Metaphysics of Quantity and the Limit of Phenomenal Concepts

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Abstract
Quantities like mass and temperature are properties that come in degrees. And those degrees (e.g. 5 kg) are properties that are called the magnitudes of the quantities. Some philosophers (e.g., Byrne 2003; Byrne & Hilbert 2003; Schroer 2010) talk about magnitudes of phenomenal qualities as if some of our phenomenal qualities are quantities. The goal of this essay is to explore the anti-physicalist implication of this apparently innocent way of conceptualizing phenomenal quantities. I will first argue for a metaphysical thesis about the nature of magnitudes based on Yablo’s proportionality requirement of causation. Then, I will show that, if some phenomenal qualities are indeed quantities, there can be no demonstrative concepts about some of our phenomenal feelings. That presents a significant restriction on the way physicalists can account for the epistemic gap between the phenomenal and the physical. I’ll illustrate the restriction by showing how that rules out a popular physicalist response to the Knowledge Argument.
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Archival date: 2018-03-02
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