In this paper I present an interpretation of du Bois-Reymond's thesis on the impossibility of a scientific explanation of consciousness and of its present importance. I reconsider du Bois-Reymond's speech “On the limits of natural science” (1872) in the context of nineteenth-century German philosophy and neurophysiology, pointing out connections and analogies with contemporary arguments on the “hard problem of consciousness.” Du Bois-Reymond's position turns out to be grounded on an epistemological argument and characterized by a metaphysical skepticism, motivated by the unfruitful speculative tendency of contemporary German philosophy and natural science. In the final sections, I show how contemporary research can benefit from a reconsideration of this position and its context of emergence, which is a good vantage point to trace open problems in consciousness studies back to their historical development.

Pecere, P. (2020). Reconsidering the ignorabimus: Du Bois-Reymond and the hard problem of consciousness. SCIENCE IN CONTEXT, 33(1), 1-18 [10.1017/S0269889720000095].

Reconsidering the ignorabimus: Du Bois-Reymond and the hard problem of consciousness

Pecere P.
2020-01-01

Abstract

In this paper I present an interpretation of du Bois-Reymond's thesis on the impossibility of a scientific explanation of consciousness and of its present importance. I reconsider du Bois-Reymond's speech “On the limits of natural science” (1872) in the context of nineteenth-century German philosophy and neurophysiology, pointing out connections and analogies with contemporary arguments on the “hard problem of consciousness.” Du Bois-Reymond's position turns out to be grounded on an epistemological argument and characterized by a metaphysical skepticism, motivated by the unfruitful speculative tendency of contemporary German philosophy and natural science. In the final sections, I show how contemporary research can benefit from a reconsideration of this position and its context of emergence, which is a good vantage point to trace open problems in consciousness studies back to their historical development.
Pecere, P. (2020). Reconsidering the ignorabimus: Du Bois-Reymond and the hard problem of consciousness. SCIENCE IN CONTEXT, 33(1), 1-18 [10.1017/S0269889720000095].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11590/376057
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