Is the United States Phenomenally Conscious? Reply to KammererPhilosophia 44 (2016), 877-883
In Schwitzgebel (2015) I argued that the United States, considered as a concrete entity with people as some or all of its parts, meets all plausible materialistic criteria for consciousness. Kammerer (2015) defends materialism against this seemingly unintuitive conclusion by means of an "anti-nesting principle" according to which group entities cannot be literally phenomenally conscious if they contain phenomenally conscious subparts (such as people) who stand in a certain type of functional relation to the group as a whole. I raise three concerns about Kammerer's view. First, it's not clear that it excludes the literal phenomenal consciousness of actually existing groups of people, as one might hope such a principle would do. Second, Kammerer's principle appears to make the literal phenomenal consciousness of a group depend in an unintuitive way on internal structural details of individuals within the group. Third, the principle appears to be ad hoc.
Here's a link to my original piece: If Materialism Is True, the United Sates Is Probably Conscious (Philosophical Studies 172: 1697-1721).
Kammerer's reply: How a Materialist Can Deny That the United States Is Probably Conscious - Response to Schwitzgebel (Philosophia 42: 1047-1057).
Official published version at Philosophia.
Manuscript version as PDF: Is the United States Phenomenally Conscious? Reply to Kammerer (Apr. 28, 2016).
Manuscript version as HTML: Is the United States Phenomenally Conscious? Reply to Kammerer (Apr. 28, 2016).
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