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Drayson, Zoe, , . The Philosophy of Phenomenal Consciousness
2015, In The Constitution of Phenomenal Consciousness. Amsterdam: pp. 273-292.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: A primer on the philosophical issues relating to phenomenal consciousness, part of a collection of new papers by scientists and philosophers on the constitution of consciousness.

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Irvine, Elizabeth, , . Explaining What?
2014, Topoi 36 (1):95-106.
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Added by: Clotilde Torregrossa, Contributed by: Simon Fokt

Abstract: The Hard Problem is surrounded by a vast literature, to which it is increasingly hard to contribute to in any meaningful way. Accordingly, the strategy here is not to offer any new metaphysical or ‘in principle’ arguments in favour of the success of materialism, but to assume a Type Q approach and look to contemporary consciousness science to see how the concept of consciousness fares there, and what kind of explanations we can hope to offer of it. It is suggested that while they will be materialist explanations, they will not be of the form that many scientists and philosophers would have us believe, but instead prompt a very different set of expectations and research projects.

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Patricia Churchland, , . The Hornswoggle Problem
1996, Journal of Consciousness Studies (3):5-6: 402-408.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by: Greg Miller

Abstract: Beginning with Thomas Nagel, various philosophers have proposed setting conscious experience apart from all other problems of the mind as ‘the most difficult problem-. When critically examined, the basis for this proposal reveals itself to be unconvincing and counter-productive. Use of our current ignorance as a premise to determine what we can never discover is one common logical flaw. Use of ‘I-cannot-imagine- arguments is a related flaw. When not much is known about a domain of phenomena, our inability to imagine a mechanism is a rather uninteresting psychological fact about us, not an interesting metaphysical fact about the world. Rather than worrying too much about the meta-problem of whether or not consciousness is uniquely hard, I propose we get on with the task of seeing how far we get when we address neurobiologically the problems of mental phenomena.

Comment: This paper can be best used to frame the contemporary debate over the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness. The paper neatly expresses the relevant ideas and criticisms in a brief, easy manner. The paper is also a prime example of an eliminativist response to the hard problem. This paper is highly accessible for students.

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