Consciousness

In Heather Salazar (ed.), Introduction to Philosophy: Philosophy of Mind. Quebec: Rebus Foundation Publishing. pp. 41-48 (2019)
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Abstract

The term “consciousness” is very often, though not always, interchangeable with the term “awareness,” which is more colloquial to many ears. We say things like “are you aware that ...” often. Sometimes we say “have you noticed that ... ?” to express similar thoughts, and this indicates a close connection between consciousness (awareness) and attention (noticing), which we will come back to later in this chapter. Ned Block, one of the key figures in this area, provides a useful characterization of what he calls “phenomenal consciousness.” For him, phenomenal consciousness is experience. Experience covers perceptions, e.g., when we see, hear, touch, smell, and taste, we typically have experiences, such as seeing colors and smelling odors. It also covers bodily awareness, e.g., we typically have experiences of our own bodily temperature and positions of limbs. Consciousness is primarily about this experiential aspect of our mental lives.

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Tony Cheng
University College London

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