The extensive involvement of nonconscious processes in human behaviour has led some to suggest that consciousness is much less important for the control of action than we might think. In this article I push against this trend, developing an understanding of conscious control that is sensitive to our best models of overt action control. Further, I assess the cogency of various zombie challenges—challenges that seek to demote the importance of conscious control for human agency. I argue that though nonconscious (...) contributions to action control are evidently robust, these challenges are overblown. (shrink)
I argue that perceptual consciousness is constituted by a mental activity. The mental activity in question is the activity of employing perceptual capacities, such as discriminatory, selective capacities. This is a radical view, but I hope to make it plausible. In arguing for this mental activist view, I reject orthodox views on which perceptual consciousness is analyzed in terms of peculiar entities, such as, phenomenal properties, external mind-independent properties, propositions, sense-data, qualia, or intentional objects.
The first half of this book argues that physicalism cannot account for consciousness, and hence cannot be true. The second half explores and defends Russellian monism, a radical alternative to both physicalism and dualism. The view that emerges combines panpsychism with the view that the universe as a whole is fundamental.
It seems obvious that phenomenally conscious experience is something of great value, and that this value maps onto a range of important ethical issues. For example, claims about the value of life for those in a permanent vegetative state, debates about treatment and study of disorders of consciousness, controversies about end-of-life care for those with advanced dementia, and arguments about the moral status of embryos, fetuses, and non-human animals arguably turn on the moral significance of various facts about (...) class='Hi'>consciousness. However, though work has been done on the moral significance of elements of consciousness, such as pain and pleasure, little explicit attention has been devoted to the ethical significance of consciousness. In this book Joshua Shepherd presents a systematic account of the value present within conscious experience. This account emphasizes not only the nature of consciousness, but the importance of items within experience such as affect, valence, and the complex overall shape of particular valuable experiences. Shepherd also relates this account to difficult cases involving non-humans and those with disorders of consciousness, arguing that the value of consciousness influences and partially explains the degree of moral status a being possesses, without fully determining it. The upshot is a deeper understanding of both the moral importance of phenomenal consciousness and its relations to moral status. This book will be of great interest to philosophers and students of ethics, bioethics, philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind and cognitive science. (shrink)
What is the role of consciousness in our mental lives? Declan Smithies argues here that consciousness is essential to explaining how we can acquire knowledge and justified belief about ourselves and the world around us. On this view, unconscious beings cannot form justified beliefs and so they cannot know anything at all. Consciousness is the ultimate basis of all knowledge and epistemic justification.
Recent work on consciousness has featured a number of debates on the existence and character of controversial types of phenomenal experience. Perhaps the best-known is the debate over the existence of a sui generis, irreducible cognitive phenomenology – a phenomenology proper to thought. Another concerns the existence of a sui generis phenomenology of agency. Such debates bring up a more general question: how many types of sui generis, irreducible, basic, primitive phenomenology do we have to posit to just be (...) able to describe the stream of consciousness? This book offers a first general attempt to answer this question in contemporary philosophy. It develops a unified framework for systematically addressing this question and applies it to six controversial types of phenomenal experience, namely, those associated with thought and judgment, will and agency, pure apprehension, emotion, moral thought and experience, and the experience of freedom. (shrink)
This book is forthcoming in Routledge. Here is the barest sketch of our aims: -/- We have two aims in this book. First, we aim to persuade you that conscious experience is sometimes realised by cycles of embodied and world-involving engagement. Second, we aim to persuade you that it is possible to develop and defend the thesis of extended consciousness through the increasingly powerful predictive processing theory developed in cognitive neuroscience.
In this book, Carlos Montemayor and Harry Haladjian consider the relationship between consciousness and attention. The cognitive mechanism of attention has often been compared to consciousness, because attention and consciousness appear to share similar qualities. But, Montemayor and Haladjian point out, attention is defined functionally, whereas consciousness is generally defined in terms of its phenomenal character without a clear functional purpose. They offer new insights and proposals about how best to understand and study the relationship between (...)consciousness and attention by examining their functional aspects. The book's ultimate conclusion is that consciousness and attention are largely dissociated. -/- Undertaking a rigorous analysis of current empirical and theoretical work on attention and consciousness, Montemayor and Haladjian propose a spectrum of dissociation—a framework that identifies the levels of dissociation between consciousness and attention—ranging from identity to full dissociation. They argue that conscious attention, the focusing of attention on the contents of awareness, is constituted by overlapping but distinct processes of consciousness and attention. Conscious attention, they claim, evolved after the basic forms of attention, increasing access to the richest kinds of cognitive contents. -/- Montemayor and Haladjian's goal is to help unify the study of consciousness and attention across the disciplines. A focused examination of conscious attention will, they believe, enable theoretical progress that will further our understanding of the human mind. (shrink)
This book aims to offer an account of conscious experience and of concepts that help us understand empirical reasoning and empirical dialectic. The account offered possesses, it is claimed, two virtues. First, it provides great theoretical freedom. It allows the theoretician freedom to radically reconceive the world. The theoretician may, for example, begin with the conception that colors are genuine qualities of physical bodies and may, in light of empirical findings, shift to the conception that colors are not genuine qualities (...) at all. Second, the account grants empirical reason a great power to constrain: empirical reason can force a particular conception of the self and the world on the rational inquirer. These seemingly contrary virtues are reconciled through a novel treatment of presentation and appearances in the account offered of conscious experience and a novel treatment of ostensive definitions in the account offered of concepts. The argument of the book is buttressed by a critical study of the principal approaches to experience and reason found in the philosophical literature.--. (shrink)
The book is an extended study of the problem of consciousness. After setting up the problem, I argue that reductive explanation of consciousness is impossible , and that if one takes consciousness seriously, one has to go beyond a strict materialist framework. In the second half of the book, I move toward a positive theory of consciousness with fundamental laws linking the physical and the experiential in a systematic way. Finally, I use the ideas and arguments (...) developed earlier to defend a form of strong artificial intelligence and to analyze some problems in the foundations of quantum mechanics. (shrink)
Consciousness in the Physical World collects historical selections, recent classics, and new pieces on Russellian monism, a unique alternative to the physicalist and dualist approaches to the problem of consciousness.
One phenomenon pertains roughly to being awake. A person or other creature is conscious when it's awake and mentally responsive to sensory input; otherwise it's unconscious. This kind of consciousness figures most often in everyday discourse.
Shelley Weinberg argues that the idea of consciousness as a form of non-evaluative self-awareness helps solve some of the thorniest issues in Locke's philosophy: in his philosophical psychology, and his theories of knowledge, personal identity, and moral agency. The model of consciousness set forth here binds these key issues with a common thread.
It is often thought that consciousness has a qualitative dimension that cannot be tracked by science. Recently, however, some philosophers have argued that this worry stems not from an elusive feature of the mind, but from the special nature of the concepts used to describe conscious states. Marc Champagne draws on the neglected branch of philosophy of signs or semiotics to develop a new take on this strategy. The term “semiotics” was introduced by John Locke in the modern period (...) – its etymology is ancient Greek, and its theoretical underpinnings are medieval. Charles Sanders Peirce made major advances in semiotics, so he can act as a pipeline for these forgotten ideas. Most philosophers know Peirce as the founder of American pragmatism, but few know that he also coined the term “qualia,” which is meant to capture the intrinsic feel of an experience. Since pragmatic verification and qualia are now seen as conflicting commitments, Champagne endeavors to understand how Peirce could (or thought he could) have it both ways. The key, he suggests, is to understand how humans can insert distinctions between features that are always bound. Recent attempts to take qualities seriously have resulted in versions of panpsychism, but Champagne outlines a more plausible way to achieve this. So, while semiotics has until now been the least known branch of philosophy ending in –ics, his book shows how a better understanding of that branch can move one of the liveliest debates in philosophy forward. (shrink)
Consciousness and Mind presents David Rosenthal's influential work on the nature of consciousness. Central to that work is Rosenthal's higher-order-thought theory of consciousness, according to which a sensation, thought, or other mental state is conscious if one has a higher-order thought that one is in that state. The first four essays develop various aspects of that theory. The next three essays present Rosenthal's homomorphism theory of mental qualities and qualitative consciousness, and show how that theory fits (...) with and helps sustain the HOT theory. A crucial feature of homomorphism theory is that it individuates and taxonomizes mental qualities independently of the way we're conscious of them, and indeed independently of our being conscious of them at all. So the theory accommodates the qualitative character not only of conscious sensations and perceptions, but also of those which fall outside our stream of consciousness. Rosenthal argues that, because this account of mental qualities makes no appeal to consciousness, it enables us to dispel such traditional quandaries as the alleged conceivability of undetectable quality inversion, and to disarm various apparent obstacles to explaining qualitative consciousness and understanding its nature. Six further essays build on the HOT theory to explain various important features of consciousness, among them the complex connections that hold in humans between consciousness and speech, the self-interpretative aspect of consciousness, and the compelling sense we have that consciousness is unified. Two of the essays, one an extended treatment of homomorphism theory, appear here for the first time. There is also a substantive introduction, which draws out the connections between the essays and highlights their implications. (shrink)
In recent years, the scientific study of meditation and psychedelic drugs has seen remarkable developments. The increased focus on meditation in cognitive neuroscience has led to a cross-cultural classification of standard meditation styles validated by functional and structural neuroanatomical data. Meanwhile, the renaissance of psychedelic research has shed light on the neurophysiology of altered states of consciousness induced by classical psychedelics, such as psilocybin and LSD, whose effects are mainly mediated by agonism of serotonin receptors. Few attempts have been (...) made at bridging these two domains of inquiry, despite intriguing evidence of overlap between the phenomenology and neurophysiology of meditation practice and psychedelic states. In particular, many contemplative traditions explicitly aim at dissolving the sense of self by eliciting altered states of consciousness through meditation, while classical psychedelics are known to produce significant disruptions of self-consciousness, a phenomenon known as drug-induced ego dissolution. In this article, we discuss available evidence regarding convergences and differences between phenomenological and neurophysiological data on meditation practice and psychedelic drug-induced states, with a particular emphasis on alterations of self-experience. While both meditation and psychedelics may disrupt self-consciousness and underlying neural processes, we emphasize that neither meditation nor psychedelic states can be conceived as simple, uniform categories. Moreover, we suggest that there are important phenomenological differences even between conscious states described as experiences of self-loss. As a result, we propose that self-consciousness may be best construed as a multidimensional construct, and that “self-loss,” far from being an unequivocal phenomenon, can take several forms. Indeed, various aspects of self-consciousness, including narrative aspects linked to autobiographical memory, self-related thoughts and mental time travel, and embodied aspects rooted in multisensory processes, may be differently affected by psychedelics and meditation practices. Finally, we consider long-term outcomes of experiences of self-loss induced by meditation and psychedelics on individual traits and prosocial behavior. We call for caution regarding the problematic conflation of temporary states of self-loss with “selflessness” as a behavioral or social trait, although there is preliminary evidence that correlations between short-term experiences of self-loss and long-term trait alterations may exist. (shrink)
Some mental events are conscious, some are unconscious. What is the difference between the two? Uriah Kriegel offers an answer. His aim is a comprehensive theory of the features that all and only conscious mental events have. The key idea is that consciousness arises when self-awareness and world-awareness are integrated in the right way. Conscious mental events differ from unconscious ones in that, whatever else they may represent, they always also represent themselves, and do so in a very specific (...) way. Subjective Consciousness is a fascinating new move forward towards a full understanding of the mind. (shrink)
What is consciousness? How does the subjective character of consciousness fit into an objective world? How can there be a science of consciousness? In this sequel to his groundbreaking and controversial The Conscious Mind, David Chalmers develops a unified framework that addresses these questions and many others. Starting with a statement of the "hard problem" of consciousness, Chalmers builds a positive framework for the science of consciousness and a nonreductive vision of the metaphysics of (...) class='Hi'>consciousness. He replies to many critics of The Conscious Mind, and then develops a positive theory in new directions. The book includes original accounts of how we think and know about consciousness, of the unity of consciousness, and of how consciousness relates to the external world. Along the way, Chalmers develops many provocative ideas: the " consciousness meter", the Garden of Eden as a model of perceptual experience, and The Matrix as a guide to the deepest philosophical problems about consciousness and the external world. This book will be required reading for anyone interested in the problems of mind, brain, consciousness, and reality. (shrink)
How can we disentangle the neural basis of phenomenal consciousness from the neural machinery of the cognitive access that underlies reports of phenomenal consciousness? We can see the problem in stark form if we ask how we could tell whether representations inside a Fodorian module are phenomenally conscious. The methodology would seem straightforward: find the neural natural kinds that are the basis of phenomenal consciousness in clear cases when subjects are completely confident and we have no reason (...) to doubt their authority, and look to see whether those neural natural kinds exist within Fodorian modules. But a puzzle arises: do we include the machinery underlying reportability within the neural natural kinds of the clear cases? If the answer is ‘Yes’, then there can be no phenomenally conscious representations in Fodorian modules. But how can we know if the answer is ‘Yes’? The suggested methodology requires an answer to the question it was supposed to answer! The paper argues for an abstract solution to the problem and exhibits a source of empirical data that is relevant, data that show that in a certain sense phenomenal consciousness overflows cognitive accessibility. The paper argues that we can find a neural realizer of this overflow if assume that the neural basis of phenomenal consciousness does not include the neural basis of cognitive accessibility and that this assumption is justified by the explanations it allows. (shrink)
In this important book, Susan Hurley sheds new light on consciousness by examining its relationships to action from various angles. She assesses the role of agency in the unity of a conscious perspective, and argues that perception and action are more deeply interdependent than we usually assume. A standard view conceives perception as input from world to mind and action as output from mind to world, with the serious business of thought in between. Hurley criticizes this picture, and considers (...) how the interdependence of perceptual experience and agency at the personal level (of mental contents and norms) may emerge from the subpersonal level (of underlying causal processes and complex dynamic feedback systems). Her two-level view has wide implications, for topics that include self-consciousness, the modularity of mind, and the relations of mind to world. The self no longer lurks hidden somewhere between perceptual input and behavioral output, but reappears out in the open, embodied and embedded in its environment. Hurley traces these themes from Kantian and Wittgensteinian arguments through to intriguing recent work in neuropsychology and in dynamic systems approaches to the mind, providing a bridge from mainstream philosophy to work in other disciplines. Consciousness in Action is unique in the range of philosophical and scientific work it draws on, and in the deep criticism it offers of centuries-old habits of thought. (shrink)
Objective correlates—behavioral, functional, and neural—provide essential tools for the scientific study of consciousness. But reliance on these correlates should not lead to the ‘fallacy of misplaced objectivity’: the assumption that only objective properties should and can be accounted for objectively through science. Instead, what needs to be explained scientifically is what experience is intrinsically— its subjective properties—not just what we can do with it extrinsically. And it must be explained; otherwise the way experience feels would turn out to be (...) magical rather than physical. We argue that it is possible to account for subjective properties objectively once we move beyond cognitive functions and realize what experience is and how it is structured. Drawing on integrated information theory, we show how an objective science of the subjective can account, in strictly physical terms, for both the essential properties of every experience and the specific properties that make particular experiences feel the way they do. (shrink)
Amidst the many brain events evoked by a visual stimulus, which are specifically associated with conscious perception, and which merely reflect non-conscious processing? Several recent neuroimaging studies have contrasted conscious and non-conscious visual processing, but their results appear inconsistent. Some support a correlation of conscious perception with early occipital events, others with late parieto-frontal activity. Here we attempt to make sense of those dissenting results. On the basis of a minimal neuro-computational model, the global neuronal workspace hypothesis, we propose a (...) taxonomy which distinguishes between vigilance and access to conscious report, as well as between subliminal, preconscious and conscious processing. We suggest that these distinctions map onto different neural mechanisms, and that conscious perception is systematically associated with a sudden surge of parieto-frontal activity causing top-down amplification. (shrink)
In _Matter and Consciousness_, Paul Churchland presents a concise and contemporary overview of the philosophical issues surrounding the mind and explains the main theories and philosophical positions that have been proposed to solve them. Making the case for the relevance of theoretical and experimental results in neuroscience, cognitive science, and artificial intelligence for the philosophy of mind, Churchland reviews current developments in the cognitive sciences and offers a clear and accessible account of the connections to philosophy of mind. For this (...) third edition, the text has been updated and revised throughout. The changes range from references to the iPhone's "Siri" to expanded discussions of the work of such contemporary philosophers as David Chalmers, John Searle, and Thomas Nagel. Churchland describes new research in evolution, genetics, and visual neuroscience, among other areas, arguing that the philosophical significance of these new findings lies in the support they tend to give to the reductive and eliminative versions of materialism. Matter and Consciousness, written by the most distinguished theorist and commentator in the field, offers an authoritative summary and sourcebook for issues in philosophy of mind. It is suitable for use as an introductory undergraduate text. (shrink)
The significance of consciousness in modern science is discussed by leading authorities from a variety of disciplines. Presenting a wide-ranging survey of current thinking on this important topic, the contributors address such issues as the status of different aspects of consciousness; the criteria for using the concept of consciousness and identifying instances of it; the basis of consciousness in functional brain organization; the relationship between different levels of theoretical discourse; and the functions of consciousness.
blurb from publisher: "In Apperception and Self-Consciousness in Kant and German Idealism, Dennis Schulting examines the themes of reflexivity, self-consciousness, representation and apperception in the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and German Idealism more widely. Central to Schulting’s argument is the claim that all of human experience is inherently self-referential and that this is part of a self-reflexivity of thought, or what is called transcendental apperception, a Kantian insight that was first apparent in the work of Christian Wolff and (...) came to inform all of German Idealism. In a rigorous text suitable for students of German philosophy and upper-level students of metaphysics, epistemology, moral and political philosophy, and aesthetics courses, the author establishes the historical roots of Kant’s thought and traces it through to his immediate successors Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Johann Gottlieb Fichte and Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel. He specifically examines the cognitive role of self-consciousness and its relation to idealism and places it in a clear and coherent history of rationalist philosophy." . (shrink)
Elizabeth Schechter explores the implications of the experience of people who have had the pathway between the two hemispheres of their brain severed, and argues that there are in fact two minds, subjects of experience, and intentional agents inside each split-brain human being: right and left. But each split-brain subject is still one of us.
Does consciousness collapse the quantum wave function? This idea was taken seriously by John von Neumann and Eugene Wigner but is now widely dismissed. We develop the idea by combining a mathematical theory of consciousness (integrated information theory) with an account of quantum collapse dynamics (continuous spontaneous localization). Simple versions of the theory are falsified by the quantum Zeno effect, but more complex versions remain compatible with empirical evidence. In principle, versions of the theory can be tested by (...) experiments with quantum computers. The upshot is not that consciousness-collapse interpretations are clearly correct, but that there is a research program here worth exploring. (shrink)
In Consciousness and Persons: Unity and Identity, Michael Tye takes on the thorny issue of the unity of consciousness and answers these important questions: What exactly is the unity of consciousness? Can a single person have a divided consciousness? What is a single person? Tye argues that unity is a fundamental part of human consciousness -- something so basic to everyday experience that it is easy to overlook. For example, when we hear the sound of (...) waves crashing on a beach and at the same time see a red warning flag, there is an overall unity to our experience; the sound and the red shape are presented together in our consciousness. Similarly, when we undergo a succession of thoughts as we think something through, there is an experience of succession that unifies the thoughts into a conscious whole. But, Tye shows, consciousness is not always unified. Split-brain subjects, whose corpus callosum has been severed, are usually taken to have a divided or disunified consciousness. Their behavior in certain situations implies that they have lost the unity normal human subjects take for granted; it is sometimes even supposed that a split-brain subject is really two persons.Tye begins his account by proposing an account of the unity of experience at a single time; this account is extended over the succeeding chapters to cover bodily sensations at a single time and perceptual experience, bodily sensations, conscious thoughts, and felt moods at a single time. Tye follows these chapters with a discussion of the unity of experience through time. Turning to the split-brain phenomenon, he proposes an account of the mental life of split-brain subjects and argues that certain facts about these subjects offer support for his theory of unity. Finally, addressing the topic of the nature of persons and personal identity, Tye finds the two great historical accounts -- the ego theory and the bundle theory -- lacking and he makes an alternative proposal. He includes an appendix on the general representational approach to consciousness and its many varieties, because of the relevance of representationalism to the theory of unity being adanced. (shrink)
Consciousness and Physicalism: A Defense of a Research Program explores the nature of consciousness and its place in the world, offering a revisionist account of what it means to say that consciousness is nothing over and above the physical. By synthesizing work in the philosophy of mind, metaphysics, and philosophy of science from the last twenty years and forging a dialogue with contemporary research in the empirical sciences of the mind, Andreas Elpidorou and Guy Dove advance and (...) defend a novel formulation of physicalism. Although physicalism has been traditionally understood to be a metaphysical thesis, Elpidorou and Dove argue that there is an alternative and indeed preferable understanding of physicalism that both renders physicalism a scientifically informed explanatory project and allows us to make important progress in addressing the ontological problem of consciousness. Physicalism, Elpidorou and Dove hold, is best viewed not as a thesis (metaphysical or otherwise) but as an interdisciplinary research program that aims to compositionally explain all natural phenomena that are central to our understanding of our place in nature. Consciousness and Physicalism is replete with philosophical arguments and informed, through and through, by findings in many areas of scientific research. It advances the debate regarding the ontological status of consciousness. It will interest students and scholars in philosophy of mind, metaphysics, philosophy of cognitive science, and philosophy of science. And it will challenge both foes and friends of physicalism. -/- . (shrink)
In Disturbed Consciousness, philosophers and other scholars examine various psychopathologies in light of specific philosophical theories of consciousness. The contributing authors—some of them discussing or defending their own theoretical work—consider not only how a theory of consciousness can account for a specific psychopathological condition but also how the characteristics of a psychopathology might challenge such a theory. Thus one essay defends the higher-order thought (HOT) theory of consciousness against the charge that it cannot account for somatoparaphrenia (...) (a delusion in which one denies ownership of a limb). Another essay argues that various attempts to explain away such anomalies within subjective theories of consciousness fail. Other essays consider such topics as the application of a model of unified consciousness to cases of brain bisection and dissociative identity disorder; prefrontal and parietal underconnectivity in autism and other psychopathologies; self-deception and the self-model theory of subjectivity; schizophrenia and the vehicle theory of consciousness; and a shift in emphasis away from an internal (or brainbound) approach to psychopathology to an interactive one. Each essay offers a distinctive perspective from the intersection of philosophy, consciousness research, and psychiatry. (shrink)
This book describes and proposes an unusual integrative approach to human perception that qualifies as both an ecological and a phenomenological approach at the same time. Thomas Natsoulas shows us how our consciousness - in three of six senses of the word that the book identifies - is involved in our activity of perceiving the one and only world that exists, which includes oneself as a proper part of it, and that all of us share together with the rest (...) of life on earth. He makes the case that our stream of consciousness - in the original Jamesian sense minus his mental/physical dualism - provides us with firsthand contact with the world, as opposed to our having such contact instead with theorist-posited items such as inner mental representations, internal pictures, or sense-image models, pure figments and virtual objects, none of which can have effects on our sensory receptors. (shrink)
In this work, Kathleen V. Wider discusses Jean-Paul Sartre's analysis of consciousness in Being and Nothingness in light of recent work by analytic philosophers, psychologists, and neuroscientists. She brings together phenomenological and scientific understandings of the nature of consciousness and argues that the two approaches can strengthen and suppport each other. Work on consciousness from two very different philosophical traditions—the continental and analytic—contributes to her explanation of the deep-seated intuition that all consciousness is self-consciousness.
We are material beings in a material world, but we are also beings who have experiences and feelings. How can these subjective states be just a matter of matter? To defend materialism, philosophical materialists have formulated what is sometimes called "the phenomenal-concept strategy," which holds that we possess a range of special concepts for classifying the subjective aspects of our experiences. In Consciousness Revisited, the philosopher Michael Tye, until now a proponent of the the phenomenal-concept strategy, argues that the (...) strategy is mistaken. A rejection of phenomenal concepts leaves the materialist with the task of finding some other strategy for defending materialism. Tye points to four major puzzles of consciousness that arise: How is it possible for Mary, in the famous thought experiment, to make a discovery when she leaves her black-and-white room? In what does the explanatory gap consist and how can it be bridged? How can the hard problem of consciousness be solved? How are zombies possible? Tye presents solutions to these puzzles -- solutions that relieve the pressure on the materialist created by the failure of the phenomenal-concept strategy. In doing so, he discusses and makes new proposals on a wide range of issues, including the nature of perceptual content, the conditions necessary for consciousness of a given object, the proper understanding of change blindness, the nature of phenomenal character and our awareness of it, whether we have privileged access to our own experiences, and, if we do, in what such access consists. (shrink)
This is the first English translation of Husserliana XXIII, the volume in the critical edition of Edmund Husserl's works that gathers together a rich array of posthumous texts on representational consciousness. The lectures and sketches comprising this work make available the most profound and comprehensive Husserlian account of image consciousness. They explore phantasy in depth, and furnish nuanced accounts of perception and memory.
How can phenomenal consciousness exist as an integral part of a physical universe? How can the technicolour phenomenology of our inner lives be created out of the complex neural activities of our brains? Many have despaired of finding answers to these questions; and many have claimed that human consciousness is inherently mysterious. Peter Carruthers argues, on the contrary, that the subjective feel of our experience is fully explicable in naturalistic terms. Drawing on a variety of interdisciplinary resources, he (...) develops and defends a novel account in terms of higher-order thought. He shows that this can explain away some of the more extravagant claims made about phenomenal consciousness, while substantively explaining the key subjectivity of our experience. Written with characteristic clarity and directness, and surveying a wide range of extant theories, this book is essential reading for all those within philosophy and psychology interested in the problem of consciousness. (shrink)
Can we consciously see more items at once than can be held in visual working memory? This question has elud- ed resolution because the ultimate evidence is subjects’ reports in which phenomenal consciousness is filtered through working memory. However, a new technique makes use of the fact that unattended ‘ensemble prop- erties’ can be detected ‘for free’ without decreasing working memory capacity.
We have a much better understanding of physics than we do of consciousness. I consider ways in which intrinsically mental aspects of fundamental ontology might induce modifications of the known laws of physics, or whether they could be relevant to accounting for consciousness if no such modifications exist. I suggest that our current knowledge of physics should make us skeptical of hypothetical modifications of the known rules, and that without such modifications it’s hard to imagine how intrinsically mental (...) aspects could play a useful explanatory role. Draft version of a paper submitted to Journal of Consciousness Studies, special issue responding to Philip Goff’s Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness. (shrink)
Consciousness is arguably the most important area within contemporary philosophy of mind and perhaps the most puzzling aspect of the world. Despite an explosion of research from philosophers, psychologists, and scientists, attempts to explain consciousness in neurophysiological, or even cognitive, terms are often met with great resistance. In The Consciousness Paradox, Rocco Gennaro aims to solve an underlying paradox, namely, how it is possible to hold a number of seemingly inconsistent views, including higher-order thought (HOT) theory, conceptualism, (...) infant and animal consciousness, concept acquisition, and what he calls the HOT-brain thesis. He defends and further develops a metapsychological reductive representational theory of consciousness and applies it to several importantly related problems. Gennaro proposes a version of the HOT theory of consciousness that he calls the "wide intrinsicality view" and shows why it is superior to various alternatives, such as self-representationalism and first-order representationalism. HOT theory says that what makes a mental state conscious is that a suitable higher-order thought is directed at that mental state. -/- Thus Gennaro argues for an overall philosophical theory of consciousness while applying it to other significant issues not usually addressed in the philosophical literature on consciousness. Most cognitive science and empirical works on such topics as concepts and animal consciousness do not address central philosophical theories of consciousness. Gennaro’s integration of empirical and philosophical concerns will make his argument of interest to both philosophers and nonphilosophers. (shrink)