Illusionism's discontent

Journal of Consciousness Studies 23 (11-12):40-51 (2016)
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Frankish positions his view, illusionism about qualia (a.k.a. eliminativist physicalism), in opposition to what he calls radical realism (dualism and neutral monism) and conservative realism (a.k.a. non-eliminativist physicalism). Against radical realism, he upholds physicalism. But he goes along with key premises of the Gap Arguments for radical realism, namely, 1) that epistemic/explanatory gaps exist between the physical and the phenomenal, and 2) that every truth should be perspicuously explicable from the fundamental truth about the world; and he concludes that because physicalism is true, there could be no phenomenal truths, and no qualia. I think he is wrong to accept 2); and even if he was right to accept it, the more plausible response would be not to deny the existence of qualia but to deny physicalism. In either case, denying the existence of qualia is the wrong answer. I present a physicalist realist alterative that refutes premise 2 of the Gap Argument; I also make a general case against the scientism that accompanies Frankish’s metaphysics.

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Katalin Balog
Rutgers University - Newark


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