Journal Article

Consciousness and Reduction

Ausonio Marras

in The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

Published on behalf of British Society for the Philosophy of Science

Volume 56, issue 2, pages 335-361
Published in print June 2005 | ISSN: 0007-0882
Published online June 2005 | e-ISSN: 1464-3537 | DOI:
Consciousness and Reduction

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A number of philosophers—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.


Kim's critique of the Nagelian model of reduction

The functional model of reduction

Is consciousness reducible?

Psychophysical reduction: concluding remarks

Journal Article.  0 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Science ; Science and Mathematics

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