Conceivability, Consciousness and the Content of Belief
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What follows is the text of my final paper for a philosophy of mind course that I took in the spring semester of 2012. Due to constraints on length, the paper is much shorter than it needs to be. I would very much like to expand it to deal with David Chalmers’ nuanced views on conceivability, among other things, and so I would be very grateful for any feedback that could help me to do that. Please keep in mind that the paper is a work in progress, and is still in a fairly rough state.
To read the full draft, which is a PDF file, please click this link:
In his article “Consciousness and Its Place in Nature”, David Chalmers presents an argument against materialism—the view that truths about consciousness and indeed mental phenomena in general are in some sense fixed by truths about physical entities—which is based on conceivability. If the argument is sound, the fact that one can conceive materialism to be false entails that materialism actually is false. In this paper I will argue that the argument is unsound, and I will do so by giving a parallel argument that is clearly unsound.