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Title: The obstinacy of appearance : an analysis and attempted resolution of the explanatory gap debate about consciousness
Author: Tartaglia, James Phillip Frank
ISNI:       0000 0001 3499 4064
Awarding Body: University of London
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2002
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Explanatory gap intuitions derive from the apparent conflict between views V#1, that consciousness is a natural phenomenon, and V#2, that consciousness is subjective. Deflationists presuppose V#1, rendering V#2 problematic; inflationists presuppose V#2, rendering V#1 problematic. Attributions of essences are based on individuation within a conceptual scheme, so physicalism combined with the essentialist claim that there is no appearance/reality distinction for conscious properties creates conceptual difficulties. Attempts to move away from a conception of consciousness as appearance fail, since all principal characteristics of mind presuppose it. Appearance cannot be functionalised because a fine-grained functional description saying what appearance is says it is physical, and a looser-grained description for recognising appearance allows room for error where there cannot be any. The concept of appearance, read into V#2, is apparently indispensable, but cannot be related to the physical world: deflationists cannot talk about consciousness without it, and inflationists cannot employ it without making physicalism problematic. The Modes of Access Response says phenomenal concepts have no associated functional descriptions, express the same properties they refer to, and lack conceptual connections with physical concepts because of our psychologies. But with no leeway between how we conceive of something and what it is, phenomenal concepts cannot behave as recognitional concepts. The position belongs to a cycle of thought on the problem of conceptual difference, trying to avoid phenomenal concepts expressing intrinsic properties of appearance. There can be no resting place, given the epistemological role of appearance. But it is argued here that consciousness is not appearance. The mind is purely representational, so no properties of consciousness itself are presented to introspection. All recognitional concepts are of properties presented by consciousness. Confusion about the inescapability of the human perspective explains the apparent conceptual gulf. There are no conceptual obstacles to physicalism about consciousness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available