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The why of consciousness: A non-issue for materialists

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In this essay, I hope to make clearer what the points of division between the materialists and the sceptics are. I argue that the rifts are quite deep and turn on basic differences in understanding the scientific enterprise. In section I, I outline the disagreements between David Chalmers and me, arguing that consciousness is not a brute fact about the world. In section II, I point out the fundamental difference between the materialists and the sceptics, suggesting that this difference is not something that further discussion or argumentation can overcome. In the final section, I outline one view of scientific explanation and conclude that the source of conflict really turns on a difference in the rules each side has adopted in playing the game.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Blacksburg, Virginia 24061-0126, USA.

Publication date: January 1, 1996

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