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Title: Non-transitive phenomenal indiscriminability : the identity problem and ignorance solution
Author: Salisbury, Jonathan James
Awarding Body: University of Hertfordshire
Current Institution: University of Hertfordshire
Date of Award: 2013
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Abstract:
This dissertation puts forward a solution to a long standing problem concerning the identity relation between phenomenal qualities. It seems that some indiscriminability relation should be materially equivalent to the identity relation for phenomenal qualities. That seems to be the case since phenomenal qualities are entirely experiential, so if there is any difference between two phenomenal qualities then it will be experienced and hence we should be able to discriminate between them on the basis of that difference. However, on the basis of experience it seems such indiscriminability relations are typically nontransitive. Supposing that the identity relation between phenomenal qualities is also non-transitive leads to contradiction. The resulting problem is what I term the identity problem of non-transitive phenomenal indiscriminability. Over the course of the first three chapters I introduce and analyse the nature of the problem, this includes: distinguishing it from the related but distinct phenomenal sorites problem; an examination of the problem's scope; and consideration of the notion of phenomenal indiscriminability. During these chapters I also assess five proposed solutions to the identity problem. In chapter four, I present a criticism of three recent accounts of the related problem of the speckled hen, followed by an analysis of the problem. I then draw on recent psychological research into numerosity perception to give a fuller account of speckles perception which leads to a solution to the speckled hen problem. This solution rests on a distinction between experience of phenomenal speckles and our awareness of their number. It serves to introduce the distinction between phenomenal experience and awareness of phenomenal experience that will be used to solve the identity problem. It is also, I believe, a significant contribution to knowledge in its own right. Chapter five assesses the possibility of constructing a solution to the identity problem based on inexact representation that would be analogous to the solution given to the speckled hen problem. The primary contribution to knowledge, and the thesis of this dissertation, is what I term the ignorance solution to the identity problem of non-transitive phenomenal indiscriminability, which I present in chapter six. The ignorance solution is based on the distinction between phenomenal experience and awareness of phenomenal experience. The central idea of the ignorance solution is that we can be unaware of differences between pairs of phenomenal qualities even though we experience, and are aware of, both phenomenal qualities. In support of this I then draw together various strands of philosophical and psychological research to present a case for the distinction between phenomenal experience and awareness of phenomenal experience of the type required by the ignorance solution. Finally in chapter seven I summarise the thesis of this dissertation, re-access some of the other proposed solutions to the identity problem and note some of the wider implications of the distinction between phenomenal experience and awareness of phenomenal experience that I have argued for.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.629456  DOI: Not available
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