A posteriori physicalism and phenomenal concepts: The a priori synthesizable objection

Julia Telles de Menezes


The aim of this paper is to critically assess and respond to two objections advanced by Daniel Stoljar (2005) against the so-called phenomenal concept strategy. My goal is to defend the physicalist response to both the knowledge argument and the conceivability argument against Stoljar’s objections. Regarding the conceivability argument, I want to show that the distinction mobilized by Stoljar between a priori and a priori synthesizable does not help us to elucidate the psychophysical condition for that is a clear disanalogy between the cases presented by Stoljar. Regarding the knowledge argument, I want to show that Stoljar’s argument about experienced Mary undermines the fundamental premise of the knowledge argument and therefore it cannot be mobilized to deflate the phenomenal concept strategy against the knowledge argument. My conclusion will be that Stoljar’s points are ineffective against the phenomenal concept strategy.

Keywords: phenomenal concept, conceivability, physicalism, knowledge argument.

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