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NAGEL VS. NAGEL ON THE NATURE OF PHENOMENAL CONCEPTS

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Abstract

In a footnote to his ‘What is it Like to be a Bat?’, Thomas Nagel sketches a promising account of phenomenal concepts that purports to explain why mind-body identity statements, even if necessary, will always seem contingent. Christopher Hill and Brian McLaughlin have recently developed this sketch into a more robust theory. In Nagel's more recent work, however, he suggests that the only adequate theory of phenomenal concepts is one that makes the relation between phenomenal and physical states intelligible, or ‘transparent’. Developing such a theory, however, appears to be no easy task. In this paper I argue that the Nagel-Hill-McLaughlin proposal is preferable – and that a serious problem with it, noticed by Stephen Yablo, can be avoided by revising the proposal according to some further suggestions made by Nagel himself.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Southern California3709 Trousdale ParkwayLos Angeles, CA 90089-0451 USA, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: 01 September 2007

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