Date Thesis Awarded
Honors Thesis -- Open Access
Bachelors of Arts (BA)
The question of whether cognitive access is a constitutively necessary part of phenomenal consciousness has been the center of the debate of consciousness for several decades. It has been recognized that there exists a methodological puzzle in the study of consciousness (Block, 2006; Phillips, 2018). The puzzle can be roughly described as follows: how can we empirically find out whether certain cognitively inaccessible states are phenomenally conscious or not, when the way we identify conscious mental states is always confounded with cognitive access? This thesis reviews two current approaches to solve the methodological puzzle - one approach appeals to the Inference to the Best Explanation (IBE) and the other proposes to study consciousness as a natural kind. It is argued that both approaches failed, and the methodological puzzle remains unsolved.
Shen, Qiuyang, "The Methodological Puzzle of Phenomenal Consciousness: What it is, and Why it is Still Unsolved" (2019). Undergraduate Honors Theses. William & Mary. Paper 1393.
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