Thinking About Consciousness
By (author) David Papineau
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Thinking About Consciousness by David Papineau
Book DescriptionConsciousness is widely regarded as an intractable mystery. Many scientists and philosophers view it as an enigma whose solution waits on some unforeseeable theoretical breakthrough. David Papineau argues that this pessimism is quite misplaced. Consciousness seems mysterious, not because of any hidden essence, but only because we humans think about it in a special way. Thinking about Consciousness analyses this special mode of thought in detail, and exposes the ways in which it can lead us into confusions about consciousness. At the heart of the book lies a distinction between two ways of thinking about conscious states. We humans can think about conscious states materially, as normal items inhabiting the material world. But we can also think about them phenomenally, as items that feel a certain way. Dualists hold that this phenomenal mode of thought describes some special non-material reality. But David Papineau argues that it is invalid to move from a distinctive phenomenal mode of thought to a distinct non-material reality. By carefully analysing the structure of phenomenal concepts, he is able to expose the flaws in the standard arguments for dualism, while at the same time explaining why dualism can seem so intuitively compelling. Thinking about Consciousness also casts a new light on contemporary scientific research into consciousness. Much of this research is motivated by the apparently 'hard problem' of identifying the referents of phenomenal concepts. David Papineau argues that such research promises less than it can deliver. Once phenomenal concepts are recognised for what they are, many of the questions posed by consciousness research turn out to be irredeemably vague. This is the first book to provide a detailed analysis of phenomenal concepts from a materialist point of view. By recognising the importance of phenomenal thinking, David Papineau is able to place a materialist account of consciousness on a firm foundation, and to lay many traditional problems of consciousness to rest.
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Book DetailsISBN: 9780199271153
(216mm x 139mm x 15mm)
Imprint: Clarendon Press
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Publish Date: 8-Apr-2004
Country of Publication: United Kingdom
Books By Author David Papineau
Philosophical Devices, Paperback (October 2012)
Philosophical Devices introduces the technical ideas that are taken for granted in contemporary philosophical writing. It offers simple explanations and covers a wealth of material that is normally available only to specialists. This original, distinctive book will appeal to anyone who is curious about the technical infrastructure of philosophy.
Introducing Consciousness, Paperback (September 2010)
A guide to the state of consciousness studies. It presents the history of the philosophical relation between mind and matter, and covers the scientific attempts to explain consciousness in terms of neural mechanisms, cerebral computation and quantum mechanics. It also introduces readers to zombies, ghosts in machines and Schrodinger's cat.
Teleosemantics, Paperback (September 2006)
Teleosemantics seeks to explain meaning and other intentional phenomena in terms of their function in the life of the species. This volume of new essays from an impressive line-up of well-known contributors offers a valuable summary of the current state of the teleosemantics debate.
Roots of Reason, Paperback (January 2006)» View all books by David Papineau
Presenting a different view of human reason, this book portrays it as a normal part of the natural world. Drawing on the empirical sciences to illuminate its workings, it discusses both theoretical and practical rationality, and shows how evolutionary theory, decision theory, and quantum mechanics offer fresh approaches to the problems.
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Author Biography - David Papineau
David Papineau is Professor of Philosophy at King's College London. His books include Theory and Meaning (Clarendon 1979), Reality and Representation (Blackwell 1987), Philosophical Naturalism (Blackwell 1993), The Philosophy of Science (Oxford Readings in Philosophy 1996), and a collection of essays, The Roots of Reason (Clarendon 2003).
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