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Giving up on the hard problem of consciousness

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Abstract:

David Chalmers (1995) calls the problem of explaining why physical processes give rise to conscious phenomenal experience the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness. He argues convincingly that no reductive account of consciousness can solve it and offers instead a non-reductive account which takes consciousness as fundamental. This paper argues that a theory of the sort Chalmers proposes cannot hope to solve the hard problem of consciousness precisely because it takes the relation between physical processes and consciousness as fundamental rather than explicable. The hard problem of consciousness is, for reasons Chalmers himself gives, insoluble. Its insolubility does not, however, impugn the naturalistic respectability of consciousness.

Keywords: Consciousness; explanation; naturalism; reduction

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Div. of Philosophy, Virginia Commonwealth University, 915 West Franklin Street, Richmond, VA 23284-2025, USA.

Publication date: January 1, 1996

imp/jcs/1996/00000003/00000001/677
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