Thoughts on the Scientific Study of Phenomenal Consciousness

Psychology of Consciousness: Theory, Research, and Practice 8 (74-80) (2021)
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Abstract

This Target paper is about the hard problem of phenomenal consciousness (i.e., how is subjective experience possible given the scientific presumption that everything from molecules to minerals to minds is wholly physical?). I first argue that one of the most valuable tools in the scientific arsenal (metaphor) cannot be recruited to address the hard problem due to the inability to forge connections between the stubborn fact of subjective experience and physically grounded models of scientific explanation. I then argue that adherence to the physicalist tenets of contemporary science has a limiting effect on a full appreciation of the phenomenon under discussion.

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Stanely Bernard Klein
University of California at Santa Barbara

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