Why “consciousness” means what it does

Metaphilosophy 42 (1-2):98-117 (2011)
Authors
Neil Manson
Lancaster University
Abstract
Abstract: “Consciousness” seems to be a polysemic, ambiguous, term. Because of this, theorists have sought to distinguish the different kinds of phenomena that “consciousness” denotes, leading to a proliferation of terms for different kinds of consciousness. However, some philosophers—univocalists about consciousness—argue that “consciousness” is not polysemic or ambiguous. By drawing upon the history of philosophy and psychology, and some resources from semantic theory, univocalism about consciousness is shown to be implausible. This finding is important, for if we accept the univocalist account then we are less likely to subject our thought and talk about the mind to the kind of critical analysis that it needs. The exploration of the semantics of “consciousness” offered here, by way of contrast, clarifies and fine-tunes our thought and talk about consciousness and conscious mentality and explains why “consciousness” means what it does, and why it means a number of different, but related, things
Keywords unconscious mind  concept of consciousness  state consciousness  history of psychology  consciousness  theories of consciousness
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9973.2010.01681.x
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 35,898
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Essays on the Intellectual Powers of Man.Thomas Reid - 2011 - Cambridge University Press.
On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
Rules and Representations.Noam A. Chomsky - 1980 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 3 (127):1-61.

View all 41 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Is 'Consciousness' Ambiguous?Michael V. Antony - 2001 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 8 (2):19-44.
Consciousness and Self-Consciousness.Uriah Kriegel - 2004 - The Monist 87 (2):182-205.
Switched-on Consciousness - Clarifying What It Means.Christian de Quincey - 2006 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 13 (4):7-12.
Sidestepping the Semantics of “Consciousness”.Michael V. Antony - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (2):289-290.
Consciousness as Internal Monitoring.William G. Lycan - 1995 - Philosophical Perspectives 9:1-14.
Consciousness: A Four-Fold Taxonomy.J. Jonkisz - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (11-12):55-82.

Analytics

Added to PP index
2011-01-11

Total downloads
106 ( #59,839 of 2,293,852 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #410,245 of 2,293,852 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature