Phenomenal Concepts as Complex Demonstratives

Res Philosophica (forthcoming)
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There’s a long but relatively neglected tradition of attempting to explain why many researchers working on the nature of phenomenal consciousness think that it’s hard to explain. David Chalmers argues that this “meta-problem of consciousness” merits more attention than it has received. He also argues against several existing explanations of why we find consciousness hard to explain. Like Chalmers, we agree that the meta-problem is worthy of more attention. Contra Chalmers, however, we argue that there’s an existing explanation that is more promising than his objections suggest. We argue that researchers find phenomenal consciousness hard to explain because phenomenal concepts are complex demonstratives that encode the impossibility of explaining consciousness as one of their application conditions.

Author Profiles

Nathan Robert Howard
Texas A&M University
N. G. Laskowski
California State University, Long Beach


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