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Frontiers of ConsciousnessChichele Lectures$
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Lawrence Weiskrantz and Martin Davies

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199233151

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199233151.001.0001

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Explanatory gaps and dualist intuitions

Explanatory gaps and dualist intuitions

(p.55) Chapter 2 Explanatory gaps and dualist intuitions
Frontiers of Consciousness

David Papineau

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses a set of ideas associated with the phrase ‘the explanatory gap’ and their methodological implications. The ‘explanatory gap’ refers to the lack of any conceptual tie between physical descriptions and claims about consciousness. It is understood by most people as expressing the dualist intuition that the conscious mind is separate from the brain. Given this terminology, type-A and type-B physicalists can be distinguished by their differing attitudes to this ‘explanatory gap’. Type-A physicalists will insist that there is no ‘explanatory gap’ and that, despite appearances to the contrary, claims about consciousness can after all be shown to follow a priori from the physical facts. Type-B physicalists, by contrast, accept the ‘explanatory gap’, but maintain that no ontological conclusions about the immateriality of consciousness follow.

Keywords:   explanatory gap, consciousness, dualist intuition, Type-A physicalist, Type-B physicalist

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