"The Significance Argument for the
Irreducibility of Consciousness"
The Significance Argument (SA) for the irreducibility of consciousness is based on a series of new puzzle-cases that I call “multiple candidate cases”. In these cases, there is a multiplicity of physical-functional properties or relations that are candidates to be identified with the sensible qualities and our consciousness of them, where those candidates are not significantly different. I will argue that these cases show that reductive materialists cannot accommodate the various ways in which consciousness is significant. I also will argue that a nonreductive theory of the conscious-of relation can easily provide a very satisfying, unified explanation of the ways in which this relation is significant.
Adam Pautz is a Professor of Philosophy at Brown University.