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The Hardest Aspect of the Illusion Problem--and How to Solve it

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In 'Illusionism as a Theory of Consciousness', Frankish argues for illusionism: the thesis that phenomenal consciousness does not exist, but merely seems to exist. Illusionism, he says, 'replaces the hard problem with the illusion problem -- the problem of explaining how the illusion of phenomenality arises and why it is so powerful'. The illusion of phenomenality is indeed quite powerful. In fact, it is much more powerful than any other illusion, in the sense that we face a very special and unique intuitive resistance when trying to accept that phenomenality is an illusion. This is bad news for illusionists, because this means that they cannot entirely model their explanation of the illusion of consciousness on the explanation of other illusions. Explaining this unique intuitive resistance to illusionism may therefore constitute the hardest aspect of the illusion problem. However, I think that this aspect of the problem is solvable. I will outline a possible solution, which is based on the hypothesis that our (illusory) introspective representations of phenomenal states characterize them as having unique epistemological properties and as playing a special epistemological role.

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Université Paris-Sorbonne, Paris, France, Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2016

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