Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physician

Paperback | November 15, 2008

EditorTorin Alter, Sven Walter

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What is the nature of consciousness? How is consciousness related to brain processes? This volume collects thirteen new papers on these topics: twelve by leading and respected philosophers and one by a leading color-vision scientist. All focus on consciousness in the "phenomenal" sense: onwhat it's like to have an experience. Consciousness has long been regarded as the biggest stumbling block for physicalism, the view that the mind is physical. The controversy has gained focus over the last few decades, and phenomenal knowledge and phenomenal concepts-knowledge of consciousness and the associated concepts-have come toplay increasingly prominent roles in this debate. Consider Frank Jackson's famous case of Mary, the super-scientist who learns all the physical information while confined in a black-and-white room. According to Jackson, if physicalism is true, then Mary's physical knowledge should allow her todeduce what it's like to see in color. Yet it seems intuitively clear that she learns something when she leaves the room. But then how can consciousness be physical? Arguably, whether this sort of reasoning is sound depends on how phenomenal concepts and phenomenal knowledge are construed. Forexample, some argue that the Mary case reveals something about phenomenal concepts but has no implications for the nature of consciousness itself. Are responses along these lines adequate? Or does the problem arise again at the level of phenomenal concepts? The papers in this volume engage with the latest developments in this debate. The authors' perspectives range widely. For example, Daniel Dennett argues that anti-physicalist arguments such as the knowledge argument are simply confused; David Papineau grants that such arguments at least revealimportant features of phenomenal concepts; and David Chalmers defends the anti-physicalist arguments, arguing that the "phenomenal concept strategy" cannot succeed.

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What is the nature of consciousness? How is consciousness related to brain processes? This volume collects thirteen new papers on these topics: twelve by leading and respected philosophers and one by a leading color-vision scientist. All focus on consciousness in the "phenomenal" sense: onwhat it's like to have an experience. Conscio...

Torin Alter is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Alabama. Sven Walter is an Assistant Professor at the University of Bielefeld.

other books by Torin Alter

Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9.25 × 6.13 × 0.68 inPublished:November 15, 2008Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195377044

ISBN - 13:9780195377040

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Table of Contents

IntroductionPart 1: Phenomenal Knowledge1. Daniel Dennet, Tufts University: What RoboMary Knows2. Laurence Nemirow, Davis Graham and Stubbs Income Tax, Benefits and Estate Group: So This is What it's Like: a Defense of the Ability Hypothesis3. Frank Jackson, Australian National University, British Academy, Australian Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia, and Fand Institut International de Philosophie: The Knowledge Argument, Diaphanousness, Representationalism4. Torin Alter, The University of Alabama: Does Representationalism Undermine the Knowledge Argument?5. Knut Nordby, formerly University of Oslo and Telnor Communications, Research and Development: What is This Thing You Call Color: Can a Totally Color-Blind Person Know about Color?Part 2: Phenomenal Concepts6. Janet Levin, University of Southern California: What is a Phenomenal Concept?7. David Papineau, King's College, Cambridge University: Phenomenal and Perceptual Conepts8. Joseph Levine, The University of Massachusetts at Amherst: Phenomenal Concepts and the Materialist Constraint9. David Chalmers, Australian National University: Phenomenal Concepts and the Explanatory Gap10. John Hawthorne, Rutgers University: Direct Reference and Dancing Qualia11. Stephen White, Tufts University: Property Dualism, Phenomenal Concepts, and the Semantic Premise12. Ned Block, New York University: Max Black's Objection to Mind-Brain Identity13. Martine Nida-Rumelin, University of Fribourg: Grasping Phenomenal Properties

Editorial Reviews

"The issues discussed in the volume range from the nature of phenomenal consciousness and phenomenal concepts to the theory of concepts and the mind-body problem. Alter and Walter have contributed a helpful introduction, and put together an excellent collection that anyone with an interest in the philosophy of mind will find an essential volume to own." --Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews