Thinking about Consciousness
The relation between subjective consciousness and the physical brain is widely regarded as the last mystery facing science. This book argues that there is no real puzzle here. Consciousness seems mysterious, not because of any hidden essence, but only because we think about it in a special way. David Papineau exposes the resulting potential for confusion, and shows that much scientific study of consciousness is misconceived. Modern physical science strongly supports a materialist account of consciousness. But there remains considerable resistance to this, both in philosophy and in the way most people think about the mind; we fall back on a dualist view, that consciousness is not part of the material world. Papineau argues that resistance to materialism is groundless. He offers a detailed analysis of the way human beings think about consciousness, and in particular the way in which we humans think about our conscious states by activating those selfsame states. His careful account of this distinctive mode of phenomenal thinking enables him, first, to show that the standard arguments against dualism are unsound, second, to explain why dualism is nevertheless so intuitively persuasive, and third, to expose much contemporary scientific study of consciousness as resting on a confusion. In placing a materialist account of consciousness on a firm foundation, this clear and forthright book lays many traditional problems to rest, and offers escape from immemorial misconceptions about the mind.
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anti-materialist arguments argue behaviour brain causal argument causal roles Chapter Cicero claim completeness of physics concepts of conscious conscious causes conscious properties conservation of energy contingent creatures descriptions dispositional Higher-Order judgeability doppelganger elephant empirical epiphenomenalism epiphenomenalist everyday explain fact feel first-person fundamental forces higher property HOT theories humans imaginative re-creation introspective classification intuition of distinctness involving issue kind Kripke's Leibniz Mark Twain Mary material concepts material properties materialists matter mean kinetic energy mental forces mind-brain identities Ned Block neurons Newtonian non-mentally identifiable pain particular perceptual classification perceptual concepts perceptual re-creation phenomenal concepts refer phenomenal consciousness phenomenal judgements phenomenal properties philosophers physical causes physical effects physically realized possibility pre-theoretical premiss priori psychological concepts question red experiences relevant resemble Samuel Clemens scientific sense simply specific strictly physical properties sui generis supervenience suppose temperature things thought Tully vague visual