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Ignorance and ImaginationThe Epistemic Origin of the Problem of Consciousness$
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Daniel Stoljar

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306583

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2006

DOI: 10.1093/0195306589.001.0001

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 The Skeptical Challenge

 The Skeptical Challenge

(p.48) 3 The Skeptical Challenge
Ignorance and Imagination

Daniel Stoljar

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the idea that it is mistaken to suppose that there is a genuinely philosophical problem of experience at all. According to one version of the challenge, the problem should be rejected on methodological grounds: it is mistaken to reason from conceivability to possibility at all. It is argued that this reasoning is ubiquitous in philosophy, and thus to the extent that there is a problem here it is everyone’s rather than the author’s. According to another version of the challenge, the problem should be rejected on conceptual grounds: the thesis of physicalism certainly made sense at a particular moment in the history of science, but that moment is long gone and contemporary interpretations of it do not permit the questions typical of philosophy of mind to be legitimately raised. Physicalism and related concepts play an illustrative or inessential role, rather than an essential role, in the logical problem, and once this is appreciated, the basis for skepticism evaporates.

Keywords:   modal arguments, conceivability, possibility, physicalism, the physical

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