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1.5f. Phenomenal Concepts (Phenomenal Concepts on PhilPapers)

See also:
Alter, Torin, Introduction to phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge: New essays on consciousness and physicalism (oup, 2007).   (Google)
Abstract: This volume presents thirteen new essays on phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge: twelve by philosophers and one by a scientist. In this introduction, we provide some background and summarize the essays
Alter, Torin (2007). On the conditional analysis of phenomenal concepts. Philosophical Studies 134 (2).   (Google)
Abstract:   Zombies make trouble for physicalism. Intuitively, they seem conceivable, and many take this to support their metaphysical possibility – a result that, most agree, would refute physicalism. John Hawthorne (2002) [Philosophical Studies 109, 17–52] and David Braddon-Mitchell (2003) [The Journal of Philosophy 100, 111–135] have developed a novel response to this argument: phenomenal concepts have a conditional structure – they refer to non-physical states if such states exist and otherwise to physical states – and this explains the zombie intuition. I argue that this strategy fails. The considerations Hawthorne and Braddon-Mitchell adduce in support of their analysis in fact do no such thing. Further, their main argument for the analysis is self-defeating: exactly similar reasoning would undermine the view it is meant to establish. Finally, on closer inspection the conditional analysis is incompatible with the zombie intuition. Thus, not only is the analysis incapable of explaining the intuition: the intuition’s plausibility indicates that the analysis is incorrect. I also suggest that the allure of the conditional-analysis strategy may derive from a questionable view about what explaining the intuition would require
Alter, Torin (2006). On the conditional analysis of phenomenal concepts. Philosophical Studies 131 (3):777-778.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Zombies make trouble for physicalism. Intuitively, they seem conceivable, and many take this to support their metaphysical possibility – a result that, most agree, would refute physicalism. John Hawthorne (2002) [Philosophical Studies 109, 17–52] and David Braddon-Mitchell (2003) [The Journal of Philosophy 100, 111–135] have developed a novel response to this argument: phenomenal concepts have a conditional structure – they refer to non-physical states if such states exist and otherwise to physical states – and this explains the zombie intuition. I argue that this strategy fails. The considerations Hawthorne and Braddon-Mitchell adduce in support of their analysis in fact do no such thing. Further, their main argument for the analysis is self-defeating: exactly similar reasoning would undermine the view it is meant to establish. Finally, on closer inspection the conditional analysis is incompatible with the zombie intuition. Thus, not only is the analysis incapable of explaining the intuition: the intuition’s plausibility indicates that the analysis is incorrect. I also suggest that the allure of the conditional-analysis strategy may derive from a questionable view about what explaining the intuition would require
Alter, Torin & Walter, Sven (eds.) (2007). Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Abstract: What is the nature of consciousness? How is consciousness related to brain processes? This volume collects thirteen new papers on these topics: twelve by leading and respected philosophers and one by a leading color-vision scientist. All focus on consciousness in the "phenomenal" sense: on what it's like to have an experience. Consciousness has long been regarded as the biggest stumbling block for physicalism, the view that the mind is physical. The controversy has gained focus over the last few decades, and phenomenal knowledge and phenomenal concepts--knowledge of consciousness and the associated concepts--have come to play increasingly prominent roles in this debate. Consider Frank Jackson's famous case of Mary, the super-scientist who learns all the physical information while confined in a black-and-white room. According to Jackson, if physicalism is true, then Mary's physical knowledge should allow her to deduce what it's like to see in color. Yet it seems intuitively clear that she learns something when she leaves the room. But then how can consciousness be physical? Arguably, whether this sort of reasoning is sound depends on how phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge are construed. For example, some argue that the Mary case reveals something about phenomenal concepts but has no implications for the nature of consciousness itself. Are responses along these lines adequate? Or does the problem arise again at the level of phenomenal concepts? The papers in this volume engage with the latest developments in this debate. The authors' perspectives range widely. For example, Daniel Dennett argues that anti-physicalist arguments such as the knowledge argument are simply confused; David Papineau grants that such arguments at least reveal important features of phenomenal concepts; and David Chalmers defends the anti-physicalist arguments, arguing that the "phenomenal concept strategy" cannot succeed
Alward, Peter (2004). Is phenomenal pain the primary intension of 'pain'? Metaphysica 5 (1):15-28.   (Google)
Abstract: two-dimensional modal framework introduced by Evans [2] and developed by Davies and Humberstone. [3] This framework provides Chalmers with a powerful tool for handling the most serious objection to conceivability arguments for dualism: the problem of..
Antony, Michael V. (2006). Papineau on the vagueness of phenomenal concepts. Dialectica 60 (4):475-483.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Aranyosi, István (ms). Papineau's (in)determinacy problem.   (Google)
Aranyosi, István (2008). Review of Torin Alter and Sven Walter (eds.) Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge. Mind 117 (467):665-669.   (Google)
Aydede, Murat & Guzeldere, Guven (2004). Cognitive architecture, concepts, and introspection: An information-theoretic solution to the problem of phenomenal consciousness. [Journal (on-Line/Unpaginated)] (in Press) 39 (2):197--255.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: This essay is a sustained attempt to bring new light to some of the perennial problems in philosophy of mind surrounding phenomenal consciousness and introspection through developing an account of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Building on the information-theoretic framework of Dretske (1981), we present an informational psychosemantics as it applies to what we call sensory concepts, concepts that apply, roughly, to so-called secondary qualities of objects. We show that these concepts have a special informational character and semantic structure that closely tie them to the brain states realizing conscious qualitative experiences. We then develop an account of introspection which exploits this special nature of sensory concepts. The result is a new class of concepts, which, following recent terminology, we call phenomenal concepts: these concepts refer to phenomenal experience itself and are the vehicles used in introspection. On our account, the connection between sensory and phenomenal concepts is very tight: it consists in different semantic uses of the same cognitive structures underlying the sensory concepts, such as the concept of red. Contrary to widespread opinion, we show that information theory contains all the resources to satisfy internalist intuitions about phenomenal consciousness, while not offending externalist ones. A consequence of this account is that it explains and predicts the so-called conceivability arguments against physicalism on the basis of the special nature of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Thus we not only show why physicalism is not threatened by such arguments, but also demonstrate its strength in virtue of its ability to predict and explain away such arguments in a principled way. However, we take the main contribution of this work to be what it provides in addition to a response to those conceivability arguments, namely, a substantive account of the interface between sensory and conceptual systems and the mechanisms of introspection as based on the special nature of the information flow between them
Balog, Katalin (forthcoming). Acquaintance and the mind-body problem. In Christopher Hill & Simone Gozzano (eds.), Identity Theory. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: In this paper I begin to develop an account of the acquaintance that each of us has with our own conscious states and processes. The account is a speculative proposal about human mental architecture and specifically about the nature of the concepts via which we think in first personish ways about our qualia. In a certain sense my account is neutral between physicalist and dualist accounts of consciousness. As will be clear, a dualist could adopt the account I will offer while maintaining that qualia themselves are non-physical properties. In this case the non-physical nature of qualia may play no role in accounting for the features of acquaintance. But although the account could be used by a dualist, its existence provides enormous support for physicalism. In particular it provides the makings of a positive refutation (i.e., a refutation by construction) of the conceivability arguments and the Mary argument for dualism.
Balog, Katalin (2009). Phenomenal Concepts. In Brian McLaughlin, Ansgar Beckermann & Sven Walter (eds.), Oxford Handbook in the Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Abstract: This article is about the special, subjective concepts we apply to experience, called “phenomenal concepts”. They are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. Conscious experience strike many philosophers as philosophically problematic and difficult to accommodate within a physicalistic metaphysics. Second, PCs are widely thought to be special and unique among concepts. The sense that there is something special about PCs is very closely tied up with features of the epistemic access they afford to qualia. When we deploy phenomenal concepts introspectively to some phenomenally conscious experience as it occurs, we are said to be acquainted with our own conscious experiences. Accounts of PCs either have to explain the acquaintance relation, or acquaintance with our phenomenal experiences has to be denied. PCs have received much attention in recent philosophy of mind mainly because they figure in arguments for dualism and in physicalist responses to these arguments. The main topic of this article is to explore different accounts of phenomenal concepts and their role in recent debates over the metaphysical status of phenomenal consciousness.
Balog, Katalin (1999). Conceivability, possibility, and the mind-body problem. Philosophical Review 108 (4):497-528.   (Cited by 31 | Google)
Abstract: This paper was chosen by The Philosopher’s Annual as one of the ten best articles appearing in print in 2000. Reprinted in Volume XXIII of The Philosopher’s Annual. In his very influential book David Chalmers argues that if physicalism is true then every positive truth is a priori entailed by the full physical description – this is called “the a priori entailment thesis – but ascriptions of phenomenal consciousness are not so entailed and he concludes that Physicalism is false. As he puts it, “zombies” are metaphysically possible. I attempt to show (I think successfully) that this argument is refuted by considering an analogous argument in the mouth of a zombie. The conclusion of this argument is false so one of the premises is false. I argue at length that this shows that the original conceivability argument also has a false premise and so is invalid.
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.
Balog, Katalin (2008). Review of Torin Alter, Sven wAlter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2008 (5).   (Google)
Abstract: The book under review is a collection of thirteen essays on the nature phenomenal concepts and the ways in which phenomenal concepts figure in debates over physicalism. Phenomenal concepts are of special interest in a number of ways. First, they refer to phenomenal experiences, and the qualitative character of those experiences (aka “qualia”) whose metaphysical status is hotly debated. There are recent arguments, originating in Descartes’ famous conceivability argument, that purport to show that phenomenal experience is irreducibly non-physical. Second, phenomenal concepts are widely thought to be special and unique among concepts. Both the anti-physicalist arguments and physicalist replies to these arguments turn on views about the nature of phenomenal concepts. In this review I survey the many ways in which the essays in this volume are engaged (pro or con) with anti-physicalist arguments and the role phenomenal concepts play in these arguments.
Balog, Katalin (2004). Review: Thinking about consciousness. Mind 113 (452).   (Google)
Abstract: Papineau in his book provides a detailed defense of physicalism via what has recently been dubbed the “phenomenal concept strategy”. I share his enthusiasm for this approach. But I disagree with his account of how a physicalist should respond to the conceivability arguments. Also I argue that his appeal to teleosemantics in explaining mental quotation is more like a promissory note than an actual theory.
Balog, Katalin, Illuminati, zombies and metaphysical gridlock.   (Google)
Abstract: In this paper I survey the landscape of anti-physicalist arguments and physicalist responses to them. The anti-physicalist arguments I discuss start from a premise about a conceptual, epistemic, or explanatory gap between physical and phenomenal descriptions and conclude from this – on a priori grounds – that physicalism is false. My primary aim is to develop a master argument to counter these arguments. With this master argument in place, it is apparent that there is a puzzling symmetry between dualist attacks on physicalism and physicalist replies. Each position can be developed in a way to defend itself from attacks from the other position. Therefore the debate comes down to which metaphysical framework provides the better overall explanatory/theoretical framework.
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.
Bermudez, Jose Luis (2004). Vagueness, phenomenal concepts and mind-brain identity. Analysis 64 (2):131-139.   (Cited by 3 | Google | More links)
Blackburn, Simon W. (1975). How to refer to private experience. Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 75:201-213.   (Google)
Brandom, Robert B. (ms). No experience necessary: Empiricism, noninferential knowledge, and secondary qualities.   (Google)
Buekens, Filip (2001). Essential indexicality and the irreducibility of phenomenal concepts. Communication and Cognition 34 (1-2):75-97.   (Google)
Byrne, Darragh (ms). The contents of phenomenal concepts.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: 1 I shall mainly concentrate on Loar (1997, 1999), Tye (1999), Papineau (1998, 2002), Levine (1998, 2001) and Chalmers (2003). Only the first three of these authors endorse the claim that the proposal supports materialism. Levine
Carruthers, Peter (2003). Phenomenal concepts and higher-order experiences. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 68 (2):316-336.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Carruthers, Peter & Veillet, Benedicte (2007). The phenomenal concept strategy. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (s 9-10):212-236.   (Cited by 2 | Google | More links)
Abstract: A powerful reply to a range of familiar anti-physicalist arguments has recently been developed. According to this reply, our possession of phenomenal concepts can explain the facts that the anti-physicalist claims can only be explained by a non-reductive account of phenomenal consciousness. Chalmers (2006) argues that the phenomenal concept strategy is doomed to fail. This article presents the phenomenal concept strategy, Chalmers' argument against it, and a defence of the strategy against his
Chalmers, David J. (2004). Phenomenal concepts and the knowledge argument. In Peter Ludlow, Yujin Nagasawa & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), There's Something About Mary: Essays on Phenomenal Consciousness and Frank Jackson's Knowledge Argument. MIT Press.   (Cited by 16 | Google | More links)
Abstract: *[[This paper is largely based on material in other papers. The first three sections and the appendix are drawn with minor modifications from Chalmers 2002c (which explores issues about phenomenal concepts and beliefs in much more depth, mostly independently of questions about materialism). The main ideas of the last three sections are drawn from Chalmers 1996, 1999, and 2002a, although with considerable revision and elaboration. ]]
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
Chalmers, David J. (2003). The content and epistemology of phenomenal belief. In Quentin Smith & Aleksandar Jokic (eds.), Consciousness: New Philosophical Perspectives. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 44 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Experiences and beliefs are different sorts of mental states, and are often taken to belong to very different domains. Experiences are paradigmatically phenomenal, characterized by what it is like to have them. Beliefs are paradigmatically intentional, characterized by their propositional content. But there are a number of crucial points where these domains intersect. One central locus of intersection arises from the existence of phenomenal beliefs: beliefs that are about experiences
Crane, Tim (2005). Papineau on phenomenal concepts. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):155-162.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Over the past decade or so, David Papineau has given an account of the content and motivation of a physicalist conception of the world with more thoroughness and argumentative defence than many physicalists have thought necessary. In doing this, he has substantially advanced the debate on physicalism, and physicalists and non-physicalists alike should be grateful to him.1 At the heart of Papineau’s defence of physicalism in his recent book (2002) is his theory of phenomenal concepts. Like many physicalists, Papineau diagnoses the apparent threats to physicalism posed by the phenomena of consciousness by locating the source of anti-physicalist intuitions in features of our thinking rather than in non-physical features of reality. But what is new in Thinking About Consciousness is his detailed account of which features of our thinking it is that generate these supposedly confused anti-physicalist arguments. Hence the bulk of the book is an attempt to show that the most famous ‘consciousness-based’ anti-physicalist arguments—the knowledge argument, the zombie argument and the explanatory gap argument—rest on a mistaken understanding of certain kinds of concepts: phenomenal concepts. I agree with Papineau that physicalism (properly understood) should not be troubled by the knowledge argument and the explanatory gap argument, and that some other anti-physicalist arguments seem to move from assumptions about ways of thinking to conclusions about reality. But I doubt whether his theory of phenomenal concepts can help his defence of physicalism and his diagnosis of the errors of dualism. My reason for saying this is that I do not think there are any such concepts. In saying this I do not mean to deny that there is a useful distinction to be made between scientific concepts, the mastery of which requires knowledge of a certain amount of theory, and concepts which are acquired on the basis of experience, which can be called ‘phenomenal’ concepts..
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
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 (2008). Defending the phenomenal concept strategy. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 86 (4):597 – 610.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: One of the main strategies against conceivability arguments is the so-called phenomenal concept strategy, which aims to explain the epistemic gap between physical and phenomenal truths in terms of the special features of phenomenal concepts. Daniel Stoljar has recently argued that the phenomenal concept strategy has failed to provide a successful explanation of this epistemic gap. In this paper my aim is to defend the phenomenal concept strategy from his criticisms. I argue that Stoljar has misrepresented the resources of the strategy, which can indeed accomplish the required explanatory task, once it is properly understood
Diaz-Leon, Esa, The conceivability argument against behaviourism and the phenomenal concept strategy.   (Google)
Abstract: The phenomenal concept strategy is one of the most attractive responses to the so-called conceivability arguments. A crucial step in these arguments is the inference from conceivability to possibility. The phenomenal concept strategy attacks this inference from conceivability to possibility: they argue that there is an alternative explanation of the conceivability of zombies, which does not involve the possibility of zombies. This alternative explanation appeals to special features of phenomenal concepts in order to explain the conceivability of zombies. Daniel Stoljar has recently argued that if the phenomenal concept strategy was a good strategy against the conceivability argument against physicalism, it would also be a good strategy against the conceivability argument against behaviourism. But he claims that the latter conceivability argument is sound, and therefore the phenomenal concept strategy cannot be correct. In this paper I show how the phenomenal concept strategy can respond to this objection
Francescotti, Robert M. (1994). Qualitative beliefs, wide content, and wide behavior. Noûs 28 (3):396-404.   (Cited by 3 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Fürst, Martina (2004). Qualia and phenomenal concepts as basis of the knowledge argument. Acta Analytica 19 (32):143-152.   (Google)
Abstract: The central attempt of this paper is to explain the underlying intuitions of Frank Jackson’s “Knowledge Argument” that the epistemic gap between phenomenal knowledge and physical knowledge points towards a corresponding ontological gap. The first step of my analysis is the claim that qualia are epistemically special because the acquisition of the phenomenal concept of a quale x requires the experience of x. Arguing what is so special about phenomenal concepts and pointing at the inherence-relation with the qualia they pick out, I give compelling reasons for the existence of ontologically distinct entities. Finally I conclude that phenomenal knowledge is caused by phenomenal properties and the instantiation of these properties is a specific phenomenal fact, which can not be mediated by any form of descriptive information. So it will be shown that phenomenal knowledge must count as the possession of very special information necessarily couched in subjective, phenomenal conceptions
Ginet, Carl A. (1968). How words mean kinds of sensations. Philosophical Review 77 (January):3-24.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Goldstein, Irwin (1985). Communication and mental events. American Philosophical Quarterly 22 (October):331-338.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: How do the young learn names for feelings? After criticizing Wittgensteinian explanations, I formulate and defend an explanation very different from Wittgensteinians embrace.
Haukioja, Jussi (2008). A defence of the conditional analysis of phenomenal concepts. Philosophical Studies 139 (1).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: A recent strategy for defending physicalism about the mind against the zombie argument relies on the so-called conditional analysis of phenomenal concepts. According to this analysis, what kinds of states our phenomenal concepts refer to depends crucially on whether the actual world is merely physical or not. John Hawthorne, David Braddon-Mitchell and Robert Stalnaker have claimed, independently, that this analysis explains the conceivability of zombies in a way consistent with physicalism, thus blocking the zombie argument. Torin Alter has recently presented three arguments against the conditional analysis strategy. This paper defends the conditional analysis strategy against Alter’s objections
Hawthorne, John (2006). Dancing qualia and direct reference. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Heal, Jane (ms). Minds, brains, and indexicals.   (Google)
Hellie, Benj (ms). Peacocke's 'Concepts of conscious states'.   (Google)
Hope, V. (1973). Speaking of sensations. Mind 82 (April):183-190.   (Google | More links)
Horgan, Terence E. & Tienson, John L. (2001). Deconstructing new wave materialism. In Carl Gillett & Barry M. Loewer (eds.), Physicalism and its Discontents. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 11 | Google)
Abstract: In the first post World War II identity theories (e.g., Place 1956, Smart 1962), mind brain identities were held to be contingent. However, in work beginning in the late 1960's, Saul Kripke (1971, 1980) convinced the philosophical community that true identity statements involving names and natural kind terms are necessarily true and furthermore, that many such necessary identities can only be known a posteriori. Kripke also offered an explanation of the a posteriori nature of ordinary theoretical identities such as that water = H2O. We identify the kinds and substances involved in theoretical identities by certain of their contingent properties. What we discover when we discover a theoretical identity is the underlying nature of the kind that we identify by those contingent properties. Now, of course, it was being a posteriori, not being contingent, that mattered to the identity theorists anyway, so the necessity of identity is not, in itself, damaging to mind brain identity theories. However, Kripke also argued persuasively that the alleged mind brain identities could not be treated in the same way as ordinary theoretical identities. We "identify" pain by feeling it, and surely how it feels is an essential property of pain, not a contingent property. Thus, a mind body identity theory must provide a different explanation of why its identities are a posteriori. A new wave of materialists has appeared on the scene with a new strategy for explaining [1] the a posteriori nature of its alleged identities. The strategy is to locate the explanation for the a posteriori nature of mind body identities, not on the side of the world, but on the side of the mind -in different ways of thinking about or imagining, or in different concepts. Thus, on this new view, there is only one property—this brain process type, which is identical with this pain..
Jakab, Zolt (2000). Ineffability of qualia: A straightforward naturalistic explanation. Consciousness and Cognition 9 (3):329-351.   (Cited by 6 | Google | More links)
Abstract: In this paper I offer an explanation of the ineffability (linguistic inexpressibility) of sensory experiences. My explanation is put in terms of computational functionalism and standard externalist theories of representational content. As I will argue, many or most sensory experiences are representational states without constituent structure. This property determines both the representational function these states can serve and the information that can be extracted from them when they are processed. Sensory experiences can indicate the presence of certain external states of affairs but they cannot convey any more information about them than that. So, format- or code-conversion mechanisms that link different systems of representation (linguistic and perceptual) to each other will fail to extract any relevant information from sensory experiences that could be coded in language. They only way to establish specific roles for sensory experiences in communication and the organization of behavior is to attach to them, by associative links, words, or other behavioral responses. If a sensory experience has no linguistic label associated to it in a particular subject, then no linguistic description can token, or activate, that state in the subject. In other words, no linguistic description can cause a subject to undergo an unlabeled perceptual state. On the contrary, complex, or syntactically structured perceptual states can be built up, on the basis of descriptions, by mechanisms of constructive imagination (conceived here as one sort of format conversion). It is this difference between complex and unstructured representational states that gives us an understanding of the phenomenon we call the ineffability of qualia
Knobe, Joshua & Prinz, Jesse J. (2008). Intuitions about consciousness: Experimental studies. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 7 (1):67-83.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: When people are trying to determine whether an entity is capable of having certain kinds of mental states, they can proceed either by thinking about the entity from a *functional* standpoint or by thinking about the entity from a *physical* standpoint. We conducted a series of studies to determine how each of these standpoints impact people’s mental state ascriptions. The results point to a striking asymmetry. It appears that ascriptions of states involving phenomenal consciousness are sensitive to physical factors in a way that ascriptions of other states are not
Law, Stephen (2004). Loar's defence of physicalism. Ratio 17 (1):60-67.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Brian Loar believes he has refuted all those antiphysicalist arguments that take as their point of departure observations about what is or isn't conceivable. I argue that there remains an important, popular and plausible-looking form of conceivability argument that Loar has entirely overlooked. Though he may not have realized it, Saul Kripke presents, or comes close to presenting, two fundamentally different forms of conceivability argument. I distinguish the two arguments and point out that while Loar has succeeded in refuting one of Kripke's arguments he has not refuted the other. Loar is mistaken: physicalism still faces an apparently insurmountable conceptual obstacle
Levine, Joseph (2006). Conscious awareness and (self-)representation. In Kenneth Williford & Uriah Kriegel (eds.), Self-Representational Approaches to Consciousness. The Mit Press.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Levin, Yakir (2004). Criterial semantics and qualia. Facta Philosophica 6 (1):57-76.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Levine, Joseph (2006). Phenomenal concepts and the materialist constraint. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Levin, Janet (2006). What is a phenomenal concept? In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Loar, Brian (1990). Phenomenal states. Philosophical Perspectives 4:81-108.   (Cited by 156 | Annotation | Google | More links)
Loar, Brian (2003). Qualia, properties, modality. Philosophical Issues 1 (1):113-29.   (Cited by 4 | Google | More links)
Ludwig, Pascal (ms). A descriptivist theory of phenomenal concepts.   (Google)
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to put forward an alternative to what I shall call "the received view on phenomenal concepts". According to this view, our concepts of phenomenal states directly refer to these states. I claim, on the contrary, that phenomenal concepts are _descriptive, indirect_ _and_ _relational_. More precisely, I endorse a descriptivist analysis according to which phenomenal concepts are descriptive concepts having perceptual demonstratives as constituents. I introduce and discuss two distinctions: the distinction between the perceptible properties of objects and the qualitative characters of experiences on the one hand, and the corresponding distinction between perceptual demonstratives of perceptible properties and phenomenal concepts on the other. I then proceed as follows. Firstly, I state the main motivations behind the received view. Then, I try to show that every argument that can be advanced in favor of the received view is either powerless against my descriptivist position, or can be re-interpreted as an argument supporting it. In particular, I argue to the effect that some of the main motivations which are usually taken for granted when accepting the received view rest upon a fallacy, which I call the
Macdonald, C. (2004). Mary meets Molyneux: The explanatory gap and the individuation of phenomenal concepts. Noûs 38 (3):503-24.   (Google | More links)
Mandik, Pete (2010). Swamp Mary's revenge: Deviant phenomenal knowledge and physicalism. Philosophical Studies 148 (2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Deviant phenomenal knowledge is knowing what it’s like to have experiences of, e.g., red without actually having had experiences of red. Such a knower is a deviant. Some physicalists have argued and some anti-physicalists have denied that the possibility of deviants undermines anti-physicalism and the Knowledge Argument. The current paper presents new arguments defending the deviant-based attacks on anti-physicalism. Central to my arguments are considerations concerning the psychosemantic underpinnings of deviant phenomenal knowledge. I argue that physicalists are in a superior position to account for the conditions in virtue of which states of deviants constitute representations of phenomenal facts
Marsh, Leslie (2005). Review essay: Dennett's sweet dreams philosophical obstacles to a science of consciousness. Marsh, Leslie (2005) Review Essay.   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Review Essay: Dennett’s Sweet Dreams Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness
McLaughlin, Brian P. (2001). In defense of new wave materialism: A response to Horgan and Tienson. In Carl Gillett & Barry M. Loewer (eds.), Physicalism and its Discontents. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 14 | Google)
Mole, Christopher (ms). Supervaluation for Papineau's phenomenal concepts.   (Google)
Nida-Rumelin, Martine (2006). Grasping phenomenal properties. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
Abstract: 1 Grasping Properties I will present an argument for property dualism. The argument employs a distinction between having a concept of a property and grasping a property via a concept. If you grasp a property P via a concept C, then C is a concept of P. But the reverse does not hold: you may have a concept of a property without grasping that property via any concept. If you grasp a property, then your cognitive relation to that property is more intimate then if you just have some concept or other of that property. To grasp a property is to understand what having that property essentially consists in
Nida-Rumelin, Martine (1997). On belief about experiences: An epistemological distinction applied to the knowledge argument. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 58 (1):51-73.   (Cited by 7 | Google | More links)
Nida-Rumelin, Martine (2006). Phenomenal belief and phenomenal concepts. In Manuel Garcia-Carpintero & Maci (eds.), Two-Dimensional Semantics. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Nida-R, (2006). Phenomenal belief, phenomenal concepts, and phenomenal properties in a two-dimensional framework. In Garc (ed.), Two-Dimensional Semantics. Oxford: Clarendon Press.   (Google)
Nida-Rumelin, Martine (1995). What Mary couldn't know: Belief about phenomenal states. In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience. Ferdinand Schoningh.   (Cited by 15 | Annotation | Google)
O'Dea, John (2002). The indexical nature of sensory concepts. Philosophical Papers 32 (2):169-181.   (Google)
Abstract: This paper advances the thesis that sensory concepts have as a semantic component the first person indexical.
Pagin, Peter (2000). Sensation terms. Dialectica 54 (3):177-99.   (Cited by 1 | Google | More links)
Abstract: Are sensation ascriptions descriptive, even in the first person present tense? Do sensation terms refer to, denote, sensations, so that truth and falsity of sensation ascriptions depend on the properties of the denoted sensations? That is, do sensation terms have a denotational semantics? As I understand it, this is denied by Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein rejects the idea of a denotational semantics for public language sensation terms, such as
Papineau, David (2002). Introduction to Thinking About Consciousness. In Thinking About Consciousness. Oxford University Press.   (Google)
Papineau, David (2006). Phenomenal and perceptual concepts. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 8 | Google | More links)
Abstract: 1 Introduction 2 Perceptual Concepts 2.1 Perceptual Concepts are not Demonstrative 2.2 Perceptual Concepts as Stored Templates 2.3 Perceptual Semantics 2.4 Perceptually Derived Concepts 3 Phenomenal Concepts
Prinz, Jesse (2007). Mental pointing: Phenomenal knowledge without concepts. Journal of Consciousness Studies 14 (9-10):184-211.   (Google | More links)
Raffman, Diana (1995). On the persistence of phenomenology. In Thomas Metzinger (ed.), Conscious Experience. Ferdinand Schoningh.   (Cited by 53 | Annotation | Google)
Abstract: In Thomas Metzinger, Conscious Experience, Schoningh Verlag. 1995. [ online ]
Raffman, Diana (2005). Some thoughts about Thinking About Consciousness. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 71 (1):163-170.   (Google | More links)
Schick, Theodore W. (1989). The semantic role of qualitative content. Southern Journal of Philosophy 27:125-133.   (Cited by 1 | Google)
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’.
Stoljar, Daniel (2005). Physicalism and phenomenal concepts. Mind and Language 20 (2):296-302.   (Cited by 9 | Google | More links)
Abstract: A phenomenal concept is the concept of a particular type of sensory or perceptual experience, where the notion of experience is understood phenomenologically. A recent and increasingly influential idea in philosophy of mind suggests that reflection on these concepts will play a major role in the debate about conscious experience, and in particular in the defense of physicalism, the thesis that psychological truths supervene on physical truths. According to this idea
Sturgeon, Scott (1999). Conceptual gaps and odd possibilities. Mind 108 (430):377-380.   (Google | More links)
Sturgeon, Scott (2008). Stalnaker on sensuous knowledge. Philosophical Studies 137 (2).   (Google | More links)
Abstract: Robert Stalnaker has recently argued that a pair of natural thoughts are incompatible. One of them is the view that items of non-indexical factual knowledge rule out possibilities. The other is the view that knowing what sensuous experience is like involves non-indexical knowledge of its phenomenal character. I argue against Stalnaker’s take on things, elucidating along the way how our knowledge of what experience is like fits together with the natural idea that items of non-indexical factual knowledge rule out possibilities
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)
Thornton, Mark T. (1972). Ostensive terms and materialism. The Monist 56 (April):193-214.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Tye, Michael (2003). A theory of phenomenal concepts. In Anthony O'Hear (ed.), Minds and Persons. Cambridge University Press.   (Cited by 5 | Google)
Abstract: 1) There is widespread agreement that consciousness must be a physical phenomenon, even if it is one that we do not yet understand and perhaps may never do so fully. There is also widespread agreement that the way to defend physicalism about consciousness against a variety of well known objections is by appeal to phenomenal concepts (Loar 1990, Lycan 1996, Papineau 1993, Sturgeon 1994, Tye 1995, 2000, Perry 2001) . There is, alas, no agreement on the nature of phenomenal concepts
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White, Stephen L. (2006). Property dualism, phenomenal concepts, and the semantic premise. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press.   (Cited by 2 | Google)
Yablo, Stephen (ms). Grokking pain.   (Google)