Referring to the Qualitative Dimension of Consciousness: Iconicity instead of Indexicality

Dialogue 53 (1):135-182 (2014)
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This paper suggests that reference to phenomenal qualities is best understood as involving iconicity, that is, a passage from sign-vehicle to object that exploits a similarity between the two. This contrasts with a version of the ‘phenomenal concept strategy’ that takes indexicality to be central. However, since it is doubtful that phenomenal qualities are capable of causally interacting with anything, indexical reference seems inappropriate. While a theorist like David Papineau is independently coming to something akin to iconicity, I think some of the awkwardness that plagues his account would be remedied by transitioning to a more inclusive philosophy of signs.

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Marc Champagne
Kwantlen Polytechnic University


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