On the Referent of the Term "Phenomenal Consciousness" Bryce Bearden (Unaffiliated, Waterford, CALIFORNIA ) C11
The term "phenomenal consciousness" is central to the dialectics between Physicalism, Phenomenal Realism, and Strong Illusionism. It seems that the term is being used by different parties to refer to different things, and this may account for some of the disparities between the positions taken by these parties. I let S1 denote the set of all possible referents of the term t1 for which some constraining proposition which introduces the term is true. I use as a first candidate for such a proposition a paraphrasing of Chalmers' conceivability argument: "if actual humans instantiate t1, and if physical duplicates of humans who do not instantiate t1 are conceivable, then Physicalism is false." A non-Physicalist Phenomenal Realist and a Strong Illusionist may be using the term "phenomenal consciousness" to refer to a member of S1. The former will claim that actual humans do instantiate phenomenal consciousness, and the latter will claim that they do not. A Physicalist Phenomenal Realist may not be using the term "phenomenal consciousness" to refer to a member of S1.