The illusion of conscious experience

Synthese 198 (1):845-866 (2019)
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Illusionism about phenomenal consciousness is the thesis that phenomenal consciousness does not exist, even though it seems to exist. This thesis is widely judged to be uniquely counterintuitive: the idea that consciousness is an illusion strikes most people as absurd, and seems almost impossible to contemplate in earnest. Defenders of illusionism should be able to explain the apparent absurdity of their own thesis, within their own framework. However, this is no trivial task: arguably, none of the illusionist theories currently on the market is able to do this. I present a new theory of phenomenal introspection and argue that it might deal with the task at hand.

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François Kammerer
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique


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