Thinking about Consciousness

Thinking about Consciousness

Thinking about Consciousness

Thinking about Consciousness

Synopsis

The relation between subjective consciousness and the physical brain is widely regarded as the last mystery facing science. Papineau argues that consciousness seems mysterious not because of any hidden essence, but only because we think about it in a special way. He exposes the resultingpotential for confusion, and shows that much scientific study of consciousness is misconceived.

Excerpt

I seem to have been writing this book for some time. a while ago I formed the plan of juxtaposing a number of already written pieces to form a book on consciousness. But in the course of tidying and clarifying, my views kept developing and expanding, and now little of the original material is left, and much has been added. For what it is worth, parts of Chapter 1 and most of the Appendix descend from 'The Rise of Physicalism', first published in 2000, but written rather earlier. Parts of Chapters 2 and 6 can be traced back to my first attacks on consciousness in Philosophical Naturalism (1993a) and in 'Physicalism, Consciousness and the Antipathetic Fallacy' (1993b). Chapter 3 and 4 are pretty much new. Chapter 5 has affinities with 'Mind the Gap' (1998). Chapter 7 started as 'Theories of Consciousness' (2001), but no longer bears much relation to that article.

In the course of writing this book I have had many opportunities to try out my views. Particularly helpful have been a number of occasions that allowed extended discussion. in the Autumn Term of 1999 I held a research seminar on consciousness at King's College London, and was greatly helped by the graduate students, colleagues, and visitors who attended. I can particularly remember comments from Heather Gert, Matteo Mameli, Nick Shea, Finn Spicer, and Scott Sturgeon. in the Spring of 2000 I was invited to the New York University Research Seminar on Consciousness, where an early draft of parts of the book was subject to the scrutiny of Ned Block and Tom Nagel. in March 2001 I conducted a week-long 'superseminar' at the University of Kansas, hosted by Sarah Sawyer and Jack Bricke. I went to the University of Bielefeld for two days in May 2001, where my

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