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On the Physicalistic Approach to Consciousness

Mahmoud Khatami
Teorema: Revista Internacional de Filosofía
Vol. 24, No. 1 (2005), pp. 35-51
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/43046556
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
On the Physicalistic Approach to Consciousness
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Abstract

El fisicalismo es el enfoque básico de la filosofía analítica contemporánea de la mente y de la conciencia. La pretensión global de este artículo es revisar el aspecto crucial del enfoque fisicalista de la conciencia que cristaliza en la brecha explicativa entre la caracterización fenoménica y la causal: nada se revela sobre la posible realización neuronal y el papel causal de la conciencia en su estructura fenoménica, y nada se indica sobre las propiedades fenoménicas en su dependencia neural y causal. ¿Cómo es posible entonces dar una explicación fisicalista de la conciencia en su doble aspecto sin negar pura y simplemente el componente fenoménico, experiencia e intencional? Este artículo analiza esta última cuestión indicando una serie de dificultades a las que un programa de "fisicalización" de la conciencia tiene que hacer frente cuando toma en serio lo que muestran los mejores análisis fenomenológicos de la conciencia y de la intencionalidad. Parece que no hay un modo claro de salvar la brecha que se produce cuando las propiedades fenoménicas se presentan como intratables desde este punto de vista, y cuando la clausura causal del mundo físico no deja lugar alguno para las características fenoménicas e intencionales. Physicalism is the basic approach of the contemporary analytic philosophy of mind to consciousness. The overall aim of this paper is to revise the crucial aspect of physicalistic approach to consciousness which is crystallized in the explanatory gap between the phenomenal and the causal characterization: nothing about the possible neural realization and causal role of consciousness is revealed in its phenomenal structure, and nothing about the phenomenal properties is indicated in the neural and causal underpinning. How then is it possible to give a physicalistic account of consciousness in its double aspect without simply denying the phenomenal, experiential and intentional component? This paper will address the latter question by indicating a series of difficulties a program of "physicalizing" consciousness has to confront when taking seriously what is shown by the best phenomenological analysis of consciousness and intentionality. There seems to be no clear way of bridging the gap in a physicalistic perspective when the phenomenal properties present themselves as untractable from this point of view, and when the causal closure of the physical world leaves no place for phenomenal and intentional characteristics.

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