Panqualityism, Awareness and the Explanatory Gap

Erkenntnis:1-23 (forthcoming)
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According to panqualityism, a form of Russellian monism defended by Sam Coleman and others, consciousness is grounded in fundamental qualities, i.e. unexperienced qualia. Despite panqualityism’s significant promise, according to David Chalmers panqualityism fails as a theory of consciousness since the reductive approach to awareness of qualities it proposes fails to account for the specific phenomenology associated with awareness. I investigate Coleman’s reasoning against this kind of phenomenology and conclude that he successfully shows that its existence is controversial, and so Chalmers’s critique is inconclusive. I then present a critique of panqualityism that avoids this controversial posit, arguing that the panqualityist treatment of awareness faces an explanatory gap, failing to account for the intimate cognitive access to qualities which we are afforded, i.e. for our ‘strong awareness’ of qualities. The real worry for panqualityists is thus not the contested phenomenology of awareness, which Chalmers relies on, but rather the special way in which we are aware of qualities.
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Archival date: 2020-04-16
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