Graduate studies at Western
|Abstract||"Beats the heck out of me! I have some prejudices, but no idea of how to begin to look for a defensible answer. And neither does anyone else." That’s the discussion of conscious experience offered by one of our most brilliant and readable psychologists, in his new 650-page book, modestly titled How the Mind Works. There is no widely accepted scientific program for researching consciousness. Speculation on the subject has been considered safe, careerwise, mainly for moonlighting physicists or physiologists whose Nobel Prizes and similar credentials are long since safely stored away. This essay describes some recent efforts of philosophers of mind who have stepped into the breach. Some argue that the puzzle of consciousness is impossible to solve, and some argue that with certain confusions removed there’s no distinctive puzzle at all. I write from the standpoint of a third group who think the puzzle is difficult but tractable, and who get involved under the pretext that "philosophy is what you do to a problem until it’s clear enough to do science to"|
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