Self-consciousness (Awareness), Explanation, Materialism, Philosophy of mind, Jaegwon Kim -- Criticism and interpretation


The explanatory gap about the subjective nature of conscious experience is the gap in explanation between conscious experience, and available scientific explanations of conscious experience. The explanatory gap is, as Joseph Levine states, the problem that physicalism (or the physical sciences) has in describing mental terms and experiences.7 Thomas Nagel also describes the explanatory gap problem as the problem of explaining the subjective in objective terms. He states that the subjective viewpoint of the individual is inherently at odds with an objective, or physical explanation.8 Describing someone’s experience of the redness of red, for example, by describing the neural mechanisms that fire when he or she sees red might seem to leave out the phenomenal aspect of experience in explanation. This is an example of what might be thought of as a gap in explanation between what the physical sciences say about mental properties, and what introspection reveals about mental properties. Describing mental events as identical with brain events is normally called materialism, which stands in opposition to a dualist, or non-reductivist treatment of the psychological nature of mental phenomena.



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