Stephan Leuenberger (Glasgow): “Scrutability and the Problem of Cross-Family Quantification”

In Constructing the World, David Chalmers aims to defend strong reductionist claims he calls “scrutability theses”. One such thesis says, roughly speaking, that every truth about the world could, in principle, be “read off” a complete list of the physical facts and the facts about conscious experience. However, his strategy for establishing such scrutability theses faces a fairly basic logical problem that has not previously been recognized: what I call the “problem of cross-family quantifications”. I argue that the problem is pervasive, and discuss potential ways to overcome it, including the assumption that the fundamental structure of the world lacks certain symmetries.

Stephan Leuenberger is a lecturer in philosophy at the University of Glasgow.