The Quest to Solve Problems That Don’t Exist: Thought Artifacts in Contemporary Ontology

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Abstract

Questions about the nature of reality and consciousness remain unresolved in philosophy today, but not for lack of hypotheses. Ontologies as varied as physicalism, microexperientialism and cosmopsychism enrich the philosophical menu. Each of these ontologies faces a seemingly fundamental problem: under physicalism, for instance, we have the ‘hard problem of consciousness,’ whereas under microexperientialism we have the ‘subject combination problem.’ I argue that these problems are thought artifacts, having no grounding in empirical reality. In a manner akin to semantic paradoxes, they exist only in the internal logico-conceptual structure of their respective ontologies.

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