Consciousness and the Frustrations of Physicalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter sketches what is considered the best interpretation of physicalism, rehearses the best way of defending it, and shows that the physicalism forthcoming is still going to be less than fully satisfying; it is going to leave us short of the satisfaction that might be expected from a philosophical theory. The chapter is organized into three sections. The first section gives an interpretation of physicalism in the spirit of Frank Jackson's; this involves a rich version under which the way things are phenomenally is derivable in principle from physical premisses. The second sketches a representationalist or intentionalist argument for physicalism about phenomenal experience, one which also appeals to Jackson. The third section argues that even if we accept this case for a rich physicalism, still we should not expect to find the doctrine fully satisfying; the simulatory gap will stand between us and a sort of satisfaction that we might have expected to achieve.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMinds, Ethics, and Conditionals
Subtitle of host publicationThemes from the Philosophy of Frank Jackson
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Electronic)9780191708268
ISBN (Print)9780199267989
StatePublished - May 1 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities


  • Frank jackson
  • Phenomenal experience
  • Physical premisses
  • Physicalism


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