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Philosophy

Representationalism and the Hard Problem of Consciousness by Bryce Dalbey (Lewis & Clark College)

Date: March 8 2013 3:30pm - 5:00pm Location: JR Howard Hall 202

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JR Howard Hall 202

Representationalism in the philosophy of mind holds that every conscious mental state is a representational mental state. Some philosophers claim that representationalism can solve the hard problem of consciousness. The idea is that if conscious mental states are representational and we understand the conditions required for mental representation, then we can also understand the conditions required for conscious experience. However, I argue that the possibility of spectrum inversion - the possibility that, say, what it is like for you when you see a lime is phenomenally identical with what it is like for me when I see a strawberry and vice versa - prevents the representationalist from offering such a solution. Given spectrum inversion, representationalist theories of consciousness must confront the same issues as functionalist theories, and are therefore in no special position to solve the hard problem.


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Claire Kodachi, Administrative Coordinator, Philosophy Department.  503-768-7450
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