Phenomenal, Normative, and Other Explanatory Gaps: A General Diagnosis

Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 98 (3):567-591 (2017)
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I assume that there exists a general phenomenon, the phenomenon of the explanatory gap, surrounding consciousness, normativity, intentionality, and more. Explanatory gaps are often thought to foreclose reductive possibilities wherever they appear. In response, reductivists who grant the existence of these gaps have offered countless local solutions. But typically such reductivist responses have had a serious shortcoming: because they appeal to essentially domain-specific features, they cannot be fully generalized, and in this sense these responses have been not just local but parochial. Here I do better. Taking for granted that the explanatory gap is a genuine phenomenon, I offer a fully general diagnosis that unifies these previously fragmented reductivist responses.

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Neil Mehta
Yale-NUS College


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