Brian Loar on Physicalism and Phenomenal Concepts

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Karol Polcyn


Brian Loar argues that we can account for the conceptual independence of coextensive terms purely psychologically, by appealing to conceptual rather than semantic differences between concepts, and that this leaves room for assuming that phenomenal and physical concepts can be coextensive on a posteriori grounds despite the fact that both sorts of concepts refer directly (by having the same reference-fixers and referents). I argue that Loar does not remove the mystery of the coextensiveness of those concepts because he does not offer any explanation of why they should be coextensive. Secondly, I argue that even if we grant that phenomenal and physical concepts can be coextensive on a posteriori grounds, we are committed to holding that there are two different and essential modes of presentation of phenomenal properties, the physical and the phenomenal, and that this precludes us from seeing phenomenal properties as essentially physical in an unrelativized sense.


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Polcyn, Karol. 2013. “Brian Loar on Physicalism and Phenomenal Concepts”. Diametros, no. 11 (November):10-39.
Author Biography

Karol Polcyn

Karol Polcyn: dr, adiunkt w Instytucie Filozofii Uniwersytetu Szczecinskiego
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