Emergence from What? A Transcendental Understanding of the Place of Consciousness

Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (5-6):10-32 (2014)
Kim Davies
Durham University
This paper argues that the standard formulations of the question of how consciousness emerges, both synchronically and diachronically, from the physical world necessarily use a concept of the physical without either a clear grasp of the concept or an understanding of the necessary conditions of its possibility. This concept will be elucidated and some of the necessary conditions of its possibility explored, clarifying the place of the mental and the physical as abstractions from the totality of an agent engaged in the life world. The notion of a disruption or breakdown in the agent’s normal engagements in the world will play a key role in the argument, which in turn provides a transcendental underpinning to recent enactive and embodied theories of mind by exploring some of the necessary conditions of being an agent in the world.
Keywords Transcendental argument  'Physical'  Physicalism
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