Archive for the ‘Philosophy’ Category

Consciousness Explained

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Consciousness Explained Daniel Dennett Penguin   ISBN 0-14-012867-0 This has been possibly the most influential book on consciousness since discussion of the subject revived about 20 years ago. Apart from the fact that Dennett is undoubtedly a better writer than many of his peers, the main reason for his success appears to be that he offers an explanation for consciousness that does not require any adjustment of an essentially 19th century scientific paradigm. Critics of this paradigm Read more […]

Andy Clarke – Mindware

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Mindware Andy Clark Oxford University Press (2001) Mindware represents a useful and readable summary of much mainstream thinking on neural processing and consciousness, although the latter is relegated to two appendices. Surprising aspects of this book are the abstract nature of much of the discussion, with only limited attempts to relate to the ongoing development of physical neuroscience. In particular, attention is almost exclusively focused on rational cognition as opposed to emotional Read more […]

Witness-Consciousness

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Witness-Consciousness Miri Albahari Philosophy Dept., University of Western Australia Journal of Consciousness Studies, 16, No. 1, 2009, pp. 62-84 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs Near the beginning of her paper, Albahari defines the ‘hard problem’ of consciousness, as the need to discover how subjective qualities fit into the physical world. Subjective or phenomenal qualities, otherwise known as qualia, are defined as those qualities, where there is ‘something Read more […]

Whitehead on the mind-body problem

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The mind-body problem and Whitehead’s non-reductive monism Anderson Weekes, City University, New York Journal of Consciousness Studies, 19, nos. 9-10, pp.40-66 Weekes takes the view that the basis of the problem with Cartesian thinking is that the two sides, mind and body, have no need of one another, at least in the form that they are often conceived of. The essential step is to understand that mind and body are not really distinct.  Alfred North Whitehead went beyond just saying that Read more […]

The Structure of Thought

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The Structure of Thought Laura Weed   The author argues that the underpinnings of much of 20th century philosophy are unsound. This includes philosophers such as Dennett, whose thinking has been central to modern consciousness studies. She suggests that Dennett has relied on, and expanded from flawed premises. She queries the assumption of many modern philosophers that symbolic logic, computational mathematics and experimental science can explain all that exists. She argues that this Read more […]

The mind doesn’t work that way

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The mind doesn’t work that way: the scope and limits of computational psychology Jerry Fodor MIT Press (2001) I do not attempt here to discuss Fodor’s complex philosophical argument relative to the idea of the brain as a computer, but only his discussion of this theme relative to the problems in artificial intelligence (AI). He contests at length the argument that the mind is equivalent to a Turing machine (a computer). Fodor accepts the underlying concept that logical form can have causal Read more […]

Response to argument v. physicalism

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Response to the structural argument against physicalism Barbara Monetero Journal of Consciousness Studies, 17, No. 3-4, 2010, pp. 70-83 http://ingentaconnect.com/journals/browse/imp/jcs This paper could be viewed as mainly interesting for its shrewd analysis of the underlying reasons for hostility to theories that argue that consciousness is a fundamental or quantum property. The author discusses the arguments of David Chalmers’ who favoured an approach to consciousness called ‘Russellian Read more […]

Mental presence/temporal present

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Mental presence and the temporal present George Franck Technische University of Vienna in Brain and Being, ed. Gordon Globus, Karl Pribram & Giuseppe Vitiello   John Benjamins  ISBN  90 272 5194 0 This paper appears to be something of a rarity in being basically a philosophical work that does not try to force consciousness into the straitjacket of classical physics/conventional neuroscience. Franck concentrates on the question of the relationship between time and in particular Read more […]

Kuhn v. Popper

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Kuhn vs. Popper Steve Fuller Icon Books (2003)  ISBN 1 84046 468 2 This book highlights the divergence between two philosophies of science, emphasising dissent from the popular views of Thomas Kuhn, by those who dislike his argument for predominant paradigms, and who prefer the approach of Karl Popper. The latter considered that we could always do better in terms of scientific enquiry, as opposed to the Kuhnian approach of relying on the predominant paradigm. Popper favoured a process of Read more […]

Galen Strawson on panpsychism

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Galen Strawson on pansychism Galen Strawson defines physicalism as the view that everything in, or experienced within the universe, is physicsl. All mental goings-on are included in this physical system, and subjective experience is seen as the most certain thing in our knowledge. As a result, those who deny the existence of consciousness and by extension experience, sensation and feeling, are not viewed as physicalist, even if they regard themselves as such, because these things that they deny Read more […]