Representationalism, Scepticism and Phenomenal Realism

Prometeica - Revista De Filosofía Y Ciencias 25:51-65 (2022)
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Abstract

The irreducibility thesis of phenomenal consciousness can only succeed against the sceptical attack and avoid solipsism iff it can coherently establish the transition from subjective certainty to the objectivity of knowledge. The sceptical attack on the relationship between the phenomenal qualitative character of experience about the subjects own mental fact and the awareness of the qualitative properties of the phenomenal object can be avoided through establishing the immediacy of experience. The phenomenal realist become successful in establishing the subjective certainty about the knowledge of phenomenal consciousness, however, has been failed in establishing objective certainty of knowledge, which leads to several epistemological problems (i.e., scepticism about the independent existence of external world, knowledge about the external reality and the existence of other mind; popularly known as the harder problem of consciousness) in philosophy of mind. In this paper, my objective is to reveal the undesirable consequences of representationalism. Representationalism is not an ideal option for responding to the sceptical attack against the other minds and the reality of the external world. It always leaves an open question for us about the relation between the representation of the object of experience and consciousness. Representationalistic theories of experience violates the principles of phenomenality by rejecting the immediacy of experience and has been committing the pragmatic contradiction by reducing the phenomenal properties to representational properties. The categorization of knowledge about phenomenality as inferential knowledge by representationalist leave no room for foundational knowledge about phenomenality.

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Manas Kumar Sahu
Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay

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