Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/243118
Title:
Explaining the Explanatory Gap
Author:
Fiala, Brian J.
Issue Date:
2012
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Embargo:
Release after 07-Aug-2014
Abstract:
There is a widespread intuition that physicalist theories of consciousness are importantly incomplete. But the psychological facts give us reason to think that the gap-intuition does not justify the belief that physical theories of consciousness always leave out some facts about consciousness. I target this belief, and aim to establish that it is not epistemically justified by the gap-intuition. I begin by making a case for thinking that a purely psychological analysis of the "explanatory gap" is not only a viable one, but is in many ways preferable to the standard modal-epistemological analysis. Then I marshal a body of empirical findings in support of the view that various sub-personal psychological processes play a key role in producing the gap-intuition. The most crucial of these processes is the agent-detector, a cognitive system specifically dedicated to detecting other conscious agents in the third-person mode. Leveraging this account, I argue that while the relevant sub-personal processes are generally accurate, in the case of the gap-intuition they are "tricked" in a manner analogous to a visual blind spot or a bias in decision-making. Thus gap-intuitions are not trustworthy and do not confer justification upon belief in a "real" gap. I conclude by situating my account within the context of existing literature on the explanatory gap. My account naturally complements various physicalist accounts of the gap, and also deserves consideration as an outright replacement for such accounts. The overall lesson is that the gap-intuition would arise whether or not physicalist theories of consciousness really do leave something out, and would persist even if we came to accept a true physicalist theory of consciousness. Thus anti-physicalist arguments that are based on the gap-intuition pose no serious threat to physicalist theories of consciousness.
Type:
text; Electronic Dissertation
Keywords:
dualism; explanatory gap; intuitions; physicalism; Philosophy; consciousness; debunking
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
Graduate College; Philosophy
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Horgan, Terry

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleExplaining the Explanatory Gapen_US
dc.creatorFiala, Brian J.en_US
dc.contributor.authorFiala, Brian J.en_US
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.releaseRelease after 07-Aug-2014en_US
dc.description.abstractThere is a widespread intuition that physicalist theories of consciousness are importantly incomplete. But the psychological facts give us reason to think that the gap-intuition does not justify the belief that physical theories of consciousness always leave out some facts about consciousness. I target this belief, and aim to establish that it is not epistemically justified by the gap-intuition. I begin by making a case for thinking that a purely psychological analysis of the "explanatory gap" is not only a viable one, but is in many ways preferable to the standard modal-epistemological analysis. Then I marshal a body of empirical findings in support of the view that various sub-personal psychological processes play a key role in producing the gap-intuition. The most crucial of these processes is the agent-detector, a cognitive system specifically dedicated to detecting other conscious agents in the third-person mode. Leveraging this account, I argue that while the relevant sub-personal processes are generally accurate, in the case of the gap-intuition they are "tricked" in a manner analogous to a visual blind spot or a bias in decision-making. Thus gap-intuitions are not trustworthy and do not confer justification upon belief in a "real" gap. I conclude by situating my account within the context of existing literature on the explanatory gap. My account naturally complements various physicalist accounts of the gap, and also deserves consideration as an outright replacement for such accounts. The overall lesson is that the gap-intuition would arise whether or not physicalist theories of consciousness really do leave something out, and would persist even if we came to accept a true physicalist theory of consciousness. Thus anti-physicalist arguments that are based on the gap-intuition pose no serious threat to physicalist theories of consciousness.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeElectronic Dissertationen_US
dc.subjectdualismen_US
dc.subjectexplanatory gapen_US
dc.subjectintuitionsen_US
dc.subjectphysicalismen_US
dc.subjectPhilosophyen_US
dc.subjectconsciousnessen_US
dc.subjectdebunkingen_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.disciplinePhilosophyen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorHorgan, Terryen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberNichols, Shaunen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKriegel, Uriahen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKobes, Bernard W.en_US
dc.contributor.committeememberHorgan, Terryen_US
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