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June 28, 2006

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Yujin Nagasawa

Congratulations to Daniel. Nice cover art!

Vadim Vasilyev

Very interesting book, very polished, may be even overpolished a bit. Minimalistic "epistemic view" Stoljar proposes is a view that our contradictions in thinking about consciousness and brain result from our ignorance of some "nonexperiential truths". He doesn't say we are cognitively closed as regards these truths,not to be close to McGinn. And he thinks such a position answers "logical problem of experience", arising due to incoherence of our natural beliefs concerning (1) existence of "experiential truths", (2) their entailment by nonexperiential truths (physicalism) and (3) their independence from nonexperiential truths (showed, e.g., by zombie-arguments). That's OK, but it's a real puzzle for me why Stoljar believes his position demonstrates that philosophy of mind, treated as conceptual program of answering "the metaphysical problems of mind and the problem of experience in particular" "is a failure" (P. 233). In fact, his position, being truly minimalistic, is just a statement that while consciousness is surely a product of brain, we don't yet know the properties of the brain which necessarily give rise to it. But it doesn't follow from this that it is impossible to show with "conceptual machinery" what kind of properties they are, or even what properties they are. In other words, Stoljar confirms that "hard problem of consciousness" is really hard, but such confirmation cannot block searching for its conceptual solution.

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