Beautiful Distinctions: Psychological and Phenomenal States

Aspiring PI

David Chalmers changed the frontier of philosophy of mind by resuscitating a key distinction between the phenomenal and psychological uses of mental terms. The former describing subjective qualitative aspects of mental phenomena and the latter describing physico-chemical and broadly neurological states which admit objective description. Better, he claims that these distinctions exhaust the landscape of mental phenomena. He draws one conclusion as follows:

“[O]nce we have fixed the psychological, phenomenal and relational properties of an individual, there seems to be nothing mental that can be independently varied. We cannot even imaginesomeone identical to me in the three respects mentioned above but who believes something different. There is simply not enough room in the conceptual space for the possibility. Intentional properties are in some ways less primitive than psychological and phenomenal properties in that they cannot be varied independently of the latter.” – David Chalmers, The Conscious Mind.

If such…

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