Sensation, Introspection, and the Phenomenal

Jonathan Ellis

in Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Mind

Published in print September 2012 | ISBN: 9780199737666
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199933372 | DOI:
Sensation, Introspection, and the Phenomenal

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Employing themes from Wittgenstein, the chapter argues against a standard assumption which he takes to be at the center of contemporary philosophy of mind. According to this assumption, held by “representationalists” and “qualia realists” alike, in order for a broadly “physicalist” conception of the world to be correct, every sensation, experience, and so forth, that has phenomenal character must be identical to a particular physical phenomenon (a physical process, or physical state, event, property, etc.); that is, it must be identical to a phenomenon fully specifiable in physical terms. This chapter’s primary interest is not so much in defending the thesis of physicalism as it is in exposing the misconception of sensation (and the like) upon which it claims the standard assumption rests. The chapter attempts to undermine this conception by way of a close study of the role that introspection plays in philosophical contexts.

Keywords: Wittgenstein; phenomenal character; phenomenal quality; what it’s like; sensation; qualia; representationalism; representationism; introspection; physicalism; materialism; consciousness

Chapter.  23448 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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