Arguments Given by David Chalmers for Rejecting a Materialistic Account of Consciousness in His Book

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Arguments Given by David Chalmers for Rejecting a Materialistic Account of Consciousness in His Book

In this paper I will examine and criticize the arguments David Chalmers gives for rejecting a materialistic account of consciousness in his book The Conscious Mind. I will draw upon arguments and intuitions from the three main schools of thought in the philosophical study of consciousness(a) forms of dualism, (b) materialism, and (c) eliminativism. Chalmers' book deals with what are currently the most controversial issues in the study of consciousness, especially among these three schools of thought, so it provides a good guide to the important issues. This paper will concentrate on the debate between dualist and materialist
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First, what is consciousness? Consciousness is often referred to by philosophers as what it's like to feel pain or to see the color red. Qualia, phenomenal feel, and the subjective quality of experience are terms used by philosophers which all make reference to consciousness. The basic idea is that when one has an experience, a pain in the foot for example, it seems theoretically possible to separate all of the neuron firings, information processing in the brain, and behavioral responses, from what will be leftthe feeling of pain (this is also called the phenomenal feel or the qualia associated with pain). Dualists disagree with both materialists and eliminativists on whether it is possible to separate consciousness from all the nerve impulses, information processing, etc., which occur in a conscious person's brain. Eliminativists such as Dennett claim that there isn't any phenomenon above and beyond all such brain processes and their interaction left to explain. Performing imaginative thought experiments might make us think that there is something other than the things going on in our bodies (some experience), but we are mistaken. This fundamental difference of intuitions immediately separates eliminativist theories from theories like Chalmers', and to a lesser extent from the sort of theory most materialists would defend. We are left with the

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