Phenomenal Concepts and the Explanatory Gap

Derk Pereboom

in Consciousness and the Prospects of Physicalism

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199764037
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895243 | DOI:

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

Phenomenal Concepts and the Explanatory Gap

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Chapter 2 considers an important objection to the response to the knowledge argument developed in Chapter 1: it misconstrues the nature of our paradigmatic phenomenal concepts. In the response, I propose an account of phenomenal concepts inspired by Hilary Putnam, Frank Jackson, and David Chalmers is proposed, and I develop a view about the content of phenomenal property representation analogous to the dual-content theory of secondary quality representation advanced by Chalmers. In addition, I contend that the response can withstand an objection that Sydney Shoemaker directs against projectivist accounts of sensory secondary quality representation. Finally, I argue that all of this provides the physicalist with an effective reply to those, like Joseph Levine and Robert Adams, who suggest that there is an explanatory gap between the physical and the phenomenal that we do not understand how to close.

Keywords: phenomenal property; consciousness; phenomenal concept; projectivism; eliminativism; knowledge argument; explanatory gap; physicalism; Frank Jackson; David Chalmers

Chapter.  8610 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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