Reply to Mulhauser's review of The Conscious Mind
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
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First, I should clarify the notion of "taking consciousness seriously", which serves as a premise in my work. Mulhauser characterizes this as the assumption that no cognitive theory of consciousness will suffice. The latter assumption would indeed beg some crucial questions, but it is not the assumption that I make. I make an assumption about the problem of consciousness, not about any solution. To quote (p. xii): Throughout the book, I have assumed that consciousness exists, and that to redefine the problem as that of explaining how certain cognitive and behavioral functions are performed is unacceptable. This is what I mean by taking consciousness seriously. That is, the premise is simply that there is a phenomenon to be explained, and that the problems of explaining such functions as discrimination, integration, self monitoring, reportability, and so on do not exhaust all the problems in the vicinity. The deepest problem of consciousness, as I understand it, is not the problem of how all these functions are performed, but rather the problem of explaining how and why all this activity supports states of subjective experience.
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