Conceiving the 'inconceivable'?

[opening paragraph]: Sometimes, after years of painstaking work, someone presents a startling argument that seems to suddenly snatch the ground right out from under your feet. And it's back to square one. Such a conceptual trapdoor caught me by surprise a few years ago. For decades, I had been convinced it is simply inconceivable that subjectivity -- the interior experience of how consciousness feels -- could possibly emerge from a previously wholly objective world, that mind could evolve from ‘dead’ matter. It seemed to me that the arguments of materialist philosophers, cognitive scientists and neuroscientists invariably missed the point. They always began with an assumption of ontological objectivity or physicality, and proceeded to show that that must be the source of consciousness. Well, of course, it had to be -- given their starting assumption. But what they were talking about wasn't consciousness at all. It was usually either some neural correlation, some computer analogue, or some complex and abstract linguistic deconstruction. Whatever their approach, the first-person experience of consciousness -- it's subjective feel -- always slipped through their grasp. They were looking at the problem from the third-person perspective -- from objectivity. And you can't get to here from there
Keywords Consciousness  History  Metaphysics  Mind  Mind-body  Humphrey, N
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 15,914
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
Carol A. Rovane (2000). Not Mind-Body but Mind-Mind. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):82-92.
Nicholas Humphrey (2000). How to Solve the Mind-Body Problem. Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):5-20.
Colin McGinn (2004). Consciousness and its Objects. Oxford University Press University Press.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

39 ( #84,354 of 1,725,627 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

2 ( #268,736 of 1,725,627 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.