Thinking about Consciousness

Thinking about Consciousness

3.8 (30 ratings by Goodreads)
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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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Product details

  • Hardback | 280 pages
  • 145 x 223 x 20mm | 475g
  • Clarendon Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • New
  • 0199243824
  • 9780199243822

Table of contents

Preface ; Introduction ; 1. The Case for Materialism ; 2. Conceptual Dualism ; 3. The Impossibility of Zombies ; 4. Phenomenal Concepts ; 5. The Explanatory Gap ; 6. The Intuition of Distinctness ; 7. Prospects for the Scientific Study of Phenomenal Consciousness ; Appendix: The History of the Completeness of Physics
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Review quote

... lucid and informative ... synthesizes at least thirty years of relevant philosophical investigation - not only in philosophy of mind, but also in philosophy of science, metaphysics and philosophical logic. The book is an excellent introduction to this area, and those more familiar with it will find the treatment deft and insightful. * Alva Noe, Times Literary Supplement *
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About David Papineau

David Papineau is Professor of Philosophy at King's College London. His books include Theory and Meaning (Clarendon Press 1979), Reality and Representation (Blackwell 1987), Philosophical Naturalism (Blackwell 1993), and The Philosophy of Science (Oxford Readings in Philosophy 1996).
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Rating details

30 ratings
3.8 out of 5 stars
5 17% (5)
4 50% (15)
3 30% (9)
2 3% (1)
1 0% (0)
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