A Radical Reinterpretation of Quinean Naturalism and Its View of Consciousness

  • Pamela Ann J. Boongaling
Keywords: Quine, McGinn, scepticism, naturalism, physicalism, consciousness, scientific mysterianism


McGinn maintains that Quinean naturalism cannot provide a viable position in the debate on the existence of consciousness and the external world for it does not have a place for phenomenal experience in its naturalized epistemology. In effect, it cannot or will refuse to address any version of a sceptic’s argument regarding the lack of sufficient grounds to prove the existence of consciousness and the external world. I argue otherwise by pointing out that Quinean naturalism must provide an account of phenomenal experience to ensure the consistency of its epistemic and ontic assumptions with its naturalistic worldview. In the process, I demonstrate that Quinean naturalism allows us to infer that the best explanation for the existence of both consciousness and the external world can be derived from how the roles of subjectivity and objectivity in our creation and assessment of our conceptual schemes are primarily derived from our phenomenal experience of the external world.
Epistemology and Morals