Non-eliminative reductionism: the basis of a science of conscious experience?

Dennis Nicholson

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    Abstract

    A coherent physicalist view of the nature of qualia labelled non-eliminative reductionism is outlined. If it is true, qualia and physicalism can co-exist without difficulty. On the one hand, qualia present no particular problem for reductionist physicalism - they are entirely physical and can be studied and explained using the normal scientific approach used for all other things in the universe and present no problem any harder than any other faced by scientists. . On the other, reductionist physicalism presents no particular problem for qualia - they can be encompassed within an entirely physicalist world view without any concomitant need, either to reduce them into to non-existence, or to treat them as new fundamental properties. It is suggested that the position also has sufficient explanatory power to successfully deal with the 'why like anything - why does experience exist at all' question and to counter both Chalmers' Conceivability Argument and Jackson's Knowledge Argument.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages15
    JournalPhilosophical Psychology
    Publication statusUnpublished - 2010

    Keywords

    • consciousness
    • mind-body problem
    • qualia
    • physicalism

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