7-13.   (Cited by 11 | Annotation | Google)
Hesslow, Germund (1996). Will neuroscience explain consciousness? Journal of Theoretical Biology 171 (7-8):29-39.   (Cited by 20 | Google)
Horst, Steven (2005). Modeling, localization and the explanation of phenomenal properties: Philosophy and the cognitive sciences at the beginning of the millennium. Synthese 147 (3):477-513.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: Case studies in the psychophysics, modeling and localization of human vision are presented as an example of
Humphrey, Nicholas (2002). Thinking about feeling. In G. Richard (ed.), [Book Chapter]. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Janew, Claus (2009). Omnipresent Consciousness and Free Will. In How Consciousness Creates Reality. CreateSpace.   (Google)
Abstract: This article is not an attempt to explain consciousness in terms basically of quantum physics or neuro-biology. Instead I should like to place the term "Consciousness" on a broader footing. I shall therefore proceed from everyday reality, precisely where we experience ourselves as conscious beings. I shall use the term in such a general way as to resolve the question whether only a human being enjoys consciousness, or even a thermostat. Whilst the difference is considerable, it is not fundamental. Every effect exists in the perception of a consciousness. I elaborate on its freedom of choice, in my view the most important source of creativity, in a similarly general way. The problems associated with a really conscious decision do not disappear by mixing determination with a touch of coincidence. Both must enter into a higher unity. In so doing it will emerge that a certain degree of freedom of choice is just as omnipresent as consciousness - an inherent part of reality itself.





























O'Regan, J. Kevin; Myin, Erik & No, (2005). Sensory consciousness explained (better) in terms of "corporality" and "alerting capacity". Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4:369-385.   (Google)
Abstract: How could neural processes be associated with phenomenal consciousness? We present a way to answer this question by taking the counterintuitive stance that the sensory feel of an experience is not a thing that happens to us, but a thing we do: a skill we exercise. By additionally noting that sensory systems possess two important, objectively measurable properties, corporality and alerting capacity, we are able to explain why sensory experience possesses a sensory feel, but thinking and other mental processes do not. We are additionally able to explain why different sensory feels differ in the way they do
Kirk, Robert E. (1995). How is consciousness possible? In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience. Imprint Academic.   (Cited by 3 | Google)
Kurthen, M. Moskopp (1995). On the prospects of a naturalistic theory of phenomenal consciousness. In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience. Imprint Academic.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Lazarov, Georgi (online). Materialism and the problem of consciousness: The aesthesionomic approach.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Lockwood, Michael (1998). The Enigma of Sentience. In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II. MIT Press.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Maxwell, Nicholas (2000). The mind-body problem and explanatory dualism. Philosophy 75 (291):49-71.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Maxwell, Nicholas (2002). Three philosophical problems about consciousness. Ethical Record 107 (4):3-11.   (Google)
Mills, Frederick B. (2001). A spinozist approach to the conceptual gap in consciousness studies. Journal Of Mind And Behavior 22 (1):91-101.   (Google)
Montero, Barbara (2004). Consciousness is puzzling but not paradoxical. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 59 (1):213-226.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Moody, Todd C. (2003). Consciousness and complexity. Progress in Information, Complexity, and Design 2 (3).   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Moody, Todd (2007). Naturalism and the problem of consciousness. Pluralist 2 (1):72-83.   (Google)
Morris, A. C. (1998). Commentary on ''cortical activity and the explanatory gap''. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):193-195.   (Google | More links)
Musacchio, J. M. (2005). Why do qualia and the mind seem nonphysical? Synthese 147 (3):425-460.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In this article, I discuss several of the factors that jeopardize our understanding of the nature of qualitative experiences and the mind. I incorporate the view from neuroscience to clarify the na
Nida-Rumelin, Martine (1997). Is the naturalization of qualitative experience possible or sensible? In Martin Carrier & Peter K. Machamer (eds.), Mindscapes: Philosophy, Science, and the Mind. Pittsburgh University Press.   (Google)
Nikolic, D. (1998). Commentary on ''cortical activity and the explanatory gap'' by John G. Taylor. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):196-201.   (Google | More links)
Nixon, Gregory (2010). Hollows of Memory: From Individual Consciousness to Panexperientialism and Beyond. Journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research (3):213-401.   (Google)
Abstract: Preface/Introduction

The question under discussion is metaphysical and truly elemental. It emerges in two aspects – how did we come to be conscious of our own existence, and, as a deeper corollary, do existence and awareness necessitate each other? I am bold enough to explore these questions and I invite you to come along; I make no claim to have discovered absolute answers. However, I do believe I have created here a compelling interpretation. You’ll have to judge for yourself.



What follows is the presentation of three essays I have worked on over the past several years seeing publication for the first time. “Hollows of Experience” was written first as an invited chapter for a collection on the ontology of consciousness. However, when cuts became necessary, my chapter got the knife. Its length has prohibited it from publication in any print journal. “Myth and Mind” was written next as a journal article, but as my involvement with it grew so did its length, so it has also idled on my websty awaiting its call. “From Panexperiential-ism to Conscious Experience” was written most recently, but it is the only one to have been available to the public elsewhere than my own website. Under the name, “The Continuum of Experience”, it was Target Article #95 on the recently closed Karl Jaspers Forum (for discussion purposes only).



I have put them in a different sequence here, for reasons of logical sense. Up first, “Panexperientialism” deals with an idea difficult for many to accept, namely that conscious experience is a particular mode of symbolically reflected experience that is largely unique to our species. However, I aver that experienced sensation in itself (as found, for example, in autonomic sensory response systems) goes “all the way down” into nature, and thus the title, panexperientialism.



Understanding this idea is helpful to dealing with the focus on language in Part I of “Hollows”, next, since here speech and general symbolic interaction in general are found to be the catalysts for the creation of our consciously experienced world (our “lived reality”). In Part II, however, I explore how experienced sensations must be coeval with existence, and, with even greater temerity, how all this sensational existence might have arisen within some literally inconceivable background of awareness-in-itself that yet has a dynamism that occasionally breaks into existence as experiential events and entities. (The latter may sound wacky, but physicists and cosmologists are themselves attempting to come to terms with that which seethes with vast potential energy in what they refer to as the quantum vacuum.)



“Myth and Mind” was put third since it deals with a major lacuna in “Hollows” – that presumed prehistoric period when members of our species made the painful crossing of the symbolic threshold into the beginnings of cultural consciousness. Speech plays a central role here, too, but I look more at narrative structures from the dawn of self-awareness when ritual and myth became vital to human survival. Why would fantastic stories and bizarre rituals be necessary? I speculate that growing foresight led to the unavoidable realization of certain mortality, from which, in turn, emerged the secondary realization that we were now alive. In contrast to our yet-to-come death, we have life here and now, and by ritually identifying with a symbolically expanded mythic, i.e., sacred, reality, we may continue to live on after bodily death, just as our ancestors and loved ones must also do. Language and mythmaking are necessary to avoid mortal despair and they remain at the core of human consciousness.



As Ernst Cassirer (1944) has noted, language and myth are “twin creatures”, both metaphoric webs over a reality we can never wholly comprehend. We live in the symbolic and construct our works of imagination and wars of conquest to make life meaningful, to feel immortal, and to sense that we ourselves participate in a reality greater than ourselves. No doubt we do, but this does not mean our culturally constructed self-identities survive the death of our bodies, and it does not imply that our symbolic concepts can ever indicate the ultimate truth. We simply must symbolize an extended reality that was sacred to our ancestors: “Is it not our way, as illusory as it may be, to force continuance on our world and our life in the face of their inevitable ending? Are we not compelled to extend those imagi-nary horizons as far as we can despite the terror and the sometime joy their extension incites? Is their closure not a form of death?” (Crapanzano, p. 210)



Of course, this leaves me in the uncomfortable position of being forced to admit that this venture of mine must inevitably be another attempt at meaningful mythmaking. But what else could it be? This is certainly not a scientific proof though it is indeed an academically rigorous exploration. (Just try to count the citations!) I hope the reader will judge my thesis on the basis of its coherence, the sense of meaning it evokes, my intellectual responsibility, and, finally, the engagement it inspires. If you have read my expositions and found yourself immersed in the timeless questions I here call forth, I would call these writings successful (even if you violently disagree with my answers).



I am very grateful to Huping Hu for granting me this special issue of JCER in which to present my ideas in some detail. He has patiently dealt with my exuberant approach and allowed the many changes I kept coming up with right until the final publication date. I also wish to thank the many potential commentators who politely replied to my invitation, and, even more, I thank those who made time to write actual commentaries.



References



Cassirer, E. (1944). An Essay on Man: An Introduction to a Philosophy of Hu-man Culture. New Haven/London: Yale UP.



Crapanzano, V. (2004). Imaginative Horizons: An Essay in Literary-Philosophical Anthropology. Chicago: U of Chicago Press.



Gregory M. Nixon

University of Northern British Columbia

Prince George, British Columbia, Canada

Email: doknyx@shaw.ca

Websty: http://members.shaw.ca/doknyx















Contents



Preface/Introduction 213



From Panexperientialism to Conscious Experience:

The Continuum of Experience 216



Hollows of Experience 234



Myth and Mind:

The Origin of Human Consciousness in the Discovery of the Sacred 289

Nixon, Gregory (2010). Myth and Mind: The Origin of Consciousness in the Discovery of the Sacred. journal of Consciousness Exploration and Research (3):289-337.   (Google)
Abstract: By accepting that the formal structure of human language is the key to understanding the uniquity of human culture and consciousness and by further accepting the late appearance of such language amongst the Cro-Magnon, I am free to focus on the causes that led to such an unprecedented threshold crossing. In the complex of causes that led to human being, I look to scholarship in linguistics, mythology, anthropology, paleontology, and to creation myths themselves for an answer. I conclude that prehumans underwent an existential crisis, i.e., the realization of certain mortality, that could be borne only by the discovery-creation of the larger realm of symbolic consciousness once experienced as the sacred (but today we know it as "the world" – as opposed to our immediate natural environment and that of other animals). Thus, although we, the human species, are but one species among innumerable others, we differ in kind, not degree. This quality is our symbolically enabled self-consciousness, the fortress of cultural identity that empowers but also imprisons awareness.
O'Regan, J. Kevin; Myin, Erik & No, (2005). Sensory consciousness explained (better) in terms of 'corporality' and 'alerting capacity'. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (4):369-387.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Abstract: How could neural processes be associated with phenomenal consciousness? We present a way to answer this question by taking the counterintuitive stance that the sensory feel of an experience is not a thing that happens to us, but a thing we do: a skill we exercise. By additionally noting that sensory systems possess two important, objectively measurable properties, corporality and alerting capacity, we are able to explain why sensory experience possesses a sensory feel, but thinking and other mental processes do not. We are additionally able to explain why different sensory feels differ in the way they do
Schilhab, T. S. S. (1998). Comments on ''cortical activity and the explanatory gap''. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):212-213.   (Google | More links)
Mensch, James R. (2000). An objective phenomenology: Husserl sees colors. Journal of Philosophical Research 25 (January):231-60.   (Google)
Abstract: David Chalmers expresses a general consensus when he writes that
Smith, D. J. (1998). Commentary on ''cortical activity and the explanatory gap'' by J. G. Taylor. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):214-215.   (Google)
Strawson, Galen (1999). Realistic Materialist Monism. In S. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak & D. Chalmers (eds.), Towards a Science of Consciousness III.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Short version of 'Real materialism', given at Tucson III Conference, 1998. (1) physicalism is true (2) the qualitative character of experience is real, as most naively understood ... so (3) the qualitative character of experience (considered specifically as such) is wholly physical. ‘How can consciousness possibly be physical, given what we know about the physical?’ To ask this question is already to have gone wrong. We have no good reason (as Priestley and Russell and others observe) to think that we know anything about the physical that gives us any reason to find any problem in the idea that consciousness is wholly physical.
Sytsma, Justin & Machery, Edouard (2009). How to study folk intuitions about phenomenal consciousness. Philosophical Psychology 22 (1):21 – 35.   (Google | More links)
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
Taylor, John G. (1998). Cortical activity and the explanatory gap. Consciousness and Cognition 7 (2):109-48.   (Cited by 14 | Google | More links)
Abstract: An exploration is given of neural network features now being uncovered in cortical processing which begins to go a little way to help bridge the ''Explanatory Gap'' between phenomenal consciousness and correlated brain activity. A survey of properties suggested as being possessed by phenomenal consciousness leads to a set of criteria to be required of the correlated neural activity. Various neural styles of processing are reviewed and those fitting the criteria are selected for further analysis. One particular processing style, in which semiautonomous and long-lasting cortical activity ''bubbles'' are created by input, is selected as being the most appropriate. Further experimental criteria are used to help narrow the possible neural styles involved. This leads to a class of neural models underpinning phenomenal consciousness and to a related set of testable predictions
Tson, M. E. (ms). From Dust to Descartes: A Mechanical and Evolutionary Explanation of Consciousness and Self-Awareness.   (Google)
Abstract: Beginning with physical reactions as simple and mechanical as rust, From Dust to Descartes goes step by evolutionary step to explore how the most remarkable and personal aspects of consciousness have arisen, how our awareness of the world of ourselves differs from that of other species, and whether machines could ever become self-aware. Part I addresses a newborn’s innate abilities. Part II shows how with these and experience, we can form expectations about the world. Parts III concentrates on the essential role that others play in the formation of self-awareness. Part IV then explores what follows from this explanation of human consciousness, touching on topics such as free will, personality, intelligence, and color perception which are often associated with self-awareness and the philosophy of mind.
van Gulick, Robert (1993). Understanding the phenomenal mind: Are we all just armadillos? In Martin Davies & Glyn W. Humphreys (eds.), Consciousness: Psychological and Philosophical Essays. Blackwell.   (Cited by 51 | Annotation | Google)
van Gulick, Robert (1995). What would count as explaining consciousness? In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience. Imprint Academic.   (Cited by 14 | Annotation | Google)
Vasilyev, Vadim V. (2006). Brain and consciousness: Exits from the labyrinth. Social Sciences 37 (2):51-66.   (Google)
Velmans, Max (2007). The co-evolution of matter and consciousness. Velmans, Prof Max (2007) the Co-Evolution of Matter and Consciousness. [Journal (Paginated)] 44 (2):273-282.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Theories about the evolution of consciousness relate in an intimate way to theories about the distribution of consciousness, which range from the view that only human beings are conscious to the view that all matter is in some sense conscious. Broadly speaking, such theories can be classified into discontinuity theories and continuity theories. Discontinuity theories propose that consciousness emerged only when material forms reached a given stage of evolution, but propose different criteria for the stage at which this occurred. Continuity theories argue that in some primal form, consciousness always accompanies matter and as matter evolved in form and complexity consciousness co-evolved, for example into the forms that we now recognise in human beings. Given our limited knowledge of the necessary and sufficient conditions for the presence of human consciousness in human brains, all options remain open. On balance however continuity theory appears to be more elegant than discontinuity theory
Wright, Wayne (web). Why naturalize consciousness? Southern Journal of Philosophy 45 (4):583-607.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This paper examines the relevance of philosophical work on consciousness to its scientific study. Of particular concern is the debate over whether consciousness can be naturalized, which is typically taken to have consequences for the prospects for its scientific investigation. It is not at all clear that philosophers of consciousness have properly identified and evaluated the assumptions about scientific activity made by both naturalization and anti- naturalization projects. I argue that there is good reason to think that some of the assumptions about physicalism and explanation made by the parties to the debate are open to serious doubt. Thus this paper is an invitation for those inquiring into whether consciousness can be naturalized to more carefully consider the expected payoff of such efforts