David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
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Theoretical Medicine 12 (March):69-79 (1991)
In this paper, the problem of correct ascriptions of consciousness to patients in neurological intensive care medicine is explored as a special case of the general philosophical other minds problem. It is argued that although clinical ascriptions of consciousness and coma are mostly based on behavioral evidence, a behaviorist epistemology of other minds is not likely to succeed. To illustrate this, the so-called total locked-in syndrome, in which preserved consciousness is combined with a total loss of motor abilities due to a lower ventral brain stem lesion, is presented as a touchstone for behaviorism. It is argued that this example of consciousness without behavioral expression does not disprove behaviorism specifically, but rather illustrates the need for a non-verificationist theory of other minds. It is further argued that a folk version of such a theory already underlies our factual ascriptions of consciousness in clinical contexts. Finally, a non-behaviorist theory of other minds for patients with total locked-in syndrome is outlined.
|Keywords||Behaviorism Comatose Consciousness Epistemology Medicine|
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Miriam Kyselo (2013). Locked-in Syndrome and BCI - Towards an Enactive Approach to the Self. Neuroethics 6 (3):579-591.
John F. Stins & Steven Laureys (2009). Thought Translation, Tennis and Turing Tests in the Vegetative State. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 8 (3):361-370.
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