Understanding Consciousness (2nd Edition) by Max Velmans

By Max Velmans

Building at the commonly praised first version, this ebook presents a special survey and review of awareness reviews, besides an unique research of cognizance that mixes clinical findings, philosophy and customary sense.

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Additional resources for Understanding Consciousness (2nd Edition)

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3 Thought does not exemplify the whole of conscious experience Historically, dualism has associated consciousness, mind or soul with the ability to reason. For Descartes, the best exemplar of conscious experience is thought. Thoughts do have conscious manifestations, for example verbal thoughts may be experienced in the form of phonemic imagery or ‘inner speech’. However, the phenomenal properties of such thoughts do not 24 Mind–body theories and their problems exemplify the whole of conscious experience.

As noted in Chapter 2, we cannot even be certain, at the present time, that quantum mechanical phenomena are psychologically relevant. Nor, if we return to classical physics, do Newton’s laws of motion tell us anything about human motivation (what ‘moves’ people), let alone how humans solve problems, have emotions and, ultimately, become aware of their own existence. There is, however, a more plausible form of ‘Physicalism’ which claims mind and consciousness to be nothing more than states of the brain.

Only innate knowledge of reality accessed through our ability to reason can provide knowledge of the true structure of the world (the universal forms). By contrast, British Empiricists such as John Locke (1690) believed that, at birth, the mind is a blank slate (a tabula rasa) on which the world makes impressions via the senses. Concepts and theories of the world are constructed by the mind on the basis of sensations, and their reliability depends entirely on the extent to which they can be seen to reduce to or derive from such sensations.

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