Consciousness, reduction and physicalism

Publication Type:


Transliteration of original Title: 
Soznanie, reduktsiya i fizikalizm
Vitaly Sukhovyi
National Research University – Higher School of Economics
Issue number: 
No.2 (Vol.52)

This paper is dedicated to the mind-body problem. My aim is to show that not only consciousness resists to reductive explanation, but also that the latter itself is a big, complex and yet unsolved problem. Physicalism, consciousness, dualism, reduction, zombie, psychology, connectionism.And if there is a gap between conscious phenomenal experience and other psychical processes as dualists think I will show that similar gaps exist between different facts of such sciences as psychology (intentions, desires etc.) and neurophysiology (activation of nervous system). And the very fact of existence of such gaps is compatible with physicalism. I also aim to show that resistance of consciousness’s reduction to the physical processes is compatible with the doctrine of physicalism.The well-known argument in the defense of dualism belongs to the philosopher David Chalmers which is often also called “the zombie-argument”. This argument tries to demonstrate that consciousness is irreducible to the physical facts. Zombie-argument grounds on the two premises: 1) reducibility of physical facts and 2) the possibility of complete physics. The former means that conjunction of all microphysical facts is sufficient for inference of the only one conjunction of macrophysical facts. I will try to show that we can infer from the very same conjunction of microphysical facts to different conjunctions of macrophysical facts even if the whole system would be identical in its own behaviour. Thereafter if my arguments are sound it would demonstrate that irreducibility of consciousness isn’t enough for conclusion that physicalism is wrong.

physicalism, consciousness, dualism, reduction, zombie, psychology, connectionism

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