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Experience, reality and representation : on the implications of a maximally non-deflationary phenomenal realism


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Whatley, JP 2015 , 'Experience, reality and representation : on the implications of a maximally non-deflationary phenomenal realism', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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This thesis is dedicated to uncovering the conceptual and metaphysical entailments of a form
of phenomenal realism I call Robust Realism. I argue that a maximally non-deflationary
phenomenal realism of this kind constitutes the only principled form of resistance to Daniel
Dennett’s eliminativist strategy. I also argue that while Robust Realists constitute a minority
within the philosophical community, the deflationist majority have reason to be interested in
the results of such a project, as it promises a way beyond the dialogical impasse marking the
current qualia debate. I begin by arguing that the definitive commitments of Robust Realism
entail a thesis regarding the constitutive nature of phenomenal property instances, that their
constitutive nature is exhausted by their experienced nature. From here, I argue that
spatiotemporal inclusion and causal interaction, the two principal means of forging a
metaphysical connection between experiences and a metaphysically real world, aren’t
available to Robust Realists. I then argue for a thesis regarding the nature of relations,
roughly, that relations necessarily implicate their relata. This thesis forms the basis for my
case against the nascent Phenomenal Intentionality Research Program, and combines with
other considerations to constitute a case for the impossibility of the kind of transcendentally
real representation of phenomenal properties that Robust Realism is founded upon.

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Whatley, JP
Keywords: consciousness, qualia, metaphysics, experience
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Copyright 2015 the Author

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