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Is realism about consciousness compatible with a scientifically respectable world view?

Goff, P. (2016) 'Is realism about consciousness compatible with a scientifically respectable world view?', Journal of consciousness studies., 23 (11-12). pp. 83-97.


Frankish's argument for illusionism -- the view that there are no real instances of phenomenal consciousness -- depends on the claim that phenomenal consciousness is an 'anomalous phenomenon', at odds with our scientific picture of the world. I distinguish two senses in which a phenomenon might be 'anomalous': (i) its reality is inconsistent with what science gives us reason to believe, (ii) its reality adds to what science gives us reason to believe. I then argue (A) that phenomenal consciousness is not anomalous in the first sense, and (B) the fact that phenomenal consciousness is plausibly anomalous in the second sense is only problematic if it can be shown that our introspectively-based reasons for believing in consciousness are epistemically problematic. I finish by suggesting that Frankish might be motivated to adopt radical naturalism because he takes doing so to be the appropriate response to the incredible success of natural science. I outline a way of thinking about the history of science which undermines this motivation.

Item Type:Article
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Date accepted:No date available
Date deposited:24 November 2020
Date of first online publication:01 January 2016
Date first made open access:24 November 2020

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