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The Conscious Mind: In Search of a Fundamental Theory

Oxford University Press (1996)

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  1. How to Define Consciousness—and How Not to Define Consciousness.Prof 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. Unfortunately, deviations from these simple principles are common in modern consciousness studies, with consequent confusion and internal division in the field. The present paper gives example 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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  • Wherever You Go, There You Are: On Individuative Subjective Phenomenology.Keith E. Turausky - 2014 - Essays in Philosophy 15 (2):249-265.
    That experience requires a subject is all but uncontroversial. It is surprising, then, that contemporary philosophers of mind generally focus on experiences at the expense of subjects. Herein, I argue that beyond the qualitative character of phenomenology, there is a discrete further fact—the subjective character of phenomenology—that calls out for explanation. Similar views have recently been endorsed by both Zahavi and Kriegel, but a comparison of the ways they have framed the issue suggests there are two discrete questions afoot: in (...)
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  • Consciousness: Individuated Information in Action.Jakub Jonkisz - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
    Within theoretical and empirical enquiries, many different meanings associated with consciousness have appeared, leaving the term itself quite vague. This makes formulating an abstract and unifying version of the concept of consciousness – the main aim of this article –into an urgent theoretical imperative. It is argued that consciousness, characterized as dually accessible (cognized from the inside and the outside), hierarchically referential (semantically ordered), bodily determined (embedded in the working structures of an organism or conscious system), and useful in action (...)
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  • Subjectivity: A Case of Biological Individuation and an Adaptive Response to Informational Overflow.Jakub Jonkisz - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
    The article presents a perspective on the scientific explanation of the subjectivity of conscious experience. It proposes plausible answers for two empirically valid questions: the ‘how’ question concerning the developmental mechanisms of subjectivity, and the ‘why’ question concerning its function. Biological individuation, which is acquired in several different stages, serves as a provisional description of how subjective perspectives may have evolved. To the extent that an individuated informational space seems the most efficient way for a given organism to select biologically (...)
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  • Three Pillars of Transnational Economic Justice: The Bretton Woods Institutions as Guara.Robert Hockett - 2005 - Metaphilosophy 36 (1-2):93-127.
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  • Causal After All : A Model of Mental Causation for Dualists.Bram Vaassen - 2019 - Dissertation,
    In this dissertation, I develop and defend a model of causation that allows for dualist mental causation in worlds where the physical domain is physically complete. -/- In Part I, I present the dualist ontology that will be assumed throughout the thesis and identify two challenges for models of mental causation within such an ontology: the exclusion worry and the common cause worry. I also argue that a proper response to these challenges requires a thoroughly lightweight account of causation, i.e. (...)
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  • Naturalness and Emergence.David Wallace - 2019 - The Monist 102 (4):499-524.
    I develop an account of naturalness in physics which demonstrates that naturalness assumptions are not restricted to narrow cases in high-energy physics but are a ubiquitous part of how interlevel relations are derived in physics. After exploring how and to what extent we might justify such assumptions on methodological grounds or through appeal to speculative future physics, I consider the apparent failure of naturalness in cosmology and in the Standard Model. I argue that any such naturalness failure threatens to undermine (...)
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  • Synthetic Ethical Naturalism.Michael Rubin - unknown
    This dissertation is a critique of synthetic ethical naturalism. SEN is a view in metaethics that comprises three key theses: first, there are moral properties and facts that are independent of the beliefs and attitudes of moral appraisers ; second, moral properties and facts are identical to natural properties and facts ; and third, sentences used to assert identity or constitution relations between moral and natural properties are expressions of synthetic, a posteriori necessities. The last of these theses, which distinguishes (...)
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  • Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies - Part 1.Gordana Dodig Crnkovic - 2019 - Basel, Switzerland: MDPI.
    This book is a printed edition of the Special Issue titled "Contemporary Natural Philosophy and Philosophies" - Part 1 that was published in the journal Philosophies.
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  • The Transition to Minimal Consciousness Through the Evolution of Associative Learning.Zohar Z. Bronfman, Simona Ginsburg & Eva Jablonka - 2016 - Frontiers in Psychology 7.
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  • Panpsychism, Intuitions, and the Great Chain of Being.Luke Roelofs & Jed Buchanan - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (11):2991-3017.
    Some philosophical theories of consciousness imply consciousness in things we would never intuitively think are conscious—most notably, panpsychism implies that consciousness is pervasive, even outside complex brains. Is this a reductio ab absurdum for such theories, or does it show that we should reject our original intuitions? To understand the stakes of this question as clearly as possible, we analyse the structured pattern of intuitions that panpsychism conflicts with. We consider a variety of ways that the tension between this intuition (...)
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  • Panpsychism’s Combination Problem Is a Problem for Everyone.Angela Mendelovici - 2019 - In William Seager (ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Panpsychism. London, UK: Routledge.
    The most pressing worry for panpsychism is arguably the combination problem, the problem of intelligibly explaining how the experiences of microphysical entities combine to form the experiences of macrophysical entities such as ourselves. This chapter argues that the combination problem is similar in kind to other problems of mental combination that are problems for everyone: the problem of phenomenal unity, the problem of mental structure, and the problem of new quality spaces. The ubiquity of combination problems suggests the ignorance hypothesis, (...)
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  • The Modal Ontological Argument Meets Modal Fictionalism.Ted Parent - 2016 - Analytic Philosophy 57 (4):338-352.
    This paper attacks the modal ontological argument, as advocated by Plantinga among others. Whereas other criticisms in the literature reject one of its premises, the present line is that the argument is invalid. This becomes apparent once we run the argument assuming fictionalism about possible worlds. Broadly speaking, the problem is that if one defines “x” as something that exists, it does not follow that there is anything satisfying the definition. Yet unlike non-modal ontological arguments, the modal argument commits this (...)
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  • Conservative Reduction of Biology.Christian Sachse - 2011 - Philosophia Naturalis 48 (1):33-65.
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  • Preface.Raphael van Riel & Albert Newen - 2011 - Philosophia Naturalis 48 (1):5-8.
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  • Between Language and Consciousness: Linguistic Qualia, Awaremess, and Cognitive Models.Piotr Konderak - 2016 - Studies in Logic, Grammar and Rhetoric 48 (1):285-302.
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  • Dretske E o Problema Dos Qualia.João Antonio De Moraes & Maria Eunice Quilici Gonzalez - 2013 - Revista de Filosofia Aurora 25 (36):305.
    Este artigo tem por objetivo apresentar e discutir a sugestão de Fred Dretske para analisar o problema dos qualia. Tal problema, caro à Filosofia da Mente, ficou conhecido pela discussão desenvolvida por Thomas Nagel em seu clássico artigo What is it like to be a bat. Nesse artigo, Nagel postulou a impossibilidade de se conhecer, em perspectiva de terceira-pessoa, os aspectos da experiência humana. Ele considera que, mesmo após as descrições objetivas da experiência de um sujeito, escapariam ainda aspectos qualitativos, (...)
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  • Adaptive Complexity and Phenomenal Consciousness.Shaun Nichols & Todd Grantham - 2000 - Philosophy of Science 67 (4):648-670.
    Arguments about the evolutionary function of phenomenal consciousness are beset by the problem of epiphenomenalism. For if it is not clear whether phenomenal consciousness has a causal role, then it is difficult to begin an argument for the evolutionary role of phenomenal consciousness. We argue that complexity arguments offer a way around this problem. According to evolutionary biology, the structural complexity of a given organ can provide evidence that the organ is an adaptation, even if nothing is known about the (...)
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  • The Trouble with Mary.Victoria McGeer - 2003 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 84 (4):384-393.
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  • Methodological Encounters with the Phenomenal Kind.Nicholas Shea - 2012 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 84 (2):307-344.
    Block’s well-known distinction between phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness has generated a large philosophical literature about putative conceptual connections between the two. The scientific literature about whether they come apart in any actual cases is rather smaller. Empirical evidence gathered to date has not settled the issue. Some put this down to a fundamental methodological obstacle to the empirical study of the relation between phenomenal consciousness and access consciousness. Block (2007) has drawn attention to the methodological puzzle and attempted to (...)
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  • The Phenomenology of Cognition Or What Is It Like to Think That P?David Pitt - 2004 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research (1):1-36.
    A number of philosophers endorse, without argument, the view that there’s something it’s like consciously to think that p, which is distinct from what it’s like consciously to think that q. This thesis, if true, would have important consequences for philosophy of mind and cognitive science. In this paper I offer two arguments for it. The first argument claims it would be impossible introspectively to distinguish conscious thoughts with respect to their content if there weren’t something it’s like to think (...)
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  • Experience and Evidence.Susanna Schellenberg - 2013 - Mind 122 (487):699-747.
    I argue that perceptual experience provides us with both phenomenal and factive evidence. To a first approximation, we can understand phenomenal evidence as determined by how our environment sensorily seems to us when we are experiencing. To a first approximation, we can understand factive evidence as necessarily determined by the environment to which we are perceptually related such that the evidence is guaranteed to be an accurate guide to the environment. I argue that the rational source of both phenomenal and (...)
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  • A Connectionist Theory of Phenomenal Experience.Jonathan Opie & Gerard O'Brien - 1999 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (1):127-148.
    When cognitive scientists apply computational theory to the problem of phenomenal consciousness, as many of them have been doing recently, there are two fundamentally distinct approaches available. Either consciousness is to be explained in terms of the nature of the representational vehicles the brain deploys; or it is to be explained in terms of the computational processes defined over these vehicles. We call versions of these two approaches _vehicle_ and _process_ theories of consciousness, respectively. However, while there may be space (...)
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  • Low-Grade Two-Dimensionalism.Josh Dever - 2007 - Philosophical Books 48 (1):1-16.
    As tends to be the way with philosophical positions, there are at least as many two-dimensionalisms as there are two-dimensionalists. But painting with a broad brush, there are core epistemological and metaphysical commitments which underlie the two-dimensionalist project, commitments for which I have no sympathies. A sketch of three signi?cant points of disagreement.
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  • The Mind-Body Problem: An Overview.Kirk Ludwig - 2002 - In Stephen P. Stich & Ted A. Warfield (eds.), The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind. Blackwell. pp. 1--46.
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  • Supervenience-Based Formulations of Physicalism.Jessica Wilson - 2005 - Noûs 39 (3):426-459.
    The physicalist thesis that all entities are nothing over and above physical entities is often interpreted as appealing to a supervenience-based account of "nothing over and aboveness”, where, schematically, the A-entities are nothing over and above the B-entities if the A-entities supervene on the B-entities. The main approaches to filling in this schema correspond to different ways of characterizing the modal strength, the supervenience base, or the supervenience connection at issue. I consider each approach in turn, and argue that the (...)
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  • The Irreducibility of Consciousness.Amy Kind - 2005 - Disputatio 1 (19):1-18.
    In this paper, by analyzing the Chalmers-Searle debate about Chalmers’ zombie thought experiment, I attempt to determine the implications that the irreducibility of consciousness has for the truth of materialism. While Chalmers claims that the irreducibility of consciousness forces us to embrace dualism, Searle claims that it has no deep metaphysical import and, in particular, that it is fully consistent with his materialist theory of mind. I argue that this disagreement hinges on the notion of physical identity in play in (...)
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  • What is It Like to See a Bat? A Critique of Dretske’s Representationalist Theory of Qualia.Andrew Bailey - 2005 - Disputatio 1 (18):1 - 27.
    This paper critiques the representationalist account of qualia, focussing on the Representational Naturalism presented by Fred Dretske in Naturalizing the Mind. After laying out Dretskes theory of qualia and making clear its externalist consequences, I argue that Dretskes definition is either too liberal or runs into problems defending its requirements, in particular naturalness and mentalness. I go on to show that Dretskes account of qualia falls foul of the argument from misperception in such a way that Dretske must either admit (...)
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  • Imagining Subjective Absence: Marcus on Zombies.Torin Alter - 2007 - Disputatio 2 (22):91-101.
    Many philosophers accept the conceivability of zombies: creatures that lack consciousness but are physically and functionally identical to conscious human beings. Many also believe that the conceivability of zombies supports their metaphysical possibility. And most agree that if zombies are metaphysically possible, then physicalism is false. So, the claim that zombies are conceivable may have considerable significance. 1.
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  • Understanding Consciousness.I. Gois - 2001 - Disputatio 1 (10):3-21.
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  • On a Confusion About a Function of Consciousness.Ned Block - 1995 - Brain and Behavioral Sciences 18 (2):227-–247.
    Consciousness is a mongrel concept: there are a number of very different "consciousnesses." Phenomenal consciousness is experience; the phenomenally conscious aspect of a state is what it is like to be in that state. The mark of access-consciousness, by contrast, is availability for use in reasoning and rationally guiding speech and action. These concepts are often partly or totally conflated, with bad results. This target article uses as an example a form of reasoning about a function of "consciousness" based on (...)
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  • Introspective Physicalism as an Approach to the Science of Consciousness.Anthony I. Jack & T. Shallice - 2001 - Cognition 79 (1):161-196.
    Most ?theories of consciousness? are based on vague speculations about the properties of conscious experience. We aim to provide a more solid basis for a science of consciousness. We argue that a theory of consciousness should provide an account of the very processes that allow us to acquire and use information about our own mental states ? the processes underlying introspection. This can be achieved through the construction of information processing models that can account for ?Type-C? processes. Type-C processes can (...)
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  • Monty Hall, Doomsday and Confirmation.Darren Bradley & Branden Fitelson - 2003 - Analysis 63 (1):23–31.
    We give an analysis of the Monty Hall problem purely in terms of confirmation, without making any lottery assumptions about priors. Along the way, we show the Monty Hall problem is structurally identical to the Doomsday Argument.
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  • The Components of Content.David Chalmers - 2002 - In David J. Chalmers (ed.), Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings. Oxford University Press.
    [[This paper appears in my anthology _Philosophy of Mind: Classical and Contemporary Readings_ (Oxford University Press, 2002), pp. 608-633. It is a heavily revised version of a paper first written in 1994 and revised in 1995. Sections 1, 7, 8, and 10 are similar to the old version, but the other sections are quite different. Because the old version has been widely cited, I have made it available (in its 1995 version) at http://consc.net/papers/content95.html.
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  • When Are Thought Experiments Poor Ones?Jeanne Peijnenburg & David Atkinson - 2003 - Journal for General Philosophy of Science / Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie 34 (2):305-322.
    A characteristic of contemporary analytic philosophy is its ample use of thought experiments. We formulate two features that can lead one to suspect that a given thought experiment is a poor one. Although these features are especially in evidence within the philosophy of mind, they can, surprisingly enough, also be discerned in some celebrated scientific thought experiments. Yet in the latter case the consequences appear to be less disastrous. We conclude that the use of thought experiments is more successful in (...)
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  • Two-Dimensional Semantics and the Articulation Problem.Diego Marconi - 2005 - Synthese 143 (3):321-49.
    . David Chalmerss version of two-dimensional semantics is an attempt at setting up a unified semantic framework that would vindicate both the Fregean and the Kripkean semantic intuitions. I claim that there are three acceptable ways of carrying out such a project, and that Chalmerss theory does not coherently fit any of the three patterns. I suggest that the theory may be seen as pointing to the possibility of a double reading for many linguistic expressions (a double reading which, however, (...)
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  • On the Search for the Neural Correlate of Consciousness.David J. Chalmers - 1998 - In Stuart R. Hameroff, Alfred W. Kaszniak & A.C. Scott (eds.), Toward a Science of Consciousness II. MIT Press. pp. 2--219.
    *[[This paper appears in _Toward a Science of Consciousness II: The Second Tucson Discussions and Debates_ (S. Hameroff, A. Kaszniak, and A.Scott, eds), published with MIT Press in 1998. It is a transcript of my talk at the second Tucson conference in April 1996, lightly edited to include the contents of overheads and to exclude some diversions with a consciousness meter. A more in-depth argument for some of the claims in this paper can be found in Chapter 6 of my (...)
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  • Concepts, Introspection, and Phenomenal Consciousness: An Information-Theoretical Approach.Murat Aydede & Guven Guzeldere - 2005 - Noûs 39 (2):197-255.
    This essay is a sustained attempt to bring new light to some of the perennial problems in philosophy of mind surrounding phenomenal consciousness and introspection through developing an account of sensory and phenomenal concepts. Building on the information-theoretic framework of Dretske (1981), we present an informational psychosemantics as it applies to what we call sensory concepts, concepts that apply, roughly, to so-called secondary qualities of objects. We show that these concepts have a special informational character and semantic structure that closely (...)
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  • Language of Thought Hypothesis: State of the Art.Murat Aydede - manuscript
    [This is an earlier, much longer and more detailed version of my entry on LOTH in the _Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy_] The Language of Thought Hypothesis (LOTH) is an empirical thesis about thought and thinking. For their explication, it postulates a physically realized system of representations that have a combinatorial syntax (and semantics) such that operations on representations are causally sensitive only to the syntactic properties of representations. According to LOTH, thought is, roughly, the tokening of a representation that has (...)
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  • How to Solve the Mind-Body Problem.Nicholas Humphrey - 2000 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 7 (4):5-20.
    The identity of conscious states and brain states must remain a mystery until we find a way of characterising both sides of the equation in terms that have the same ‘dimensions’. In this paper I stress the need for ‘dual currency concepts’ that not only are but can be seen to be as appropriate for talking about, say, the experience of pain as for talking about the corresponding working of the brain. In the light of evolutionary theory I make a (...)
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  • Functionalism, Computationalism, and Mental Contents.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2004 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 34 (3):375-410.
    Some philosophers have conflated functionalism and computationalism. I reconstruct how this came about and uncover two assumptions that made the conflation possible. They are the assumptions that (i) psychological functional analyses are computational descriptions and (ii) everything may be described as performing computations. I argue that, if we want to improve our understanding of both the metaphysics of mental states and the functional relations between them, we should reject these assumptions. # 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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  • The Physical: Empirical, Not Metaphysical.J. L. Dowell, & Janice Dowell - 2006 - Philosophical Studies 131 (1):25-60.
    2. The Contingency and A posteriority Constraint: A formulation of the thesis must make physicalism come out contingent and a posteriori. First, physicalism is a contingent truth, if it is a truth. This means that physicalism could have been false, i.e. there are counterfactual worlds in which physicalism is false, for example, counterfactual worlds in which there are miracle -performing angels.[9] Moreover, if physicalism is true, our knowledge of its truth is a posteriori. This is to say that there are (...)
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  • Computational Modeling Vs. Computational Explanation: Is Everything a Turing Machine, and Does It Matter to the Philosophy of Mind?Gualtiero Piccinini - 2004 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 85 (1):93 – 115.
    According to pancomputationalism, everything is a computing system. In this paper, I distinguish between different varieties of pancomputationalism. I find that although some varieties are more plausible than others, only the strongest variety is relevant to the philosophy of mind, but only the most trivial varieties are true. As a side effect of this exercise, I offer a clarified distinction between computational modelling and computational explanation.<br><br>.
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  • The First Computational Theory of Mind and Brain: A Close Look at McCulloch and Pitts' Logical Calculus of Ideas Immanent in Nervous Activity.Gualtiero Piccinini - 2004 - Synthese 141 (2):175-215.
    Despite its significance in neuroscience and computation, McCulloch and Pitts's celebrated 1943 paper has received little historical and philosophical attention. In 1943 there already existed a lively community of biophysicists doing mathematical work on neural networks. What was novel in McCulloch and Pitts's paper was their use of logic and computation to understand neural, and thus mental, activity. McCulloch and Pitts's contributions included (i) a formalism whose refinement and generalization led to the notion of finite automata (an important formalism in (...)
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  • The Dynamical Hypothesis in Cognitive Science.Tim van Gelder - 1998 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 21 (5):615-28.
    The dynamical hypothesis is the claim that cognitive agents are dynamical systems. It stands opposed to the dominant computational hypothesis, the claim that cognitive agents are digital computers. This target article articulates the dynamical hypothesis and defends it as an open empirical alternative to the computational hypothesis. Carrying out these objectives requires extensive clarification of the conceptual terrain, with particular focus on the relation of dynamical systems to computers.
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  • Facing Up to the Problem of Consciousness.David J. Chalmers - 1995 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 2 (3):200-19.
    To make progress on the problem of consciousness, we have to confront it directly. In this paper, I first isolate the truly hard part of the problem, separating it from more tractable parts and giving an account of why it is so difficult to explain. I critique some recent work that uses reductive methods to address consciousness, and argue that such methods inevitably fail to come to grips with the hardest part of the problem. Once this failure is recognized, the (...)
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  • Idealist Origins: 1920s and Before.Martin Davies & Stein Helgeby - 2014 - In Graham Oppy & Nick Trakakis (eds.), History of Philosophy in Australia and New Zealand. Dordrecht, Netherlands: Springer. pp. 15-54.
    This paper explores early Australasian philosophy in some detail. Two approaches have dominated Western philosophy in Australia: idealism and materialism. Idealism was prevalent between the 1880s and the 1930s, but dissipated thereafter. Idealism in Australia often reflected Kantian themes, but it also reflected the revival of interest in Hegel through the work of ‘absolute idealists’ such as T. H. Green, F. H. Bradley, and Henry Jones. A number of the early New Zealand philosophers were also educated in the idealist tradition (...)
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  • Towards a Cognitive Neuroscience of Consciousness: Basic Evidence and a Workspace Framework.Stanislas Dehaene & Lionel Naccache - 2001 - Cognition 79 (1):1-37.
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  • From Metaphysics to Ethics: A Defence of Conceptual Analysis.Frank Jackson - 1998 - Oxford University Press.
    Frank Jackson champions the cause of conceptual analysis as central to philosophical inquiry. In recent years conceptual analysis has been undervalued and widely misunderstood, suggests Jackson. He argues that such analysis is mistakenly clouded in mystery, preventing a whole range of important questions from being productively addressed. He anchors his argument in discussions of specific philosophical issues, starting with the metaphysical doctrine of physicalism and moving on, via free will, meaning, personal identity, motion, and change, to ethics and the philosophy (...)
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  • Tying the Knot: Why Representationalists Should Endorse the Sensorimotor Theory of Conscious Feel.David Silverman - 2016 - Philosophical Quarterly 66 (263):pqv097.
    The sensorimotor theory of perception and consciousness is frequently presented as a variety of anti-representationalist cognitive science, and there is thus a temptation to suppose that those who take representation as bedrock should reject the approach. This paper argues that the sensorimotor approach is compatible with representationalism, and moreover that representationalism about phenomenal qualities, such as that advocated by Tye, would be more complete and less vulnerable to criticism if it incorporated the sensorimotor account of conscious feel. The paper concludes (...)
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