Consciousness, subjectivity and physicalism

Philosophical Inquiry 26 (1-2):21-39 (2004)
Even if cognitive science has made some important progress in its approach to human mental activities, consciousness and subjective experience still strike us as highly puzzling from a 'scientific' point of view. This may not be surprising, since the Cartesian distinction between res cogitans and res extensa seems to have a priori ruled out the very possibility of understanding the human mind as an object of physical science. However, in this paper, I argue that some Cartesian intuitions about the nature of consciousness may still deserve sustaining by showing that it is a mistake to seek some physicalist reduction of the phenomena of consciousness. At the same time, I also try to show in what sense Colin McGinn's transcendental naturalism may be intelligible
Keywords Consciousness  Identity  Metaphysics  Physicalism  Subjectivity
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DOI 10.5840/philinquiry2004261/23
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