The Elimination of Phenomenal Consciousness and Its Possibility

7 May, 2024

Kuznetsov A.

Lomonosov Philosophy Journal. 2024. Vol. 48. No. 2. P. 27–45.

Abstract. The main subject of consideration is illusionism, which rejects the existence of phenomenal consciousness. The aims of the article are, firstly, to demonstrate that the denial of phenomenal consciousness cannot be dismissed on the grounds that it is obviously false; secondly, to justify the incompatibility of illusionism with the assumption of the possibility of phenomenal consciousness. The first aim is achieved through the analysis of three main lines of argumentation in favor of the existence of phenomenal consciousness, which reveals that they contain a paradox; the second aim is achieved through the analysis of different interpretations of the concept of phenomenal consciousness, which either leads the illusionist to self-contradiction or does not even allow a conversation about such a possibility to begin. Both aims are subordinated to the common project of proving the existence of phenomenal consciousness, the main distinguishing feature of which is that it does not rely on special relationships between the subject and their consciousness. Therefore, it can solve the paradox problem and deflect illusionist criticism. The main conclusion of the article is that illusionism is only compatible with the impossibility of the existence of phenomenal consciousness, under the pressure of which the entire edifice of illusionist argumentation may collapse.