The Hard Problem of Consciousness & the Progressivism of Scientific Explanation

Journal of Consciousness Studies 20 (9-10):9-10 (2013)
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Several philosophers believe that with phenomenal consciousness and neurobiological properties, there will always be some kind of epistemic gap between the two that will lead to a corresponding ontological gap. In order to address those who espouse this hard line position, I will first briefly examine certain aspects of the history of scientific explanation. I will put forth a positive thesis that there is what I call a progressivism to scientific explanations in certain fields, where kinds of explanations tend to advance or progress, somewhat analogous to how overall scientific theories also significantly advance or progress. Given the progressivism of kinds of explanations, I provide a new contention that adherents to the hard line view are not justified in making their relevant claims. While progressivism and its use against hard line views may seem intuitively obvious to some readers, I offer its first articulation and attempt to illustrate the novel virtues it brings to the table of the phenomenal consciousness debate


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