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Profile: Max Velmans (Goldsmiths College, University of London)
  1. Is Human Information Processing Conscious?Max Velmans - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (4):651-69.
    Investigations of the function of consciousness in human information processing have focused mainly on two questions: (1) where does consciousness enter into the information processing sequence and (2) how does conscious processing differ from preconscious and unconscious processing. Input analysis is thought to be initially "preconscious," "pre-attentive," fast, involuntary, and automatic. This is followed by "conscious," "focal-attentive" analysis which is relatively slow, voluntary, and flexible. It is thought that simple, familiar stimuli can be identified preconsciously, but conscious processing is needed (...)
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  2.  35
    Consciousness From a First-Person Perspective.Max Velmans - 1991 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 14 (4):702-726.
    The sequence of topics in this reply roughly follows that of the target article. The latter focused largely on experimental studies of how consciousness relates to human information processing, tracing their relation from input through to output. The discussion of the implications of the findings both for cognitive psychology and philosophy of mind was relatively brief. The commentaries reverse this emphasis, and so, correspondingly, does the reply.
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  3.  22
    Is the Mind Conscious, Functional or Both?Max Velmans - 1990 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 13 (4):629-630.
    What, in essence, characterizes the mind? According to Searle, the potential to be conscious provides the only definitive criterion. Thus, conscious states are unquestionably "mental"; "shallow unconscious" states are also "mental" by virtue of their capacity to be conscious (at least in principle); but there are no "deep unconscious mental states" - i.e. those rules and procedures without access to consciousness, inferred by cognitive science to characterize the operations of the unconscious mind are not mental at all. Indeed, according to (...)
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  4.  59
    Consciousness, Brain, and the Physical World.Max Velmans - 1990 - Philosophical Psychology 3 (1):77-99.
    Dualist and Reductionist theories of mind disagree about whether or not consciousness can be reduced to a state of or function of the brain. They assume, however, that the contents of consciousness are separate from the external physical world as-perceived. According to the present paper this assumption has no foundation either in everyday experience or in science. Drawing on evidence for perceptual projection in both interoceptive and exteroceptive sense modalities, the case is made that the physical world as-perceived is a (...)
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  5. Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness.Max Velmans - 1994 - (Ciba Foundation Symposium 174).
  6.  23
    The Science of Consciousness: Psychological, Neuropsychological, and Clinical Reviews.Max Velmans (ed.) - 1996 - Routledge.
    Of all the problems facing science none are more challenging yet fascinating than those posed by consciousness. In The Science of Consciousness leading researchers examine how consciousness is being investigated in the key areas of cognitive psychology, neuropsychology and clinical psychology. Within cognitive psychology, special focus is given to the function of consciousness, and to the relation of conscious processing to nonconscious processing in perception, learning, memory and information dissemination. Neuropsychology includes examination of the neural conditions for consciousness and the (...)
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  7.  23
    Understanding Consciousness.Max Velmans - 2000 - Routledge.
    The mysteries of consciousness have gripped the human imagination for over 2,500 years. At the dawn of the new millennium, Understanding Consciousness provides new solutions to some of the deepest puzzles surrounding its nature and function. Drawing on recent scientific discoveries, Max Velmans challenges conventional reductionist thought, providing an understanding of how consciousness relates to the brain and physical world that is neither dualist, nor reductionist. Understanding Consciousness will be of great interest to psychologists, philosophers, neuroscientists and other professionals concerned (...)
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  8. Heterophenomenology Vs. Critical Phenomenology.Max Velmans - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (1-2):221-230.
    Dennett’s heterophenomenology and the critical phenomenology that I outline may be thought of as competing accounts of a cautious approach to phenomenal description and method. One can be critical or cautious about how well or how reliably a subject can communicate his or her subjective experience in experimental settings, without for a moment doubting their existence or claiming them to be something completely different to how they seem. Given this, Dennett’s heterophenomenology with its accompanying “qualia denial” looks like nothing more (...)
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  9.  84
    How Could Conscious Experiences Affect Brains?Max Velmans - 2002 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (11):3-29.
    In everyday life we take it for granted that we have conscious control of some of our actions and that the part of us that exercises control is the conscious mind. Psychosomatic medicine also assumes that the conscious mind can affect body states, and this is supported by evidence that the use of imagery, hypnosis, biofeedback and other ‘mental interventions’ can be therapeutic in a variety of medical conditions. However, there is no accepted theory of mind/body interaction and this has (...)
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  10. Where Experiences Are: Dualist, Physicalist, Enactive and Reflexive Accounts of Phenomenal Consciousness. [REVIEW]Max Velmans - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (4):547-563.
    Dualists believe that experiences have neither location nor extension, while reductive and ‘non-reductive’ physicalists (biological naturalists) believe that experiences are really in the brain, producing an apparent impasse in current theories of mind. Enactive and reflexive models of perception try to resolve this impasse with a form of “externalism” that challenges the assumption that experiences must either be nowhere or in the brain. However, they are externalist in very different ways. Insofar as they locate experiences anywhere, enactive models locate conscious (...)
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  11. Reflexive Monism.Max Velmans - 2007 - [Journal (Paginated)] (in Press) 15 (2):5-50.
    Reflexive monism is, in essence, an ancient view of how consciousness relates to the material world that has, in recent decades, been resurrected in modern form. In this paper I discuss how some of its basic features differ from both dualism and variants of physicalist and functionalist reductionism, focusing on those aspects of the theory that challenge deeply rooted presuppositions in current Western thought. I pay particular attention to the ontological status and seeming “out-thereness” of the phenomenal world and to (...)
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  12.  10
    How to Define Consciousness: And How Not to Define Consciousness.Max Velmans - 2009 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 16 (5):139-156.
    Definitions of consciousness need to be sufficiently broad to include all examples of conscious states and sufficiently narrow to exclude entities, events and processes that are not conscious. Unfortu-nately, deviations from these simple principles are common in modern consciousness studies, with consequent confusion and internal divi-sion in the field. The present paper gives examples of ways in which definitions of consciousness can be either too broad or too narrow. It also discusses some of the main ways in which pre-existing theoretical (...)
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  13. The Co-Evolution of Matter and Consciousness.Max Velmans - 2007 - Velmans, Prof Max (2007) the Co-Evolution of Matter and Consciousness. [Journal (Paginated)] 44 (2):273-282.
    Theories about the evolution of consciousness relate in an intimate way to theories about the distribution of consciousness, which range from the view that only human beings are conscious to the view that all matter is in some sense conscious. Broadly speaking, such theories can be classified into discontinuity theories and continuity theories. Discontinuity theories propose that consciousness emerged only when material forms reached a given stage of evolution, but propose different criteria for the stage at which this occurred. Continuity (...)
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  14. Preconscious Free Will.Max Velmans - 2003 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 10 (12):42-61.
    This paper responds to continuing commentary on Velmans (2002a) “How could conscious experiences affect brains,” a target article for a special issue of JCS. I focus on the final question dealt with by the target article: how free will relates to preconscious and conscious mental processing, and I develop the case for preconscious free will. Although “preconscious free will” might appear to be a contradiction in terms, it is consistent with the scientific evidence and provides a parsimonious way to reconcile (...)
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  15.  58
    An Epistemology for the Study of Consciousness.Max Velmans - 2007 - In Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.), The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. Blackwell. pp. 711--725.
    This is a prepublication version of the final chapter from the Blackwell Companion to Consciousness. In it I re-examine the basic conditions required for a study of conscious experiences in the light of progress made in recent years in the field of consciousness studies. I argue that neither dualist nor reductionist assumptions about subjectivity versus objectivity and the privacy of experience versus the public nature of scientific observations allow an adequate understanding of how studies of consciousness actually proceed. The chapter (...)
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  16. Defining Consciousness.Max Velmans - manuscript
    The following extracts with connecting comments suggest a departure point for a definitions of consciousness that preserves its everyday phenomenology while allowing an understanding of what consciousness is to deepen as scientific investigation proceeds. I argue that current definitions are often theory-driven rather than following the contours of ordinary experience. Consequently they are sometimes too broad, sometimes too narrow, and sometimes not definitions of phenomenal consciousness at all. As an alternative, an ecologically valid, reflexive approach to consciousness is suggested that (...)
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  17.  18
    Reflexive Monism Psychophysical Relations Among Mind, Matter, and Consciousness.Max Velmans - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (9-10):9-10.
    This paper provides an initial, multidimensional map of the complex relationships among consciousness, mind, brain, and the external world in a way that both follows the contours of everyday experience and the findings of science. It then demonstrates how this reflexive monist map can be used to evaluate the utility and resolve some of the oppositions of the many other 'isms' that currently populate consciousness studies. While no conventional, one-dimensional 'ism' such as physicalism can do justice to this web of (...)
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  18.  14
    The World as-Perceived, the World as-Described by Physics, and the Thing-Itself: A Reply to Rentoul and Wetherick.Max Velmans - 1992 - Philosophical Psychology 5 (2):167 – 172.
  19.  33
    Making Sense of Causal Interactions Between Consciousness and Brain.Max Velmans - 2002 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 9 (11):69-95.
    My target article (henceforth referred to as TA) presents evidence for causal interactions between consciousness and brain and some standard ways of accounting for this evidence in clinical practice and neuropsychological theory. I also point out some of the problems of understanding such causal interactions that are not addressed by standard explanations. Most of the residual problems have to do with how to cross the “explanatory gap” from consciousness to brain. I then list some of the reasons why the route (...)
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  20.  30
    ERP Evidence for Successful Voluntary Avoidance of Conscious Recollection.Zara M. Bergström, Max Velmans, Jan de Fockert & Alan Richardson-Klavehn - 2007 - Brain Research 1151:119-133.
  21. Why Conscious Free Will Both is and Isn't an Illusion.Max Velmans - 2004 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 27 (5):677.
    Wegner’s analysis of the illusion of conscious will is close to my own account of how conscious experiences relate to brain processes. But our analyses differ somewhat on how conscious will is not an illusion. Wegner argues that once conscious will arises it enters causally into subsequent mental processing. I argue that while his causal story is accurate, it remains a first-person story. Conscious free will is not an illusion in the sense that this first-person story is compatible with and (...)
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  22. How Experienced Phenomena Relate to Things Themselves: Kant, Husserl, Hoche, and Reflexive Monism.Max Velmans - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (3):411-423.
    What we normally think of as the “physical world” is also the world as experienced, that is, a world of appearances. Given this, what is the reality behind the appearances, and what might its relation be to consciousness and to constructive processes in the mind? According to Kant, the thing itself that brings about and supports these appearances is unknowable and we can never gain any understanding of how it brings such appearances about. Reflexive monism argues the opposite: the thing (...)
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  23.  39
    Investigating Phenomenal Consciousness: New Methodologies and Maps.Max Velmans (ed.) - 2000 - John Benjamins.
  24.  4
    Consciousness, Causality and Complementarity.Max Velmans - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (2):409.
  25.  30
    The Limits of Neuropsychological Models of Consciousness.Max Velmans - 1995 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 18 (4):702-703.
    This commentary elaborates on Gray's conclusion that his neurophysiological model of consciousness might explain how consciousness arises from the brain, but does not address how consciousness evolved, affects behaviour or confers survival value. The commentary argues that such limitations apply to all neurophysiological or other third-person perspective models. To approach such questions the first-person nature of consciousness needs to be taken seriously in combination with third-person models of the brain.
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  26.  38
    Heterophenomenogy Versus Critical Phenomenology: A Dialogue with Dan Dennett.Max Velmans - manuscript
    ABSTRACT. The following is an email interchange that took place between Dan Dennett and myself in the period 14th to 28th June, 2001. The discussion tries to clarify some essential features of the "heterophenomenology" developed in his book Consciousness Explained (1996), and how this differs from a form of "critical phenomenology" implicit in my own book Understanding Consciousness (2000), and developed in my edited Investigating Phenomenal Consciousness: new methodologies and maps (2000). The departure point for the discussion is a paper (...)
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  27. The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness.Max Velmans & Susan Schneider (eds.) - 2007 - Wiley-Blackwell.
  28. A Natural Account of Phenomenal Consciousness.Max Velmans - 2001 - Communication and Cognition: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly Journal 34 (1):39-59.
    Physicalists commonly argue that conscious experiences are nothing more than states of the brain, and that conscious qualia are observer-independent, physical properties of the external world. Although this assumes the 'mantle of science,' it routinely ignores the findings of science, for example in sensory physiology, perception, psychophysics, neuropsychology and comparative psychology. Consequently, although physicalism aims to naturalise consciousness, it gives an unnatural account of it. It is possible, however, to develop a natural, nonreductive, reflexive model of how consciousness relates to (...)
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  29.  28
    Intersubjective Science.Max Velmans - 1999 - Philosophical Explorations 6 (2-3):299-306.
    The study of consciousness in modern science is hampered by deeply ingrained, dualist presuppositions about the nature of consciousness. In particular, conscious experiences are thought to be private and subjective, contrasting with physical phenomena which are public and objective. In the present article, I argue that all observed phenomena are, in a sense, private to a given observer, although there are some events to which there is public access. Phenomena can be objective in the sense of intersubjective, investigators can be (...)
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  30.  67
    The Relation of Consciousness to the Material World.Max Velmans - 1995 - Philosophical Explorations 2 (3):255-65.
    Many of the arguments about how to address the hard versus the easy questions of consciousness put by Chalmers are similar to ones I have developed in Velmans . This includes the multiplicity of mind/body problems, the limits of functional explanation, the need for a nonreductionist approach, and the notion that consciousness may be related to neural/physical representation via a dual-aspect theory of information. But there are also differences. Unlike Chalmers I argue for the use of neutral information processing language (...)
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  31.  25
    Consciousness and the "Causal Paradox".Max Velmans - 1996 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 19 (3):538-542.
    Viewed from a first-person perspective consciousness appears to be necessary for complex, novel human activity - but viewed from a third-person perspective consciousness appears to play no role in the activity of brains, producing a "causal paradox". To resolve this paradox one needs to distinguish consciousness of processing from consciousness accompanying processing or causing processing. Accounts of consciousness/brain causal interactions switch between first- and third-person perspectives. However, epistemically, the differences between first- and third-person access are fundamental. First- and third-person accounts (...)
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  32.  25
    Is the World in the Brain, or the Brain in the World?Max Velmans - 2003 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 26 (4):427-429.
    Lehar provides useful insights into spatially extended phenomenology that may have major consequences for neuroscience. However, Lehar's biological naturalism leads to counterintuitive conclusions, and he does not give an accurate account of preceding and competing work. This commentary compares Lehar's analysis with that of Velmans, which addresses similar issues but draws opposite conclusions. Lehar argues that the phenomenal world is in the brain and concludes that the physical skull is beyond the phenomenal world. Velmans argues that the brain is in (...)
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  33. Introduction to Monist Alternatives to Physicalism.Max Velmans, Yujin Nagasawa, In M. Velmans & Y. Nagasawa - 2012 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 19 (9):7.
  34.  69
    Goodbye to Reductionism: Complementary First and Third-Person Approaches to Consciousness.Max Velmans - 1998 - In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II. MIT Press. pp. 2--45.
    This chapter argues that dualist vs. reductionist debates adopt an implicit description of consciousness that does not resemble ordinary experience. If one adopts an accurate description of conscious phenomenology along with an understanding of the fundamental differences between correlation, causation and ontological identity, reductionism cannot succeed. However the alternative is not a dualism that places consciousness beyond science. Rather, it is a nonreductionist science of consciousness.
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  35.  66
    Psychophysical Nature.Max Velmans - 2007 - In Harald Atmanspacher & Hans Primas (eds.), [Book Chapter] (in Press). Springer.
    There are two quite distinct ways in which events that we normally think of as “physical” relate in an intimate way to events that we normally think of as “psychological”. One intimate relation occurs in exteroception at the point where events in the world become events as-perceived. The other intimate relationship occurs at the interface of conscious experience with its neural correlates in the brain. The chapter examines each of these relationships and positions them within a dual-aspect, reflexive model of (...)
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  36.  59
    When Perception Becomes Conscious.Max Velmans - 1999 - British Journal of Psychology 90 (4):543-566.
    The study of preconscious versus conscious processing has an extensive history in cognitive psychology, dating back to the writings of William James. Much of the experimental work on this issue has focused on perception, conceived of as input analysis, and on the relation of consciousness to attentional processing. The present paper examines when input analysis becomes conscious from the perspectives of cognitive modelling, methodology, and a more detailed understanding of what is meant by "conscious processing." Current evidence suggests that perception (...)
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  37.  52
    Physical, Psychological and Virtual Realities.Max Velmans - 1998 - In Joanne A. Wood (ed.), [Book Chapter]. Routledge. pp. 45-60.
    This chapter examines the similarities and differences between physical, psychological and virtual realities, and challenges some conventional, implicitly dualist assumptions about how these relate to each other. Virtual realities are not easily understood in either dualist or materialist reductive terms, as they exemplify the reflexive nature of perception. The chapter summarises some of the evidence for this “reflexive model”—and examines some of its consequences for the “hard” problem of consciousness. The chapter then goes on to consider how these realities might (...)
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  38.  13
    A Reflexive Science of Consciousness.Max Velmans - 1993 - In G. R. Bock & James L. Marsh (eds.), Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness. (Ciba Foundation Symposium 174). pp. 404--416.
  39.  18
    Is Consciousness Integrated?Max Velmans - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (2):229-230.
    In the visual system, the represented features of individual objects (shape, colour, movement, and so on) are distributed both in space and time within the brain. Representations of inner and outer event sequences arrive through different sense organs at different times, and are likewise distributed. Objects are nevertheless perceived as integrated wholes - and event sequences are experienced to form a coherent "consciousness stream." In their thoughtful article, Dennett & Kinsbourne ask how this is achieved.
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  40.  9
    Die Koevolution von Materie und Bewusstsein.Max Velmans - 2007 - Synthesis Philosophica 22 (2):273-282.
    Theorien über die Bewusstseinsevolution stehen in engem Zusammenhang mit Theorien über die Präsenz von Bewusstsein. Entsprechende Auffassungen bewegen sich zwischen dem Standpunkt, dass nur menschliche Wesen ein Bewusstsein haben, und der These, dass jegliche Materie in gewisser Weise über ein Bewusstsein verfügt. Allgemein formuliert, können diese Theorien in Diskontinuitäts- und Kontinuitätstheorien eingeteilt werden. Gemäß den Diskontinuitätstheorien ist das Bewusstsein erst dann in Erscheinung getreten, nachdem die Formen der Materie den gegebenen Evolutionsstand erreicht hatten, doch werden verschiedene Kriterien zur Bestimmung ebendieses (...)
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  41.  42
    Could Phenomenal Consciousness Function as a Cognitive Unconscious?Max Velmans - 2002 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 25 (3):357-358.
    Evidence for unconscious semantic representation suggests that a cognitive unconscious exists. Phenomenal consciousness cannot easily be shown to deal with complex cognitive operations such as those involved in language translation and creativity. A self-organising phenomenal consciousness that controls brain functions also runs into mind/body problems (well recognised in the consciousness studies literature) that Perruchet & Vinter must address.
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  42.  8
    Errata.Max Velmans - 1992 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 15 (2):423.
    10.1093/mind/fzl659p. 688, line 10:for So if is a theorem of M read So if ϕ is a theorem of Mp. 688, line 13:for where ϕ* is the result of indexing the terms of ϕ* to Mread where ϕ* is the result of indexing the terms of ϕ to M.
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  43.  40
    Open Peer Commentary on 'the Sense of Being Stared At' Parts 1 &.Anthony P. Atkinson, I. S. Baker, Susan J. Blackmore, William Braud, Jean E. Burns, R. H. S. Carpenter, Christopher J. S. Clarke, Ralph D. Ellis, David Fontana, Christopher C. French, D. Radin, M. Schlitz, Stefan Schmidt & Max Velmans - 2005 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 12 (6):50-116.
  44.  13
    A Brief Note on How Phenomenal Objects Relate to Objects Themselves.Max Velmans - 2011 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (11-12):11-12.
    This brief note corrects some basic errors in Meijsing's JCS paper on 'The Whereabouts of Pictorial Space', concerning the status of phenomenal objects in the reflexive model of perception. In particular I clarify the precise sense in which a phenomenal object relates to the object itself in visual perception.
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  45.  1
    A View of Consciousness From the Fringe.Max Velmans - 1993 - Consciousness and Cognition 2 (2):137-141.
  46.  34
    A Reflexive Science of Consciousness.Max Velmans - 1994 - In G. R. Bock & James L. Marsh (eds.), Experimental and Theoretical Studies of Consciousness. (Ciba Foundation Symposium 174). pp. 404--416.
    Classical ways of viewing the relation of consciousness to the brain and physical world make it difficult to see how consciousness can be a subject of scientific study. In contrast to physical events, it seems to be private, subjective, and viewable only from a subject's first-person perspective. But much of psychology does investigate human experience, which suggests that classical ways of viewing these relations must be wrong. An alternative, Reflexive model is outlined along with it's consequences for methodology. Within this (...)
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  47. Common Sense, Functional Theories and Knowledge of the Mind.Max Velmans - 1993 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 16 (1):85.
  48.  12
    What Makes a Conscious Process Conscious?Max Velmans - 2014 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 37 (1):43-44.
  49.  22
    Goodbye to Reductionism.Max Velmans - 1998 - In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A. C. Scott (eds.), [Book Chapter]. MIT Press. pp. 2--45.
    To understand consciousness we must first describe what we experience accurately. But oddly, current dualist vs reductionist debates characterise experience in ways which do not correspond to ordinary experience. Indeed, there is no other area of enquiry where the phenomenon to be studied has been so systematically misdescribed. Given this, it is hardly surprising that progress towards understanding the nature of consciousness has been limited.
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  50.  8
    Can Evolutionary Theory Explain the Existence of Consciousness? A Review of Humphrey, N.(2010) Soul Dust: The Magic of Consciousness. London: Quercus, ISBN 9781849162371.Max Velmans - 2011 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 18 (11-12):243-254.
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