Abstract for Pautz’s talk

The identity theory of experience is making a modest comeback (Block, McLaughlin, Prinz). It provides an attractive, reductive theory of experience; it also fits with the idea that experience is intrinsic (Horgan, Kriegel, Hawthorne). My main aim is to argue that it is mistaken. Some experiences, I argue, are necessarily directed at external states of affairs. But neural states are not necessarily so directed. So experiences cannot be (necessarily) identical with neural states. However I do think identity theorists are right about one thing: the biology of the brain makes a big contribution to what our experience of the world is like. At the end, I raise a question about whether currently popular radically externalist theories of phenomenology (e. g. “naive realism”) can adequately accommodate this point.

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