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Title: Dualist intuitions and phenomenal consciousness
Author: Oxtoby, Peter Thomas
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 417X
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2011
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My aim in this thesis is to examine some of the principal intuitions that have been employed in arguments for dualism about the phenomenal and the physical. I argue that, in each case, the intuition at issue has no evidential value in the debate between dualists and physicaiists In the case ofSaul Kripke's modal arguments against physicalism I make use of functionalist arguments. Physicalists wish to identify mental states with physical states. Kripke intuits that these states could exist separately from each other However, I argue, this intuition is irrelevant to the debate since 'pain' may refer to different entities in different worlds. His essentialist intuitions about pain are also dealt with through this argument. Pain might have been some entity other than the one it happens to be in the actual world. The intuition at the heart of Frank Jackson's knowledge argument is that complete physical knowledge of a system does not entail any knowledge of the phenomenal quality of the states of that system. This intuition is shown to be consistent with physicalism through the strategy of conceptual dualism. We can think in terms of physical concepts, or we can think in terms of phenomenal concepts. Since phenomenal concepts cannot be derived from physical concepts it is not possible to know what an experience is like through the possession of complete physical knowledge Finally. I turn to the intuition that human beings would lose their special moral status were it to be shown that phcnomcnaliry is physical. This contention rests. I argue. upon a misunderstanding of the role that phenomcnalitv plays in the conferral of moral worth. Even if phenomenality were shown to be physical it would continue to endow its possessor with moral value. This particular intuition. I argue. is especially difficult to shift. because there arc good reasons to think that the tension between regarding an object as both \ ••. holly physical. and as a bearer of phenomenality, exists as the result of evolutionary forces operating at different levels of selection. This tension also forms tJ1C background against which other intuition based arguments are presented. ii
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available