Chapter

The Argument from Consciousness Revisited

Kevin Kimble and Timothy O'Connor

in Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume 3

Published in print February 2011 | ISBN: 9780199603213
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191725388 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603213.003.0007

Series: Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion

The Argument from Consciousness Revisited

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The argument from consciousness maintains that correlations between brain states and conscious states of persons require explanation but cannot be given an adequate scientific explanation. The chapter then argues that the best explanation of these correlations is that they are the result of the work of a purposeful supernatural agent. The aim is two-fold. First, the chapter considers and rebuts recent attempts in the philosophy of mind to defend a physicalist account of the phenomenal character of experience (accounts which, if successful, would undercut the core premise of the argument from consciousness). It then considers two versions of the argument from consciousness and contend that they are defective, since they overlook a naturalistic form of explanation that is available even on a robustly dualistic account of conscious states. However, it goes on to show that the argument may more plausibly be recast by treating the very form of explanation of conscious states it outlines as a further datum in the fine-tuning version of the design argument.

Keywords: consciousness; dualism; emergence; fine-tuning; naturalism; phenomenal concept; physicalism; qualia; theism

Chapter.  13915 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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