Saturday, February 21, 2009

Cameron Boult Presentz

February 2009


UW philosophy student Cameron Boult will present from a paper on Wednesday, 25 January. Talk will begin at 12h30, in room 2C15. All welcome!


Christopher Hill, a proponent of a version of what is known as the "phenomenal concept strategy", argues that Kripke's conceivability argument for dualism can be explained away in terms of certain psychological mechanisms. Kripke's argument states that because we can conceive of such mental states as pain independently of such physical brain processes as, say, "c-fiber firing", these two "rigid designators" cannot refer to the same thing--pain is not something physical, and therefore physicalism is false. Hill argues that physicalism is not false. He argues that the conceivability of pain in the absence of c-fiber firing is only apparent, and can, in fact, be explained away psychologically: distinct faculties of imagination are involved in conceiving of pain and c-fiber firing which make it seem like they are separate entities when they are not. I examine Hill's argument and suggest that he must show that these psychological mechanisms are unreliable--that they indeed present us with an illusion as opposed to what really is the case with regard to pain and c-fiber firing. I argue that he fails to show this, and therefore that his position does not present any considerable challenge to Kripke's dualism.

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