Why There Is “the Hard Problem of Consciousness”?


  • Dmytro Sepetyi Zaporizhzhya State Medical University


The most prominent aspect of the contemporary Philosophy of Mind is the hot discussion between adherents of materialist directions, who think that modern scientific knowledge gives persuasive evidence that the mind is identical with or constituted by some physical structures and processes in the brain, and opponents of materialism, who point out the existence of an explanatory gap from the physical to the phenomenal (subjective) or “the hard problem” of consciousness, that is, of explaining the existence of subjective experiences.
In this paper, the author expounds the meaning of the concepts of the explanatory gap and the hard problem, and argues for their reality and ontological significance. To explain the existence of the hard problem of consciousness, the author highlights the principal difference between the task of physical reduction of the phenomenal mind, and all other cases of successful physical reduction. He concludes that the explanation of the subjective (phenomenal, experience, consciousness) on the basis of something that has no subjective experiences and awareness, that is, the reduction of the mental (subjective) to nonmental (nonsubjective) is impossible in principle. The alternative to such an explanation (reduction) is bridging the physical-to-mental explanatory gap with special psychophysical laws of nature, which would mean that materialism is false and some variety of mindbody dualism is true.

Author Biography

Dmytro Sepetyi, Zaporizhzhya State Medical University

PhD in philosophical sciences, associate professor of the department of social disciplines


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How to Cite

Sepetyi, D. (2017). Why There Is “the Hard Problem of Consciousness”?. Filosofska Dumka, (2), 30–38. Retrieved from https://dumka.philosophy.ua/index.php/fd/article/view/9



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