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Ethan Phillips
Ethan Phillips

Consciousness: An Introduction ((NEW))



Philosophers have different ways of picking out various concepts of consciousness, and they tend to strongly disagree with one another. No division is entirely uncontroversial. However, there is one distinction that tends to be the starting point of philosophical discussions about consciousness; even those who disagree with this way of carving out of the territory often start from here. It is the distinction from Block (1995) on phenomenal and access consciousness:




Consciousness: An Introduction



This was a compilation of essays that were written by black people for black people. The author was Njabulo Ndebele and was published in 1972 by the Spros-Cas Black Community Programmes. Steve Biko wrote the introduction. It includes "Black Development Day" written by Njabulo Ndebele, "New Day" written by C. M. C Ndamse, "Kwa-Zulu Development" written by Chief M. G Buthelezi and "The New Black" written by Bennie A. Khoapa.[45][46]


Many books and articles on consciousness have appeared in the last fewyears, and one might think that we are making progress. But on a closerlook, most of this work leaves the hardest problems about consciousnessuntouched. Often, this work addresses what might be called the "easy"problems of consciousness: How does the brain process environmental stimulation?How does it integrate information? How do we produce reports on internalstates? These are important questions, but to answer them is not to solvethe hard problem: why is all this processing accompanied by an experiencedinner life? Sometimes this question is ignored entirely; sometimes it isput off until another day; and sometimes, it is simply declared answered.But in each case, one is left with the feeling that the central problemremains as puzzling as ever.


I am an optimist about consciousness: I think that we will eventuallyhave a theory of it, and in this book I look for one. But consciousnessis not just business as usual: if we are to make progress, the first thingwe must do is face up to the things that make the problem so difficult.Then we can move forward toward a theory, without blinkers and with a goodidea of the task at hand.


This book has four parts. In the first, I lay out the problems and setup a framework within which they can be addressed. Chapter 1 is an introductionto consciousness, teasing apart a number of different concepts in the vicinity,drawing out the sense in which consciousness is really interesting, andgiving a preliminary account of its subtle relation to the rest of themind. Chapter 2 develops a metaphysical and explanatory framework withinwhich much of the rest of the discussion is cast. What is it for a phenomenonto be reductively explained, or to be physical? This chapter gives an accountof these things, centering on the notion of supervenience. I argue thatthere is good reason to believe that almost everything in the worldcan be reductively explained; but consciousness may be an exception.


Everyone has their own view of the nature of consciousness based on their education and background. The intention of this book is to expand this view by providing an insight into the various ideas and beliefs on the subject as well as a review of current work in neuroscience. The neuroscientist should find the philosophical discussion interesting because this provides first-person insights into the nature of consciousness and also provides some subtle arguments about why consciousness is not a simple problem. The student of philosophy will find a useful introduction to the subject and information about neuroscience and physics that is difficult to acquire elsewhere.


If nothing exists, there can be no consciousness: a consciousness with nothingto be conscious of is a contradiction in terms. A consciousness conscious ofnothing but itself is a contradiction in terms: before it could identify itselfas consciousness, it had to be conscious of something. If that which you claimto perceive does not exist, what you possess is not consciousness.


This textbook is a comprehensive introduction to the relationship between the mind, consciousness and language. The book examines the key concepts from both philosophy and linguistics including the mind / body problem, analyses Skinner's behaviourist position, Chomsky's transformational grammar, Fodor's representational theory of meaning, and the basics of connectionism. Difficult concepts and terms are explained succinctly, in a jargon-free manner. 041b061a72


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