Experimental Philosophy of Consciousness

In Joshua Knobe & Shaun Nichols (eds.), The Oxford Studies in Experimental Philosophy. Oxford University Press (2020)
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Experimental philosophy of consciousness aims to investigate and explain our thinking about phenomenally conscious states. Based on empirical studies, researchers have argued (a) that we lack a folk concept of consciousness, (b) that we do not think entities like Microsoft feel regret, (c) that unfelt pains are widely accepted, and (d) that people do not attribute phenomenally conscious states to duplicated hamsters. In this article, I review these and other intriguing claims about people’s understanding of phenomenal consciousness. In doing so, I also show why experimental philosophy of consciousness is challenging, although perhaps not quite as daunting as studying phenomenal consciousness itself.

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Kevin Reuter
University of Zürich


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