Physicalism and the Privacy of Conscious Experience

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The aim of the paper is to show that the privacy of conscious experience is inconsistent with any kind of physicalism. That is, if you are a physicalist, then you have to deny that more than one subject cannot undergo the very same conscious experience. In the first part of the paper we define the concepts of privacy and physicalism. In the second part we delineate two thought experiments in which two subjects undergo the same kind of conscious experience in such a way that all the physical processes responsible for their experiences are numerically the same. Based on the thought experiments and their interpretations we present our argument for the inconsistency of the privacy of experience with physicalism in the third part of the paper. In the final part we defend our argumentation against some objections.
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Archival date: 2016-05-03
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