A natural account of phenomenal consciousness

Communication and Cognition 34 (1):39-59 (2001)
Abstract
Physicalists commonly argue that conscious experiences are nothing more than states of the brain, and that conscious qualia are observer-independent, physical properties of the external world. Although this assumes the 'mantle of science,' it routinely ignores the findings of science, for example in sensory physiology, perception, psychophysics, neuropsychology and comparative psychology. Consequently, although physicalism aims to naturalise consciousness, it gives an unnatural account of it. It is possible, however, to develop a natural, nonreductive, reflexive model of how consciousness relates to the brain and the physical world. This paper introduces such a model and how it construes the nature of conscious experience. Within this model the physical world as perceived (the phenomenal world) is viewed as part of conscious experience not apart from it. While in everyday life we treat this phenomenal world as if it is the "physical world", it is really just one biologically useful representation of what the world is like that may differ in many respects from the world described by physics. How the world as perceived relates to the world as described by physics can be investigated by normal science (e.g. through the study of sensory physiology, psychophysics and so on). This model of consciousness appears to be consistent with both third-person evidence of how the brain works and with first-person evidence of what it is like to have a given experience. According to the reflexive model, conscious experiences are really how they seem.
Keywords Consciousness  Metaphysics  Naturalism  Phenomenology  Physicalism  Qualia
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 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: 12,088
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.

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Similar books and articles
Thomas W. Clark (2005). Killing the Observer. Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (4-5):38-59.
Max Velmans (2007). Reflexive Monism. [Journal (Paginated)] (in Press) 15 (2):5-50.
Professor Max Velmans (2003). Is the World in the Brain, or the Brain in the World? (A Commentary on Lehar, S. Gestalt Isomorphism and the Primacy of Subjective Conscious Experience: A Gestalt Bubble Model, Behavioral and Brain Sciences, in Press). Velmans, Professor Max (2003) is the World in the Brain, or the Brain in the World? (A Commentary on Lehar, S. Gestalt Isomorphism and the Primacy of Subjective Conscious Experience.
Max Velmans (1994). A Reflexive Science of Consciousness. In G. R. Bock & James L. Marsh (eds.), Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness. (Ciba Foundation Symposium 174). 404--416.
Max Velmans (1993). A Reflexive Science of Consciousness. In G. R. Bock & James L. Marsh (eds.), Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness. (Ciba Foundation Symposium 174). 404--416.
Analytics

Monthly downloads

Added to index

2009-01-28

Total downloads

97 ( #13,357 of 1,101,958 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

9 ( #28,723 of 1,101,958 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature


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