The Super Justification Argument for Phenomenal Transparency

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In Consciousness and Fundamental Reality, Philip Goff argues that the case against physicalist views of consciousness turns on “Phenomenal Transparency”, roughly the thesis that phenomenal concepts reveal the essential nature of phenomenal properties. This paper considers the argument that Goff offers for Phenomenal Transparency. The key premise is that our introspective judgments about current conscious experience are “Super Justified”, in that these judgments enjoy an epistemic status comparable to that of simple mathematical judgments, and a better epistemic status than run of the mill perceptual judgments. After presenting the key ideas in the “Super Justification Argument”, I distinguish two Super Justification theses, which vary according to the kind of introspective judgments that they take to be Super Justified. I argue that Goff’s case requires “Strong Super Justification”, according to which a wide range of introspective judgments about conscious experience are Super Justified. Unfortunately, it turns out that Strong Super Justification is implausible and not well-supported by examples. In contrast, a weaker Super Justification thesis does not require anything like Phenomenal Transparency and, indeed, can be explained by physicalistic accounts of phenomenal concepts.
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Archival date: 2020-02-24
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