Do philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in the same way? In this article, we argue that they do not and that the philosophical concept of phenomenal consciousness does not coincide with the folk conception. We first offer experimental support for the hypothesis that philosophers and ordinary people conceive of subjective experience in markedly different ways. We then explore experimentally the folk conception, proposing that for the folk, subjective experience is closely linked to valence. We conclude by considering the implications of our findings for a central issue in the philosophy of mind, the hard problem of consciousness.
KeywordsPhenomenal consciousness Folk concept of subjective experience Experimental philosophy Hard problem of consciousness
- Arico, A. (forthcoming). Folk psychology, consciousness, and context effects. Review of Philosophy and Psychology.Google Scholar
- Bennett, M., & Hacker, P. (2003). Philosophical foundations of neuroscience. Oxford: Blackwell. Google Scholar
- Block, N. (2004). Qualia. In R. Gregory (Ed.), Oxford companion to the mind (2nd ed., pp. 785–789). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Bloom, P. (2004). Descartes’ baby: How the science of child development explains what makes us human. London: William Heinemann.Google Scholar
- Chalmers, D. (1995). Facing up to the problem of consciousness. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 2(3), 200–219.Google Scholar
- Churchland, P. S. (1988). Reduction and the neurobiological basis of consciousness. In A. J. Marcel & E. Bisiach (Eds.), Consciousness in contemporary science (pp. 273–304). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Crick, F. (1995). The astonishing hypothesis: The scientific search for the soul. New York: Simon & Schuster.Google Scholar
- Dennett, D. (1987). The intentional stance. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Dennett, D. (1996). Kinds of minds: Toward an understanding of consciousness. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Dennett, D. (2005). Sweet dreams: Philosophical obstacles to a science of consciousness. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
- Huebner, B. (forthcoming). Commonsense concepts of phenomenal consciousness: Does anyone care about functional zombies? Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences.Google Scholar
- Huebner, B., Bruno, M., & Sarkissian, H. (forthcoming). What does the nation of China think about phenomenal states? Review of Philosophy and Psychology.Google Scholar
- Levin, J. (1998). Qualia. In E. Craig (Ed.), Routledge encyclopedia of philosophy. London: Routledge. Accessed 4 July 2007 from http://www.rep.routledge.com/article/V029.
- Newton, N. (2000). Humphrey’s solution. Journal of Consciousness Studies, 7(4), 62–66.Google Scholar
- Piaget, J. (1929). The child’s conception of the world. New York: Harcourt.Google Scholar
- Prinz, J. (2006). Gut reactions: A perceptual theory of emotions. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Searle, J. (1994). The rediscovery of the mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
- Tye, M. (2003). Qualia. In E. N. Zalta (Ed.), The Stanford encyclopedia of philosophy. Accessed 4 July 2007 from http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/qualia.