Why Are Qualia So Mysterious? A Materialist’s Story

  • Cristian Trout
Keywords: Qualia, Explanatory Gap, Materialism, Epiphenomenalism, Modal Argument


Levine’s explanatory gap presents qualia (and their mysteriousness) as the main sticking point in the materialism anti-materialism debate. This paper makes the claim that materialists should not only strive to naturalize qualia in their theories but also explain why they seem so mysterious in the first place. The paper attempts to provide one such explanation of said mysteriousness. The materialist picture painted is hoped to give materialism a foundation upon which it can bridge the explanatory gap (and possibly defend itself against Kripkeʼs modal argument against forms of materialism). The picture will ultimately be that our ability to introspect, that is, our “inner-sight” if you will, is a blind-innersight, analogous to the known condition, blind-sight. If this picture is correct (i.e. it agrees with neuroscientific findings) then it is to be believed it will handily serve the materialist’s explanatory needs.