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The vagueness constraint and the quality space for pain

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This paper is concerned with a quality space model as an account of the intelligibility of explanation. I argue that descriptions of causal or functional roles (Chalmers & Jackson, 2001; Levine, 2001) are not the only basis for intelligible explanations. If we accept that phenomenal concepts refer directly, not via descriptions of causal or functional roles, then it is difficult to find role fillers for the described causal roles. This constitutes a vagueness constraint on the intelligibility of explanation. Thus, I propose to use quality space models to develop a systematic way of studying different modalities of perception and feelings, e.g., visual and auditory perception, pain, and emotion, that can reveal some structural relations among these modalities. It might turn out that topological explanation can be more intelligible than causal explanation in this case. I discuss two accounts of a quality space for color vision (Clark, 2000; Rosenthal, 2010) and propose how to construct a quality space for pain.

Daniel Kostic is Associated Researcher at Berlin School of Mind and Brain.

Keywords: Intelligibility of Explanations; Pain; Phenomenal Concepts; Quality Space; Vagueness

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: December 1, 2012

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