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Explaining Consciousness?

Edited by David Chalmers (Australian National University, New York University)
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  1. Peter Achinstein (1989). Explanation and Acceptability. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 12 (3):467.
  2. Walter Randolph Adams (1993). The Parietal and Occipital Lobes and the Development of Consciousness: Some Preliminary Thoughts. Anthropology of Consciousness 4 (3):19-22.
  3. Adrian Alsmith (2014). Eric Schwitzgebel: Perplexities of Consciousness. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 13 (3):497-501.
    A glance at the contents of this book might be enough to persuade that it is absolutely required reading for anyone interested in the study of consciousness. The discussion is replete with insight into a number of neglected topics: colour in dream experience (chapter 1), echolocation in auditory experience (chapter 4) and closed-eye visualisations (chapter 8). More familiar themes such as the spatial qualities presented in visual experience (chapter 2), visual imagery (chapter 3), the introspectionist movement (chapter 5), conscious attention (...)
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  4. Torin Alter, Review of Mark Rowlands' the Nature of Consciousness. [REVIEW]
    In The Nature of Consciousness, Mark Rowlands argues that phenomenal properties, which constitute what it is like to have a conscious experience, are “transcendental”: that they are properties by which we are conscious of the nonphenomenal world, but they are not objects of conscious awareness or even linguistic reference. He uses that conclusion to support a mysterian position on the explanatory-gap problem: that it is impossible to understand how phenomenal consciousness arises from physical systems such as the brain.
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  5. Edward Wilson Averill (1992). The Problem of Consciousness: Essays Toward a Resolution. Philosophical Books 33 (3):168-170.
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  6. John Barresi (2004). Intentionality, Consciousness and Intentional Relations: From Constitutive Phenomenology to Cognitive Science. In L. Embree (ed.), Gurwitsch's Relevance for Cognitive Science. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers. 79--93.
    In this chapter I look closely at the intentionality of consciousness from a naturalistic perspective. I begin with a consideration of Gurwitsch's suggestive ideas about the role of acts of consciousness in constituting both the objects and the subjects of consciousness. I turn next to a discussion of how these ideas relate to my own empirical approach to intentional relations seen from a developmental perspective. This is followed by a discussion of some recent ideas in philosophical cognitive science on the (...)
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  7. William Bechtel (1985). Owen Flanagan, The Science of Mind Reviewed By. Philosophy in Review 5 (6):249-252.
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  8. Reinaldo Bernal Velásquez (2011). Materialism and the Subjectivity of Experience. Philosophia 39 (1):39-49.
    The phenomenal properties of conscious mental states happen to be exclusively accessible from the first-person perspective. Consequently, some philosophers consider their existence to be incompatible with materialist metaphysics. In this paper I criticise one particular argument that is based on the idea that for something to be real it must (at least in principle) be accessible from an intersubjective perspective. I argue that the exclusively subjective access to phenomenal contents can be explained by the very particular nature of the epistemological (...)
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  9. Piotr Boltuc (2012). The Engineering Thesis in Machine Consciousness. Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 16 (2):187-207.
    I argue here that consciousness can be engineered. The claim that functional consciousness can be engineered has been persuasively put forth in regards to first-person functional consciousness; robots, for instance, can recognize colors, though there is still much debate about details of this sort of consciousness. Such consciousness has now become one of the meanings of the term phenomenal consciousness (e.g., as used by Franklin and Baars). Yet, we extend the argument beyond the tradition of behaviorist or functional reductive views (...)
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  10. Trigant Burrow (1927). The Social Basis of Consciousness. New York, Harcourt, Brace & Co., Inc..
    Acknowledg ment is made to the Editors for permission to include these papers in the present volume. FRINTFD IN l.
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  11. Monima Chadha (2015). Meditation and Unity of Consciousness: A Perspective From Buddhist Epistemology. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (1):111-127.
    The paper argues that empirical work on Buddhist meditation has an impact on Buddhist epistemology, in particular their account of unity of consciousness. I explain the Buddhist account of unity of consciousness and show how it relates to contemporary philosophical accounts of unity of consciousness. The contemporary accounts of unity of consciousness are closely integrated with the discussion of neural correlates of consciousness. The conclusion of the paper suggests a new direction in the search for neural correlates of state consciousness (...)
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  12. Axel Cleeremans, A a A.
    While the study of implicit learning is nothing new, the field as a whole has come to embody — over the last decade or so — ongoing questioning about three of the most fundamental debates in the cognitive sciences: The nature of consciousness, the nature of mental representation (in particular the difficult issue of abstraction), and the role of experience in shaping the cognitive system. Our main goal in this chapter is to offer a framework that attempts to integrate current (...)
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  13. Richard P. Cooper, Nicolas Ruh & Denis Mareschal (2014). The Goal Circuit Model: A Hierarchical Multi‐Route Model of the Acquisition and Control of Routine Sequential Action in Humans. Cognitive Science 38 (2):244-274.
    Human control of action in routine situations involves a flexible interplay between (a) task-dependent serial ordering constraints; (b) top-down, or intentional, control processes; and (c) bottom-up, or environmentally triggered, affordances. In addition, the interaction between these influences is modulated by learning mechanisms that, over time, appear to reduce the need for top-down control processes while still allowing those processes to intervene at any point if necessary or if desired. We present a model of the acquisition and control of goal-directed action (...)
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  14. Tim Crane (2012). Tye on Acquaintance and the Problem of Consciousness. [REVIEW] Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (1):190-198.
  15. Lyle Crawford (2013). Freak Observers and the Simulation Argument. Ratio 26 (3):250-264.
    The simulation hypothesis claims that the whole observable universe, including us, is a computer simulation implemented by technologically advanced beings for an unknown purpose. The simulation argument (as I reconstruct it) is an argument for this hypothesis with moderately plausible premises. I develop two lines of objection to the simulation argument. The first takes the form of a structurally similar argument for a conflicting conclusion, the claim that I am a so-called freak observer, formed spontaneously in a quantum or thermodynamic (...)
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  16. Christian de Quincey (1994). Consciousness All the Way Down? An Analysis of McGinn's Critique of Panexperientialism. Journal of Consciousness Studies 1 (2):217-229.
    This paper examines two objections by Colin McGinn to panexperientialist metaphysics as a solution to the mind-body problem. It begins by briefly stating how the `ontological problem' of the mind-body relationship is central to the philosophy of mind, summarizes the difficulties with dualism and materialism, and outlines the main tenets of panexperientialism. Panexperientialists, such as David Ray Griffin, claim that theirs is one approach to solving the mind-body problem which does not get stuck in accounting for interaction nor in the (...)
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  17. D. C. Dennett (2009). The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World. Philosophical Review 118 (3):402-406.
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  18. Daniel C. Dennett, Review of McGinn, The Problem of Consciousness. [REVIEW]
    In other words, it's a perfect season for naysayers, and philosophers have risen to the occasion. The most radical is Colin McGinn, former Wilde Reader of Mental Philosophy at Oxford, who has recently taken a position at Rutgers University in New Jersey. The Problem of Consciousness is a collection of eight essays, two of which have not previously been published. McGinn's central thesis is that the problem of consciousness is systematically insoluble by us (Martians or demigods might have better luck). (...)
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  19. Claus Emmeche, Causal Processes, Semiosis, and Consciousness.
    The evolutionary emergence of biological processes in organisms with inner, qualitative aspects has not been explained in any sufficient way by neurobiology, nor by the traditional neo-Darwinian paradigm — natural selection would appear to work just as well on insentient zombies (with the right behavioral input-output relations) as on real sentient animals. In consciousness studies one talks about the ‘hard problem’ of qualia. In this paper I sketch a set of principles about sign action, causality and emergent evolution. On the (...)
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  20. James H. Fetzer (1979). Chalmers' What is This Thing Called Science? [REVIEW] Erkenntnis 14 (3):393 - 404.
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  21. Manuel García-Carpintero (2014). Constructing the World by Chalmers, David J. Australasian Journal of Philosophy 92 (2):388-391.
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  22. Amit Goswami, The Hard Questions: View From a Science of Consciousness.
  23. Lorna Green, Introduction to All My Works 2012.
    I am proposing a new Copernican revolution, that Consciousness and not matter is the true basis of the universe. Here is an account of my graduate student days at the Rockefeller University as a woman pioneer in science, and a sense of what I am really about in all of my works. I am giving a woman's take on the universe.
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  24. Lorna Green (2003). Beyond Chance and Necessity. Journal of Speculative Philosophy 17 (4):270-286.
    These essays propose a new "Copernican Revolution": Consciousness, not matter, is basic in the universe. They are non-technical, simply and clearly written.
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  25. Jennifer Greenwood (2013). Is Mind Extended or Scaffolded? Ruminations on Sterelney's (2010) Extended Stomach. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-22.
    In his paper, in this journal, Sterelney (Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 9:465–481, 2010) claims that cases of extended mind are limiting cases of environmental scaffolding and that a niche construction model is a more helpful, general framework for understanding human action. He further claims that extended mind cases fit into a corner of a 3D space of environmental scaffolds of cognitive competence. He identifies three dimensions which determine where a resource fits into this space and suggests that extended mind (...)
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  26. Stevan Harnad, Harnad on Dennett on Chalmers on Consciousness: The Mind/Body Problem is the Feeling/Function Problem.
    Why, oh why do we keep conflating this question, which is about the uncertainty of sensory information, with the much more profound and pertinent one, which is about the functional explicability and causal role of feeling?
    _Kant: How is it possible for something even to be a thought (of mine)? What are the conditions for the_
    _possibility of experience (veridical or illusory) at all?_
    That's not the right question either. The right question is not even an epistemic one, (...)
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  27. W. Hasker (2009). Review: Owen Flanagan: The Really Hard Problem: Meaning in a Material World. [REVIEW] Mind 118 (470):469-471.
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  28. Jeffrey Hershfield (1998). Lycan on the Subjectivity of the Mental. Philosophical Psychology 11 (2):229-38.
    The subjectivity of the mental consists in the idea that there are features of our mental states that are perspectival in that they are accessible only from the first-person point of view. This is held to be a problem for materialist theories of mind, since such theories contend that there is nothing about the mind that cannot be fully described from a third-person point of view. Lycan suggests a notion of “phenomenal information” that is held to be perspectival in the (...)
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  29. Terry Horgan (2006). Review of Joseph Levine, Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness. [REVIEW] Noûs 40 (3):579–588.
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  30. Nicholas Humphrey, Questioning Consciousness.
    No one doubts that our experience of phenomenal consciousness—the felt redness of fire, the felt sweetness of a peach, the felt pain of a bee sting—arises from the activity of our brains. Yet the problem of explaining how this can be so seems to many theorists to be staggeringly hard. How can the wine of consciousness, the weird, ineffable, immaterial qualia that give such richness to subjective experience, conceivably arise from the water of the brain? As the philosopher Colin McGinn (...)
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  31. Daniel D. Hutto (2006). Turning Hard Problems on Their Heads. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5 (1):75-88.
    Much of the difficulty in assessing theories of consciousness stems from their advocates not supplying adequate or convincing characterisations of the phenomenon they hope to explain. Yet, to make any reasonable assessment this is precisely what is required, for it is not as if our ‘pre-theoretical’ intuitions are philosophically innocent. I attempt to reveal, using a recent debate between Chalmers and Dennett as a foil, why, in approaching this topic, we cannot characterise the data purely first-personally or third-personally nor, concomitantly, (...)
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  32. Andrew Jack & Colin McGinn (1992). The Problem of Consciousness. Philosophical Quarterly 42 (166):106.
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  33. Jacek Jarocki (2011). David Chalmers, Świadomy umysł. W poszukiwaniu teorii fundamentalnej, przeł. Marcin Miłkowski, Warszawa: PWN 2010, ss. 618. [REVIEW] Roczniki Filozoficzne:379-388.
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  34. Marta Jorba (2013). Book Review: Bayne, T. And Montague, M. (Eds.) (2011). Cognitive Phenomenology. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 12 (4):883-890.
  35. J. F. Kavanaugh (1997). Owen Flanagan. Self Expression: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life. Modern Schoolman 74:161-162.
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  36. John F. Kavanaugh (1997). Self Expressions: Mind, Morals, and the Meaning of Life. By Owen Flanagan. Modern Schoolman 74 (2):161-163.
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  37. Michael D. Kirchhoff (2015). Cognitive Assembly: Towards a Diachronic Conception of Composition. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (1):33-53.
    In this paper, I focus on a recent debate in extended cognition known as “cognitive assembly” and how cognitive assembly shares a certain kinship with the special composition question advanced in analytical metaphysics. Both the debate about cognitive assembly and the special composition question ask about the circumstances under which entities compose or assemble another entity. The paper argues for two points. The first point is that insofar as the metaphysics of composition presupposes that composition is a synchronic relation of (...)
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  38. Gary Lachman (2003). A Secret History of Consciousness. Lindisfarne Books.
    Part one: the search for cosmic consciousness -- R.M. Bucke and the future of humanity -- William James and the anesthetic revelation -- Henri Bergson and the Elan Vital -- The superman -- A.R. Orage and the new age -- Ouspensky's fourth dimension -- Part two: esoteric evolution -- The bishop and the bulldog -- Enter the madame -- Dr. Steiner, I presume? -- From Goethean science to the wisdom of the human being -- Cosmic evolution -- Hypnagogia -- Part (...)
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  39. Noa Latham (1998). Chalmers on the Addition of Consciousness to the Physical World. Philosophical Studies 98 (1):71-97.
  40. Janet Levin (2001). The Myth of Jones and the Return of Subjectivity. Mind and Language 16 (2):173-192.
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  41. Janet Levin (1986). Could Love Be Like a Heatwave? Physicalism and the Subjective Character of Experience. Philosophical Studies 49 (March):245-61.
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  42. JeeLoo Liu, Philosophy Seminar: The Nature of Consciousness Fall 1998.
    Course Description: This course is designed as an upper-level seminar, with heavy emphasis on reading and writing. The reading materials are all from contemporary sources. We will cover topics such as the definitions of 'consciousness,' the neurophysiological basis of consciousness, the explanation of consciousness, and the possibility of forming a unified theory of consciousness. Student participation in class discussion is greatly encouraged.
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  43. Michele Merritt (2015). Thinking-is-Moving: Dance, Agency, and a Radically Enactive Mind. [REVIEW] Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (1):95-110.
    Recently, in cognitive science, the enactivist account of cognition has been gaining ground, due in part to studies of movement in conjunction with thought. The idea, as Noë , has put it, that “cognition is not something happening inside us or to us, but it’s something we do, something we achieve,” is increasingly supported by research on joint attention, movement coordination, and gesture. Not surprisingly, therefore, enactivists have also begun to look at “movement specialists”—dancers—for both scientific and phenomenological accounts of (...)
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  44. Daniel E. Moerman (2012). Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness Distinguished Lecture: Consciousness, “Symbolic Healing,” and the Meaning Response. Anthropology of Consciousness 23 (2):192-210.
    Symbolic healing, that is, responding to meaningful experiences in positive ways, can facilitate human healing. This process partly engages consciousness and partly evades consciousness completely (sometimes it partakes of both simultaneously). This paper, presented as the Society for the Anthropology of Consciousness Distinguished Lecture at the 2011 AAA meeting in Montreal, reviews recent research on what is ordinarily (and unfortunately) called the “placebo effect.” The author makes the argument that language use should change, and the relevant portions of what is (...)
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  45. Kristina Musholt (2013). Review of “Mind and Cosmos” by Thomas Nagel. [REVIEW] Science 339 (6125):1277.
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  46. Yujin Nagasawa, Review of Joseph Levine's Purple Haze: The Puzzle of Consciousness. [REVIEW]
    The aim of this book is to defend ‘explanatory gap’, Levine’s own influential notion in the philosophical studies of phenomenal consciousness. The entire book proves how clear and systematic are Levine’s arguments in dealing with even as highly intractable an issue as the mystery of consciousness. The mind-body problem in a contemporary guise is rooted in two prima facie plausible but incompatible propositions that philosophers have reached: (1) Some form of materialism or physicalism is true. (2) Phenomenal consciousness, raw feel, (...)
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  47. G. Nerlich, McGinn: Problems in Philosophy, the Limits of Inquiry.
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  48. Matthias Neuber (2013). David J. Chalmers: Constructing the World. [REVIEW] Zeitschrift für Philosophische Forschung 68:648-652.
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  49. Will Newsome (2013). How to Start a Wet Forest Ablaze: Perspectives on the Question of the Origins of Human Mindedness. [REVIEW] Biosemiotics 6 (3):311-322.
    This paper is a methodological and theoretical meditation on how some research has approached the question of the evolution of human cognitive traits. I discuss views that explicitly or implicitly endorse a view of human cognition as originating from a cause that can be singled out. Following Ross and Ladyman (2010), I suggest that this “singling-out” strategy correlates with a “container” metaphor that doesn’t fit with the interactive process-ontology of modern physics (Campbell 2009). Instead, Ross and Ladyman as well as (...)
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  50. Maxwell Nicholas (2011). Three Philosophical Problems About Consciousness and Their Possible Resolution. Open Journal of Philosophy 1 (1):1.
    Three big philosophical problems about consciousness are: Why does it exist? How do we explain and understand it? How can we explain brain-consciousness correlations? If functionalism were true, all three problems would be solved. But it is false, and that means all three problems remain unsolved (in that there is no other obvious candidate for a solution). Here, it is argued that the first problem cannot have a solution; this is inherent in the nature of explanation. The second problem is (...)
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