Article first published online: 28 MAR 2011
© 2011 The Author. Philosophy Compass © 2011 Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Volume 6, Issue 4, pages 267–281, April 2011
How to Cite
Sundström, P. (2011), Phenomenal Concepts. Philosophy Compass, 6: 267–281. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-9991.2011.00384.x
- Issue published online: 28 MAR 2011
- Article first published online: 28 MAR 2011
It’s a common idea in philosophy that we possess concepts of a peculiar kind by which we can think about our conscious states in ‘inner’ and ‘direct’ ways, as for example, when I attend to the way a current pain feels and think about this feeling as such. Such ‘phenomenal concepts’ figure in a variety of theoretical contexts. The bulk of this article discusses their use in a certain strategy – the phenomenal concept strategy– for defending the physicalist view that conscious states are reducible to brain states. It also considers, more briefly, how phenomenal concepts have been used to defend dualism about consciousness, and how they have been used to explain our special access to our consciousness. It concludes with a discussion about whether, and in what more precise sense of the term, we at all possess ‘phenomenal concepts’ of our conscious states.