In Mehmet Mazak & Nevzat Ozkaya (eds.), International Ibn Sina Symposium Papers (vol.2). FSF Printing House (2008)

In recent years, philosophers have shown a rapidly increasing interest in the problem of consciousness and it is arguably the central issue in current interdisciplinary discussions about the mind. Any convincing theory of consciousness has to account for the perplexing aspects of human self-consciousness. This paper deals with Ibn Sina’s view on the human self-consciousness with special reference to his well-known “Flying Man” thought experiment. In a brief comparative discussion, we will consider some of the parallels between Ibn Sina’s account of “consciousness of consciousness” and the contemporary “higher-order” theories of consciousness. An important point of divergence between Ibn Sina’s line of argument and Descartes’ method over the problem of self-consciousness will be examined, as well. Further, Thomas Nagel’s famous view on the subjective character of conscious experience will be mentioned and compared with the implications of Ibn Sina’s dictum that “our self-consciousness is identical to our existence”.
Keywords Avicenna  Consciousness  Flying Man  Subjectivity  Thomas Nagel  Self-Consciousness  Ibn Sina  John Searle  Descartes
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