Argumenta – Journal of Analytic Philosophy


Having Experience and Knowing Experience: A Case for Illusionism about Phenomenal Consciousness

Issue: • Author/s: Daniel Shabasson
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

Most philosophers think that phenomenal consciousness is real and that it has two components: an experiential component—a state that is subjectively ‘like something’ for a subject of experience; and a cognitive component—the subject’s awareness of the experiential component and knowledge of what it’s like. Illusionists, by contrast, claim that phenomenal consciousness is an illusion. It does not exist but only seems to exist (Frankish 2016). Although illusionism is highly counterintuitive, I shall claim that it is probably true. For I shall argue that phenomenal realism—the view that phenomenal consciousness is…

The Realist Dilemma: A Critical Discussion of the Illusionist-Realist Dialectic

Issue: • Author/s: Arianna Beghetto
Topics: Cognitive science, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ontology, Philosophy of mind, Theoretical philosophy

This paper has two objectives. The first is to critically analyze the illusionist-realist debate about the existence of phenomenal consciousness. The second objective is to show that refuting illusionism is not as easy as most realists suppose. Many realists argue that illusionism is incoherent because it entails the falsity of a thesis that they take to be irrefutably true: when it comes to phenomenal properties, their appearance and their reality are indistinguishable. I label this thesis “No-Gap”. I explain that illusionists can oppose No-Gap, and accordingly conceive of introspection as…