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Materialism, Metaphysics, and the Intuition of Distinctness

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According to many philosophers, an 'explanatory gap' exists between third-person scientific theories and qualitative firstperson experience of mental states like pain feelings or colour experiences such that the former can't explain the latter. Here it is argued that the thought experiments that are invoked by this position are inconsistent, that the position requires a specific kind of first-person privilege which actually does not exist, and that the underlying argument is circular because it is based on the very 'intuition of distinctness'which it allegedly confirms. The second part of the paper argues that the intuition of distinctness which has seen a significant change during the history of science is itself a product of scientific development. It would follow that future scientific developments can change this intuition and even make the explanatory gap problem disappear.

Document Type: Research Article

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Publication date: January 1, 2011


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